Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Thursday, 9 July 2015 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Amanda Roden  01344 352253

Items
Note No. Item

None

4.

Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.

Minutes:

The Panel noted the attendance of the following substitute member:

 

Councillor King for Councillor Mrs Mattick

None

5.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 19 March 2015 and 27 May 2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meetings held on 19 March 2015 and 27 May 2015 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

None

6.

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.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs Birch declared an interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing. Councillor Mrs McCracken declared an interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection. There were no indications that Members would be participating under the party whip.

None

7.

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.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business.

8.

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.

Minutes:

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

9.

Community Safety pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, to receive a presentation on, and to consider: the performance of the Community Safety Partnership in 2014-15; and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for 2015-16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tim Wheadon, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership, said that the Partnership had another successful year in 2014-15. Ian Boswell, Community Safety Manager, gave a presentation on the Bracknell Forest Community Safety Partnership performance during 2014-15. It was Ian’s last attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission as he was due to retire in August.

 

John Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable, and Dave Gilbert, Chief Inspector, of Thames Valley Police were present at the meeting for this item.

 

Within the Bracknell Forest Council Priorities, the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) came under Priority Four: ‘create a borough where people are, and feel, safe’ and the Medium Term Objective 8: ‘Work with the police and other partners to ensure Bracknell Forest remains a safe place’.

 

The CSP met four times a year and was Chaired by the Chief Executive of Bracknell Forest Council. CSP Statutory Members included the Local Authority, Police, Fire Service, Clinical Commissioning Group, National Probation Service / Community Rehabilitation Companies. Other members included Housing Associations, Public Health, Chamber of Commerce, RMA (Royal Military Academy), Victim Support, Town Councils and Parishes, and the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner. The Partnership worked closely with the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

The CSP received £56,250 Community Safety Grant from the Police & Crime Commissioner in 2014/15, but the funding for the CSP for 2015/16 was £30,100. The Community Safety Team was comprised of 5 FTE posts which included the Community Safety Manager. The Community Safety Team also worked very closely with the Bracknell Police Community Safety Team which comprised: ASB police officer, Alert Administrator (formerly Ring Master) and Police Schools Officer.

 

Themes included Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour. Priorities included Burglary Dwelling, Domestic Abuse, Drug Offences, Internet-Related Crime, Non-Rape Sexual Offences, Robbery of Personal Property, Vehicle Offences, Violence Against the Person, Youth Crime Prevention.

 

In 2006/07, there were 9,481 victims and in 2014/15 there were 4,921 victims. There were 4,560 fewer victims in 2014/15 showing a decrease of 48% in all crime in Bracknell Forest.

 

In 2014/15 there was a 14% reduction in burglary dwelling (134 incidents), a 5.4% reduction in non-dwelling burglary (332 incidents), a 31% reduction in personal robbery (28 incidents), and a 33% reduction in vehicle crime (344 incidents).

 

In 2014/15, there were 1,080 incidents of Violence Against the Person, an increase of 20%. There were 118 incidents of Non-Rape Sexual Offences, an increase of 25%, and 714  incidents of Criminal Damage, an increase of 6%. Reasons why included celebrity trials, an increased confidence to report and historical reports (NSPCC reported sex offences against children had increased by a third); the HMIC review of reporting processes; and a new question in relation to rape on the DASH (domestic abuse, stalking and harassment) form.

 

Anti-Social Behaviour reported on CADIS showed 5674 incidents in 2014/15, which was a decrease of 21.4 %. Thames Valley Police data showed 1469 incidents in 2013/14 and 1410 incidents in 2014/15, which was a decrease of 4%. Thames Valley Police  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Introductory Briefing and Service Plan 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 574 KB

The Executive Member for Corporate Services has been invited to set out the strategic overview for the Corporate Services Department, his priorities over the next four years, the differences which are to be achieved, and goals for 2015/16.

