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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR. View directions

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

586.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

At the commencement of the meeting, the Committee held a minute’s silence in memory of former Councillor Janice Bamber who had recently passed away. Janice Bamber had been a long standing member of both Medway Council and the former Rochester Upon Medway City Council.

587.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Josie Iles and Saroy.

588.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 18 October 2018.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 18 October 2018 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

The Chairman drew attention to Minute 459 (Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 1 2018/19) and the paragraph concerning Flytipping - Heat map and reminded the Committee that the majority of the costs incurred by the Council for the removal of flytipping related to commercial not bulky waste.

589.

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.

590.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

  

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillors Carr and Steve Iles declared interests in the Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership on the basis that they both serve as Council representatives on the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority and advised the Committee that whilst they would remain as part of the Committee for this item, they would not ask any questions of the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority.

591.

Annual Scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership, including an update on the Community Safety Plan 2016 to 2020 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

This report provides information on the operation of the Community Safety Partnership from October 2017, which summarises the findings of the strategic assessment. This report provides information on the proposed plan to cover the period from 2016 – 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

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

 

The Committee discussed the following topics:

 

·         Crime statistics for Medway  - In response to a question concerning the 35.7% increase in the level of recorded crime in Medway, Chief Inspector Marsh informed the Committee that following a Crime Data Integrity Inspection, changes had been made to the way crimes were recorded. Where previously there would have been one crime report per incident which covered all elements, under the new procedure individual elements were required to be assigned an individual crime report. Therefore, although the number of crime incidents may not have increased, the number of crime reports related to the incidents would have increased.

 

In addition, as a result of recent cases in the media surrounding sexual exploitation and historic child abuse cases, this had led to an increase in the reporting of this type of crime and through the work of the various agencies involved, there had been a higher level of reporting of domestic abuse, which for many years had largely remained hidden.

 

Chief Inspector Marsh stated that it was likely that as the new recording procedure became established, there would be a plateau effect over the coming years.

 

·         Levels of anti-social behaviour in Medway – In response to the statement that the number of incidents of antisocial behaviour (ASB) continued to fall in Medway, a Member expressed concern that this decrease could be attributed to people failing to report incidents. In response, Chief Inspector Marsh confirmed that from the crime reporting received on a daily basis, he was confident that people were continuing to report incidents of ASB. He referred to the various methods by which individuals could report crimes.

 

·         ASB Team – A Member paid tribute to the work of the Council’s ASB Team and questioned whether there were plans to expand this team at a future date. In response, the Chairman of the CSP advised that ideally he would like to expand the team but funding was not currently available. He advised that he was currently exploring the possibility of sourcing increased funding via other agencies.

 

·         Policing of Town Centres – In response to concerns as to the visibility of Police Officers in Town Centres, Chief Inspector Marsh advised that specific funding was not available for the provision of Police Officers dedicated to Town Centres. However, in recognition of the benefit of having Police Officers within Town Centres, Officers had been deployed to Town Centres from other areas of Medway. In addition, PCSOs were also available to patrol town centres.

 

·         Kent and Medway Gangs Action Plan – A Member referred to the Kent and Medway Gangs Action Plan appended to the CSP Action Plan and congratulated the agencies on the work being undertaken. The Chairman of the CSP confirmed that bids for additional funding were being progressed.

 

Aeilish Geldenhuys outlined the approach taken by Public Health in working with schools to enable the delivery of training programmes by school staff  ...  view the full minutes text for item 591.

592.

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Resources pdf icon PDF 166 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder 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.

 

The Portfolio Holder responded to Members’ questions and comments as

follows:

 

·         CCTV – In response to questions as to when he had first become aware of problems with the existing CCTV provision and that funding was not available to repair or replace cameras, the Portfolio Holder advised the Committee that he was first aware of the problems in May 2018 when the Council received a list from Medway Commercial Group Ltd (MCG) stating that a proportion of the cameras were no longer operational. However, at that time, he had been unaware that the responsibility for CCTV fell within his Portfolio as he had assumed that it was included under the remit of the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services. It was not until 2 months ago that he had been informed that CCTV fell within his own Portfolio. Upon establishing this, he had immediately initiated a meeting with the Assistant Director Front Line Services to review the situation and officers had since worked with MCG to undertake a comprehensive review of all CCTV cameras so as to assess those that were not operational.

 

He referred to the CCTV cameras in Twydall which had been the subject of a petition at the meeting of this Committee in October 2018 and confirmed that these cameras were now working.

 

Work was now underway concerning the remainder of the cameras that required attention.

 

In response to the question as to who was at fault, the Portfolio Holder advised that when MCG Ltd had been established, the client side had not been formally established but gave an assurance that this had since been rectified and the Head of Regulatory Services now had responsibility for the client side of the contract. In addition, as Portfolio Holder, he would continue to meet regularly with MCG until the situation had been resolved.

