Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 12th August, 2019 6.30 pm

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Venue: Committee Room A, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Bailey and Ms Palmer.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by Members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.


There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.


Minutes of the meeting dated 01 April 2019 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.


Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 01 April 2019 be approved as a correct record.


Minutes of the meeting dated 10 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.


The Chairman noted that Councillor Dr Hall had advised him that she was in attendance as a Visiting Member but this had been omitted from the minutes.




1.    That the Members in Attendance be amended to add Councillor Dr Hall; and


2.    That, subject to the above amendment, the minutes of the meeting dated 10 June 2019 be approved as a correct record.


Items Called-In under Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13 pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To consider any item(s) called-in, details of which will have been circulated to Members under separate cover.


There were no items which had been called-in under Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13.


At the Chairman’s request, Mark O’Callaghan (Scrutiny and Engagement Officer) advised that the Overview and Scrutiny ‘call-in’ procedure related to the ability of the Overview and Scrutiny committee to examine executive decisions prior to their implementation. This was distinct from the Planning call-in procedure. Details of the procedure were set out in the Constitution and summarised on all executive decision notices.


Calverley Square Development Update pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive a verbal update on the Calverley Square Development.


David Candlin (Head of Economic Development and Property) provided a verbal update, illustrated by a visual presentation, which included the following comments:

·         Officers were in the process of receiving and collating RIBA Stage 4 reports from the project managers Avison Young.

·         Final reports would be published following a meeting with contractors Mace around the turn of the week.

·         Full, un-redacted reports were expected to be available to members in week commencing 26 August.

·         An All-Member briefing would be held on 28 August 2019 followed by a meeting of the Development Advisory Panel on 29 August 2019.

·         Public documents would be published on 28 August 2019 ahead of the Cabinet Advisory Board meeting on 5 September 2019.

·         Councillors Scott and Dawlings would also be arranging various meetings of the cross-party work group agreed by Full Council.

·         Further meetings would be held with Parish Chairmen on 3 September 2019 and Town Forum on 12 September 2019. Meetings with Royal Tunbridge Wells Together and Friends of Calverley Ground were to be arranged.

·         RIBA Stage 4 reports were expected to follow a similar pattern to the Stage 3 reports and would include a covering report followed by sub-reports covering Calverley Square Development, Civic Complex Feasibility and Project Financials.

·         The reports would be considered by Cabinet on 12 September 2019 ahead of Full Council on 25 September 2019.


Discussion included the following points:

·         Details of any value engineering would be included in the report to Council. Any such works did not affect the approved planning permission or undermine the objectives of the development.

·         Recent Avison Young project reports had not been seen by the Auditors in the preparation of the annual accounts. The Auditors reports were retrospective.

·         Civic Complex Feasibility would cover the existing Town Hall, Assembly Hall Theatre, 9-10 Calverley Terrace and the Police Station. Crescent Road car park was not within its scope.

·         Calverley Square Development would cover the new offices, underground car park, theatre, public realm and landscaping within Calverley Grounds.

·         The current project RAG status was red. The status was for the project as a whole and it was not possible to apportion any particular impact from any value engineering that may occur or have occurred.

·         The Council’s Auditors had signed off the RAG status for the previous year as green, which this year had changed to red. The change may have implications for the value for money statement and a request should be made to the Audit and Governance Committee for this to be revisited.

·         The precise wording of the decision to be made was to be determined but would likely be a recommendation to take account of the latest information and progress the project through to completion.

·         Legal costs associated with the Compulsory Purchase Order Enquiry were funded from the Calverley Square Reserve.

·         Not all aspects of the project were risk rated red and some aspects were by their nature red by default. As at 31 March 2019, risks were identified, mitigation was in place and the project was  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC17/19


Project RAG Statuses pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To receive a presentation on project management and ‘RAG’ statuses.


Ian Hirst (Head of Digital Services and Communications) and Michael Josh (PMO Lead and Project Manager) provided a verbal update, illustrated by a visual presentation, which included the following comments:

·         The Programme Management Office (PMO) was responsible for:

o   coordinating the various projects through standardised reporting;

o   providing prioritisation analysis requested by the Programme Board;

o   advising Project Leads on best practice; and

o   training officers in project management.

·         The PMO reported to the Programme Board consisting of the Directors, HR, Mr Hirst, Mr Josh and other Project Managers as appropriate. The Board met monthly, its remit included:

o   Agreeing project initiation;

o   Monitoring progress through standardised highlight reports;

o   Resource planning;

o   In-depth project review; and

o   Communication.

·         The PMO and Board did not micro-manage each project and did not change the scope of the project. Each project would have its own procedures for dealing with governance issues.

·         Potential new projects are presented to the Board through a ‘Gate-Zero Document’ which sets out a summary of the project and its potential impact. If initiated, the Board may then monitor the project depending on its risk factors, taking account of financial and reputational risks.

·         There were currently 25 projects being monitored by the Board – including external project such as Calverley Square, The Amelia Scott and Public Realm plus internal projects including Modern Ways of Working and New A/V equipment for the Council Chamber. There was a considerable amount of information being collated.

·         Standard reports contained the current Red/Amber/Green (RAG) status with a descriptive narrative, an outlook RAG status and the measures needed to achieve the outlook status. The reports also identified key milestones and a summary of the major risks.

