Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for absence


An apology for absence was received from Councillor Linda Vijeh - Councillor Martin Wale was in attendance as substitute.


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.


There were no declarations of interest.


Public question time


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


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.


There were no issues raised from previous meetings.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman noted that the trial of circulating the responses from District Executive members and officers to comments raised at Scrutiny Committee appeared to be being quite well received, and the trial would continue.


SSDC Key Performance Indicators Review - Verbal Update pdf icon PDF 37 KB


The Performance Specialist provided members with a brief verbal update regarding the review of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and referred to the draft list of KPIs which had been circulated to members for information. She highlighted the new KPIs and explained that some other indicators remained the same but the targets had changed.


The Council Tax and Benefits indicators would remain the same and the indicators for planning (development management) were still with senior officers to finalise the measures and targets. It was noted that measures and figures for waste and recycling were only available for the whole county and not broken down by district due collection routes. The Performance Specialist asked if members felt the county-wide data was still relevant and useful for the district?


During discussion members raised several queries and suggestions, some of which included (responses from the Performance Specialist and Director (Service Delivery) are shown in italics). :

·        PCS14 - Appeals Lost - understand if more than 10% of appeals are lost then will come under the scrutiny from central government - so shouldn't the target be less than 10%?

            (planning indicators are being reviewed by senior officers - it was taking some time as want to ensure it's accurate)

·        Indicators for waste should still be measured and reported, and available for districts to scrutinise even if data is at a county-wide level. Data is still useful in order to see trends and issues or concerns can be raised with Somerset Waste Partnership or via the Joint Waste Scrutiny Panel.

·        One member wanted to stress the importance of measure for planning in performance reviews.

      (planning indicators are being reviewed by senior officers - it was taking some       time as want to ensure it's accurate)

·        Regarding waste - feel it would be useful to know what's going in and out of Dimmer as the contract is changing. There is a need to monitor the amount of vehicle movements.

            (will raise the issue with the Somerset Waste Partnership regarding figures)

·        EN 1 - Land management (environment indicator) - how would this be recorded and down to what level? Will it include species monitoring, nature conservation management, flora and fauna? And at site level such as Ham Hill or Chard Reservoir?

            (The environment team are working on this and these new KPI reports will             show that level of detail moving forward.)

·        How do we record information about Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and our response rates?

            (FOIs and complaints will be an area that's looked at separately from KPIs as             it's an important area and needs to be transparent. Acknowledge it's an area             that needs to be improved.)

·        E4 digital connections - the measure state 'various', which is a catch all. What specific measures will be included in this?

      The measures are Gigabit vouchers facilitated per premise, broadband       connections facilitated per premise and additional mobile coverage facilitated       per premise. This KPI is still under review.)

·        EN5 - Waste to landfill - understand that a lot of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Verbal update on reports considered by District Executive on 3 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 34 KB


There were no updates on reports considered by District Executive members at the June meeting. The Chairman referred members back to his comment made under Chairman Announcements (item 5) regarding responses circulated to members.


Reports to be considered by District Executive on 1 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 133 KB


Prior to considering the District Executive agenda, the Chairman referred to storm flooding that had occurred in the Chard area the previous evening. He thanked all staff who had helped with the response or were offering support and advice to the community, and he asked the Director (Service Delivery) to convey thanks on behalf of the Scrutiny Committee.


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 1 July 2021 (Informal Consultative Meeting) and raised comments as detailed below. Responses to most questions and comments were provided at Scrutiny Committee (Informal Meeting) by the relevant officers or Portfolio Holder – except those marked by an asterisk:


Planning Reimagined Update (Agenda item 5)


·        A member suggested it would be useful to have some local and national context to help better understand how SSDC are doing compared to other authorities.

·        Some members expressed concern about ward member involvement and ensuring that ward members are ‘kept in the loop’ especially regarding applications going forward to Regulation Committee.

·        Members also expressed concerns regarding timeframes and processes for notifying parish / town councils and receiving their comments.

·        Some members noted the report referenced a technical lead position in the team as well as a Lead Specialist. Members sought clarification whether an appointment had been made to the technical lead role, and also if the position was an additional role at additional cost?

·        One member asked about the use of the phrase “bolstering the team”, what does this mean exactly?

·        Several members expressed concern about enforcement which was often a controversial subject at parish meetings.

·        The report refers to a training video – would this be for members or parishes?

·        A member suggested that more briefings for members on technical elements would be useful, including how people can report enforcement issues.

·        A members asked if a breakdown was known regarding how many enforcement queries were submitted through the website, member portal, post or by phone? The Director for Service Delivery informed Scrutiny members that she would share this enforcement data with them.*

·        Some members queried if the planning re-imagined workshops would be reconvening in the near future?


Review of Priority Project 1 of the Council’s Annual Action Plan 2021-2022 (Agenda item 6)


·        A member noted the report referred to ‘subject to funding’ (pages 18 and 19) and asked for clarity about the purpose, amount and sources of such funding.

·        Members asked if we were still engaging with education providers to assist with our economy and recovery?

·        *Page 19, Q3 – a member sought clarity about how much progress had been made with the health and well-being framework – what and when etc.

·        Page 18 – outcomes – refers to digital infrastructure – a member commented that some more detail or information would be useful.

·        Regarding the imminent decision due regarding the future of local government in Somerset – and the possible associated statutory instruments likely to be in place – how would all this work / projects be achieved? One member suggested this was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Verbal update on Task and Finish reviews pdf icon PDF 47 KB


The Specialist (Scrutiny & Member Development) provided a brief verbal update on the progress of Task and Finish groups including:


SSDC Environment Strategy - meetings are ongoing and gathering data. Confirmation was awaited regarding changing the remaining contract with our existing energy supplier as there was a financial implication.


Productivity Analysis - no update.


Update on matters of interest pdf icon PDF 32 KB


The Chairman reminded members that meetings would continue to be held virtually until at least the end of July. Depending on coronavirus restrictions, the August meetings may be in person.


A representative on the Somerset Waste Board Joint Scrutiny Panel noted that at a recent meeting the driver shortage had been discussed, and the impact it was having on waste collections.


Regarding the Somerset Rivers Authority Joint Scrutiny Panel, a meeting was due to be held on 2 July.


In response to a query raised, a member on the Appointments Committee advised they were due to meet on 5 July to interview shortlisted candidates for the CEO role.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 153 KB


During a brief discussion about the Work Programme, the Chairman noted the following:

·        Member briefings regarding Broadband had been arranged for 13th and 14th July depending on Area.

·        Rural Transport - he would follow up on a particular enquiry.

·        Local Plan Update - a report or update is due to be made to the next Scrutiny meeting.


A member asked about an update regarding the Community Infrastruture Levy (CIL) - they also noted that they thought each authority had to keep list of each receipt and queried if we had such a list, if it was published and when was it reviewed?  In response the Lead Specialist (Economy) advised that there was likely to be a workshop for Scrutiny members in August or September. He noted there was a need to agree the CIL governance structure in order to spend any receipts.


Members were content to note the Work Programme.


Date of next meeting pdf icon PDF 29 KB


Members noted that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for Tuesday 3 August 2021 - with meeting arrangements to be confirmed nearer the time depending on coronavirus restrictions.