Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 13 January 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Online only via Teams

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108

Media

Items
Note No. Item

None

47.

Minutes of previous meetings pdf icon PDF 603 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 7 October and 4 November 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings of the Commission held on 7 October and 4 November 2021 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.

 

The Chair agreed to follow up the concerns raised about the responses to the Police questions provided for the meeting on 7 October 2021.

None

48.

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:

There were no declarations of interest made.

 

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

None

49.

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.

50.

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.

51.

Highways Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To consider the Highway’s Capital Programme report prepared by the Environment and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel to inform the Commission’s scrutiny of the 2022/23 budget proposals.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered the report from the Environment and Communities Panel which had met to gain a stronger understanding of the Highways and Transport Capital Programme, particularly in areas such as funding, processes and prioritisation. The meeting was carried out in preparation for the review of the budget by discussing the programme with Bracknell Forest Council’s Executive Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration and the Assistant Director: Highways and Transport.

 

There were seven key findings from the Panel as set out in the report. There were no recommendations arising from the meeting as the Panel were content that the methodology for identifying areas of concerns was sound and acknowledged that the funding received from central government was ringfenced. The Panel recognised that whilst highway maintenance was considered underfunded, the pressures within the Council meant that it was not possible to increase this element of the budget. 

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were made:

  • It was observed that the quality of the road network appeared to be deteriorating and the cost of rebuilding roads was higher than maintaining them. It was explained that the maintenance programme was prioritised on a risk basis therefore some roads or structures required rebuilding  but wherever possible the life of roads would be extended using techniques such as grip fibre programme to recoat the roads.
  • A new Highways Asset Maintenance Plan was being developed and based on the funding available, intervention works or rebuilding would be considered for the roads and structures identified as a priority. This was reviewed annually.
  • Ringway was the Council’s highways contractor and working with them the Council looked to deliver innovation projects such as using greener products which were better for the environment. It was explained that such technologies needed to be tested over time to ensure that they were durable for the lifespan of the repair required.
  • ACTION: Executive Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration to update the Commission on whether new materials containing recycled plastic were being used within the programme
  • Potholes could be reported through Customer Services and their repair would then be scheduled on a priority basis. The Council uses a system called ‘Scanner’ to survey the roads to assess if there were failings in the road structure, cracks and this information was used to build the profile of the network.
  • ACTION: In response to a query regarding new pothole filling technology the Executive Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration would clarify the current method for filling potholes used by the contractors
  • It was confirmed that local roads within estates were a lower priority from a safety and risk perspective due to the lower volume of traffic using those roads. The grip fibre programme which is a top dressing to bring roads up to a reasonable level and extend the life of the road is a regular feature in the Council’s annual programme.
  • A mixture of approaches was used to fund the improvement and maintain cycle lanes. Through Section 106 monies the cycle network was extended to fix  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Budget Consultation pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To consider the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2022/23 currently under public consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2022/23 before deciding whether they supported the recommendations which were open for public consultation. The Commission invited Councillor Heydon, Executive Member for Transformation and Finance and Stuart McKellar, Executive Director: Resources to attend the meeting to answer their questions on the details of the proposals. The Council’s financial business partners: Helen Pennington, Paul Clark and Ken Robinson also attended the meeting to provide detailed information relating to services.

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were made:

·       Assumptions had been made throughout the budget proposals as detailed settlement information was not available and known risks were projected so further adjustments would be made once the details were available and the level of pressures were confirmed.

·       At the time the proposals were drafted a £3 – 5 million gap had been identified and an increase to council taxes by 4.49% would generate £3m towards that gap.

·       The uncertainty of receiving an annual settlement for the third year made it difficult for longer term financial planning to be undertaken.

·       The key message from the Executive Member for Transformation and Finance was that there were no proposed drastic reductions in services within the budget proposals.

·       The settlement details announced an unexpected service grant for 2022-23 for £1.2m in addition to the funding expected.

·       Although the borough’s leisure services were contracted to Everyone Active, the Council continued to own the land and properties and therefore were responsible for their ongoing maintenance including the £120K golf green drainage and £50K roof repairs highlighted at both Coral Reef and Bracknell Leisure Centre.

·       In relation to the roof repairs it was explained that the Sports Centre had multiple areas of roofing, a condition survey had been undertaken and this was a different area requiring maintenance in order to remain fit for purpose.

·       In response to an enquiry on the sense of the ongoing cost repairs in favour of investing in a new building, it was explained that a long term project was in place to consider the changing requirements for residents but that ongoing maintenance was essential until a replacement was required. 

·       The £100K cost of remedial repairs to High Street car park to deal with cracks in concrete was raised, although it was noted that this was a safety issue requiring attention it was the quality of the system managing entry to the site which was of concern to some members. Action: Executive Director: Delivery to take the concerns regarding the ANPR system back to the Parking Team.

·       It was clarified that the £100K on page 32 of the agenda papers referring to Local Transport Plan schemes related to improvements to the highways network.

·       It was noted that the estimated £3.25m to be received from Community Infrastructure Levy was difficult to predict and would not cover these requirements of the significant infrastructure within the borough.

·       In response to concerns raised regarding the lifespan of laptops and the technology available it was explained that the laptop refresh and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Council Plan Overview Report DOTX 26 KB

Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) covering the second quarter of 2021/22 is attached.

 

Members of the Commission are asked to submit technical or detailed questions in advance of the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised the meeting that this item had been deferred to the next Commission meeting.

None

54.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairs to provide verbal updates on the work programme and highlight any proposed changes such as scope, scheduling or duration.

 

The Commission to consider the scope for SEND review from the Education, Skills and Growth Panel.

Minutes:

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

 

Education, Skills and Growth

 

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) review scope had been circulated but members of the Commission had not had time to consider it in advance of the meeting.

 

The Commission supported the programme that had been developed continuing to progress but deferred approval of the draft SEND scope to the next Commission meeting.

 

Health and Care

 

The review activity had concluded for the Mental Health review scope and recommendations were discussed at a meeting on 10 January 2022. The review report was being drafted and would be brought for consideration to the April Commission meeting.

 

Environment and Communities

 

A programme of activity had been developed for the Integrated Enforcement review and this was due to launch in February with the schedule of witnesses still in development.

55.

Forward plan and decisions taken

To discuss the forward plan and decisions taken as appropriate.

 

Commission members are able to view upcoming decisions by looking at Browse forward plans | Bracknell Forest Council (bracknell-forest.gov.uk) and consider decisions taken since the last Commission meeting by using this link What's newly published | Bracknell Forest Council (bracknell-forest.gov.uk) and altering the date range.

 

Minutes:

The Commission noted that the information regarding upcoming decisions and any decision taken had been included to enable discussions as appropriate. This would be shared on future agendas as information rather than an item.