Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted from Guy Grandison.
Emma Hobbs attended the meeting as a substitute.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 October 2019.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 October 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendments:
Minute 56 – Food Waste Collection Service – Paragraph 4 be amended to read: “The new service reduced the amount of greenhouse gas produced by rotting food and saved up to £100 per tonne by diverting residual waste”.
Paul Fishwick sought clarification on the commitment to inform Members when food waste collection was being expanded to flats in their areas. It was confirmed that communication with Members would be updated.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
To answer any public questions.
A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.
The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this Committee.
Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions
Mel Davies asked the Chairman the following question:
I would like to thank the Executive Member for the Climate Emergency for issuing the first iteration of the Climate Emergency Action Plan. The plan is a start but doesn't contain many of the fundamental attributes of a viable Management Plan. In particular, I would like to ask the Chairman if she thinks the following items should be added to the plan:
1. A top level set of requirements and a flow down of requirements into the various project branches.
2. A project scope, meaning a single section detailing precisely what is and what is not inside the project boundary.
3. A description of a project Risk Register and how it will be managed. (This should then contribute to the Council risk register)
4. A hierarchical diagram to show how this plan fits with all other Council plans and policies as well as Central Government plans and Policies.
5. A stakeholder list.
6. A top level project roadmap or Gantt Chart
7. A list of definitions and acronyms.
8. A description of how the project will measure progress
9. A consolidated list of referenced work.
10. A definite start date and end date.
These are some of the defining attributes of a successful project but they are not defined clearly in the current plan.
At a Council meeting on 18th July 2019, Wokingham Borough Council agreed a Motion declaring a climate emergency. The declaration set out the Council’s commitment to play as full a role as possible in achieving a carbon-neutral Wokingham Borough by 2030 and to report progress to Council within six months, setting out an initial plan of action.
As a working document this plan reports our progress and lays out the initial steps of our journey to working towards achieving a net zero carbon Borough. It was not the intention to develop a comprehensive project or ‘management’ plan.
The Climate Emergency Action Plan has: established the Borough’s climate footprint from where we will measure all future activity, announced a budget of £50 million for carbon reduction projects over the next three years and established eight priority areas of focus for Council actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the coming years.
These include tackling carbon dioxide emissions from transport, reducing energy use in domestic properties, generating renewable energy, planting more trees and encouraging behaviour change.
The Council consulted with Wokingham Borough businesses and specialist consultants all of whom gave positive feedback on our plans. The Government funded Greater South East Energy Hub fed back that the plan demonstrates that Wokingham Borough Council is a leading Local Authority in this field and suggested that the plan should be shared with other local authorities as an example of good practice.
The Climate Emergency Action Plan is a high-level programme of activities and work streams to begin our journey towards a zero-carbon future. The extent of these actions will require the appropriate project and programme management frameworks to ensure effective ... view the full minutes text for item 64.
Member Question Time
To answer any Member questions.
There were no Member questions.
To consider progress on the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 13 to 64, which gave details of the Council’s initial Climate Emergency Action Plan. The Action Plan set out the initial steps that the Council would take on the journey to achieving net zero carbon by 2030.
The report stated that the Council had passed a Motion declaring a Climate Emergency at its meeting on 18 July 2019. Work had been carried out to establish a baseline of carbon emissions for the Borough. Wokingham Borough’s carbon footprint was 580.9 ktCO2e (based on 2017 data). This calculation did not include areas outside the Council’s influence such as carbon emissions from motorways and rail travel.
The Council had identified eight key priority areas to pursue as follows:
· Reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions from transport;
· Reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions from domestic and business property (the Green Bank project);
· Generating more renewable energy;
· Creating a Local Plan which specifies Net Zero construction and infrastructure;
· Increasing the levels of Carbon Sequestration by greening the environment;
· Engaging with young people and supporting sustainable schools;
· Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill;
· Encouraging behaviour change across the Borough.
The initial Action Plan had been developed using ideas from local residents, Town and Parish Councils, businesses, schools and Council Officers. The report stated that the Council had committed £50m over the next three years (subject to Council Budget approval) for implementation of the initiatives in the Action Plan.
Following approval of the initial Action Plan by the Council an annual progress report would be submitted to Council, commencing in July 2020. The progress report would include a fully costed action plan with carbon saving quotas against individual projects.
