Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 28th July 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: via Zoom (meeting ID and password to be circulated)

Contact: Helen Johnson 

Items
No. Item

1.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

To note any substitution of Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

There were no substitutions.

 

2.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

 

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor P.Zukowskyj and Councillor L.Chesterman both declared a non-pecuniary interest by virtue of them being Hertfordshire County Councillors.

 

4.

SCRUTINY ON ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR pdf icon PDF 466 KB

To receive a report from the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the findings of the Social and Overview Scrutiny Sub-Committee on Anti-Social Behaviour.

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) set out the findings of the former Social Overview and Scrutiny Committee (SOSC) sub-committee on anti-social behaviour.

 

The scrutiny had started in March 2019 and with the election, purdah and Covid-19 promoting delay.

 

The report set out the scope of the scrutiny, aims and objectives and findings. 

 

Members noted that: 

 

  • ASB was “very low” and there was a higher prevalence of ASB in Welwyn Garden City than Hatfield.
  • It was not easy to ascertain if ASB was committed by young or old people due to the limitations of police data.
  • Perpetrators might not always be resident in borough and could come as far as London.  Welwyn Garden City was an attractive place for young people with good public transport connectivity, a relatively safe public realm, free Wi-Fi and fast food outlets and the Howard centre. It was understood that young people want to feel safe themselves.
  • There was a fair spread of youth diversionary activities between Welwyn and Hatfield, however those delivered by organisations such as the borough Council and County Council were more targeted for those demonstrating vulnerabilities compared to those delivered by non-statutory organisations.
  • There could be a gap in provision as there was a lot of sport orientated activity which did not appeal to everyone.
  • The scrutiny panel found that Council teams were doing an excellent job in providing youth diversionary activities.
  • From March 2021, a one off increase of £50K would be added to the budget for youth provision and they wanted to ensure that the recommendations from the scrutiny report influenced how that budget was spent.  Suggestions were to support KGV Wheels Park and the voluntary sector as well.

 

Members welcomed the report and the following points were raised:

 

·         It was suggested that the Youth Council or Hertfordshire County Council could help in finding out how best to communicate with young people, so they could access information about youth activities. 

·         The sub-committee did look at ASB case load and response time for cases reported and it was felt that resources were sufficient if the level of ASB in the borough remained the same.

·         Members were concerned about the level of ASB at King George V park and Moneyhole Playing Fields, and the possibility of further police monitoring.  Officers advised that the important message was for the public to report incidents to the police. The police could then look at potential hotspots and decide how to deploy their limited resources on a daily basis.

·         The Positive Pathways project, which was unique to Welwyn Hatfield and funded by Youth Connections and WHBC, engaged young people positively away from negative behaviours. The Executive Member, Regeneration, Economic Development and Partnerships advised that the Streetwardens were doing more calls to hotspots.

·         Some Members commented that the report would have been more complete had it included detailed mapping on ASB activities and free youth provision across the borough, in particular the correlation between youth activities and ASB hotspots, such as Welwyn  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

DRAFT SCRUTINY SCORING MATRIX pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To consider the draft Scrutiny Scoring Matrix – a mechanism to help the Committee decide whether an issue is of sufficient value to warrant the commissioning of a Scrutiny Task and Finish Panel (T&P).

Minutes:

 

 Members considered the draft Scrutiny Scoring Matrix – a mechanism to help the Committee decide whether an issue was of sufficient value to warrant the commissioning of a Scrutiny Task and Finish Panel (T&P) or single scrutiny event. A scoring matrix as a tool to assist Members was suggested by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and went to the Constitution Review Group last week for comment.

 

During discussion the following points were made:

 

  • If an issue was low priority then information could be added to the Member Information Hub on MS Teams.
  • Having the question of resources as one of the criteria ought to be removed from the matrix, although it could still be considered at the time.
  • It could be difficult to ascertain the level of public interest in an issue.

 

AGREED:

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agree that Officers rework the draft Scrutiny Scoring Matrix and circulate to Committee members for further comment and agreement following the meeting and prior to the next meeting of the Committee on 2 September 2020. 

