Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Remote meeting

Contact: Lesley Farrell, Democratic and Elections  Email: democracy@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk/01295 221534

Link: Please click here to view this meeting online

Items
No. Item

10.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

11.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 July 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman in due course.

12.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

13.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s announcements.

14.

Western Power Presentation

Western power will give a presentation on solar power and the national grid.

 

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)      That the presentation be noted.

 

Minutes:

Representative from Western Power provided an informative, detailed and technical overview of the successful work and the investment that had been carried out by Western Power across South Northamptonshire to date.

 

The committee was informed how the constraints of the dated infrastructure of the National Grid affected the acceptance of all new generation from Western Power on to the grid.  Due to accessibility of equipment Western Power expected new generation be limited through Grendon Grid until June 2021.

 

In answer to questions from members it was explained that much of the current infrastructure of the National Grid, particularly in rural areas, was not designed for reverse power flow and required updating to enable the capacity to accept new generation from Western Power in this area. 

 

In considering the presentation the committee agreed that it would be useful to invite the National Grid to future Committee.

 

On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman thanked the Western Power representatives for their presentation.

 

 

Resolved

 

(1)      That the presentation be noted and representatives from the National Grid be invited to a future meeting.

 

15.

Community Funding - Street Lighting pdf icon PDF 178 KB

The Community Development Officer will update the committee on the community funding policy and the allocation of street lighting to Parish Councils. 

 

Briefing Note attached for information.

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)      That the presentation be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Executive Director Operations and Community Development Officer submitted a briefing paper which aimed to address the recent question raised by the Scrutiny Committee around the Community Funding Policy and the allocation of grant funding for street lighting to Parish Councils.

 

In presenting the briefing paper the Healthy Communities Manager explained that officers can act under the Councils scheme of delegation and the reporting process to the Community Funding Panel

 

The Healthy Communities Manager gave an update on the work the Communities Team had been undertaking to prepare for the coming unitary authority, with the aim to simplify the grant application process and align with the strategic priorities of the Council.

The Healthy Communities Manager advised that, under the new Community Funding Policy applicants were required to demonstrate how their proposed project would meet the strategic priorities of the Council and the need, reach and value for money of their project. In addition, the Communities Team had amalgamated the various grant budgets into a single Community Funding budget.

 

In answer to the Committees questions regarding policy and street lighting applications received from the parish councils, the Healthy Communities Manager advised that procedures had changed.  Applications would now be triaged by the Community Funding Officer through an ‘expression of interest’ to align the projects that the applicant has with the Councils strategies.  It was expected that Parish Councils would fund street lighting using their parish precept however each application would be considered on their own merit.

 

The Committee asked the Healthy Communities Manager to ensure that the new Policy and criteria was communicated to parish councils.

 

Resolved

 

(1)      That the presentation be noted.

 

16.

Quarterly Performance Risk and Finance Report - June 2020 pdf icon PDF 819 KB

Report of Assistant Director: Performance and Transformation and Assistant Director: Strategic Business Partner and Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

This report summarises the Council’s Performance monitoring position as at the end of the reporting month.

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1          To note the monthly Performance Monitoring Report.

 

1.2       To note that the Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report is considered by Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

 

1.3       To review and comment on the performance update for September (Appendix 2)

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)      That subject to minor amendments, the monthly Performance Monitoring Report for June 2020 be noted

 

(2)      That it be noted that the Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report is considered by Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

 

(3)      That, having given due consideration, the performance update for September be noted.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Assistant Director: Performance and Transformation and Strategic Business Partner and Deputy Section 151 Officer, that detailed performance, risk and finance monitoring as at the end of June 2020.  The report also included an update on performance.

 

In response to the Committees question with regard to the determination of Housing applications, the Assistant Director: Planning and Economy advised the Committee that the recruitment to permanent roles had provided stability to the team. Improvement could be demonstrated as the figure of determined applications, within the relevant time scales had improved by 10%. The Committee requested that the Assistant Director: Planning and Economy updated contact lists to all Councillors.

 

The Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer responded to the Committees concern regarding the evaluation of the cost of Covid-19 pandemic.  The council had provided returns to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which detailed the costs to the council in responding to the pandemic.  Monies had been received and offset against those costs.  The Committee was advised that it was expected to be an ongoing requirement to lobby the Government for funding.

 

In response to Members’ comments regarding any impact on council tax levels in the new Unitary authority, the Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer assured the committee that any increase in Council Tax for 2021/22 would be communicated adequately to residents.

 

The Committee acknowledged that concessions were being made to business rates for small businesses affected by the pandemic and expressed concern that larger businesses in similar circumstances, may not be given the same consideration.  The Assistant Director: Customers and Corporate Services confirmed that government relief had been aimed at smaller businesses and that the Council was working with larger organisations.

 

In response to the committee’s questions regarding staff working at home, as a result of the current situation, the Assistant Director: Customers and Corporate Services confirmed that staff working at home continued to be closely supported by managers.  The regular staff survey suggested that the home working arrangement suited most staff. 

 

In response to the committee’s question regarding formal Member meetings being held at The Forum the Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer advised that current advice was that meetings should be held remotely if they could be.  It was important to have regard to Government restrictions and guidance and the health and wellbeing on attendees.

 

 

Resolved

 

(1)      That, the monthly Performance Monitoring Report for June 2020 be noted

 

(2)      That it be noted that the Performance, Risk and Finance Monitoring Report was considered by Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

17.

Review of Committee Work Plan pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Democratic and Elections Officers will give an update on progress regarding subjects raised for Scrutiny (appendix 1, attached).

 

To review and note the Committee Work Plan (appendix 2, attached).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)       That subject to the addition of updates on the Local Development Order and Climate Change  being added to the workplan, the workplan be noted.

 

(2)       That the final reports of the Section 106 and Transport and Section 106 and Health working groups be added to the work programme on the dates outline in their respective scoping documents.

 

(3)       That the Executive Director: Resources (Monitoring Officer) be requested to attend Scrutiny Committee to be provide regular updates on the West Northamptonshire Unitary Council.

Minutes:

The Democratic Officer gave an update on the status of topics suggest for scrutiny and the indicative Committee work programme.

 

In relation to Superfast Broadband which was scheduled for October when officers from Northamptonshire County Council would provide an update, the committee was requested to submit questions in advance to the Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer.

 

Noting the ongoing work of the two scrutiny working groups, the Committee requested that the work programme be updated to include the dates the final reports of each working group would be submitted to the Committee.

 

The Committee agreed to add two additional items to the work programme, updates on the Local Development Order and on climate change.  The Committee also requested that the Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer provide regular update on progress to the West Northamptonshire Unitary Council.

 

 

Resolved

 

(1)       That subject to the addition of updates on the Local Development Order and Climate Change being added to the workplan, the workplan be noted.

 

(2)       That the final reports of the Section 106 and Transport and Section 106 Health working groups be added to the work programme on the dates outline in their respective scoping documents.

 

(3)       That the Executive Director: Resources and Monitoring Officer be requested to attend the Scrutiny Committee to be provide regular updates on the West Northamptonshire Unitary Council.