Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 8 December 2016 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Alex Saul, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

516.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman advised the Committee that Ruth Dulieu, Head of Integrated Transport had recently been appointed to the post of Assistant Director Front Line Services. The Committee expressed their congratulations to Ruth.

517.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Craven and Osborne and Sarah Vaux – Chief Nurse – North Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CSP partner).

518.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 25 October 2016.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 25 October 2016 was approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

519.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none.

520.

Declaration of interest and whipping

(A)         Disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

 

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons.

 

(B)          Whipping

 

The Council’s constitution also requires any Member of the Committee who is subject to a party whip (ie agreeing to vote in line with the majority view of a private party group meeting) to declare the existence of the whip.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillors Carr and Godwin advised the Committee that as Council representatives on the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Service, they would withdraw from the Committee for the consideration and determination of agenda item 6 (Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership, including an update on the Community Safety Plan 2016 – 2020).

521.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 153 KB

This report advises the Committee of any petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the lead petitioners by officers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out a summary of petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee.

 

Paragraph 3.1 of the report set out a summary of the responses to petitions that had been accepted by the petition organisers.

 

In accordance with the Council’s petitions scheme, two petitions had been referred for discussion by the Committee and the lead petitioners were in attendance and invited to address the Committee.

 

A summary of the points raised for each petition and the Committee’s discussion is set out as follows:

 

A)   Petition to implement a robust traffic calming system that will reduce the speed of traffic to an acceptable level to ensure Magpie Hall Road is safer for local residents

 

Mr McIntyre on behalf of local residents outlined the basis of his petition seeking a traffic calming system that would reduce the speed of traffic to an acceptable level in Magpie Hall Road.

 

He expressed concern that whilst the Council held records of the number of recorded traffic accidents, he did not consider this to be an accurate account as some incidents were not reported to the Police.

 

He acknowledged that a number of measures had already been put in place by the Council in terms of electronic warning devices at the junction of Magpie Hall Road and Palmerston Road and a modification to the existing road marking system designed to reduce the road width and encourage slower speeds, but he considered that these had failed to address the problem. He was therefore asking the Council to consider the provision of a mini roundabout at the junction of Palmerston Road with Magpie Hall Road.

 

The Assistant Director Front Line Services advised that the issue of speeding road users had become a common concern for Medway residents and many requests were received for speed reduction measures. Each individual request was carefully considered having regard to casualty reduction. She confirmed that the Council continually monitored personal injury collision information supplied by Kent Police to identify areas of increased injury risk. Having assessed Magpie Hall Road, three slight injury collisions had been recorded by Kent Police within the last three years. Unfortunately, there were many other locations in Medway where the casualty numbers were higher and this resulted in these other locations being ranked as a higher priority for investigation and possible works.

 

The Assistant Director Front Line Services advised that officers would continue to monitor Magpie Hall Road and, if funding became available, the road would be assessed, along with others to establish its priority for possible works. She confirmed that at the current time, Magpie Hall Road was placed 89th on the priority list but stated that this list could change on a daily basis as and when incident data was received from Kent Police.

 

In response to questions from Members, the Assistant Director for Front Line Services confirmed that Police records were the benchmark used by all local authorities for prioritising works aimed at reducing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 521.

522.

Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership, including an update on the Community Safety Plan 2016 - 2020 pdf icon PDF 153 KB

This report provides information on the operation of the Community Safety Partnership from December 2015, which summarises the findings of the strategic assessment. The current Community Safety Plan runs from 2013 – 2016. This report provides information on the proposed plan to cover the period from 2016 – 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chairman welcomed all the partners of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to the meeting.

 

The Committee was reminded that the scrutiny of the CSP was last carried out in December 2015.

 

The Chairman of the CSP, Councillor Gulvin introduced the report and the Committee discussed the following topics:

 

·         Emerging Trends – Homelessness

In response to a question as to how the CSP is making a difference to homeless individuals in Medway, it was confirmed that the various partner agencies of the CSP worked together to provide help and support to homeless people. In recognition that being homeless was often not the only factor affecting an individual, the CSP also worked in close partnership with Alcohol Concern’s Blue Light Project.

