Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 6th September, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, District Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth

Contact: Committee Services 01462 474655 - Email: Committee.Services@north-herts.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

123.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Members are required to notify any substitutions by midday on the day of the meeting.

 

Late substitutions will not be accepted and Members attending as a substitute without having given the due notice will not be able to take part in the meeting.

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ian Moody, who was substituted by Councillor Terry Hone.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 2 minutes 25 seconds

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ian Moody, who was substituted by Councillor Terry Hone.

 

Councillor Raj Bhakar was absent.

 

The Chair advised Members that Councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg was unable to attend to present her items due to illness.

124.

MINUTES - 12 JULY 2022 pdf icon PDF 329 KB

To take as read and approve as a true record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 12 July 2022.

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 12 July 2022 be approved as a true record of proceedings and signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

Audio Recording – 2 minutes 57 seconds

 

Councillor David Levett, as Chair, proposed and Councillor Val Bryant seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 12 July 2022 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

125.

NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS

Members should notify the Chair of other business which they wish to be discussed at the end of either Part I or Part II business set out in the agenda. They must state the circumstances which they consider justify the business being considered as a matter of urgency.

 

The Chair will decide whether any item(s) raised will be considered.

Decision:

There was no other business notified.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 42 seconds

 

There was no other business notified.

126.

CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda, should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chair of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda.  Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest, wishing to exercise a ‘Councillor Speaking Right’, must declare this at the same time as the interest, move to the public area before speaking to the item and then must leave the room before the debate and vote.

Decision:

(1)   The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded.

 

(2)   The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.

 

(3)   The Chair highlighted a change to the agenda order and advised that Agenda Items 18 and 19 would be taken ahead of Item 17. Following the conclusion of Item 19, the Committee would return to Part 1 and take Items 17, 20 and 21.

 

(4)   The Chair placed on record his thanks to William Edwards, who was soon leaving the post of Committee, Member and Scrutiny Manager.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 45 seconds

 

(1)        The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded;

 

(2)        The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.

 

(3)        The Chair highlighted a change to the agenda order and advised that Agenda Items 18 and 19 would be taken ahead of Item 17. Following the conclusion of Item 19, the Committee would return to Part 1 and take Items 17, 20 and 21.

 

(4)        The Chair placed on record his thanks to William Edwards, who was soon leaving the post of Committee, Member and Scrutiny Manager.

127.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

There was no public participation.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 4 minutes 54 seconds

 

There was no public participation.

128.

URGENT AND GENERAL EXCEPTION ITEMS

The Chair to report on any urgent or general exception items which required their agreement. At the time of printing the agenda, the Chair had not agreed any urgent or general exception items.

Decision:

There had been no urgent or general exception items.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 4 minutes 56 seconds

 

There had been no urgent or general exception items.

129.

CALLED-IN ITEMS

To consider any matters referred to the Committee for a decision in relation to a call-in of decision. At the time of printing the agenda, no items of business had been called-in.

Decision:

There were no Called-In Items.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 5 minutes 03 seconds

 

Since the last meeting, no decisions had been called-in by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

130.

MEMBERS' QUESTIONS

To receive and respond to any questions from Members either set out in the agenda or tabled at the meeting.

Decision:

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 5 minutes 06 seconds

 

There were no questions submitted by Members.

131.

PRESENTATION FROM THE LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP)

To receive an update from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) regarding the projects and work they have ongoing in the district.

Decision:

A presentation was received from Lucy Gravatt, Director of Partnerships and Communications at Hertfordshire LEP, and following this a question and answer session was held.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 5 minutes 13 seconds

 

Ms Lucy Gravatt, Director of Partnerships and Communications at Hertfordshire LEP, thanked the Chair for the opportunity to address the Committee and provided Members with a presentation which included the following:

 

·         The LEP was business led, with a Board responsible for setting the overall vision and strategy for the County’s economic development, which includes advocacy, economic partnership and resourcing.

·         The Programme Management Committee was to support the priority areas and the Assessment Panel has authority to make decisions on funding of up to £250k for projects. Anything over this amount has to be approved at Board level.

·         On the Board of the LEP was space for members from Local Authorities, space for a not-for-profit member, representative from further education colleges and representatives from small and medium businesses.

