Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Wednesday, 6 January 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Online only

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108

Link: This meeting will be held online


Note No. Item



Minutes pdf icon PDF 251 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 2 December 2020.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 2 December 2020 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.



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.


There were no declarations of interest made.


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 pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Council Plan Overview Report (CPOR) covering the second quarter of 2020/21 is attached.


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


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


The following questions were asked and answers given by the Chief Executive:

·        Councillors queried the scheduling of Overview & Scrutiny meetings and stated they would like more up to date data. They were informed the sequence of Overview and Scrutiny meetings had been set according to the agreed sequence of data at meetings for approval. Councillors also received two weekly briefings currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

·        In relation to a query about which services had been impacted the most due to the second lockdown the Chief Executive informed Councillors most services had been impacted including libraries, which now offered appointments or click and collect service only; schools remaining closed except to those children listed in the Department of Education guidance including vulnerable children and children of key workers; and the closure of leisure centres. A number of major projects had also been postponed, such as the conversations approach in social care; the integration of health and social care project and any work which detracted from officers in social care and health prioritising residents’ health and wellbeing at this current time. Councillors challenged delays to their work programme but agreed front-line staff should not be distracted from their work. This was discussed further during Item 8) Work Programme Update.

·        Councillors queried if there was additional funding for the voluntary sector and were informed the budget had already been set for next year.

·        Councillors asked why the draft Homelessness Strategy on page 22 of the CPOR was RAG rated amber and were informed work on the strategy had been delayed as those officers were focussed on ensuring rough sleepers were protected during the pandemic.

·        Councillors asked how the Council reassured itself of customer satisfaction levels for smokers trying to quit and were informed a sample of residents were chosen to conduct customer satisfaction audits.

·        Councillors offered their thanks to officers for working hard to ensure as much as possible remained on track during this difficult period.



Climate Change follow up

The Commission is invited to discuss the findings from the meeting held on 2 December 2020 which focused on climate change. Progress against the climate change action plan will be monitored through the Council Plan Overview Report.


The Commission is asked to consider:

·       What are its initial findings?

·       Whether it wishes to formulate any recommendations to support the Council’s approach to climate change?


The Overview and Scrutiny Commission continued their climate change review activity, taking the role of a scrutiny panel for this review work, and reflected on their findings to date from their research and the meetings held on 10 March and 2 December 2020.


These were that:

·        there was a need for a dedicated cross-party councillor team to progress climate change issues in the Borough;

·        Parish and Town Councils were also working on this issue and would have ideas to contribute. Their involvement would lead to a more cohesive plan for how to tackle climate change across the Borough;

·        O&S Commission members would like to be consulted upon about the membership of the steering group;

·        there should be opportunities to expand the group, once established, to involve external partners and relevant experts.


Recommendations to the Executive:

1)     That the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan be supported.

2)     That a climate change steering group be formed, to include non-Executive members and cross-party representation, and report regularly to the Commission.


Councillors thanked those who had been involved in scrutiny work on climate change last year, officers and Kevin Gibbs, Executive Director: Delivery, particularly during the pandemic.




Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairs to provide a verbal progress update on the work programme.


The Commission to consider any proposed changes to the Overview and Scrutiny work programme such as scope, scheduling or duration and its potential impact on the delivery of the overall programme.


Members of the Commission are asked to submit suggestions for the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting schedule for the next eighteen months in advance of the meeting.


Panel Chairs provided an update on their Panel activity.


Chair of the Education, Skills and Growth Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Mrs Birch, requested the final Apprenticeships Review report be brought to the March Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting due to a delay in analysing the survey results and timescales being affected by the Christmas period.


Chair of the Environment and Communities Panel, Councillor Porter, also requested his final report into Registered Social Landlords Review be delayed to the April Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting rather than March as members of the Panel wanted to meet with another key witness before finalising their recommendations.


Chair of the Wellbeing and Finance Panel, Councillor Tullett, explained he had recently been informed that officers within Adult Social Care and Public Health were unable to take part in the Social Isolation and Loneliness review at this time due to the impact of the pandemic on these services. It was agreed the Panel would request Bobby Mulheir, Assistant Director: Customer Experience, Digital and ICT to give evidence instead to enable members the Panel to continue with this piece of work in the interim.


The Commission agreed that:

i)                 the submission date for the Apprenticeship review be amended to March;

ii)                the submission date for the Registered Social Landlords review be amended to April;

iii)              and the continuation of the Social Isolation and Loneliness review be supported with revised witnesses.


Councillors were invited to suggest items for the Commission work plan for next year and suggestions included:

·        Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people

·        Mental Health

·        Impact of the pandemic on Residential Care Homes