Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Monday, 11th March, 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.

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

F Guidera

Employment & Skills Programme 2019-2024

(Minute 4)

Personal Interest –

Recent employment with company who has contract with the Work and Health Programme

 

Councillor

P C Smith

Employment & Skills Programme 2019-2024

(Minute 4)

Personal Interest –

A Local Authority Director of the Manor Royal Business Improvement

District

 

Councillor

D Crow

Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel Final Report

(Minute 5)

Personal Interest –

Member of WSCC

 

 

Councillor

R A Lanzer

Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel Final Report

(Minute 5)

Personal Interest –

Member of WSCC

 

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To approve the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 4 February 2019.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 4 February 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to it being noted (with particular reference to item 5 - 2019/20 Budget and Council Tax) where there was a lack of commentary by the Commission and in this instance ‘no resolution’ undertaken to support the budget.  Whilst custom and practice for the council (and other authorities), it was noted to consider for future items.

 

3.

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.

 

4.

Employment & Skills Programme 2019-2024 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider report PES/313 of the Head of Economy of Planning.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report PES/313 with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development and the Head of Economy and Planning. The report provided a progress update since the original publication of the Employment & Skills Plan 2016-21 andsought approval of the draft, revised Employment & Skills Programme 2019-2024.

 

During the discussion, the following points were expressed:

·        Confirmation was provided regarding Employ Crawley, which operates differently from a private sector agency providing customers ensures customers can access one to one support from a single point of contact, advice about finding work and how to secure jobs, direct from employers.  It was noted that customers have individual needs and Employ Crawley assists with providing access to unique workshops and courses.

·        Support for the Town Centre Skills Academy Status designated by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for a range of regeneration schemes coming forward across the town centre.  The benefits of the partnership arrangements between the council, construction providers and Crawley College were recognised, together with the advantages of Employ Crawley being able to refer residents to the construction opportunities.

·        Support for the consolidation of training provision for professional services at Crawley College which would strength relationships between the college and town centre employers.

·        It was felt it would be beneficial to bring educational establishments and businesses together as this may assist in combatting some silo working.

·        Acknowledgement that there was a limited budget available to deliver the programme and this was a long term challenge.  It was paramount to deliver essential and achievable projects with existing funds.

·        There was strong support for both the successful STEMfest programme and the Big Bang fair.

·        It was noted it would be imperative that each aspect of the programme should be measured to gauge its progress including successes and failures.

·        Full support for the scheme however it was suggested that it would be beneficial for the Commission to receive an annual progress report.

 

RESOLVED

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

 

5.

Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel Final Report pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To consider report OSC/276 of the Chair of the Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel.

Minutes:

The Commission considered report OSC/276 of the Chair of the Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel, Councillor K Sudan. 

 

The Social Mobility Scrutiny Panel was established to “investigate the state of social mobility within the borough and practical steps which can be taken to ensure that a child’s outcomes are no longer capped “by those of their parents”. Its purpose was to analyse, review and understand a local (and national where appropriate) perspective on the extent of the problem, together with the main challenges in delivering greater social mobility and finally recommend practical steps that can be taken by Crawley Borough Council, and other relevant organisations, to improve the “life chances” of those growing up in the town. The review focused on where the Council could add value and influence.

 

Councillors made the following comments:

·        Whilst there was support for the report and appreciation of the Panel’s work, it was felt there were certain inconsistencies regarding some of the recommendations in terms of adding value or how these could be measured. To clarify, further information was provided in relation to alternative provision education for pupils up to age 16 who do not attend mainstream school, together the Fair Access and Exclusions Team that provide support.  There was a view that investing into an extended service post 16 in the interim would prevent intervention from other services and funding commitments in the future.

·        Acknowledgement that a response should be made to the Social Mobility Commission on how the social mobility index could be improved.  It was recognised that data can be collected and analysed in multiple ways. Many people succeed in life through different ventures (without going to university for example). (Note - ‘How to overcome local skills gaps and meet local skills needs in Crawley’ may provide one suitable reference).

·        It was noted that organisations that are Social Mobility Employers through Social Mobility Foundation act as benchmarks for others.

·        Support for improved careers advice, especially combined with the Junior Citizen Scheme. It was noted that recruitment agencies use screening processes with a reliance on only the qualified candidates moving on to the next round.

·        Recognition that it was about ensuring all individuals were aware of the choices available to them, whilst having the option to fulfil their objectives and “life chances” if they so wished. 

·        Strong support that “success” was individually determined, and not necessarily linked to monetary value, educational attainment, occupation, living conditions or being socially mobile. In some cases, ‘success’ could simply be linked to “being content”.

 

RESOLVED

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

 

6.

Cabinet Member Discussion with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Councillor Peter Smith has been invited to attend the Commission for a general discussion on the Planning and Economic Development Portfolio and their duties.  A copy of the Cabinet Member’s responsibilities, as set out in the Council’s Constitution is attached.

 

Minutes:

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

 

The following topics were discussed: 

·        With reference made to the Three Bridges corridor and improvement scheme, it was confirmed that the Eastern Access point still remained within the programme and that work was still progressing. It was anticipated that a report would be produced for Cabinet in June.

·        Regarding Conservation Areas there were currently 11 conservation areas within the town designated because they were areas of special architectural or historic interest. Councillor Smith was keen to see the preservation of heritage.

·        Support for encouraging the promotion of cycling. The Crawley Growth Programme has assisted in improving some cycle routes but it was acknowledged that alternative options were required to transform additional routes within the town.

·        Discussions took place around the potential for a Town Centre BID and the improvements and benefits this could bring for businesses, employees and the area.

·        Whilst the position has resulted in successfully being able to bring the Crawley Growth Programme together, the function also brought with it interesting challenges.

 

RESOLVED

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

7.

Chair's Update on the Relocation of Crawley's Crown Post Office

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.  As part of this, it called upon the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the issue.  The Chair has since invited representatives to attend a meeting of the Commission to provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of the impact of the changes and for Members to scrutinise the decision in sufficient detail. 

 

Commission Members are asked to note the update provided by the Chair.

 

 

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.  As part of this, it called upon the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the issue.  The Chair has since invited representatives to attend a meeting of the Commission to provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of the impact of the changes. 

 

The Chair updated the Commission that following this representatives from Post Office Ltd have agreed to attend a meeting of the OSC in June. This later attendance will allow a better reflection on the relocation and allow the Commission Members the opportunity to scrutinise in sufficient detail. 

 

Whilst some Members felt delegates from WHSmith should be invited to attend the meeting of the Commission to convey their experience, other Members felt that the consultation and decision notice was coordinated by Post Office Ltd and consequently the information could be communicated by those already invited representatives.

 

The Chair called for a vote on whether to invite WHSmith to attend the meeting of the Commission.  With the vote being 6 for the proposal, 6 against the proposal and 1 abstention, the Chair used their casting vote, which was against for the proposal.

 

The proposal (to invite WHSmith to attend the meeting of the Commission) was therefore lost.

 

RESOLVED

That the Commission noted the update provided by the Chair and acknowledged that Post Office Ltd representatives would be attending a meeting of the Commission in June.

 

8.

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

Determine Grant applications for 2019/20 and Grants budget

(Delegated)

20/02/2019

21/03/2019

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

Determine Grant applications for 2020/21 and Grants budget

(Delegated)

20/02/2019

23/03/2020

 

Minutes:

The Commission confirmed the following reports:

 

24 June 2019

Treasury Management Outturn 2018-2019

Three Bridges Improvement Scheme Final Design

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

 

23 September 2019

Budget Strategy 2020/21 – 2024/25

 

25 November 2019

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review 2019/2020