·         There has been a recent, significant restructure to pivot the way the LEP operates and have ensured relevant skills are available in the organisation to support the work within the key growth sectors in Herts, which includes film and TV.

·         The Herts LEP exists as one of 38 LEPs in the country, tasked by Government to target business growth and investment in the local area.

·         The key priorities of the Herts LEP included ‘Transforming our places’, ‘Supporting our people’ and ‘Growing our businesses’ and offered details of some examples of these projects.

·         The restructure of the organisation has allowed for more focus on the key strategies and outcomes.

·         Some of the Herts LEP flagship programmes included; the Herts Growth Hub, Careers & Enterprise Company, Visit Herts, Herts Innovation Quarter and HOP.

·         Last year marked a decade of the Herts LEP and over this time over £325m had been invested in the County thanks to the work of the LEP.

·         The Core Capabilities of the LEP include driving forward a narrative for Herts which is based on intelligence, the communication of economic issues and promoting support, and funding schemes.

·         Some of the Strategic Programmes of the LEP include business growth through advocacy and signposting, developing skills and leadership and growing key sectors identified.

·         There will be a move away from the delivery of projects and going forward the LEP will have a focus on the Levelling Up Agenda.

·         There was also a long term approach taken, which would look at future growth opportunities and the AGM later this year will start the conversations around these plans.

·         There was a desire to reduce carbon footprint across all LEP projects and schemes.

·         Herts productivity levels were above national average, but Letchworth and Hitchin were lower.

·         Start-Up businesses in Herts were above national average, but lower in North Herts.

·         The working age population was declining across Herts as a whole.

·         Commercial floorspace had gradually been declining over the last decade.

·         There were some key issues existing in Herts which still needed to be addressed, such as the cost of doing business in Herts, the cost of living in Herts and ensuring long term funding for projects in the absence of EU  ...  view the full minutes text for item 131.

132.

RESOLUTIONS OF THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 445 KB

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE, MEMBER AND SCRUTINY MANAGER

 

To consider the outcome of Overview and Scrutiny Committee resolutions.

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the report entitled Resolutions of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to review and comment on actions and feedback received regarding resolutions previously made.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 39 minutes 28 seconds

 

The Committee, Member and Scrutiny Officer presented the report entitled Resolutions of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and drew attention to the following:

 

·       The Task and Finish Group would be addressed in a later agenda item.

·       The Comms Team had not had a chance to review the draft Task  and Finish Group scoping document and therefore could not be expected to provide detailed responses to these questions at this meeting.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Tony Hunter, the Committee, Member and Scrutiny Officer advised that the Royston and District Area Committee was in the process of being moved to Wednesday 12 October, and this would be confirmed with relevant Members following the end of the Group Leader consultation.

 

RESOLVED: That the report entitled Resolutions of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was noted.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to review and comment on actions and feedback received regarding resolutions previously made.

133.

Q1 COUNCIL DELIVERY PLAN UPDATE pdf icon PDF 365 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – RESOURCES

 

To report progress on delivering the Council Delivery Plan for 22-23 at the end of Quarter 1.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RECOMMENDED TO CABINET:

 

(1)        That Cabinet notes the progress against Council projects as set out in the Council Delivery Plan (Appendix A) including changes to milestone dates and risks.

 

(2)        That Cabinet confirms the completion of one of the Council projects.         

 

(3)        That Cabinet confirms the addition of two new Council projects, which are the Shared Prosperity Fund and Churchgate.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)        That the Overview & Scrutiny Committee commented on the Council Delivery Plan Quarter 1 monitoring report.

 

(2)        That Overview and Scrutiny Committee determine any project that they want to receive more detail on as part of the next monitoring report.

 

REASON FOR DECISIONS: The Council Delivery Plan (CDP) monitoring reports provide Cabinet with an opportunity to monitor progress against the key Council projects, and understand any new issues, risks or opportunities.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 42 minutes 26 seconds

 

Councillor Ian Albert, as Executive Member for Finance and IT, presented the report entitled ‘Council Delivery Plan 2022-23 (Quarter 1 Update)’ and noted for Members that this was the first presentation of the new Council Delivery Plan reports.

 

The Controls, Risk and Performance Manager advised Members of the following:

 

·       This report brought together the projects, risks and performance indicators into one document to be presented to Members.

