Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 13 August 2020 6.30pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

173.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

During this period, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was informally agreed between the two political groups to run Medway Council meetings with a reduced number of participants. This was to reduce risk, comply with Government guidance and enable more efficient meetings. Therefore, the apologies given reflects that informal agreement of reduced participants.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carr, Curry, Andy Stamp, Thompson and Tranter.

 

174.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 11 June 2020.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The record of the meeting held on 11 June 2020 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

175.

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.

176.

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 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

  

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

177.

Attendance of the Portfolio Holder for Business Management pdf icon PDF 349 KB

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

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress on the areas within the terms of

reference of this Committee covered by Councillor Turpin, Portfolio Holder for Business Management as set out below:

 

·    Bereavement

·    Community Wardens

·    Emergency Planning

·    Registration

 

Councillor Turpin responded to Members’ questions as follows:

 

Bereavement - In response to a question as to whether those members of staff who had been redeployed at the crematorium were still fulfilling their redeployed roles, the Portfolio Holder expressed his appreciation to those staff who had retrained to help out at the crematorium and confirmed that they had now returned to their former roles.

 

The Portfolio Holder confirmed that whilst there had been an increase in the number of cremations at the Crematorium in recent months, this was not solely down to deaths in Medway as the Crematorium had provided cremation services to support other areas that were under pressure. He confirmed that the number of cremations had now returned to normal levels.

 

Community Wardens - The Committee discussed the Community Warden Service and in particular, the Frontline Services Structure Review which had resulted in a change in the way that services would be delivered to reflect the changing needs of the local community and the modern local government agenda.

 

The Portfolio Holder explained that within the new structure, the Community Warden Service (12 posts) would be split into specialist functions comprising Waste and Contract Monitoring, Engagement, Enforcement (merging with the existing Street Scene Enforcement Team) and Animal Wardens.

 

In response to concerns that Members had yet to be supplied with a new structure chart detailing information as to the names and contact numbers for officers appointed to the various warden posts, the Portfolio Holder informed the Committee that he had requested that this be communicated to Members as a priority and he apologised that this had not yet been done. The Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive gave an assurance that this would be circulated to Members by close of play on Monday 17 August 2020.

 

The Portfolio Holder also commented that following the restructure, it was important for the routes of communication for the public to be actively advertised and he encouraged Members to direct the public to reporting incidents online wherever possible.

 

In response to a concern that Members were unaware of the name and contact details of the Community Wardens working in individual Wards, the Portfolio Holder explained that the allocation of Community Wardens across Wards had ceased some time ago. Community Wardens were no longer allocated on a Ward by Ward basis but in specialist teams, and Members were therefore encouraged to contact the relevant team dependent upon the issue.

 

The Committee requested that their congratulations be extended to the Community Warden Team for receiving the Gold Footprint Award by the RSPCA for the sixth consecutive year in recognition of their excellent stray dog policies and procedures. The Portfolio Holder agreed to pass on the Committee’s congratulations.

 

Emergency Planning:

 

·         Exercise Combine – Referring to Exercise Combine in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 177.

178.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report and Risk Register Quarter 4 and End of Year 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 266 KB

Medway’s Council Plan 2016/21 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and appendices summarises how the Council performed during Q4 2019/20 on the delivery of the two priorities relevant for this Committee: ‘Medway: a place to be proud of’ and ‘Maximising regeneration and economic growth’.

 

Rather than the planned Q4 review of the Corporate Risk Register, this report instead sets out how the Council’s response to Covid-19 has been controlled using the principles and tools of the Risk Management Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out performance for Quarter 4 against the Council’s two priorities insofar as they fell within the remit of this Committee.

 

In addition, rather than the planned Quarter 4 review of the Corporate Risk Register, the report set out how the Council’s response to Covid-19 had been controlled using the principles and tools of the Risk Management Strategy.

 

The Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive drew attention to the following performance measures which had shown a downward trend in Quarter 4:

 

GH6 CP – Satisfaction with parks and green spaces -He advised that this was the first time in 5 years that this performance indicator had fallen below target. He stated that he was very proud of the greenspace provision in Medway and its 7 Green Flags and expressed appreciation to all the Greenspace volunteers and Friends Groups for the work that they undertake. He was confident that this performance indicator would recover in the next quarter.

 

NI154 – Net additional homes provided - He advised that this performance indicator was set one year in arrears and advised that the recent Housing Delivery Test Action Plan update reported to Cabinet indicated that performance over the past year had been very strong. This would be reflected in future performance monitoring reports although there would be some element of impact arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Council and Homes England had now signed the Grant Determination Agreement (GDA), for Medway’s Housing Infrastructure Fund Bid setting out plans for the multi-million pound infrastructure programme to significantly improve road and rail connections in and around the peninsula, in addition to creating accessible open space. This demonstrated a commitment to Medway’s residents to ensure that the necessary transport and environmental infrastructure was in place before finalising plans for thousands of potential new homes on the Hoo Peninsula. 

 

The following was discussed:

 

Citizens’ Panel – In response to a question as to thenumber of individuals involved in the Citizens’ Panel and whether there were plans to refresh and recruit to the Panel, the Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive advised that the Citizens’ Panel originally comprised 1500 individuals and responses were weighted using a formula to ensure it was representative. He confirmed that there were plans to refresh the Citizens’ Panel and move increasingly towards online responses. It was pointed out that the Citizens’ Panel was only one method used to measure satisfaction.

 

GH6 New – Satisfaction with parks and green spaces – In response to a question as to the location of a Scheduled Ancient Monument on JacksonsRecreation Ground which had resulted in proposals to revisit the route of an access path for University students, the Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive agreed to provide further information to the Member direct.

 

The Committee noted plans to promote Ranscombe Farm as an eighth site to receive a Green Flag in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 178.

179.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 104 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 petition organisers by officers.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report advising of 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.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the petition response set out in paragraph 3 of the report.

 

In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Hubbard and Mahil requested that their votes in favour be recorded.

 

180.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 135 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.

 

The Committee noted the recent cancellation of the Cultural Strategy briefing and requested information as to when this would be re-scheduled. The Democratic Services Officer confirmed that this was in the process of being re-arranged by the Head of Culture and Libraries.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)        noted its current work programme.

             

b)         agreed that the Cultural Strategy be included on the Committee’s agenda for 3 December 2020.

 

In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Browne and Hubbard requested that their votes in favour be recorded.