Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 12th December, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room, First Floor, BCP Civic Centre Annex, St Stephen's Rd, Bournemouth BH2 6LL. View directions

Media

Items
No. Item

49.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr L Allison.

 

50.

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:

Notification had been received that Cllr G Farquhar was substituting for Cllr Allison for this meeting and that Cllr D Kelsey was filling the Conservative Group vacancy for this meeting as Cllr H Allen was no longer a member of the Committee.

 

51.

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:

Cllr S Bartlett declared a non pecuniary interest in relation to the Harmonising the Management of BCP Leisure Centres report, in that he was a Director of BH Live.

 

52.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 306 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meetings held on 27 September, 25 October and 18 November 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reported on a proposed amendment to the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2022, following notification from Mr Alex McKinstry that his statements had been recorded incorrectly.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on 27 September, 25 October and 18 November 2022 be confirmed as a correct record, subject to the following amendment to the minute on Public Issues, 27 September 2022:

 

Delete Statements 1 and 2 from Mr McKinstry and replace with the following revised Statement 1:

 

“I'm astounded this administration can allow a vital report to breach a statutory deadline by ten days. The breach lays this report wide open to legal challenge; an instructive case is Joicey, R (application of) v Northumberland County Council (2014), where Justice Cranston said "information must be published by a local authority in good time for members of the public to ... digest it and make intelligent representations". The same surely applies to committee members, who've had just 30 hours to study a make-or-break report for Cabinet tomorrow. It smacks of scrutiny being downgraded, which brings me to my second statement.”

 

Retain existing Statement 3 but renumber as Statement 2.

 

53.

Public Issues

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/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

The deadline for the submission of public questions is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no public issues for this meeting,

54.

BCP Community Safety Partnership Annual Report pdf icon PDF 478 KB

This paper sets out elements of development and delivery by the BCP Community Safety Partnership (CSP), ‘Safer BCP’ and its constituent agencies. It provides Members with an update since the last report to Overview and Scrutiny Panel in December 2021.

The Local Government Act 2000 includes crime and disorder scrutiny as one of the functions the council must ensure its scrutiny arrangements cover. Sections 19 and 20 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and related regulations require the Council to have a committee with the functions of reviewing and scrutinising decisions and actions in respect of the discharge of crime and disorder functions by “responsible authorities”.

The specifics of the duty are set out in the Police and Justice Act 2006, which also allows members to refer any “local crime and disorder matter” raised with them by anyone living or working in their area, to the Crime and Disorder Committee. The Board designated as the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee must meet at least once every 12-month period to conduct the functions.

Guidance issued concerning how this role should be conducted include that:

·         the role should be one of a critical friend, providing constructive challenge at a strategic level.

·         the focus should be on the entire partnership and if issues arise that relate specifically to a particular partner agency, it may be more appropriate to refer such issues to the governing bodies of that organisation.

·         the scrutiny of partners should be “in so far as their activities relate to the partnership itself.”

the list of issues to be scrutinised should be agreed in consultation with relevant partners.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book. The report and accompanying presentation provided a comprehensive update on the activity and achievements of the CSP over the last year and looked ahead to the key issues for 2022/23, following the adoption of the new Community Safety Strategy. The Strategy had been developed by the Safer BCP and the CSP’s priorities which had been informed by the annual community safety strategic assessment.

 

Ch Supt Callaghan and officers responded to questions on the report from the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee to feed into his committee’s working group on child exploitation, in particular, the ongoing analysis of profiles/trends for younger age groups in relation to types of crime (as victims and offenders) and the value of early intervention and prevention work. The Communities Manager agreed to circulate by email a more detailed breakdown of young people engaged in specialist treatment.

