Venue: Exe Room, Phoenix House, Tiverton
Contact: Carole Oliphant Member Services Officer
Apologies and Substitute Members (00.00.40)
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of substitute Members (if any).
Cllr Ms J Norton gave apologies and Cllr Mrs M E Squires gave apologies and was substituted by Cllr B A Moore.
Declarations of Interest under the Code of Conduct (00.00.58)
Councillors are reminded of the requirement to declare any interest, including the type of interest, and reason for that interest, either at this stage of the meeting or as soon as they become aware of that interest.
There were no declarations made.
Public Question Time (00.01.09)
To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
There were no members of the public present.
Members to consider whether to approve the minutes of the last meeting of the Group held on 20th August 2019 as a correct record.
The Group is reminded that only those members of the Group present at the previous meeting should vote and, in doing so, should be influenced only by seeking to ensure that the minutes are an accurate record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20th August 2019 were approved as a correct record and SIGNED by the Chairman.
Chairmans Announcements (00.01.43)
To receive any announcements that the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman had no announcements to make.
Group Manager for Performance, Governance and Data Security to provide Members with an update on performance against the corporate plan and local service targets for 2019-2020 as well as providing an update on the key business risks.
The Group had before it and NOTED the *Performance and Risk report from the Group Manager for Performance Governance and Data Security who explained that this was the second report for 2019/2020.
She explained that this was the second regular review of Performance and Risk and included results to the end of August.
Members discussed the results and there were no questions for officers.
Note: *Report previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
To receive the annual review of the Single Equalities Policy and Equality Objective from the Director of Corporate Affairs and Business Transformation.
The Group received a *report from the Group Manager for Performance, Governance and Data Security outlining the Council’s statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010.
She explained that the Leadership Team had introduced a new objective to look in more depth at issues in relation to specific Protected Characteristics and this would begin with mental health issues which would contribute to the work to reduce staff sickness but also wok for the wider community such as Dementia awareness. She informed the Group that a meeting with staff had been set for 22nd October to debate a way forward and that once a terms of reference had been agreed it would be opened up to Members and other groups.
In response to a question asked she detailed the Protected Characteristics:
· Disability (including people with learning disabilities, people with mental illness and people living with HIV and/or AIDS)
· Gender reassignment
· Material status, family circumstances, or caring responsibilities
· Pregnant women and mothers with young children (under 5’s)
· Race, including nationality, national or ethnic origin, being a traveller or gypsy
· Religion or belief
· Sexual orientation
The Group discussed the report and it was:
RECOMMENDED to the Cabinet that the Equality Policy and Objectives for 2019-2021 be approved.
(Proposed by Cllr B A Moore and seconded by Cllr W Burke)
Note: *Report previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
The Group to receive a report from Group Manager for Public Health and Regulatory Services providing details of actions taken to improve Air Quality in Cullompton and Crediton.
The Group had before it and NOTED a *report from the Group Manager for Public Health and Regulatory Services providing progress on the adopted Air Quality Action Plan for Crediton and the Cullompton Air Quality Management Areas.
He explained the legal framework and that it was statutory requirement for the Council to provide an action plan in Air Quality Management Areas. He informed the Group that there were various conflicts between two sets of Government policy and that air quality issues were the cause of 60,000 deaths a year which was on a par with smoking.
He explained to the Group the status of air quality across the district and that there had been a slight deterioration since 2018 which could be attributed to a change in weather patterns and had been replicated across the UK.
Members expressed concerns that although an action plan had been in place in Crediton for over a decade no practical action had appeared to have been taken by the Council and they asked about the likelihood of monies being used to combat the issues and identify measures which could make a difference.
The Group Manager for Public Health and Regulatory Services explained that key progress and improvements had been delivered in the Exeter Road area of Crediton but there had been challenges around heritage and traffic management and getting key partners on board but the Council was trying hard to find solutions for the High Street. A new approach to combine street scene enhancements with more innovative traffic management measures set out in the PJ Associates study led by the town council was likely to result in a series of new measures key stakeholders could support. He further explained that previous S106 contributions had been held back until these new solutions had been agreed and the Council was currently looking to see if there were some early wins once these had been fully evaluated, costed and prioritised. A key update for the Action Plan was being brought forward to 2020 to enable these specific measures to be properly incorporated and subsequently delivered.
He also informed the Group that new air quality monitors had been installed in Crediton and Cullompton and that there could be a possibility of situating these outside of schools in the future to monitor the air quality in those areas, with opportunities to work alongside teachers and pupils for additional educational benefit.
Members then discussed the air quality issues outside of schools and that it was difficult to encourage parents to stop using cars for the school runs.
