Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 4th April, 2022 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

OSC68/21

Presiding Member

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the absence of both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman the Committee elected a member to preside.

 

Councillor Ms Palmer moved, and Councillor Bland seconded, that Councillor Goodship be appointed to preside at the meeting.

MOTION NOT CARRIED

 

Councillor Hickey moved, and Councillor Knight seconded, that Councillor Pound be appointed to preside at the meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That Councillor Pound be appointed to preside at the meeting.

 

Councillor Pound took the chair for the remainder of the meeting.

OSC69/21

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chapelard, Holden (Vice Chairman) and Thompson (Chairman).

OSC70/21

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 65 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

OSC71/21

Declarations of a Party Whip pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any declarations by members of instruction given by or on behalf of a political group as to how that member should speak or vote on any items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of a party whip, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations that any member was subject to a party whip.

OSC72/21

Notification of Persons Registered to Speak pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To note any Visiting Members or members of the public wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 18 or 19, and which item(s) they wish to speak on.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Scott was in attendance as the relevant Portfolio Holder in respect of item OSC75/21.

 

There were no members of the public or Visiting Members registered to speak.

OSC73/21

Minutes of the meeting dated 07 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 165 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 07 February 2022 be approved as a correct record.

OSC74/21

Items Called-In pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider any items ‘Called-In’ under Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13, details of which will have been circulated to Members under separate cover.

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Minutes:

There were no items which had been called-in.

OSC75/21

Community Safety Partnership Plan 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Scott, the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development (which included responsibility for community safety), and Terry Hughes, Community Safety Manager, introduced the report reviewing performance of the Community Safety Partnership Plan for the previous year and setting out proposals for next year.

 

Answers to questions included the following:

·         It was difficult to make predictions of post-covid trends. A big spike in anti-social behaviour calls, largely related to breaches of lockdown regulations, had reduced to pre-pandemic levels. Domestic Abuse incidents were up but not as much as had been predicted. Work to encourage reporting was continuing. Overall, the current levels of incidents was believed to be the new normal.

·         The Safer Streets tool was not without faults but was proving to be useful. 38 incidents had been registered. When looking closely at the mapping data it appeared that the location of incidents was not being accurately captured. Officers were working with the responsible Superintendent to see whether the tool could be made to not allow plotting at too high a level of zoom.

·         The recent Police and Crime Commissioner’s survey provided general descriptions of where people felt unsafe (e.g. train stations and parks) but not specific locations so would not provide actionable data. Safer Streets had provided actionable data.

·         Applications for additional funding in phase 4 of the Safer Streets Fund was now open, projects building on existing success would increase chances. Any grant would need to the match-funded 1:2. Other agencies were also seeking funding.

·         Early Help were looking for funding towards tackling knife crime. Whilst knife related incidents in the borough were low, the carrying of knives if detected often lead to a downward spiral.

·         Domestic Abuse services were also seeking additional funding. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council were acting as referees for this.

·         An increase in road traffic incidents involving young people was in line with pre-pandemic trends, so not necessarily related to the pandemic. It was suspected that the increase was due to increasing use of mobile devices and more data was being sought. Kent Wardens and other agency officers regularly attended schools to deliver road safety messages.

·         The Council was working with night-time economy venues and the Commons Conservators to improve safety, particularly of women and girls. Trees blocking street lights and pathways had been cut back.

·         The ethnicity of hate crime victims was recorded and discussed regularly within the Community Safety Unit. The data was available to councillors on request.

·         Potential sources of funding from the Department of Levelling Up to assist in the integration of people resettling from Hong Kong and tackling related hate crime would be explored. Applications would likely be through the Police as resettlement costs would not necessarily be a community safety issue at borough level.

·         Use of the Safer Streets tool had been promoted to the community, particularly during the time the Police and Crime Commissioner’s survey was live.

·         Data from the Safer Streets tool, whilst not perfect, was still useful particularly as it included  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC75/21

OSC76/21

Poverty Task and Finish Group: Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark O’Callaghan, Scrutiny and Engagement Officer introduced the report set out in the agenda proposing terms of reference for the Poverty Task and Finish Group and the nature of the review as recommended by the interim members of the Task and Finish Group.

 

Councillor Pound, as interim chair of the Task and Finish Group commented:

·         The scope of the review would include investigation of the Council’s role in coordination and facilitation, not in seeking to expand the Council’s operations in service delivery or to determine what other agencies should or should not be doing.

·         The Task and Finish Group’s interim report had met some resistance from Cabinet.

·         The Task and Finish Group only consisted of three members, further help would be appreciated.

·         Many of the witnesses who contributed to the interim report had since left their employment so the review would include re-engaging with those organisations.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

RESOLVED –

1.    That the Terms of Reference as set out at section 2 of the report be agreed; and

2.    That the Review Initiation Document as prepared by the Task and Finish Group and set out at Appendix A to the report be agreed.

OSC77/21

Contracts Task and Finish Group: Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark O’Callaghan, Scrutiny and Engagement Officer introduced the report set out in the agenda proposing terms of reference for the Contracts Task and Finish Group and the nature of the review as recommended by the interim members of the Task and Finish Group.

 

Councillor Hickey, as interim chair of the Task and Finish Group commented:

·         The purpose of the review would be to assess:

o   whether the Council was procuring and running contracts as efficiently and effectively as possible.

o   Whether all feasible alternatives were being considered.

o   Whether any improvements could be made to improve resident and stakeholder confidence.

o   What improvements could be made to member involvement.

·         The Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer had been consulted and agreed with the scope of the review.

 

Comments in debate included:

·         Use of the word “questionable” used in the background information to the issue on the Initiation Document implied predetermination that something was wrong. It was agreed to find a more neutral alternative.

·         The legal framework around procurement would form part of the review to identify what local discretion within the law could be applied. Improving member understanding of the rules would also be important.

 

RESOLVED –

1.    That the Terms of Reference as set out at section 2 of the report be agreed; and

2.    That the Review Initiation Document as prepared by the Task and Finish Group and set out at Appendix A to the report be agreed.

OSC78/21

Draft Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark O’Callaghan, Scrutiny and Engagement Officer introduced the report set out in the agenda providing an update on the drafting of the Committee’s annual report and approval process. Comments included:

·         The draft report set out the facts and members were invited to submit any narrative or conclusions for inclusion in the final version.

 

Comments in debate included:

·         Details of the April meeting would be added. The report would cover the municipal year up to the date of the Annual Council Meeting.

·         The report was comprehensive and the Scrutiny Officer was thanked for their work and support of the committee.

·         The Committee should, as a matter of principle, be chaired by a member of the opposition.

·         Page 110 of the agenda contained a mistake in the dates of the call-in hearing (should be 2021 where it states 2022). These would be corrected in the final version.

 

RESOLVED – That the Draft Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22 be approved subject to update following the April meeting and presentation to the next meeting for adoption.

OSC79/21

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider the Committee’s future work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The work programme was presented for information. No changes were made.

OSC80/21

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business for consideration.

OSC81/21

Date of the next meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Monday 20 June 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 20 June 2022.