Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 31 August 2023 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Louise Connelly  01344 354047


Note No. Item



Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 16 August 2023.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 16 August 2023 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.


Responses to all of the queries and requests for information raised in the meeting had been received or formed part of the agenda.



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.


Councillor Christoph Eberle declared a personal interest in Thames Water as the company he worked for meant he carried out projects for Thames Water occasionally.


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



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.


There were no items of urgent business.


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.


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


Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) covering the first quarter of 2023/24 is attached.


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


Additional documents:


Stuart McKellar, Deputy Chief Executive, explained he was attending in place of the Chief Executive to present the Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) which was a summary of the first financial quarter. It was noted this was the quickest turnaround of CPOR data to be received at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (O&S Commission) and would give members of the Commission an opportunity to scrutinise a rough draft of the CPOR prior to it being received at Executive. It was noted a number of senior officers were also online and would be supporting regarding specific responses, as required.


As part of his presentation the Deputy Chief Executive explained that the CPOR contained a vast amount of information, drawn from Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs), which were prepared by each directorate. It reflected the Council Plan agreed by the previous administration prior to the elections in May and would continue to do so until the next financial year.


It was noted the biggest event in Quarter 1 was the Bracknell Forest Council election. The Chief Executive and Electoral Services Team were commended for a great job administering the election.  The election had resulted in a very different Council make up and everyone was learning how to adapt to new arrangements.  Nationally, this quarter King Charles III Coronation had also taken place and it was believed to have been well managed in Bracknell Forest. Other highlights included an increase in the number of flats now receiving food waste collection and the Council receiving a ‘good’ Ofsted rating for the Adult Community Learning Service.


It was acknowledged O&S Commission members had been given the opportunity to ask questions in advance of the meeting but not all had received a response due to timescales. These questions and answers would be published as a supplementary if not discussed during the meeting. 


A technical question was asked regarding the application of RAG markers in the CPOR. It was explained RAG rating was a standard way of highlighting if an area was working but it was agreed some descriptions required more detail and there could be a more consistent approach to the use of RAG rating in the document.


A debate of the recommendations took place. The following points were raised:


·       The most important emerging issue for the Council was its finances and the projected overspend. The Deputy Chief Executive explained that the Council was facing a projected overspend of between £2 -£4 million pounds. This was an unusual and challenging position for Bracknell Forest which was due to a range of factors, including a huge demand on Children’ Social Care and housing services, and specifically an increase in the number of homelessness people requesting accommodation. This was combined with an increase in loss of income, for example reduction in planning income and development control income. The Central Management Team (CMT) were monitoring the Council’s finances closely and directorate budget reviews were taking place weekly to discuss mitigations. However, not all issues could be remedied in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.