Agenda and minutes

Lewes District Council Policy and Performance Advisory Committee - Wednesday, 3rd November, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Ditchling and Telscombe Rooms at Southover House, Southover Road, Lewes, BN7 1AB

Contact: Committee Services on 01273 471600 

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 Monday 28 June 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 previous meeting pdf icon PDF 258 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2021 were submitted and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a correct record.


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Linington and Saunders.


Declarations of Interest

Disclosure by councillors of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the councillor regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.


There were none.


Urgent Items

Items not on the agenda which the Chair of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances as defined in Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972. A Supplementary Report will be circulated at the meeting to update the main Reports with any late information.


There were none.


Written Questions from Councillors

To deal with written questions from councillors pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 12.3 (page D8 of the Constitution).


There were none.


Requested reports due for consideration by the Cabinet on 11 November 2021


It was confirmed by members that, as part of the call-over process, the following reports would be included in discussion by the Committee:


6(a) Recovery and Reset


6(c) Newhaven Town Deal


Resolved that the officer recommendations in the following Cabinet report be supported in full:


6(b) Climate change and sustainability strategy - Annual update 2021


Recovery and Reset pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:


Lee Banner, Transformation Programme Manager, presented the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       The print savings identified from the roll-out of the Modern.Gov application and the ceasing of the printing of agendas and minutes (including postage), were approximately £16,000 for each authority. This project would also allow a review of the print facilities/resources to be undertaken with possible further efficiencies/savings. The option of locally printed papers was being considered for those Members currently unable to use a device.


·       Customer First was involved in a reshaping exercise which looked at the service provided, the cost of the service and how the service interacted with customers. One area being explored was better use of technology, including artificial intelligence, to deal with process driven enquiries and freeing up staff to deal with more complex, value adding activities. The Service would still maintain a strong connection with customers.


·       Further information on the Initial Forecast Gap, detailed in 2.1 of the Cabinet report, would be provided to the Committee. The main contributor for the funding shortfall was the Pandemic, however, there were other factors and this detail would be provided to the Committee also.


·       The work on exploring options for identifying a single system to manage Environmental Health and Licensing activity was just about to start. The first phase was to engage with current users of the current systems, which were a number of years old. The market would be assessed to understand what was available in order to deliver back office efficiencies and allow staff to undertake more complex work. Mobile technology was being explored for areas such as inspections and monitoring.


·       Year 1 savings and costs would include up-front costs, which would be built into a business case.


·       The Revenues/Benefits system project was at the stage where a preferred contractor had been identified. Soft-market testing had been undertaken to identify what was needed. Significant efficiency savings had been identified as a result of the project. It was anticipated that the new system would be rolled out in December 2022.


·       The reshaping of services included work with Human Resources to minimise redundancies. The exercise would explore opportunities for staff to be confirmed in post, to secure promotion opportunities or to be redeployed into other areas. Another strand of the exercise would be freeing staff to spend time dealing with more complex areas of their work.


·       Members expressed concern that, as a result of previous transformation programmes, remaining staff had found themselves in stressful environments, which led to a high turnover of staff.


Resolved to note the report.


Climate change and sustainability strategy - Annual update 2021 pdf icon PDF 267 KB

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

Additional documents:


This report was not requested for inclusion in discussion by the Committee (see minute 33). Members had previously resolved to support the officer recommendations in the report in full.


RESOLVED to support the officer recommendations in the Cabinet report in full.



Newhaven Town Deal pdf icon PDF 270 KB

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

Additional documents:


Peter Sharp, Head of Regeneration, presented the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       The Towns fund was different to other forms of Government funding. Newhaven had been selected on a short-list by the Government and the ‘Our Town Investment Plan’ was put together by the Newhaven Town Deal Board, involving community, business and public sector representatives (including cross-party work). The projects identified were those that were considered the best within the parameters of the Towns fund. The publishing of a summary of the business cases would be considered.


·       Government had provided quarterly deadlines for the submission of cases. The deadline for the first two business cases was the 14 January, with the funding being received in March 2022.


·       The funding process, through which local authorities were required to demonstrate that value for money was included in projects, had been in place for some time through the Green Book.


·       Discussion also briefly covered the recently announced Levelling Up Fund. All areas of the District were looked at for potential projects. The challenge within this fund was to find areas that met the criteria. The Regeneration Team was keen for any projects that had flexibility and could be delivered in a short timeframe to come forward. Looking ahead, part of the work of the Regeneration team is to try and identify a list of ‘shovel ready’ projects across the District for future funding opportunities.


Resolved to note the report.


Forward Plan of Cabinet Decisions pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To receive the Forward Plan of the Cabinet


The Chair, Councillor Miller, introduced the Forward Plan of Cabinet decisions. Members requested that the following items be considered at the next meeting:


·       Council tax reduction scheme


·       Draft budget proposals 2022/23


·       Council tax base and non-domestic rate income for 2022/23


·       Portfolio progress and performance report quarter 2 - 2021-2022


·       Finance update - performance quarter 2 - 2021-2022


·       Community Infrastructure Levy Recommendations for Spending


·       Asset Management Plan


·       Housing development update


Resolved to note the Forward Plan of Cabinet decisions.


Policy and Performance Advisory Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 168 KB

To receive the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee Work Programme.


The Chairman, Councillor Miller, introduced the Committee’s work programme. Members requested that the following items be considered for inclusion:


·       An update on the Newhaven Town Deal


·       An update on planning issues to include:


o   Lewes District Council’s relationship with the South Downs National Park Planning Authority


o   The Local Plan


o   The Planning Improvement Plan (25 recommendations for the Planning Service)


o   The impact of sewerage and flooding resulting from development.


Resolved to note the Committee’s work programme.


Date of Next Meeting

To note that the next meeting of the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee is scheduled to be held on 2 December 2021 at Southover House, Lewes.


To note that the next meeting of the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee is scheduled to be held on 30 November 2021, at 2.30pm, at Southover House, Lewes.