To receive an update from Cllr Brunt, Leader of the Council, and to consider any issues that arise.
The Committee received a presentation from Councillor M.A. Brunt, Leader of the Council, on his leadership priorities, Council initiatives and projects undertaken during the year to date, future challenges facing the Council, and future engagement with the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Leader identified that his initial leadership priorities included housing delivery, championing residents’ issues, the development of the Council’s new Corporate Plan, increasing engagement and trust with Members, and improved communication.
It was noted that the Council was seeking to support the provision of affordable housing for those in need of it within the borough, in addition to its existing commitment to address homelessness. It was identified that there were a number of issues facing residents, such as potential reductions in children’s centre provision following changes by Surrey County Council. It was noted that the Council would not have the capacity to directly resolve all issues such as this, but that it would work and coordinate with partner organisations to seek the best solutions for residents. The development of the new Corporate Plan was noted to be ongoing, with additional consultation with Members and residents to come. The Leader identified that he was working to support effective engagement between Executive and other Members and that he was hopeful that a positive approach to engagement between all Members would be maintained. It was noted that the Council was continuing to improve its communication offer, including expanding its webcasting programme to additional meetings, including those of the Committee.
Progress on a number of Organisation initiatives was noted, including updates to organisational structure, a review of Corporate Governance, greater transparent and effective ways of working, service and financial planning for 2019/20, and the Council’s ‘Be A Councillor’ campaign.
Progress on a number of People initiatives was noted, including the completion of a temporary accommodation site to address homelessness, the Cromwell Road and Pitwood Park housing schemes to support affordable homes for local people, support for residents around the roll-out of Universal Credit, and a campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery.
Progress on a number of Place initiatives was noted, including the Council’s new Development Management Plan, the Marketfield Way development project, roll-out of recycling services to flats within the borough, and the reduction in the use of single-use plastics.
It was noted that the Council continued to face a number a challenges, particularly relating to financial pressures due to a reduction in funding received, and increased pressure on services as a result of expected and forthcoming cuts by Surrey County Council, which was itself facing significant financial pressures. It was noted that the Council would continue to seek to provide as much support as possible to the borough and its residents, and would be taking steps to ensure that it remained financially self-sufficient, including the development of a new investment plan and an effective commercial workstream.
The Leader noted that he was grateful for the support provided by the Committee as an effective ‘critical friend’, and hoped to expand the level ... view the full minutes text for item 40