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Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Ms Rehill, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

377.

Membership

To receive details of any changes in membership of this Committee notified since the agenda was printed.

Minutes:

Councillor A Swerling substituted for Councillor H Mortimer.

378.

Communications and Apologies

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

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors H Mortimer, D Lambert and P Richards.

379.

Declaration 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.

380.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve and sign the ATTACHED minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 November 2019.

 

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 26 November 2019 be approved and signed as a correct record subject to the correction to the name of the portfolioholder.

381.

Planning Services Peer Review pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To receive an update ATTACHED on the Planning Services Peer Review as requested at the previous meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Cohen, the Portfolioholder for Planning, was present for this item, supported by the Head of Planning & Economic Development.

 

An overview and update of the peer review was given.  It had been commissioned by the Head of Planning & Economic Development when they had started using an East of England Local Government Association peer to provide insight in to what the service did well and where changes could be beneficial.  The report covered the outcomes and a number had already been implemented.  The Executive had authorised £90k towards dealing with planning applications.  Options included possible software improvements and soft market testing for external support to provide additional resilience were also being considered.

 

The Committee raised a number of issues including:

-       There were objections to the potential abolition of the Planning Technical Meetings (PTM) as Members felt that it added value to the process.  This recommendation was being reviewed internally and was unlikely to be implemented.  Members were being encouraged to ask more questions in advance of the Planning Committee meeting so that site visits and chair briefings could be more informative.

-       A query was raised about why the £90k had not been authorised earlier when concerns had been raised previously.  The Portfolioholder responded that there were staffing issues across the South East and that the Council had been working on a number of options including training up staff internally.  Individual performance reviews and human resource issues however were not areas that Members got involved in.

-       Reassurance was given that there was no anticipated slippage in the Local Plan and that staffing in this area was being enhanced.

 

There was interest in the whole report being placed in the public domain and assurances were given that this would happen.

[At 8.00 pm Councillor Cohen left the meeting prior to the next Item.]

382.

Police Community Support Officers Report pdf icon PDF 602 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report and receive a presentation.

Minutes:

Chief Inspector C Smith, and M Bilsdon, Safer Neighbourhood Inspector, were present for this item.

 

The Committee received a presentation which highlighted the range of different activities that the Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) were involved in.  This included their contribution around specific projects such as promoting Neighbourhood Watch and the OWL system as well as a knife amnesties and liaison with social services.  The Chief Inspector was keen to hear feedback from the Committee.

 

A number of points were discussed, including:

-       The Committee praised the presence of PCSOs in their local wards, at schools and their work in general.  They felt that it was important that the skills which were being developed were transferred between the different PCSOs.  The Inspectors responded that they were currently recruiting for a new PCSO.  Friendly competitions with other Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) had also been used to help motivate the team.

-       The Committee were keen to hear how they could support the work of the PCSOs and the SNT and for other activities such as the mini-Police and the Police Cadets.  The Inspectors informed the Committee that helping to champion the work of the SNT on social media was hugely appreciated.  This helped to reinforce their value and improve community awareness.

-       With regards to recent local issues and the use of Section 60 powers  Members asked what could be done to prevent a recurrence of the problem due to the levels of scepticism, mistrust and fear which existed in some areas in contrast to others.  The Inspectors confirmed that they were looking at long term solutions, but this often did not fall within the remit of the police.  They would continue to work with the community, seeking feedback and looking to get things back to normal.

-       A Member queried whether there were sufficient PCSOs available.  In response the Inspector noted that they would work with all resources provided.  For example they were looking to secure two more posts in partnership with the LINKS Educational Support Unit which would support their activities across several districts.  Other activities had included working with mental health and hospital facilities to build up trust and reduce fear of those in uniform as part of their work to support rehabilitation.  However they were also conscious of the limitations on resourcing and so worked within this.

-       Specific concerns were raised about thefts on Radlett high street and the Inspectors stressed the importance of reporting all crimes including theft and shop lifting to the Police so that they could react more effectively including through prevention.

 

The Committee thanked the Chief Inspector and Inspector for their presentation and service.

383.

PORTFOLIOHOLDER PRESENTATION: Community Safety & Performance pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Councillor Choudhury has been invited to give the meeting an overview of current activities and key issues within their portfolio for the coming year.

 

An extract from the Constitution on the responsibilities of the

Community Safety and Performance Portfolio is ATTACHED.

 

An update on the Hertfordshire CCTV Partnership is also ATTACHED.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor P Choudhury, the Portfolioholder for Community Safety & Performance, was present for this item, supported by the Head of Partnerships, Community Engagement & Housing and the Community Safety Manager.

