Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny - Corporate & Community Committee - Thursday, 21st September, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston PE21 8QR

Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer  Tel. no: 01205 314226 email:  karen.rist@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

70.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes (if any).

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were tabled for Councillor Stuart Evans.  No substitute member.

71.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting.

Minutes:

With the agreement of the committee, the Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 20 July 2023.

72.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Barrie Pierpoint declared that he was a member of the steering committee for the Town Centre Strategy Action Plan.

73.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday 18th September 2023

Minutes:

No public questions.

74.

SOUTH & EAST LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCILS PARTNERSHIP CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 285 KB

(A report by Emily Spicer, Assistant Director for Wellbeing & Community Leadership)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder presented the report supported by the Assistant Director for Wellbeing and Community Leadership and the Lead Officer for Wellbeing and Community Leadership. 

As Sovereign Councils and as a Partnership Boston Borough Council was  committed to a vision of providing a customer experience that was simple, effective and customer focused and ensured access to the many services that are offered. One of the key principles to achieving that vision was to understand our communities and customers, and how they changed to inform the way the Council provided its’ services, now and into the future.

The strategy sets out three key outcomes to years to achieve, an organisational culture that is customer focussed, a simple, effective, and positive customer experience and support that meets our customer’s needs.

Success would be monitored through the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership Customer Experience Board who would have oversight of the Strategy and work collaboratively to enable effective strategic direction and co-ordination of delivery.

Members were advised that as part of the 2023/24 South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership (SELCP) Annual Delivery Plan, development of a shared Customer Experience Strategy was a key strand to assist the councils’ improvement in delivering a cost-effective operating model whilst supporting service delivery. Each of the three councils, that formed the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, were responsible for delivering a wide range of public services.

The strategy enabled SELCP to move away from ‘customer service’ as the responsibility of a single team or department.  Instead, it recognised the importance to the whole organisation and ensured providing a simple, effective and positive customer experience to be part of the Councils’ core vision and values that every council employee subscribed to.

For the purpose of this strategy, the Council’s “customers” were identified as residents’, businesses, people who work in or visit the area, community groups and charities and partners working with the Councils. Working collaboratively through the Customer Experience Board and with oversight from Portfolio Holder would ensure links identified with the SELCP ICT and Digital Strategy for a consistent approach.

The Strategic Lead for Wellbeing and Community Leadership addressed the meeting and advised members that that the ethos of the work being undertaken was that of a clear and consistent approach. The emerging action plan would be adopted by all services including those provided by PSPS.  Officers recognised the challenges of its implementation in Boston which was a diverse community and following the last census, It had been identified as one of the largest areas of population growth.   Whilst the Borough had the youngest average age across the 3 areas, it also have an ageing population resulting in an increase dependency of support for vulnerable residents.  With changes in society and ongoing improvements to digital technology, residents had differing expectations at to the service they required.  The provision of a user friendly digital service with clear signposting, would allow access at whatever time customers needed to use it, freeing up time for an improved service level for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74.

75.

BOSTON TOWN CENTRE STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN 2023-2027 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

(A report by John Leach, Deputy Chief Executive – Communities)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder presented the report supported by the Deputy Chief Executive for Communities.

Boston Town Centre us a jet economic and social hub for the Borough of Boston.  Importantly it is a sub-regional retail center that provides retail employment as well as having a number of visitor attractions.  The town center has like many towns in the Country, suffered in recent times due to many factors including the pandemic and the rise in internet shopping.  However, it still has a lot to offer.

The strategy and action plan covered the period 2023 – 2027 and provided a vision and objectives, along with 70 actions which cover 4 themes of clean and safe, open for business, culture heritage and events and also transformation.  In developing the piece of work, those involved were committee to working in partnership with residents, businesses, communities and partners, including working very closely with BTAC the Chairman of which having been involved throughout the process.  The aim being to revitalise the high street and the surrounding public realm, making it a town center to be proud of and a place recognised for its great heritage.

The Deputy Chief Executive for Communities provided a visual presentation confirming that there were 7 key points to address in the structure of the strategy including an action plan, vision and key strategic objections, management of a dynamic space, challenges and opportunities and also to measure the success with emerging themes and actions and moving to recommendation for consideration.

Members were advised that the strategy had to maximise the priorities for the people of Boston and play to its strengths as a historic center known nationally and internationally as the home of Boston Stump and the connection with the Pilgrim Fathers, and with over 150 listed buildings with the locality.

The strategy included within its scope, central park with it being part of the offer of the town, and areas either side of the river including the coach and train stations.  The economic area of the town center comprised of 52 hectares and with changes to the retail sector and shopping habits, its role as a retail center was in decline. There was however a well-established market and the town benefited from a good number of car parks.

Feedback from the consultation process to date and identified key areas of focus including tourism, use of the waterways, being welcoming and the need for more business and also use of existing buildings and land.

Key strategic objectives identified included the need for a clean and tidy town center, to ensure residents and visitors all felt safe both in the daytime and in the evening and for businesses to be able to thrive.   Access and egress of the town center needed to be simple for everyone and to build a cohesive community working effectively with public sector partners, businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

Challenges would include limited resources, what to do with empty shop units, the negativity of Boston following Christmas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 147 KB

(For Members to note/discuss the Committee’s current work programme)

Minutes:

The Assistant-Director for General Fund Assets (Lead Officer for the committee) updated members on the recent workshop which had considered the work programme moving forward over the next few years.  Subjects raised included looking at health scrutiny with ULHT and others; consideration of the change in funding footway lighting to the Parish Councils’ and housing matters relating to private sector housing with members advised that a briefing paper was being produced for a briefing in November, which could be used as the initial reference point to identify any possible future scrutiny.   Another suggestion was how to look at stimulating residents to engage with democracy.

Furthermore, in response to a suggestion to look into the current population dynamics of the Borough, members were advised that the previous regime had received an update to the original population review in 2013 – identifying the position 10 years on from the report and that update report could be used as an initial reference point for new members to appraise them of the work done historically.

The Chairman stressed that he wanted the work programme to be realistic in the amount of officer time that would be required in any additional scrutiny strand, and that a more structured and realistic time-line be provided at the next scheduled meeting in November.

 

It was agreed to table the updated report to the 2013 Population report at the next scheduled meeting to familiarise members with the position, prior to making any decision on any additional scrutiny thereafter.