Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny & Overview Committee
Tuesday, 14th January, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

Contact: Simon Trevaskis
0208 7266000  Email: simon.trevaskis@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1/20

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2019 as an accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2019 were agreed as an accurate record, subject to an amendment changing the following sentence from:-

 

Given the scale of the project the Committee agreed that there should be a specific risk register for the Growth Zone project itself rather than the risks being considered as part of a wider Corporate Risk Register.’

 

To read as follows:-

 

‘Given the scale of the project the Committee agreed that there should be a specific risk register for the Growth Zone project itself as well as than the risks being considered as part of a wider Corporate Risk Register.’

 

 

 

 

2/20

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest made at the meeting.

 

3/20

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

 

4/20

Strategy Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The Committee is asked to note the development of the Strategy Forward Plan.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report providing an overview of the Strategy Forward Plan, which had been created to manage the Council’s strategies and plans. The Chair of the Scrutiny & Overview Committee welcomed the report, noting that it would help to provide greater transparency over the Council’s strategies and also help with planning future Scrutiny items.

During the discussion of the report there were a number of questions raised by the Committee, with the first relating to the Council’s adoption of the Public Health Approach to Violence Reduction and where this sat. It was confirmed that the Public Health Approach required a wide ranging response and would be picked up and embedded in strategies across the Council.

It was confirmed that the review of the Autism Strategy would be led by the Health and Wellbeing Service supported by the Policy Team and as with any Council strategy would include engagement with stakeholders, which in the case of the Autism Strategy would include the Autism Partnership Board. It was also confirmed that although development of the Strategy would be led by the Health and Wellbeing Service, similarly to the Public Health Approach, it would require a wide ranging response to be embedded across the Council.

It was confirmed that the Policy Team was working with the Digital team to ensure that all Council Strategies were included on the website in an easy to find location.

In response to a question about whether there was a template for creating a good strategy, it was confirmed that would be guidance provided, but given the wide variety of strategies held by the Council it was important not to take an overly prescriptive approach. 

It was questioned whether there was a process in place for capturing any lessons learned from across the Council during the production of strategies. It was confirmed that there was not a formal process, but in having the forward plan it would provide clarify on who was leading on strategies and help to facilitate discussions on best practice. It was also anticipated that any approach to reviewing a strategy would involve looking at other authorities to find out who were the market leaders in terms of individual strategies and learning from their approach. 

It was noted that as part of the process for creating the Strategy Forward Plan there had been an audit of all existing Council strategies that had led to it being discovered that some strategies were either no longer applicable or had been superseded. It was agreed that the full list of strategies including confirmation of the reason why particular strategies were no longer required would be provided for the Committee’s information.

A request was also made for the Committee to be provided with an expanded version of the Strategy Forward Plan (as set out in Appendix 1 of the report), in a matrix format to included information such as the strategy owner, lead and relevant Cabinet Members, the department, any interdependencies with other strategies and the timetable and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4/20

5/20

Question Time: Leader of the Council pdf icon PDF 368 KB

Question Time with the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman, along with a presentation delivered at the meeting. The presentation can be viewed on the link below:-

https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/documents/s20139/Leaders%20Presentation%20for%20Scrutiny%20-%2014%20January%202019.pdf

Following the presentation the Committee was given the opportunity to question the Leader of the Council. The first question related to possible areas of weakness for the Council, with it noted that although Children’s Services continued to improve it had started its improvement journey from a difficult place.  Another challenging area was the work of the Violence Reduction Network, which had improved the working relationships between the partners, but required ongoing work over the long term to tackle both the underlying causes of crime and the perception of crime in the borough. 

As there were significant challenges facing the retail sector it was questioned what the Council could do to support businesses in the borough. It was advised that support was provided by the Council through its work to ensure that streets were clean and safe. It was also about ensuring that local high streets remained an attractive place to visit, which could be evidenced through the recent investment in Thornton Heath High Street. However many of the challenges were related to other factors such as the wider economy and the changing retail landscape and as such were beyond the control of the Council.

In response to a request for an update on the Westfield redevelopment of the town centre, it was confirmed that the Leader and other representatives from the Council had met with the developer in November, with a further meeting scheduled for February. From the meeting in November, it was evident that there was likely to be a significantly changed scheme coming forward to reflect the reduced requirement for retail space.  In having the opportunity to rethink the scheme in light of the challenging retail environment it may work to the long term benefit of Croydon.

As it was noted that support had been given to the possible expansion of Gatwick Airport, it was questioned how this could be managed against other potentially conflicting policies such as those directed towards tackling climate change. In response it was advised that it was important to use the Council’s influence on central Government on climate change. Any possible expansion of Gatwick Airport would have an economic benefit for Croydon with it important to attract new jobs to the borough including those in green industries.

It was acknowledged that further work was needed on the provision of high quality office accommodation in the town centre, with it highlighted that the Council’s sustainability work was not just related to climate change, but also other areas such as the provision of affordable housing and jobs.  The forthcoming provision of a university offer in Croydon would be fundamental in attracting new jobs and sectors to invest in the borough.

In response to a question about what action was being taken to reduce the risk of flooding in the borough, it was advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/20

6/20

Scrutiny Work Programme 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for the remainder of the municipal year.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report setting out the Scrutiny Work Programme for 2019-20.

The Chair of the Committee confirmed that the meeting originally scheduled for 10 December 2019 had been rearranged for 10 February 2020. In preparation for this meeting, which would include a Question Time session with the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Councillor Oliver Lewis, an invite had been arranged for the members of the Committee to attend the opening of the New Addington Sports Centre on 16 January. There would also be a tour of Fairfield Halls at 4.30pm on the day of the meeting for Committee members.

The Chair of the Children & Young People Sub-Committee highlighted that the work programme for the sub-committee was in the process of being re-prioritised and as a result there was likely to be changes made to the version set out in the report.

The Committee resolved to note the Scrutiny Work Programme 2019-20.

7/20

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

 

 

Minutes:

This motion was not required.