Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 18th March, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Remote - Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services (01737 276182)  Email: Democratic@reigate-banstead.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

76.

Apologies for absence and substitutions

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of any substitute Members in accordance with the Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence and no substitutions.

 

77.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 310 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the last meeting were approved.

78.

Declarations of interest

To receive any Declarations of Interest (including the existence and nature of any Party Whip).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest given.

79.

Portfolio Holder Briefing - Place Portfolios pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To receive a briefing and presentations from the Place Executive Members for  Planning Policy & Place Delivery, Neighbourhood Services and Economic Prosperity and to consider any issues that arise.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received briefings from the three Place Executive Members overseeing three areas of the Council’s work: Planning Policy & Place Delivery, Neighbourhood Services and Economic Prosperity. The presentations from each of the Executive Members was published on the Council’s website as part of the Committee’s agenda pack.

Councillor Biggs, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy & Place Delivery, gave an overview of the Council’s work in his presentation to the Committee.This included planning policy such as new and revised Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) on Sustainable Construction and Climate Change and Local Distinctiveness Design Guide. Updates were given on transport improvement work with Surrey County Council including work on a Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan in partnership with SCC and Atkins to identify priorities for walking and cycling improvements across the borough.

The Place Delivery update focused on major development projects such as the Redhill town centre regeneration in Marketfield Way and improvements in Horley town centre which had a major programme of investment. Council-led affordable housing developments had made good progress for example in Pitwood Park and Cromwell Road. Regeneration in Preston was continuing and also partnership work to bring forward the Westvale Park neighbourhood centre and three play areas, as well as the Riverside Green Chain paths and cycleways in Horley.

Members discussed and asked questions on the following areas:

Marketfield Way, Redhill – retail, leisure, and hospitality facilities, including a cinema complex, is a key element of this long-term development in Redhill town centre. Members asked if planning for post COVID-19 had been reflected in any updated plans as the development progressed this year. Officers confirmed that the development aimed to be a destination venue to improve the night-time economy in the area as a destination venue. Key to this success was flexibility in terms of the commercial units so there was not only retail space but also future proofing building work to configure units so tenants could use these to provide a variety of services including food, beverage and leisure uses such as gyms as well as office space.  

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding – Members asked how the CIL funding (with nearly £3.5m collected from developers in 2019/20) contributed towards the delivery of infrastructure projects such as transport or infrastructure improvements in the borough and how applications to spend the money was prioritised for distribution by Members on local CIL Panel meetings. Over 50 projects were now funded or allocated for CIL funding with nearly £1m spent on infrastructure projects in 2019/20.

Southern Partnership Building Control – the Council’s joint building control partnership with Tandridge and Mole Valley District Councils continued with service improvements made in the past year. Future challenges included building control work post the Grenfell fire.

Merstham Recreation ground refurbishment – work was continuing on plans to improve Merstham Recreation ground in consultation with residents to make it a flagship park in the borough. Positive engagement with residents and stakeholders resulted in 650 survey responses returned and a recent Facebook Live event.

Playing pitch strategy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Q3 2020/21 performance report pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To consider Council performance in the third quarter of 2020/21 and to note and make any observations to Executive on the following reports:

·       Key Performance Indicator performance for Q3 2020/21

·       Key Performance Indicators to be reported on for 2021/22

·       Revenue budget performance for Q3 2020/21

·       Capital Programme performance for Q3 2020/21

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the Quarter 3 2020/21 Performance reports: Key Performance Indicator (KPI) performance for the last quarter, KPIs to be reported on for 2021/22, Revenue budget performance for Q3 2020/21 and Capital Programme performance for Q3 2020/21.

Councillor Lewanski, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Policy and Resources, reported that of the ten KPIs reported on in the third quarter, nine were on target. One KPI was off target – KPI 7 (Net affordable housing completions) which was red rated.

Members discussed and asked questions on the following areas:

Affordable housing  – It was noted that the Council was continuing with its long-term plans to provide more affordable housing in the borough. Against a target of 75 there were 48 completions by the end of Q3. However, allowing for fluctuations in development activity and economic circumstances, performance was reported to be on track. The borough’s affordable housing target is for 1,500 affordable units to be built between 2012 and 2027. Since 2012, 875 affordable units have been completed.