·       The report is intended to be a live tracker, therefore projects can be added and removed throughout the year, where appropriate.

·       Risks associated with projects will change as projects progress and the narrative included in the report will reflect on these changes.

·       This is a high level report, and should Members of O&S wish to have any further detail on projects included, they can request this ahead of future meetings.

·       Provided details and comment on some of the projects within the report, such as Town Centre Recovery, Royston Town Hall annexe and the Customer Portal.

·       Status key is shown as a symbol, alongside the project process displayed as a percentage. The percentage is based on milestones attached to the project and therefore it was possible for a project to have a green status, but 0% progress made.

·       Current and target risk scores are included for projects in the report.

·       Where Performance Indicators are available, these will be shared in the blue section of the report.

·       More details on these projects can be found on Pentana and further detail can be provided at the Committee meeting, if this is advised by Members beforehand.

 

The following Members took part in the discussions and asked questions:

 

·       Councillor David Levett

·       Councillor Adam Compton

·       Councillor Claire Strong

 

Points raised in the discussions included:

 

·       Members would like to see the milestone against which projects are measured, so that this can be taken into account when looking a percentages within the report.

·       This would help to prevent Members asking unnecessary questions to Officers presenting these reports.

·       The document was very busy, with lots of information included, but was very useful to bring it all together into one place. Members always appreciate too much information than too little.

·       The 0% status against some of the projects was concerning, but hoped that the inclusion of the milestones would give a narrative to the figure.

 

In response to questions, the Controls, Risk and Performance Manager advised:

 

·       Pentana was the system used to monitor all of the information included within the report. Members were able to access the system and see “live” information regarding each of the projects.

·       Further training could be arranged for Members in how to use this system and would be discussed outside of the meeting.

 

Councillor Adam Compton proposed and Councillor Alistair Willoughby seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That Overview and Scrutiny Committee commented on the Council Delivery Plan Quarter 1 monitoring report, including the recommendations made to Cabinet i.e.:

·       That Cabinet notes the progress against Council projects  ...  view the full minutes text for item 133.

134.

COUNCIL PLAN AND PRIORITIES 2022-27 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

The report details the Council Plan as agreed at Council in September 2021. There are no proposed changes to the objectives or themes of the Plan in this report and it has been provided at the request of Overview & Scrutiny Members for consideration.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted that the Council Plan and Priorities remain as stated in the 2022-27 Plan, except the details of projects on pages 8-10 which will now be covered within the Council Delivery Plan.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The Council Plan is a key element of the corporate business planning process. As a high-level strategic document it sets out the Council’s Priorities. As an overarching policy framework document, it guides and influences the use of Council resources, providing a focus for activities, plans and services the Council provide. There is a need to monitor progress against the priorities laid out in the Plan and the Committee has requested that this is presented to this Committee meeting

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 56 minutes 06 seconds

 

The Policy and Community Manager presented the report entitled ‘Council Plan and Priorities 2022-27’ and outlined for Members that there was close alignment between this report and the Council Delivery Plan.

 

Councillor Alistair Willoughby proposed and Councillor Phil Weeder seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted that the Council Plan and Priorities remain as stated in the 2022-27 Plan, except the details of projects on pages 8-10 which will now be covered within the Council Delivery Plan.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The Council Plan is a key element of the corporate business planning process. As a high-level strategic document it sets out the Council’s Priorities. As an overarching policy framework document, it guides and influences the use of Council resources, providing a focus for activities, plans and services the Council provide. There is a need to monitor progress against the priorities laid out in the Plan and the Committee has requested that this is presented to this Committee meeting

 

135.

FULL YEAR UPDATE ON COMPLIMENTS, COMMENTS AND COMPLAINTS (3Cs) 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 178 KB

INFORMATION NOTE OF THE CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER

To provide an update on the full year (21/22) performance regarding Comments, Compliments and Complaints (3Cs) for the Council and the contractors that provide services on the Council's behalf.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Customer Service Manager presented the Information Note entitled ‘Full Year Update on Compliments, Comments and Complaints (3Cs) 2021-22’.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 58 minutes 05 seconds

 

The Customer Service Manager presented the Information Note entitled ‘Full Year Update on Compliments, Comments and Complaints (3Cs) 2021-22’ and provided Members with the following updates:

 

·       The Information Note provided a full year report on the 3Cs, including the Council itself and Council contractors.