 

The Portfolio Holder expressed regret that the standard of service concerning provision of CCTV had fallen below that which was considered acceptable, but reassured the Committee that work was in hand to resolve this.

 

Some Members expressed concern that the Portfolio Holder had not been aware that the provision of CCTV fell within the remit of his Portfolio and requested whether the Portfolio Holder considered that he should resign from his position.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder stated that he had been open and honest about the situation and he had no intention of resigning as Portfolio Holder. He stressed that now he was aware that he had responsibility for the provision of CCTV, he would be working with officers and MCG to ensure that action was taken to resolve the situation.

 

The Portfolio Holder confirmed that whilst the partners on the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) had assisted officers in identifying priority locations when undertaking a comprehensive review of the CCTV provision in Medway, the CSP had no  ...  view the full minutes text for item 592.

593.

Update on CCTV Audit pdf icon PDF 231 KB

This report provides information on the progress on work stream 1 of the CCTV audit being carried out by Front Line Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report outlining the background to the provision of CCTV in Medway and it was noted that there was no statutory requirement for a local authority to provide CCTV.

 

It was confirmed that whilst Medway Commercial Group Ltd (MCG) was now responsible for the delivery of CCTV, which involved the repair and maintenance of existing stock but not replacement, ownership of CCTV cameras remained with the Council.

 

The Committee was advised that in December 2016, the condition of the camera stock had been noted and further updates provided at meetings of the Community Safety Partnership Strategic Executive Group, including in May 2018 when it had been noted that there were a number of cameras that required decommissioning.  MCG had advised that they had taken stock of Medway’s CCTV cameras and would pass the data onto the Council so that MCG and the Council could undertake a review.

 

Upon receipt of information from MCG, the Council’s Community Safety Team commenced a review of all 442 cameras owned by the Council of which 75% were noted as operational. By focusing on the 25% of cameras that were not operational, it was possible to prioritise repairs and replacements and identify CCTV requirements across Medway.

 

The CCTV camera audit had focused on cameras in public spaces and specifically retail environments, transport hubs and areas of the night time economy but did not include cameras located in specific areas e.g. waste recycling sites, individual buildings and Medway Tunnel. The results of the audit were appended to the report at appendix 1.

 

The Committee received an update on Workstream 1 and it was noted that whilst some CCTV cameras were not working and were beyond economic repair, other issues related to the failure of the pan/tilt/zoom feature, outdated hardware with parts no longer available, interference due to network connectivity and consistency of power supply. In addition, MCG advised that the fibre network in Gillingham and Rainham was in need of a full review due to the maintenance of the network no longer being supported by the provider.

 

It was confirmed that whilst 5 cameras had required replacement in Twydall and this work had been completed on 23 November 2018 ahead of the agreed timescale, it was possible that operational issues could occur in Twydall due to the intermittent power supply defects.

 

Workstream 1 of the review was scheduled to be completed by December 2018 and options for funding were currently being considered, including the use of Capital reserves and Section 106 contributions.

 

Workstream 2 involved a plan for red and amber cameras and delivery was dependent upon costs and timescales received from MCG as well as securing funding.

 

Workstream 3 could run concurrently and would involve looking at the wider long term strategy with Workstream 4 identifying further funding to implement Workstream 3.

 

The Committee welcomed representatives from MCG Ltd who had attended the meeting to answer questions relating to CCTV provision.

 

In response to questions, MCG supplied further information as to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 593.

594.

Medway Commercial Group Ltd Six Monthly Report pdf icon PDF 214 KB

In line with the request of the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 18 October 2018, this item has been included on the agenda and Medway Commercial Group Ltd (MCG) have been invited to attend the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chairman suggested that there should be no discussion on this item as there had been a detailed discussion of MCG related issues under the previous item.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed that in the light of the discussion on CCTV under the previous item, involving representatives from MCG Ltd. there should be no discussion on this item.

 

 

595.

Draft Capital and Revenue Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 425 KB

This report provides an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2019/20. In accordance with the Constitution, Cabinet is required to develop ‘initial budget proposals’ approximately three months before finalising the budget and setting council tax levels at the end of February 2019.

 

The draft budget is based on the principles contained in the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2018-2023 approved by Cabinet in September and reflects the latest formula grant assumptions.

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 2019/20.

 

The report set out the process by which the budget would progress through to Cabinet and Council in February 2019.

 

The Chief Finance Officer addressed those areas where there had been budget pressures in 2018/19 and those where there had been a shortfall in income levels.

 

The Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive advised upon the measures currently being taken to reduce income shortfalls.

 

In response to a question as to how the Council would react to a downturn in the economy, the Chief Finance Officer advised that he was not planning any further draw upon Reserves. However, he appreciated that fluctuations in the financial market were currently difficult to forecast.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted that Cabinet has instructed officers to continue to work with Portfolio Holders in formulating robust proposals to balance the budget for 2019/20 and beyond.

