Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 17th June, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: New Council Chamber - Town Hall, Reigate. View directions

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

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

To elect a Chair of the Committee for this Municipal Year 2021/22.

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Minutes:

The Committee elected a Chair for this Municipal Year 2021/22. Cllr N. Harrison was proposed by Cllr S. Walsh and seconded by Cllr J. Essex.

RESOLVED that Cllr N. Harrison be elected Chair of the Committee for this Municipal Year 2021/22.

2.

Election of Vice-Chair

To elect a Vice-Chair of the Committee for this Municipal Year 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee elected a Vice-Chair for this Committee for the Municipal Year 2021/22. Cllr S. Walsh was proposed by Cllr M. Blacker and seconded by Cllr S. Parnall.

RESOLVED that Cllr S. Walsh be elected Vice-Chair of the Committee for this Municipal Year 2021/22.

3.

Apologies for absence and substitutions

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

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Minutes:

Cllr M. Tary sent his apologies for absence and was substituted by Cllr J. Baker.

Apologies were received from Cllr G. Buttironi.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the previous meeting on 18 March 2021.

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Minutes:

The Minutes of the previous meeting on 18 March 2021 were approved as a correct record of the meeting.

5.

Declarations of interest

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

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Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest.

6.

Q4 2020/21 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To consider progress in the Council’s performance for the fourth quarter 2020/21 including KPIs and Provisional Budget Outturn Report Q4 2020/21, and to make any observations to the Executive.

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Minutes:

The Committee received reports giving an overview of the Council’s performance for Quarter 4 2020/21, including Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting, as well as revenue and capital budget monitoring. The reports were due to go to Executive on 24 June.

Cllr V. Lewanski, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Policy and Resources, outlined the report to Members and reported that of the 12 KPIs that are reported on in Quarter 4, all were on target or within the agreed tolerance.

Members made comments and observations on the following areas and noted that there were five Amber ratings:

Homelessness – KPI 5 – the % of positive homelessness prevention and relief outcomes – showed a decrease compared to Quarter 3. However, overall, the Borough expected to see an increase in the number of positive outcomes in this area by the end of the year as those that approached the Council in Quarter 4 were supported by the Council’s Housing team. The Committee asked for an update from the new Portfolio Holder for Housing & Support outside the meeting including what the Council was doing differently in the future to improve performance.

Fraud – Members were surprised by the high number of referrals from the National Fraud Initiative because of data matching of various government systems throwing up possible anomalies for investigation, rather than whistle-blowing notifications from the public. These figures were set out in the annual contextual target. This showed the number of fraudulent claims (148) for Single Person households claiming a discount on their Council Tax even though they were sharing a property. The Acting Head of Paid Service confirmed that robust action is taken against individuals making fraudulent claims.

Affordable housing completions – Members asked for a written answer giving a breakdown of the different types of definition included in affordable housing.

Cllr T. Schofield, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance, gave an overview of the financial reports for Quarter 4 2020/21. Due to COVID-19 it has been a challenging year with significant additional financial impacts that had been faced on Service income and expenditure budgets and on Collection Fund income forecasts for council tax and business rates. As at 31 March, the full year outturn was £17.852m against a management budget of £16.010m resulting in an overspend of £1.841m (11.5%). The primary reason for this overspend was that it included income losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central budget outturn at 31 March was £6.935m against a management budget of £9.702m resulting in an underspend of £2.767m (28.52%). This underspend was due to an underspend in Treasury Management and a forecast underspend in Budget Contingencies.

It was noted that the impacts of the pandemic on the budget had been monitored closely with every possible source of funding pursued, resulting in a position of relative strength. The unplanned expenditure on the Covid pandemic was £3.782m, offset by Covid funding of £7.735m, producing a Covid-related balance of £3.953m, which included government funding to offset the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Reigate & Banstead 2025 Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To receive an annual performance report on the Corporate Plan 2020-25 and consider progress during 2020/21.

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Minutes:

Members received a report from Cllr V. Lewanski, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Policy and Resources, on the Reigate & Banstead 2025 Annual Report 2020/21. These reports are key tools to assess the Council’s progress towards its corporate plan and equalities objectives. The new plan was adopted by the Council in January 2020 and this was the first annual progress report.

2020/21 was predominated by the pandemic and the report showed how the Council responded to the need to refocus council services to support residents and local businesses as they dealt with the challenges of COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns and restrictions, along with continuing its day-to-day work towards the objectives of the plan. The Council had made good progress against the success measures set out in Reigate & Banstead 2025 with its corporate priorities and played a central role to support the most vulnerable residents which was part of its Equality Objectives.

Members thanked officers and the Portfolio Holder for the reports and made the following comments and observations for the Executive before its meeting to discuss the reports on 24 June.

·       Affordable homes – the objective to ‘Secure the delivery of homes that can be afforded by local people’ was discussed. Members asked for a definition of affordable housing and noted that there had been a decline in completing the overall number of affordable houses due to COVID-19 in 2020/21. It was noted that the government had consulted on a potential change to the threshold for developer contributions to affordable homes. This meant planning obligations on developers could only apply to schemes of 40 -50 homes, rather than those with 10 or more homes. Members asked if there would be an impact on the number of affordable homes. Officers confirmed that it was too early to see if this would take effect, but it could have quite a significant impact in the borough in the future, if implemented. Council schemes such as developments in Pitwood Park in Tadworth and Cromwell Road in Redhill were being used to boost affordable housing targets.

·       Environmental impact – the objective to ‘Reduce our own environmental impact and support local residents and businesses to do the same’ was discussed. Members asked if more up-to-date data could be included as figures on CO2 emissions across the borough only went up to 2018.  Also, Members asked what was being offset and how, after the Council switched 33% of its energy supply to renewables and offset the remainder in 2020/21.  It was noted that the data on carbon emissions in the borough was taken from the latest national figures. A written response would be given on the offsetting question.

·       Demonstrating value for money and measuring performance – one of the objectives was to confirm the borough’s reputation as ‘a great place to do business’. Members asked how this was measured against the £400k Economic Prosperity budget spent in 2020-21 to demonstrate value for money for residents. It was noted that some of successes listed were Covid-related rather than business-related,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

O&S Work Programme Schedule 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To consider and agree the schedule for Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the proposed future work programme for the Committee. It was noted that the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would be reviewed towards the end of the current year 2021/22. The Companies Performance Update report would come to the Committee every six months. It was confirmed that items could be moved around or brought forward if needed.

RESOLVED – the Committee agreed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme for 2021/22.

9.

Constitution of Local Plan Scrutiny Panel pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To constitute O&S Local Plan Scrutiny Panel to consider Climate Change and Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and Horley Business Park SPD feedback from their public consultations (when available).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report to constitute the Local Plan Scrutiny Panel to review draft Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) 2021/22.

This included the Draft Climate Change and Sustainable Construction SPD. Members asked if this public consultation could include events to explain the good practice in addition to publishing the document. The Interim Head of Paid Service said these reports were shared widely through current communication channels, but officers would look at options to engage residents further.

RESOLVED – the Committee:

1)    Agreed the Local Plan Scrutiny Panel 2021/22 with membership to be determined outside the Committee meeting;

2)    Agreed the scope of the Local Plan Scrutiny Panel 2021/22 to consider the public consultation responses received on the Draft Supplementary Planning Documents on Climate Change and Sustainable Construction SPD and Horley Business Park SPD (when available).

10.

Overview of scrutiny pdf icon PDF 749 KB

To receive an introduction to the purpose of overview and scrutiny and the work of the Committee.

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Minutes:

Committee Members received an introduction to the purpose of overview and scrutiny and the work of the Committee from the Chair, Cllr N. Harrison, Vice-Chair, Cllr S. Walsh and Democratic Services Officer, Catriona Marchant.

Cllr Harrison encouraged new Members to develop their own areas of interest. He also noted that there was capacity to adopt new areas of work in the work programme.

Members asked for the Committee’s Action Tracker which set out items to be followed up from each meeting to be included for the next meeting. It was agreed that the updated flats recycling roll-out timeline and Charitable Trusts items would be added to the Action Tracker.

 

 

11.

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.

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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.

12.

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.