Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 4th February, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room A & B - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@crawley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Update on the Closure of Crawley's Crown Post Office

Minutes:

At the Full Council meeting on 12 December 2018, the Council considered a notice of motion on the closure of Crawley’s Crown Post Office.  It called on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the issue.  The Chair updated the Commission that a letter had been issued to representatives of the Post Office requesting their attendance at the meeting of the Commission in March.  Whilst some Members felt delegates from WHSmith should also be invited to attend, the majority of the Commission felt that the consultation and decision notice was coordinated by Post Office Ltd. Consequently attendance by Post Office key stakeholders would be important and beneficial to gain an understanding of the impact of the changes and further insight into the decision. An update would be provided at the Commission’s next meeting.

2.

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.

 

Minutes:

The following disclosures were made:

 

Councillor

Item and Minute

Type and Nature of Disclosure

 

Councillor

R A Lanzer

Allocating Monies Collected Through Community Infrastructure Levy – Infrastructure Business Plan 2019/20

(Minute 8)

Personal Interest –

Member of WSCC

 

 

 

Councillor

S Malik

 

Impact and Implementation of the Deregulation Act 2015

(Minute 10)

 

Personal Interest –

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire

Driver

 

Councillor

R A Lanzer

Cabinet Member Discussion with the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability

(Minute 11)

Personal Interest –

Member of WSCC

 

 

 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 7 January 2019.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 7 January 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to an amendment in relation to item 4 (Update on The Hawth Management Contract). It had been confirmed that Opera North secured Arts Council funding in the past but only for specific projects not standard performances taking place in Crawley.

 

 

4.

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.

 

Minutes:

No questions from the public were asked.

 

5.

2019/20 Budget and Council Tax pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To consider report FIN/462 of the Head of Corporate Finance.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report FIN/462 with the Leader of the Council, Head of Corporate Finance and the Chief Accountant.  The Council has a statutory responsibility to set a Council Tax and Budget in advance of the commencement of the new financial year. The Council Tax has to be set by 11 March, each year.  During 2018 the Council continued to review its spending plans and considered options to amend spending to meet new priorities.

 

During the discussion, the following points were expressed:

·        Confirmation that the report set out proposed growth elements and capital programme schemes, along with efficiencies, savings, latest investment interest projections and additional income being proposed.

·        Appreciation that the Budget Strategy 2019/20-2023/24 had taken on board the Commission’s recommendation that prioritisation should not preclude the initial consideration of capital projects that could deliver social value.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission supported the recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

6.

Treasury Management Strategy 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

To consider report FIN/464 of the Head of Corporate Finance.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report FIN/464 of the Head of Corporate Finance on the Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/2020 which the Council was required to approve before the start of the financial year in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management and the Council’s financial regulations.

 

During the discussion with the Leader of the Council, Head of Corporate Finance and Chief Accountant, Councillors made the following comments:

·        Confirmation that the policy of investing according to the principles of security, liquidity, yield and ethical remains.

·        Acknowledgement that there had been a great deal of uncertainty within the economy.

·        Recognition that diversifying into property can be worthwhile in terms of investment.  However there was an acknowledgement that there may be a need to be more creative in the future.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

7.

Capital Strategy 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To consider report FIN/467 of the Head of Corporate Finance.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report FIN/467 of the Head of Corporate Finance on the Capital Strategy for 2019/2020, which forms part of the Council's integrated revenue, capital and balance sheet planning.  In order to demonstrate that the Council takes capital expenditure and investment decisions in line with service objectives and properly takes account of stewardship, value for money, prudence, sustainability and affordability, the Council should have in place a capital strategy that sets out the long-term context in which capital expenditure and investment decisions are made and gives due consideration to both risk and reward and impact on the achievement of priority outcomes.

 

During the discussion with the Leader of the Council, Head of Corporate Finance and Chief Accountant, the following points were expressed:

·        CIPFA now requires all local authorities to prepare a new Capital Strategy which sets out how the council will manage the investment and financing of capital resources.

·        Support for the work undertaken to compile the Capital Strategy report. 

·        Commission Members commended officers from the Finance Team for their continued excellent work.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

 

8.

Allocating Monies Collected Through Community Infrastructure Levy - Infrastructure Business Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider report PES/302 of the Head of Economy and Planning.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report PES/302 of the Head of Economy and Planning. The report sought approval for the Community Infrastructure Levy Infrastructure Business Plan 2019/20 and to further extend the Crowdfunding pilot.

 

During the discussion with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Head of Economy and Planning and the Regeneration Programme Officer, Councillors made the following comments:

·        Support for the Crowdfunding platform, however it was recommended that an equivalent offline version should be made available to maximise use.

·        Acknowledgement that liaison took place with Community Development together with local organisations to assist in capacity building and promotion of the scheme.

·        Commission Members were pleased to hear that the Spacehive template was being reviewed in light of feedback.

·        It was recommended that training took place to assist in gaining an understanding of the scheme.

·        Clarity provided regarding eligibility criteria and scoring.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

9.

Review of Statement of Licensing Policy made under the Licensing Act 2003 pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To consider report HCS/08 of the Head of Community Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered report HCS/08 of the Head of Community Services. The report sought approval for the Statement of Licensing Policy for the next five years. 

 

During the discussion with the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability and the Environmental Health Manager, the following points were expressed:

·        Confirmation that the only response received following the consultation on the proposed draft policy was from Public Health at WSCC.

·        Support for a Cumulative Impact Policy to be considered next year. Confirmation that this would need to be evidence based in partnership with Public Health, where there is data that the concentration of licensed premises in an area (or town) is negatively impacting on the licensing objectives.

