Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 2 February 2018 2.00 p.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal. View directions

Contact: Jason Habbershon 

Items
No. Item

O&S/51

Minutes pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 January 2018 (copy attached).

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 January 2018.

O&S/52

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of interest were raised.

O&S/53

Declaration of the Party Whip

In accordance with Rule 17 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, any Member who is subject to a party whip on any item must declare the existence and nature of the whip.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of the party whip were raised.

O&S/54

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there are no excluded items on the agenda.

O&S/55

Public Participation

After the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has discussed an item on the agenda, but before a decision is taken, there is an opportunity for those present at the meeting who are not Committee Members to ask questions.

 

More information can be found on the South Lakeland District Council website, www.southlakeland.gov.uk , or by contacting Committee Services on 01539 733333.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there was no public participation in respect of this meeting.

O&S/56

South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider a progress report from the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership.

Minutes:

The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder introduced a report from the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership (CSP) which provided the Committee with an update on current projects and future developments for 2018/19, and introduced Superintendent Rob O’Connor of Cumbria Police, the CSP’s current Vice-Chairman.

 

The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder referred to the 2017 Quality of Life Survey which had shown that 90% of respondents had declared themselves satisfied with South Lakeland as a place to live. He emphasised that the CSP focused not only on tackling crime, but also on addressing the causes of crime.

 

Supt Rob O’Connor provided further details on the progress made by the CSP. He highlighted the two key priorities agreed in 2017: alcohol and violent crime/sexual offences and online child exploitation and staying safe. The numerous issues caused by drug dealing across county lines was emphasised, particularly in relation to the two key priorities.

 

Although data from the Cumbria Intelligence Observatory showed a slight decrease in crime across Cumbria in 2016/17, Supt O’Connor explained that it was anticipated that there would be a rise in 2018/19. However, whilst offences across the whole of Cumbria had gone up by just over 2,000 to date, South Cumbria accounted for just 250 of these. In Ulverston and Furness, the figures were identical to those at the same point in the previous year, whilst Kendal and the Lakes areas had seen a small increase of around seven cases per month.

 

Supt O’Connor reported that South Lakeland regularly performed well in the North West region, with a ValuePenguin study recently finding that Ulverston was the safest town in the North West with a population of 20,000 to 50,000, whilst Askam-in-Furness within Barrow Borough was the safest in the North West within the 3,000 to 20,000 bracket.

 

The theft of motor vehicles, whilst increasing in 2016/17, still represented a small number of offences, whilst the increase in criminal damage was largely due to incidents of tyre slashing. The relevant offender had since been prosecuted.

 

Incidences of anti-social behaviour continued to decrease, and it was suggested that this could be due to a change in the way teenagers and young adults spent their evenings. Domestic abuse figures were relatively stable, and the CSP continued to work with partners to tackle this.

 

Supt O’Connor explained that the figure of 92 burglary offences in 2016/17 was extremely low, and expressed his pride in this achievement. The rise in sexual offences during 2015/16 was primarily historic, resulting from Operation Tweed. The Underley Hall School case was now at trial.

 

Hate crime had increased, with around 50 incidents being reported in each of the two districts. Supt O’Connor explained that these figures were reported regularly to the Cumbria Safety Advisory Group.

 

Supt O’Connor drew attention to the projects currently being funded by the CSP, including Applied Theatre in Cumbria (ATiC), efforts to tackle rural crime and online fraud and the setting up of community safety hubs in Kendal and Barrow.  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/56

O&S/57

South Lakeland District Council and Eden District Council Joint Older Persons' Housing Strategy 2018 - 2025 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider the draft South Lakeland District Council and Eden District Council Joint Older Persons' Housing Strategy 2018 – 2025.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder introduced the draft South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and Eden District Council (EDC) Joint Older Persons’ Housing Strategy 2018 – 2025.

 

An Older Persons’ Housing Strategy had been in place at South Lakeland District Council since 2003 to recognise the ageing demography and work to address the housing and support needs of older people. The current Joint Strategy had been in place since 2013. The revised draft Strategy sought to further improve the support and availability of suitable housing options for older people. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had established a task and finish group to play a key role in the development of the Strategy.

 

The draft Joint Older Persons’ Housing Strategy 2018 – 2025 identified key targets and actions which both councils aimed to deliver during the life of the Strategy. An Action Plan had also been developed which detailed the actions required to deliver the Strategy’s targets. The Action Plan would be monitored and updated annually through SLDC’s Housing Advisory Group.