 

Ch Supt Callaghan and officers responded to questions from members about the role of the CSP and its partner agencies, its relationship with the PCC and the delivery of individual priorities, the key points being as follows:

 

  • The CSP had a clear accountability and delivery structure on strategic, performance and operational levels. Performance, outcomes and the impact of strategic objectives and actions were monitored by the strategic sub groups and reported quarterly to the CSP Executive Board.
  • While their roles and powers were different there was clear coherence between the strategic plans of the CSP and the PCC, with mutual involvement and co-operation to avoid duplication and ensure close alignment. The national review of CSPs and recent recommendations following a review of the PCC model were not anticipated to result in major change on a local level due to this already close working relationship.
  • There was a concern that there was a perception/resignation that drug taking was now generally accepted and that this did not match the CSP’s strategic priorities. The Committee was assured that the clear link between many areas of crime and drugs was recognised and reflected in the work of Dorset Police in delivering the priorities of the Police and Crime Plan and in the priorities of the CSP in tacking substance misuse/addition and associated anti-social behaviour (ASB). The Council continued to work with the Police on a daily basis to reduce housing related ASB and criminality.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services commented on the frankness of the report in setting out the challenges to be faced.

 

RESOLVED that the progress of the CSP over the past year to November 2022 and the BCP Community Safety Strategy developed by Safer BCP and the Partnership’s priorities, based on the recommendations from the annual Community Safety Strategic Assessment, be noted.

 

 

55.

Update from the Police and Crime Commissioner pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset has been invited to provide the Committee with a verbal update and presentation on priorities and activity within the BCP area as part of the Committee’s remit for Crime and Disorder Scrutiny.

Committee members are requested to submit questions in advance of the meeting by Wednesday 7 December 2022.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Mr David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), to the meeting and invited him to make his presentation, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'B' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The PCC reported that Dorset was now the sixth safest place in the Country. He outlined the main responsibilities of his role, one of which was to consult with local people and produce a Police and Crime Plan which identified local priorities and how these would be met. The PCC talked about the themes within each of the six priorities and gave details of some of the initiatives involved, as follows:

 

  • Cut crime and anti social behaviour: The PCC highlighted work with the Council and housing associations and confirmed that he would be renewing the Relentless Community Fund for projects in 2023.
  • Make Policing more visible and connected: Increasing numbers of police in the community and enhancing neighbourhood teams, ensuring information was publicly available on websites. Transforming reporting mechanisms. The PCC encouraged the use of the 101@dorset.pnn.police.ukemail address for non-urgent reporting.
  • Fight violent crime and high harm: The PCC was the national portfolio lead for alcohol and substance misuse. The enforcement/treatment/education approach was getting results and he supported the Government’s ‘From Harm to Hope’ drugs strategy, while acknowledging that it did not tackle the issue of recreational drugs. He was also the lead for the new pan Dorset Combatting Drugs Partnership, set up to deliver the strategy on a local footing.
  • Fight rural crime: Increasing staffing of rural policing team, increasing use of legislation to address unauthorised encampments. The PCC also spoke about the important role of volunteers in the ‘watch schemes’ and the difference these made.
  • Put victims and communities first: a range of initiatives to tackle crime and support vulnerable people.
  • Make every penny count: The PCC highlighted the demands placed on policing in Dorset at a time when it was the second worst funded force per head in the Country with no account taken of seasonal adjustment or rurality, something he was lobbying the Home Office about.

 

The PCC and colleagues responded to questions on the following issues:

 

  • Graffiti had been removed and CCTV repaired in Christchurch underpass. The underpass was now included in regular security patrols to manage anti-social behaviour and escalate as required.
  • Outcomes and actions from a recent meeting between the PCC, Ch Supt Callaghan and the Mayor of Christchurch had been communicated and it was noted that the town clerk would be included in neighbourhood policing communications. The PCC was discussing the use of auto number plate recognition cameras with the Ch Supt.
  • The PCC was renewing his Fix the Future fund in 2023 to offer support for initiatives which provided opportunities for young people. He was also rolling out the police cadets scheme.
  • The use of the 101 email should be promoted to residents as there was still  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Mobile CCTV deployment and policy pdf icon PDF 163 KB

This report outlines the Council’s approach to the deployment of mobile/deployable CCTV cameras which must adhere to legislative guidelines.

The report outlines the legislative requirements, evidence and infrastructure requirements as well as providing advice on how Members and members of the public can make a request.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Communities presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book. The report outlined the Council’s approach to the deployment of mobile/deployable CCTV cameras and associated legislative requirements, evidence and infrastructure requirements. The report also advised how Councillors and members of the public could apply for a camera to be deployed.

