Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Thursday, 15 November 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Kirstine Berry  01344 354068

Items
Note No. Item

None

24.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 20 September 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 20 September 2018 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.

 

There were no additions or comments from Members of the Commission on any Matters Arising since the last meeting.

None

25.

Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests and the nature of that 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 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.

 

Any Member with an Affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.

Minutes:

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

 

There were no indications that members would be participating while under the party whip.

None

26.

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 items of urgent business.

27.

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:

No submissions had been made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

28.

SILVA Homes pdf icon PDF 464 KB

Alan Ward, Chief Executive Silva Homes and Linda Wells, Executive Director: Customer Services Silva Homes will be attending to update the Commission on the rebranding of Bracknell Forest Homes to Silva Homes and their forward plans for housing provision in the Borough. 

 

Minutes:

Alan Ward, Chief Executive Silva Homes and Linda Wells, Executive Director (Customer Services) Silva Homes attended and updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the rebranding of Bracknell Forest Homes to Silva Homes and the association’s forward plans for housing with specific reference to provision in the Borough.

 

The Chairman welcomed Alan Ward, Chief Executive Silva Homes and Linda Wells, Executive Director (Customer Services) Silva Homes to the meeting and highlighted that many elected Members had some Silva Homes properties in their respective wards.  Residents often looked to Members to answer questions and queries on housing related matters and it would be useful for Members to better understand Silva Homes’ general ethos and that their attendance at the meeting of the Commission was an opportunity for Members and Silva Homes to get to know each other better and look at ways they work more closely together.

 

Alan Ward, Chief Executive Silva Homes presented to the Commission.

The presentation provided a baseline from when Bracknell Forest Homes began 10 years ago and outlined the journey since.  It brought the Commission up to date and provided current facts and figures.

 

In addition to his presentation Alan Ward, Chief Executive Silva Homes made the following points of note:

·         He had worked with many stock transfers over the years.

·         This was the best housing association and Council relationship he had encountered and positive relationships existed.

·         He had been Chief Executive since April 2018. 

·         Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive he had worked with Bracknell Forest Homes for about a year as a consultant.

·         The association was created in 2007 as Bracknell Forest Homes and is now Silva Homes which is a not for profit organisation.

·         Bracknell Forest Council had scrutinised the performance of Bracknell Forest Homes closely in the early years to ensure promises to customers were delivered.

·         30 homes had been sold under the Right to Buy Scheme in the last 2 years.

·         Each home acquired under Section 106 (S106) was bought at around two thirds of the open market value.

·         Government policy is that rents set at 80% of market rents were considered affordable rents and these form most of the new homes provided.

·         Most of the transferred stock is set at social rents (about 60% of market rents).

·         There was no way of predicting where opportunities would come up for Silva Homes to win schemes. 

·         Silva Homes had to bid against other housing associations but also had to endeavour to not pay too much.

·         Properties could not be bought at open market values as this didn’t make financial sense if they are to be let at affordable rents.

·         Silva Homes were disposing of a small number of sites that were too small to develop themselves.

·         A land fund of £5m should be available for reinvestment within Bracknell Forest by the end of next year (2019).

·         Available Silva Homes’ properties in Bracknell Forest were advertised through the Bracknell Forest Council choice-based lettings scheme.

·         Most properties are let on lifetime assured tenancies  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Asset Management Plan pdf icon PDF 936 KB

Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property and Steve Booth, Head of Property to update the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the methodology and process to create the Council’s new Asset Management Plan together with the mechanisms for its utilisation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property and Steve Booth, Head of Property attended and updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the methodology and process to create the Council’s new Asset Management Plan together with the mechanisms for its utilisation.

 

Stuart McKellar, Director: Finance introduced the Draft Asset Management Plan 2019 – 2022 (AMP) and advised:

·         The AMP was a key input to the financial planning process.

·         Bracknell Forest’s AMP had elements that were specific to Bracknell Forest such as the regeneration of the town centre. 

·         Other elements of the AMP were common to AMPs produced by other Local Authorities.

·         The AMP would go to the Executive for consideration in February 2019 and any comments made by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission would be included.

·         The Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA) capital strategy was being finalised for consideration by the Executive in December 2018.

·         The Capital Strategy will be a strategic document.

 

Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property outlined the purpose of the AMP and how it would meet the agreed objectives.  He advised the Commission that:

·         This AMP was a refresh under a new financial plan under a CIPFA requirement.

·         It was a subset of the new financial strategy.

·         Buy in had been obtained from the departments as to what services were needed. 

·         The AMP supported the transformation process.

·         The draft had been to the Departmental Management Team (DMT).  It would be created and crafted including their feedback and a formal decision by the Executive would be given in Feb 2019.

 

The Chairman advised he was prepared to defer the other agenda items if it became necessary to consider this substantive item thoroughly.

 

A new slide had been added to the presentation since the agenda was published.  The amended presentation has been published as a supplementary paper to the agenda. 

 

Steve Booth, Head of Property presented to the Commission.

In addition to the detail contained within the presentation, Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property and Steve Booth, Head of Property informed Members of the Commission:

·         Non-operational property under Property Services in Bracknell contained over 200 shops and industrial units. 

·         Public Houses were owned on long leases and there were investment properties in other locations such as Huntwood Court in Southampton.

·         There were over 200 residential properties. 

o   72 were flats above shops.

o   100 properties were held by housing and used for homeless and special needs accommodation

·         The business case for the development of Heathlands was still subject to negotiations with the NHS and whether the funding will become available will be decided in January 2019.

·         The domino effect means that if one property is repurposed, then there is a consequential effect on another one.

 

Arising from questions from Members, Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property and Steve Booth, Head of Property advised Members:

·         Any concerns about the prioritisation of repairs and the efficient targeting of resources to those repairs should be reported to Steve Caplan, Assistant Director: Property.

·         No properties were left as idle stock.

·         Empty surplus stock was not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

None

30.

Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the second quarter of 2018/19 (July to September) relating to the Resources Directorate.

 

Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Governance and Scrutiny Team of any questions relating to the Quarterly Service Report where possible.

 

Minutes:

The Commission considered the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the second quarter of 2018/19 (July to September) relating to the Delivery Directorate

 

As a result of members comments and questions the following point were made:

 

·         In response to a question in section 1.4.17 whether any support would be provided to schools to use the apprenticeship levy, Stuart McKellar, Director: Finance advised the Commission that there is an Apprenticeship Manager whose main role is to advise schools.

 

·         In response to a question in section 7.2.56 to clarify the correct number of beds that would be provided in the delivery of a new dementia care home, Stuart McKellar, Director: Finance advised the Commission it was 65 beds.

 

·         It was observed that section 7.2.47 should not be RAG rated green but should be amber. 

 

Action:  Stuart McKellar, Director: Finance agreed to correct the RAG rating of section 7.2.47 from green to amber in the QSR.

None

31.

Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To consider scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered the scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions of a corporate nature

 

No comments were made by Members of the Commission.

None

32.

Work Programme and Panel Activity Update pdf icon PDF 265 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission noted the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.

 

No comments were made.