 

Inspector Dyball also advised that a number of homeless individuals received support from members of the community in setting up tents and creating camps and the provision of food. Unfortunately, whilst this support was provided with good intentions, it did not assist the CSP partner agencies in trying to engage homeless individuals and finding them the support that they required so they could be helped to get off the streets.

  

·         Emerging Trends – County Lines and Cuckooing

Inspector Dyball advised the Committee of the emerging trend for drug dealers from London travelling through the Home Counties to widen their supply network. Incidents of ‘Cuckooing’ had arisen whereby drug dealers identified a vulnerable person and moved into their property with a view to taking it over to supply drugs. The CSP was actively involved in identifying and safeguarding individuals considered to be at a high risk of falling prey to this type of scheme. As a result of work undertaken by local Police and PCSO’s, in the past 12 months, 322 arrests had been made resulting in 235 charges being brought against offenders, a number of whom had been processed through the courts and sentenced.

 

Inspector Dyball referred to Operation Jupiter which was having a positive affect in reducing drug related crime.

 

·         Continuity of PCSO’s

In response to a concern that PCSOs were continually moving around and therefore lacked continuity for residents and Ward Councillors, Inspector Dyball advised that it was often the case that after a period of time as a PCSO, individuals decided to join the Police and this therefore resulted in some movement of PCSOs. However, he advised that a recruitment programme was in place and it was likely that numbers of both Police Officers and PCSOs would increase in Medway in the near future.

 

·         CSP Activities

A Member requested that a list of activities in which the CSP were engaged be circulated to Members.

 

·         Recording of crime statistics

Inspector Dyball confirmed that although there had been some issues in the past with the recording of crime statistics, Kent Police had put in place measures to correct this and he was now able to confirm that an internal inspection showed that Kent Police had achieved 96.5% accuracy in recording of crime.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 522.

523.

Attendance of the Portfolio Holder for Resources pdf icon PDF 204 KB

This report sets out the progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio for Resources which fall within the remit of this Committee.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress made on the areas within the scope of the Portfolio Holder for Resources which fell within the remit of this Committee as set out below:

 

·         Illegal Tobacco

A Member sought an update on how Medway compared with other areas in addressing the retail sale of illegal tobacco. The Portfolio Holder advised the Committee that officers had undertaken much work on this in the past 15 months. He agreed to arrange for the Head of Safer Communities and Greenspaces to provide an update direct to the Member concerned.

 

·         Public Space Protection Orders

A Member sought information as to whether signage was sufficient in Alcohol Control Zones and how enforcement was carried out. The Portfolio Holder advised the Committee that the Council’s Licensing Hearing Panels were now more proactive in refusing to grant licences for off licences but that this required the partnership of both the Police and Public Health in gathering the evidence required to enable the Panels to have sufficient grounds for refusing a licence application.

 

In response to the query on whether signage was sufficient, this would largely depend upon what signage was permitted. He confirmed that the Police enforced the Alcohol Control Zones.

 

·         New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

In response to a query as to the role of officers in enforcing the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that officers played a proactive role in ensuring that these substances were not available for sale. Since the Act came into force there were now no premises in Medway that were overtly selling NPS and officers in Trading Standards were keeping a watching brief on premises in Medway.

 

·         Safe Haven

A Member sought information on the proposed Safe Haven Bus and the Portfolio Holder confirmed that the funding for the previous Safe Haven Bus had been withdrawn but the bus would be reinstated in two weeks and provided by NORSE. He confirmed that the Safe Haven Bus would be sited at Blue Boar Lane Car Park between the hours of 10pm – 4am manned by volunteer Street Pastors.

 

·         PACTs

A Member requested further information on the 6 PACTs that continued to operate in Medway. The Portfolio Holder advised of his intention to visit each PACT in 2017 and he would therefore have more information to report upon the operation of the PACTs in 2017. In the meantime, he would supply information to the Member concerned as to the 6 PACTs that continued to operate in Medway.