A number of key sites were in mature development including Pitwood Park and Cromwell Road which contained affordable housing units. The Council was also working with social housing provider Raven Housing Trust on proposed future projects to deliver more rented social housing. The Committee requested an update on the Housing Strategy adopted in 2019 at a future meeting.

Staff sickness absence – the Committee was pleased to see that KPI4 showed that the last quarter had seen a continuation of the downward trend in staff sickness since quarter 1 in April 2020 and the first UK lockdown. The average duration of short-term sickness per employee reduced from 4 days down to 3.36 days. Members said this was an impressive achievement as a large number of staff were having to cope with remote working combined with home-schooling and caring responsibilities as well as some periods of shielding and self-isolation. Other staff were continuing to work in frontline critical services such as refuse and recycling.

Interim Head of Paid Service, Mari Roberts-Wood, said that the data behind this KPI4 was being analysed carefully as the numbers could be affected by a small number of longer-term sickness absences. The Council and managers had provided support for staff during the pandemic, to help their physical and mental wellbeing during a tough year.

Homelessness prevention – Members were pleased to see that KPI5 – the % of positive homelessness prevention and relief outcomes was improving due to continued successful multi-agency working. With the courts closing again, there had been a decrease in families approaching the Council for support, but this had been matched by an increase in approaches from single people, many with complex needs.

Investment income ­– the Committee was disappointed that KPI 12 2020/21, which was an indicator on investment income, had been dropped from the proposed list of KPIs for the coming year 2021/22, given the importance of this area for the Council and its finances. The report proposed that this annually reported indicator was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.

81.

Treasury Management Strategy 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 495 KB

To consider and to provide feedback on the following which are proposed for 2021/22:

·       Treasury Management Strategy Statement;

·       Prudential Indicators:

·       Minimum Revenue Provision Statement; and

·       Borrowing Limits

that will be finalised and submitted for approval by the Executive on 25 March 2021 and Council on 8 April 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the following proposals for 2021/22: Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS), Prudential Indicators, Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement and Borrowing Limits.

A number of Committee Members had also attended a Member Panel briefing on the Treasury Management Strategy Statement on 15 March which was led by the Council’s Treasury advisers, Link Asset Services and the Finance team. A summary briefing note from that meeting had been circulated to all Overview and Scrutiny Members, which outlined key changes between the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Strategies. This included changes in the MRP Policy, a reduction in the Operational Boundary for borrowing, and the implications of continuing low bank rate interest forecasts. 

Members noted that the level of spending on investments and regeneration in 2020/21 had been somewhat delayed which had a resulting impact on the level of borrowing required in the current financial year. The Committee noted that the counterparty limits were to be increased to reflect the ongoing need to hold the significant additional funds that are being received from Government on a temporary basis during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RESOLVED:

(i)             To note the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22, Prudential Indicators, Minimum Revenue Provision Statement (MRPS) and the Borrowing Limits and the observations of the Committee.

 

82.

Overview and Scrutiny Proposed Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To consider and approve the proposed Work Programme for the Committee for the coming year 2021/22 for consultation with Executive on 25 March and approval by Full Council on 8 April 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members reviewed the Committee’s proposed Work Programme for the coming year (2021/22). Annex 1 set out the Committee’s work, proposed Scrutiny Panels and Member suggestions.

 

Planned Scrutiny Panels included the Budget Scrutiny Panel in December 2021 and a Commercial Strategy Scrutiny Panel. The Local Plan Scrutiny Panel would be constituted if required.

 

The Committee supported two Member requests for inclusion on the work programme that a) representatives from Raven Housing Trust be invited to attend a future Committee meeting and b) any forthcoming Leisure Strategy for the Council following the pandemic, be scrutinised by the Committee.

 

Members asked to scrutinise the ICT strategy in response to the last 12 months and changing working practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to coronavirus had led to an increased number of staff required to work from home. Members attended virtual meetings, including formal Committee meetings and the Committee wanted to understand what any future ‘hybrid’ ICT working arrangements would mean for staff working and responding to residents, the improvements to be made for the benefit of residents, the resilience of the Council’s ICT systems and the costs/challenges and risks associated with continued remote working.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)             To approve the proposed Work Programme for 2021/22 as set out in the report and in Annex 1; and included two Member suggestions relating to Raven Housing Trust, and any forthcoming Leisure Strategy.