·       This report is usually presented in July, but this year has been aligned with the 3Cs Policy Update to be heard in the next item.

·       The number of 3Cs received had  decreased on volume from last year, complaints dealt with within 10 days had dropped below the 80% target to 77%.

·       It remains less than 1% of Council customers, residents and visitors who make complaints.

·       The Waste service continues to account for the most complaints, but the volume of these has decreased from last year.

·       Following previous comments, Urbaser were asked to ensure they were recording “comments” accurately and this change is demonstrated by the data.

·       There were 185 compliments made directly to the Council.

·       The LGO received 10 complaints and 2 of these were upheld, with the details included within the Information Note.

 

The following Members asked questions:

 

·       Councillor David Levett

·       Councillor Claire Strong

 

In response to questions, the Customer Service Manager advised that usually all complaints are resolved, whether within the 10 days or not, and usually this is provided to the customer in writing. This covered all stages of the procedure.

 

In response to questions, the Service Director – Regulatory, advised that a response to a complaint will be made within 10 days, but it may be that further investigation is required to come to a conclusion on that issue. This depends on the complexity of the complaint and the outcome sought by the complainant. Where it is not possible to resolve a complaint in 10 days, the complainant will be kept informed.

 

Councillor Claire Strong noted that where complaints are not dealt with efficiently through the Council processes, it is causing persistent issues for Members when speaking to residents.

 

Councillor Terry Hone highlighted that Careline had received nearly four times as many compliments  as complaints, and that this was good to see. There were always likely to be complaints about services, but this Note provided lots of positive comments and compliments. 

 

 

136.

3Cs POLICY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 209 KB

REPORT OF THE CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER

 

Proposed amendments to the Comments, Compliments and Complaints (3Cs) policy, based on experiences, learning and discussions since the last policy review in 2019.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report and appendices.  

 

REASONS FOR DECISION:

 

(1)   The recommendations are being made to ensure the 3C’s policy stays current and reflects learning since the last review date. The policy continues to remain in line with Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) best practice.

 

(2)   Some of the specific updates and amendments address matters that have arisen for the first time and therefore adding them now helps to ensure the policy is clear for all going forward.

 

(3)   The updates ensure the Council has a robust policy to refer to when required, and customers are clear on how the policy works

Minutes:

Audio recording – 66 minutes 10 seconds

 

The Customer Service Manager presented the report entitled ‘3Cs Policy Update’ and appendices and advised Members of the following:

 

·       This policy was due for review in September 2022 and will be presented to Cabinet next week.

·       The policy itself and Appendix C have been review and updated following matters happening for the first time in the last year.

·       Some of these matters include whether an Officer complained about can respond to the complaint, alignment with the People First approach and is aligned with the Customer Service Strategy as updated in 2021.

·       An update to the policy included the ability for third parties to log a 3C with the consent of the customer.

·       The policy itself has been updated to make it clearer, with wording improved and updated to be as customer friendly as possible in line with the People First priority.

·       No major changes, other than that outlined in 8.1 in report.

·       The policy has been aligned with other customer facing strategy documents we have, including the Council Plan and Customer Service Strategy.

·       The policy had been audited by SIAS and they offered assurance that effective control are in place and it has been benchmarked against other Council’s policies.

 

Councillor Terry Hone noted that the Unreasonable Complainants (& Contact) Policy was helpful to ensure that Officer time was not taken by unreasonable, continuous or vexatious complaints.

 

The following Members asked questions:

 

·       Councillor Claire Strong

·       Councillor David Levett

·       Councillor Adam Compton

 

In response to questions, the Customer Service Manager advised:

 

·       The flow chart should allow 14 days for Customers to request a complaint be escalated.

·       With the Unreasonable Complaints (& Contact) Policy, the case would be assessed initially by the Customer Service Manager to establish what has happened, and where this is determined to be vexatious the case would be made to the Service Director – Customers to decide an appropriate outcome.

·       Outcomes of this decision can include limiting further contact, or one of the other possible actions outlined in the Policy.

·       A ‘barred’ customer could still log a further complaint on an issue and this could be looked into by the Customer Service team.

·       Complaints would still be triaged, but there would be a flag on the CRM system to ensure all are aware of previous vexatious complaints.