 

The Chairman thanked both the Principal Housing Strategy Officer and Eden District Council’s Housing Needs and Policy Officer for their work in developing the new draft Strategy and supporting the Older Persons’ Housing Strategy Task and Finish Group over the past year.

 

The Principal Housing Strategy Officer provided additional detail on the Strategy and its priorities and actions. She drew attention to a document which had been circulated prior to the start of the meeting which set out the consultation responses received following the finalisation of the report.

 

Those Members present who had sat on the Older Persons’ Housing Strategy Task and Finish Group reported that they felt that the project had added real value to the review and thanked the officers who had supported the process.

 

Members identified the Council’s Handyperson’s Scheme as a key service which needed promoting as much as possible, particularly to parish councils in the area.

 

It was queried whether the graph showing the percentage change in people over the age of 65 in England and Cumbria (page 9 of the draft Strategy) was correctly labelled. The Principal Housing Strategy Officer and Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder undertook to look at the graph and its presentation. The Portfolio Holder also highlighted that the graph had used Cumbria as a comparison, but that if South Lakeland was used the percentage change would likely be much larger.

 

In response to a query, the Principal Housing Strategy Officer explained that the data provided on the predicted total population aged 65 and over living in a care home (with or without nursing) was based upon current trends. The work of the Strategy would seek to reduce the number of people needing to move into residential care through the provision of enabling environments such as extra care housing.

 

It was identified that there was a lack of clarity regarding situations where the money from a Disabled Facilities Grant could be used to aid downsizing.  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/57

O&S/58

Corporate Financial Monitoring Quarter 3, 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To note the financial position of the Council at 31 December 2017 and to consider any recommendations to be made to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder presented the third quarter financial monitoring report of 2017/18, which provided details on the financial position of the Council at 31 December 2017 and the projected year end position based on performance to that date. He felt that the Council was increasingly able to closely predict staffing costs, and highlighted that the projected surplus of around £240k at the end of the year was due in large part to revenue exceeding expectation, with Mintworks a tremendous success to date. These enhanced revenue streams would be worked into future budgeting processes. The rise in homelessness service demand – without any corresponding increase in grant income – was an area of stress in the year. The Leader drew attention to the Capital Programme and explained that heavy expenditure was expected in the fourth quarter, although it was likely that some projects, particularly those dependent upon third party progress, would be carried forward into next year. He concluded by stating his view that the Council had done an excellent job in managing the finances of the organisation, which was in sound financial shape despite the economic dangers of the future.

 

Members recognised the volatility of waste recycling income, but queried why staffing costs had also proven unpredictable. The Assistant Director Neighbourhood Services explained that a larger number of agency workers had been required during the year, in large part because of a difficulty recruiting qualified drivers. This was an issue facing authorities across the country. In addition, some extra vehicles had been required to complete rounds which further increased staffing costs. The Assistant Director expressed his disappointment at the overspend, and explained that a report would be presented to the Human Resources Committee in March with a view to better controlling costs in the future. The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder congratulated the Assistant Director Neighbourhood Services for his work in supporting the Council’s efforts towards 100% kerbside recycling, and highlighted the high quality plastic recycling in the area.

 

An update was requested on the “Former Knitwear Factory Ulverston” capital scheme and it was asked how local residents were being kept informed. The Director People and Places undertook to provide a written response.

 

With regard to the replacement of card-readers within car park machines, Members sought reassurance following the recent theft of parking meters in the area that the Council’s machines would be suitably theft and vandal proof. The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.

O&S/59

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Quarter 3, 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the Council Plan 2014-2019 and to consider any recommendations to be made to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council Organisation and People Portfolio Holder introduced the Council Plan Performance Monitoring report for quarter three of 2017/18. The report highlighted areas of significantly good or poor performance relating to the measures of success set out in the current Council Plan. The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register.

 

In response to a query, the Council Organisation and People Portfolio Holder confirmed that no waste was currently sent to landfill. Any waste which could not be recycled was sent to a mechanical biological treatment plant.

 

It was queried whether the Strategic Risk Register had considered the risks associated with the introduction of Accountable Care Organisations. Concerns regarding the identification of risks surrounding procurement and governance in light of the collapse of Carillion were also raised. The Chief Executive undertook to provide a written response.

 

RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-

 

(1)        the Summary of Performance as detailed within the report; and

 

(2)        the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.

