Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Sarah Claridge, Committee Services Officer 

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Wilkinson, Councillor Coulter, Councillor Azad and

Councillor Tidball



Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest made.



Work Plan and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 147 KB


Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee operates within a work plan which has been set for the 2016/17 council year.  This plan will be reviewed at every meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Committee and take account of any changes to the latest Forward Plan (which outlines decisions to be taken by the City Executive Board or Council).

Why is it on the agenda?

The Committee is asked to:

1.    Review and note the scrutiny work plan.

2.    Decide whether to schedule a special meeting on 8 June 2017 to look at the Local Plan preferred options decision (in addition to a normal meeting on 6 June).

3.    Consider which topic to prioritise for review in spring 2017.

4.    Select any additional Forward Plan items for pre-decision scrutiny based on the following criteria (max. three items per meeting):

     Is the issue controversial / of significant public interest?

     Is it an area of high expenditure?

     Is it an essential service / corporate priority?

     Can Scrutiny influence and add value?

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer



Additional documents:


The Chair presented the report.


Work Plan

The Committee reviewed and noted the following changes in its work plan for the 2016/17 council year.


·         Agreed to schedule a special meeting for the Local Plan on 6 June 2017, in addition to a normal meeting on 8 June.


·         The Scrutiny Committee appointed a new sub-committee to monitor the shareholder function.  Cllr Simmons offered to give his group’s seat to Cllr Fry to provide a link with Audit and Governance.  The Committee agreed the sub-committee’s membership to be Cllr Gant (Chair of Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Hayes* (Vice Chair of Scrutiny Committee), Cllr Henwood (Chair of Housing) and Cllr Fry.


*After the meeting, Cllr Hayes advised that he would not be able to take up this seat so it was offered back to Cllr Simmons, who accepted.


Forward Plan


The Committee requested the following items from the Forward Plan

·         Oxford Flood Alleviation -March

Community Leases - May


Report back on recommendations pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Contact Officer: Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer,

Tel 01865 252230,


Background Information

The Committee makes a number of recommendations to the City Executive Board, who are obliged to respond in writing.

Why is it on the agenda?

Since the last meeting the City Executive Board has responded to scrutiny recommendations on the following items:

·         Budget 2017/18

·         Update on the Corporate Plan 2016 -2020

·         Carbon Management Plan: 2017 – 2022

·         Grant allocations to community and voluntary organisations 2017/18

·         Cycling – progress update

·         Safeguarding language school students

·         Recycling

Who has been invited to comment?

Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer will present the report.




The Chair presented the report on recommendations.


Cllr Simmons explained that all the recommendations on the budget were agreed except one.


The Chair said that all the other report’s recommendations were accepted except the one about replacing the cycling signs on the Cowley Road. Cllr Simmons said he would like to look further into the reason why the signs on the Cowley Road hadn’t been replaced as the Ministry of Transport approved them at the time.


The Scrutiny Officer agreed to circulate the advice note he had received from Direct Services to the committee.




Air quality pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee considered an air quality report in November 2016 and asked to invite officers from the County Council to a future meeting for a further discussion. 

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to consider efforts to improve air quality in the city.  The most recent air quality status report for Oxford is included again.  The Oxford Transport Strategy is also included under item 6.  Cllr Simmons, the Committee’s Lead Member for this item, has suggested the following lines of inquiry for this discussion:

·         What next steps can be taken to reduce emissions from public transport?

·         What more can be done in the short to medium term to reduce emissions from other vehicles by promoting public transport, cycling, walking and cleaner fuels?

·         What specific steps can be taken to improve air quality in the worst areas, e.g. St. Clements and are there plans for additional monitoring or public signage?

·         What plans are in place to accommodate the additional journeys that are expected to take place when the Westgate Shopping Centre reopens?

·         How effective is partnership working on air quality between the City and Council Councils?

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for a Clean, Green

·         Martin Kraftl, Oxfordshire County Council

·         Stewart Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council





Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for a Clean, Green Oxford presented the report. He said the County Council was committed to a zero emission zone by 2020. The City and County councils had appointed a consultant to look into practical ways to achieve this in the city centre. Ideas are still being formulated. When the low emission zone was introduced it was buses that caused most of the air quality problems but they have mostly been changed  to produce only low emission.