 

·         Blue Light Project

In response to a question as to the success and possible expansion of the Blue Light Project, the Portfolio Holder advised that many agencies were involved in the Project and he agreed to provide information on the success rate of the project direct to the Member concerned.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder for Resources for attending the meeting and answering questions and noted that the Portfolio Holder will provide updates to the various Members concerned on the following issues:

 

·         Illegal tobacco  ...  view the full minutes text for item 523.

524.

Draft Capital and Revenue Budget 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

This report provides an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2017/18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report providing an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2017/18.

 

In discussing the budget report, Members expressed concern that the report did not provide sufficient detail as to the impact of any savings on service delivery. The Director of Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation advised the Committee that as the budget process unfolds more information would be available as to whether savings would be achieved by the reduction of expenditure or through increasing income targets.

 

Members expressed concern that this was the only opportunity that the Committee had to scrutinise the budget and yet the information contained within in the report and its Appendix were insufficient to enable the Committee to undertake any level of scrutiny that may be of value. The Committee was willing to undertake a greater, more positive role in budget setting and suggested that this be conveyed to the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed that the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee be advised of this Committee’s concern that the budget report and appendix contain insufficient information to enable this Committee to undertake a robust review of the capital and revenue budgets and it is hoped that this situation is addressed in future years so that more account is taken of the scrutiny function in budget setting.  

 

 

525.

Council Plan Quarter 2 2016/17 Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 428 KB

This report summarises how the Council has performed in Quarter 2 2016/17 for the key measures of success and projects for this Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance in Quarter 2 for 2016/17 for the key measures of success and projects relevant to this Committee.

 

The following was discussed:

 

·         Battle of Medway

The Committee acknowledged the importance of this event

 

·         NI 167 – Average journey times along 5 routes across Medway

A Member requested that a briefing note be circulated setting out indicator data and information on the 5 routes to which this performance indicator relates.

 

The Assistant Director Front Line Services advised that an new improved system was soon to be introduced which would enable officers to extract a wider range of information.

 

·         Enforcement Action – Penalty notices for littering and dog fouling

A Member referred to the 103 fixed penalty notices issued for littering and dog fouling and asked for information on the number which had been paid.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed:

 

a)            That the Quarter 2 2016/17 performance against key measures of success used to monitor progress against the Council Plan 2016/17 be noted.

b)            A briefing note be supplied setting out data/information on the 5 routes used for Performance Indicator NI 167 – Average journey times along 5 routes across Medway.

c)            Information be supplied to Members on the number of fixed penalty notices issued for littering and dog fouling that have been paid.  

 

 

526.

Member's item - Splashes Leisure Pool pdf icon PDF 153 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue raised by Councillor Stamp, concerning Splashes Leisure Pool.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a Member’s Item from Councillor Stamp relating to the recent outbreak of the Norovirus at Splashes Leisure Pool.

 

Councillor Stamp stated that whilst he appreciated that officers were unable to respond until the outcome of the investigations by Public Health England were known, he was disappointed that some of the other issues referred to in his Member’s Item had not been addressed at this meeting.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted that a further report will be submitted to the Committee when the outcome of Public Health England’s investigation is known.

527.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 85 KB

This item advises Members of the current work programme and allows the Committee to adjust it in the light of latest priorities, issues and circumstances. It gives Members the opportunity to shape and direct the Committee’s activities over the year. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Democratic Services Officer advised the Committee that an updated Forward Plan had been published on 30 November 2016 and the following new items had been included that were relevant to the work of this committee:

 

Medway Commercial Group 1st Year Quarter 2 – Anticipated decision date – 20 December 2016

 

Pest Control – Future Delivery Model – Anticipated decision date – 20 December 2016

 

In addition, she drew attention to the decision of the Committee at this meeting for a report to be submitted to the committee on Splashes Leisure Pool in response to the Member’s Item. This required addition to the Work Programme.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the work programme and that a further report will be submitted on the Splashes Leisure Pool when the outcome of the Public Health England investigation is known.