Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Monday, 15th June, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Skype Meeting

Contact: Claire Johnston - 01202 454627  Email: claire.johnston@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

180.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for the ensuing 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that this item would be deferred to the first meeting after the Annual Council meeting.

181.

Election of Vice Chairman

To elect a Vice Chairman for the ensuing 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that this item would be deferred to the first meeting after the Annual Council meeting.

 

182.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Minutes:

There were no apologies received

183.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications. 

 

Minutes:

There were no substitute members.

184.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

In relation to the agenda item on Mudeford Beach Café which was subject to a current planning application the Chairman asked the monitoring officer to provide guidance on predetermination. The Monitoring Officer advised that any member of the Planning Committee should refrain from mentioning any planning matters and from expressing any opinion on the development. All Councillors could ask questions in relation to the item on the agenda today. In response to a query, Councillors were advised that fact gathering was fine but to avoid making statements on a fixed opinion.

185.

Action Sheet pdf icon PDF 272 KB

To note and comment on the attached action sheet which tracks decisions,

actions and outcomes arising from previous Board meetings.

Minutes:

The action sheet was noted. There were no further comments.

186.

Public Speaking pdf icon PDF 428 KB

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/documents/s2305/Public%20Items%20-%20Meeting%20Procedure%20Rules.pdf 

The deadline for the submission of public questions is Monday 8 June 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, Friday 12 June 2020.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 12.00 noon, Friday 12 June 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were 31 public questions received in relation to agenda item 12, Mudeford Beach Café. All public questions and responses had been published on the Council website prior to the meeting and all Board members had received a link to this document.

 

There were 4 public statements received in relation to agenda item 12, Mudeford Beach Café. All public statements had been published on the Council website prior to the meeting and all Board members had received a link to this document.

 

A copy of the public questions and statements can be found on the page for this meeting on the website.

187.

Chairman's Update

For the Board to consider any issues raised by the Chairman which are not dealt with elsewhere on the agenda.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Trent to his first meeting as a new member of the Board.

 

It was confirmed that the Chairmen of the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee were in attendance at the meeting to address items within the remit of their Committees and would be bringing and comments or questions from their Committee Members to the Board but would not be taking part in any votes.

188.

Update on BCP Council's Response to the Covid 19 Pandemic

To consider an update from the Chief Executive and relevant Portfolio Holders on the Council’s actions in relation to the impact of the Corona Virus. Along with verbal updates at the meeting, a Cabinet paper provided by the Chief Executive on this matter will inform this discussion. The Cabinet report will be published on Friday 5 June 2020 and available to view at the following link:

 

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=4290&Ver=4

 

The following councillors are invited, along with relevant officers, to attend for this item and provide updates in relation to their service areas:

 

·       Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of the Council

·       Councillor Sandra Moore, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families

·       Councillor Lesley Dedman, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health

 

The Chairmen of the other Overview and Scrutiny Committees of the Council are also invited to attend and participate in this item.

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded the Board that for this item they were also asked to consider the Cabinet report on Update on BCP Council's response to the COVID-19 pandemic a copy of which had been circulated and which appears as Appendix A to the Cabinet minutes of 27 May 2020 in the Minute Book.

 

Overview – The Leader of the Council provided an update to the Board since its last meeting. Several hundred of those redeployed during the outbreak were moving back into their normal roles. However, there were still many employees who were unable to return to their normal roles de to shielding. For example, due to the demographic employed in the area the numbers in parking enforcement were significantly reduced. There was likely to be an impact on staff redeployed to the Community Resilience Hub. The Leader noted that the public response had previously shown a high level of compliance and there was clarity on the rules in place. However, there had been a recent shift in the way that people had been complying and misperception on what constituted a rule or guideline and whether these were enforceable. Queries were raised by the Board on the level of visitors during half term and a noticeable change in public behaviour.  The Seafront was operating with 20-25 percent of normal staffing levels which was not helped by the large numbers travelling to the area. The Board was advised that each local authority was required o submit a local outbreak plan by the end of June. Funding had been provided for this and it would be completed soon. 

 

Signage had been placed in town centres to encourage social distancing with queuing systems in place. Work had also taken place with media partners to project the message ‘staying local, shopping local’.

