Agenda and minutes

Eastbourne Borough Council Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 10th June, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Court Room at Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, BN21 4UG

Contact: Committee Services on 01323 410000 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2019 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Minutes:

Prior to agreement of the minutes, the Chair thanked officers for the training provided for Members and for details of the topics looked at by the Committee over the previous four years, adding that, the information provided would be used to inform the Committee’s planning of its work programme.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2019 were submitted and approved, and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a correct record subject to the following amendments:

 

Minute 49 - Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) Policy 2019/2020. Members noted that the discretionary payment for Eastbourne was £310,000.

 

Additionally, Members referred to minute 52 of the previous meeting – Council Budget Proposals 2019-20, and commented that the budget book had not yet been received, for consideration of its presentational layout by the Committee.

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies received.

3.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) by members as required under Section 31 of the Localism Act and of other interests as required by the Code of Conduct

Minutes:

There were none received.

4.

Questions by members of the public

On matters not already included on the agenda and for which prior written notice has been given (total time allowed 15 minutes).

 

Minutes:

There were no questions received from members of the public.

5.

Quarter 4 Performance Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive regarding Quarter 4 2018/19 performance against the Corporate Plan priority actions, performance indicators and targets.

 

Prior to introduction of the report, the Chair expressed concern at the late publication of the report. The Chair said assurances had been received that further reports would be available at the time of agenda publication – a statutory requirement of five working days prior to the meeting, allowing Members to properly familiarise themselves with the data provided.

 

The Performance and Programme Lead apologised for the delay in the publication of the report, advising that it was not standard practice and every effort would be made to ensure it did not occur again. During discussion Members highlighted the following points:

 

·       The Committee requested further detail on housing supply in the borough and how this related to the Council’s Local Plan. Concern was expressed that the Council’s Local Plan was in need of renewal and a question was raised over the annual target set for the supply of housing, as the Council was falling behind on the number of homes it was required to provide, and that number itself was increasing. Members were advised that it was within the Committee’s gift to request a further report on housing supply and/or request that the appropriate officers attend a future meeting.

 

·       It was further explained that, targets were a challenge due to restrictions in land supply and that the current figure will be met, albeit that the units would be built out in the following year (due to adverse ground conditions). The Committee suggested that neighbouring authorities be consulted on how they planned to meet their own targets.

 

·       It was agreed that an update on the status of the Local Plan as well as the national, regional and local figures for housing targets/supply would be reported to the Committee’s next meeting as part of the Q1 performance report.

 

·       The Committee questioned the quality of the data provided nationally in relation to tourism (Cambridge Economic Impact Model). Members were advised that the method for capturing the data was highly respected and nationally given a great deal of weight. The Committee suggested that estimates could be provided earlier in the year. Officers explained that, for the Council to collect this type of data itself, a significant increase in time and resources would be needed. The Committee suggested that performance data for other comparable authorities such as Bournemouth could be considered at a future meeting, although it was not considered to be time-critical. Officers advised that other authorities used the same model for collecting the data.

 

·       An update on the situation in the Beacon following the recent announcement of the withdrawal of restaurants was also requested. Officers advised that an update would be provided following the meeting.

 

·       The Committee questioned the absence of a report from the Sovereign Centre Task and Finish Group who had explored options for the development of the Centre and had been due to report to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Urgent items of business

The Chairman to notify the Committee of any items of urgent business to be added to the agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business for consideration.

7.

Right to address the meeting/order of business

The Chairman to report any requests received to address the Committee from a member of the public or from a Councillor in respect of an item listed below and to invite the Committee to consider taking such items at the commencement of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no requests to address the meeting.

8.

Forward Plan of Decisions pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To receive the Forward Plan of the Council as of 31 May 2019.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director for Corporate Governance presented the Cabinet’s Forward Plan of decisions to Members.

 

The Committee discussed the reporting timelines for the Forward Plan and were advised by officers that, other than the call-in process, there were not opportunities to input into the decision-making process once the Cabinet decisions had been made. Officers added that the Forward Plan was published every four weeks and notification provided to all members of the Council, and the Committee should flag any forthcoming decisions that it wished to look at. Officers suggested that the informal and internal Cabinet schedule seen by the Corporate Management Team could be circulated to the Committee and this was accepted.

 

RESOLVED to note the Forward Plan and request that the Cabinet schedule be made available to the Scrutiny Committee.

9.

Discussion of Future work programme for 2019/20 (Discussion / Verbal Update)

For the Committee to discuss topics for inclusion in its work programme and agree to consult with relevant bodies, to approve the work programme at the next meeting.

Minutes:

The Committee discussed its work programme for the year ahead. During discussion the following points were raised:

 

·       The Committee asked that recycling rates in the borough be included in the work programme and that opportunities to maximise the levels of recycling be explored.

 

Additionally, the following items were suggested for inclusion in the work programme:

 

·       Maternity cover at Conquest Hospital – this had been included on the Committee’s work programme in 2017 and it was felt that a two year review would be beneficial. However, the committee was reminded that, in 2017, the decision to undertake the survey was an executive one to which Scrutiny were then invited to receive and comment on the report outcome on behalf of the Council. Any new survey would also need to be an executive decision.

 

·       The A27 – it was felt that an initial discussion on this issue might provide an opportunity for further scrutiny.

 

·       Homes First – it was felt that a broad review of the organisation would be beneficial to the Committee and the Council. Officers suggested that an all-member briefing the hour prior to the start of the Committee’s September meeting could focus on this item.

 

·       The Chair referred to the information provided by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and suggested that looking at how scrutiny was done in other authorities would be a useful exercise and this should be taken forward in the New Year as a piece of work, with a focus on how residents in Eastbourne could be engaged with and given a voice through the scrutiny Committee. The Chair cited Northampton as a good example of how concerns over local issues were successfully taken through the scrutiny process, The Chair requested that officers investigate how Eastbourne’s Scrutiny Committee might open up its work programme to residents as had been successfully done in Northampton.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

·       The Committee’s work programme be noted;

 

·       A work programme be developed to include the suggestions made during discussion on this and other items on the agenda;

 

·       A Member-briefing be scheduled prior to the next meeting of the Committee in order to receive an update from the Head of Homes First; and

 

·       Work be undertaken in the New Year to strengthen the role of scrutiny in the community and improve the ability of residents to engage with the Council.

10.

Date of the next meeting

To note that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled to be held on 2 September 2019 in the Court Room, Town Hall, Eastbourne commencing at 6:00pm.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  that the date of the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled for Monday, 2 September 2019 in the Court Room, Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG.