Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of previous meetings held on 30 March 2021, 3 August 2021 and 16 August 2021 (Special Meeting) The draft minutes will be viewable at

Additional documents:


The minutes of previous meetings held on 30 March 2021, 3 August 2021 and
16 August 2021 were approved as correct records and would be signed by the Chairman.


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Louise Clarke, Karl Gill, Paul Maxwell, Oliver Patrick and Crispin Raikes.


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.


A member referred to two previous meetings where he raised about getting a breakdown of the costs in the CEO expenditure programme. He noted that apologies for delays had been received from the Lead Specialist (Finance), however as yet the requested information had still not been received. He had also asked a subsequent question about Transformation and whether agency costs had been taken into account when the savings figures relating to Transformation had been stated - and this had also not been answered.


Chairman's Announcements


There were no announcements from the Chairman.


Verbal update on reports considered by District Executive on 5 August 2021 and 17 August 2021 pdf icon PDF 35 KB


The Chairman reminded members that updates from the previous meeting of District Executive had been circulated to members for information.


Reports to be considered by District Executive on 2 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 132 KB


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for
2 September 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:


Additional Restrictions Grant – Discretionary Business Support Scheme (Agenda item 6)


·        Members asked if there was anything that could be done to increase uptake?

·        A member sought clarification that any monies unspent would need to be returned to central government. Another member asked if there might be an option to re-open any grant programmes to businesses who may have missed out previously?

·        Regarding networking with business groups – a member asked what progress had been made?

·        A member noted at this stage it looked like around 17-18% of the grant was unspent – was this is an expected position and how does it compare to other authorities?

·        Are available grants being promoted via social media etc?

·        Para 17 – regarding the key areas of business grant funding and business support initiatives – how will financing for the two areas of work be split?

·        A member expressed concern that some data may not have been fully up to date regarding businesses eligible for grants. What is or has been done to address this?, and it was also queried why the situation had occurred?


Council Tax – Care Leavers Discount Review (Agenda item 7)


·        Members queried if the other Somerset authorities had debated the matter yet and if so, what their response had been? It was also queried if the other authorities were aligned?

·        Para 11 - Regarding the number of discounts currently paid, a member queried if we were confident the figure was fairly stable as a significant increase could have an impact on the budget.


Chard Regeneration Programme Finance Update (Agenda item 8)


·        Para 28, table 3 – a member sought clarity about how the figures had been derived.

·        Appx A, page 22 – members commented it would be useful if the information included the budget spent/committed to date.

·        Para 9, page 16 – A member noted his disappointment regarding the situation with Boden Mill as he struggled to understand why it was not suitable for sale. He queried why decontaminate the site rather than accepting a lower offer for sale? In his opinion every year the building stood empty it was worth less.

·        A member asked for an explanation of net and gross budgeting, and why we were moving away from net budgeting?

·        *A member asked who we approached for grant funding, who we actually applied to and why were rejected for some grants? (in response an officer explained they would liaise with the member direct).

·        It was noted the problems with Boden Mill hadn’t just appeared. When looking at what property could be sold for funding going forward, why was the situation not known or considered at that time?

·        Will the leisure centre require more investment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.


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


The Chairman provided a brief verbal update on the progress of Task and Finish groups including:


SSDC Environment Strategy - Energy Supplier - a final Task and Finish report would be circulated to members shortly.


There were no updates since the last meeting regarding other Task and Finish groups.


Update on matters of interest pdf icon PDF 32 KB


The Specialist (Scrutiny and Member Development), reminded members to forward to her any questions for the Joint Waste Scrutiny Panel. During a short discussion members asked that the invite to submit questions was extended to all members, with a further reminder sent shortly before the Panel meeting.


Members noted the long-term absence of two senior officers and asked the Specialist (Scrutiny and Member Development) to request that an update be circulated to members. In particular members were seeking clarification and assurance that work was being covered in their absence, and which alternative officers could be contacted if necessary.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 160 KB


A member referred to the Local Plan Update and the pending Structural Change Order (SCO), and asked if Scrutiny were likely to have any input into the SCO or would it be left to officers to propose potential warding arrangements. She felt if there was some Scrutiny involvement it would provide some transparency. In response, the Monitoring Officer advised that there were very short timeframes and officers were looking at the technical detail for future warding arrangements, and political groups had also been asked for comments.


Members were content to note the Scrutiny 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 5 October 2021at 10.30am - as a virtual meeting using Zoom.