Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 9 March 2023 5.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Mildenhall Hub, Sheldrick Way, Mildenhall, IP28 7JX

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.


No substitutions were declared.




Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Michael Anderson, Trevor Beckwith, Simon Brown, Patrick Chung, James Lay, Joe Mason and Sarah Pugh.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2023 (copy attached).


The minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2023 were confirmed as correct record and signed by the Chair.


Declarations of interest

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary or local non pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda, no later than when that item is reached and, when appropriate, to leave the meeting prior to discussion and voting on the item.


Members’ declarations of interest are recorded under the item to which the declaration relates.


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 7 February 2023 and presented the Committee’s report from its meeting held on 12 January 2023.  As per the minutes confirmed above, the Chair updated Cabinet on the scrutiny of Havebury Housing Partnership and the Committee’s forward work programme, which were noted by Cabinet.


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.


In accordance with government guidance, the Council has developed general protocols on operating buildings safety in order to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus and will apply to members of the public registered to speak.  We would therefore strongly urge anyone who wishes to register to speak to notify Democratic Services by 9am on the day of the meeting so that advice can be given on the arrangements in place.


There is an overall limit of 15 minutes for public speaking, which may be extended at the Chair’s discretion.


No members of the public in attendance had registered to speak.



Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee - 25 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report number: OAS/WS/23/004

Additional documents:


[Councillor David Palmer arrived at 5.05pm.

Councillor Jo Rayner, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs arrived at 5.10pm.]


[Councillor Jo Rayner declared a non-pecuniary interest as she worked at West Suffolk Hospital].


The Chair agreed to bring this item forward on the agenda to enable the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs to be present to present the Mildenhall Hub post implementation report.


Councillor Margaret Marks, the Council’s appointed representative on the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee presented report number OAS/WS/23/004, which set out what was considered at its meeting held on 25 January 2023.  The primary focus of the meeting was:


-      The East of England Ambulance Service.


Attached to the report were the following appendices:


-      Appendix 1 – Report from Councillor Marks

-      Agenda Item 5a – East of England Ambulance Service

-      Agenda Item 5b Evidence Set – East of England Ambulance Service


Councillor Marks informed the Committee this was her last report to the Committee sitting on the Health Scrutiny Committee.  In addition to the report, Councillor Marks updated the Committee on Hospitals at Home and the phlebotomy work she had been helping Councillor David Palmer with, in Brandon, which Councillor David Palmer thanked her for at the meeting. She then referred the Committee to the report.


The Committee considered the report in detail and asked questions to which Councillor Marks provided comprehensive responses.  In particular discussions were held on phlebotomists and training to take blood; how the EEAST intended to improve the current service; Hospital at Home; and how the Health Scrutiny Committee followed up recommendations with the various health providers.


In response to a question raised clarifying what phlebotomy was, Councillor Marks explained it was taking bloods for testing.  Staff were trained in a day on how to draw blood, but they did not stay very long in the job because staff were on the lowest pay scale, and it was all they did.  However, it was a good starting point to get a foot on the career ladder in the NHS.  Most GP surgeries were unable to keep up with demand, meaning patients then had to travel to another facility to have their blood taken.


In response to a question raised on the EEAST, Councillor Marks explained there was no straight forward answer on how to improve the service.  The failings of the EEAST service were due to other parts of the NHS system.  An ambulance cannot discharge a patient from the ambulance if a hospital has run out of beds, unless discharging patients at the other end of the NHS service.  More work needs to be done on early prevention and not on strategies, which Councillor Jo Rayner (Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs) fully supported.


The Chair thanked Councillor Margaret Marks for her reports, knowledge and passion put into representing West Suffolk Council on the Health Scrutiny Committee.


There being no decision required, the Committee noted the report presented by Councillor Margaret Marks.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 213.


Mildenhall Hub Post Implementation Review pdf icon PDF 717 KB

Report number: OAS/WS/23/003


The Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs presented report number: OAS/WS/23/003, which asked the Committee to carry out a post implementation scrutiny review of the Council’s involvement in the Mildenhall Hub (the Hub).


The Hub opened to the public in May 2021 and represented a combined public sector investment of over £40m into facilities for Mildenhall and the surrounding area.  The Hub was one of several hub projects completed, underway or planned in West Suffolk.  The Hub was designed by Concertus Design and Property Consultants and built by R G Carter Construction with project management from Currie and Brown.


The report followed on from an earlier and concluded scrutiny exercise in 2017 by establishing whether or not the Council’s own involvement in the project was on track to achieve the desired long-term outcomes.  It also sought to identify any remaining actions associated with delivering the original objectives of the project.


This scrutiny review was only a partial examination of the true scope of the Hub project and its outcomes as it represented the perspective of one organisation only (West Suffolk Council).  Also, nothing contained in the report represented the views or findings of any other partner organisation unless specifically attributed.


The Cabinet Member welcomed the Committee’s support in flagging up some actions to reflect the learning from the first two years of operation.  She felt it was important to highlight the impact of future growth within the Hub itself and next door through the planning proposal for West Mildenhall so this could be considered when assessing the Hub’s parking and highways arrangements.


The Committee examined the following issues and was asked to make recommendations to Cabinet/Council accordingly:


1.     Has the capital project achieved the objectives last set for it by the Council?


2.     How has the Hub performed in its first 20 months against its business plan and funding model?


3.     What remaining actions are there to deliver the Council’s original objectives.


The Cabinet Member explained that in 2017, in addition to financial objectives, there were 10 shared strategic objectives for the project to build the Hub which were agreed by Forest Heath District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Council, ranging from property objectives through to strategic ambitions.  The 10 objectives set out in section 4 of the report had all been met in varying degrees and the expected benefits to make the public estate more efficient and more integrated looked like they were also being met.


The Cabinet Member advised the report contained a typographical error which had been corrected in the online version and an explanation had been emailed to members of the Committee in advance of the meeting. 


In the table of capital costs in paragraph 5.7 of the report, all of the individual numbers themselves were correct but these actually added up to a new net capital requirement of £11,420,000 not £11,300,000.  This then meant the summary figure for the variance from the 2018 estimate for the net capital requirement, shown on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 214.


Work programme update pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report number: OAS/WS/23/005

Additional documents:


The Committee received report number: OAS/WS/23/005, which updated members on the current status of its rolling work programme of items for scrutiny during 2023 (Appendix 1).


There being no decision required, the Committee noted the update.


At the close of the meeting, the Chair advised that this meeting was the last Committee meeting in this administration and thanked all members of the Committee, officers for their support, Cabinet Members and guests who had attended over the last four years.