Agenda and minutes

Eastbourne Borough Council Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 29th November, 2021 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services on 01323 410000 

Note: This meeting is open to the public to attend. Whilst seating is currently very limited due to social distancing guidelines, we ask that if you are planning to attend and observe the meeting, you register in advance (by midday Thursday 8 July 2021) by emailing We would request that you do not attend unless you have received an email from us confirming your seat reservation. Priority seating will be given to speakers. 

No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 164 KB


Councillor Smart referred to matters arising from the previous minutes and it was agreed that those would be dealt with later on the agenda.


Resolved that the minutes of the meetings held on 13 September 2021 were submitted and approved and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.


Apologies for absence / declaration of substitute members


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Morris.


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


There were none.


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).



There were none.


Urgent items of business

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



There were none.


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.



There were no requests,


Corporate performance - quarter 2 - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Part A - Portfolio Progress and Performance

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Regeneration and Planning


Part B - Financial Performance

Report of Chief Finance Officer



Additional documents:


Part A - Portfolio Progress and Performance

Tim Whelan, Director of Service Delivery, introduced the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted:

·       Recruitment was an issue across all sector. Changes had been made to working patterns with more flexibility to encourage interest from as diverse a range of applicants as possible. Relevant courses were in place with links to local colleges in order to invest in new staff


·       The highlighting of fly-tipping as an issue in the Devonshire ward reflected the transient nature of the population and that the area included a number a unadopted ally-ways in between properties. Safer Streets funding had been used to gate some of the ally-ways and prohibit access. Proactive ‘overt’ cameras were also being used.


·       The increase in home DIY during lockdown periods had contributed to the number of fly-tip incidents and the type of materials left. Part of the work in reducing the number od incidents and the volume of fly-tipping was around educating residents and encouraging ownership of the areas affected.


·       The contact-centre call responses data also included the length of time that customers waited for a response and the wait-time had improved significantly between quarters 2 and 3. A number of staff were undergoing training and as a result of the nature of the calls received had become more complex, and involving multiple issues. The standard email response time was 10 working days. However, emails were currently being responded to within 3 working days. Technology was being looked at that would allow signposting via text to dedicated, self-serve web pages. The Council’s website was under review and part of the work would be to provide more accurate signposting and responses to a broad range of enquiries. Reports were produced that identified and allowed analysis of the types of calls being received.


·       The target for the inspection of licensable houses of multiple occupancy (HMO’s) was cumulative and details of the licenses were published on the Council’s website. Details of high-risk HMO’s could be made available separately.


·       The contract for with Mears was 7 seven years old and due for renewal in 2023. An action plan had been provided to drive the performance of the service and weekly meetings were being held with the company directors. The moving of the hosing repair calls back in-house was being looked at as part of a broader look at a different model for providing the service to residents. The final recommendations would form a report to the Cabinet.


·       The majority of discretionary housing payments (DHP’s) were used for vulnerable tenants in the private housing sector who potentially faced the threat of homelessness. Funds were still available and the Council’s own tenants were being focused on for providing support. Software had been used to identify the most at-risk tenants and as a result, the rent arrears level had been reduced.


·       An action plan was in place to target recruitment including school visits and recruitment days. Apprenticeships were being offered also. Plans were in place to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Levelling Up Fund pdf icon PDF 393 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Regeneration and Planning


Tim Whelan, Director of Service Delivery, introduced the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       East Sussex County Council, as the highways authority, would be supporting the pedestrianisation work at Victoria Place. The Band Stand was not suitable for the funding as it was a Council asset and the funding was intended to create jobs, employment and learning opportunities.


·       The details of the governance arrangements and membership of the Stakeholder Oversight Board were due to be finalised.


·       Members considered that streamlined and transparent governance arrangements were needed as part of the programme.




1)    To note the report; and


2)    Request that the Cabinet consider that clear streamlined and transparent governance arrangements for Levelling up Funds are circulated at the earliest opportunity to all Council members and key steak-holders, whilst retaining any commercial sensitivities.


Forward Plan of Decisions pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To receive the Forward Plan of the Cabinet.


The Chair, Councillor Freebody, introduced the Forward Plan of the Cabinet.


Concern was expressed that a number of reports that were originally included on the Forward Plan were no longer available for consideration. It was explained that staffing levels and commercial sensitivities had affected the availability of reports for specific deadlines and that the Forward Plan was an evolving document.    


Resolved to note the Forward Plan of Cabinet decisions.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To receive the Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.


The Chair, Councillor Freebody, introduced the Committee’s work programme.


Members noted the update on the figures for the number of homelessness placements into Eastbourne by Brighton and Hove City Council and that this had now reduced to 64 people, close to pre-pandemic figures. Officers and Members were thanked for their work towards the reduction in the figures. Members were advised that Brighton and Hove City Council had declined to attend a further meeting on the issue.


Members requested that updates on the Levelling Up fund be provided to future meetings.


Resolved to note the Committee’s work programme.


Matters arising from the previous meeting:


As requested at the beginning of the meeting, the following issues were highlighted and responded to:


Treasury management annual report 2020/21, details of the Council’s cashflow – this had been provided as a one-page analysis and was available for circulation.


Housing Development update - Southfields Road Car Park – the recommendation from the Scrutiny Committee was considered by the Cabinet on the 14 July 2021 and it was considered that the request was already considered within the officer recommendations.


Date of the next meeting

To note that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled to be held on 7 February 2022, in the Court Room, Town Hall, Eastbourne commencing at 6:00pm.


Resolved to note that the date of the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled for Monday 7 February 2022, in the Court Room, Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG.