Agenda and minutes

Environment, Culture and Communities Overview & Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 9 March 2010 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Emma Silverton  01344 352281

No. Item


Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.


Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel held on 12 January 2010.


-                 To include as a matter arising an oral update on discussions with partners regarding partner funding and support for dog control and maintenance of parks, open spaces and countryside in the Borough.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel held on 12 January 2010 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.


Matter Arising


Although there had been discussions with Parish and Town Councils concerning dog control, the Council decision on 03 March 2010 had been to make the post of Dog Warden redundant from 01 April 2010.


Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are asked to declare any personal or prejudicial interest 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.


Councillor Mrs Barnard declared a personal interest as the spouse of the

Executive member for Children and Young People.


Councillor Mrs McCracken declared a personal interest as the spouse of the

Executive member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection and the

Chairman of the Cultural Partnership.


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 urgent items of business.


Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Performance Monitoring Report for the third quarter of 2009/10 (October-December) relating to the Environment, Culture and Communities Department.


Please bring the previously circulated Performance Monitoring Report to the meeting.  Copies are available on request and attached to this agenda if viewed online.


The Director of Environment, Culture and Communities gave a presentation in

respect of departmental performance with reference to the Performance Monitoring

Report (PMR) for the 3rd quarter of 2009/10 ending 31 December 2009. The

presentation outlined the Department’s revenue and finances at January 2010.

Staffing issues, key highlights and the forward look were also included.


The Department had been working hard to identify additional economies in 2009/10 to balance the budget and offset pressures caused by the recession and severe weather events. It was predicted that the Environment, Culture and Communities Department would not exceed their budget for 2009/10.


The Panel noted that there was a £2,000 change in the Gross Revenue Budget. The Net Revenue Budget was £35,939,000 with major variances totalling £126,000 which included; a fee generated from film recording at the Look Out, reduced income from Easthampstead Park Conference Centre, in years savings from the Libraries Book Fund and a smaller than anticipated spend on Landfill Tax.


Capital Finance as at January 2010 was £11,863.10, with an anticipated spend of 64.03%. It was reported that London Road dualling was completed 6 weeks ahead of schedule and under budget by £160,000, contributing to an underspend of 2.55%. Capital schemes identified for carry forwards included:


  • South Hill Park Grounds Restoration Project
  • Three legged Cross Junction Improvement
  • Help to Buy a Home Schemes
  • Bracknell Leisure Centre Roundabout Capacity Improvements
  • Disabled Facilities Grant
  • Resurfacing Highway


The average vacancy factor for the Department was 10.60% which was lower than the previous levels for the same period and reflected stability in the Department. The number of Full Time Equivalent’s on sick leave was lower for the quarter than for the same period in 2008, reflecting active management of staff sickness. 


It was reported that ‘Sport, Leisure and Culture’ were sited most often in the Neighbourhood Consultation Survey 2009, as what residents liked best about living in the area. This was followed by ‘Access to Nature’ and ‘Parks and Countryside’.


The Director highlighted key areas in the Department’s forward look. It was noted that the Cultural Services Section were using an Improvement Toolkit which would be externally assessed to identify any improvements that could be made. An additional £200,000 had been allocated for highway repairs. Consultation of the Site Allocation Development Plan was underway. This was an important document that would define the shape of the borough for the next 10 years.


Arising from Members’ questions and comments the following points were noted:


·         Issues investigated by Trading Standards included fake England football shirts.

·         The reduction in residents sending waste to landfill should be highlighted to encourage residents to continue reducing waste.

·         Registered Social Landlords were looking to provid rented accommodation at 80% of the open market rent to diversify tenure on new developments. This would allow tenants to access mortgages with more ease in the future and would not result in implications for the Council.

·         It was planned to allow BFC, My Choice card holders to pay council debt via the PayZone using  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Waste Satisfaction Survey

To receive results of the Waste Satisfaction Survey.


The Panel received a presentation from Janet Dowlman, Head of Environmental Services in respect of the results of the Bracknell Forest Waste Satisfaction Survey and Waste Collection Analysis by the re3 waste disposal partnership.


A Waste Satisfaction Survey was undertaken in November 2009 in response to the poor waste satisfaction results of the Place Survey 2008 to help the department obtain a clear understanding of residents’ perceptions and to identify key areas of dissatisfaction and any barriers to recycling.


It was thought that the reasons for the poor results were; that Longshot Lane was closed, it had only been 2 years since refuse collection had changed from weekly to fortnightly and separate boxes were used for paper and card.


Improvements that had taken place since the Place Survey in 2008 included; Comingled collections of Kerbside recyclables from December 2008, the redeveloped Longshot Lane facility fully opened from July 2009 and improvements to recycling bring sites.


Key results from the survey and comparisons with the 2008 survey were:


  • From 3,500 surveys issued in both cases, there was a response rate of 47% in 2008 compared with 46% in 2009.
  • Overall satisfaction with refuse collection had increased from 55% to 70%.
  • The perception the refuse collection had got worse over the last 3 years had fallen from 47% to 23%.
  • 91% of respondents used the Council’s kerbside collection to recycle, with 82% satisfied with the service.
  • 62% thought Longshot Lane had improved over the last 3 years.
  • 49% thought recycling sites had improved over the last 3 years.
  • 28% thought garden waste collection had improved with 42% indicating it had stayed the same.


Conclusions drawn from the survey were that overall levels of recycling in Bracknell Forest were good with kerbside recycling having a high level of satisfaction. Further information about specific items that could or could not be recycled was needed as results showed respondent satisfaction and participation was linked with information available. There was greater satisfaction with refuse collection than in 2008.


A joint Waste Analysis was undertaken in October / November 2009 with re3 partners using MEL research to analyse residual waste for recyclables, contamination of kerbside recycling, bags of waste taken to Longshot Lane, street sweepings and litter bin waste.


Acorn Groups were used to compare the waste analysis with the socio demographics in the borough. Key trends highlighted from the analysis included:


  • There was a high level of garden waste in residual bins, particularly in Acorn 1 – wealthy achievers.
  • There was a high level of paper and cardboard in residual bins, particularly in Acorn 5 – hard pressed.
  • There was a high level of contaminated glass in recycling containers particularly in Acorn groups 3 – comfortably off, and 4 – moderate means.
  • The waste generated across all groups had dropped by 7.4% between 2007/08 and 2008/09 and was predicted to drop again for 2009/10.


Analysis of street sweepings and litter bins showed that 36% of litter bin waste was recyclable and 87% of street sweepings were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Working Groups Update pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To receive an update report in respect of the working groups of the Panel.


The Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel noted the Working Groups Update Report.


Indicative Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme 2010/11 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Panel is invited to endorse its indicative Work Programme for 2010/11 which is appended to the attached report.


The Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel agreed its indicative work programme for 2010/11, attached as Appendix 1 to the report.


Overview and Scrutiny Quarterly Progress Report pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To note the quarterly progress report of the Assistant Chief Executive.


The Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel noted the

Overview and scrutiny activity over the period November 2009 to January 2010, set out in the Overview and Scrutiny - Quarterly Progress Report.


The Panel noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Severe Weather Working Group was not included in the list of current working groups as the report had been finalised before this group was established.


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To consider forthcoming items on the Executive Forward Plan relating to environment, culture and communities.

Additional documents:


The Executive Forward Plan items relating to Environment, Culture and Communities were noted.


It was noted that public consultation for the Private Sector Housing Strategy would include an article in Town & Country, a report to the Strategic Housing Partnership and the landlord Letting Agent Forum. The Strategy was being developed to shape how the Council provided advice for, and support to, the private housing sector in the borough.