(ii)            To review the ICT strategy, consequent to the increase in remote working due to COVID-19, and any preparations for a ‘hybrid’ working model, including improvements for the benefit of residents, and the costs/challenges and risks with continued remote working.

 

83.

Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 296 KB

(i)             That the Annual Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for this year 2020/21 be noted and recommended to Council.

(ii)            That any additional observations be made to Council on 8 April 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Annual Report outlining the work and reports of the Committee and its Scrutiny Panels during the past year (2020/21).

The Annual Report described the work of Overview and Scrutiny at 8 Committee meetings in 2020/21 plus the meeting of the Budget Scrutiny Panel in December 2020. In addition, there were 5 meetings of two Scrutiny Panels that were constituted during the year: Evaluating Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Recovery Scrutiny Panel – the latter looking at the Council’s recovery programme following the emergency response to COVID-19. There was 1 additional Call-in meeting on 27 August 2020 on an Executive decision on the Environmental Sustainability Strategy.  All meetings were held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting national lockdowns. Annex 1 sets out Membership and Attendance during the year.

Members made no additional observations on the report of the Committee’s work during 2020/21.

RESOLVED – that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Annual Report 2020/21 and Annex 1 be agreed and recommended for approval to Full Council on Thursday 8 April 2021.

84.

Companies Performance Update - Spring 2021 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To note the Spring 2021 Companies Performance Update, as set out in the report, and to make any observations for consideration by the Commercial Ventures Executive Sub-Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the Spring 2021 Companies Performance Update report from the Executive Member for Investment and Companies, Councillor Archer. This report updated the Committee on the performance of the companies currently owned or part-owned by the Council which currently consist of: Greensand Holdings Limited, Horley Business Park Development LLP and Pathway for Care Limited. All these companies are currently considered to be performing overall in line with the Council’s objectives and expectations.

Members noted the following points:

Greensand Holdings Ltd was funded through loans from the Council. It generates an income from one of its property holdings and provides an income to the Council through interest on the loan. The loan funding from the Council was £13.258m.

Pathway for Care Ltd provides supported living facilities for vulnerable residents at a number of sites in the borough and surrounding areas. The Council is a minority shareholder in the company, with the majority shareholding held by Transforming Healthcare Group. The Council has the right to appoint a director to the board of the company which is currently Councillor V. Lewanski. The Council holds £1.1m redeemable preference shares in the company, redeemable in April 2023. The number of voids had been reduced and Members noted that a small net profit had been reported which was a positive development. The annual accounts for the year ended 31 July 2020 were provided at Annex 1.

Horley Business Park Development LLP is a joint venture set up to bring forward planning and subsequent development, of employment land in the Horley area. The reports for year ended 31 December 2020 were not yet published.

RESOLVED – to note the Spring 2021 Companies Performance Update as set out in the report to the Committee and the observations of the Committee for consideration by the Commercial Ventures Executive Sub-Committee.

85.

Executive

To consider any items arising from the Executive which might be subject to the ‘call-in’ procedure in accordance with the provisions of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules set out in the Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was reported that there were no items arising from the Executive that might be subject to the ‘call-in’ procedure in accordance with the provisions of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.

86.

Any other urgent business

To consider any item(s) which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered as a matter of urgency - Local Government Act 1972, Section 100B(4)(b).

(NOTE: Under the Committee and Sub-Committee Procedure Rules set out in the Constitution, items of urgent business must be submitted in writing but may be supplemented by an oral report.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

87.

Exempt Business

RECOMMENDED that members of the Press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

(i)             it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act; and

(ii)            the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that members of the Press and public be excluded from the meeting for the consideration of Item 12 of the agenda (Medium Term Financial Plan Update (Exempt) under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

(i)             It involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 Schedule 12A of the Act; and

(ii)            The public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

88.

Companies Performance Update, Spring 2021 (Exempt)

To consider any Exempt information in relation to the Companies Performance Update.

Additional documents: