Agenda item

Feedback from Scrutiny Group Chairmen


The Chairman of the Communities Scrutiny Group informed the Group that there had been two substantive items at the last meeting.  The Housing Delivery Plan 2022-2027 had been discussed and it had been noted that the biggest challenge involved trying to get people off the streets, and the ongoing support that the Council would provide to support these people. The Chairman informed the Group that the Council would face challenges with people going onto the housing register, which was hard to forecast. The second report had related to the resident survey, with over 84% of residents who had responded stating that they were satisfied with the Borough as a place to live. The Communities Scrutiny Group believed that people did not understand what the Council’s roles and responsibilities were, for example discussions around removing the Council logo from Council Tax Bill might encourage people to change their minds about this being all the Council did. He explained that communications needed to be made clearer about what the Borough Council’s role was. He explained that there were recommendations around a focus group being introduced to discuss the outcomes of the survey, which was heavily debated in the meeting but ultimately not agreed to.


The Vice Chairman of the Governance Scrutiny Group stated that at the last meeting the Group had focused on the Internal Audit Update report, Annual Audit report, Capital Investments, Statement of Accounts, and the Streetwise Annual report. He informed the Group that it was a comprehensive agenda with a number of technical and external reports.


The Chairman of the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group stated that the Group had considered two reports at its last meeting. The first report had considered tree conservation, and it was noted that the recommendations had been supported but additional recommendations had been agreed, to include a review of how appraisal was given to planning applications in relation to tree protection. The second additional recommendation related to how the Enforcement Policy could be strengthened and protected, together with a discussion about how that could be achieved. The Group had also agreed to write to the Government regarding legislation around Tree Preservation Orders, mainly about the aesthetics as opposed to the environmental benefits and biodiversity. It was noted that the Group had also wanted to include the protection of hedgerows as opposed to just trees. The second report the Group had considered had related to cycling and it was noted that this item had been a summary of the previous meeting alongside further discussion. The Group had agreed that walking and cycling would be included in future polices and a one-page walking and cycling plan was agreed. He advised that a shorter and more focussed presentation in relation to tree conservation had helped to promote more discussion and debate and he suggested that going forward presentations should be broken up or shortened to facilitate more interaction and debate.


The Chairman of the Corporate Overview Group advised that she had attended the Growth and Development Scrutiny meeting and had witnessed good, robust scrutiny and hoped that this meeting would be used within the Scrutiny Training as an example, and that going forward officers should assume the Councillors had read the report and therefore should keep presentations short to allow more time for questions to be answered.