Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Main Committee Room, Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil. View directions

Contact: Becky Sanders,Case Services Officer (Support Services) - 01935 462596  Email: becky.sanders@southsomerset.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

88.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 December 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

89.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carol Goodall, David Norris and Martin Wale.

90.

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

91.

Public question time

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present at the meeting.

92.

Issues arising from previous meetings

This is an opportunity for Members to question the progress on issues arising from previous meetings.  However, this does not allow for the re-opening of a debate on any item not forming part of this agenda.

Minutes:

The Chairman referred to the previous meeting and comments raised about planning performance and the impact of Transformation. She noted that no members had contacted her regarding their concerns, and she had therefore not made an appointment to meet with the Chief Executive.  She understood that the members who had raised questions at the member briefing before Council in November, had now received a reply.

93.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded members that the time of the District Executive meeting on 10 January 2019 had been re-arranged to 2.00pm.

94.

Verbal update on reports considered by District Executive on 6 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that the Scrutiny comments had been noted and were included in the District Executive minutes which had been circulated.

95.

Monitoring SSDC Council Tax Support Scheme - Draft Report of the Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the report and reminded members that the report would go forward to both District Executive and full Council.

 

The Scrutiny Specialist explained that the Committee needed to consider the report of the Task and Finish Group, suggest any amendments, and endorse the recommendations of the group to District Executive.

 

Members raised some questions and the Scrutiny Specialist responded to points of detail, including brief further information about:

·         Monitoring the scheme and identifying trends

·         Clarity regarding the position of the roll out of Universal Credit

·         Nearby authorities operating a discount based banded scheme and the amount of evidence available

 

At the end of discussion members were content to endorse the recommendations of the Task and Finish Group to District Executive, subject to some minor amendments to the report:

·         Page 5 of the Task and Finish report under the heading of ‘Impact of Universal Credit’ – wording of the first paragraph to be revised to clarify the position of Universal Credit.

·         Table on Page 11 of the Task and Finish report – repositioning of comma for total paid in 15/16.

·         End of last bullet point at bottom of page 14 of the Task and Finish Report - ‘request around Hardship’ should read ‘request Hardship funding’.

 

ACTION:

The Scrutiny Specialist to make amendments to the Task and Finish Group report and recirculate for consideration at the District Executive meeting.

 

96.

Reports to be considered by District Executive on 10 January 2019 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 10 January 2019 and made comments as detailed below. Responses to most of the comments were provided at the Scrutiny Committee by the relevant officer or Portfolio Holder.

 

Corporate peer Challenge; Follow Up Visit (Agenda item 6)

 

·         Members asked when they would be informed of what actions would be taken to address the recommendations made by the Peer Group, and the timeframes for any actions.

·         Page 7, rec 5 of the Peer Group – members asked if we were satisfied that we have all the skills necessary.

·         Members acknowledged that staff capacity was stretched at the current time, but sought reassurance that the costs of bringing in staff resources and consultants was being monitored. The response by the Chief Executive that such costs were contained within routine budget reports was acknowledged, but members noted the detail was not easy to refer to

·         Page 7, rec 6 of the Peer Group – in terms of policy / strategy, members sought clarity about whether an investment project needed to be for profit or council service priorities, or whether it could be a mix of both.

·         On hearing the responses of the Chief Executive about the actions currently being taken to address the recommendations made by the Peer Group, members felt it would be useful if similar information was circulated to all members with the next steps.

·         Page 21 of the agenda, section 3 of the Peer report – members noted the unfortunate spelling typo needed to be amended.

·         Page 19, point 2 – regarding ‘what additional services could we provide? Members asked if there was a timeframe involved, and if more training was required for commercialisation in some service areas?

 

A303 Sparkford to Ilminster Dualling Scheme – Local Impact Report (Agenda item 7)

 

·         Members sought reassurance that there are sufficient resources available to compete the work required from SSDC.

·         Members were content that the recommendations go forward.

 

Assessing Needs and Opportunities for Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities in South Somerset (Agenda item 8)

 

·         It was noted the email regarding the workshop for members had originally been circulated just prior to Christmas, and it was suggested a reminder be sent.

·         Page 41 – Athletics – regarding reference to public accessibility of the athletics track at Millfield School, it was noted that the school also had a pool but there was no reference to it in the swimming pool section on page 35, and for consistency it was felt it should be mentioned.

·         Some members were surprised that there was little mention of outdoor sports pitches, and noted there was a strong desire for an all-weather pitch in Area East.

 

2019/20 Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan Update (Agenda item 9)

 

·         Members acknowledged the updates to the report provided by the Lead Specialist (Finance), including that in paragraph 46 - the word ‘within’ should say ‘without’, and in the table at para 14 – the reference to member training should say for ‘all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Verbal update on Task and Finish reviews pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

Members noted the updates provided by the Scrutiny Specialist on each of the Task and Finish Groups currently in progress.

 

Homefinder Somerset Plain English policy - No updates since the last meeting – all Councils have postponed work on this primarily due to Transformation type related activities.

 

Customer Accessibility – Website and portal services are continuing to be developed and testing with the task and finish group will take place soon.

 

Council Tax Support Scheme 2020 – Task and Finish meetings are likely to commence following the local elections in May.

 

98.

Update on matters of interest pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

There were no updates on matters of interest.

99.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Specialist referred to the Work Programme, as detailed in the agenda, and suggested that members may wish to offer to help look at fees and charges given previous Task and Finish reviews that have been undertaken regarding fees.

 

She also noted there was little progress regarding the Precepting for Somerset Rivers Authority as the Bill was still awaiting passage through Parliament.

 

During a brief discussion members requested that the Scrutiny Specialist arrange for:

·         A progress update regarding Yeovil Refresh to the February or March meeting if possible.

·         A brief update on the Troubled Families Programme.

·         A presentation by Somerset Waste Partnership to provide an overview to new members and provide an update on the Avonmouth facility – June onwards.

 

The Scrutiny Specialist advised that it would be useful if members could review the guidance and information that would be provided to new councillors appointed to the Scrutiny Committee from May. Members requested that the information be circulated in advance of a discussion at Committee.

 

Members were content to note the Scrutiny Work Programme.

 

ACTION:

The Scrutiny Specialist to arrange the requested project updates and presentation.

 

100.

Date of next meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Minutes:

Members noted that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for Tuesday 5 February 2019 at 10.00m in the Main Committee Room, Brympton Way.