Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 4 September 2014 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

Note No. Item



Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 10 July 2014.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 10 July 2014 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Matters Arising


Further to Minute 8 of the last meeting, regarding proposals to decommission some of the Broadmoor sirens, it was reported that correspondence between the Council and West London Mental Health Trust was ongoing.   A response to the Authority’s most recent letter had not yet been received.  The Chairman reported that he had spoken to Councillor Tim Holton, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee at Wokingham Borough Council, who had agreed that it would be advantageous to hold a joint meeting between the Authorities and invite the Chief Executive and Chair of West London Mental Health Trust to explain their position and answer questions.



Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an affected interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.



Councillor Mrs McCracken declared an interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection.  Councillor Mrs Birch declared an interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing.



Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no urgent items of business.


Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


There were no submissions from members of the public in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To meet representatives of Royal Berkshire Fire And Rescue Service (RBFRS), with reference to the implications for Bracknell Forest residents and businesses of:


·                     The context for RBFRS – including the budgetary position;


·                     The Service’s new policy direction – including future plans and priorities; and


·                     The role and contribution of the Service to community safety locally

Additional documents:


Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, Andy Fry, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Julie Waterworth, Community Safety Co-ordinator, and Dave Phillips, Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), were welcomed to the meeting.


Andy Fry gave a presentation setting out Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s policy direction, which had been reset following a review earlier in the year, and stressed the importance which RBFRS attached to collaborative working with local authorities.


The presentation outlined the main drivers behind the new policy direction.  The first of these was financial, where the Authority had seen its grant reduced by 20.5% during the period April 2011 to March 2015, resulting in the need to make savings of £4.7 million over the same period.  To date these savings had been achieved with minimal impact on frontline services.  However, continued reductions in grant funding were expected, in the region of 10% each year, which was equivalent to approximately £800,000.  When combined with inflation this would require savings each year of around £1.1million. An increase in income from Council Tax of approximately £180,000 was anticipated as more houses were built in the area, plus an increase in business rates income of around £250,000.  The second driver for change had been a dramatic reduction in demand for the Authority’s core, statutory services.  Demand had fallen by 50% in the last ten years, in a climate of increasing demand for other public services.  The Authority needed to ensure that they were providing good value for money.  Finally, the third driver for change had been consideration of the long-term viability of the Retained Duty System (RDS).  A reduction in the number of emergency calls had resulted in reduced morale and income for RDS staff, and difficulties in recruiting and retaining new staff.  The on-going national dispute over government changes to the pension scheme, and higher levels of staff sickness absence were additional pressures.


The presentation explained that the Authority’s priorities were set out in the form of six Strategic Commitments, and highlighted three of these, as follows:


(a)        Commitment 1 – we will educate people on how to prevent fires and other emergencies, and what to do when they happen;


(b)        Commitment 3 – we will ensure appropriate fire safety standards in buildings;


(c)        Commitment 4 – we will seek opportunities to contribute to a broader safety, health and wellbeing agenda.


Julie Waterworth gave a presentation on the role and contribution of the service to community safety locally.  The presentation detailed her role as Safer Communities Co-ordinator, which included attending partnership meeting, working closely with local organisations, co-ordinating requests for the service to attend community events (there had been 129 requests in the previous year) and incident analysis.  The presentation also gave details of the roles of the other members of the Prevention Team - Fire Stations; the Home Fire Safety Check Team; the Risk Reduction Team; and volunteers.  The presentation gave details of the responsibilities of each of these,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.



Quarterly Service Reports (QSR) 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 374 KB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSRs for the first quarter of 2014/15 (April  to June) relating to


·                     The Chief Executive’s Office

·                     The Corporate Services Department


Please bring the previously circulated Quarterly ServiceReports to the meeting.  Copies are available on request and attached to this agenda if viewed online.


The Chairman has asked that any detailed questions arising from the Quarterly Service Reports should be referred to either the Assistant Chief Executive or Director of Corporate Services in advance and only raised in the meeting if you consider the issue requires wider discussion.

Additional documents:


The Commission noted the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as quarter of 2014 to 2015 (April to June) financial year for the Chief Executive’s Office and the Corporate Services Department.


With regard to Corporate Services, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act inspection report from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners had advised that there had been a lapse in the high standards demonstrated during the last inspection.  The Commission was reassured by the Director of Corporate Services that this related to recording of information rather than any substantial concerns, but an action plan was in place to address the identified weaknesses.


The Commission expressed concern at the current consultation on allowing flights to the west of Heathrow, as this would impact on residents in the east of the Borough, and requested that they be given the opportunity to respond.  Victor Nicholls undertook to pass on Members’ concerns to the appropriate officers.



Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Forthcoming items on the Executive Forward Plan of a corporate nature are attached for consideration.

Additional documents:


The Commission received and noted a report summarising forthcoming items on the Executive Plan of a corporate nature.


Work Programme and Panel Activity Update pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To note the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2014-15, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.


The Commission received and noted a report providing an update on the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for 2014-15 and Panel activity, with particular reference to Working Groups of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.


It was noted that the Business Rates Working Group, comprising Councillors Angell (Lead Member), Leake, Heydon and Virgo had met on three occasions to date.  It was reported that the next meeting was scheduled for the end of September 2014.


Reverend Parish said that he was resigning his position on the Commission, owing to moving to a new post outside Bracknell Forest. The Chairman thanked Reverend Parish for his contribution to the Commission’s work. </AI8>