Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny and Overview Committee - Monday, 6 June 2022 5.20 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - South Cambs Hall. View directions

Contact: Ian Senior  01954 713000 Email:


No. Item


Chair's announcements


The Chair made several brief housekeeping announcements.


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence from committee members. 


Councillor Libby Earle sent apologies.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To authorise the Chair to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2022 as a correct record.


Those Members present, who were present at the previous meeting of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee on 3 March 2022, authorised the Chair to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of that meeting subject to noting that Councillor Dr. Martin Cahn attended part of the meeting (the latter part) remotely.


Public Questions

If you would like to ask a question or make a statement, then please refer to the


Document called Public Speaking Scheme (Physical Meetings)


and contact the Scrutiny and Governance Adviser in Democratic Services by no later than 11.59pm three clear working days before the meeting (Friday 27 May).


Mr. Daniel Fulton of the Fews Lane Consortium will make a statement regarding the Scrutiny and Overview Committee’s Work Programme.


The Chair invited Daniel Fulton of the Fews Lane Consortium to make a statement about the scope of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee’s work programme.


Following a short introduction, Mr. Fulton said that South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee should focus on matters where it could best impact the Council’s decision -making process. He encouraged those present, and especially the committee Chair, Vice-Chair and Scrutiny and Governance Adviser,  to consider attending the meeting of Cambridge City Council’s scrutiny committee later in June. Mr. Fulton explained that the City Council had a very different approach to scrutiny and a very different approach to public engagement within the scrutiny process.


Mr. Fulton observed that the work programme attached to the current agenda was largely empty. He said that there had been a tendency in the past to fill up the work programme with matters where the Executive was unlikely to change course regardless of feedback from the Scrutiny and Overview Committee. The Committee might want to consider revising the Scrutiny prioritisation tool and focus its attention on matters where it could most clearly have an impact.  Mr. Fulton said that scrutiny was not limited to Executive decisions but also applied to operational matters.


The Chair thanked Mr. Fulton for his presentation and assured him that the work programme would be kept under constant review.


Quarter 4 Performance report pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Additional documents:


The Scrutiny and Overview Committee considered a report about the Council’s Quarter 4 position regarding its operational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and 2020-25 Business Plan actions.


Noting the Committee’s role as a ‘critical friend’, Councillor Sue Ellington said that the Cabinet should monitor the effectiveness of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and, where necessary, modify them so that they provide more information and greater explanation, and identify in a more transparent way those issues that need to be addressed.


At Councillor Ellington’s request, Stephen Kelly, Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development, added some explanation of PN511 (percentage of non-major applications determined within eight weeks or agreed timeline (two-year reporting period cumulative)). Councillor Ellington said that consideration should be given to reallocating resources so as to improve this KPI to the benefit of residents.


In response to a question from Councillor Anna Bradnam about AH212 (Bed and Breakfast costs), Councillor John Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, informed the Committee that a substantial part of the increased expenditure necessary during the past two years had been met by benefits received and by Covid grants made by Central Government.


Councillor Graham Cone referred to AH204 (percentage of tenants satisfied with responsive repairs) and urged Cabinet to make sure that the KPI was not just a quantitative data set, but gathered information so that the Council could identify why tenants were either satisfied or dissatisfied.


Referring to SF786a (staff sickness), Councillor Cone hoped that the concept of health care ‘MOTs’ would become firmly embedded and that more staff would be encouraged to take advantage of them. Moving on, he noted the improved record in resolving complaints across the Authority.


Turning to CC307 (Average call answer time), Councillor Ellington observed that callers to the Contact Centre whose queries had to be transferred to the ‘back office’ sometimes found themselves talking to an answering machine. In reply, Councillor Bridget Smith, Leader of the Council, referred to CC302 and CC303 which showed that the proportion of calls answered first time and resolved by the Contact Centre was in excess of 80%.


Councillor Dr. Martin Cahn asked whether there was a particular reason for the improvement in FS125 (staff sickness). The Leader of the Council suggested one reason might be the rapid increase in the number of people working from home meaning they were less likely to catch infections or pass them on to others.


Councillor Stephen Drew asked what kind of external factors might impact on FS104 (percentage National Non-Domestic Rates collected. Peter Maddock, Head of Finance, said that the main challenges were inflation and the cost of living.


Councillor Drew also wanted to know what the reason was for AH211 (average days to relet) falling short of target. Councillor John Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, explained that the KPI was based on ‘key to key’ and, with an increase in first-time refusals, delays were inevitable for example because of the need to re-advertise.


Referring to the Business Plan and D2 (Review recruitment processes to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


Members engaged in a brief discussion and noted that the Chair and Vice-Chair would be discussing the early development of a work programme on 8 June 2022.


To note the dates of future meetings

The next two scheduled Scrutiny and Overview Committee meetings are on


·       Thursday 23 June 2022

·       Tuesday 26 July 2022


each at 5.20pm.


The Scrutiny and Overview Committee noted that its next two scheduled meetings were on


  • Thursday 23 June 2022 at 5.20pm
  • Tuesday 26 July 2022 at 5.20pm


Award of Contract for Responsive & Void Repairs, Heating Servicing & Maintenance, Cyclical and Planned Works pdf icon PDF 534 KB

The Scrutiny and Overview Committee is requested to consider and comment upon the attached draft report to Cabinet.


The Scrutiny and Overview Committee considered the draft Cabinet report detailing the process followed in re-procure the contract for the Responsive and Void Repairs, Heating Servicing and Maintenance, Cyclical and Planned Works.


Councillor Anna Bradnam was pleased to note that there was a commitment to recognise the Council’s ‘Green to our Core’ objective by transitioning towards the installation of environmentally friendly energy facilities in new-build properties.


Members explored in detail the nature of the scoring process and were satisfied that it had been fair and thorough.


The Committee noted that the aspiration was to conduct a comprehensive stock condition survey in due course, and that Members would be involved as appropriate. Members noted that improvements would not usually affect rent levels but were reminded that a higher rent would be charged where properties so improved achieved an Energy Performance Certificate of Bands A or B (that is, the two highest energy efficiency ratings). However, the higher rent would only be charged when properties were relet, and would not apply to existing tenants.


Confidential Appendix to item 9: Award of Contract for Responsive & Void Repairs, Heating Servicing & Maintenance, Cyclical and Planned Works


Members noted the contents of this document without debate.