Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Tuesday, 13 October 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Online only

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108

Link: This meeting will be held online


Note No. Item



Apologies for Absence

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



Minutes pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 15 September 2020.



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.



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.


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.


Community Safety pdf icon PDF 870 KB

Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, to receive a presentation on, and to consider: the performance of the Community Safety Partnership and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for the coming year. Timothy Wheadon, Chair of Community Safety Partnership, Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety and Superintendent Felicity Parker, Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham have been invited to attend.


Members of the Commission have submitted the following questions:


·         What enforcement has taken place to give our residents peace of mind that their safety is taken into account?

·         Has there been a rise in anti-social behaviour within our recreational areas and what steps have taken place?

·         Recently there was several incidents of serious unsocial behaviour in Westmoreland Park concerning young people drinking etc. and a similar situation in the Town Centre. When such incidents occur what is the policy of the police taking action and would you support a ‘No alcohol’ notice at a cut off time to be agreed?


Education and schools related mental health

The Commission has invited Councillors Dr Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning and Birch, Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing to attend to discuss Education and schools related mental health.


The Commission is keen to understand how schools have responded to the health pandemic for example use of ICT for tuition, protection of teachers during lessons, student motivation, plans for future exams and the impact of the pandemic on students mental health and those of their families.


Members of the Commission have submitted the following questions:


·         Schools are relying heavily on IT for tuition.

o   Is there enough Internet capacity operating in our schools?

o   Is the connection stable and reliable?

o   Do all students have access to stable networks at home?

o   Do all students have access to a suitable device to access the work set or virtual lessons at home?

o   What support is given to households with siblings and not enough devices?

o   Are our schools able to integrate their IT for easy access for teachers?


·         Are the teachers adequately protected during lessons? 


·         Is motivation becoming a real problem for students as they are dependent on virtual lessons and individual working rather than teacher guidance?


·         Mental health

o   How is this pandemic affecting student’s mental health?

o   School’s safeguarding policies are dependent on multi agencies for help when necessary. Are the agencies coping with this growing demand and if not, what are we doing about it?

o   What about the impact on parents/carers who were (and will likely again) try to manage three roles – parent, teacher, worker?


·         Exams

o   Is there a plan for proper exams next year if we are still under a semi lockdown?

o   Could the exams be held on a Saturday with extra separation of distance available?

o   As our children were out of school for 4 months, may likely have further disruption this year, should 2021 exams go ahead?


·         Budgets

o   What funding is available for schools for extra processes that have been put in place to retain bubbles from September, for example extra cleaning, feeding children in their classrooms as opposed to the dining hall?

o   Will there be any support for the loss of revenue from schools not being able to rent out their premises?


·         How rigorous is the testing of older students and teachers and what plans are in place if anyone fails to protect the majority?


Care Leavers Review pdf icon PDF 399 KB

To endorse the Education, Skills and Growth Overview and Scrutiny Panel’s draft Care Leavers Review report and its recommendations which is due to be submitted to the Executive on 10 November 2020.

Additional documents:


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 420 KB

To consider formal agreement of the proposals for revising the Overview & Scrutiny work programme in light of the national health pandemic and for Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairs to update the Commission on their progress.

Additional documents:

Date of next meeting

The next Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting is scheduled for 11 November 2020. The focus of the meeting will be considering the budget proposals.