·         RAG ratings were a common methodology representing the overall health of the project:

o   Green – the project was generally in good health and progressing on track

o   Amber – some issues were occurring but resolution was possible

o   Red – significant blocks had materialised and progress could not be made

·         Statuses were often more affected by the existence of effective management or mitigation plans rather than the content of any such plan. For example, If a project could demonstrate that its risks were being managed, even if those risks were great, the RAG status may be low.

·         Guidelines existed to ensure RAG statuses were applied consistently but there was no quantified standard, some personal interpretation may apply.

·         Project Leads, not the PMO, determined the RAG status of a project. Programme Board could challenge a status and make suggestions.

·         Project reports were a snapshot in time, there could be a lead time of 2-3 days to produce the reports.

·         The PMO offered best practice advice on project management and there were several methodologies available depending on the size and nature of the project, including:

o   A variant of the ‘Prince2’ model was commonly used

o   ‘RIBA Stages’ were usually used for construction projects

o   ‘Agile’ methodology was often used for digital projects


Discussion included the following points:

·         Project statuses  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC18/19


Parks and Gardens Maintenance Contract Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider and decide the recommendations set out in the report.

Additional documents:


The Chairman brought forward this item on the agenda.


Gary Stevenson (Head of Housing, Health and Environment) provided a verbal update which included the following comments:

·         The Task and Finish Group had been established to review the grounds maintenance contract which was due to be procured shortly. It was an opportunity to look at the current contract and consider what might need to be changed for the future.

·         A couple of meetings had already taken place to look at the current contract and consider what elements the Task and Finish Group could look at that would add value to the procurement process for the Council and its assets.

·         The contract covered Royal Tunbridge Wells town area, but not the Parish areas (with the exception of a small part of Rusthall). It included Council sports pitches, gardens, grounds, parks and the grounds maintenance at the Cemetery and Crematorium.

·         Current contract covered a 10 year period with a value of about £900,000 – the new contract would start in January 2021.

·         The working group is to:

o   look at the current specification to establish whether it was fit for purpose;

o   look at measures that would help the Council’s declaration to becoming carbon neutral; and

o   look at how quality control would be carried out.

·         Other considerations would include a decision on the length of the contract and the feasibility of breaking it up into different (smaller) packages.

·         In taking this forward over the next 4 months there would be engagement with Board Members. In addition, meetings with fringe groups and sports clubs in order to get their views on current facilities and to identify any future aspirations. This work would then be fed back to be included in the specification and tender documentation that would be issued early in 2020.


Discussion included the following comments:

·         Enhancements to parks etc. was not included as part of the contracts remit, but Members, should they wish to do so, could approach partners to discuss this sort of work (sponsorship). However, if an enhancement of this kind were to take place, it would be possible to add the maintenance of it as part of the contract specification – but it would be subject to budgetary constraints as there was no projected growth in the expected value of the new contract.

·         The assumption was to contract out rather than to look in-house, but agreed that this option could be considered.

·         There was no headroom in the current budget to take on new parks, gardens etc. But through the planning process if new sites were identified Section 106 money would be used to cover initial maintenance, the Council could then pick it up after this period. There would be an opportunity to include a variance in the contract to cover such events.

·         Parks and gardens covered the larger areas of land throughout the town owned by the Council. There were a variety of owners for the smaller areas of land, including, Town and Country Housing and  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC19/19


Consultation and Engagement Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider and decide the recommendations set out in the report.

Additional documents:


Councillor Hayward introduced the report.


Discussion included the following points:

·         The aim of the Task and Finish Group was to produce a policy that clearly defines the expectation of Officers and Members around consultation and engagement with the public and that there should be a standard by which that performance would be measured.

·         It was still in the very early stages but an initial scoping meeting had taken place and it was the view that a draft public engagement and consultation process would be available for consideration by the end of 2019. 

·         It was important that engagement and consultation allowed the opportunity for all stakeholders to shape events and where views could then be considered as part of the decision making process.




1)    That the report be noted;


2)    That Councillor Hayward be appointed Chairman of the Task and Finish Group; and


3)    That the Task and Finish Group objective to draft a Public Engagement and Consultation Policy be agreed.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To note the Committee’s forward work programme.


Discussion included the following points:

·         The issue of project RAG status and project governance required further attention but there was concern about available resources to manage another Task and Finish Group.

·         A request could be put to the Audit and Governance Committee to undertake this work. There was a preference that it stayed with the Overview and Scrutiny Committee but that there might be an option to collaborate.

·         Issues relating to the Calverley Square project (aforementioned request to the Audit and Governance Committee relating to the project RAG status and the request to the Leader to clarify the decision making process on the project) would be prioritised and any wider issues pursued at a later date.

·         To avoid the potential undermining of the Development Advisory Panel by the leadership it was important to clarify the membership. Details appeared to be missing from Full Council papers. Membership of the Development Advisory Panel was appointed by Cabinet at the annual meeting and was confirmed as Councillors McDermott (Chair), Dawlings (Vice Chair), Chapelard, Fairweather, Hayward, Hill, Horwood, Podbury, Scott and Mrs Soyke.

·         The Development Advisory Panel meetings did not publish their minutes. A request was made for them to be published.




1)    That the work programme be noted;


2)    That, not withstanding the existing actions relating to the Calverley Square project, further work on the wider issues of project RAG statuses be scheduled for a later date after the decision on Calverley Square; and


3)    That enquiries be made concerning the publication of the minutes of Development Advisory Panel meeting.


Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There was no urgent business.


Date of the next meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Monday 07 October 2019.


The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 7 October 2019.