Overview and Scrutiny Commission

26 May 2021

6.30 - 7.35 pm


Bracknell Forest Council Logo


Councillors Angell (Chair), Virgo (Vice-Chair), Mrs Birch, Brossard, Gbadebo, McLean, Mrs Mattick, Mossom, Porter, Temperton and Tullett

Tracey Wright, Parent Governor representative

Mark Glanville, Parent Governor representative

Apologies for absence were received from:

Councillor Mrs McKenzie-Boyle


Also Present:

Councillor Mrs McKenzie


In attendance:

Timothy Wheadon, Chief Executive

Kevin Gibbs, Executive Director: Delivery

Ann Moore, Head of Democratic and Registration Services


4.            Minutes of previous meetings

The Commission members discussed the content of the minutes relating to the meeting held on 7 April 2021 and although it was accepted that they were not inaccurate, councillors felt that what was reported and subsequently recorded did not match their experience or concerns raised about the Brants Bridge service. It was requested that the Clinical Commissioning Group be asked to attend a further Commission meeting to discuss the implementation and the publicity of the changes at Brants Bridge. Further work was ongoing by the Statutory Scrutiny Officer to work with health colleagues to ensure that future engagement and consultation on health changes were effective. 


The circumstances of the downgrading of Brants Bridge from Urgent Care to Minor Injuries were discussed. The Commission agreed that a letter would be sent to Councillor Birch, Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing to take a view on the issues raised regarding the changes at Brants Bridge by the Clinical Commissioning Group. This would be circulated to Commission members for comment before being finalised.


The Commission agreed that:


i)     subject to the comments above the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 7 April 2021 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman;


ii)    the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 28 April 2021 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman; and


iii)   a letter to the Executive member for Adult Services, Health and Housing would be circulated for agreement by the Commission members.



5.            Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

There were none declared.


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



6.            Urgent Items of Business

There were no items of urgent business.



7.            Public Participation

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



8.            Council Plan Overview Report

The Chief Executive of Bracknell Forest Council, Timothy Wheadon, introduced the Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) covering the third quarter of 2020/21. The Chief Executive highlighted that:

·         during the quarter the borough had experienced an exponential increase in the covid rate from 22.8/100,000 to 788 by 31 December

·         despite significant increase in the response to covid 92% of the Council Plan actions were on track and 73% of the performance indicators were on target

·         some of those not on track were meaningless e.g. attendance at libraries due to the lockdown closures

·         residents would not have noticed a difference in most day to day services

·         the Public Health team were instrumental in developing outbreak management plans, community testing and undertaking high volume of data analysis

·         there had been a massive response from volunteers via the Ark to undertake tasks such as shopping and prescription collections

·         the Government’s various business grant scheme were administered with over 1,600 claims made and £13m paid

·         the joint venture with Countryside was formally established in December

·         the construction work on Heathlands, a new residential and intermediate care centre, had progressed with the topping out ceremony on 27 May 2021.


The following questions were asked:

·         In relation to KPIS reference L241 and L284 relating to income from CIL receipts and number of homes given planning permission it was understood that the punctuation marks reflected that data was not available at the time the report was completed. The Chief Executive would confirm this in writing.

·         In response to a query about the £3.6m underspend the Chief Executive explained that the government support provided had covered all the expenditure and it was not necessary to use the £1.9m contingency as anticipated. He confirmed that this funding could therefore be part of general balances and used as part of the council’s ongoing financial strategy. A £1.5m response package to covid was being developed which included interesting initiatives.

·         The indicator relating to the service level agreement with South Hill Park was on amber and the Executive Director: Delivery was able to explain that due to covid SHP’s events and services had not been operating so it had proven difficult to manage that relationship. The agreement was part of grant funding arrangements and was an ongoing issue.


The Chair highlighted that the CPOR included reference to a new homeless strategy and housing allocations strategy which he proposed could be scrutinised by the Commission and he would work with officers to identify a suitable date for that activity.



9.            Review of Overview and Scrutiny Commission meetings schedule

The Commission reviewed the meetings schedule to ensure that discussions were as timely as possible on the Council Plan Overview Report. The meeting noted that it took at least six weeks to compile the CPOR data once the quarter ended but that the organisation was aware of the data and acted on it. The Chair of the Commission proposed an alternative schedule and this was accepted.


Further discussion was had on how health was being scrutinised by the authority and it was reported by the Chief Executive that local Leaders were working with MPs to speak directly to the politicians on the issues raised, the shadow Integrated Care System Board was working well and that the Health and Wellbeing Board also had a significant role so duplication needed to be avoided.


The Commission agreed that:


i)     a meeting would be arranged with the Statutory Scrutiny Officer to further discuss upcoming health issues for consideration by the Commission to carry out its strategic health scrutiny role;


ii)    the meeting schedule for the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to be changed to that listed in the report at paragraph 5.8; and


iii)   future schedules would be based on the Commission meeting two weeks after the Executive.



10.          Work Programme Update

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


Environment and Communities


The Food Waste review programme of activity was drawing to a close and three site visits had been completed to different sites to consider how food waste could be implemented for flats and houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). The Panel had spoken to RE London, WRAP and the RE3 contractor SUEZ who had implemented food waste recycling in other areas. It had been a challenging review as each block of flats was different with different requirements and the Panel had not finished drawing its conclusions.


Education, Skills and Growth


The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) review activity programme had been developed and was on target to begin in June.


A meeting of the Panel was being held on 14 June 2021 to follow up the progress against the recommendations made in the Careleavers review and would report back to the July Commission meeting.


Wellbeing and Finance


The Isolation and Loneliness review had been submitted to the Executive and the recommendations were noted because it had not been possible to provide timelines and costings. The recommendations would be considered as part of the developing Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


The Blue Badges review activity had been completed and the report was being drafted for consideration at the July Commission meeting. The department was running its own review in parallel, the recommendations had been fed directly into the officers and had been identified as being cost neutral to implement.


Overview and Scrutiny work programme


The Commission Chair observed that there was a lot of activity to deliver the work programme, participation in the panel reviews was high, reports were well received, and the reviews had been informative. He thanked everyone for taking part and especially the officers for facilitating the reviews. 


Topics for future Commission meetings were continuously under review and considered with the available resource available. Recent member suggestions were currently being assessed and any further ideas from members were always welcomed.
























For further information contact: Kirsty Hunt