 

Councillor Claire Strong proposed and Councillor Adam Compton seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report and appendices. 

 

REASONS FOR DECISION:

 

(1)   The recommendations are being made to ensure the 3C’s policy stays current and reflects learning since the last review date. The policy continues to remain in line with Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) best practice.

 

(2)   Some of the specific updates and amendments address matters that have arisen for the first time and therefore adding them now helps to ensure the policy is clear for all going forward.

 

(3)   The updates ensure the Council has a robust policy to refer to when required, and customers are clear on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.

137.

2022 - 27 COMMUNITY CONSULTATION STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To outline the Council's proposed approach to community consultation and engagement for the five-year period from 2022 - 2027

Additional documents:

Decision:

RECOMMENDED TO CABINET: That Cabinet approved the Community Consultation Strategy for the period 2022-27.

 

REASONS FOR REFERAL: 

 

(1)  Consultation is critical to demonstrate that the council is committed to engaging with its community, to help shape the direction of future policies, to inform necessary improvement or refinements to services and to ascertain if current approaches to service delivery are meeting the needs of residents.

 

(2)  Our most recent District Wide Survey (DWS) highlights a decline in resident views since 2019 on how we consult with them. We need to proactively show that we are a council that listens and wants to engage with our residents by successfully implementing our community-facing strategy.

 

(3)  Increased forms of digital consultation will enable us to reach a wider audience more frequently

Minutes:

Audio recording – 77 minutes 50 seconds

 

The Communications Manager presented the report entitled ‘2022-27 Community Consultation Strategy’ and advised Members of the following updates:

 

·         Our 2022 District Wide Survey results from this year highlighted that residents views on their involvement and engagement by the Council has gone down since 2019, but this was understandable as much consultation work during this time had been focused on the pandemic response.

·         This proposal is for a resident facing, community based consultation strategy and will involve explaining the consultation process to residents.

·         There was a need to consult residents more regularly and increase the level of digital consultation happening. The pandemic had demonstrated that the local community was capable and willing to use digital means to be consulted.

·         It was being explored whether a twice per annum District Wide survey could be launched, to give of the moment attitudes of residents. 

·         Sharing results and being transparent with these was important and these would be displayed on dedicated webpage.

 

Councillor Terry Hone noted that it was important to take into account, as this proposal has done, those people who do not have the ability or facilities to use digital technology. It was good to see this included as a consideration.

 

The following Members asked questions:

 

·         Councillor Claire Strong

·         Councillor Adam Compton

·         Councillor David Levett

 

In response to questions, the Service Director – Place advised:

 

·         Funding of £8,000 had been allocated to the Engage Zencity platform, which was a discounted rate for the first two years. This came from the strategic priorities funding initially as a trial, and the effectiveness of this platform would be assessed ahead of a full budget bid. 

 

In response to questions, the Communications Manager advised:

 

·         Although the new Facebook algorithm does have an impact on how many people see posts, it was important to remember that Facebook is just one of the channels the Council uses to promote consultations. The others include the NHDC website, e-newsletters, our Citizens Panel, Local Partner Pool and other social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn). In addition, messages are always promoted more than once across the channels we use.

·         There was the possibility to use a banner across the top of the Council’s website. This space is currently promoting our ‘East the Squeeze’ cost of living campaign but will change when launching a consultation.  

·         The plan was for dedicated page for consultations, promoting live consultations and displaying results of closed consultations.

 

Councillor Alistair Willoughby proposed and Councillor Claire Strong seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RECOMMENDED TO CABINET: That Cabinet approve the Community Consultation Strategy for the period 2022-27.

 

REASONS FOR REFERAL: 

 

(1)  Consultation is critical to demonstrate that the council is committed to engaging with its community, to help shape the direction of future policies, to inform necessary improvement or refinements to services and to ascertain if current approaches to service delivery are meeting the needs of residents.

 

(2)  Our most recent District Wide Survey (DWS) highlights a decline in resident views since  ...  view the full minutes text for item 137.

138.

2022 DISTRICT WIDE SURVEY pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To advise the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the key findings and action points arising from the 2022 District Wide Survey.

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee commented on and note the key findings and observations from the District Wide Survey.

 

(2)  That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted that the results will be considered by the Leadership Team in conjunction with Executive Members and an action plan produced.

