Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 20 April 2018 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Bindloss Room, Kendal Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Jason Habbershon 

Items
No. Item

O&S/64

Minutes pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 2 February 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 2 February 2018.

O&S/65

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/66

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/67

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/68

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

Peter Needham addressed the Committee with regard to the Ulverston Clean Air Zone submission for the 2018/19 Work Programme Setting agenda item (Minute No. O&S/69). Referring to the Council Plan vision to make South Lakeland “the best place to live, work and explore”, Mr Needham explained that the submission proposed a number of actions to implement a clean air zone that would move the area even closer to that vision. The actions suggested to achieve this clean air goal included pedestrianisation, 20mph speed limits, tackling vehicle idling and the promotion of walking buses for children. Mr Needham recognised that the proposed pedestrianisation of Ulverston town centre would be complex and controversial, but that studies had shown that such actions could increase footfall and the use of high street shops.

 

Mr Needham felt that the measures proposed needed to be implemented together in order to increase their effectiveness, and he set out the various ways that pollutants from vehicles could contribute to ill health. He reported that in 2010 there had been around 40 premature deaths in South Lakeland attributable to pollutants, whilst the Royal College of Physicians estimated that around 40,000 deaths a year nationally were linked to air pollution. In concluding his presentation, Mr Needham stated that there was no safe level of vehicle pollution.

O&S/69

Work Programme Setting 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To agree the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme for 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were asked to consider the development of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s 2018/19 Work Programme. A number of topics had been submitted for consideration, and these had been subject to an initial prioritisation by the Chairman of the Committee and members of the Council’s Senior Management Team. The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer provided details on the recommendations that had arisen from that prioritisation and how the proposals would incorporate the suggestions submitted during the consultation period.

 

In response to a query, the Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer offered reassurance that available resources had been taken into account during the formulation of the recommendations and that, although in the past more individual reviews had taken place, the proposal to carry out a strategic review of the Council’s health and wellbeing priority would be a much longer-term review than had been carried out in recent years.

 

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder commended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the work it carried out. He expressed concern that a strategic health and wellbeing priority review may diffuse focus on the individual topics submitted. He also proposed that the Committee could play a role in addressing the problems of climate change, particularly following the re-introduction of the Council’s Green Team. The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer explained that a more strategic review would allow for greater recognition of the cross-cutting nature of health and wellbeing and the interactions between individual topics within this priority. The Chairman added that whilst the Committee had carried out regular scrutiny of topics, there was now an opportunity for Members to carry out the overview side of their role with a more a strategic review which asked more significant and longer-term questions and promoted closer working with partners to add real value. In response to the suggestion regarding climate change, the Director People and Places proposed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, alongside Cabinet, could be an avenue for the formal reporting of the Green Team.

 

The issue of prescription medication addiction was highlighted as an increasing area of concern which should be taken into consideration as part of any health and wellbeing review.

 

A Member expressed concern regarding air quality monitoring, and queried why diffusion monitoring tubes were 3 metres above road level when most young children were at 1 metre level; illnesses caused by air pollutants were usually traced to infant inhalation. The Director People and Places undertook to provide a written response.

 

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder encouraged the Committee to invite representatives of parish and town councils representing the District’s larger communities to relevant review meetings. The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer confirmed that this would be taken into consideration during the organisation of future reviews.

 

It was felt that the Committee was recognising that not only were there a variety of means of carrying out the scrutiny role, but also that there were some areas where the Committee could contribute indirectly without duplicating the work of others.

 

The Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder suggested that the Committee engage  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/69

O&S/70

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Quarter 4 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 89 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 presented the fourth quarter Council Plan Performance Monitoring report. The reported 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. She reported that the South Lakes Housing development at Dowkers Lane, Kendal, had been completed. She described this as a fantastic development which not only contributed to the Council’s affordable housing target but also improved the area in which the new housing was built.

 

The Council’s work in increasing recycling of household waste was welcomed, particularly in comparison to national recycling figures, and it was clear that this had been a high priority for the Council for many years. It was also felt that the Council had successfully communicated the importance of recycling to communities which had been an important step in ensuring the success of the project.

 

In response to a query, the Director People and Places explained that the residual household waste figures which were reported to Government included household grey bin waste, as well as litter bins and street sweepings. The Performance and Risk Officer undertook to speak to the relevant officers with a view to potentially providing more information regarding the proportion of residual household waste collected by street sweeping and from litter bins.

 

The Director People and Places explained that increased EU targets for recycling had been adopted by Defra, meaning that the Council needed to continue to improve the recycling rate of the District even further.

 

More information was provided on the reasons behind the increase in carbon emissions. The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder suggested that this measure of performance should be revised, as the reported figure did not take into account the overall reduction in carbon emissions through reuse, recycling and composting the District’s waste. Officers agreed to consider this further following the meeting.

 

It was highlighted that the number of long-term empty homes had shown a big increase in 2017, and it was queried whether this was correct. Officers were asked to look into this and to provide an update at the next meeting. It was also suggested that a breakdown of those wards where the properties were located would be useful for Members.

 

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder reported that following the despatch of the agenda, the number of affordable houses to rent made available since January 2014 had reached 400.

 

Information was requested regarding the measures that had been taken by the Council against those companies who banked land rather than beginning development. He also asked for more information about the circumstances of those living in temporary accommodation and any actions currently being taken. The Director People and Places undertook to provide written responses.

 

It was queried whether there was any identifiable cause behind the finding of the 2011 Census that the greatest proportion of residents in South Lakeland reporting their health was “bad” or “very bad” lived in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/70

O&S/71

Portfolio Holder Report - Finance pdf icon PDF 72 KB

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

Minutes:

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder presented his annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area. He reiterated his view that this was a well-managed Council in a sound financial position, but that there were risks to which the Council needed to remain vigilant.

 

The Committee thanked the Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder for his stewardship of the Council’s finances.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

O&S/72

Portfolio Holder Report - Economy and Assets pdf icon PDF 72 KB

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

Minutes:

The Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder presented his annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area. He reported that South Lakeland was becoming a recognised economy; where in the past it may have been dismissed as a tourist area only, the District was becoming increasingly well regarded for its technical and technological presence. Local companies were performing very well, with the Council supporting many of them in their development.

 

The Portfolio Holder set out the Council’s aims regarding both the development of the Morecambe Bay economic area and the Northern Powerhouse. These aims evidenced the modern approach of the Council and showed that the organisation was in a position of confidence, with officers making a real impact in their jobs and with partners.

 

In drawing his presentation to a close, the Economy and Asset Portfolio Holder reiterated his previous comments urging the Council and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider working with specialists from Lancaster University at any opportunity.

 

In response to a query, the Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder explained that the Office for National Statistics had released Gross Value Added figures for each of the Cumbrian districts, which had shown South Lakeland to have the strongest economy in the County. He reiterated that investment in the District’s economy was strong, with job creation on track to meet the Council’s target.

 

It was queried whether the Council had a role to play in the Eden Project North development which had recently been announced for Morecambe Bay. The Portfolio Holder welcomed the excellent news for Lancaster City Council and its area, and explained that whilst there was no current role for this Council, he was hopeful that South Lakeland would nevertheless benefit in some way from the project.

 

A Member highlighted the positive impact to the economy which had been experienced following the use of Kirkby Lonsdale as a filming location. It was suggested that this should be something that the Council could promote in the future.

 

In reference to the Portfolio Holder’s recommendation to work closely with Lancaster University, a Member explained that students had recently produced a 60 page report for the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership setting out the ways in which the Canal could be rebranded. This had been an excellent piece of work, and was significantly less expensive than using a private consultant.

 

Further information was sought on the potential for funding from the European Regional Development Fund, and whether this could be used not only to improve flood defences but also to further economic ambitions. The Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder explained that this funding was being sought primarily for the Mintsfeet Industrial Estate in Kendal, and that this was a separate bid specifically with an economic aspect in mind. The Council was also in discussions with the Chamber of Commerce and the Environment Agency with a view to organising a seminar for businesses in the area to help improve flood resistance at industrial premises. He highlighted that  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/72

O&S/73

Draft Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider the draft Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer presented the draft Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18. The report was required by the Council’s Constitution and provided an opportunity for the Committee to demonstrate the work that it had undertaken during the past year as well as outlining the work planned for 2018/19.

 

The Scrutiny Annual Report would be presented to the Annual Meeting of Council on 22 May. Those areas of the report highlighted in yellow would be updated, in consultation with the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, prior to its submission for Council.

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the other Members of the Committee and the Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer for their commitment and support throughout the past year.

 

RESOLVED – That the draft Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18, as attached at Appendix 1 to the report, be referred to Council, subject to any relevant updates arising following this meeting.

O&S/74

Review of Effectiveness and Scrutiny Recommendations Progress Report pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider the annual Review of Effectiveness and an update on progress made by Cabinet in implementing the adopted recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Committee introduced a report which set out the findings of the annual Review of Effectiveness, as well as a progress report on recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to decision-makers.

 

The Review of Effectiveness had concluded that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had continued to be effective over the past 12 months, but that more precise timetabling of the Work Programme would be beneficial in ensuring that resources were available to complete the agreed topics on time.

 

The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer explained that progress against recommendations made by the Committee would continue to be reported throughout the forthcoming year.

 

Members felt that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was performing very well, and that its analytical approach, coupled with engagement from senior officers and Cabinet, had ensured that its work continued to add value to the Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-

 

(1)        the findings of the Review of Effectiveness, as at Appendix 1 to the report; and

 

(2)        the progress made by Cabinet in implementing the recommendations of the Committee.

O&S/75

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, explained that she had recently attended a meeting with two senior representatives of Better Care Together.

 

She reported that this had been a positive meeting and that her concerns regarding rural service delivery had been recognised. The success of a telemedicine project in Millom was raised as an example of a successful development in rural areas, and the Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder explained that there were similar examples of video consultations within the neurological sector.

 

RESOLVED – That the update be noted.