·        Acknowledgement that the Public Space Protection Order had been successful in various areas of the town.

·        Confirmation provided regarding film classification and licensing.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission agreed to support the recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

10.

Impact and implementation of the Deregulation Act 2015 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To consider report HCS/11 of the Head of Community Services.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report HCS/11 with the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability and Environmental Health Manager.   

 

Under the Scrutiny Procedure Rules, it was requested that an update report be provided to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the management and delivery of the Deregulation Act with regards to taxi licensing. The report outlined the information available together with the actions being undertaken at a national level plus the legislation currently being progressed through Parliament and provided reassurance that work was progressing to address concerns raised.

 

During the discussion, the following points were expressed: 

·        Confirmation provided regarding the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing together with the Licensing of Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill 2017-19 which is currently going through Parliament.

·        Other authorities who issue licences to the trade may have different standards to those in place in Crawley.  This may mean that vehicles may not be up to locally adopted high standards with regards to quality or public safety controls.

·        Clarification provided regarding the private hire vehicle operators at Gatwick Airport. 

·        Support for the current high standards adopted locally within Crawley, with particular reference to the livery.  It was noted that a decline in standards could affect public safety. 

·        Clarification provided with regards to the current subcontracted bookings process together with the Government’s proposed amendment to the legislation. 

 

RESOLVED

That the contents of the report be noted.  The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and Environmental Health Manager for their contribution and attendance at the Commission.

 

11.

Cabinet Member Discussion with the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Councillor Geraint Thomas has been invited to attend the Commission for a general discussion on the Environmental Services and Sustainability Portfolio and his duties.  A copy of the Portfolio Holder’s responsibilities, as set out in the Council’s Constitution is attached.

 

Minutes:

The Commission noted the update given by Councillor Thomas and questioned him on a variety of issues relating to his portfolio.

 

The following topics were discussed: 

·        With references made to the membership of outside bodies and in particular the Patrol Adjudication Committee (Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London), it was noted the Council had not appeared to have submitted annual reports to PATROL recently (along with many other local authorities). It may be beneficial to follow up for a later submission.

·        Concerns raised regarding the amount of cigarette ends and chewing gum in Queens Square, along with the litter outside cafeterias.  It was acknowledged that Community Wardens cover the town centre, along with the Central Patch Team.  Confirmation would take place surrounding the requirements of the cafeterias in the Square.

·        Discussions took place around the current air quality within the town.  Members were reminded about the Air Quality Management Plan already in existence.

·        Concerns were expressed about the collection rates of the dog bins within the borough.

·        Recognition that the waste and recycling contract was due for renewal in 2021 and it would be important to consider a number of options.

·        Discussion took place on how to increase Crawley’s recycling rates but welcomed news that Crawley has 12th best figures in England for low waste production.

·        Support for encouraging the promotion of cycling and walking.  It would be beneficial to “legitimise” footpath cycling similar to those already taken place as shared footpaths in areas of the town and along coastal resort promenades.

 

RESOLVED

            That the Overview and Scrutiny Commission thanked Councillor Thomas for attending and for the informative discussion that had ensued.

 

12.

Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC)

To receive a brief update on the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC).  The most recent meeting was 16 January.

Minutes:

Councillor Belben was unable to attend the HASC meeting on 16 January 2019. The agenda and minutes feature on the HASC website.

 

13.

Forward Plan - and Provisional List of Reports for the Commission's following Meetings

To consider any requests for future items. Those highlighted items have been referred to the Commission.

 

Title

Notice

published

Decision due

Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel Final Report

05/10/2018

13/03/2019

Employment and Skills Plan Update

01/10/2018

13/03/2019

Irrecoverable Debts 2018/2019 (Over £50,000)

14/02/2018

13/03/2019

Proposed Article 4 Directions for Main Employment Areas

15/01/2019

13/03/2019

Treasury Management Outturn 2018-2019

13/11/2018

26/06/2019

Three Bridges Station Improvement Final Design

10/04/2018

26/06/2019

Financial Outturn 2018-2019 (Quarter 4)

13/11/2018

26/06/2019

Energy Services Company (ESCo) Set Up & Governance - District Heat Network

19/11/2018

26/06/2019

Energy Procurement Contract Arrangements

08/01/2019

26/06/2019

Budget Strategy 2020/21 – 2024/25

13/11/2018

25/09/2019

2019/2020 Budget Monitoring – Quarter 1

13/11/2018

25/09/19

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2019/2020

13/11/2018

27/11/2019

2019/2020 Budget Monitoring – Quarter 2

13/11/2018

27/11/2019

Budget Strategy Mid-Year Review

13/11/2018

27/11/2019

2020/2021 Budget and Council Tax

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

Treasury Management Strategy 2020-21

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

Capital Strategy 2020/2021

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

2019/2020 Budget Monitoring – Quarter 3

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

Irrecoverable Debts 2019/20 (over £50,000)

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

Calculation of Council Tax Base – for purposes of setting level of Council Tax for 2020/2021

(Delegated)

13/11/2018

Not before 01/12/2019

Calculation of the Non-Domestic Rates income for year 2020/21

(Delegated)

13/11/2018

Not before 01/01/2020

Irrecoverable Debts 2019-2020 (Under £50,000)

(Delegated)

13/11/2018

05/02/2020

 

 

Minutes:

The Commission confirmed the following reports:

 

11 March 2019

·         Employment and Skills Plan Update

·         Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel Final Report