 

REASON FOR DECISIONS: To ensure that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is aware of the results and any trends from previous surveys and how the results will be used to inform future service delivery.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 95 minutes 35 seconds

 

The Communications Manager presented the report entitled ‘2022 District Wide Survey’ and provided Members with the following updates:

 

·         800 residents had been surveyed by phone earlier this year and results are largely in line with national trends and similar to previous survey results.

·         In terms of areas of strength, satisfaction with North Herts as a place to live is very high and contrary to national trends, satisfaction with the Council is above national trends and has stabilised from the downward trend between 2013-2019, agreement that the Council offers value for money is above national levels and satisfaction with Waste and Recycling has seen a significant increase on the last survey results.

·         Areas of focus include monitoring resident views of the running of the council, as the percentage that think it is getting worse is larger than the percentage who think it is getting better. The top three themes from residents feedback were: a) improving the look of a local area, b) improving street cleaning and c) improvement in communications that are clear and transparent.

·         Satisfaction with street cleaning, benefits and housing services have all  recorded their lowest levels in this survey.

·         For those residents who have recently made contact with the Council, satisfaction with the service received was at its lowest on record and dissatisfaction to the highest.

·         In terms of areas to explore further, satisfaction scores on whether the Council ‘consults and engages the community’ are to be addressed through the Community Consultation Strategy 2022-27.

·         Royston residents provided the lowest score with regard to the Council offering value for money and similarly scored lower than the rest of the district when it came to the Council involving, consulting and engaging residents, so worth monitoring this.

·         Potential new forms of customer contact, including a ‘live chat’ option on the Council website’, are another area for the Council’s Customer Service team to explore.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Claire Strong, the Communications Manager advised that the latest District Wide Survey results would be displayed for residents on a dedicated page on the Council’s website, which would aim to bring together all consultation responses ongoing in one place. There would also be an article in the next Outlook publication regarding the outcomes of the District Wide Survey.

 

Councillor Claire Strong proposed and Councillor Val Bryant seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee commented on and note the key findings and observations from the District Wide Survey.

 

(2)  That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted that the results will be considered by the Leadership Team in conjunction with Executive Members and an action plan produced.

 

REASON FOR DECISIONS: To ensure that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is aware of the results and any trends from previous surveys and how the results will be used to inform future service delivery.

 

139.

UPDATE OF THE ENTERPRISE DIRECTORATE WORK PROGRAMME - PART 1 pdf icon PDF 216 KB

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – ENTERPRISE  

 

To provide the committee with an update on the progress of the Enterprise Directorate as set out in the departments work programme

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The report is following the request of the committee for an update on the progress of the Commercial Directorate work programme and is for information only.



Minutes:

Audio recording – 130 minutes 58 seconds

 

Following the return to Part 1, the Chair advised that questions had been covered in the Part 2 section of this report therefore there were no further questions from Members.

 

The Chair noted that there had been a suggestion to add to the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme to add a review of the Harkness Court project following completion of the letting agreement.

 

Councillor Claire Strong proposed and Councillor Adam Compton seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: The report is following the request of the committee for an update on the progress of the Commercial Directorate work programme and is for information only.



140.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider passing the following motion:

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

Decision:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

Minutes:

Audio recording – 103 minutes 23 seconds

 

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that the following report will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

141.

UPDATE OF THE ENTERPRISE DIRECTORATE WORK PROGRAMME - PART 2

REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR – ENTERPRISE

 

To provide the committee with an update on the progress of the Enterprise Directorate as set out in the departments work programme.

Decision:

Details of decisions taken on this item are restricted due to the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of Section 200A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 104 minutes 10 seconds

 

Details of decisions taken on this item are restricted due to the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of Section 200A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

142.

TASK AND FINISH GROUP - COMMUNICATION & ENGAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 306 KB

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE, MEMBER AND SCRUTINY MANAGER

 

To update Members on the progress towards establishing the Task and Finish Group on Communication and Engagement.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That the Committee noted the Task and Finish Group Protocol 2020 as attached at Appendix A.

 

(2)   That the Committee reviewed and commented on the draft scoping document as attached at Appendix B.

