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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Ms Rehill, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

277.

Membership

Substitutes are not permitted to this Committee, unless a Member of the Committee has been unable to attend meetings for a period of three months or longer.

Minutes:

No changes are permitted on this Committee.

278.

Communications and apologies

(a) Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Griffin wo had to attend  a Community Safety Partnership meeting in Bushey.

279.

Declarations of interests (if any)

Members are required to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, other pecuniary interest or non‑pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows:

 

a.     Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

b.     Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

c.     Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

d.     Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

e.     Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

f.      Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

g.     Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where –

(a)    that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and

(b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

Minutes:

There were none.

280.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 853 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2013.

 

In accordance with the Constitution no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2013 be approved and signed as a correct record.

281.

Financial Monitoring [regular item] pdf icon PDF 90 KB

 To consider the ATTACHED update.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance was in attendance for this item.

 

The key points of the report were highlighted, including:

-        all departments were showing surpluses.

-        surpluses were primarily due to increases in income, with some due to staff vacancies.

-        the financial picture was good.

-        Asset Management was projecting a deficit as the planned rental of office space to the Police had been delayed by a few months.

 

Noted that there was not only a surplus overall but in the budget of each department, which must be the first time this had happened. The Committee thanked Officers for the good work.

 

282.

Procurement Monitoring 6-monthly item] pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To consider the ATTACHED six-monthly report listing expenditure above £15 000 (inc cumulative), purpose of that expenditure, by which department and by what method (procurement, framework agreement, ad hoc purchase).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Procurement was in attendance for this item.

 

The key points of the report were highlighted, and during the discussion a number of points were made, including:

-        two contractors were shown for recruitment as there had been a switchover from Commensura to Manpower earlier in 2013.

-        the Committee questioned whether the £18 000 spent on webcasting value for money?

 

RESOLVED that Officers provide details on the number of public users who access the live and archived webcasts during a financial year.

Action by: Head of Procurement

283.

Performance monitoring 2013-2014 Quarter 1 [regular report] pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider the ATTACHED quarterly report on performance of Council services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement, Senior Planning Officer and the Portfolholder were in attendance for this item.

 

The key points of the report were highlighted and a number of points were raised, including:

-        the red indicators were outside of the Council’s immediate and direct control (eg museum attendance levels, crime levels).

-        agents were submitting incomplete applications thereby causing delays. They could not be named and shamed but their clients were being written to and told that their agents were not submitting correct applications. A Developers Forum had also been set up to brief applicants on how to submit correct forms.

-        the delay in registering applications was due to staff shortages. A new employee was in post as well as new software and scanners, so performance should improve. There was only 1.5 FTE on the Validation Team whereas there should be 3.5 FTE. Also the applications were not always correct so delays were unavoidable. From personal experience, the Committee had found that an application submitted on 28 August had only been validated three days ago and still had not been allocated a case officer; it must be assumed that other applications were similarly delayed. The Committee pointed out that if notifications were late then the consultation period was shortened.

 

RESOLVED that a report be provided on the Validation process, including information on time taken to register, how and when applicants were notified, reasons for delays etc.

Action by: Senior Planning Officer, Development Team Leaders

284.

SECTION 106 ACTIVITY Jan - Jun 2013 [6-monthly item] pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

Minutes:

The Senior Planning Officer and Portfolioholder were in attendance for this item.

 

The key points of the report were discussed, including:

-        there was an error in the report on Table 1 Application 11/1349, which should read £202 000 paid upfront and potential £202 000 via clawback.

-        Officers were looking at how Community Infrastructure Levy monies could be used to fund new GP surgeries/medical support. As part of the Core Strategy, Officers have looked at GP provision. Sites could be identified and money provided but Officers did not know how to attract GP tenants, so Officer have set up a working group with NHS colleagues about this issue. The Committee noted that with the large amount of new housing planned for the Borough it was vital to ensure that new medical infrastructure was provided alongside.

-        S106 agreements were more robustly drawn up now, therefore the issues around the University site in Bushey should not arise in future.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

285.

Planning appeals summary Jan - Jun 2013 [6-monthly item] pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

Minutes:

The Senior Planning Officer and the Portfolioholder were in attendance for this item.

 

The key points of the report were discussed, including:

-        performance had improved over the past two periods.

-        refusals were mostly around street scene and design.

-        the report should state there were 4 appeals on car parking, not 2.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and the 7 ‘Other reasons’ in Table 1 be circulated to the Committee.

Action by: Senior Planning Officer

286.

