Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny and Overview Committee - Tuesday, 9 June 2020 5.20 p.m.

Venue: Virtual meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Victoria Wallace  03450 450 500 Email: democratic.services@scambs.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence from committee members. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Nigel Cathcart and Judith Rippeth.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Grenville Chamberlain declared a non-pecuniary interest and informed the committee that his company owned two properties that were close to the North East Cambridge site.

 

Councillor Douglas de Lacey informed the committee that he had a non-pecuniary interest in relation to agenda item 11.

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 May 2020 as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record of the meeting, subject to political party names being removed. The committee agreed that rather than referring to a party title, only the name of the councillor would be referred to.

 

The committee was informed by the Vice Chair that the ICT documents requested by the committee at its March 2020 meeting, had been issued.

4.

Public Questions

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

5.

Resident Involvement Strategy 2020-2023 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the Resident Involvement Strategy, which the Head of Housing Strategy presented.

 

The Head of Housing Strategy set out the measures implemented to contact tenants and for tenant engagement to ensure tenants had a voice; the importance of which had been highlighted by Grenfell Tower.

 

Committee members considered and commented on the Resident Involvement Strategy which they welcomed.

 

Committee members were pleased to see that there would be tenant representative elections as this reflected what tenants had wanted. Members suggested that the methods and process for the tenant elections be considered carefully to ensure good representation. Officers informed the committee that this would be promoted as much as possible to generate interest from tenants and the tenant representative election process was explained.

 

The committee discussed whether an additional council member should be added to the Housing Board and agreed that this should remain at three councillors, but suggested there should be cross-party representation. 

 

The committee was informed by the Head of Housing Strategy that the Housing Board had a scrutiny function and this would be made clearer in the Resident Involvement Strategy.

 

The Resident Involvement Team Leader explained to the committee the process of recruitment of the Housing Board and informed the committee that one to one discussions would take place with tenants to try and identify potential members of the Board. Social media would also be used to encourage individuals to come forward as potential Board members. She explained that a lot of work would be needed to bring candidates forward.

 

Committee members suggested that a simplified version of the Resident Involvement Strategy be developed for tenants and leaseholders, which the Head of Housing Strategy agreed to investigate.

 

The Scrutiny and Overview suggested the strategy be reviewed after 12 months.

 

6.

North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Draft Plan for consultation (Regulation 18) pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader introduced the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP) which Planning Policy Officers presented.

 

Officers informed the committee of the following:

·       Officers explained the complexities, opportunities and development potential of the North East Cambridge Site.

·       The AAP was predicated on the relocation of the waste water treatment works.

·       The ambitious and forward looking vision for North East Cambridge, which would be consulted on. The emphasis was on creating a low carbon district with sustainability at its core.

·       Officers were looking at best practice in sustainable development both nationally and internationally, such as for example how different streets and spaces were managed in the Netherlands.

·       Officers informed the committee that the key principles of the AAP were planning for streets rather than roads and that the car was not being planned for as car use was being actively discouraged on the site. No additional parking spaces were being created and there would be much less parking per home than normal. This was unique in the UK. Officers were mindful of the risks of parking displacement  and were exploring parking enforcement for the site.

·       There would be a phased approach to development and parking reduction across the site.

·       The committee was informed that parking on the Science Park was significantly under-utilised and and officers were proposing it was reduced and dispersed across North East Cambridge. Officers were discussing this with the owners of the Science Park to negotiate relinquishing parking from their tenants.

·       Although a walkable, cyclable neighbourhood was being promoted, officers informed the committee that access to a vehicle was not being prevented as access to shared use vehicles and car barns was being considered. The infrastructure would be in place so residents did not need a car when they moved in to the development.

·       20,000 jobs would be created, which were in addition to the existing jobs within the AAP area.

·       There would be around 8000 homes with 40% affordable homes.

·       Land was safeguarded in case a secondary school was needed.

·       There was a strong emphasis on community, recreation and cultural facilities.

·       This was a unique opportunity to take advantage of the scale and location of the site.

