Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny - Environment & Performance Committee - Tuesday, 27th April, 2021 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

78.

APOLOGIES pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To sign and confirm the  minutes of the last meeting, held on 5th January 2021.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were tabled for Cllrs Alison Austin, David Brown, Anton Dani and Aaron Spencer with no substitute members attending.

79.

MINUTES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Committee agreed the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 5th January 2021.

80.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

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

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were recorded

81.

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, 22nd April 2021.

Minutes:

No public questions.

82.

MEMBER LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY - 2021 to 2024 pdf icon PDF 535 KB

(A report by James Gilbert, Assistant Director – Organisation and Corporate Services)

Portfolio Holder: Councillor Paul Skinner

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to presenting the report the Assistant Director – Organisation and Corporate Services invited the portfolio holder to address the meeting.  The portfolio holder advised he would comment at the end of the presentation.

 

The Assistant Director – Organisation and Corporate Services presented the report advising that in January 2021 the Councillor Development Group had indicated that they would like the authority to work towards the Charter again. A key requirement of establishing the Charter was to have a member learning development strategy in place.  The strategy had been based on a previous strategy and it formed part of the evidence base going forward to the LGA in 2022.  The strategy had already been tabled through the Councillor Development Group, with a number of members on the committee already having had input into it, but members were asked if there were any further comments to take forward.

 

Opening the meeting to the committee members all supported the strategy, stating it was a positive document and those who had been in attendance at the Councillor Development meeting, agreed it had been thoroughly debated.  

The Chairman asked if it would be possible to record member’s attendance at training sessions within their profiles on the website for public information.

The Assistant-Director noted that he would take advice on the possibility of the training being recorded on members individual profiles on the website

 

The Portfolio Holder agreed the suggestion stating that training needed to be analysed and recording of the attendance would help all parties and stated that he felt the strategy would greatly assist all members.

 

To Do: 

JG:  To address the request for member training to be recorded on the website and an update on this to be tabled back to the committee at its next meeting.

CA:   To update committee at the next meeting on the 22nd June 2021.

83.

WORK PROGRAMME INCLUDING Q3 PERFORMANCE. pdf icon PDF 644 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Transformation Manager presented the Q3 performance confirming it was up until the end of December 2020 and was similar to the Q2 report with restrictions still in place during the reporting time.

Some areas had performed really well dispute the circumstances including planning services and in supporting local businesses albeit in a different way to the norm.

Other areas clearly reflected the impact of the restrictions.  Collectable business rates had been severely impacted by the various reliefs awarded to support businesses during lockdown.   Car parking income and the markets income had been heavily impacted due to changes in policy and circumstances. 

 

Household waste was within tolerance, however residual waste per household was worse than target due to people working / being at home more. 

Concluding the Transformation Manager advised that there had been a  positive with the Guildhall which had gone through Quality Assurance and had had not only passed, but had increased their score due to a new pre booking system and allowing better accessibility and improved staffing arrangements.

 

Member comments included appreciation of the provision of the gross and net figures for the business rates, with a request for confirmation in respect of the differential between them relating to what the Government use for their calculations.  The Transformation Manager confirmed she would source the information and forward to members after the meeting. 

 

A number of members tabled their recognition and appreciation of the increasing volume of work undertaken by the fly tipping team.

Noting that an update on the member working group for Fly Tipping was on the agenda, a member suggested that a joint scrutiny meeting or task and finish review on completion of the member working group, be held to look at the correlation between fly tipping and HMO’s.  Officers’ from both service areas – housing and waste disposal, to be included along with representation of the Landlords Forum with a view to looking to address the ongoing increasing issues of fly tipping / black bags and furniture items, clearly resulting from over-crowded houses.  Options to include looking at changes in licensing of HMO’s.

The Assistant Director – Regulation (Lead Officer for the committee) suggested that the idea should be relayed to the member-working group in the first instance.

 

A member asked if it would be possible to see comparative percentage rates of fly tipping during the period of weekly collection of green bins with a view to looking to reverting to weekly collections.  On being advised that  it had been many years since such collections took place and that working methods and policies were very different now, as such any comparison would not be comparative, the member re phrased the question and asked if a significant reduction in fly tipping would occur should the collection of green bins revert to weekly.   The Lead Officer re stated that the cost implications of such a piece of work and the changes required to policy would require a clear steer from all members and the executive.

 

One  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.

84.

REGULATING AND SAFEGUARDING BOSTON'S ECONOMY TASK AND FINISH GROUP - UPDATE ON AGREED RECOMMENDATIONS pdf icon PDF 655 KB

(A report by Christian Allen, Assistant Director - Regulation)

Portfolio Holder: Councillor Paul Skinner

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to presenting the report the Assistant Director – Regulation invited the portfolio holder to comment. 

The portfolio holder declined at that point and advised he would comment at the end of the presentation if needed.

