To consider the Corporate Strategy report scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 9 February 2021:
The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report and if required make recommendations or observations as appropriate.
Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation.
The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
The Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Finance introduced the report, a copy of which had been circulated to each member of the Board and which appears as Appendix ‘D’ to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Portfolio Holder and Chief Financial Officer responded to comments and questions from the Board, details included:
· A Board member commented that it was understood that Christchurch Street Lighting was not currently with a renewable provider as opposed to it being indicated within the report that all electricity would be with a renewable provider. It was suggested that an officer would need to respond to the detail on this issue.
· The report stated that food waste provision would be unified across the Council by April 2023, it was understood that there was an intention that environment act would bring everything forward by 2023 but there was no funding for this until 2025. The Leader confirmed that it was the ambition to level up and was now a commitment in the strategy. However the confirmation on funding was still awaited by the government.
· A Councillor asked about the section on dynamic economy which indicated that the future of Winter Gardens would be determined in the future and the impact on the partnership with Morgan Sindel and the associated risks for this. There was an ambition around dynamic places which was now being fully resourced. The funding indicated was the full cost of the winter gardens spent to date. There was a future places scheme in place to look at this and all other sites as well.
· The report indicated the adoption of Local Plan would be finalised by April 2023 – but the timeline indicated April 2024, the Leader thought it was probably a typo and this would be amended.
· The report indicated that the Youth Strategy would be finalised by March 2022 but this was not coming to Overview and Scrutiny until April. The Leader noted this and confirmed that April was correct.
· A Councillor commented that the report indicated that Brighter Futures for the high needs block would be balanced by March 2023 but this hadn’t been indicated previously. The High Needs Block did need to be addressed. There was more capital investment into schools along with the service-based transformation.
· The Accountable Council section refered to digital tools but at the moment there was a lot of disappointment from residents that there was a lack of traditional engagement and pushing people towards digital tools when this was not a viable option for everyone. There was san ambition to be an entirely digitally enabled authority but there was also significant investment going back into telephony and improving the customer offer on this. A Councillor responded that there was a feeling of mistrust amongst some residents that the digital response to things like the local plan had been made extremely hard for a normal resident to complete, even for someone good with digital communication. The Leader suggested that hubs in libraries would increase provision in more desirable locations. The Leader also advised that he would take back the issues raised around consultations to the relevant Portfolio Holders
· A Board member asked about a performance dashboard related to the issues within the Corporate Strategy Delivery plans. It was noted that this had been suggested previously and the Leader was asked if these could be included next time to more easily understand the position on these targets. The Leader confirmed that they were working on this and that the Chief Executive was also keen to move this forward.
· The Chairman commented on the recent series of articles on the Winter Gardens with a number of different issues raised around the forthcoming development and concern raised by the operator of the BIC in relation to this. The Chairman asked about the direct cost indicated and whether this also include accrued interest on loans.
· A Councillor commented that they were pleased to hear that the ambition to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all was part of our levelling up goal.
· A Board member questioned whether the access to leisure and learning policy would be spread t the whole area as it was currently only available in Poole. The Board member asked whether there was a commitment to extend and review this. The Leader confirmed that it would be spread across conurbation, but the Council was also looking further than this in terms of the futures fund around sport more generally and wanted to make a commitment to make sure the area had good facilities and invest further in terms of elite sport ability.
· A Councillor welcomed the proposed initiative to bring services closer to the people but question that the Christchurch Library Hub had been well received. In particular there were issues between different groups of staff using the building. The Leader had advised that he had received positive feedback and the Council were committed to delivering services in the n heart of the community. The Leader advised that he understood that there had been some teething problems and welcomed feedback from local ward Councillors or anybody else.
The Chairman thanked the Leader of the Council for his responses and comments on all of the items at the meeting.