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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ms Rehill, Democratic Services 

No. Item



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.


The Chairman reported that, following the resignation of Councillor Griffin, this Committee had a vacancy in its membership and the position of Vice Chairman of the Environment Scrutiny Committee was also vacant.



Communications and apologies

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


(b) Apologies for absence.


There were none.



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.


Councillors Choudhury and Morris declared an interest as Council appointed Directors of Elstree Film Studios.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To confirm and sign the ATTACHED minutes of the meeting held on 9 February 2015.


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


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 9 February 2015 be approved and signed as a correct record.



Financial Monitoring (regular item) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

 To consider the ATTACHED update.


The Head of Finance reported that, as of 31 January, the Council’s overall budget showed a favourable variance of £600,617. Of this £116,545 had been transferred to housing homeless reserve, leaving a favourable variance of £484,072.


The Committee noted that earlier that day Councillors Morris and Wayne, as Financial Monitors, had carried out a detailed scrutiny of the Council’s budget and had no issues to raise.


RESOLVED that the information contained in the Financial Monitoring update report be noted.



Voter turn-out levels pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

Additional documents:


The Principal Electoral Services Officer introduced the report and highlighted the work undertaken to increase voter turnout in Hertsmere. It was noted that a video had been produced to promote registration and voting among young people, a group who had a poor level of participation in elections, which was shown to the Committee.


Members acknowledged the appropriateness of the video and asked that a link to it be sent to all Members. I t was also suggested that it again appear on the Council’s web page prior to the forthcoming elections on 7 May. The obligation upon Members to promote participation in elections was also acknowledged.


RESOLVED that the information on increasing voter turnout in the report of the Principal Electoral Services Officer be noted.





Development Company

To receive a VERBAL briefing on progress.


The Committee noted that the Chief Executive had submitted his apologies as he was unwell and not able to attend this meeting.


Members asked that when the development company item was next on their agenda it be supported by a written report.


RESOLVED that consideration of the Development Company item be deferred to the next meeting of this committee (or its successor) and be supported by a written report.



Procurement monitoring - 6-monthly item pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To consider the ATTACHED monitoring report. At its last consideration, the meeting asked that future reports include a list of Council contracts which Hertsmere has in place, including when the contract is to be renewed and its start date.

Additional documents:


The Procurement Manager presented a report which detailed all Council expenditure over £15,000 in the past twelve months. Also before the Committee was a copy of the contracts register showing a list of Council contracts.


Following a question, the Procurement Manager undertook to investigate the possible amalgamation of Council and police cleaning contracts.


RESOLVED that the information on the Council’s procurement and contractual arrangements, be noted.




FINAL REPORT: Future of Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To approve the ATTACHED report of the review into the future structure of Scrutiny.


The report has been circulated to all Chief Officers and Heads of Service for comment. No comments were received.


The report was also circulated to all Executive Members. No comments were received.


If the Committee approves this report it will be presented, for consideration, to the Constitution & Member Development Panel. Thereafter the Executive will draw up recommendations, prior to submission to Full Council for a final decision.


The Committee had before them the completed review of Hertsmere’s scrutiny structure. The review proposed that a 2 committee scrutiny structure be adopted, it suggested the establishment of a Policy Review Committee and an Operations Review Committee. This arrangement would allow Hertsmere to have a resource dedicated to policy development, whilst retaining the ability to scrutinise operational matters. The Chairman said the review had retained the strengths of the former arrangement, introduced a dedicated policy body and simplified the remaining scrutiny arrangements.


The Committee debated the review and noted that the two Vice Chairmen of the Operational Review Committee would be expected to lead task and finish groups. Each Portfolio Holder would be expected to attend at least two meetings per annum of the Operations Review Committee to explain the thinking behind forthcoming initiatives within their Portfolio area. While the Operations Committee would meet on the same frequency as the present Scrutiny Review Committees (8/9 meetings p.a.), the proposed Policy Review Committee would meet on 4/5 occasions per annum.


The Chairman asked that the Committee note that it was intended that at least one member from the largest opposition group would normally be the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Operations Review Committee. The Committee noted that this change would require an amendment to the Council’s Constitution. It was also suggested by the Chairman that recommendation 3.2 and paragraph 6.4 in the review be amended to reflect this. The Chairman also proposed an amendment to recommendation 3.3 by removing the ‘no substitutes’ clause.


RESOLVED that the recommendations of the review of Hertsmere’s Scrutiny structure, as amended above, be referred to the Constitution and Member Development Panel prior to consideration by the Executive.



S106 Scrutiny Review

To consider a VERBAL update on progress.


Councillor Morris, the lead Councillor for the S106 Scrutiny review, updated the Committee on its progress. He said progress with the review had been measured and there was still some way to go before any conclusions could be reached. The meeting noted that the Review Group had encountered delays due to the staff they wished to meet having limited availability. This had meant that it had been problematic to set up meetings. Also some material relating to historical planning applications requested by consultants had not been found by the Planning Department. This led to new examples having to be identified and the related material sent to the consultants. All this had resulted in slow progress for the review.


The meeting noted that a final meeting with officers was scheduled for 14 April and that, thereafter, Councillor Morris was minded to complete his report based on the position reach by that date.


The Chairman noted that therefore the report would be drafted by the end of this month. Following a question, it was noted that the report would first be presented to this Committee or its successor body and then referred on to the Executive for decision.


RESOLVED that the information provided by Councillor Morris on the progress with the Section 106 Review, be noted.



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.


The Chairman drew attention to the training needs of scrutiny committee members if the structure of scrutiny was to change following consideration of the scrutiny review recommendations. While the future membership of 2015/16 committees was unknown at this point, the date of 26 May was identified for scrutiny training should the structure of scrutiny in Hertsmere change.


It was proposed that councillors nominated to serve on scrutiny committees be informed of this date as soon as possible. Given the degree of change to scrutiny that would arise from the review, it was proposed that outside training providers be engaged to brief scrutiny members on the task ahead.




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.


The Chairman of the Environment Scrutiny Committee advised the meeting of the matters considered by that Committee at its last meeting. Councillor Morris then reported on the work of the latest Resources Scrutiny Committee.



Overview and Scrutiny Budget

The current balance stands at £5 650. [Annual budget £8,850].  Officers will report any additional expenditure at the meeting.


The Committee noted that the Overview and Scrutiny budget stood at £5,650.



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.


At its February 2015 meeting, Resources Scrutiny referred to media articles on local authorities who had combined their services to streamline resources. Resources Scrutiny had previously looked at the variety of partnerships, joint working and shared services that Hertsmere was involved in but thought that Overview & Performance may wish to look at this topic in further detail.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the Forward Planning Programme for the 1 April to 31 July 2015 period. It was noted that a report on “Establishing a Development Company – options appraisal” was scheduled to be put before the Executive on 27 May 2015. The Committee asked that this report not be submitted to that meeting to allow a Scrutiny Committee an opportunity to consider proposals relating to the development company before the Executive. This timing would allow the Executive to have the views of the Scrutiny Committee on the proposal when it was submitted to them.


RESOLVED that the Chief Executive be informed of the wish of this Committee for the report “Establishing a Development Company – options appraisal” not to be submitted to the Executive until a Scrutiny Committee has considered it.



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.


There was none.



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 23 June 2015

·       Tuesday 28 July 2015.



The Committee noted that the date of their next meeting was subject to change given that the new scrutiny structure could impact on the dates of future meetings. It was noted that if a new committee structure was approved then the new two committee system would meet on dates identified for the current three Committees.