Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny - Corporate & Community Committee - Thursday, 1st February, 2024 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer  Tel. no: 01205 314226 email:


No. Item



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


Apologies were tabled by Councillor Richard Austin with Councillor Stephen Woodliffe substituting.  Further apologies were tabled for Councillors Stuart Evans, Chris Mountain and Helen Staples.


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To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting.


With the agreement of the committee with Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting.



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


No declarations of interest were tabled.



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 29th January 2024.


No public questions were tabled.



A report by the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151 Officer)


Additional documents:


The Deputy Chief Executive for Corporate Development / Section 151 Officer presented the report to committee.

Providing a brief update on the current position members were advised that the value of the additional IDB levy remained unknown and at the time of the report the figures had been estimated and were a substantial increase on previous years.  Members were assured that the Council was liaising with the local Drainage Boards who had been trying to limit their increases where possible but it had proved impossible due to the pressure of power costs along with other contributory factors. Representations continued to be made to Government in respect of the loss of income to the Council.

Members were further advised that the PSPS contract was still being finalised along with the S113 charges and the MRP was under consultation.

Referencing the Key Budget Pressures members were advised an award for 2023/24 (£1925 per pay point) had been agreed in November 2023 being a rise of up to 9.42% for the lowest paid through to 3.88% for those on the highest bands. For 2024/25 a 3.5% increased has been assumed with this moving to 3% for 2025/26 and then 2.5% from 2026/27 onwards.  Pension contributions would be 23.6% in 2024/25 with an additional lump sum amount payable towards the deficit on the pension scheme. The rate applied only to those staff in the local government pension scheme. The pension contribution rate was assumed to stay at 23.6% throughout the life of the MTFS. The return on cash investment reflected the current Bank of England base rates and the forecasts provided by our external treasury advisors. Electricity and gas costs had been based on 2023/24 actuals and current contract prices. Vehicle fuel costs had been based on 2023/24 actuals and current fuel prices.

The previous Medium Terms Financial Strategy (MTFS) had committed to a Council Tax increase in line with the maximum allowed under the recent Local Government Settlement.  For BBC in 2024/25 it was a £7.20 (3%) per annum increase (for band D properties).That figure would generate additional income of £146k and the increase was reflected throughout the life of the MTFS. The tax base projections for 2023/24 indicated growth of 28 band D equivalent properties (0.1%) reflecting the slow-down in the housing market and the increasing demand for Council Tax Support. This will generate additional income of £6k.  Future growth has been projected at 1.5%.

The National Non-Domestic Rates Form (NNDR1) production was particularly important in terms of changes to the business rate yield which heavily influenced not just our own budgets, but also the Pool we are part of within Lincolnshire and significantly the County Council.  This was an area of focus as the Council sought to understand the changes within the yield, particularly as a result of economic impacts and changes in Government Policy. In order to manage and review this important income stream and the changes within it regular review meetings were taking place internally. There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.



A report by the Assistant Director for Regulatory.

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder presented the report supported by the Assistant Director – Regulatory.  Members were advised that the report sought the views of the Corporate and Community Committee on a Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 - Partnership Policy. The Policy brought together the previous Joint RIPA Policy at Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council with the South Holland District Council RIPA Policy; to create a single RIPA Policy for the Partnership.

The new Partnership Policy sought to align and harmonise the current practices and procedures across the three Councils and to also bring the RIPA related arrangements up to date with current guidance issued by the Home Office and the Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office (IPCO), the regulatory body that oversees compliance with RIPA by public bodies.

Development of the Partnership RIPA Policy had commenced late in 2023 with expertise provided by BLS Stay Compliant Ltd.  By engaging a national company with current expertise in this area to undertake the work, it ensured that the policy met the national guidelines and codes of practice, provided by IPCO and the Home Office, as well best practice nationally.

Ahead of the planned inspection for the Partnership, IPCO required a self-assessment to be completed. That had been completed and returned to IPCO on 21st December 2023. The self-assessment provided a summary of the current status in terms of; remedial actions completed following the previous inspection (2021), RIPA policy status and last review, training of staff, security or records, designation of officers, assurance around access to social media and communications data, managing CCTV systems and adherence to codes of practice.  It was also reported that no RIPA powers had been used since the previous inspection in 2021.

IPCO had replied to the self-assessment report on 9th January 2024 stating; “I note that you are in the final stages of amalgamating into one policy and procedure, and that have recognised training and knowledge requirements within South Holland District Council in particular, which you have planned to address”.  The response further stated “I am satisfied that your reply to the other matters identified provides your assurance that ongoing compliance with RIPA 2000 and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will be maintained. As such, your Council will not require further inspection this year”.

The correspondence from IPCO also indicated that the Regulator was satisfied with the pace and direction of travel in terms of aligning RIPA policy, procedures and practice across the Partnership.

Development of a RIPA Partnership Policy was part of the commitment to IPCO to achieve on-going compliance and the report presented the policy to members for consideration, and recommendation on to Cabinet for approval.


No committee deliberation followed and the Chairman thanked the Officer for the detailed and well written report which he noted despite the legal nature of the subject, provided a clear ease of read.   



That the Corporate and Community Committee having considered the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 – Partnership Policy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.



A verbal update by the Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure.


The Chairman confirmed that unfortunately the report had been withdrawn which had been requested, to enable members to identify any areas within, for potential future scrutiny.

The new Portfolio Holder for the subject matter, advised that they would circulate the current Boston Transport Strategy for members’ reference, and advised that whilst it had been their intent to share it with the Cabinet members, a full member briefing on the item would possibly be more appropriate to allow all members the opportunity to comment.  

The Chairman confirmed that both he and the Vice Chairman, along with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the sister scrutiny committee, had held an initial pre briefing with the Deputy Chief Executive for Corporate Development, in respect of funding by LCC for the future Joint Scrutiny meeting which would include Transport issues including the by-pass.



That the Boston Transport Strategy be circulated to all members of the Council.




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


Members noted the work programme.