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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

470.

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:

There were no changes.

471.

Communications and apologies

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

 

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence received from Councillor Morris.

472.

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.

473.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To confirm and sign the ATTACHED minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2015.

 

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes if the meeting held on 16 December 2014 be approved and signed as a correct record.

474.

Financial Monitoring (regular item) pdf icon PDF 80 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 made, including:

-        £520k surplus was mainly due to increases in planning application income, Housing using private sector accommodation rather than Bed & Breakfasts, trade waste collection had increased and costs reduced, usage of the Civic Offices car park had substantially increased.

-        as a result of the surplus, £120k would go to an Earmarked Reserve for Homelessness costs and end of year surpluses would go to General Reserves. All figures had been reflected in the 2016 budget.

-        the end of year status was looking positive.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

475.

Development Company proposals pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive was in attendance for this item.

 

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

-        the Committee was advised that setting up a development company was part of the Council’s drive to be more entrepreneurial, especially as central government was encouraging councils to fund themselves and were suggesting that councils should be self-sufficient by 2020.

-        the Committee pointed out that if the development company was wholly owned by Hertsmere then it could only commit the Council’s own funds. To use other funds a special purchase vehicle (SPV) would have to be set up. Officers would consider an SPV but the current proposal was for a wholly-owned Council company.

-        the Committee was advised that a prudent approach would be adopted if it was decided that the pension funds would be accessed.

-        the Committee pointed out that success would be dependent upon staff whose skills and work experience was in keeping with what the development company was tasked to deliver. Officers agreed that the development company would be staffed and led by appropriately skilled staff, whose focus was entrepreneurship and not risk aversion.

-        the Committee considered a development company to be a higher risk than the Studios and wanted assurance that the governance structure would be robust and that the development company would be accountable to Hertsmere Council. 

-        the Committee believed that there was a local gap in the building of family-sized homes which also created a gap in social housing provision. Perhaps the development company could channel investment into semi-social housing. Officers responded that the Homes and Communities Agency was encouraging this type of approach.

-        the Committee suggested that the Council’s investment should be based on equity and that partners should be sought to do the lending.

-        the Committee suggested that right-to-buy or selling off assets would reduce the Council’s capacity to make long-term returns on investments. Officers pointed out that commercial developments achieved a quicker return than housing and also generated business rates.

-        the Committee highlighted the potential income gap in future years as the government reduced its funding. The development company would need to make up this gap. Officers could not say how much would be generated, perhaps a million per year over a 20 year period. The level of return would depend on how much capital was available. Officers would come back to the Committee with an options appraisal.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and that the Committee would await the next version of the report.

476.

iPad business case pdf icon PDF 24 KB

The Committee asked for a report on the outcome of the business case for becoming paperless and the options for Active Sync/Mobile Ion.

REPORT TO FOLLOW.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance was in attendance for this item.

 

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

-        the initiative was meant to have been self-financing after 4 years. £20k had been spent on so far on iPads therefore the payback would now be in 2 years.

-        lifespan of an iPad was at least 4 years – certainly for the intended tasks of reading reports and managing emails and calendars.

-        consideration was being given to extending tablet systems to Officers, in particular Building Control who are often off-site. If they used tablets, then they would not need to return to the office to write up their reports.

 

RESOLVED it be noted and that the business case for implementing iPads had been achieved.

477.

Section 106 Activity Jul-Dec 2014 (6-monthly item) pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider the ATTACHED 6-monthly report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Policy and Transport Manager was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented, an amended appendix tabled (attached as an appendix to these minutes) and a number of points discussed, including:

-        Officers were seeking counsel on the definition of ‘vacant’ property [for the Community Infrastructure Levy it is any property that is vacant for more than 6 months in a 3 year period].

-        Parks Service was commissioning a consultant to identify specific projects for S106 expenditure.

-        Officers had checked the Franchams site on the Land Registry, which indicated that the site had been sold. The matter had been passed to Legal and enforcement.

