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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Woodgreen, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 1NB. View directions

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Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Purpose:

To elect a Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Civic Year 2024/25.

 

Recommendation:

That a Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be elected for the Civic Year 2024/25.

Minutes:

Andrew Brown (Business Manager, Democratic Services) opened the meeting and asked for nominations for the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year of 2024 - 2025.

Councillor Michele Mead proposed that Councillor Andrew Beaney be elected as Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year 2024-2025. This was seconded by Councillor Alex Wilson. With no other nominations made, the proposal was put to a vote and was unanimously agreed by the Committee.

RESOLVED that the Committee AGREED

1. Elect Councillor Andrew Beaney as the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year 2024-2025.

2.

Appointment of Vice Chair

Purpose:

To appoint a Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Civic Year 2024/25.

 

Recommendation:

That a Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be appointed for the Civic Year 2024/25.

Minutes:

Councillor Andrew Beaney, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, asked for nominations for the position of Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year of 2024 - 2025.

Councillor Ruth Smith proposed that Councillor Joy Aitman be appointed as the Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year 2024-2025.

This was seconded by Councillor Michele Mead. With no other nominations made, the proposal was put to a vote and was unanimously agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

3.

Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments

To receive any apologies for absence and temporary appointments. The quorum for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is 6 members.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Elizabeth Poskitt, Nick Leverton. Councillor David Jackson substituted for Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt and Councillor Martin McBride substituted for Councillor Nick Leverton.

Councillors Alistair Wry and Liam Walker gave apologies for lateness.

Councillors Liz Leffman and Mark Walker were absent.

Apologies were received from Councillor Alaric Smith as the Executive Member for the Changes to Customer Telephone Access Times report.

 

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received from Members of the Committee.

5.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 10 April 2024.

Minutes:

Councillor Michele Mead proposed that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on Wednesday 10 April 2024, be approved by the Committee as a true and accurate record. This was seconded by Councillor Rachel Crouch, was put to a vote and was unanimously agreed by the Committee.

It was to be noted that in regards to any matters arising from the action points, there was one outstanding action point which related to the 5 year supply of travellers sites and an answer would be made available at the next meeting.

 

6.

Announcements from the Chair

To receive any announcements from the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

The Chair asked that Members not discuss political matters to avoid breaching pre-election period rules.

7.

Participation of the Public

To receive any submissions from members of the public, in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure, anyone who lives in the district or who pays council tax or business rates to the Council is eligible to read a statement or express an opinion at this meeting.  You can register to speak by sending your written submission of no more than 750 words to [email protected] by no later than 10.00am on the working day before the meeting.

Minutes:

There was no participation of the public.

8.

Approval of Upgrade to WODC Public Space CCTV Provision and Monitoring Arrangements pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Purpose:

On 12 June, the Executive will consider a report that recommends upgrading the public open space CCTV cameras covering areas of Carterton and Witney to high definition digital, together with the installation of five new cameras in Chipping Norton.  It further recommends the Council joins the Thames Valley Police CCTV partnership, with an associated transfer of CCTV assets and operational responsibility to TVP under a ‘single owner’ model; and moving monitoring arrangements to a shared Oxfordshire hub.

 

Recommendations:

To note the draft report to the Executive and make any recommendations for upgrading the public open space CCTV cameras and the associated changes to join the Thames Valley Police CCTV Partnership, with a shared Oxfordshire hub for monitoring.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Housing and Social Welfare introduced the report that recommended upgrading the public open space CCTV cameras covering areas of Carterton and Witney to high definition digital, together with the installation of five new cameras in Chipping Norton. The report further recommended that the Council joined the Thames Valley Police (TVP) CCTV partnership, with an associated transfer of CCTV assets and operational responsibility to TVP under a ‘single owner’ model; and moving monitoring arrangements to a shared Oxfordshire hub.

It was explained that £300,000 was approved by Council in 2019/20 for capital investment in CCTV, £255,635 remained, after upgrading the control room in 2022. The Executive would be asked to note the potential funding shortfall of up to £55,000. The steps that would need to be taken were listed in 4.7 of the Executive report.

Furthermore, under the current operating model, West Oxfordshire District Council retained direct responsibility for the public open space CCTV system and its ongoing maintenance. In early April 2022, Thames Valley Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner tabled a report to the Police and Crime Panel outlining a new vision for CCTV. This vision recognised that CCTV existed primarily for the benefit of policing and the wider interests of community safety. Therefore, it was right that policing would shoulder the lion share of the responsibility for providing the capability, under a ‘single owner’ model. The single owner model would help to consolidate technology, drive savings through economies of scale, improve integration with police systems and provide increased resilience.

An Oxfordshire CCTV partnership board was established in 2022 and TVP had employed a CCTV Operations Manager to gain greater traction; the point had now been reached whereby an Oxfordshire monitoring control room, located in Abingdon, was proposed, which would form part of a Thames Valley Police CCTV Partnership which would see transfer of ownership of CCTV to Thames Valley Police.

The Assistant Director for Communities answered questions from Members and the following points were to be noted:

  • The Partnership Board would run the CCTV arrangements and any decisions on camera locations, removals, and additions would need to be agreed by the CCTV partnership Board with the funding formula adjusted accordingly. There would also be a legal partnership agreement put in place to ensure that any movements of assets out of West Oxfordshire would be considered in the funding formula.
  • All partners were seeking approval for the formal agreements from their perspective Executives. Thames Valley Police would do checks on requests for additional CCTV and would then fit that requirement into the funding formula as set out in the report.
  • Shortfall and future costs would be applied for through the Safer Street Fund as found in section 4.7 of the report. The outcome of the bid was currently pending and continuous funding would be sought were possible.
  • Reporting of faults and issues with CCTV would be done through the County Wide Maintenance Program and service reports could be provided if required.
  • In terms of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Service Performance Report 2023-24 Quarter Four pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Purpose:

To provide details of the Council’s operational performance at the end of 2023-24 Quarter Four (Q4).

 

Recommendations:

That the Committee resolves to:

1.    Note the 2023/24 Q4 service performance report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the report that provided details of the Council’s operational performance for the end of 2023-24 Quarter Four (Q4).

Overall, the Council's performance had been positive, with commendable progress in a number of areas including visits to the leisure centres, Official Land Charge Search Times and Processing times for Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit. Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the report highlighted where the service was in terms of targets.

The Senior Performance Analyst explained that the report in the pack was now correct as it had a few minor errors in some of the figures. Sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the report highlighted where the service was above and fell below targets respectively.

Questions were answered from Members and the following points were to be noted: 

  • Within the Action Tracker, Item 23, it was explained that an appointment for the Strategic Housing Development and Enabling Manager had been made. The Assistant Director of Commercial Development would give an update to Members after the meeting.
  • Regarding Salt Cross, there was a separate Steering Group which had been updated; Andrea Kenton could provide that update to Members.
  • The installation of Electric Vehicle Charge Points was delayed by 6-8 weeks due to the nature of the complex partnership with town councils and authorities; however, mitigation was put in place to manage the delay.
  • Regarding Service Delivery Agreements within large developments, Members expressed a desire for the Council to take control of those green areas to ensure resident savings. Officers agreed to come back with a timeline and look into the issue further with the possibility of also looking into Community Land Trusts.
  • Officers would come back on whether the Windrush lottery bid for May had been received.
  • Improvement plans and grant schemes under the central government funding would continue to be tracked, published on the website and further information communicated to residents.
  • In terms of leisure contracts benchmarking, this was only currently being done against other Councils and nearest neighbours but Officers would look into benchmarking within more sectors.
  • A review of damaged bin replacements had been undertaken in conjunction with other councils and complaints had been monitored. The actual cause would be determined and assessed to see if any further preventative measures could be taken.

 

RESOLVED that the Committee AGREED:

1.    To Note the 2023/24 Q4 service performance report.

 

10.

Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Purpose

To provide an update on the Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP).

 

Recommendation:

That the Committee resolves to:

1.    Note the contents of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Planning Policy Manager introduced the report that provided an update on the Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP).

Salt Cross was a planned new garden village community to the north of the A40 near Eynsham. The area was identified in the adopted Local Plan as a strategic location for growth and it was expected to include around 2,200 homes, a 40-hectare science and technology park along with schools, open space and other community facilities. To guide the future delivery of Salt Cross, the District Council was preparing a new Area Action Plan (AAP). Once adopted, the AAP would form part of the statutory development plan alongside the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031.The purpose of the report was to provide an update Members on the current timetable for taking the AAP through to formal adoption following a third-party legal challenge last year.

Furthermore, the Planning Inspectorate confirmed that the examination had been reopened and that a new Inspector - Helen Hockenhull BA(Hons) B.Pl MRTPI had been appointed. The Inspector wrote to the Council on the same day and a copy of her letter was attached at Annex B. The letter had also been published on the Garden Village Examination web page.

Questions were answered from Members and the following points were noted: 

·         There was a written ministerial statement published in December after the hearings in November; the two events were inter-related and provided authorities with instruction on what they could and could not do in regards to planning. However, the judge in the November hearing was not able to take the December statement into account. The Inspector would now be able to look into the issue and her letter attached to the report was clear on what needed to be done in reference to the ministerial statement. However, the current legal challenge would now need to be taken into account as well.

·         The intention was to make Salt Cross as Net Zero as possible.

·         There was a question of when the houses within the Salt Cross Garden village area would be built and it was explained that commencement would take place in 2026. However due to the challenge and issues that had occurred the timeframes would likely be pushed back to 2028.

 

RESOLVED that the Committee AGREED:

1.    To note the contents of the report.

 

11.

Changes To Customer Telephone Access Times pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Purpose:

To propose that the trial becomes a permanent arrangement following the data gathered. The trial of reduced telephone access hours from 9am – 2pm, to the public has proved the concept and customers are continuing to shift to digital channels.   

 

Recommendations:

To note that Executive are asked to agree to adopt the reduced telephone access arrangements on a permanent basis.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council introduced the report that proposed the trial of reduced telephone access hours from 9am-2pm become a permanent arrangement to the public, following the data gathered and in light of a continuous decline in customer demand for telephone contact.

The trial reduced telephone access hours from 9am – 2pm to the public and had proved the concept that customers were continuing to shift to digital channels. In the original report that proposed the trial period, and excluded the Managers and Officers required for the face-to-face visits at the Welch Way Office, each of the 30 Customer Service Officers across West Oxford District Council and Cotswold District Council (24.93 FTE) would have a reduction in hours of 0.32 FTE. The reduction across the 30 Officers equated to a total reduction of 7.98 FTE. This made a total efficiency saving of £238,100 shared equally between West Oxford District Council and Cotswold District Council, and was on track to achieve £250,000. Therefore, the total saving for each council would be £125,000 per annum.

The Business Manager, Customer Experience, shared that she had only received one complaint about the reduced service and reassured Members that customers could still access Officers face-to-face until 5pm and that other provisions were in place to ensure contact for emergencies etc.

Questions were answered from Members and the following points were to be noted: 

  • Cotswolds District Council had agreed the trial of reduced telephone access hours from 9am-2pm as a permanent arrangement to the public verbally but were awaiting the end of pre-election period to ratify the decision through their Cabinet. It was believed that they would follow through with permanent arrangement as agreed.
  • Some Members felt that they should have been consulted because they had received complaints about the reduced service; however, others suggested residents were happy with the savings.
  • Members suggested other options, including a Hunt group, given that the numbers of calls were so small. This meant that a central line would be dialled in and calls would be answered by other staff who may be available and could forward on, etc. Officers explained that the reason the number of calls was low was due to the communications around the reduced times and if those were withdrawn, call numbers would rise again. As resources were now reduced they recommended against this approach. In terms of the hunt group approach, Officers felt this approach may frustrate residents as they would not get through to the department they required.

 

RESOLVED that the Committee AGREED:

1.    To note the contents of the report and that the Executive would be asked to agree to adopt the reduced telephone access arrangements on a permanent basis.

 

12.

Report back on Recommendations

For the Committee to note the Executive’s response to any recommendations arising from the previous Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

 

There were no Executive’s responses to any recommendations currently.

Minutes:

There were no Executive responses to any recommendations because no recommendations to the Executive had been agreed at the previous meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, in April.

 

13.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Purpose:

To provide the Committee with an updated Work Programme for 2024/25.

 

Recommendation:

That the Committee notes and comments on the work programme.

Minutes:

No changes were agreed to the Committee’s Work Programme:

Councillor Cooper raised a question about a the progress of report that had been requested by the Uplands Sub-Committee on world heritage buffer zone. The Business Manager for Democratic Services agreed to follow up after the meeting.

 

 


14.

Executive Work Programme pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Purpose:

To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Executive Work Programme.

 

Recommendation:

That the Committee agrees which items on the Executive Work Programme should be subject to pre-decision scrutiny and the priority order of those items.

Minutes:

The following was to be noted on the Executive Work Programme:

  • The Executive meeting on 22 July would be held at 2pm.
  • Various meeting had been moved back to avoid staff being briefed on the Publica Transition in the days leading up to the Parliamentary General Election, which many affected staff would be focused on delivering.
  • Arrangements for Sustainable Development for this period were still on the work plan.

 


15.

Leisure and Wellbeing Task and Finish Group Membership Change

In light of Councillor Rizvana Poole being appointed to the Executive, the Committee is recommended to appoint a replacement member to the Leisure and Wellbeing Task and Finish Group.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed to appoint Councillor Joy Aitman to the Leisure and Wellbeing Task and Finish Group to replace Councillor Rizvana Poole who was now part of the Executive and therefore could not be involved in Overview and Scrutiny.

16.

Date of Next Meeting

It is requested that the meeting of 3 July 2024 be moved to either 15 July 2024 or 17 July 2024 at 5.30pm in order to avoid the pre-election period for the Parliamentary General Election being held on 4 July 2024.

 

Minutes:

The Committee was asked to move the date of the next meeting from 3 July 2024 to 17 July 2024 to avoid staff being briefed on the Publica Transition in the days leading up to the General Election.

RESOLVED that the Committee AGREED

1.    The date of the next meeting would be 17 July 2024 at 5.30pm.