Planning Strategy & the way forward pdf icon PDF 38 KB

The Committee requested the ATTACHED report on the context and drivers of the Planning Strategy, the implications for the way forward and the challenges to achieving its aims.

Minutes:

The Policy and Transport Manager and the Portfolioholder were in attendance for this item.

 

They key points of the report were discussed, including:

-        the short-term challenges were the Site Allocations policy and Elstree Way Corridor Action Plan.

-        the population growth estimates needed to be validated. In particular, analysis of population growth vs household growth, as well as age profiling, was needed so that the Planning Strategy was based on realistic projections. Officers were going to commission research into this area. The Portfolioholder suggested that Scrutiny could help with this task and also take a retrospective look at the 2001 Census to see if that had been accurate in relation to subsequent household projections and the actual growth rate, so as to give assurance about the 2011 Census projections.

-        the Committee suggested that the Planning Strategy needed to address for the lack of East-West transport connections across the Borough. This had a negative impact on population densities, shopping patterns and inter-Borough trading.

 

RESOLVED that the validation of population projections (population growth, household growth, age profiling) be a starting point for the Committee to engage in the future review of the Core Strategy, and to look at retrospective figures and those of the 2011 Census. The Chair would meet with the Portfolioholder to discuss how the research should be carried out.

Action by: Councillors Hodgson-Jones and Cohen

287.

New Homes Bonus pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

Minutes:

The Policy and Transport Manager and the Portfolioholder were in attendance for this item.

 

They key points of the report were discussed, including:

-        the Local Enterprise Partnership had insufficient local councillor representatives to make it democratically accountable for expenditure of public monies. It was a primarily business-led forum and neither was it Hertsmere-centric, therefore it was inappropriate for Hertsmere’s own New Homes Bonus to be diverted to it, as its spending priorities would have no correlation to those of Hertsmere.

-        If the Government wished to increase the budget of the Local Enterprise Partnership, a more appropriate funding source would be a proportion of the National Non-Domestic Rates. The New Homes Bonus was unsuitable as it was not new money but actually top-sliced from Hertsmere’s Revenue Support Grant allocation.

 

RESOLVED that Officers submit a negative response to the Government’s proposals to divert New Homes Bonus monies to Local Enterprise Partnerships, on the basis that such Partnerships were democratically unaccountable for spending such public monies, and particularly the New Homes Bonus as this funding was top-sliced from Councils’ Revenue Support Grants. If the Government was minded to link the Partnerships’ funding to a local source, then the most logical option would be the National Non-Domestic Rate.

Action by: Policy and Transport Manager

288.

O&S Learning and Development

(a)         To note any forthcoming dates for overview and scrutiny learning and development opportunities; and

 

(b)         To receive feedback from Members and Officers in relation to any overview and scrutiny related learning and development events.

Minutes:

Social media training was planned for October 2013.

289.

Reports from Scrutiny Committees

The Chairman of the Resources and Environment Scrutiny Committees will report on the work of their respective committees in the current municipal year to date.

Minutes:

Councillor Hoeksma reported that Resources had looked at Hertsmere Leisure’s performance and received a positive response from the Executive to the Homeworking Scrutiny Review.

 

Councillor Wayne reported that Environment had looked at allotments, the Housing Service Plan and pre-applications fees. There had been a useful discussion about the August power outage and Officers had been asked to look at the viability of a generator.

290.

Overview and Scrutiny Budget

The current balance stands at £8 500.  Officers will report any additional expenditure at the meeting.

Minutes:

Noted that the balance was £8 500 and could be used to procure technical assistance for the research into population projections. Ward/Area Profiles could be commissioned at the same time.

291.

Forward Plan of the Executive & Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 392 KB

To consider the ATTACHED Forward Plan and identify possible issues for scrutiny.

To consider the Committee’s ATTACHED work programme and requirements for Officer and/or Portfolio Holder attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Add to 7 November meeting:

 

-        invite Leader and Chief Executive to give an update on the Corporate Plan and on the next steps regarding the Plan. Given that the Plan was now out-of-date it might be sensible to roll it forward and refresh it once the work on the Planning Core Strategy had been reviewed.

Action by: Principal Democratic Services Officer

292.

Any other business which the Chairman considers urgent

In accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by the Access to Information Act of 1985, no urgent business may be raised unless it has been approved by the Chair.  The item and reason for urgency must be announced at the start of the meeting.

Minutes:

There was none.

293.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings of the Committee are scheduled to take place

at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices, Borehamwood, as follows:

 

Thursday 7 November 2013

Tuesday 17 December 2013.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 7 November 2013.