Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

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Items
No. Item

OSC1/20

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 Neve. Councillors Bland and Thomson were not present.

OSC2/20

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:

Councillor Ms Palmer noted that, in respect of OSC9/20, she was a Director of Tunbridge Wells Property Holdings Ltd. but this did not constitute a prejudicial interest.

OSC3/20

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.

OSC4/20

Minutes of the meeting dated 08 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 216 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:

Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 8 June 2020 be approved as a correct record.

OSC5/20

Minutes of the meeting dated 22 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 242 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:

Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 22 June 2020 be approved as a correct record.

OSC6/20

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.

OSC7/20

Covid-19 Panel Update pdf icon PDF 5 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Woodward introduced the update of the Covid-19 Panel meetings held on 7 and 21 July 2020 set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         Given the limited timescale, Kent County Council were not able to achieve as much as previously envisaged during tranche 1 of the traffic schemes. This meant that the removal of car parking on the A26 would not take place as part of tranche 1 but could be reconsidered as part of tranche 2.

·         The installation of a sign only scheme restricting access to Reynolds Lane instead of the intended modal filter was disappointing and unlikely to be effective. The main issue related to a lack of a turning circle. At the moment there was no space on the public highway that would allow this (only private land). A more effective scheme could not be introduced until a turning circle could be achieved using the public highway.

·         The amount of money allocated to the Borough of Tunbridge Wells for traffic schemes was not known as the schemes would be implemented by Kent County Council as part of a wider programme. The breakdown was done by scheme rather than funding amount but a Kent-wide breakdown of funding amounts would be requested.

·         The Council ensured that their contractors had appropriate measures in place to ensure that social distancing was maintained.

·         The Assembly Hall Theatre was able to apply for funding via the Cultural Compact introduced by the Arts Council. It was suggested that this would be better as a subject for a future Member Briefing.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the Head of Housing, Health, and Environment be requested to provide an update on the current status of Fusion Leisure;

 

2.    That the Head of Economic Development be requested to ask Kent County Council for a breakdown of the funding for the schemes in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells part of tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund schemes and a comparison of funding across Kent;

 

3.    That officers be requested to include the Assembly Hall Theatre for a future Member Briefing; and

 

4.    That the report be noted.

OSC8/20

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021-22 Part 1 pdf icon PDF 255 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sheila Coburn, Head of Revenues and Benefits Partnership introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion included the following comments:

·         One of the objectives was to keep the cost of award of Council Tax Reduction to similar to how it was under the current scheme. The savings to the scheme were in relation to administration costs. Because the scheme would be simplified there would not be as many changes to Council Tax bills and instalments. In addition, there would be less printing and posting. It was agreed to amend Recommendation 3 of the Report to reflect that the savings were administrative and that the costs of the scheme would be maintained in line with the current scheme into 2021/22.

·         Because the current scheme was means tested there was potentially a number of different payments taken into account when assessing Council Tax Reduction. Under the proposed new scheme the assessment was made purely on income. It was agreed the calculation could be made clearer.

·         Legacy Benefits were made up of income support, job seekers allowance and employment support allowance. If a person’s circumstances changed, they would come off those benefits and on to Universal Credit. Under the current scheme, those in receipt of Legacy Benefits were better off than those in receipt of Universal Credit. However, under the proposed new Banded Scheme, generally those in receipt of Universal Credit Scheme would be better off than if they were in receipt of Legacy Benefits.

·         The consultation would be open to anybody, including a wide range of stakeholders including Housing Associations, Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Debt Companies, Kent County Council and the Emergency Services. In addition, contact would be made with all those currently in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.

·         There would also be some media coverage to alert residents to the consultation.

·         There was a request for clarity on the final process and methodology for the consultation prior to the start of the consultation. It was agreed that the methodology for the consultation could be obtained and that it could be added to the Report that would go forward to Cabinet.

·         The consultation would include an explanation of each proposed Model and people would be asked to rate which Model in order of preference.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the Head of Revenues and Benefits be requested:

a.    to clarify that savings were related to administrative costs,

b.    to make the calculation of Council Tax Reduction under the new proposed scheme clearer,

c.    to provide the methodology for the consultation; and

 

2.    That the report be noted.

OSC9/20

Property Transaction Report: January to June 2020 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

John Antoniades, Estates Manager, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

The report, including the exempt information set out in the agenda, was taken as read.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

OSC10/20

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.

OSC11/20

Date of Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To note that the next scheduled meeting is Monday 24 August 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was scheduled for Monday 24 August 2020.

OSC12/20

Exempt Appendix to Property Transaction Report: January to June 2020 (Item 9) pdf icon PDF 6 KB

Exempt by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended): Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority holding that information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report to which the exempt appendix applied was decided in public session taking the exempt information as read.

 

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