Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 11 June 2020 6.30pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Please note that any member of the press and public may follow proceedings at this ‘virtual’ meeting via a weblink which will be set out below ahead of the meeting. 

Media

Items
No. Item

34.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee was invited to appoint a Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

 

Decision:

 

Councillor Etheridge was appointed Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

35.

Election of Vice Chairman

To elect a Vice Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Councillor Bhutia was elected Vice Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

36.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Browne, Fearn, Hubbard, Mahil, Thompson and Williams.

37.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 21 January 2020.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The record of the meeting held on 21 January 2020 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

38.

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/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none.

39.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests and Whipping pdf icon PDF 471 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 6.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Andy Stamp referred to the Annual Review of Waste Contracts: Contract Year October 2018 – September 2019 and informed the Committee that he worked for the Environment Agency. However, he was not involved in any sites in Medway therefore he was not precluded from taking part in the debate on this item.

40.

Community Safety Plan 2020-2024 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are under a duty to produce a Community Safety Plan to formulate and implement a strategy to reduce crime and disorder, combat substance misuse, and reduce re-offending. This report provides information on the proposed Plan, which forms part of the Council’s Policy Framework, to cover the period from 2020 to 2024.

 

A Diversity Impact Assessment has been carried out on the proposals set out in this report and is attached at Appendix 3 to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chairman drew attention to a correction to the recommendations set out on page 25 of the agenda in that the Community Safety Plan would now be submitted to Cabinet on 7 July 2020 and to Council on 16 July 2020.

 

The Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) introduced the report and apologised for the late circulation of an updated proposed Community Safety Action Plan 2020 – 2021. This document had been circulated with additional sections highlighted for ease of reference.

 

He welcomed feedback on the Plan and reminded the Committee that the CSP would be attending the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December 2020 to be held to account. In addition, he advised that work was currently in hand to reinstate the monthly Police surgeries.

 

The Committee considered the draft plan and action plan and the following were discussed:

 

  • Action Plan Priorities - The strengthening of the ‘reducing vulnerability’ overarching priority was welcomed.

 

  • Lack of provision of targets - Concern was expressed that the draft plan did not contain any targets and would therefore make it difficult to measure performance and hold the CSP to account.

 

In response, the Chairman of the CSP advised that the Partnership had decided not to include key performance indicators within the Plan or the Action Plan as issues were constantly changing. In addition, crime rate statistics were already in the public domain.

 

This view was supported by Acting Chief Inspector Burbeck and he requested that the Committee measure the Partnership on results rather than performance against targets.

 

The Chairman of the CSP agreed that it would be important for the CSP to be able to show areas of progress when attending the Committee in December 2020 to be held to account and he referred to rough sleepers and alcohol misuse as being examples whereby the CSP had led on initiatives which had proven results.

 

In response to the request for a table of results to be included in the December report when the CSP was held to account, the Chairman of the CSP agreed to ask the Community Safety and Enforcement Manager to take this on board.

 

  • Impact of recent events on the four strategic priorities – Concern was expressed that the Community Safety Plan and Action Plan whilst covering mental health, domestic abuse and listening to communities and partners, did not mention the COVID – 19 pandemic, the resulting recession and the community unrest and worldwide protests following the tragic death of George Floyd in the USA. It was considered that these factors should be referenced with the Plan and Action Plan as they would undoubtably have an impact on the work of the partner agencies.

 

In response, the Chairman of the CSP commented that provisions of the proposed Plan and Action Plan were sufficiently robust so as to cover the potential impact of the recent issues referred to without having to be specifically referenced. However, feedback was welcomed by the Partnership and therefore if, when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Annual Review of Waste Contracts - Contract Year: October 2018 to September 2019 pdf icon PDF 492 KB

This report provides an update on the activity carried out by the following contractors to Medway Council for the contract year October 2018 to September 2019 and end of contract report for the total contract term for Waste collection and street cleansing services September 2010 - October 2019:

 

Veolia Environmental Services - providing waste recycling collection, and street cleansing services and waste disposal.

