Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions
Contact: James Dearling Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members
The Committee was advised of apologies from the Councillors Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Partnerships, Planning and Regeneration, Graham Ellwood, Lead Councillor for Licensing, Environmental Health, and Community Safety, Nils Christiansen, Matt Sarti, and Pauline Searle.
Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.
If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.
Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.
There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.
To confirm the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 13 November 2018.
The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 13 November 2018 were approved.
The Audit and Business Improvement Manager introduced a report on the potential risks and impact of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. The Committee was advised that the risks had been assessed on the basis of a no agreement scenario.
In response to questions from the Committee, a number of clarifications and responses were offered:
· With reference to partnership working, the Committee was advised that Surrey County Council had not shared its risk analysis of Brexit. The Council was liaising with Surrey Resilience Forum group which included county council representatives.
· The Council has approximately 70 non-UK EU citizens on its staff and an overall workforce of about 700.
· Committee members supported the Council paying the settlement scheme application costs of the non-UK EU citizens working at the Council and their families.
· The Council was preparing a communications plan and actions to inform residents about the potential local impact and implications of leaving the EU. The Audit and Business Improvement Manager confirmed that the Council had sufficient staff to handle such communications.
· Members queried the effects of an economic downturn caused by Brexit on Council investments in commercial property and the housing targets within the Local Plan.
· The Committee members requested that the subject return for discussion once the direction of Brexit was clearer.
The Chairman thanked the Audit and Business Improvement Manager for attending and answering questions.
Lead Councillor Question Session
A question session with the Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Partnerships, Planning and Regeneration. Councillor Paul Spooner’s areas of responsibility:
Overarching responsibility for Strategic Vision, Partnerships, Planning Policy and Regeneration
o Political and Corporate Vision
o Delivery of Political Priorities
o Corporate Plan
o Economic Strategy
o Budget Strategy
o Human Resources
o Council Performance
o Planning Policy and Local Plan
o S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy
o Assets of Community Value
o Neighbourhood and Parish Plans
o Town Centre Master Plan
oSlyfield Area Regeneration Project
o North Street Partnership
o Bedford Wharf
o Spectrum Regeneration
o Heritage Strategy
o Rural Heritage
o Key Stakeholder Engagement
o Local Enterprise Partnerships
o Government Funding
o Local Government Association
o Guildford-Surrey Board
o Special Events and Competitions in the Borough
o Guildford Corporate Citizens Charter
o Honours Committee
Communications and Engagement:
o Liaison with Parish Councils and Residents’ Associations
o Media and Social Media
o Public Relations
o Web presence
The question session with the Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Partnerships, Planning and Regeneration was deferred until the Committee’s March meeting.
The Lead Councillor for Skills, Arts, and Tourism introduced the item, providing a brief overview of the seventh contract year. The Committee was advised that 2017-18 produced a record surplus that resulted in over £63k being returned to the Council.
The Lead Councillor for Skills, Arts, and Tourism informed the Committee that the KPIs within the contract were based on an unopen venue and had been found to be of limited value compared with actual performance data. The meeting was advised that the KPIs relating to catering and hospitality in particular varied from the targets set.
The meeting was advised that the members of the Scrutiny sub-group that had considered the G-Live annual report in detail were unable to attend that evening, although their conclusions were summarised in the report submitted to the Committee. Members of the Committee commended the method of scrutinising through the sub-group.
With reference to any future contract or procurement, Committee members questioned the split between the Council and the contractor of any surplus generated and suggested the ratio should be more beneficial to the Council. The Leisure Service Manager agreed that the Council should be expecting an improvement in any future surplus split arrangements, subject to the outcome of any procurement process.
The Committee was advised that the procurement process and the decision about the running of the G-Live should be settled, with an agreement in place, at least one year before the end of the current contract. The Leisure Services Manager suggested that if full procurement was required the process should start April 2019. He indicated that the contract would require full review, rather than just changes to targets for KPIs.
The Committee was informed that Hillsong Church block-booked Sundays at G-Live but the Church had previously been flexible and had enabled local community events to be staged on Sundays when requested.
The Leisure Services Manager stated that comparing the monthly breakdowns of revenue and overheads as reported in the G-Live annual report would be misleading if considered in isolation, and cumulative totals were a better way to monitor the financial aspects of the contract.
The Chairman thanked the Lead Councillor for Skills, Arts, and Tourism and the Leisure Services Manager for attending and answering questions.
RESOLVED: That the Annual Report and monitoring arrangements for the operation of the G-Live contract, 2018-19, be submitted to the January 2020 meeting of the Committee.
The Regulatory Services Manager summarised the annual progress report on the Air Quality Strategy 2017-22, submitted to the Committee. The meeting was advised of progress against the air quality strategy work plan.
The Committee was informed that the Guildford Joint Committee would take the lead in decision-making around air quality, with the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee remaining the primary forum for scrutiny.
The Committee was advised of the Clean Air Strategy 2019 published the previous day by the Government.
In response to a question, the Regulatory Services Manager advised that the options for tackling air quality at Compton were being modelled and would be presented to the Guildford Joint Committee. Modelling of particulate pollution for the county would soon be complete and a decision would then be taken about whether to verify this through monitoring.
The Committee was advised that an Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy would be progressed by the Guildford Joint Committee contributing to a county-wide charging strategy.
The Regulatory Services Manager advised that the possible installation of green screens was being explored by Council officers, the University of Surrey, and the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
The suggestion was put forward that Surrey Air Alliance become a statutory consultee on planning applications.
The Regulatory Services Manager confirmed that it was hoped the Council would be able to participate in an anti idling project around schools next year.
RESOLVED: That the Committee continue to monitor the Council’s Air Quality Strategy.
With reference to a report submitted to the Committee, the Policy and Partnerships Manager provided an update on the implementation of the action plan arising from the Corporate Peer Challenge undertaken by the Local Government Association (LGA) in 2017. In addition, the Committee was advised of the LGA’s 12 month follow up visit and feedback report.
In response to a question, members were advised that a revised Town Centre Regeneration Strategy document should be commissioned within the next couple of months. The Policy and Partnerships Manager indicated that a report on the process of producing the document and related consultation would be considered by the relevant Executive Advisory Board. The Managing Director indicated that he understood requests for production of the document to be a priority.
Members were informed that capacity issues within the Major Projects Team noted by the LGA in 2017 had now been addressed. In reply to questioning, the Policy and Partnerships Manager indicated that a reported lack of clarity on which Lead Councillor was leading on each corporate priority would be considered following the outcome of the May local elections.
The Chairman indicated that the areas for development and improvement suggested by the Peer Review Challenge would be ongoing matters and likely to return to the Committee in the future. She thanked the Policy and Partnerships Manager for attending and answering questions.
To agree the draft Overview and Scrutiny work programme.
The Committee considered a report setting out the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2019.
The Committee was updated on recent changes to the programme: the addition of the Woodbridge Road Sports Pavilion Refurbishment Project to July; the re-scheduling of the item on traveller encampments to June; the probable consideration of the food poverty task group report in March; and the probable re-scheduling of the emergency planning item to April.