Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny - Environment & Performance Committee - Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Online Meeting - view the meeting at www.mybostonuk.com/youtube

Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer  Telephone Number 01205 314226. email:  karen.rist@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

64.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Prior to seeking apologies for absence, the Chairman welcomed the new vice Chairman of the committee, Councillor Judith Welbourn.

 

The Chairman further welcomed the following new members onto the committee, Councillors Tom Ashton, David Brown, Martin Howard and Chelcie Trafford.

 

Apologies for absence were tabled by Councillor Chelcie Trafford with no substitute member.

Apologies were further tabled by the Assistant Director – Regulatory (Lead Officer for the committee) and the I.T and Performance Manager.

65.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To sign and confirm the  minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

With the agreement of the committee, the Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 September 2020.

66.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

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

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Goodale sought clarification of his ability to vote on the second item of the agenda within which were two recommendations to the BTAC committee, of which Councillor Goodale was the Chairman.

Councillor Goodale was advised that he would be voting in his role as a member of the Environment and Performance Scrutiny Committee and was therefore able to vote on the item.

67.

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 Thursday 29 October 2020.

Minutes:

No public questions were tabled.

 

68.

WORK PROGRAMME AND QUARTER 1 PERFORMANCE MONITORING pdf icon PDF 152 KB

(For Members to note/discuss the Committee’s current work programme and to receive the Quarter 1 Performance report)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Assets presented a brief overview of the Quarter 1 performance reporting on behalf of the I.T and Transformation Manager.

 

Highlighting the severe impact on a number of services due to Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown period, the Assistant Director – Assets confirmed that the performance data had clearly been impacted, resulting in very differing outcomes against the same period in previous years.

 

The closure of the leisure facilities and the Guildhall, in accordance with Government guidance, along with the suspension of car parking charges had resulted in a significant loss of revenue.  Other service areas including Environmental Health and Anti-Social Behaviour had refocused their resources to ensure the safety of the public

 

On a positive note both Planning Performance and Commercial Waste Collections remained as high performing services.

 

The Chairman referenced the work programme and advised that the next scheduled meeting of the committee would be on 5 January 2021 and had a busy agenda, but the subsequent meeting in February had no confirmed reporting.

 

Committee deliberation followed which included:

 

Addressing the high performance of the planning service, members voiced their appreciation of the work of the Assistant Director-Planning and their team in Boston, and offered congratulations at the consistency of performance.  A member noted that following good performance on Q3/Q4 in the previous year, Q1 had reassuringly continued the trend putting Boston Planning service on a level with some of the best in the Country.  The member confirmed that having spoken with Councillors in other authorities across the Country he had found that many struggled to maintain a minimum performance level. Further acknowledgment noted the effectiveness of the recently adopted new Local Plan.  However, a member did question why month on month planning committee meetings continued to be cancelled yet there was clear construction activity throughout the borough.

The Chairman of the Planning Committee confirmed he had asked the same question and whilst agreeing that the Local Plan had impacted significantly within the decision making process, he did have concerns that applications were not being challenged by Councillors, Parish Councils’ nor members of the public.  The Chairman of Planning then stated that whilst he recognised that the experienced planning committee members were all aware of the call-in procedure and how it worked, he did want to ensure newer members were also confident in the process. As such, he had tentatively raised a need for refresher training for any members who may wish to attend, possibly in the new year.

 

Referencing the recycling figures a member stated it would be interesting to see how they developed throughout the year with Boston becoming one of the first Councils to change to waste and recycling.  The member requested close monitoring of the new service to ensure its effectiveness.

 

A number of members voiced very strong concerns at the continual increase in Fly Tipping incidents across the Borough, with some attributing the ongoing rises to the changes in the opening hours of the Waste Recycling Centre in the Borough.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

TASK AND FINISH GROUP REVIEW. pdf icon PDF 104 KB

A report by the Assistant Director – Assets.

Additional documents:

70.

ANNUAL SCRUTINY REPORT pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Tabled by the Chairman Councillor Judith Skinner

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Chairman presented the report and noted that despite the loss of meetings due to lockdown, it has been a very productive year for Scrutiny across both committees.    The Corporate and Community had agreed the report at their recent meeting.

 

Alongside busy committee meetings, all strands of scrutiny had been undertaken allowing providing members with a wide variety of involvement and input into the Scrutiny process.

 

A number of Member Briefings and Inquiry Evenings had been held, all of which had proved very beneficial for members.

 

A productive Member Working Group and a productive Task and Finish Group Review had been convened and both successfully concluded.   Scrutiny had also acted as a consultee, held a public meeting at the Guildhall and facilitated a Call-in.  All in all the Scrutiny process had a very busy year.

 

The Assistant Director–Assets (Lead Officer for the Corporate and Community Committees) advised that despite it having been a challenging year with the loss of meetings, a significant amount of informative scrutiny had taken place, with the audit of scrutiny supporting the findings.

 

No member comment was tabled in respect of the item.  However, a member did table their thanks not only to the officers who supported the Scrutiny process, but also to all members of staff working behind scenes across the Council who had worked so hard during the difficult times.

 

The Chairman echoed the comments made and tabled her own gratitude to all the staff for the continued efforts.

 

It was moved by Councillor Anton Dani and seconded by Councillor Judith Welbourn that:

 

RECOMMENDATION:

 

The Environment and Performance committee recommend to full Council that the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2019/20 be approved for publication.

 

The recommendation carried unanimously.