Overview and Scrutiny Commission – ADVISORY MEETING

7 October 2021

6.30  - 8.30 pm


Bracknell Forest Council Logo


Councillors Angell (Chair), Virgo (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Birch, Brossard, Gbadebo, MJ Gibson, McLean, Mrs Mattick, Porter and Temperton

Parent Governor representative:

M Glanville

Apologies for absence were received from:

Councillors Mrs McKenzie-Boyle and Mossom


Executive Member present:

Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection


In attendance:

Councillor Brown


Also Present:

Timothy Wheadon, Chair of Community Safety Partnership

Superintendent Felicity Parker, Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham

Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety



32.          Minutes of previous meeting

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 9 September 2021 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.



33.          Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

There were no declarations made and no indications that councillors would be participating while under the party whip.



34.          Urgent Items of Business

There were no items of urgent business.



35.          Public Participation

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



36.          Community Safety

Timothy Wheadon, Chair of Community Safety Partnership, Superintendent Felicity Parker, Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham, Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety and Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection had been invited to attend. Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, the councillors present received a presentation on the performance of the Community Safety Partnership and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for the coming year.


In response to the questions submitted in advance and arising from discussion it was noted:


The Chair thanked the representatives of the Community Safety Partnership for their attendance and noted their success was a reflection of the successful partnership working undertaken. The responses to questions submitted in advance of the meeting by Councillor Brown would be included with the minutes. The Local Police Commander for Bracknell & Wokingham thanked Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety and her team for their approach to partnership working.  



37.          Council Plan Overview Report

The Chief Executive of Bracknell Forest Council, Timothy Wheadon, introduced the Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) covering the fourth quarter of 2020/21. There had been a delay in the circulation of the CPOR due to the impact on staff involved in the conduction of surge testing in the GU47 area. The Chief Executive therefore noted that the data was outdated.


The following questions were asked:

·         In relation to the reference KPI reference L396 relating to the number of hours of staff time saved by utilising robotic process automation the Chief Executive clarified that this was software that undertook frequent and regular processes by picking up key words and phrases. The project had not progressed as prioritisation needed to be given to the roll out of Microsoft Teams.

·         In response to a query about the lack of spare laptops across the borough it was confirmed that there was a global shortage of microprocessors and ICT were working on utilising older equipment.

·         The Chief Executive was asked to comment on the Prime Minister’s speech during the Conservative Party Conference that no housing was to be built on the green belt. The Chief Executive reiterated that the Council had decided on the Local Plan for Bracknell Forest and this is what would be delivered.

·         It was acknowledged that the CPOR contained a full list of what had been achieved during this particularly difficult year.

·         It was queried how the internal review of contracts within Forest Care could yield a saving of £0.184m during a pandemic. The Chief Executive explained that this was actually increased income and a positive positive rather than a reduction of provision.

·         Clarification was sought on the underspend of £0.940m within Early Help and Communities and it was explained that the biggest underspend had occurred because processes had been improved to reduce the provision of bad debts. The staffing vacancies had been held during the pandemic while they were not required rather than a reduction in the staff team. 

·         In response to a question relating to the absence of a Service Level Agreement with South Hill Park it was noted that the Council wanted to agree a two or three year agreement but South Hill Park were not in a position to do that until after the budget had been set.

·         The Chief Executive would confirm after the meeting whether the Youth Centre in the town centre was open and welcoming young people. 



38.          Work Programme Update

Each Panel Chair provided a verbal update on work programme progress.


Environment and Communities


The scope for the proposed Residential Parking review required further work before being considered by the Commission. 


Education, Skills and Growth


The scope for the proposed SEND review required further work before being considered by the Commission and discussions had been started with officers to establish a deliverable schedule. 


The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) review activity programme had been completed and the report was being drafted.


Health and Care


The Mental Health review activity programme was in development and a series of meeting dates had been proposed.
























For further information contact: Kirsty Hunt