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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

640.

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 substitutions permitted on this Committee.

641.

Communications and apologies

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

 

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies of absence from Councillors Butler, Griffin, Parnell and Strack.

642.

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:

Councillor Choudhury declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 as he was the Council-appointed representative on the Elstree Film Studios Board.

643.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2014.

 

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 11 February 2014 be approved and signed as a correct record.

644.

Infrastructure Scrutiny Reviews - Interim Update

To receive a VERBAL update from members of the Infrastructure Scrutiny Reviews.

Minutes:

Scrutiny Review Lead Councillors Choudhury, Donne and Gilligan were in attendance for this item. The Business Development Coordinator and Knowledge Transfer Leader from University of Hertfordshire were in attendance for this item.

 

Updates from the Transport and Employment Scrutiny Reviews were circulated (attached as an Appendix to these minutes). It was noted that there was poor interconnection between Hertsmere settlements and no bus across the Borough. The usefulness of an orbital rail, connecting via the stations at Chorley Wood, Bushey, Borehamwood and Potters Bar, was also commented upon. Such a linkage would be beneficial not just to the region and London but also the national networks. It was pointed out that guided buses (like in Cambridge) or the bus/tram from Dunstable to Luton Rail Station were also interesting approaches to improving local transport infrastructure.

 

The Lead Councillors reported back on the work of the Social Infrastructure. The Groups had formulated questions that had been sent to Planning, to County regarding education and social care and to Health regarding health provision. It was noted that health provision was a key issue across all settlements. The Groups were due to meet with Planning shortly and would seek clarification on how the displacement of the existing local population could be avoided and how to ensure the right mix of homes were being built.

 

The University advised that they would be able to provide data that could be used as evidence for some of the issues that the Review Groups had raised. The researcher would establish data sets for each of the settlements. The source and credibility of the data would be clearly set out, to ensure that any baseline was rigorous. Councillors would be able to interrogate the data sets and generate ‘what if’ scenarios around population growth versus infrastructure needs. The Committee agreed that credible data which could feed into planning development would help the Review Groups with their work.

 

RESOLVED that the updates be noted and that the University of Hertfordshire be instructed to carry out the necessary data gathering and research.

645.

Financial Monitoring (regular item) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

 To consider the ATTACHED update.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented and a number of points discussed, including: surplus at the year-end would contribute to the £400 000 one-off funding to the pensions pot. This financial contribution would be for the benefit of Hertsmere’s pensions and not for other authorities’ pots.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

646.

Procurement monitoring (6-monthly item) pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To consider the ATTACHED 6-monthly report which includes expenditure above £15 000 (inc cumulative), purpose of that expenditure, by which department and by what method (procurement, framework agreement, ad hoc purchase).

Minutes:

The Head of Finance and the Procurement Manager were in attendance for this meeting.

 

The report was presented and a number of points discussed, including:

-        G4 cash collection costed £44k pa but it covered all cash collection, not just for car parking.

-        The £148k Elstree Property contract would become part of a single Framework contract that was due to be approved by Executive shortly.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

647.

Elstree Film Studios 'The Mound' Update

To receive a VERBAL update on the remedial works taking place at the Elstree Film Studios.

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and the Head of Engineering were in attendance for this item.

 

Officers advised that during the removal of the Mound a large amount of asbestos was discovered below the formation level. Given that the necessary plant and equipment was already on site for the Mound removal, Officers considered it cost and time efficient to take the urgent decision to remove the asbestos. The additional advantage was that this could be done before land fill charges increased in April 2014, plus it meant that at the later construction stage there would be no health issues to complicate the planning process or the negotiations with site developers etc. The decision was approved via Chief Officer Board, the Leader and the Portfolioholder. The money had been vired from the land drainage budget but that budget was not overspent, plus there was £100k in the contingency. The Mound removal and the additional asbestos removal would be delivered to time and the overall budget would be underspent, albeit it with a few overspends in some of the budget sub-headings. Once complete, the site would be flat, with a membrane and capping layer to prevent knotweed and a knotweed treatment contract in place for 10 years. There would also be a full set of plans and drawings to show what the site contained, which would inform future development.

 

RESOLVED that the verbal report be noted.

648.

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:

Councillor Hodgson-Jones had attended a regeneration conference at which he heard about some excellent work being carried out by Greenwich and Wakefield Councils. In particular, the latter had succeeded in getting a train station relocated and a new one built. In general, the key to successful regeneration was to involve the local community and business.

 

Councillor Gilligan had attended a useful Scrutiny training session at Westminster and observed a Select Committee.

649.

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 received an encouraging update from the County’s Youth Connexions service. The 6-monthly update from Hertsmere Leisure had also been positive.

 

Councillor Wayne reported that Environment’s agenda had been very heavy. An interesting report on Hertsmere’s Economic Strategy had flagged up that large businesses/companies had had to be turned away from Hertsmere as there was no available space in the borough.

 

Councillor Gilligan flagged up the issue of developers overlooking public rights of way when a large parcel of land was developed by different companies, at different times. It was suggested that Environment Scrutiny could look into this matter.

Action by: Environment Scrutiny Chair

650.

Overview and Scrutiny Budget

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

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that data collection by Hertfordshire University would be more useful for the Social Infrastructure Scrutiny Reviews. Objective data was needed which the Councillors could then interpret. £6000 was considered too costly for the Transport research as that could be undertaken without external assistance. The proposed researcher, a County Councillor, had the required academic experience so would be suitable. Conflict of interest was unlikely as this was a data, not policy, project and the supplier was the University of Hertfordshire.

 

RESOLVED that the remainder of the 2013/14 budget be spent on the University of Hertfordshire’s research for the Social Infrastructure Scrutiny Review, any additional money to come from the 2014/15 budget.

Action by: Principal Democratic Services Officer

651.

Forward Planning Programme of the Executive & Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To consider the ATTACHED Forward Planning Programme 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:

Noted the Forward Plan. Officer to be asked to provide a briefing on the webcasting system, covering: cost of system; number of internal and external viewers plus viewership levels over the past two years; cost per viewer.

Action by: Head of Finance

 

Noted the Workprogramme.

 

Agreed to cancel the 1 May 2014 meeting and have the Infrastructure Scrutiny Reviews report to the 18 June 2014 meeting.

652.

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.

653.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings of the Committee are scheduled to take place

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

 

To be confirmed – 1 May 2014

18 June 2014

29 July 2014.

Minutes:

The Committee thanked Councillor Hoeksma for her dedicated work on Scrutiny over the past years and wished her well with her future plans.

 

The next meeting was scheduled for 18 June 2014.