 

The Assistant Director – Regulation provided members with a brief overview of how the 13 recommendations had evolved following a very comprehensive task and finish group review that had involved a number of partners and agencies.  The parent committee initially agreed and approved all the recommendations. 

The report thereafter was tabled at Cabinet who agreed and approved recommendations 1 through to 11 with recommendations 12 and 13 scheduled for approval by BTAC.

 

Addressing the recommendations the Assistant Director – Regulation advised that recommendations 1,2,3,4 and 6 all related to legislative change and they had been forwarded, undercover of a letter from the Leader of the Council to the Home Secretary for consideration and review.  The response from the Home Secretary being included within the agenda papers.

Recommendation 5 sought greater input by the 11 responsible consultees to licensing applications and the Leader of the Council had written to each consultee.  No response from any consultee had been received.

 

Recommendation 7 sought greater input into licensing applications by the Parish Councils.  The Leader of the Council had written to each Parish Council encouraging them to scrutinise licensing applications within their respective Parish.

 

Recommendation 8 sought to promote the work of Boston CAP (Community Alcohol Partnership).  Inspector Fran Harrod had included a comprehensive response, which set out good work already undertaken by the CAP and the work they were intent on continuing to take forward.

 

Recommendation 9 related to performance reporting of Anti-Social Behaviour requesting comparative report be produced for Boston against Horncastle and Skegness.  The recommendation had already been taken forward and was produced quarterly and available on the website.

 

Recommendation 10 sought notification on the Council’s website of a general police contact link for reporting of non-urgent crime.  This had been taken forward and the details were on the website.

 

Recommendation 11 sought discussion to take place between the Police and Council to agree a way forward in facilitating public meetings.   The meetings were now taking place quarterly hosted by the Police and supported by the Council’s Community Safety manager.

 

Recommendations 12 and 13 related to Central Park and scheduled for consideration by BTAC on the 20 May 2021.  The decisions of BTAC to be updated at the next scheduled meeting of Environment and Performance committee on the 22 June 2021.

 

Committee deliberation followed which included:

 

A number of members voiced disappointment at the response from the Home Secretary with concern that Government had completely ignored the submissions.  Members suggested that the Leader of the Council take the matter further with the local Member of Parliament to see if he could gain a more favourable response from the Home Office.  The Leader of the Council confirmed he would be taking the matter further.

 

One key finding from the review, which the Police had fully  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

VERBAL UPDATE MEMBER WORKING GROUP - FLY TIPPING.

A verbal update on the work of the current Member Working Group on Fly Tipping.

Minutes:

Councillor Judy Welbourn presented the update and advised that the group had held discussions relating to CCTV cameras and mobile observation units with further information required.  The group had also discussed the new waste bins and education for households in how to use them.  Most homes now had the new bins. 

 

The issue of registered waste carriers fly tipping had also been discussed and the officers were looking further into the problem  The work of the ‘wombles’ had been debated and commended, with particular praise on how quickly fly tips were cleared following their initial reporting.

 

 

On a personal note Cllr Welbourn voiced support of the earlier suggestion for a joint meeting to discuss the HMO’s and fly tips.

 

A further member of the group confirmed that it had considered the closure of the LLC recycling centre, questioning if an option would be to have other sites within the Boston area, for people to take their recycling goods to, or even create another permanent site.  Furthermore, the Lead Officer on the group was looking at the ongoing problems with bins parked on pavements causing problems.  The group had noted that whilst the Government insisted on fewer collections and more recycling. As a town, Boston had more household waste than it had ever had and it was a big issue.  

Referencing the suggestion of a joint meeting, a member confirmed that the housing and waste collection teams did work together in respect of houses with large side waste, which is one of the biggest problems in Boston with much of the household waste being recyclable.

 

There is no recommendation within the update report.  However, the following comments were tabled for consideration of the working group.

 

  1. That the Member Working Group report back to the parent committee at each future meeting until completion of their final report which will come back through the committee.

 

  1. That the group consider the following suggestions made by the parent committee:

 

That a joint scrutiny meeting be convened, or a task and finish review be undertaken, on completion of the member working group, to look at the correlation between fly tipping and HMO’s.  Officers’ from both service areas – housing and waste disposal, to be included along with representation of the Landlords Forum with a view to looking to address the ongoing increasing issues of fly tipping / black bags and furniture items, clearly resulting from over-crowded houses.  Options to include looking at changes in licensing of HMO’s.    It is within the remit of the working group to engage with housing.

 

That the opening hours and existing policy of the recycling centre be reviewed.  To include a view to extending the opening hours and to accommodate trailers and vans which were the preferred vehicle of fly tippers. If the people with these vehicles who collect the waste were able to go and drop it at the recycling centre, it would certainly stop many of the fly tips outside of the town, and maybe some within the town.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.