 

The Committee received a presentation (attached as Appendix A to these minutes) on the Council’s activity around community safety, performance, CCTV, information and digital services, customer services and human resources.

 

The Committee discussed:

-       The differences in the previous Chief Executive role and the new Managing Director position were mentioned.  This reflected the changes in commercial focus and from when the post was last advertised.

-       The current CCTV partnership arrangements.  The recent Shared Internal Audit Service review had highlighted a number of areas for improvement within the specific scope provided and these were being implemented.  This included the CCTV Executive moving to quarterly meetings and clarification of the relationship between the public sector and commercial, private sector arrangements.

-       A potential review of CCTV arrangements to gain value for money assurances in the medium to long term.  The Committee were keen to hear what options might be viable including different partnership arrangements and the feasibility of creating a new control room which could make use of the latest facilities.

 

The Committee thanked the Portfolioholder and Officers for an interesting and informative presentation.

 

RESOLVED that the presentation be NOTED.

384.

Community Infrastructure Levy/Section 106/Appeals Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 377 KB

To note the ATTACHED monitoring report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Infrastructure and Delivery Officer were in attendance for this item.

 

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

-       What support and information was given to applicants whose bids were unsuccessful.  Officers reported that the bids had been assessed by the CILIP (Community Infrastructure Levy Investment Panel) and that the new regulations require an Infrastructure Funding Statement which will provide a clear list of priorities.

-       That improved liaison between the town and parish councils was essential to ensuring a consistent approach for the use of funds where possible.  For the non-parished areas, where the Council retained 15% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) income, reassurance was given that there were sufficient applications being received from local community groups.

-       Changes as a result of the review would see additional support provided to potential applicants with the use of a crowd funding system to help promote better community involvement and engagement.

-       The timing of decisions was queried and it was highlighted that this was being addressed through work with partners and that the process had required the negotiation of a Service Level Agreement which was now reaching completion.  The aim was to ensure that good ideas were successful, either through crowdfunding or CIL support or a combination of the two.

-       The Committee were keen that the revised draft terms of reference be referred to the Policy Review Committee for consultation.  It was recognised that the sifting process could not be done in public if it was to give proper justices to bidders and the Council, but that it did need full engagement.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

[At 9.50 pm during the previous item the Chair held a vote to extend the meeting past 10.00pm.  The vote was carried.]

385.

Update on Reviews

The Chair will provide an oral update on:

 

(a) the response of the Executive to recommendations made by the Committee following the conclusion of a review; and

(b) any progress made in implementing recommendations of the Committee following a review.

(c) currently active reviews.

Minutes:

The Committee received two updates:

 

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) /Section 106 Scrutiny Review

The Committee discussed options around the scope and role of the review due to the actions and work which had already been undertaken by Officers.  If a review of the policy was undertaken by the Policy Review Committee the Chair would ask that Members of Operations Review Committee be engaged.

The Committee felt that there would be value in looking at how the funds had been spent, whether the match funding had been secured and whether the desired outcomes had been achieved.

It was proposed that a Terms of Reference be prepared for the next meeting.

 

Mapping of Partnerships Scrutiny Review

The Committee considered whether the review should focus on highlighting the different types of partnership that the Council was involved in.  This was in recognition that there was a wide variety covering different parties, structures, whether they were designed to spend, or raise, funds and the level of influence involved.

386.

Forward Planning Programme, Committee Work Programme and Scrutiny Review Timetable pdf icon PDF 66 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.

 

To consider the ATTACHED Scrutiny Review Timetable.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Forward Planning Programme:

·         Scrutiny Review of Mapping of Partnerships (Policy Review Committee) – The Committee discussed options and agreed that they would ensure that the report came to their next meeting in February so that it could go to the 10 March Policy Review Committee meeting as scheduled and feed in to the Scrutiny arrangements review.

Committee Work Programme:

·         Leisure, Culture & Health Portfolioholder – This would be given at the next meeting.

·         CCTV – As an outcome of the report on the CCTV contract the Committee were minded to set time aside to look at whether the partnership provided value for money and the potential alternatives which might be considered.

387.

Scrutiny budget

Minutes:

It was noted that funding had been allocated to review Hertsmere Borough Council Scrutiny arrangements.

388.

Any other business which the Chair 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.

389.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings are scheduled to take place at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices, Borehamwood, as follows:

·         25 February 2020

·         26 March 2020

·         28 April 2020

·         11 June 2020

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 25 February 2020.