Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 2 September 2019 5.00 pm

Venue: Conference Chamber West (FR1-09), West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU

Contact: Christine Brain: Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item



Any Member who is substituting for another Member should so indicate, together with the name of the relevant absent Member.


The following substitutions were declared:


Councillor Jim Thorndyke substituting for Councillor Stephen Frost.

Councillor Richard Alecock substituting for Councillor Paul Hopfensperger.




Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Simon Brown, Simon Cole, Stephen Frost and Paul Hopfensperger.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2019 (copy attached).


The minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Public Participation

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.



Announcements from the Chair Regarding Responses from the Cabinet to Reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee


The Chair informed members he attended Cabinet on 23 July 2019 to present the Committee’s report on items it considered on 11 July 2019 and drew relevant points from the report to the Cabinet’s attention.  In particular the establishment of the West Suffolk Parking Review Group.


He then updated members on the work carried out to date by the Parking Review Group.  In response, some members felt the on-line questionnaire was basic and there was no free text box to submit additional comments.  The Chair agreed to raise members comments with the Lead Officer, Darren Dixon, Service Manager (Property).




West Suffolk Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Report No: OAS/WS/19/008


The Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Sara Mildmay-White has been invited to the meeting to present the report to the Committee.


Additional documents:


[Councillor Mike Chester declared a non-pecuniary interest as he provides assists to the Portfolio Holder for Housing, and remained in the meeting, and did not take part in the vote].


[Councillor Jim Thorndyke arrived at 5.20pm during the consideration of this item, and prior to the vote taking place].


Prior to the Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Sara Mildmay-White presenting the West Suffolk Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy, she provided members with a brief overview of her housing portfolio; the areas which it covered; and how it links into the Council’s Strategic Framework 2018-2020.  Housing was critical for the wellbeing of residents in West Suffolk, and the Council’s Strategic Framework set how this would be achieved through “increased and improved provision of appropriate housing in West Suffolk in both our towns and rural areas”, by:


·         planning for housing to meet the needs of current and future generations throughout their lifetimes, that is properly supported by infrastructure, facilities and community networks


·         improving the quality of housing and the local environment for our residents


·         enabling people to access suitable and sustainable housing.


Councillor Mike Chester helped with the housing development side of the portfolio.  There was also three housing teams as follows:


1)   Strategic Housing Led by Julie Baird, (Assistant Director for Growth) and Simon Phelan (Service Manager – Strategic Housing);


2)   Housing Standards: Led by David Collinson (Assistant Director for Planning and Regulatory Services) and Andy Newman (Service Manager – Housing Standards); and


3)   Housing Options and Homelessness: Led by Davina Howes (Assistant Director for Families and Communities) and Sara Lomax (Service Manager – Housing Options and Homelessness)


She then briefly referred to questions which had been submitted by Scrutiny Members in advance of the meeting, on a wider basis around housing delivery, which would be covered later on in the meeting, following the consideration of the above mentioned Strategy.


Before presenting the Strategy, the Cabinet Member wished to thank all officers involved in housing for all their hard work.  She then presented Report No: OAS/WS/19/008, which sought the approval of a revised Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy and a new Temporary Accommodation Procurement and Placement Policy.


Attached to the report were a number of appendices, namely:


-      Appendix 1: Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy


-      Appendix A: Evidence Base for the Homelessness Reduction and

Rough Sleeping Strategy;

-      Appendix B: Delivery Plan for the Homelessness Reduction and

                   Rough Sleeping Strategy;

-      Appendix C: Temporary Accommodation Procurement and Placement                  



It was report that in June 2018, West Suffolk councils adopted the Homelessness Reduction Strategy.  This report (OAS/WS/19/008) sets out a review of the strategy and changes that had been made in response to new duties and requirements which had been placed on local authorities.  The strategy was now be called the “Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy”.


The Committee considered the report and the attached appendices in detail and asked a number of questions to which comprehensive responses were provided. 


In particular discussions were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Suffolk County Council: Health Scrutiny Committee - 11 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Report No: OAS/WS/19/009

Additional documents:


Councillor Margaret Marks, the Council’s appointed representative on the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee informed the Committee, with the agreement of the Chair, Councillor David Nettleton that all members and substitute members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would receive a link to the Health Scrutiny papers, once published.  This would enable members to consider and inform Councillor Marks of any concerns or suggestions they would like raised at the Health Scrutiny Committee.


The Committee then received Report No: OAS/WS/19/009, prepared by Councillor Marks setting out what was considered at its meeting held on 11 July 2019; being Home Care Procurement (future arrangements for delivery of home care services in Suffolk); and Appointments to Joint Committees and observers, and for the NHS Boards.


Councillor Marks advised the Committee she had been appointed to the following strategic health bodies:


-      CCG Executive Board meetings as an observer;

-      West Suffolk Board meetings as an observer; and

-      The NHS Ambulance Service Trust as a substitute observer.


In addition, Councillor Marks had been nominated as the West representative on the Joint Health and Scrutiny (West, East and North East Essex).  This would be ratified by the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee at its next meeting on 10 October 2019.


The Committee considered the report and asked a number of questions to which Councillor Marks provided comprehensive responses.  In particular discussions were held on the meaning of “re-ablement”; provisions for working across two health authority areas (Suffolk / Cambridgeshire); and standardised care packages and training.


Members shared the same concerns as Councillor Marks, in that some care agencies were recording patients data/medical needs on IPADs, which were then removed from the patients home.  It was felt that a book should be left in the patients home, so that relatives etc. could easily refer to the data record.


There being no decisions required, the Committee noted the report on the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 11 July 2019, from Councillor Margaret Marks.


Cabinet Decisions Plan: 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Report No: OAS/WS/19/010

Additional documents:


The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/19/010, which informed Members on forthcoming decisions to be considered by the Cabinet for the period 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020.


The Committee considered the Decisions Plan and did not request any further information on items contained in the Plan.


There being no decision required, the Committee noted the contents of the 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020 Decisions Plan.



Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report No: OAS/WS/19/011

Additional documents:


The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/19/011, which updated Members on the current status of its rolling work programme of items for scrutiny during 2019-2020 (Appendix 1).


The Chair raised a topic regarding the Abbey Gardens in relation to events held in the grounds.  He suggested that a general report should be presented to the Committee in January 2020 covering the following, which was supported by Councillor Terry Clements:


-      Number/types of Events held per year in the Abbey Gardens.


-      What Terms and Conditions were placed on Event Organisers.


-      Legal Frameworks and Conditions (national).


-      How does the Council ensure Event Organisers complied with the conditions placed on them, and how was this then enforced.


-      Whether nearby houses still had clauses in their covenant/lease agreements informing them that property owners had to accept that events would be held in the Abbey Gardens. 


There being no decision required, the Committee noted the update, subject to the inclusion of a future item on Registered Social Landlords (see Minute No: 22 above) and a general report on the “Management of Events in the Abbey Gardens” in January 2020.