 

The CCTV Manager responded to a query about cameras operating on Christchurch/Seabourne Road and the Director of Communities agreed to keep ward members updated.

 

A Committee member commented that CCTV was only as effective as when incidents were reported and monitored.

 

The Committee was advised that the Police monitored all CCTV camera footage, not just the Council’s, and also used other footage such as that from mobile devices and doorbell cameras. It was possible to upload footage to the Dorset Police website.

 

57.

Harmonising the management of BCP Leisure Centres pdf icon PDF 324 KB

This Overview and Scrutiny report comes ahead of a paper planned for Cabinet in January 2023.  Feedback from Scrutiny will be used to shape the Cabinet report and recommendations.

PLEASE NOTE: Should the Committee wish to discuss the detail of the exempt Appendix it will be necessary to exclude the press and public and move into non-public (exempt) session. If applicable, the following resolution should be moved:

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 3,4 in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act and that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs such interest in disclosing the information.’

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Communities presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'D' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The Council was currently reviewing options for the future operational management of leisure sites to move towards a harmonised offer for BCP residents. The report outlined the five in-scope leisure centres at this stage and summarised the work undertaken to date. The report invited the Committee to provide comment and feedback on the options for future management of the in-scope leisure centres. This would be used to shape the Cabinet report and recommendations. Key points raised were as follows:

 

·       The conclusion of the Built Facility Needs Assessment, that we have the right number of facilities for future population needs in the right places across the conurbation, should be tested. Members commented on previous reviews where capacity had been called into question, particularly in relation to swimming facilities. The long-term nature of the decisions being taken made it even more important to ensure this conclusion stood up to scrutiny.

·       The rationale for the Council taking over the lease of the Bournemouth Indoor Bowls Centre (BIBC) was clarified, in that the previous tenant wanted to sell the lease and although approached, the bowling community was not in a viable position to take over. The Council then acquired the leasehold for the BIBC site and are currently reviewing the current and future use of what was is huge facility to ensure a good offer can be provided to a larger demographic.

·       There were concerns at the lack of assurance in the report that bowls would continue to be provided at BIBC. Members commented on the social benefits for users. It was recognised that there were issues with costs and declining participation. Members sought assurance that either bowls or an alternative, regular form of provision to suit this clientele would be offered at BIBC and it was confirmed that this would be considered within the tender specification.

·       While it was noted that a reduced membership offer had been arranged for BIBC members with indoor bowling facilities in Poole and Christchurch, this may not be a convenient alternative due to distance, particularly for those who don’t drive.

·       Assurance was sought that longer term considerations such as major maintenance had been factored into the evaluation exercise. Members were advised that this would be strengthened in the contract. It was noted that the contractor would not be expected to provide capital for major repairs.

·       The need for consultation and the views of sports groups should be considered, particularly when feedback on in house facilities appeared to be more positive than current external operators. If the external operator option was pursued, the contracts had to be got right from the outset. There was a need to increase current levels of activity within the local population.

·       The specific needs of certain cohorts, such as girls, should be provided for. Older people should have access to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

2022/23 Budget Monitoring and Financial Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 725 KB

This report includes 2022/23 budget monitoring information for the general fund for November 2022 and an updated position for the medium-term financial plan (MTFP).

It also includes budget monitoring information at quarter two for the capital programme and housing revenue account (HRA).

The general fund outturn is projected to further improve from the previously reported position with a £9m surplus now estimated for the year. 

The MTFP has now been updated for an estimate of the implications of the governments Autumn Statement. Consequentially Cabinet is asked to identify £6.2m of currently identified savings for 2023/24 which potentially will now be able to be deferred until 2024/25.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Section 151 Officer presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'E' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The Section 151 Officer reported that the latest local government finance policy statement confirmed most budget assumptions. He referred to the accumulating deficit of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG) which by 31 March 2024 would exceed total reserves. Although the Government had recently extended the statutory override for councils to 2025/26, a steer from Government on longer term plans to address the deficit would be most welcome. Officers responded to a number of issues raised in the subsequent discussion, including:

 

·       The DSG deficit continued to grow because the Council was gaining more SEND cases than it was losing year on year.