 

The Director of Corporate Services will provide an introductory briefing in respect of the Department’s objectives, also those of the Chief Executive’s Office, which are described in the Service Plans.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor McCracken, Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services & Public Protection gave a presentation on the strategic overview for the Corporate Services Department, his priorities over the next four years, the differences which were to be achieved, and goals for 2015/16, which were subject to on-going consideration by the Council’s leadership.

 

Corporate Services Portfolio responsibilities included ICT, Legal, Democratic  & Registration Services, Human Resources, Customer & Revenue Services, and Community Engagement and Equalities. Also include in this Portfolio was Communications and Marketing and Community Safety.

 

ICT were responsible for ensuring that there was a technology framework capable of supporting the aspirations of the authority. The ICT strategy covered the development needed to underpin the corporate and departmental service plans, medium term objectives and priorities as well as the ongoing development/ maintenance of policies and standards for the use of ICT equipment and services.

 

Legal were responsible for all the Council’s legal work whether it was contentious (did necessarily involve litigation) or non-contentious. The Information Compliance Team sat within the Non-Contentious team.

 

Democratic & Registration Services were responsible for all aspects of the democratic and registration process, this embraced: full administrative support, including the Mayoral Office research and report writing, preparing all agendas and minutes, and supporting a range of other inter-departmental and inter-agency bodies such as Bracknell Forest Partnership, and other partner organisations.

 

Other aspects included Electoral registration, the management of elections, and the registration of births, deaths and marriages. Nationality Checking Service (checking an applicant's Home Office application form), certifying their documents and sending everything to the Home Office. The Registration Service also offered a range of ceremonies including: Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Commitment Ceremonies, Renewal of Vows, Naming Ceremonies, and Citizenship Ceremonies.

 

Customer & Revenue Services were responsible for the following primary functions:

·         being the first point of contact with the council, from appointments to register the birth of a baby, to waste collection.(operations team);

·         for the billing and collection of council tax and business rates (revenue team);

·         for the public website and the intranet (Digital team);

·         Implementation of the Customer Contact and Digital Online strategies.

 

The Communications and Marketing team was responsible for internal and external communications support to all departments, staff and councillors; publication of Forest Views and Town & Country, corporate messages and leading the council’s press office; corporate branding; and leading on the Council's corporate social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

 

Achievements over the past four years included:

·         Successful implementation of 360 degree reviews;

·         Achieved PSN accreditation;

·         Transfer from Novell to Microsoft environment;

·         On-going legal work on Blue Mountain, Court of Protection, Employment Tribunal and SEN cases;

·         >£1million debt collection achieved by Legal Services;

·         Achieved “Civic Office of the Year” award for Mayor’s Office;

·         Relocation of Registrars to Time Square.

 

An Overarching Priority was for Bracknell Forest Council to “Continue to enhance our services to residents” by enhancing our digital inclusion offering; working with our partners to keep Bracknell Forest one of the lowest crime/safest places in the Thames Valley; providing a first class, efficient, service to members; staying abreast  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

None

11.

Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs) pdf icon PDF 695 KB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSRs for the final quarter of 2014/15 (January to March 2015) relating to:

 

·         The Chief Executive’s Office

·         The Corporate Services Department

 

Please bring the previously circulated Quarterly ServiceReports to the meeting.  The QSRs are available to be viewed online.

 

The Chairman has asked that any detailed or procedural questions arising from the Quarterly Service Reports should be referred to either the Assistant Chief Executive or Director of Corporate Services in advance. Except in cases of urgency, only issues of strategic importance or of wider implications should be raised at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission noted the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Reports for the fourth quarter of 2014/15 (January to March) relating to the Chief Executive’s Office and the Corporate Services Department.

None

12.

Corporate Performance Overview Report pdf icon PDF 780 KB

To consider the Chief Executive’s Corporate Performance Overview Report for the final quarter of 2014/15 (January to March 2015).

