Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

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Items
No. Item

OSC61/19

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Mrs Soyke and Thomson.

OSC62/19

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 56 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 of significant other interests declared at the meeting.

OSC63/19

Notification of Persons Registered to Speak pdf icon PDF 7 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

OSC64/19

Minutes of the meeting dated 20 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 20 January 2020 be approved as a correct record.

OSC65/19

Items Called-In pdf icon PDF 58 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items which had been called-in.

OSC66/19

Corporate Update on Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 430 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that the first meeting of the Covid-19 Panel had taken place and provided a brief summary of its discussions:

·         The Panel was initially meeting on an informal basis pending formal ratification by Cabinet 25 June 2020.

·         Panel meetings were private but updates would be provided to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee so that members and the public could be informed and ask questions.

·         The Panel was cross-party and included community and business stakeholders.

·         The first meeting of the Panel focused on the challenges of re-opening across the Borough and to ensure that mechanisms put in place were safe.  The work would have to be undertaken quickly as re-opening was scheduled for Monday 15 June 2020.

·         Good communication would be essential to ensure that residents felt safe when they returned to town centres across the Borough.

·         It would also be important to gather Best Practice from around the country.

 

William Benson, Chief Executive, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         FutureStore was both a virtual and a physical store located in the Royal Victoria Place – next door to the temporary library. It focused on helping people, get a job, keep a job and get a better job. It was supported by Council staff who had been seconded and £15k funding had been secured from British Land.

·         104 wellbeing calls, to 42 residents, had been made in May.

·         Following a number of representations from Local Authorities, the Ministry of  Housing, Communities and Local Government had rescinded its initial request for data (Community Hub activity) in a particular format and was now considering a more user friendly way of obtaining it.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

OSC67/19

Enhancing Scrutiny for Recovery pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

William Benson, Chief Executive, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         The 2 Independent members of the Council had not formed a political group, had they done so, they may have been entitled to representation on the Covid-19 Panel.

·         There was no requirement for the Panel to be politically balanced because it was a Cabinet Committee. However, a decision was taken to make the Panel cross-party. Other Members were not included because of their party but as representatives of other bodies - a County Councillor whose ward was in the centre of Tunbridge Wells and the Area Chairman of Kent Association of Local Councils.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

OSC68/19

Covid-19 Panel Update pdf icon PDF 493 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Chairman regarding the Covid-19 Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

William Benson, Chief Executive, introduced the report set out in the agenda (titled Overview of the Council’s Approach to Recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic).

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         To allow for safe pedestrian travel it was important to keep pavements clear – to encourage residents to keep their hedges cut and bins safety stored. The Council would consider how best to deliver this message to residents.

·         Discussions with North Farm had been fairly light touch to date. The Council had links with the Safe Town Partnership who had a number of partners in North Farm. The nature of the area was different to a town centre with many businesses having large car parks that allowed for controlled queuing.

·         The Council had asked businesses at North Farm if they would like any signage but to date none had been requested. This would be kept under review.

·         There was some congestion taking place at North Farm, particularly near fast good outlets and the refuse centre. Discussions were already taking place as to how best to manage the queues.

·         The preferred method for car parking payments was by phone as this limited any contact, but users could still pay by card using the machines. Cash payments would not be accepted.

·         There was concern that the removal of cash payments would be to the detriment of some residents who did not use cards.

·         Any person with a bank account would be able to use a normal telephone to pay for parking.

·         Whilst most shops preferred users to pay by card/phone, most still allowed cash payments.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the report be noted; and

 

2.    That Officers be requested to consider:

a.    how best to encourage residents to ensure pavements were kept clear (hedge cutting, bin storage, pavement parking); and

b.    cash/cashless payments in car parks and, in particular, how best to manage those whose preferred method of payment was cash.

OSC69/19

Financial Update Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         Under current legislation, the s151 Officer would determine whether a s114 notice is issued.

·         A number of events would have to have taken place before a s114 notice was issued, e.g. Members not approving a revised budget or events occurring that the Council was unable to respond to.

·         The process included the s151 Officer writing a letter to the district auditor, also a letter to Full Council notifying them of the intention to issue a s114 notice.

·         To date no Council had issued a s114 notice as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

OSC70/19

Strategic Risk Register pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Lee Colyer, Director or Finance, Policy and Development, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         It was agreed that a generic pandemic risk rather than a specific Covid-19 risk was deemed more appropriate.

