Venue: Town Hall, Preston. View directions
Contact: Steven Dugdale, Scrutiny Support Manager, 01772 906834 Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgItems No. Item
Minutes PDF 57 KB
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 February 2009.
Resolved - That the minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 6 February 2009 be approved as a correct record.
Disclosure of Personal and Prejudicial Interests
Members are asked to consider any Personal/Prejudicial Interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda. If the personal interest is a prejudicial interest, then the individual members should not participate in a discussion on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room and must not seek to improperly influence a decision in the matter.
Councillor Shannon declared the following personal interests –
Director of Community Gateway Association (re reports to Cabinet on housing capital programme and empty homes strategy)
Director of Citizens Advice Bureau Management Committee (re discussion with Executive Member for Community Services)
Chair of InTag Trust (re report to Cabinet on worklessness)
Councillor Patel declared a personal interest as a Racial Equality Council secondee from Lancashire County Council (re report to Cabinet on grants to third sector organisations)
Declarations of Decisions to be Taken in Accordance with Political Party Whip
In accordance with Scrutiny Committee and Review Board Procedure Rule 16 Members are asked to declare the existence of the whip, and the nature of it before commencement of deliberations of the matter.
The Chair declared the Labour party whip on national minimum wage payments to volunteers working for homeless organisations (re report to Cabinet on housing capital programme).
To scrutinise any Executive decisions “called in” since the last meeting.
There had been no executive decisions “called in” since the last meeting of the Committee.
Executive Member for Community Services
Councillor Thomas will be attending the meeting to give a brief overview of her portfolio and respond to Members’ questions/concerns.
Councillor Thomas gave an overview of her portfolio and responded to Members’ questions/comments on the following areas –
Proposals for a new crematorium and cemetery – the Environment Review Panel had done some work on this, but was not aware of some of the options now being considered, specifically provision by the private sector. There was also a discussion on the proposed fees for the current crematorium and cemetery and the need to generate additional income to fund the Council’s mercury abatement liabilities.
“Noise” cards – there were concerns over the use of an outside call centre and whether out of hours complaints were always being logged.
Guild History – the Executive Member acknowledged the need to utilise local historians when preparing the Guild History exhibition in the Harris Museum.
Leisure Centres – there was a discussion on the options to externalise the management of the leisure centres in the future, having regard to the economic climate and the need to retain some control/accountability.
“Grot spots” – the Executive Member would clarify the contact arrangements for members and the public regarding any such issues on private land. This led to a discussion on the new charge for wheelie bins and the possible resultant increase in the dumping of black bags on the street. This appeared to be a problem in student accommodation areas and the Executive Member indicated that officers were working closely with the University to address this, both in terms of education and, where necessary, enforcement.
At the end of the discussion the Chair thanked Councillor Thomas for her attendance and responses to Members’ questions/concerns.
The Executive Member for Resources, Councillor Fazackerley, will be attending the meeting to respond to any questions/concerns by Members to the enclosed report.
The Executive Member for Resources took the Committee through the key aspects of the report. He referred in particular to the ongoing work on service transformation, which in some cases would provide scope for staff to take on other duties and learn new skills.
He acknowledged the lack of explanatory narrative in some areas of the report and indicated that information was awaited from partner organisations in a number of new target activities.
Section 17 (Crime and Disorder) activity was highlighted as an area where the Council was some way behind target.
At the end of the discussion the Chair thanked Councillor Fazackerley for his attendance and information given to Members.
Cabinet - 11 March 2009
To consider any reports on the Cabinet agenda for which notice has been given to enable appropriate officers to attend the meeting.
Committee has previously identified the Empty Homes Strategy as a report it would like to discuss and this is on the Cabinet agenda for its meeting on 11 March.
The Committee discussed the following reports to Cabinet with appropriate officers –
Strategic Housing Service Capital Programme 2009/10
Empty Homes Strategy 2008/13
Additional activities to tackle worklessness – “Working Together” employment scheme
The Assistant Director (Strategic Housing) responded to Members’ comments in relation to the capital programme report and advised the Committee of the timescale for further key decision reports on Housing to be submitted to Cabinet.
The Empty Homes Officer responded to Members’ comments and questions on the draft Empty Homes Strategy and would clarify the position with regard to the Government report on the application of discretionary council tax powers on empty homes.
The Assistant Director (Regeneration and Property Services) responded to Members’ questions on the report on worklessness. He emphasised the specific purpose of the report and that other work was being undertaken on the Council’s worklessness agenda, including strengthening community engagement (including the third sector) and partnership working. The Assistant Director also explained the background to the statistics on training in the report.
Resolved – (i) That the Committee considers the report to Cabinet on affordable housing options when available, and
(ii) that briefing meetings for Members be arranged prior to future meetings of the Joint Scrutiny Task Group on Affordable Housing.
To consider any items on the draft Forward Plan for the period 1 April to 31 July 2009, for which notice has been given to enable appropriate officers to attend the meeting.
There were no specific key decisions discussed, but Members again expressed their concern over the lack of explanation in some cases when a decision was not taken in the timescale indicated in the Plan.
Joint Scrutiny Task Group - Affordable Housing
The Chair to update Committee on the work of this Task Group comprising Members and officers from the three Central Lancashire authorities.
The Chair circulated the draft minutes of the most recent meeting of the Task Group and highlighted the key issues. The Committee discussed the socially rented homes waiting list and sought clarification on its size, having regard to the figure quoted on a Government website.
Resolved – That the Scrutiny Support Manager seeks clarification on the above matter and forwards any information to members of the Committee.
Outstanding Action Lists PDF 49 KB
The Chair and Scrutiny Support Manager to report back on the updated outstanding action list for the Committee. As can be seen from the list there are some issues for the Committee to decide how to proceed.
It is also proposed to submit the outstanding action list for notices of motion to Council to this Committee for scrutiny on an occasional basis.
Further to minute SC127 on 6 February 2009 the Committee discussed in detail the latest list of outstanding matters and amended/removed as appropriate.
Also Members welcomed the opportunity to scrutinise the outstanding action list relating to notices of motion to Council.
Resolved – That the report be amended as now agreed.
Date of Next Meeting
The date of the next ordinary meeting of the Committee is Friday 17 April 2009 at 10.00am at the Town Hall, Preston.
The date of the next ordinary meeting of the Committee was Friday 17 April 2009 at 10.00am at the Town Hall, Preston.