 

The Chief Executive advised that the Council was rethinking business as usual and a Full Council meeting had taken place. Other committees and functions were also gradually being stepped up. The Chief Executive also advised that he had been asked to help the Local Government Association. I was noted that the local outbreak management plans would be used to target different infection rates and risks.

 

A Councillor raised a concern regarding the clarity of the government guidelines issued and asked if BCP Council had made representations to central government on this issue. It was noted that there had been an ongoing dialogue with central government whenever possible both as an individual Council and with partners. The Leader noted that the most recent representations made to government with regards to the distance people were travelling to visit the beach had not been supported by the local MPs who felt that things needed to get back to normal. The Council would continue to make representations on any new guidance issued as it was felt appropriate.

 

The Board raised the issue of the large numbers visiting the beach. The Leader advised that the Council had received no notice of the change in lockdown rules so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 188.

189.

Scrutiny of Organisational Design - Implementation and Budget

To consider the implementation plan, procurement strategy and budget required to implement the transformation strategy for BCP Council scheduled for consideration by Cabinet on 24 June. The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the report and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of the Council

 

The Cabinet report will be published on Friday 5 June and available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=4290&Ver=4

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman invited the Leader of the Council to introduce the report, a copy of which had been circulated and which appears as Appendix B to the Cabinet minutes of 24 June 2020 in the Minute Book. A number of issues were raised by the Board in the subsequent discussion, including:

 

It was noted that there was a massive material change in the paper from the issues which were presented to the Board and to Cabinet in February which included significant changes in the costs put forward. It was noted that the benefits outlined in the paper were lower than expected. In response to a question on what the expectation of the Town Hall refurbishment costs were the Leader advised that this was not a paper about accommodation and that this would be coming back to Cabinet and the Board.

·     The Leader noted that by working with a partner and not being too rigid at the beginning would allow things to move around more easily and use specialist partners as required.

·     It was noted that Capital receipts were down from that previously reported and a Councillor asked about the process for maximising value for the Council Taxpayer with regards to Capital receipts. The Leader advised that there was only a limited window in which to dispose of the assets and they would be disposed of to provide the best value possible under market conditions and a pragmatic decision on this would be taken. The Chief Financial Officer drew the Board’s attention to Section 44 and outlined that there was a robust monitoring process behind this.

·     A Councillor raised concern about the higher costs and linking this to the higher costs savings outlined in he reports. The market indicated that the lower figure initially arrived at with the original consultants was unambitious and that £45million should be expected as a minimum figure. This was not intended to set out a position to overachieve what was originally set out in November.  The Strategic Director advised that the market had advised that being too specific in outlining the aims over the next 3-5 years would neither help the Council or the Partners. The overall aims of the project had been agreed in November and these were still the aims in place.

·     A Councillor noted that the cost of moving to the Town Hall could not be estimated and questioned this position. The Leader advised that it had only been in the last 6-8 weeks that it had become obvious that agile working was possible, again this paper was not about the accommodation strategy and this would come back to the Board. Given the time frame that people were able to access the building the only options were to delay the paper or bring it forward with reference to the accommodation strategy whilst noting that this would be dealt with in a separate report.

·     There was concern that the paper seemed to be indicating a spending cap to see what could be achieved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 189.

190.

Scrutiny of Finance Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following finance related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 24 June 2020:

 

·       Budget Rebase 2020/21 – the revised annual budget for 2020/21 to recognise the financial impact of Covid-19.

 

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the report and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor David Brown, Portfolio Holder for Finance.

 

The Cabinet report will be published on Friday 5 June 2020 and available to view at the following link: https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=4290&Ver=4

Minutes:

Budget Monitoring Report – June 2020 - The Portfolio Holder for Finance introduced the report, a copy of which had been circulated and which appears as Appendix D to the Cabinet minutes of 24 June 2020 in the Minute Book. A number of issues were raised by the Board in the subsequent discussion, including:

 

There were concerns expressed that the paper was not proposing a full Cabinet decision on the significant amendments to the Budget but rather asking that Cabinet note these changes. It was noted that previous papers indicated that this would be a proposed update to the Budget which was outlined to full Council in February. The Portfolio Holder advised that as work progressed on the financial situation it was proposed that this would be an update to the February Budget rather than a rebuild of the budget. The Board was advised that there were still a lot of unknowns at present and there was a need to be able to continue to respond to these issues throughout the year. The Portfolio Holder advised that there was no doubt that the numbers outlined in the report would change, using the 24-week scenario in the planning allowed the budge to respond to changing circumstances.