-        The Committee queried how commuted sums were converted into affordable housing and if the money could be spent via the Council’s proposed Development Company. Officers advised that the definition of affordable was wide-ranging and included refurbishment and renovation, so commuted sums could be used by the Development Company to refurbish a derelict property and convert it to an affordable housing unit. For example, if a landlord had a large building in disrepair the money could be used to repair it for social housing and then the rental income could be shared between the Council and the landlord. Officers advised that as long as the S106 agreement was not prescriptive, this would be possible. The Committee suggested that this should be borne in mind when developing the governance arrangements for the Development Company and when drafting S106 agreements.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

478.

Appeals monitoring Jul-Dec 2014 (6-monthly item) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider the ATTACHED 6-monthly report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Policy and Transport Manager was in attendance for this item.

 

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

-        Officers advised that performance had improved in the past ten years.

-        The Committee asked for comparable performance data from other local authorities.

Action by: Policy and Transport Manager

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

479.

Performance Monitoring Q3 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To consider the ATTACHED quarterly report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolioholder for Community Safety & Performance and the Head of Partnerships & Community Engagement were in attendance for this item.

 

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

-        no areas of specific concern had been identified, although there were a few more red indicators across the piece than was usual.

-        the Committee requested historical performance data for P&C4a. Officers advised that the Museum had done work with schools on the Great War.

Action by: Head of Partnerships & Community Engagement

-        P&CE6b attendances were lower than expected because fewer courses had been run.

-        the Portfolioholder commented that it worked well to report this performance data to this meeting alone rather than an additional two forums.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

480.

S106 Scrutiny Review update

To receive an update on progress from the Councillors undertaking the scrutiny review.

Minutes:

The Committee was advised that a contractor would shortly to technically review four historic applications to see if the Council had achieved the best result it could. The Councillors had held a very beneficial sitevisit to Islington Council and to keep the process open, they had invited the Portfolioholder and Planning Officers too.

 

Now that the sitevisit had taken place a meeting with Planning Officers and the Portfolioholder would be arranged. The Councillors had found the process quite challenging but felt progress was now being made, albeit slowly, and hoped to provide an interim report, if not a final one, by the next Committee meeting.

481.

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 Butchins had been booked on the Select Committee visit.

482.

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 Harrison reported that Resources had received its annual update on Youth Connexions. It noted that the service had improved since previous years and that the newly appointed Hertsmere Team Leader was doing positive work. A report on 96 Shenley Road showed that usage was good. The Committee had asked that regular management meetings be held so that areas of concern could be debated and resolved. Councillors discussed the future format and Scrutiny and felt that one committee was insufficient and three was too many. They suggested two scrutiny committees – one could have the Overview & Performance role and deal with strategic issues, the other could combine the service-based remits of Environment and Resources.

 

Councillor Wayne reported that Environment had requested a report on the health issues impacting on Hertsmere, in particular whether rickets and tuberculosis were concern. The Committee were advised there were no such concerns in Hertsmere and received a generally informative and reassuring update on local health matters. The Committee were also briefed on the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime & Policy Act 2014 and the new tools it provided for counteracting such crime.

483.

Overview and Scrutiny Budget

The current balance stands at £5 650.  [Annual budget £8,850.]

 

Minutes:

Noted that the balance was £5 650.

484.

Forward Planning Programme of the Executive & Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 55 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:

Retain the items as planned for the next meeting.

Add to June 2015 meeting:

-        review of the various subgroups and panels that are in operation and see if they can be streamlined.

-        actual voter turn-out at May 20105 elections.

Maintain a watching brief on the proposals for a Development Company.

485.

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.

486.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings of the Committee are scheduled to take place

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

 

·        Tuesday 31 March 2015

·        Tuesday 23 June 2015

·       Tuesday 28 July 2015.

 

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 31 March 2015.

Appendix: amended Table 1: Affordable Housing Commuted Payments pdf icon PDF 116 KB