Background
Background

Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Atrium, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven. CA28 7SJ

Contact: Rose Blaney  Tel: 07385 362773

Items
No. Item

OSC 21/1

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

OSC 21/2

Declarations of Interests in Agenda Items:

 

To receive declarations by Members and/ or co-optees of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting).

 

Members are advised however, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other interests.

 

Members are reminded that they may not, by law, participate or vote in any discussion in a meeting on a matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

 

Members are advised that they should leave the room during consideration of any items of business in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest were made.

 

OSC 21/3

Minutes of the meeting held on 15 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 549 KB

Minutes:

Councillors reviewed the minutes of the previous Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meeting.

 

The Scrutiny Officer confirmed to members that going forward the Mayor will be invited to attend future meetings should the Director of Financial resources be unavailable, as noted on pages five and six of the agenda pack.

 

Councillor Felicity Wilson seconded the proposal to agree the minutes as a true and accurate record.

 

Resolved – That, with seven votes for and three abstentions, the Committee agreed that the minutes of the meeting held on 15th April 2021 were approved as a true and accurate record.

 

OSC 21/4

Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 385 KB

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the Executive Forward Plan.

Councillor Sam Meteer highlighted the recent publication by the Boundary Commission of a Boundary Review 2023 for Copeland. He asked that the Scrutiny Committee become involved in the review process. The Democratic Services Manager commented that the Electoral Review Panel have the responsibility to formulate a response to Boundary Reviews and that is the panel where the Boundary Review will be discussed which is currently within the initial stages of an eight week consultation. They also highlighted the importance of waiting a little while before formulating the response until the outcome of Local Government Re-Organisation (LGR) is known. That outcome is expected within the next few weeks allowing time for a Boundary Review response. Councillor Meteer highlighted his concern regarding the timescale but it was noted by the Democratic Services Manager that this is only the initial consultation (which is open to all members of the public), there will still be time for members to have their say.

Councillor Sam Pollen asked about the Constitution and wanted clarification on what the decision was at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) regarding the Constitution coming to OSC. He also like for clarification as to whether the Budget Monitoring Working Group had been re-established. The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy reminded councillors that at the AGM it was agreed that dealing with the Constitution was within the Standard and Ethics Committee (SEC) terms of reference and that at the next SEC meeting, scheduled for 17th June 2021, they would decide how the Constitution would be dealt with. Options for this would include a working group and/or sending it to OSC. The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that there is a Budget Monitoring Working Group which has been established, but that it is different to the previous working group. The current working group will create a report for OSC to then decide whether they need to make further recommendations to the Executive or believe that the Budget is on track.

Resolved – That with a unanimous vote for the Committee agreed that the Executive Forward Plan be noted.

 

OSC 21/5

Update from Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee

Minutes:

The Chair updated members that there hadn’t been a meeting of the Committee in a while, but noted that the Cumbria Health & Scrutiny Committee Chair had recently changed.

 

OSC 21/6

Update from the Single Table Trade Union Group (STTUG) representative

Minutes:

Councillor Pollen updated members on the topics discussed at the last STTUG meeting in May 2021. It was noted that the Confidential Reporting Policy and the New Management Structure would be going to Full Council.

 

Waste and recycling staffing was given an update, including new staff being brought on and seasonal staff. A Covid update was given, noting that; staff were working from home where possible, face to face meetings had now begun, there were no members of staff in isolation, all staff who had been put on furlough had now returned to work and Lateral Flow Testing was still ongoing and available to staff. The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy, who was in attendance as the Chief Executive was unavailable, commented that the long term aims with an emphasis on staff wellbeing and a flexible approach to support. The HR manager also gave a Health & Safety update which included mental health and first aid training, as well as notification of a tractor issue that was being resolved. Devolution was also discussed, including stress and anxiety of staff, but noting that there was currently no new update. Another point discussed was recruitment, including vacancies and new starters. Communications was also a topic discussed.

 

Councillor Pollen also highlighted, for new members, the description of the representative role on STTUG which is to provide transparency to OSC. He welcomed any member who wished to take over the role, but was happy to remain as the representative. The Chair believed that, for consistency, it would be beneficial for Councillor Pollen to remain as the representative on STTUG.

 

OSC 21/7

Citizens Advice Review of 2020 Service Delivery Presentation

Minutes:

The Strategic Housing and Social Inclusion Manager gave an introduction on the reason for bringing the presentation to OSC before introducing the Chief Officer of Citizens Advice.

Shelley Hewitson, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Bureau for Copeland gave a presentation to OSC on what work the Citizens Advice Bureau do and what they have been doing during the pandemic. Giving OSC a complete overview and review of their service delivery in 2020. The Chief Officer also gave OSC some ideas of what they plan to do going forward in 2021 before opening the floor to questions.

Councillor Peter Tyson asked about how much involvement there was between Citizens Advice and those they have referred to or have been referred from the Credit Union. He also highlighted to councillors that the Credit Union isn’t just for loans but they also provide advice, funeral cover and look at young person savings. The Chief Officer highlighted that Citizens Advice work closely with the Credit Union on all aspects, whether they have needed to refer someone or someone has been referred to them. And they also work on projects with the Credit Union around scams, illegal money lending, loan sharks and work with schools, alongside other projects.

Councillor Felicity Wilson asked if there was a facility to use repurposed household goods. The Strategic Housing and Social Inclusion Manager answered that there is currently a working relationship with the British Heart Foundation and Cumbria Recycling (white goods). The Manager also highlighted that there was a project in the works that would look into this matter but as it was in the beginning stages it is commercially sensitive. But did confirm that councillors would be kept up to date on the progress of the project. The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy also noted that there was a pilot done months ago on this issue, with an aim to reduce landfill, but there was still a lot of work to do.