 

Medway Norse – Management of HWRCs

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a comprehensive report and the Head of Environmental Services provided an update on the activities carried out by Veolia Environmental Services on the provision of waste and recycling collection, waste disposal and street cleansing services and Medway Norse providing management of the three household waste recycling centres for the contract year October 2018 – September 2019.

 

The Head of Environmental Services paid tribute to Veolia for their performance on the Waste Contact for the past 9 years.

 

The Head of Environmental Services drew attention to the changes introduced by Kent County Council in the past year at their household waste recycling centres which had resulted in Medway introducing a checking system to protect free use of Medway’s sites for Medway residents. She advised that a reclaim system had been introduced for Kent residents but there had been not been a significant increase in KCC tonnages.  

 

Andy Mann, Partnership Director from Medway NORSE attended the meeting to answer questions.

 

The Committee discussed the following issues:

 

·         Waste and recycling collections - The Committee discussed the achievements arising from the Veolia waste and recycling contract and in particular the introduction of weekly recycling collections during the contract period which had been welcomed. Reference was made to the previous problems experienced with a Christmas/New Year collection, but it was acknowledged that these issues had now been resolved and collections in the 2019/2020 Christmas/New Year period had worked well.

 

·         Recycling tonnages – The Committee discussed the recycling rates over the term of Veolia’s 9-year contract and concern was expressed that the recycling tonnage rate was not increasing and was 3.3% lower than in 2014/15. In response, the Head of Environmental Services advised that the inability to increase recycling tonnage rates was a national problem. She advised that when weekly recycling collections were introduced in 2014/15, this had temporarily increased the recycling rate but this has since plateaued.

 

She assured the Committee that the benefits of recycling and the different types of collection services were actively publicised on social media and there had been an increase in requests for more recycling containers and services since the COVID – 19 lockdown had been introduced in March 2020. This would be reflected in the 2020/21 Waste Contract review report.   

 

·         Employment of staff – In response a question as to whether Medway NORSE would continue to employ staff directly as opposed to using employment agencies, Andy Mann from Medway NORSE advised that all staff had transferred from Veolia to Medway NORSE under TUPE and therefore were on the same terms and conditions, and whilst Medway NORSE recruited staff via employment agencies they were then transferred into full time employment direct with the Company. He confirmed that since taking over the contract, Medway NORSE had recruited an additional 24 members of staff.  

 

·         Waste Management Strategy – In response to a question about the Waste Strategy 2005 – 2020, the Head of Environmental Services advised that there was not a statutory duty for the Council to produce  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 118 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 received a copy of its work programme and it was noted that a schedule for holding Portfolio Holders to account in 2020/21 was in progress.

 

The Democratic Services Officer provided an update on the Cabinet’s Forward Plan as a new Forward Plan had been published on 8 June 2020.

 

In addition, she drew attention to paragraph 4 of the report which set out proposals for the future scrutiny of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) which fell within the remit of this Committee. It was proposed that initially SELEP be invited to undertake a Member briefing to outline its role, responsibilities, achievements/challenges and the new governance arrangements following which, an annual invitation would be extended to SELEP to attend a meeting of this Committee along similar lines to the Community Safety Partnership. In the meantime, the Committee could consider how it might scrutinise economic growth at a local level.

 

In addition, a link would be provided from the Council’s web pages to the papers for meetings of SELEP’s Partnership Ltd and the SELEP Accountability Board with an alert to all Members of the Accountability Board call-in deadlines,

 

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)        noted its current work programme;

             

b)         agreed the proposed approach to the scrutiny of SELEP as set in      

section 4 of the report.

 

c)         noted that the scheduling of the Annual Review of the Waste Contracts into the Committee’s work programme would be considered at a future pre-agenda meeting.