Reports to be considered by District Executive on 7 March 2019
Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 7 March 2019 and made comments as detailed below. Responses to comments were provided at the Scrutiny Committee by the relevant officers or Portfolio Holder.
Adoption of the South Somerset Leisure Facility Strategy (Agenda item 6)
· Regarding agenda pages 12 and 13 – some members felt it would useful if there was an additional column/category for ‘other’ sports. It was acknowledged not every sport could be in the strategy but some members felt it was important unmentioned sports were not forgotten e.g. badminton.
· Some members felt the next steps / actions should provide a little more detail and indicate more specific timescales.
· A non-member of Scrutiny noted that Donyatt Bowls Club was being marketed and queried if inclusion of the facility in the strategy needed to be reviewed.
· Members queried the synergy between this strategy and the Local Plan?
· A member queried the latest situation regarding the Yeovil North and Eastern corridor cycle path links, and how the project would link with the strategy.
· Acknowledge the Needs Assessment has been completed and is correct at the current time. If elements or popularity of individual sports change over the lifetime of the strategy, is there an option to review the documents?
· Some members queried if any projects identified within the strategy were specifically aimed at delivering facilities for the Wyndham Park and Bunford areas?
· It was queried if the work to compile the strategy could have been undertaken internally, and how much finance had been required for the consultants.
Equality and Diversity Policy 2019 (Agenda item 7)
· Agenda page 22 – section 9 – bullet points (i) to (v).
o Members queried if there was a reason for the Gypsy and Traveller community being specifically highlighted from any other identified community?
o Members noted that if bullet point (i) was being complied with that it would encompass point (iii), and hence queried the need for both bullet points.
· Members were content that the recommendations go forward
SSDC Local Authority Trading Company (Agenda item 8)
Members raised a number of comments regarding this item, some of which are included in the bullet points below. (6 members of the Executive were present for much of the meeting and listened to the discussion.)
· Is the amount of the loan requested (rec 3) adequate?
· The first line of para 2 refers to seeking approval in principle however recommendation (a) at para 8 seems to suggest that the Executive approve with no mention of principle. Members sought clarity as to whether the decision would be ‘in principle’ or not.
· Some members felt there was not enough time between publishing of the District Executive agenda and the Scrutiny Committee meeting, for members to read and digest the report fully. It was felt due to the nature of the subject matter that a separate briefing should have been arranged specifically for Scrutiny members.
· Page 44, para 11.4a – refers to the shareholder agreement be altered / changed as the company develops – members queried what the process would be for doing this.
· Page 79 – refers to a Shareholder Cabinet Committee – members queried if the 5 members suggested would be all District Executive members and whether they would be appointed in political balance?
· Members acknowledged the suggestion by the Director that two Scrutiny members could possibly be involved with the Portfolio Holder meetings regarding the shareholder agreement, if it was felt appropriate.
· The shareholders agreement is an important document and should be considered by Scrutiny before it is agreed.
· The due diligence referred to in recommendation 8a is not quantified. Who will carry out the due diligence and determine when it is satisfactory?
· In addition to the comments above one councillor had forwarded a number of detailed queries to the Director shortly before the meeting, and verbal responses were provided at the Scrutiny meeting. Some of the comments and queries included:
o Para 9.8 refers to other authorities who have set up trading companies but there is no reference to how successful they have been or any problems they may have encountered.
o Para 12.4 refers to best practice but no further detail or references are provided.in order to see such information.
o The main advantage of setting up a separate trading company should be clearly stated near the front of the report.
o The report should explain clearly that detailed external advice has been sought and the nature of the advice.
o What are the intentions regarding Scrutiny of the company?
o Para 9.13 – annual levy – who will determine and agree the amount?
o Para 14.3a – disagree with the wording and feel there is also a reputational risk to SSDC should the company fail.
o Appx 4, page 81 – new terminology of ‘smart client’ without an obvious explanation regarding the term ‘smart’.
o How and where will the resource come from to carry out the operational duties of the new company?
· 8 of the 9 Scrutiny members present at the meeting agreed to recommend to District Executive that:
i. The wording of recommendation 8a is revised to make it clear that it is an ‘in principle’ decision/approval.
ii. That District Executive consider all of the concerns raised at the Scrutiny Committee with a view to including additional information within the report for clarity, and for the Executive to reconsider the next steps to setting up an LATC.
District Executive Forward Plan (Agenda item 9)
· No comments.