 

(3)   That the Committee endorsed the principles of the review and approved consultation with Group Leaders to appoint members and a Chair for the Task and Finish Group.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

(1)   To ensure Members are informed of the agreed protocol for the establishment of Task and Finish Groups and understand the stages of the process including the role of relevant officers.

 

(2)   To ensure that final scoping document takes into account suggestions from Members and relevant officers.

 

(3)   To allow Members to be appointed to the Task and Finish Group.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 132 minutes 20 seconds

 

The Chair presented the draft Scoping Document for the Task and Finish Group on Communication and Engagement and advised Members:

 

·       The report in front of Members tonight was to agree to the core principles of the Task and Finish Group Scoping Document.

·       The Group would consist of 5 Members, politically balanced, including the Chair.

·       It would beneficial if the people nominated by Group Leaders for the Chair position could have specific knowledge or experience of communications and communication strategy.

 

Councillor Alistair Willoughby proposed and Councillor Nigel Mason and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That the Committee noted the Task and Finish Group Protocol 2020 as attached at Appendix A.

 

(2)   That the Committee reviewed and commented on the draft scoping document as attached at Appendix B.

 

(3)   That the Committee endorsed the principles of the review and approved consultation with Group Leaders to appoint members and a Chair for the Task and Finish Group.

 

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

 

(1)   To ensure Members are informed of the agreed protocol for the establishment of Task and Finish Groups and understand the stages of the process including the role of relevant officers.

 

(2)   To ensure that final scoping document takes into account suggestions from Members and relevant officers.

 

(3)   To allow Members to be appointed to the Task and Finish Group.

143.

OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 231 KB

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE, MEMBER AND SCRUTINY MANAGER

 

To consider the issues that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee plans to review at future meetings and the activities of its sub-groups.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Committee prioritises proposed topics for inclusion in the work programme attached as Appendix A and, where appropriate, determines the high level form and timing of scrutiny input.

 

(2)  That the Committee, having considered the most recent iteration of the Forward Plan suggests a list of items to be considered at its meetings in the coming civic year.

 

(3)  That the Corporate Peer Challenge Action Plan Extract as attached as Appendix B be considered.

 

(4)  That, upon completion of the letting agreement, the Committee should examine the financials behind the Harkness Court project.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To allow the Committee to set a work programme which provides focussed Member oversight, encourages open debate and seeks to achieve service improvement through effective policy development and meaningful policy and service change

Minutes:

Audio recording – 134 minutes 44 seconds

 

The Committee, Member and Scrutiny Officer presented the report entitled Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and drew attention to the following:

 

·       September programme had been completed following this meeting.

·       There was an Extraordinary Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting scheduled for the 28 September to look at the Waste Partnership agreement.

·       Members would need to propose dates for the Call To Account proceedings, which would take place following a determination on the planning application, which was expected to take place this month.

·       The proposed dates for the Call To Account needed to take into account the relevant statutory notice required for Members and Officers.

·       Crime and Disorder topics suggested at the last meeting had been passed onto the Herts Police representative, but they had asked for further specific suggestions.

 

The Chair advised Members that if they had more specific topics for the Crime and Disorder item, that they email Committee Services following the meeting.

 

Councillor Adam Compton notified Members that a Member briefing was taking place on the 14 September, regarding the Waste Partnership and that it was important for as many Members to attend as possible.

 

The Chair advised Members that the Task and Finish Group meetings would likely take place during the day time.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Claire Strong, the Committee, Member and Scrutiny Officer advised that he would speak with the Service Director – Place and, if agreed, would record the Member briefing and upload this to GrowZone, for Members unable to attend on the day.

 

Councillor Alistair Willoughby proposed and Councillor Phil Weeder seconded and, following a vote, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)   That the Committee prioritises proposed topics for inclusion in the work programme attached as Appendix A and, where appropriate, determines the high level form and timing of scrutiny input.

 

(2)   That the Committee, having considered the most recent iteration of the Forward Plan suggests a list of items to be considered at its meetings in the coming civic year.

 

(3)   That the Corporate Peer Challenge Action Plan Extract as attached as Appendix B be considered.

 

(4)   That, upon completion of the letting agreement, the Committee should examine the financials behind the Harkness Court project.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: To allow the Committee to set a work programme which provides focussed Member oversight, encourages open debate and seeks to achieve service improvement through effective policy development and meaningful policy and service change.