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Disclosures of Interest and Whipping Declarations
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
Councillors must also declare if they are subject to their party group whip in relation to any items under consideration.
No disclosures or whipping of interests were made.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 25 June 2018.
The minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 25 June 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Public Question Time
To answer any questions or hear brief statements from the public which are relevant to the items on this agenda. The period will end after 15 minutes or later at the Chair’s discretion.
No questions from the public were asked.
To consider report CEX/48 of the Leader and the Chief Executive.
The Commission considered report CEX/48 with the Leader and Chief Executive. The report set out the Council’s Corporate Priorities for the period 2018 to 2022, and sets the strategic direction of the Council for the next four years, which is linked to the current administration’s manifesto, Transformation Plan and the Medium Term Financial Strategy.
Councillors made the following comments:
· Support for the work of neighbourhood forums, although it was acknowledged that there were different levels of engagement in various areas of the town.
· Clarity provided on delivering value for money and income generation opportunities.
· Recognition that work had commenced developing the organisation and staff, defining the culture and being clear about values and expectations.
· General support for the document, setting out the strategic direction as requested by officers, partners and residents. However, it was suggested by some Members that within Section 2 (Delivering affordable homes for Crawley and reducing homelessness) there should be an explicit reference to a Duty to Co-operate with other local authorities to deliver housing for CBC residents as reflected in the Local Plan, thus acknowledging the principle that local planning authorities should work collaboratively to ensure that strategic priorities across local authority boundaries are properly coordinated. It was suggested the Cabinet be requested to consider this addition.
That the Commission welcomed the report but requested the Cabinet incorporate explicit reference to a ‘Duty to Co-operate with other local authorities to ensure neighbouring authorities deliver our housing needs’within Section 2.
To consider report FIN/449 of the Head of Corporate Finance.
The Commission considered report FIN/449 with the Leader and Head of Corporate Finance. The report set out a summary of the council's actual revenue and capital spending for the quarter for June 2018 together with the main variations from the approved spending levels and impact on future budgets.
During the discussion, the following points were expressed:
· Confirmation that robust budget monitoring systems were in place. However there was an acknowledgement that there was a need to work more efficiently and develop new ways of working.
· Recognition of the five year business plan for Tilgate Park and Nature Centre currently underway, to result in a self-financing position by 2020/21. Support for other parks within the town to benefit from publicity and/or investment.
· Explanations were provided in relation to various costings within the HRA and capital programme, with particular reference to usage and costs of garages and also to individual ICT projects. It was recognised that due to the long timescale of capital projects the report provided a quarterly update, without specific detailing.
That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations to the Cabinet.
Councillor Peter Lamb has been invited to attend the Commission for a general discussion on the Leader’s Portfolio and duties. A copy of the Portfolio Holder’s responsibilities, as set out in the Council’s Constitution is attached.
The Commission noted the update given by Councillor Lamb and questioned him on a variety of issues relating to his portfolio and leadership of the Council.
The following topics were discussed:
· The nature of the different leadership roles operating in various models of governance.
· The Leader’s role is in accordance with legislation. Under the scheme of delegation, the Leader holds all responsibility for Cabinet functions and determines the scheme of delegation for the discharge of Cabinet functions, enabling and trusting Cabinet Members to support the council’s strategic direction.
· In recognising the rewarding work achieved, particularly in housing, it was also noted that challenges occasionally proved demanding and there was a desire to look long-term.
· With references made to civil contingencies, the Leader acknowledged the importance of reviewing the emergency and contingency plans to ensure they remained effective.
That the Overview and Scrutiny Commission thanked Councillor Lamb for attending and for the informative discussion that had ensued.
Forward Plan - and Provisional List of Reports for the Commission's following Meetings
To consider any requests for future items to be referred to the Commission.
The Commission confirmed the following reports:
24 September 2018
· Budget Strategy 2019/20 – 2023/24
· New Town Hall Update
· District Heat Network
19 November 2018
· Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2018-2019
· Public Space Protection Order – Car Cruising
· Three Bridges Improvement Scheme Final Design
4 February 2019
· Budget and Council Tax 2019-2020
· Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20
· Statement of Licensing Policy