In response to a query regarding the financial prospects of the Council the Portfolio Holder confirmed that the Council was in a strong position to be able to cope with the financial impacts it was facing.

A Councillor asked if representations had been made to central government on the financial impact on local authorities and the Portfolio Holder responded that this had taken place both as an individual authority and jointly with other authorities through collective organisations and the LGA. The Local authority had also been doing this through the local MPs.

A Board Member stressed the importance of opening out the decisions concerning the revised budge to the whole Council as hey ought to be fully aware of the risks and the challenge of re-floating the economy in the BCP area.  In addition to this another Board member commented that during his time in local government he had never seen such a substantial budget change not be considered by the full Council.

A Councillor asked about paragraph 65 of the report and the impact that delaying spend in some of these areas until 2021/22 would have on them particularly the environment but also highway maintenance and street cleansing It was noted that this would deliver substantial savings and there was funding to deliver more. There had been some underspend in this area due to Covid-19.

A Councillor raised a concern regarding the substantial savings which needed to be made from the various directorates and suggested that they were difficult to find as these could only be found in an appendix to the report and felt there should have been more transparency. The Portfolio Holder noted the significant financial impact but commented that there was a need to swiftly review the impact and find resources  ...  view the full minutes text for item 190.

191.

Mudeford Beach Cafe

The O&S Board are asked to consider a verbal update on the progress of the project since the Cabinet decision in January 2020 to approve the principle of rebuilding and improving the Mudeford Sandbank Beach House café. Following the update, the Board will be asked to consider whether any further scrutiny of this matter is required and whether to include it on the Board’s Forward Plan.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that he had requested that this issue be added to the agenda for this meeting due to the public interest in this issue and as at the time of the Cabinet decision the O&S Board had decided to not scrutinise the issue prior to Cabinet. The intention of the item was to allow an opportunity for the O&S Board to receive an update on the progress on this development. A statement received on this issue from a Councillor not on the Overview and Scrutiny Board was read out to the Board a copy of which can be found on the Councils website page for this meeting. The Chairman invited the Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Community to provide the Board with an update on the project. The Chairman asked the Portfolio Holder to refer to the general sentiment of the public questions received.

 

It was noted that there was a forthcoming Planning application but particular issues concerning this would not be referred to. The Cabinet report didn’t give as much detail as normal in terms of specifics of the planning as there was a desire to get the project moving as quickly as possible. There had been a number of representations regarding the now submitted planning application. The Portfolio Holder advised that he has been very clear in proposing the recommendations in the Cabinet report that he wanted to ensure good dialogue with the beach hut owners and all stakeholders connected with the project. There had been a number of meetings with officers and the Portfolio Holder and with the Beach Hut owners and there was an extensive Q&A session with Hengistbury Head residents. The Portfolio Holder noted that a lot of the issues raised were related to planning matters. There were a number of misrepresentation issues related to the planning applications.

 

The Chairman asked about the differing statements between the Cabinet report and the submitted planning application. For example, that he rent increase would be based on an uplift in commercial activity, but the planning application suggested that commercial activity would not increase. The Portfolio Holder advised in relation to Cllr N Brookes statement there had been very significant consultation with all stakeholders. The original Cabinet report didn’t say there would be an increase in business but did refer to an uplift in ground rent. This didn’t necessarily mean that there would be more visitors.

 

A Councillor asked that if there was a situation with an extended pandemic would the proposal deal with possible changes in the way in which future public interaction may work. It was noted that there were no changes to the design following the pandemic, but it would provide an improve space for social distancing.

 

A Councillor felt that given the summation of comments on one hand and the increase in rent versus the inability to get more footfall on the site that the issue should be paused at the moment whilst the conflicting issues are fully considered.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 191.