Councillor Doug Wilson asked if the presentation given was available to be sent out to councillors following the meeting and offered further support to Citizens Advice believing it to be one of the best causes to support. The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that they would send the presentation to members following the meeting.

Councillor Charles Maudling asked if there was a system in place to report Loan Sharks. The Chief Officer informed members that there is a system in place, however, those who have been effected are usually too scared to come forward. And without the information and cooperation with those effected, the system does not work. Citizens Advice are working to promote financial inclusion and other ways for people to access loans and are also looking to promote advice for more people to avoid getting into issues with loan sharks through leafleting.

Councillor Sam Pollen thanked the Chief Officer of Citizens Advice for the presentation. He also asked; what is being done around Universal Credit, what can councillors do to support Citizens Advice further  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC 21/7

OSC 21/8

Outside Bodies Annual Report 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 385 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy gave an overview of the Outside Bodies Annual Report 2020-21. The main point she highlighted was that, despite the pandemic, there was an increase in the number of reports returned by councillors which was really positive. The Director also noted that there were no recommendations within the report to stop

Councillor Meter commended Councillors Eileen Weir and Sam Pollen for their respective and comprehensive reports. He also noted some minor error within one of the reports regarding spelling. Councillor Meteer also requested that going forward, more diligence may be needed in regards to the ‘Key Outcomes’ section of the reports, as they current include details of what happened and what the Outside Body does, rather than the key outcomes themselves.

The Scrutiny Officer took this opportunity to thank members for their participation in returning their forms

Resolved – That,

a)     With a unanimous vote for, the Outside Bodies Annual Report 2020-21 is agreed and will go ahead to Full Council on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.

b)     The Scrutiny Officer agreed to review the Outside Bodies Annual Report forms that are sent out so that they are clear to promote correct reporting.

 

OSC 21/9

Annual Scrutiny Report 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 343 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy gave a brief overview of the Annual Scrutiny Report 2020-21. The key point of the report was to note that, while the pandemic had an impact of what OSC could achieve in 2020-21, the report shows that there is a lot of good work coming up including task and finish groups.

Councillor Pollen noted that there was a lack of recommendations and call-ins throughout the year and that was a failure of OSC and would need to be improved going forward. He also agreed with the comments made within the Chair’s Foreword and the Next Steps within the report. Councillor Pollen then took the opportunity to note, that while referenced within the report, to highlight the concerns that Egremont residents still have regarding the lack of similar opportunities for funding. It was noted by the Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy that the towns for funding were chosen by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Councillor Pollen commented on the need for further clarity for residents regarding this issue.

The Scrutiny Officer took this opportunity to thank members for their hard work over the past year.

Resolved – That, with a unanimous vote for, the Annual Scrutiny Report 2020-21 is agreed and will go ahead to Full Council on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.

 

OSC 21/10

Task and Finish Group Updates pdf icon PDF 343 KB

Minutes:

The Chair informed members, especially the new members, that the ongoing task and finish groups (bar the Recycling Task & Finish Group which is coming to an end) is open to all members.

The Scrutiny Officer gave an update on the current task and finish groups. It was noted that the Recycling Task & Finish Group is coming to an end with a report due at the next OSC meeting in July. The next meeting for both Health & Wellbeing committees have been agreed for later in June. The Scrutiny Officer also noted that the Housing Complaints Guidance, as requested by the Housing Task & Finish Group, is due at the next OSC meeting. So, the Housing group will have a meeting to agree on the guidance before the July OSC meeting agenda is due to be published. They also highlighted the future Task & Finish Groups on the list, “Social Media Review Policy” and “Effective Digital Engagement for Overview and Scrutiny”, the latter of which was still needing members.

The Scrutiny Officer finished by reminding members that if there was a topic they wished to add to the task and finish group work programme, they can inform either the Chair or the Scrutiny Officer.

Councillor Pollen asked to be added to the Housing Task & Finish Group once the Recycling Task & Finish Group had been complete.

Councillors Gwynneth Everett and Doug Wilson asked regarding training regarding OSC. The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that they were investigating all types of training opportunities and would arrange it with enough time for all members to attend. Members were also reminded that questions could be asked during the informal Scrutiny meetings or via email to the Scrutiny Officer or the Chair. This training will be conducted virtually.

 

OSC 21/11

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 369 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer gave an overview of the OSC Work Programme, noting that this could still be amended as appropriate throughout the year to include other topics. They also highlighted that there would need to be some amendments made as some of the subject descriptions were incorrect. These would be amended as appropriate.

Councillor Meteer asked what the topic “Town Council Updates” was regarding. The Scrutiny Officer informed councillors that the subject came about from an Informal Scrutiny Committee meeting, where it was requested that there would be further involvement with and improved partnership with Town Councils. And, that it was specific to Town Councils as that had been the request, but if members would like the update to include in if required.

Councillor Wilson noted that Millom Town Council were involved with three tier meetings that she believed very beneficial in creating a partnership and relationship between town, parish and borough councils.

OSC 21/12

Date and Time of Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 8th July 2021 at 2pm in the Bainbridge Room, Copeland Centre.

Minutes:

The Chair informed members that the next Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 8th July 2021 at 2pm in the Copeland Centre. Further confirmation will be given closer to the time as to whether it would be in the Bainbridge Room or the Atrium.

 

 

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