 

596.

Street Scene Enforcement Procurement pdf icon PDF 108 KB

This report details additional information as requested by the Committee concerning the outsourcing via procurement of the Street Scene Enforcement Services covering fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) for littering, dog fouling and dog control orders.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report detailing additional information requested by the Committee on 18 October 2018 concerning the outsourcing via procurement of the Street Scene Environment Services covering fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) for littering, dog fouling and dog control orders.

 

It was noted that the primary driver for outsourcing the service was so that the anti-social behaviours of littering and dog fouling could be addressed by a dedicated team with the ability to be flexible in working locations and hours worked at zero cost to the Council.

 

The Committee sought an assurance that those individuals operating the contract would receive appropriate training so as not to be over-zealous in issuing tickets. The Head of Environmental Services confirmed that the emphasis of the contract would be to educate individuals and this would also be the subject of a wider programme of promotion.

 

In response to questions as to the process by which prosecutions would be handled in the event of non-payment of a FPN, the Environmental Services Manager advised upon the process that would be followed and confirmed that each officer would be required to write up statements at the end of the day for those cases where an individual had refused to pay a FPN. Such statements would be used, should the case proceed to prosecution.

 

The Environmental Services Manager also responded to concerns as to the safety of those individuals issuing FPN’s and confirmed that all employees would be required to undergo appropriate training and would wear Medway Council-branded clothing.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.

597.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 2 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 397 KB

Medway’s Council Plan 2016/21 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and its appendices summarises how the Council performed in quarter 2 2018/19 on the delivery of the two priorities relevant for this Committee : ‘Medway: a place to be proud of’ and ‘Maximising regeneration and economic growth’.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance in Quarter 2 for

2018/19 for the key measures of success and projects relevant to this

Committee.

 

The Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive highlighted areas within the report and advised that the planning application for Whiffens Avenue was due to be submitted to the Planning Committee in February 2019.

 

The following was discussed:

 

·         ECD13, LRCC4a and NI167 New - Short term and long term trends against targets – A Member referred to the short and long term trends against targets under Appendix 2 (Maximising Regeneration and Economic Growth) and questioned how these measures could be classified as green when almost all showed a downward trend.

 

The Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive advised that this issue was being monitored by the Corporate Management Team in identifying achievable targets.

 

·         New measure - Medway’s economy as a whole  - The Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive clarified that this was a new measure and therefore the target had yet to be determined.

 

·         NI 154 - Net additional homes provided – A Member referred to the Council’s adopted housing target of 1000 homes a year and asked why this figure was not reflected in the measure. In response, the Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive stated that whilst the Council had a desired target, and the Council could facilitate the delivery of housing through the planning process, the Council was reliant upon developers to build houses.

 

·         Chatham Railway Station – A Member welcomed the works undertaken at Chatham Railway Station and asked why the widening of the steps could not be undertaken until a future date. In response the Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that work was in hand to seek funding for these additional improvement works and improving disabled access.

 

·         NI 167 NEW – Average journey times along 5 routes across Medway – In response to comments as to this measure and how it relates to areas of congestion in Medway at peak periods, the Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive reminded the Committee that all major cities struggled with congestion at busy peak periods and this was a challenge when individuals preferred to travel by car. He confirmed that the Council was continuously seeking external funding when funding opportunities arose, and a number of schemes were planned to relieve congestion.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the Quarter 2 performance of the measures of success used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities.

598.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To advise 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 petition organisers by officers.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report advising of those petitions received by the

Council, which fell within the remit of the Committee, including a summary of

the responses sent to the petition organisers by officers. No petitions had been referred to the Committee for consideration by the lead petitioners.

 

Attention was drawn to one petition where the lead petitioner had requested that the petition be referred for consideration by this Committee, but had agreed to defer the referral until after a site meeting with the Assistant Director Front Line Services and Ward Councillors. Subject to the outcome of the site visit it was possible that this petition may be referred for consideration at the next meeting on 22 January 2019.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the petition response and appropriate officer action set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the report.

 

599.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 88 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 Committee considered its work programme for the remainder of 2018/19 and the Democratic Services Officer provided an update on two items.

 

In addition, she referred to two items requested to be included on the work programme arising from discussion at this meeting.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            agreed that the report on the Member’s Item concerning parking in Gillingham North and South Wards be circulated via a briefing note.

 

b)            noted that the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation has accepted an invitation to attend the meeting of the Committee on 28 March 2019 to be held to account.

 

c)            requested that a report providing an update on the CCTV Workstream Phases 1, 2 and 3 be included on the agenda for the meeting on 28 March 2019, it being accepted that this report may not include a full detailed update.

 

d)            agreed that MCG be invited to a future meeting of the Committee for further scrutiny with the date to be discussed at the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee pre-agenda meeting.