·       A sense of place would be created through mixed use development. Officers wanted to ensure a lively mixed-use area was created, which went beyond the hours of 9am-5pm. The cultural place making strategy detailed this and would be available as part of the consultation.

·       North East Cambridge would contribute to the strategic needs reflected in the emerging joint Local Plan.

·       Chesterton Bridge would be a key cycle route to the site and provide access to the city rather than via Milton Road.

 

The committee considered and commented on the AAP:

 

·       Members congratulated officers on the aspirations of the AAP.

·       Committee members raised concern about shared use paths for cyclists and pedestrians and the potential conflict between users, particularly considering the increased use of electric bikes and scooters. Officers informed the committee that there would be segregated paths on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Quarterly Performance Report pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented the Quarter Four Operational Key Performance Indicator Report which the committee considered.

 

In response to concern raised by committee members regarding the amount spent on bed and breakfast accommodation, the Lead Cabinet Member informed the committee that this had increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Council would receive some housing benefit back from this.

 

Regarding the average call answer time KPI, committee members requested the figures included a standard deviation so that they were meaningful.

 

Committee members requested a report for the next committee meeting, on the impact of home working on the Council’s performance, productivity, staff wellbeing and the CO2 saved. The Chief Executive agreed to draft a report. The Chief Executive informed the committee that the Council had undertaken two staff surveys since staff had been working from home and this data would be shared in the report.

 

The Chief Executive informed the committee that based on the feedback from the staff surveys, experiences of working from home varied amongst staff with some enjoying working from home and working effectively doing so whereas others had found this more difficult for reasons such as having caring responsibilities. Others had also suffered through isolation. Staff had fed back that they had felt well supported at home and many would like to continue to work from home after the office had reopened.  

 

The Head of HR and Corporate Services informed the committee that staff sickness had been monitored throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time there had been a reduction in staff sickness. This could be due to the lack of spread of general germs as staff were working from home and due to staff playing less sport during lockdown. There was concern however that staff had been working when they were not well enough to do so, because there were at home. Managers were monitoring this.

 

The Chief Executive informed committee members that staff were remaining connected using Microsoft Teams on which they could call or chat with each other easily. Thought was being given to create informal spaces for staff to meet virtually and communicate informally.  

 

Committee members noted the report and commended staff for keeping services going during the Covid-19 pandemic.

8.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 109 KB

For the committee to consider its work programme which is attached with the Council’s draft Notice of forthcoming Key and Non Key Decisions. When considering items to add to its work programme, the committee is requested to use the attached Scrutiny Prioritisation Tool.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny and Overview Committee noted its work programme.

9.

To Note the Dates of Future Meetings

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 16th July 2020 at 5.20pm.

Minutes:

The next meeting would take place on Thursday 16th July 2020 at 5.20pm.

10.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The law allows Councils to consider a limited range of issues in private session without members of the Press and public being present. Typically, such issues relate to personal details, financial and business affairs, legal privilege and so on. In every case, the public interest in excluding the Press and Public from the meeting room must outweigh the public interest in having the information disclosed to them. 

 

The following statement will be proposed, seconded and voted upon. 

 

"I propose that the Press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item number 11 in accordance with Section 100(A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended)” .(Paragraph 3 relates to ‘information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)’.

 

If exempt (confidential) information has been provided as part of the agenda and the Scrutiny and Overview Committee chooses to discuss that information, the Press and public will not be able to view it, or to be present while it is being discussed.  There will be an explanation on the website however as to why the information is exempt.

 

 

Minutes:

The committee agreed that the Press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of agenda item 11 (Potential Property Investment Decision). This was in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) (exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act). Paragraph 3 refers to information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

11.

Potential Property Investment Decision

Report to follow.

Minutes:

Councillor Douglas de Lacey declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to this item and left the meeting before the item was discussed.

 

The Lead Cabinet Member for Finance presented the report which the committee discussed in detail in confidential session.

 

The Scrutiny and Overview Committee did not support Cabinet proceeding with this investment.