Venue: Conference Chamber West (FR1-09), West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU
Contact: Christine Brain: Democratic Services Officer Email: email@example.com
Any Member who is substituting for another Member should so indicate, together with the name of the relevant absent Member.
The following substitution was declared:
Councillor Jim Thorndyke substituting for Councillor Marion Rushbrook.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Simon Brown and Marion Rushbrook.
Councillor Paul Hopfensperger had also sent his apologies in advance, however arrived at the meeting at 5.50pm.
Members of the public who live or work in the District are welcome to speak and may ask one question or make a statement of not more than three minutes duration relating to items to be discussed in Part 1 of the agenda only. If a question is asked and answered within three minutes, the person who asked the question may ask a supplementary question that arises from the reply.
A person who wishes to speak must register at least 15 minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start.
There is an overall limit of 15 minutes for public speaking, which may be extended at the Chair’s discretion.
There were no members of the public in attendance on this occasion.
Report No: OAS/WS/19/001
The Chair of the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Joanna Spicer has been invited to the meeting to present the report to the Committee.
[Councillor Paul Hopfensperger arrived at 5.50pm, during the consideration of this item].
It was the duty of the Committee, as the Council’s Crime and Disorder Committee designated under the Police and Justice Act 2006, to scrutinise the work of the Partnership.
The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/19/001, presented by the Chair of the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Joanna Spicer, and the Council’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, Councillor Robert Everitt.
The report set out the background to the partnership and the statutory bodies involved which Councillor Joanna Spicer expanded on, as well as updating Members on the community safety activity in West Suffolk, including the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership (WSCSP) for 2018-2019.
Over the past year the WSCSP had continued to meet and discharge its statutory duties by carrying out an annual assessment of crime and disorder in the area, continuing to deliver the three year plan and action plan to reflect the priorities of the partnership, and carrying out Domestic Homicide Reviews.
Attached at Appendix A to the report, was the WSCSP Plan 2019-2022, which was required to reflect the Suffolk Police and Crime Plan published by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
In May 2018, the WSCSP considered its priorities for 2018-2019. Based on the outcomes of partnership discussions and a strategic assessment of crime, the following priorities were identified as the focus of the WSCSP:
- County Lines;
- Violence against women and girls (including men and boys);
- Domestic homicide reviews;
- Hate crime; and
Councillor Robert Everitt, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities then drew relevant issues to Members’ attention from the report, in particular providing an overview on each of the five areas set out above.
The Chairman then invited Councillor Margaret Marks, Ward Member for Haverhill West to address the Committee in respect of this item. She thanked the Committee for allowing her to speak, and informed members she had attended a County Lines training event, and questioned how this would be rolled out to community groups. She also suggested that it would be useful for the St Johns Ambulance to receive training on county lines, as well as sending out general information to all town/parish councils as not everyone understood what county lines meant.
In response to Councillor Marks’ question, members were informed that county lines had been ongoing for over 18 months, and the Partnership was engaging with the voluntary sector on this. Work was being carried out in encouraging the public and members to report any incidents they saw relating to county lines via the 101 police non-emergency telephone number, the police’s website or crime stoppers. Training and awareness was a priority for the Partnership, and was being provided firstly in schools and to all frontline staff within the Partnership. An introduction about county lines had also been provided at a recent Parish Conference.
Councillor Spicer expanded on county lines by explaining this was a serious issue, which linked into other crimes. The ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Report No: OAS/WS/19/002
The Leader of the Council, Councillor John Griffiths has been invited to the meeting to present the report to the Committee.
[Councillor Diane Hind left the meeting at 6.30pm during the consideration of this item, and prior to the vote being taken.
Councillor Ian Shipp left the meeting at 6.55pm during the consideration of this item, and prior to the vote being taken].
The Leader of the Council, Councillor John Griffiths thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present Report No: OAS/WS/19/002, which outlined the draft West Suffolk Councils’ Annual Report (2018-2019), and was before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their comments.
This was the final report of Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council working together as West Suffolk councils. 2018-2019 saw years of hard work by both members and officers come to fruition with the establishment of a new West Suffolk Council, putting us in pole positon for the future to face challenges and seize opportunities. It reported retrospectively on achievements over the financial year 2018-2019, and therefore referred to the “councils” throughout. In 2019-2020 the Leader looked forward to presenting the first West Suffolk Council annual report.
The draft West Suffolk Councils’ Annual Report (Appendix A) before the Committee, highlighted the key activities and developments that had been achieved over the financial year 2018-2019, with regard to the priorities set out in the West Suffolk Strategic Framework 2018-2020. The draft report contained a number of case studies and examples from West Suffolk to illustrate the achievements described.
The Leader then highlighted relevant issues for the attention of the Committee, such as West Suffolk continuing to develop a strategic partnership with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority. Discussions were underway with the Combined Authority examining the opportunity to bring the Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) to both Haverhill (estimated 2025) and Mildenhall (estimated 2028). The CAM would provide a rapid mass transit solution between areas of West Suffolk and Cambridge, connecting people to jobs, housing and educational opportunities. He explained that there was no doubt that in West Suffolk we were the envy of many parts of the country. We were a national leader in our ability to deliver to high quality services for the communities we serve whilst being able to invest in housing and businesses to encourage growth and prosperity. From talks with Government and other councils, we were seen as innovators in how we deliver better outcomes, both socially and financially for our residents.
The Leader wished to thank all members and staff who had not only shared our ambitious vision but were making it a reality. This was a team effort across parties and even council and organisational boundaries.
The Committee examined the document in detail and particular comments were made on the following areas of the draft Annual Report:
(1) Page 27: Parks and green spaces: officers agreed to look at adding reference to bio-diversity in its parks, in this section.
(2) Page 43: Anglia Revenues Partnership: officers agreed to reword this section.
Detailed discussions were also held on the following areas of the draft Annual Report, to which the Leader of ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Report No: OAS/WS/19/003
The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/19/003, which informed Members on forthcoming decisions to be considered by the Cabinet for the period 7 May 2019 to 31 May 2020.
The Committee considered the Decisions Plan and requested further information on Housing Delivery Plan: Update on First Phase.
In response to a question raised regarding the item on Delivering a Sustainable Budget 2020-2021, members were informed that the report to the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee would set out proposals for balancing the budget for 2020-2021. It would also include proposals for closing the budget gap for the subsequent years up to 2023-2024, in line with the Medium Term Plan.
There being no decision required, the Committee noted the contents of the 7 May 2019 to 31 May 2020 Decisions Plan.
Report No: OAS/WS/19/004
The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/19/004, which sought nominations (annually), for one full member and one substitute member to serve on the Suffolk County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee for 2019-2020.
The Chair explained that district council members of the Health and Scrutiny Committee should ideally be nominated from that council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, although this was not essential as the necessary training would be provided by Suffolk County Council (SCC). The only caveat was that the nomination must not be a member from the nominating Council's Cabinet.
The Health Scrutiny Committee was responsible for scrutinising wellbeing and health services across the County. The Committee had 10 members in total: - five county councillors and one co-opted representative from each of the district and borough councils in Suffolk. Attached at Appendix 1 to the report was an extract from the SCC’s constitution, setting out the role of the Health Scrutiny Committee.
The Committee meets four times a year. Since the report was published the July and October 2019 dates had been changed, and the revised dates for 2019-2020 were as follows:
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered the report and two nominations for the position of the West Suffolk Council’s nominated representative on the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee were received, which were both duly seconded. These being Councillor Margaret Marks and Councillor Paul Hopfensperger.
Councillor Joe Mason, who had proposed Councillor Margaret Marks, explained why he felt she would be an excellent full representative on the Health Scrutiny Committee for the new West Suffolk Council given her extensive background in the health profession and participation in various health organisations and initiatives over many years (including being a substitute member of the Health Scrutiny Committee for the former St Edmundsbury Borough Council).
Councillor Richard Rout then explained his reasons for proposing Councillor Paul Hopfensperger. This was followed by a personal statement from Councillor Paul Hopfensperger himself. Through these two supporting statements, the Committee was advised of Councillor Paul Hopfensperger’s own background in health matters, including his own wellness business; Councillor Hopfensperger’s record as the full representative of the former St Edmundsbury Borough Council on the Health Scrutiny Committee over the last 3½ years; and why Councillor Hopfensperger would be best placed to continue this work as the full representative for the new West Suffolk Council. Reference was also made to an email from the Chair of the SCC Health Scrutiny Committee, expressing her support for him to continue on the Health Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Hopfensperger also questioned why nominations for this role were sought each year.
Councillor Terry Clements then also explained why he supported Councillor Paul Hopfensperger in continuing his role on the Health Scrutiny Committee.
Nominations were then put to the vote by ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Developing a Scrutiny Work Programme (Verbal Discussion)
The Director, Alex Wilson introduced this item on developing an effective scrutiny work programme. He explained that a scrutiny work programme needed to be timely and relevant, by having:
- A good understanding/split of roles between the Executive (Cabinet) and scrutiny.
- A range of meeting and decision-making styles tailored to the topic, with proper evidence.
- A work programme that was deliverable and well resourced.
The work programme also needed to be balanced, by including:
- Holding the Executive and others to account (with the need to have space in the work programme to do this as needed).
- Monitoring or oversight work (scheduled items in the work programme such as the annual reports considered earlier at this meeting)
- Reviews and developing new policy and practice (with the need to develop a structured work programme, and provide time to do this properly).
Ideally a scrutiny review in the latter category needed to have several of the following characteristics:
- Reflect the councils and community priorities
- Reflect a strong consensus on the need for the review
- Be led by scrutiny
- Not contrived (i.e. needed to take place)
- Genuine scope to add value/form ideas
The Director then informed the Committee that one of Cabinet’s projects for the coming year would be to look at car parking, and the Portfolio Holder for Operations would be contacting the Chair and Vice-Chair to discuss how Overview and Scrutiny could be involved in the review.
The Chair and the Committee were keen to be involved in the review and suggested that the scope should be broader than it had been in the past. Members felt that car parking fitted into a bigger picture around the whole environmental review; and specifically felt residents’ parking schemes, bus timetables and why people were not using buses should also be taken into consideration.
The Chair and Vice-Chair agreed to meet with the Portfolio Holder for Operations as soon as possible to discuss the scope of the review, before a report was brought to the Committee for its consideration.
The Chair then informed the Committee of the importance of not overloading its agenda.
Finally, the Chair informed the Committee of a change of date for its September 2019 meeting. This had been rescheduled and would now be held on Monday 2 September 2019 at West Suffolk House, and not Thursday 5 September 2019.