Agenda item

Reports to be considered by District Executive on 12 May 2022


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 12 May 2022 (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 – except those marked by an asterisk:


Extension to Existing Dog Control Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) (Agenda item 6)


·        A member asked if local wardens had any concerns regarding compliance with the Order or the area it covered?


Covid Recovery & Renewal Strategy Annual Progress Report (Agenda item 7)


·        Page 33, Appx 2.- Social mobility study – Nearly £200k spent on Levelling up Fund? One member asked if we have got this report at the moment? And what do we hope to achieve by spending this money?

·        One member asked about the Yeovil Innovation Centre support up to £30k – what kind of support will be available there?

·        A member suggested that this was a long list of aspirations, rather than a confirmed list of what we are currently trying to do.


Leisure Facility Capital and Decarbonisation Programmes – Consideration of Additional Funding (Agenda item 8)


·        One member expressed concerns around this extra budget requirement. These budgets were only agreed in the budget setting meeting at Full Council February 2022. Why has this increase in costs occurred in such a short time? If this had been known at budget setting in February, would we have achieved a balanced budget?

·        The member also felt that this report is very complex, and in some places it is contradicting itself.

·        The member also asked if it would not be more sensible to leave further decarbonisation projects to the new unitary authority?

·        Paragraph 29 Option 1: A member felt that SSDC are being incredibly generous with Freedom Leisure by paying for the decarbonisation works, and added that there were big financial risks to this approach.

·        The member also asked about Paragraph 32: Is this a best case, or worst case scenario?

·        The member also asked why these two projects had not been linked from the start? Why were the allocated separate budgets, but now they have been interlinked?

·        The member asked what is the risk that further money will not be needed from the 4million reserves budget?

·        A member felt that this request is unacceptable, and added that it was concerning that this had taken a year to be addressed.

·        *One member asked if Chard Leisure Centre had been built as a fully decarbonised building? Is the authority using Chard Leisure Centre as an exemplar for these other decarbonisation projects?

·        One member felt that it was disappointing that Chard Leisure Centre is not 100% decarbonised.

(the officer advised that she would come back with a full response on this)

·        A member asked if there could be more definitions of Acronyms in reports.


Achievements of the South Somerset Families Project (Agenda item 9)


·        Page 59 item 10 – 174 new families referred to SSDC by 20 agencies. What agencies are these and what is the nature of their work before they refer families to SSDC?

·        Paragraph 16 and 17 – Financial implications of 382k. How was this shortfall missed from budget setting in February 2022. How did this oversight happen, given that this is a large sum of money and flagship project for The Council?

·        One member asked members to focus on the positives and good things that this project is delivering to vulnerable families across district

·        A member asked for reassurance that this project was being delivered across both rural and urban areas in South Somerset.

·        A member felt that a cost benefit analysis for this project would be very helpful, and also more data on where these referrals are coming from? She asked if this could be added as a supplementary paper or as an appendix to the Scrutiny minutes.

·        One member asked about the contingency plan, if S151 officers across Somerset cannot agree on this budget?


Equalities Progress Report (Agenda item 10)


·        The Chairman felt that this was a very good report that is well explained.

·        There were no questions or other observations from members


Quarterly Corporate Performance Report (Agenda item 11)


·        *Page 125, PCS 16 (Income received from commercial property) – a member asked if a further narrative could be included to provide more explanation as to what this included.

·        *Para 17 (first para), page 116 – there is reference to having switched to a renewable energy tariff – members queried if this was a 100% renewable energy tariff? When a Task and Finish group had looked at the energy contracts several months previously, it had been understood we could not change contracts due to various reasons, and the existing contract was only part renewable energy?

·        Regarding Protecting Core Services – a member commented that she was area SSDC had been working with the Department for Work and Pensions to improve benefits claims processing times – it was queried if this work was still ongoing? And when do you forecast getting back on track with this?

·        Page 136, PWWL 6 (Number in Bed and Breakfast Accommodation) – a member noted the figure of 17 for Q4 however the narrative referred to 14 single people and 3 families – hence queried what the figure of 17 referred to?

·        Page 136 – regarding homelessness in general – was it known, on average, how long people stayed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation? Are officers seeing a trend in problems sourcing long-term accommodation?

·        Slightly aside, referring to Ukrainian refugees, a member asked if SSDC was doing any work to support their resettlement in Somerset? Members noted it would be useful if information could be circulated to all members to advise on the support that is being provided.


District Executive Forward Plan (Agenda item 12)


·        No comments or observations.

Supporting documents: