Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 17 November 2016 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Hannah Stevenson  01344 352308

Note No. Item



Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

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


Apologies were received from Councillors Allen, Finnie and Mrs Temperton.



Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 22 September 2016.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on the 22 September 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



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 Birch declared a personal interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Heath and Housing.


Councillor Mrs McCracken declared a personal interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection.



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 the public in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


Economic and Skills Development pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To receive an update from David Cook (Partnership Chairman), Councillor Brunel-Walker (Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration) and Victor Nicholls (Assistant Chief Executive), in respect of the work of the Economic and Skills Development Partnership.

Additional documents:


The Commission received an update from David Cook, Economic and Skills Development Partnership (ESDP) Chairman and Victor Nicholls, Assistant Chief Executive, in respect of the work of the ESDP.

David congratulated Bracknell Forest for being number three in the Country for Technology Employment behind Manchester and Reading and praised Bracknell Forest Council for bringing new ideas on board and being a delight to work with.

David informed the Commission that he had been the Chairman of the ESDP for six years and  that membership of the ESDP had become much stronger with more businesses represented and involved. These included Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), 3M, Hitachi, The Knowledge Academy and Simon Fryer (who was a member of the Sub Committee). The ESDP also had a very strong working relationship with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and had worked very closely with Campbell Christie since he had become the director in January 2016. Bracknell Forest was the only Borough out of the six in Berkshire that had a Business Community Forum. The LEP were trying to encourage the other Authorities in Berkshire to follow suit. The ESDP also had a strong dialogue and a similar agenda with Bracknell Forest Council which enabled work to not be duplicated. He envisaged the ESDP becoming more business-led, with the Council as a partner organisation.


David updated the Commission on some of the key developments within the Borough.


There had been concerns raised by companies in the Borough about the reduction of resources and the lack of available skills and talent within the area to match the businesses needs, especially in regards to the “young bright” executives and future leaders. Significant skill gaps had been identified predominantly in the ICT, life science and construction sectors. Careers events and the Elevate programme had been successfully working closely with schools, in particular 6th Forms, to introduce students to business techniques, improve CV writing and develop skills to enable students to “stand out from the crowd”.


There was a Business Improvement District (BID) event planned for November 2016 which would be aimed at all businesses within the western and southern industrial areas to generate interest and discuss the concept of a BID. The former director of Reds had been brought on board to divulge his expertise and knowledge in order to develop the project and BID infrastructure.


The Borough had achieved 96.2% of premises covered with superfast broadband.                       


The Town Centre regeneration was a very important asset for businesses within Bracknell as it would enable socialising and networking opportunities outside of the workplace which had been identified currently as a missing link within Bracknell Town Centre.


Over the past eighteen months and going forward, the ESDP would be raising their concerns with housing developers about the lack of affordable housing for professionals to purchase within the Borough. This was becoming increasingly difficult. As many companies had found that the lack of affordable housing was an important factor that many professionals were taking into consideration when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Complaints Against The Council In 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 602 KB

To receive a briefing about complaints made against the Council in 2015/16, as part of the ongoing work to be responsive to residents’ concerns.


The Head of Overview and Scrutiny presented a report to the Commission informing them of complaints made against the Council in 2015/16.


The number of complaints made against the Council was similar to the previous year with only a small number of complaints made against the Council in comparison to the large number of Council interactions with the public.


He also highlighted the changes from the Local Government Ombudsman’s (LGO) in the way that they categorised complaints. The maladministration findings had been small and inconsequential.


In response to Members’ questions, the following point was made:


  • In neither of the cases where the LGO had found Maladministration had there been any financial compensation paid.


The Commission noted the report.



Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 562 KB

To consider the Chief Executive’s Council Plan Overview Report for the first quarter of 2016/17 (April to June)



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.








The Commission noted the Chief Executive’s Council Plan Overview Report for the first quarter of 2016/17 (April to June 2016)


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


  • The figure for Ind Ref N16 in Q4 was 2.31 which meant that the Council had performed under its target of 2.33 which had been set for the previous year.
  • Details about how to access the webcam for the Coral Reef refurbishment would be provided to members.
  • The missing figure on page 47 was 16.
  • Clarification would be sought regarding the current figure for NI114. Members also raised concerns that managed moves within schools were not being acknowledged and should be reported.
  • Risk 6d on page 57 was not a code but a risk description on the register.






Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs) pdf icon PDF 611 KB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSRs for the second quarter of 2016/17 (July to September 2016) relating to:


·         The Chief Executive’s Office

·         The Corporate Services Department


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:


The Commission noted the Quarterly Service Reports for the second quarter of 2016/17 (July to September 2016) relating to the Chief Executive’s Office and the Corporate Services Department.


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


  • There had been a 15% increase in crime, this wasn’t just local to Bracknell Forest but across Thames Valley. The Community Safety Partnership and Community Safety Team were working hard with the police to address the issue and identify the source of the increase.
  • The current property portfolio had industrial and shop units that were used by small businesses. The Council indicated that purchasing of more sites to generate additional revenue would not be part of the Investment Strategy but could be adopted by the Economic Development Strategy.
  • The Plan Phase of the Transformation Projects would show the savings that were achievable and those that are going to be harder to reach. By the end of January it would be known what savings were possible and how they would be delivered.




Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 107 KB

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

Additional documents:


The Commission noted the forthcoming items on the Executive forward plan of a corporate nature.


The Commission brought to the Officers’ attention that Overview and Scrutiny’s role was to assist the Executive in their decision making, yet the Commission had little involvement in most of the forthcoming decisions. It was felt that as a result, Overview and Scrutiny were not being used to their best advantage.



Work Programme and Panel Activity Update pdf icon PDF 338 KB

To note the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2016-17, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.


The Commission noted progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2016-17.


Councillor Phillips reported that the Health Overview and Scrutiny Working  Group had produced a well researched report  on G.P Capacity which had been submitted to go before the Executive. The Group were now awaiting feedback on the report.


Councillor Harrison asked for permission to widen the scope on the Housing Supply: Older People’s Accommodation work to include the viability of potential sites within the Borough. The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Commission requested that the scoping document be submitted to him for approval, to ensure that the approach to the work was still focused.