In response to questions asked the officer explained that the Council worked closely with DCC on the local transport plan and where there were gaps in the strategic approach they were working to try and influence this.
He explained that if the public wanted to see a more interlinked public transport system which included greener links to the rail network then this would have more influence as part of the relevant towns Neighbourhood ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
To receive a report from the Group Manager for Growth, Economy and Delivery on the Strategic Grants and Service Level Agreement Programme 2020-2023 and to make a RECOMMENDATION to Cabinet on the level of funding
The Group had before it and NOTED a *report from the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration presented by the Growth and Regeneration Officer outlining the process for agreeing the level of grant funding for the Strategic Grants and Service Level Agreement Programme for 2020-2023.
He explained that the report set out the process for the 5 recipients of strategic grants and that a Working Group would be required to agree the suggested level of funding and the process to be used. He informed the Group that the timescales were quite tight and that the Working Group’s recommendations would need to be presented to the PDG at the next meeting on 10th December in order to assist with the budget setting process.
The Group AGREED to set up a Working Group to review the level of funding to individual strategic grant recipients in light of the reduced level of council funding. The members of the Working Group were agreed as:
· Cllr W Burke
· Cllr B Holdman
· Cllr Mrs M E Squires
(Proposed by the Chairman)
Note: * Report previously circulated and attached to the minutes.
Financial Monitoring (00.48.22)
To consider a verbal report from the Principal Accountant presenting the financial monitoring information for the income and expenditure to date
The Group received and NOTED a verbal update from the Principal Accountant presenting a financial update in respect of the income and expenditure so far in the year.
He explained that the largest variance was in Planning (mainly related to a forecast under recovery in budgeted Planning Fee income to the end of the year) and that as this was a demand led service it was experiencing a reduced level of revenue. He explained that the service was dependant on the size, scale and numbers of planning applications received.
In response to questions he explained that the figures quoted for the Planning service was the amount of revenue collected to date from planning applications and associated services and forecast income to the end of the year.
Community Engagement (00.56.41)
To receive a recommendation by the Audit Committee that the PDG considers the internal auditors recommendation that a Customer Engagement Champion is introduced by the Council.
The minute of the last Audit Committee explains:
“The audit in relation to ‘Community Engagement’ had identified that there were further opportunities to increase customer engagement through a ‘Champion’ and that there should be greater use of ‘plain English’ in all consultation exercises. The Committee expressed concerns that often those that ‘shouted loudest’ were listened to most whilst their opinions may not be truly reflective of the wider population. The Committee felt that all consultation exercises should be truly reflective of the whole district where possible rather than just reflecting what a small minority thought. It was explained that engaging with those that did not want to come forward with a view was a difficult exercise and significant time and effort would be needed to consider how this could be achieved. However, it was felt that, wherever possible every effort should be made to engage across the wider community as Members had a duty to represent a broad section of the community and not get distracted by a minority view. Whilst it was recognised that instigating a ‘Champion’ to increase customer engagement would take a great deal of resource, the Audit Committee AGREED that officers should be encouraged to implement this in relevant service areas. The Audit Committee also felt that its wishes should be conveyed to the relevant Policy Development Group and that they should be asked to consider this in relation to their own remit with the aim of ensuring that future consultations be focused on risk / service improvement opportunity and be geographically representative.”
The Group received a RECOMMENDATION from the Audit Committee that the PDG considered the internal auditor’s recommendation that a Customer Engagement Champion was introduced by the Council.
The Chairman of the Audit Committee addressed the Group and explained that the overall remit of the Committee was risk which was not always about money but included health and safety and the Council’s reputation. He explained that internal audit had highlighted that the engagement process could be improved and that the Engagement Champions did not have to be officers but could be Members.
Members felt that the idea was good and a discussion took place about who would be best served to act as a Customer Engagement Champion. Members felt that the Leader, the Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and the Chairman of the Audit Committee would be best placed to make that decision.
The Group therefore endorsed the recommendation and AGREED that the Leader should consult with the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Cabinet Member for Community Well-Being to agree a way forward.
Identification of Items for the Next Meeting (01.05.12)
Members are asked to note that the following items are already identified in the work programme for the next meeting:
Performance & Risk
6 Month Leisure Update
Council Tax/Extreme Hardship
Use of CCTV Policy & Guidance
Note: This item is limited to 10 minutes. There should be no discussion on the items raised.
Recommendations from the Strategic Grants and SLA Programme Working Group to be presented at the next meeting.
Members requested that as part of the 6 month leisure update, the policy for allowing opposite sex children into changing rooms with their parents within Council run Leisure Centres be investigated.