O&S/60

Portfolio Holder Report - Council Organisation and People pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To consider the annual report from the Council Organisation and People Portfolio Holder on the progress made within the portfolio area and their plans for the future.

Minutes:

The Council Organisation and People Portfolio Holder introduced her annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

O&S/61

Portfolio Holder Report - Public Health and Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 34 KB

To consider the annual report from the Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder on the progress made within the portfolio area and their plans for the future.

Minutes:

The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder presented his annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area. He highlighted the work of the Council’s internal Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee and referred back to the importance of the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership discussed earlier in the meeting. The Council’s work in addressing poverty through the Building Financial Resilience Group emphasised the interconnectivity of the Council’s priorities. The Portfolio Holder described housing and the economy as the key drivers for the success of South Lakeland. The betterment of housing and economy would also go a long way to improving the health and wellbeing of residents.

 

The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder set out the future projects within his portfolio, including the introduction of water bottle refilling stations as part of the ‘GULP’ initiative (Give Up Loving Pop) and the possibility of bringing to South Lakeland ‘Fair Share’, a charity that recycles unwanted food from large companies and offers it to local groups. The Portfolio Holder referred to earlier comments made by the Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder regarding the rising challenge of homelessness, and stated his concern at the level of people needing to use local food banks. He emphasised that the Council provided support and resources to the various charities working to tackle these issues.

 

Members thanked the Portfolio Holder for his report. The success of the local Health and Wellbeing Forum and the positive partnership working that it brought was highlighted by Councillor Mark Wilson, a County Council representative on the group.

 

With regard to the need to increase financial resilience, it was suggested that the job fairs held in Ulverston could also be provided in Kendal. The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder undertook to attend the next job fair in Ulverston and to discuss how this could be progressed within Kendal.

 

The Public Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder concluded by stating that the Healthy Weight Declaration would be considered by Cabinet in March.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

O&S/62

Review of the Council's Public Participation Schemes pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To consider the outcome of a review of the Council’s public participation schemes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer presented the findings of a review of the Council’s public participation schemes. As a review of public participation at Planning Committee had already been carried out, this review had focused on the General Public Participation Scheme and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Public Participation Scheme. Due to the technical and legislative nature of public participation at Licensing Sub-Committee meetings, no changes were proposed to this particular scheme.

 

The primary changes proposed by the review were:-

 

·         the removal of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Public Participation Scheme, with representations at the Committee being governed by the General Public Participation Scheme;

 

·         an amendment to the General Public Participation Scheme to introduce the Planning Committee’s registration deadline of 00:01 two working days prior to a meeting; and

 

·         an additional paragraph to provide greater clarity to speakers at meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee called to consider an executive decision call-in.

 

It was explained that, subject to the comments of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, that the proposals would be considered by full Council at its meeting on 27 March 2018.

 

Concern was raised that the changes may be less inclusive for members of the public wishing to take part at Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings. The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer explained that the current system prevented the Committee’s full consideration of comments due to the requirement that public speaking take place after Members had debated an issue and before a decision is taken. He reassured Members that public participation at Overview and Scrutiny Committee would continue to be encouraged, and that the Chairman’s discretion would ensure that meetings continued to be inclusive for all.

 

The value of a pre-registration deadline was recognised, particularly for meetings held to consider the call-in of an executive decision. The 30 minute time limit was queried, and it was confirmed that this represented no change from the current General Public Participation Scheme. The discretion afforded to chairmen would allow this to be extended in exceptional circumstances.

 

It was suggested that a review could be carried out two years after the implementation of any approved changes. This would allow the Committee to consider how well the changes were working and whether any further amendments would be required.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the following be recommended to Council for approval:-

 

            (a)        the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Public Participation Scheme be removed from the Constitution and public participation at the Committee’s meetings be governed by the General Public Participation Scheme; and

 

            (b)        the amendments to the General Public Participation Scheme, outlined within the report and as shown in Appendix 2 to the report; and

 

(2)        subject to the approval by Council of recommendations 1a and 1b above, the changes to public participation at Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings be reviewed two years following implementation.

O&S/63

Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update on the work of the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee from the Council’s representative or substitute.

Minutes:

Councillor Vivienne Rees, the Council’s representative to the County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, confirmed that, following the request made at the last meeting (Minute No. O&S/50 refers), she had circulated by email a copy of the Better Care Together January 2018 monthly update to the Committee. Future updates would continue to be circulated electronically to Members.

 

There were no further updates to report.

 

RESOLVED – That the update be noted.