·       It was as yet unclear how much of the transformation investment programme would be funded by FUCR and/or the assumed capitalisation direction.

·       Any unused Public Health grant returned to the Council was spent on public health initiatives within services.

·       It was confirmed that additional costs associated with the time taken to recruit/retain children’s social care staff were factored into the budget.

·       There was a need to develop a strategy to address the DSG deficit, depending on the outcome of further discussions in January 2023.

·       It was confirmed that the cost of staffing to the transformation programme had not yet been adjusted beyond 2022/23. There would be a further review before the final budget report in February 2023.

·       Projects in the approved capital programme were being reviewed to identify any escalation of costs. Where further funding via borrowing was required for a project, a review of the business case was expected. In some cases, such as housing schemes, an increase in costs could be offset by an increase in income. It was noted that any increase to capital reserves would have financial implications elsewhere which would need to be assessed.

·       The report acknowledged that the adult social care underspend could not be assumed as a future saving and there were concerns that the underspend was caused by not providing services and not filling staff vacancies due to a difficult, unresponsive market.

 

59.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 134 KB

The Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to note and comment on its Work Plan. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman referred to the current work plan, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'F' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The following items on the Cabinet Forward Plan were suggested for inclusion: Our Cultural Plan, Award of Gigabit Fibre Neutral Host Operator, Library Strategy, Pay and Reward. Other items suggested were the Shared Prosperity Fund and Investment Plan and scrutiny of external consultancy contracts. The Chief Executive advised that there was a forthcoming all member seminar on the Shared Prosperity item. It was noted that an additional meeting may be required if all these items were accepted.

 

Democratic Services agreed to circulate by email an update on the complaints procedure working group.

 

60.

Exclusion of Press and Public

In relation to the items of business appearing below, the Committee is asked to consider the following resolution: -

 

‘That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 in Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act and that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs such interest in disclosing the information.’

Minutes:

The public were not excluded from the meeting for the following item as committee members did not find the content of the report sufficient to warrant the exclusion.

 

61.

Response to Overview and Scrutiny request for information

At its November 2022 meeting, Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee requested information on the following to be presented at its December meeting:

1. The wider list of assets considered for disposal and the reasons for those selected for shortlist

2. The timetable for the controlled disposal of public assets, which maximises value and controls risk

This report provides this information.

Minutes:

The Head of Estates presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'G' to these Minutes in the Minute Book. The report had been prepared in response to the Committee’s request for information about the wider list of assets considered for disposal, the reasons why assets had been shortlisted and the timetable for disposal.

 

The Committee was advised that there had never been a long list of assets, as when reviewing the register only a limited number matched the high-level criteria used for selection: to be non-strategic and of sufficient value to deliver the £20 capital receipt by the deadline of 31 March 2023. Committee members questioned why this had not been explained at the previous meeting on 18 November and felt that their questions had not been answered – for example, on what basis had one asset originally shortlisted subsequently been rejected. It was noted that the relevant Portfolio Holder was not present due to illness and that the Leader was not in attendance.

 

During the debate the Committee was advised to consider excluding the public from the meeting due to the further risk of exempt information being disclosed in discussion, shortlisted assets having already been accidentally named in the introduction to the report. A move to exclude the public on these grounds was not carried (2 votes in favour, 4 votes against, 2 abstentions).

 

The Committee was reminded of the Government’s expectation that the Council should try to avoid the need for a further capitalisation direction in 2023/24 and 2024/25 by generating capital receipts through the sale of assets. This would be in addition to those already budgeted for. Further detail on this was anticipated in the February 2023 budget report. Committee members discussed making a revised recommendation and agreed that this should use the same wording as the recommendation previously made (but in their view not responded to), with additional wording to ensure the information they requested covered the period of the transformation programme. 

 

RESOLVED that that Portfolio Holder be requested to present the following information to the Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee: 1. The wider list of assets considered for disposal and the reasons for those selected for shortlist and 2. The timetable for the controlled disposal of public assets, which maximises value and controls risk, over the period of the Transformation Programme.