 

The Chairman has asked that any detailed questions arising from the report should be referred to the Assistant Chief Executive or the relevant departmental officers in advance and only raised in the meeting if you consider the issue requires wider discussion, or is of strategic importance.

Minutes:

The Commission considered the Chief Executive’s Corporate Performance Overview Report for the fourth quarter of 2014/15 (January to March).

 

There was good performance across the board and work had begun on the northern retail quarter of the town centre as part of the town centre regeneration. Many parents were getting one of their three preferences for school places, and the Council was good at tax recovery. There were a small number of areas where performance did not match plans. The number of affordable homes delivered fell below target and there was an increasing number of homeless people, which had an impact on homelessness figures.

 

In response to Members’ questions, the following points were made:

 

  • There was a national focus on volunteering as the shortage of volunteers was a national issue. A Council survey had been stratified and focused on the right numbers of people in different age groups, whereas previous surveys had been completed by a dominance of older people in the population. There had been changes in the voluntary sector, such as Involve, and local factors could have affected the result.
  • Further information could be sought on whether services were any closer to meeting the 26 week time frame for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Assessments.
  • Bracknell Forest was a small authority and small numbers made a big difference in terms of percentages in relation to performance indicator figures.
  • The Housing Department in the Council was thought to be very proactive in helping people into the private rented sector and worked closely with people to help them from temporary to permanent accommodation. Further information could be requested from the Chief Officer: Housing, Simon Hendy.
  • Staff sickness in the Chief Executive’s Office at 22.22% related to possibly 2 positions including one staff member on long term sick.

13.

Report on the Review of Business Rates and Discretionary Relief pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider the response by the Executive to the Overview and Scrutiny report resulting from the review ofBusiness Rates and Discretionary Relief by a Working Group of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered and accepted the response by the Executive to the Overview and Scrutiny report resulting from the review of Business Rates and Discretionary Relief by a Working Group of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.

 

The Executive had met and agreed this response which involved a slightly changed scheme for business rate relief. It was hoped that the scheme would help small businesses to grow.

14.

Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions Relating to Corporate Issues pdf icon PDF 69 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission noted the forthcoming Key and Non-Key Decisions of a corporate nature.

None

15.

Overview & Scrutiny Progress Report pdf icon PDF 259 KB

To note the Bi-Annual Progress Report of the Assistant Chief Executive.

Minutes:

The Commission noted the bi-annual Progress Report of the Assistant Chief Executive on Overview and Scrutiny activity over the period December 2014 to May 2015 and local and national developments in Overview and Scrutiny.

16.

Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To form Working Groups of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission to:

·         contribute to the review of the Council’s Medium Term Objectives, and how performance is reported and reviewed.

·         make an input to the draft Economic Development strategy.

 

To receive an update on the establishment of Working Groups by the O&S Panels, approving any changes needed to the currently agreed Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Commission considered its Work Programme for 2015/16. The Commission received an update on the establishment of Working Groups by the Overview and Scrutiny Panels, approving any changes needed to the currently agreed Work Programme.

 

The Homelessness Working Group from the Adult Social Care and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel had made a start after consulting the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.

 

The Environment, Culture & Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel had three subjects to consider for its working groups: parks and open spaces, planning procedure and enforcement, and houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). The aim was to start on the Planning Working Group as soon as possible.

 

The Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel would reflect on possible subjects for Working Groups and then make a decision on this.

 

The Children, Young People and Learning Panel had commenced a review of Child Sexual Exploitation.

 

The Commission agreed to:

 

  1. Establish a Working Group to contribute to the review of the Council’s Medium Term Objectives, and how performance was reported and reviewed. Councillors Allen, Harrison, Leake, Finnie and Angell volunteered to be part of this Working Group. Work on this would need to start in early August 2015.

 

  1. Establish a Working Group to make an input to the draft Economic Development Strategy. Further information would be circulated, and It was suggested that other Members of the Council might be interested to take part in this Working Group.