It was proposed by Sarah Kerr and seconded by Paul Fishwick that a report be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee setting out options for effective scrutiny of the Climate Emergency Action Plan, one option being the establishment of a separate Climate Emergency Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Upon being put to the vote, the proposal was agreed.
The Committee considered the initial Climate Emergency Action Plan and Members made the following points:
What steps would be taken to replace gas appliances in residents’ homes? Would the proposed solar farms be able to generate enough alternative energy? Gregor Murray stated that the proposed Green Bank would support residents in behaviour change including investment on the replacement of gas boilers with energy efficient electric boilers. Solar panels on the roofs of properties would also help to reduce emissions from domestic gas.
Paul Fishwick stated that, as this was the “initial” Climate Emergency Action Plan, the recommendation in the report should be amended to reflect that status. Gregor Murray accepted this point and undertook to amend the recommendation to Council to refer to the “initial” Climate Emergency Action Plan.
In relation to the charts and table on Pages 26/27 of the Agenda, what modelling had been carried out to identify the predicted and target carbon emissions? Gregor Murray stated ... view the full minutes text for item 66.
To consider the report of the Estate Infrastructure Task & Finish Group.
The Committee considered the report of the Adoption of Estate Infrastructure Task and Finish Group. The report, set out at Agenda pages 65 to 102, stated that the Task and Finish Group had aimed to produce recommendations to the Executive resulting in the adoption of high quality estate infrastructure (roads and open space) and positive outcomes for residents across the Borough.
The report stated that the Task and Finish Group had sought evidence from a range of stakeholders including residents, Town and Parish Councils, housing developers, Thames Water and Council Officers. The feedback had indicated that Council Officers already delivered excellent work which ensured that high quality infrastructure was delivered in the majority of cases. However, there was always scope for improvement and the Task and Finish Group made recommendations in a number of areas, as follows:
1. That the Council considers measures to increase public awareness about the adoption of new estate infrastructure, for example through the provision of general advice and Frequently Asked Questions on the New Residents section of the Council website.
2 That the Council considers measures to improve and expand the current interactive maps on its website, for example by including more details on S38 roads and roads not due to be adopted.
3 That the Council considers measures to provide more regular briefings for Town and Parish Councils, especially in relation to new housing developments in their areas and the rights and responsibilities of different stakeholders.
4 That WBC Officers provide regular updates to the Borough Parish Liaison Forum on the process for adopting new estate infrastructure and the impact of new development arising out of the Local Plan Update.
5 That the Council considers the resources available for managing the adoption process in non-SDL areas in order to ensure a consistency of outcomes for residents across the Borough.
6 That the Council reviews the process for developing and agreeing S106 agreements relating to the adoption of open space, specifically to:
· ensure that agreements are more detailed, specific and rigorous;
· explore the potential for including financial penalty clauses linked to key milestones, with any penalties being added to agreed commuted sums;
· encourage high quality design for new play facilities.
7 That Officers consider potential improvements to secure earlier engagement from Highways at the initial planning or pre-application stages of the process.
8 That the Council works with developers to build on the proactive work of Officers in improving the level of tree survival rates on new housing developments.
9 That the residents and Town and Parish Councils who responded to the Call for Evidence (Annex B) receive feedback and responses to the issues raised.
10 That the Council consider measures to ensure the recruitment and retention of key staff working on the adoption process, with appropriate succession planning.
11 That WBC Members receive annual training on the adoption process for new roads and open space linked to updates on the emerging Local Plan.
12 That an annual update on the adoption process be submitted ... view the full minutes text for item 67.
To consider the 2019/20 Quarter 2 Council Plan Performance Monitoring report.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 103 to 124, which gave details of performance monitoring for Quarter 2 of the 2019/20 Municipal Year (July-September).
The report stated that, for Quarter 2, 65% of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) had achieved the assigned targets and were reported as Green. 6% of KPIs were marginally off target (Amber) and 29% were significantly off-target.
The report gave details of the 37 KPIs being used to measure service delivery and quality. The KPIs had been reviewed for 2019/20 in order to provide a smaller, more targeted number of measures. For each KPI a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) target had been assigned which took into account historic trend information and benchmarking to compare WBC performance with national trends.
The report also gave details of the 10 Red KPIs and the improvement measures being implemented, as follows:
Adults Services (5 Red KPIs)
· KPI AS4a - Safeguarding timeliness – concerns completed within 2 working days
· KPI AS4b - Safeguarding timeliness – enquiries completed within 28 days
· KPI AS6 - Proportion of people receiving long term care who were subject to a review in the last 12 months
· KPI VP2a – Delayed transfers of care (delayed days)
· KPII VP2b – Delayed transfers of care (delayed days) Social Care Only
Children’s Services (4 Red KPIs)
· KPI Ch2 - Percentage of Education, Health and Care Plan Assessments completed within 20 weeks of referral
· KPI EA2 – Percentage of children who attend a Wokingham state-funded school (primary, secondary or special) which is Ofsted rated Good or better
· KPI VP6i – Percentage of children who became subject to a Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time within 2 years
· KPI VP8 – Percentage of child protection visits completed on time (within 10 days of the previous visit or start of the Child Protection Plan)
Locality and Customer Services (1 Red KPI)
· KPI CE10 – Percentage of calls answered
Members considered the performance data in the report and made the following points:
KPI CE1 – Revenue Budget Monitoring Forecast Position and KPI CE2 – Capital Budget Monitoring Forecast Position.
Comment - when overspends and underspends occur, the Committee would like to receive greater detail on causation and action plans put in place.
KPI T1-6 – Percentage of Highway Infrastructure Schemes on track for project delivery.
Comment – the report should provide greater clarity on the criteria for RAG status together with more detail on the roads subject to Amber and Red status.
KPI CE10 – Percentage of Calls Answered.
Comment – Members recalled the earlier WBC target of answering calls with 10 rings and requested comparative information to current performance. This included trend data on the time taken to answer calls (including recorded messages on the system).
KPI Adults Services – 5 Red KPIs
Comment - the Committee requested more information on the underlying staffing issues referred to in the narrative for the Red indicators.
KPI EA2 – Percentage of children who attend a Wokingham ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
To consider proposals for developing the 2020/21 Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 125 to 134, which asked Members to give initial consideration to the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes for 2020/21.
The report stated that effective work programming was a Member-led process aimed at prioritising and shortlisting issues of community concern together with issues arising out of the Council Plan and major policy and service changes. Effective work programming aimed to:
· Reflect local needs and concerns;
· Prioritise issues for scrutiny which had most impact;
· Involved local residents and stakeholders;
· Be flexible enough to respond to new or urgent issues.
The report outlined the suggested process for developing the 2020/21 Work Programmes. The involved consultation with Executive Members, WBC Officers, partner agencies, Town and Parish Councils, residents and community groups. Public engagement would take place through a media release, the Council’s website and social media.
The report highlighted recent progress in the operation of Overview and Scrutiny, for example in the delivery of in depth Scrutiny reviews relating to Grounds Maintenance and the adoption of new roads and open spaces. In depth Budget Scrutiny had also taken place in 2019/20 for the first time. Building on these positive steps, the report recommended that each Overview and Scrutiny Committee carry out one or more in depth reviews during 2020/21.
1) the process for developing 2020/21 Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes, set out in the report, be approved;
2) suggestions for inclusion in the 2020/21 Work Programmes be submitted to Neil Carr in Democratic Services;
3) the final 2020/21 Work Programmes be approved at the Committee’s meeting on 25 March 2020;
4) each Overview and Scrutiny Committee carry out one or more in-depth reviews during 2020/21.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme.
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme, as set out on Agenda pages 135 to 146.
RESOLVED: That the Forward Programmes be noted.
To discuss the work programme of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committees
The Committee considered its 2019/20 forward Work Programme and that of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, as set out on Agenda pages 147 to 156.
In the ensuing discussion Members noted that an additional report would be submitted to the Committee’s February 2020 meeting on options for Scrutiny of the Climate Emergency Action Plan.
RESOLVED: That the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes be noted.
Update reports from Chairmen or Nominated member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees
For the Chairman or nominated Member of the Committee to report back in its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.
The Committee considered updates from the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and/or Members in relation to recent meetings of the Committees.
RESOLVED: That the updates be noted.