Agenda and minutes

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No. Item



To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 31 August 2021. The draft minutes can be viewed at:


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 31 August 2021 were approved as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.


Apologies for absence


An apology for absence was received from Councillor Robin Pailthorpe.


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


There were no announcements from the Chairman.


Verbal update on reports considered by District Executive on 2 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 34 KB


The Chairman noted that unfortunately the routine document detailing responses, which had been circulated for the previous few months, had been delayed for the September meeting, but it would be sent to members shortly. He noted the monthly document was being well received by members.


Reports to be considered by District Executive on 7 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 133 KB


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for
7 October 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:


South Somerset Families Project - Budget Approval (Agenda item 6)


·        A member noted it would be useful to see a breakdown by ward of the number of families who are receiving support from the project, and also what members could do to help officers regarding any referrals. To what extent is this a part of the role of a district councillor?

·        A member asked for a definition of social mobility and queried whether the term was still fit for purpose?

·        A member sought reassurance that families from rural areas would also qualify for assistance under this programme

·        Clarification was sought regarding the £303k and whether it was an additional figure on top of the approved budget?

·        Para 14 - members sought clarification that the £50k payment made in advance was from the £303k rather than in addition to the £303k.

·        Page 14. Second bullet point - the sentence is incomplete.

·        Page 12. Last bullet point in the first section – the sentence is incomplete.

·        *Page 9 Summary of needs table: A member asked for more definition on the terms used within the list of identified needs.

·        A member asked if this project is aligned with other councils in Somerset, and how it links with Social Services.

·        Page 15. Summary table: Regarding school attendance. A member asked for clarification on these statistics, as these percentages seem to be unacceptably low.

·        A member questioned the continuity of this project as we move into the unitary authority following LGR. In addition to this, a member asked if SSDC was ahead of the other Somerset Councils on this project?

·        A member asked if this project has evolved from the ‘Troubled Families’ programme.

·        Regarding the duration of the programme - A member asked if the families that join the programme later in the third year will still receive the full support needed.


Future Chard Strategy (Agenda item 7)


·        Page 18, Para 15 - Financial Implications - a member noted the paragraph referred to no direct financial implications, but the recommendation was to conduct a consultation. How much would the consultation cost as there will be costs for staff time and resources? What form will the consultation take?

·        Within the strategy document there are references to active travel.  A member asked what the current position was regarding active travel in Chard?

·        A member noted it would be interesting to know what the costs of the whole exercise will be, and what the costs for the consultants are? Where is the funding going to come from to deliver the strategy?

·        A member sought more detail about the consultation such as how, when and where as the consultation period was due to commence in the next few days.

·        Within  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.


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


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


SSDC Environment Strategy - Energy Supplier - a lot of work had been undertaken and thanks was conveyed to the members and officers involved. However due to the timing of transition to a new authority and the timing of contracts, unfortunately it was not possible for the recommendations of the Task and Finish group to be implemented. It was noted the work undertaken had been a good opportunity for research.


The Specialist (Scrutiny & Member Development) noted that it was quiet regarding the other Task and Finish groups, which provided some space as the authority progressed through the Local Government Reorganisation. She advised that an initial meeting regarding the Council Tax Support work was arranged for in a few weeks time. 


Update on matters of interest pdf icon PDF 32 KB


There was no discussion and members noted the following brief updates provided by the Chairman:

·        With reference to the recent meeting of the Joint Scrutiny Waste Panel, he had received an excellent and comprehensive response to his questions from the Managing Director of Somerset Waste Partnership.

·        Regarding the query raised at previous meetings regarding a breakdown of costs in the CEO programme expenditure programme - a response had now been received.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 161 KB


The Chairman and Specialist (Scrutiny & Member Development) suggested reviewing some of the items on the Scrutiny Work Programme, as some items may be less relevant now with the Local Government Reorganisation. During discussion the following was agreed and noted:


·        Local Plan update - members acknowledged the comments of the Director (Place & Recovery) that it was unlikely a full Local Plan review could be delivered by 2023, The item to be deleted from the work programme, but for members to still receive an update when appropriate if evidence gathering.

·        Remote working, meeting technology and IT support (members) - a member liaison group had now been established by the Digital Services team which would look at issues, technology and remote working. The item to be deleted form the work programme. Suggestion though that the member portal is reviewed including statistics regarding use.

·        Somerset Waste Partnership - item to be deleted from the work programme as matters have been raised, explained and improvements are being made.

·        Somerset Rivers Authority - leave on work programme. Request for officers to find out when the statutory report is due regarding the Chard flooding incident.

·        S106 SWAP audit findings - leave on the work programme.

·        CIL update - some questions outstanding from the member workshop held in August. Leave on the work programme with a due date of January. The Director (Place & Recovery) advised that a draft report was available and members requested that the report be considered at the next meeting of Scrutiny Committee.

·        Overview of voluntary sector support and draft commissioning model - the stance of this had changed due to the transition to a unitary authority, and it is unclear if the new authority will honour the commissioning model. Delete from work programme.

·        Resident survey - delete from work programme.

·        Council Tax Support Scheme  Task & Finish - leave on work programme.

·        Productivity analysis Task & Finish - paused. Specialist (Scrutiny & Member Development) to liaise with the Income & Opportunities Manager to discuss status of the review and if continuing.

·        SSDC Environment Strategy Task & Finish - energy contract - delete from work programme as completed.

·        SSDC Environment Strategy refresh Task & Finish- leave on work programme but request for Specialist (Scrutiny & Member Development) to follow up if work still required as there has previously been discussion bout the communications element.

·        Step-back review of Covid-19 response Task and Finish - delete from work programme as much information now included within the recovery strategy.

·        Effect of short-term lettings Task & Finish - delete from work programme as due to timescales feel unable to do with the Local Government Reorganisation. Suggestion that a recommendation put forward that the new unitary authority should consider the issue.


Scrutiny working groups, workshops etc:

·        Somerset Bus Services Improvement Plan - delete from work programme. Members had previously suggested some improved communications about the consultation which had happened.

·        CIL update/S106 - delete from workshop section of the work programme as it's a duplication.

·        Members portal improvement working group - delete from work programme as now incorporated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Date of next meeting pdf icon PDF 29 KB


Members noted that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for Tuesday 2 November 2021 at 10.30am - as a virtual meeting using Zoom.