Agenda and minutes
Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 7 September 2011 6:30 pm
Venue: Committee Room, Civic Offices, Leigh Road, Eastleigh
To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2011.
It was AGREED -
That the Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 29 June 2011 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to it being clarified that the Scrutiny Review had taken place in 2007/08, some years after the implementation of the Local Government Act 2000.
On Minute 1 (Minutes of the Environment Scrutiny Panel meeting on 24 March 2011) the Democratic Services Officer (JR) confirmed that an e-mail had been sent to all Panel members containing the response that Councillor Tennent had received to his query concerning the provision of salt bins.
On Minute 5 (Work Programme) the Chairman reported that a meeting had been held between the Scrutiny Panel Chairs following Councillor Wright’s suggestion that the Scrutiny Review be revisited. The meeting had been attended by herself, Councillor Holes, Chair of Resources Scrutiny Panel, Councillor McNulty, Chair of Audit and Risk Management Committee and Councillor Wright. The Corporate Director (AP) and the Democratic Services Officer (JR) had also attended. It had been agreed that the Scrutiny Panel Chairs and Vice-Chairs would meet on a regular basis and initially would agree lists of projects/services covered by each Panel. Each Panel would then consider items to be scrutinised and the list would be regularly updated. Scrutiny of items on each list would be prioritised by each Panel. The Scrutiny Panel Chairs and Vice Chairs would also have regular meetings with Cabinet members. It was also agreed at the meeting that training would be arranged for all Members to help them understand Scrutiny and develop their roles within it. Councillor Wright was still concerned that the recommendations contained in the Scrutiny Review had not been implemented, and assurance was given that these would also be considered at future Scrutiny Panel Chairs and Vice-Chairs meetings. The two Chairs would also consider inviting Councillor Wright to attend the meetings.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare interests in relation to items of business on the agenda. Any interests declared will be recorded in the Minutes.
There were no declarations of interest in relation to items of business on the agenda.
The Chairman had no items to report on this occasion.
To note the Minutes of the Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel on 2 March and the Environment Scrutiny Panel on 24 March 2011, which were received by Council on 14 July 2011
It was AGREED -
That the Minutes of the Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel on 2 March and the Environment Scrutiny Panel on 24 March 2011 be noted.
On Minute 3 of the Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel minutes, it was queried whether progress had been made on lone people being identified for help. Councillor Craig confirmed that GPs would make it more apparent to neighbours of lone people that if they had concerns they could contact their neighbour’s GP, or any GP, and they would make a visit. Councillor Craig agreed to follow up the implementation of this initiative.
It was also queried whether anyone had taken up Amanda Horsman’s offer to be shown around Newtown House. Councillor Craig reported that a visit had not gone ahead as not enough Members had expressed an interest.
On Minute 3 (Chairman’s Report) of the Environment Scrutiny Panel minutes, it was queried whether an invitation to visit the Alton MRF could be sent to all Members. The Democratic Services Officer agreed to liaise with the Recycling and Development Manager on this.
Members agreed that an action list to aid the following up of issues raised at Panel meetings should be maintained in future.
Extract from Minutes of Cabinet 11 July 2011 attached.
The Panel considered the response of Cabinet to the recommendations of this Panel following its consideration of the report of the Environment Scrutiny Panel’s Task and Finish Group which had reviewed the Council’s glass collection service.
This Panel had considered the report of the Task and Finish Group at its previous meeting on 29 June 2011 and had agreed that the recommendations contained in the report be recommended to Cabinet.
Cabinet had considered the recommendations at its meeting on 11 July 2011. Expressing her general support for the recommendations, the Cabinet Member for Environment had provided updates on a number of issues raised. Cabinet had noted the updates and the Panel’s recommendations and had thanked the members of the Task and Finish group for their efforts on the review. Cabinet had also considered it preferable for task and finish groups to involve the relevant Cabinet Member in future and for it to be stated whether any recommendations had the support of the relevant Cabinet Member.
Reference was made to the Cabinet Member’s update concerning recommendation (2) which had asked that, where practical and cost effective, glass collection days should be programmed to fall on the same day as other recyclable waste was collected. Although the rounds had now been revised, it was noted that some rounds which had previously had collections on the same day now had collections on different days, whilst others previously on different days had been programmed for the same day. The Corporate Director reported that the aim of the review had been to find efficiencies in the service, and more households did now have recycling collections on the same day. He agreed to provide figures on the savings made in the review and how much it would cost to carry out all collections on the same day. In addition, figures would be provided on the timing and costs of the possible rebranding exercise referred to in recommendation (3).
It was AGREED –
That the response of Cabinet to the recommendations of this Panel following its consideration of the report of the Environment Scrutiny Panel’s Task and Finish Group which had reviewed the Council’s glass collection service be noted.
The Panel considered a report of the Sustainability Policy Co-ordinator, the appendix to which contained the draft Climate Change Strategy for 2011-2020.
The Sustainability Policy Co-ordinator firstly reported an error in paragraph 6 of her report, which should read that the Council had set an objective to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020 (based on 2007/08 levels).
The Strategy set out the Council’s objectives which would enable it to continue to tackle the key issues of improving energy efficiency and securing low carbon, sustainable energy supplies, meeting the UK legally binding emissions reduction targets and creating a sustainable borough with a high quality of life for residents.
The Council had had an adopted Climate Change Strategy since 2003 and by 2012 would have reduced carbon emissions from its own operations by 10%. A number of other projects and activities had been completed through the Strategy, including school travel plans and the installation of water saving devices, all with the aim of reducing carbon emissions.
The draft Climate Change Strategy was a work in progress and consultation with Units and teams to develop objectives was still taking place. An ambitious internal strategic objective had been set to reduce greenhouse gas emission from Council operations by 50% by 2020. The second objective related to the Council’s role in working with and supporting the community in reducing its own emissions in line with the national target of at least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emission by 2050 and a reduction of at least 34% by 2020.
A detailed delivery and costed action plan was to be produced in consultation with Units and teams and would be brought to both this Panel and Cabinet early in 2012.
Panel members were invited to consider the objectives contained in the draft Strategy, make any amendments as appropriate and recommend the Strategy to Cabinet.
During the discussion, the Panel noted that the Strategy identified issues, but often did not provide solutions. The Sustainability Policy Co-ordinator acknowledged that the Strategy was looking forward and that, although it might not be possible to solve of all the problems in the short term, it was necessary that the Council was mindful of their existence.
Panel members raised a number of points and asked for clarification on issues raised in the Strategy, including:
· Home insulation, including the Insulate Hampshire scheme;
· Helping the community establish co-operatives for the provision of solar panels;
· The need to address the lighting of company signs during the night and heat loss from some shops from perpetually open doors;
· The need for bus companies to be more creative in marketing their services to encourage the use of public transport;
· How water use in parks could be reduced;
· Encouraging residents to grow food and use allotments;
· Food waste – a food strategy was to be produced in 2012, which would be brought to this Panel.
The Sustainability Policy Co-ordinator advised that the Strategy was being produced in consultation with all units in the Council, and the points raised would be picked up by them. Work would also be undertaken with businesses and companies to address issues raised in the Strategy. She agreed to respond to a number of requests by Panel members for additional information.
Members were reminded of the training event on solar energy
to be held on 22 September at
The following amendments to the draft Strategy were put forward:
· The provision of information where possible in graphical format, to enable trends to be identified
· Officer attendance at Town and Parish Council meetings to inform them of how the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Towards a New Private Sector Housing Strategy
The Head of Housing and Environmental Health and the Principal Environmental Health Officer provided a PowerPoint presentation concerning the production of a new Private Sector Housing Strategy. Hard copies of the presentation were provided for Panel members.
A new Strategy needed to be produced for a number of reasons, but particularly because the 2005-09 Strategy had expired and the Council had legal requirements to fulfil, including dealing with hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, providing adaptations and facilities for people with disabilities and meeting energy conservation and carbon reduction targets.
The Private Sector House Condition Survey 2010 had sampled 700 of the 44,890 owner occupied and private rented properties in the Borough. Although it was considered that some of the findings relating to Eastleigh were not entirely accurate, due to sample size, the results had shown that Eastleigh’s housing was more modern than the national average, had more detached houses and bungalows, had 75% owner occupation, 12% privately rented and 13% social housing, and had a higher than average number of residents aged over 65 years. A copy of the Survey was available in the Members’ Room.
When considered against the Decent Homes Standard, which now included a hazard rating system, the main reasons for non-decency identified in the housing stock were hazards and thermal comfort. The main hazards found during the survey were trips and falls and excess cold. Approximately 6,500 homes had Category 1 hazards and the cost of remedying these was estimated at £4,610 per home. However, it was considered that the market would deal with the majority of cases, as refurbishment was usually undertaken when houses were sold.
With regard to thermal comfort, the Standard Assessment
Procedure (SAP) rating was based on the annual energy cost of space and water
heating. On a scale of 1 to 100,
There were a number of ways to address these issues, including enforcement work, disabled adaptations, empty homes work and low cost loan schemes for asset rich/cash poor owner/occupiers.
Panel members were asked which issues should be focused on in the new Strategy, bearing in mind the limited resources available. The discussion raised:
· Families on benefit, with young children;
· Older people;
· Keeping people warm and reducing hazards;
· Making the best use of the stock available;
· Ensuring disabled people know that assistance could be available.
It was suggested that a simple survey be produced to enable people to self-assess their properties for hazards. The Head of Housing and Environmental Health agreed that this would be considered in future.
It was also suggested that the hazards be highlighted in the Borough News, perhaps focusing on two or three hazards in each edition.
The Chairman thanked the Head of Housing and Environmental Health and the Principal Environmental Health Officer for an informative presentation.
The Head of Housing and Environmental Health advised that an action plan for the implementation of the Strategy could be brought to the Panel early in the New Year.
It was AGREED -
That the above points be considered in the preparation of the new Private Sector Housing Strategy.
The Panel considered the current Forward Plan of Key Decisions.
It was AGREED -
That no items from the Forward Plan be added to the Panel’s Work Programme.
Panel members considered their work programme for the period to February 2012.
The Chairman informed the Panel that the
Councillor Wright referred to the Project Management Review carried out in 2007, and queried how far the implementation of the recommendations had progressed. The Corporate Director (AP) reported that much work had been carried out following the Review and robust systems were now in place for the Community Investment Programme projects. The main recommendations had concerned training and the systems now used followed the PRINCE2 project management training resource. Councillor Wright considered that there may be advantages to having Scrutiny Members on the project boards. It was suggested that, before deciding whether any further work needed to be undertaken, Councillor Wright might be minded to consider the paperwork relating to the Review and speak to the Area Co-ordinator (AM), who was currently revisiting the Review. If the Panel wanted to look at project performance, it was further suggested that scrutiny of a specific project might be more useful.