6.

SCOPING DOCUMENT FOR SCRUTINY TASK AND FINISH PANELS pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To discuss the proposed draft Scrutiny Scoping Document. This would be used by Scrutiny Task and Finish Panels (T&Ps) to define the focus of their scope and plan for its delivery.

Minutes:

To discuss the proposed draft Scrutiny Scoping Document. This would be used by Scrutiny Task and Finish Panels (T&Ps) to define the focus of their scope and plan for the delivery of the scrutiny.

 

Officers confirmed to Members that they were confident that Task and Finish Panels could still be completed in the time frame of two-three months as outlined in the new scrutiny arrangements. The time limit of a scrutiny would be added to the scoping document.

 

It was agreed that the draft scoping document would be further amended and circulated to Members for agreement prior to the next meeting of the Committee in September.

 

 

7.

DRAFT AGENDA TEMPLATE FOR SCRUTINY TASK AND FINISH PANELS pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To consider the draft agenda template for Scrutiny Task and Finish Panels (T&Ps).

Minutes:

Members considered the draft agenda template for Scrutiny Task and Finish Panels (T&Ps).

 

Members thanked Officers for their work.  It was agreed that the advice from the Centre of Public Scrutiny had been taken on board and the template could evolve as experience with the new scrutiny arrangements develops.

 

            AGREED:

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agree to the agenda template for Scrutiny Task and Finish Panels (T&Ps).

 

 

8.

COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider the draft Committee’s work programme. The work programme enables forward planning of items to be considered to take place.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the draft Committee’s work programme. The work programme enabled forward planning of items to be considered to take place. In addition, the Forward Plan was attached to assist members in considering items for pre-decision scrutiny.

 

Statutory Scrutiny

 

Officers confirmed that there were two statutory items to be considered by the Committee annually – those on health and crime and disorder.   These would be highlighted on the work programme in the future.

 

Budget setting scrutiny

 

The Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services)   briefed Members on proposals for budget setting scrutiny which were agreed by the Constitution Review Group the previous week. Previously budget proposals would go to ROSC and then Special Cabinet in late January before draft proposals were then considered by Full Council.        It was proposed that a Task and Finish Panel (T&P) be set up in September 2020 to look at 2021 – 2024 Corporate Plan and budget proposals. Findings would be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 13 January 2021 in time for comments and recommendations to be considered by Special Cabinet in late January 2021.

 

 

Members queried what would happen to the quarterly finance reports that were previously presented at Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee (ROSC).  Officers clarified that all reports that had previously gone to the three scrutiny committees for noting (including ROSC) would go on the Member Information Hub on MS teams. Members could contact Officers at any time with regards to these matters which were more operational than strategic.

 

Reviewing implementations from scrutiny

 

Members were keen that implementations from recommendations from scrutiny were reviewed as a point of practice.  Officers confirmed that this would be the case as feedback from scrutiny reviews would be a standard item on the OSC agenda.  The agenda template for future OSC meetings would be circulated to Members prior to the next meeting in September.

 

Forward Plan

 

Officers highlighted that the Forward Plan would be attached to the OSC agenda for each meeting for constant consideration by members in terms of pre-decision scrutiny.

 

 

Suggestions for scrutiny

 

Council Taxi Support Scheme

Members suggested considering the Council Tax Support Scheme which was due to go to Cabinet in November 2020.  The Chair and Vice-Chairs agreed that they would discuss this outside of the meeting with the Corporate Director Resources, Environment and Cultural Services).

 

Housing Maintenance

Members enquired as to the follow up of the motion passed at Council on Housing Maintenance.  The Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) confirmed that they had provided performance data and there was an opportunity for questioning at the Cabinet Housing Panel (CHP) which was the appropriate forum for the issue.

 

Equalities

Equalities had been a suggested item on the work programme. Members agreed that this was of particular public interest. The Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) clarified that the Council had a statutory responsibility to publish information annually on compliance with equalities.  This information however would go on the Member Information Hub.  Members could then choose a particular area  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.