Agenda and minutes

Lewes District Council Policy and Performance Advisory Committee - Thursday, 16th September, 2021 3.30 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services on 01273 471600 

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 262 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 30 June 2021 were submitted and the Chair was authorised to sign them as a correct record.


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Robinson, Bikson and Gauntlett with Councillors O’Connor and Brett acting as substitutes.


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 no urgent items, however, Councillor Saunders highlighted a recent Governance Review meeting where the progress of the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee over the previous year had been considered.


Written Questions from Councillors

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


None were received.


Update on the Waste Service pdf icon PDF 187 KB

Report presented by Jane Goodall, Environment Lead.

Additional documents:


Jane Goodall, Environment Lead, presented the report. Support was provided by Sean Towey, Head of Environment First, Bryn Mabey, Communications Lead and Julie Quanstrom, Head of Neighbourhood First. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       The charges levied by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) at household waste and recycling sites were in response to financial constraints. ESCC had carried out a piece of work which indicated fly-tip items as those which would not be charged for at its sites. Sites had been closed during lockdown. The view taken by ESCC was that people should not have been travelling during this period and as a result, would not be using the facilities.


·       Work was being undertaken to review the material being taken to bring-sites. The sites did attract trade waste, fly-tipping and contaminates and there was concern that the bring sites were not being used correctly. However, the number of sites had reduced following the introduction of kerbside recycling.


·       In-cab waste management software had been introduced the previous October, with cameras expected to be provided in all waste vehicles as part of the next Fleet procurement, by April 2024.


·       Recycling food waste was promoted throughout the year and in particular during the autumn period.


·       Training was provided to new staff on all aspects of waste. Annual refresher training was provided to all staff. Vehicle crew had monthly meetings with team leaders.


·       Concern was expressed that too much emphasis was placed on recycling and that more work should go into encouraging the reduction in items, such as plastic, that became recylables. It was recognised that there should be continued focus on the ‘reduction’ message to residents.


·       There were a number of businesses in Lewes that provided packaging-free refill facilities and should be promoted as sustainable alternatives.


·       The Waste Service responded to incidents of contamination in recycling through its communications strategy. It was suggested that the strategy could be more proactive in recognising seasonal trends.


·       An itemised report on material fly-tipped was produced on a monthly basis. The number of incidents in Lewes was relatively low, however there was an environmental impact when they occurred.


·       A traffic management company had been employed to deliver clearance of litter on the A27. The maintaining of the levels of litter removal required close working with partner organisations such as Kier and Highways England.


·       Litter picking groups were supported by the Waste Service and provided with litter bags, litter pickers and high visibility jackets. Litter picking events and programmes were also promoted by the Communications team.


·       Recycling of batteries had associated fire-risks and posed operational issues. Residents were signposted to sites, such as supermarkets, where batteries could be checked for recyclability.


·       The waste survey data highlighted that, where food was recycled, other items were more heavily recycled. The ability for residents to compost depended to a degree on the availability of outside space. Further communication on the ability to recycle soft plastics was requested.


·       The transportation and disposal of residual waste and recycled material from ESCC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Corporate Plan - Achievements and forward look pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Regeneration and Planning

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


·       The number of council homes built out and due for delivery would be clarified.


·       It was felt by Members that the report should be clarified to reflect that the £34.1 million funding was provided by the Government and was distributed by the Council as opposed to delivered.


·       Members felt that reference to the Works building in Lewes should be included under Community Wealth Building in the report.


Resolved to note the report.


Portfolio progress and performance report quarter 1 - 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Regeneration and Planning

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


·       Housing related phone call wait times were not included as a performance indicator. The data was collected through contract monitoring. The contractor, Mears had three operatives who took calls from residents in Lewes, whereas Customer First had 12 staff in the Contact Team. There was a piece of work underway to look at bringing the Mears calls back in-house. The current contract was due for renewal in January 2023. Members felt that officers in housing repairs who dealt with residents should have knowledge of the local area.


Resolved to note the report.


Finance update - performance quarter 1 - 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Report of Chief Finance Officer

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Homira Javadi, Chief Finance Officer, presented the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted.


·       There were two sets of additional Government funding – a Covid of grant of equal amounts. It was confirmed that the remaining balance of the fund was not ringfenced. There not been any demands as yet but any significant variations were being monitored.


·       The local Energy Scheme referred to under projects in the report, was an indicative reference.


Resolved to note the report.



Medium term financial strategy pdf icon PDF 333 KB

Report of the Chief Finance Officer

Additional documents:


Homira Javadi, Chief Finance Officer, presented the report. During discussion the following points were highlighted:


·       There were early indications of a sharp rise in interest rates. There were Government schemes to mitigate the impact. The inflationary context around the supply and demand of materials was a concern. Both these areas would require careful monitoring.


·       It was prudent to build contingency and resilience into the budget within the current, uncertain environment. Particularly in relation to contracts.


Resolved to note the report.


Housing Development Update pdf icon PDF 273 KB

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Regeneration and Planning

Additional documents:


The Committee Resolved to exclude the press and public whilst discussing this item and the exempt appendix at item on the agenda as otherwise there was a likelihood of disclosure of exempt information as defined in schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).


Leighton Rowe, HEDP Development Project Manager, presented the report.


Resolved by a majority to support the recommendations in the Cabinet report subject to the following amendment to recommendation 3) being considered by the Cabinet:


3)    That the two HRA assets identified, in accordance with the business case as set out in (Exempt) appendix 2 to the Cabinet report, are not disposed of but improved and brought back into council house use, to support two families in Lewes, as part of the council’s corporate goal.


Note: Councillor Saunders left the meeting following discussion on the item.




Forward Plan of Decisions pdf icon PDF 309 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 of the Committee:


·       Recovery and reset programme


·       Climate change and sustainability strategy annual progress report


·       Newhaven Town Deal - Business Case Update


Resolved to note the Forward Plan of Cabinet decisions.


Policy and Performance Advisory Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To receive the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee Work Programme.


The Chair, Councillor Miller, introduced the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee work programme for 2021/2022. Councillor Miller highlighted the recent meeting of the Governance Review Working Group whose work had included a one-year review of the Policy and Performance Advisory Committee. The Group had asked that Committee members provide their views directly, or by email, to be received by the 24September, on how the Committee had progressed after its first year


The following comments were provided by members of the Group and Committee members:


·       It was felt that the Committee had worked well over the previous year, but it was noted that more than 50 percent of the recommendations from the Committee to the Cabinet had not been accepted.


·       Wider input and engagement from all Council members into the Committee’s work would help form the work programme.


·       Opportunities to take a deep-dive review of policy and service areas, as well as district-wide issues would provide better engagement.


Resolved to note the 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 4 November 2021 at Southover House, Lewes.


Members discussed the proximity of the date of the next meeting to Bonfire celebrations in Lewes. It was agreed that, provisionally, an alternative date of the 3 November would be considered and at an earlier time.


Resolved that the date of the next meeting is provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 3 November, the time to be confirmed.