To agree the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme for 2018/19.
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 with Lancaster University to utilise its expertise wherever possible as part of its reviews.
Concerns were raised regarding litter in the District. The Director People and Places offered reassurance that this had been recognised and that work was being carried out to address it. Nevertheless, he suggested that the issue of littering could be included within the remit of the proposed review of the development of locality working through Customer Connect.
Members supported the recommendations contained within the report, but emphasised the importance of preparation, particularly given the complexity of some of the proposed reviews, as well the need to continue the regular reviewing of the Work Programme throughout the year.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the following topics be included on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s 2018/19 Work Programme:-
(a) a strategic review of the Council’s health and wellbeing priority;
(b) a review of the Council’s Economic Growth Strategy; and
(c) a review of the development of locality working through Customer Connect (carried forward from 2017/18);
(2) the possibility of a workshop being organised for councillors and officers to carry out joint working to identify opportunities and concerns arising from the World Heritage Status inscription, feeding into the work of the National Park Partnership, be considered during the setting of the 2019/20 Work Programme;
(3) discussions be undertaken with Cumbria County Council with a view to providing an informal briefing session for all District Councillors on the services available for parents and young people up to age 19 with an emphasis on safeguarding, health and wellbeing of the child and “corporate parenting”, with the potential for this to feed into the proposed review of the SLDC health and wellbeing priority;
(4) the portfolio holder responsible for the environment be asked to provide an update on the management of trees on SLDC-owned land as part of their portfolio holder report during 2018/19; and
(5) a report on the work and future plans of the Green Team be reported to a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee during 2018/19.