·         At each meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee a risk manager would be invited to consider their risk. These visits were scheduled on an annual basis, most recently before the pandemic. The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee would be invited to consider whether the current schedule remained appropriate.

·         As the largest Council project with a significant budget, delivery of the Amelia Scott was considered a strategic risk. (CSR 09)

·         As with all major projects the Amelia was under constant review and there was always likely to be circumstances where value engineering measures were considered.

·         Engagement and consultation continued on the project to help mitigate the risks of failure to deliver on the aspirations of the project. A review of the project was expected to be put together later this year. In addition a Members Briefing was scheduled for 10 July 2020.

·         Fusion Leisure was under intense financial pressure as they would continue to be unable to operate until the guidelines had been relaxed.  It would be an issue for Government to determine how the leisure sector was supported. The Council had a contract in place with Fusion and the Council was compelled to continue to support all contractors during the crisis. The legal position was that they had to deliver on that contract. However, due to the current conditions, the Council were being as sympathetic as possible whilst still monitoring its financial viability. Any likely risk of the failure of the contract would be brought to the attention of members.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the report be noted; and

 

2.    That Officers be requested to consider:

a.    a generic Pandemic Risk rather than a specific Covid-19 risk;

b.    discussing with the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee the schedule of risk managers attending meetings; and

c.    closer correlation between the risks and mitigation on the Amelia Scott project.

OSC71/19

Performance Summary: Quarter 4 pdf icon PDF 445 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         Street cleaning indicator had not been collected for the entire year. This was largely because of the issues experienced when the new service was introduced. Discussions had taken place with the performance indicator manager for street cleaning and it was agreed that the indicator served little practical purpose. It was better to gauge performance by the number of complaints received. Going forward this indicator would be discontinued.

·         At present there were no plans to restart the off street car parking project. It would therefore remain on hold for the time being.

·         Underperforming indicator recovery plans would usually set out an explanation of the underperformance and set actions and timescales for mitigation. These were not possible for this quarter but were expected to return in the near future.

·         A performance indicator refresh would be undertaken for next year to better reflect the current work of the Council.

·         It was likely that the status update on the Local Plan was given after an agreement to reschedule the timescale. The project would have been amber prior to the agreement. As action was then taken, it moved to green.

·         The performance indicator subsidy of £4.09 for the Assembly Hall Theatre in 2018/19 should be shown as a red indicator. The subsidy had been higher that year as a result of programme investment in anticipation of the Calverley Square project.

·         The total number of attendances at the Assembly Hall Theatre for 2018/19 was 112,721. (The report showed the number split over two lines.)

·         The NEETS number was included as an indicator a number of years ago. The figures come direct from Kent County Council. The original figures for 2016/17 were quite high. The Council then undertook a major project to try and reduce the numbers, which is why the number for 2019/20 was significantly lower.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the report, subject to the clerical corrections identified in the debate, be noted.

 

2.    That Officers be requested to provide a report to a future meeting on the status of the off-street parking project.

OSC72/19

Complaints Summary: Period 2 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         If the complaint was resolved satisfactorily at Stage 1 there would be no need for it to progress to Stage 2.

·         There were fewer than expected Stage 2 complaints in respect of the recycling and waste service partly due to the delay in closing off the Stage 1 complaints, by which point the problem had been resolved.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

OSC73/19

Annual Report on the Use of RIPA pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To consider the proposals to Cabinet set out in the associated report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance, introduced the report set out in the agenda on behalf of the Legal Service. Patricia Narebor, Head of Legal Services, assisted in answering questions.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         As no RIPA powers were used in the last year, no action related to benefit fraud would have taken place.

·         Issues related to school catchment areas were a matter for Kent County Council.

·         As required by Government the Council must provide an annual report on the Council’s use of the surveillance powers contained in the legislation and to review the arrangements for doing so.

·         The powers under RIPA, as they apply to local authorities, were very specific. Any surveillance carried out by, or for, the Government in relation to enforcement of Covid-19 regulations would be subject to separate and specific powers.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the report be noted; and

 

2.    That Officers be requested to provide additional information in respect of the management of enforcement powers relating to Covid-19 to be circulated to members and included as part of the Member briefing scheduled for 26 June 2020.

OSC74/19

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 5 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.

OSC75/19

Date of the next meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Monday 29 June 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That agenda items 14, 15, 16, 19, 20 and 21 be deferred to the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the meeting scheduled on 29 June 2020 be moved to 22 June 2020.

 

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