Martin Kraftl from Oxfordshire County Council addressed the committee. The County’s Local Transport Strategy 2015-2030 plans to start implementing a zero emission zone in 2020. How quickly it can be rolled out will depend on what vehicles will be affected. Improved technology will assist the move to zero emission.


The Environmental Sustainability Manager said that the City monitors air quality based on DEFRA advice. Diffusion tubes are placed in areas in the city known to have poor air quality. These are places with high levels of traffic close to residential homes and businesses. There are 75 diffusion tubes in the city which officers check every month and analyse results.  Data needs to be collected, analysed and audited over a 12 month period to show the long term trend of air quality at the site. The exact location of tubes is listed in the air quality report.


The Committee asked why there were so many diffusion tubes in close proximity in the city centre and why none were positioned near the bypass.


Cllr Tanner said it was important to have lots of diffusion tubes in the city centre to monitor the situation main street by main street. Often 2 diffusion tubes were put close together to act as a control.  We need to monitor the different sites to inform the County Council of areas of concern.

There is no evidence to show that air quality from traffic on the ring road is as bad as the city centre.


Cllr Simmons asked what specific steps could be taken to improve air quality in the worst areas, e.g. St. Clements and are there plans for additional monitoring or public signage? Cllr Tanner said he’d much prefer to focus on the causes of the problem rather than tell people how bad it is.

The Environmental Sustainability Manager said that daily air quality levels are already available on the Council’s website.


Cllr Simmons said that as a planning authority we don’t put any mitigating measures (in regards to air pollution) on applications approved on sites in high air pollution areas ie Westgate or Northern Gateway[1].

Martin Kraftl from Oxfordshire County Council said that the Transport Strategy includes working on creating better cycling and walking routes in Headington. There is a huge amount to be done but we must be doing something right as there is 25% less traffic in the city than there was 20 years ago.


Cllr Simmons asked how the City Council comments on the County’s Local Transport  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.


Workplace parking levies pdf icon PDF 113 KB



Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has asked to consider the pros and cons of a proposed workplace parking levy for Oxford.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to consider emerging proposals for the introduction of a workplace parking levy in the city.  The following documents are included:

·         House of Commons Library: Workplace Parking Levy.

·         Oxford Transport Strategy.

·         Report to Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22 November 2016.


Cllr Simmons, the Committee’s Lead Member has suggested the following lines of inquiry for this discussion:

·         Have there been any developments since the county cabinet decision on 22 November to approve the development of an outline business case for a WPL and explore a possible congestion charging scheme by October 2017?

·         Has any initial engagement been undertaken with businesses in the city about the proposed WPL?

·         What are the key lessons from the WPL in Nottingham?

·         What issues have been raised about the suitability of congestion charging for Oxford?

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services.

·         Martin Kraftl, Oxfordshire County Council.

·         Stewart Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council.




Additional documents:


Stewart Wilson from Oxfordshire County Council explained that the County’s cabinet had approved the work for a congestion charge and a workplace levy at its last meeting. Officers are at the pre-planning phase of the project and haven’t started engagement yet.


Nottingham City Council had used the money raised through a workplace levy to fund a tram system and connected bus service. Overall private vehicle numbers are down. Oxfordshire County Council has had a discussion with a previous director of Nottingham to understand issues.


Cllr Taylor asked how work place levies operate for people who need to take their car for work uses. Mr Wilson said that Nottingham’s levy has exemptions eg for hospital workers and places with fewer than 10 workers. Not sure yet whether Oxfordshire will have any exemptions.


Cllr Fry asked what the charge would be. Nottingham charges around £375 – £400 per space per year.  Employers are liable for the change and it is up to them if they pass it onto their employees. Businesses only pay for spaces they use.


Cllr Henwood said he was concerned with people parking their car in Cowley and then catching the bus into the city. Would a city centre levy be followed up with a citywide CPZ?  Mr Wilson said it was something to consider, the proposed levy was likely to be applicable to the whole of Oxford.


Cllr Chapman said that there will have to be significantly better public transport to convince people that a levy was a good idea.


Cllr Tanner said that if we do nothing parking and traffic jams will get worse. Its unlikely things will improve unless the County can bring in the levy to pay for the new schemes. eg high speed rapid buses.


We need to ask employers “do they want workers to come to work on time?” If yes, then they need to pay for dead space of car parks for more productive means. Businesses can avoid it by not providing car parking.


Cllr Fry asked if we could price variations by zones eg higher in city centre, than surrounds. Mr Wilson said it was worth considering, however businesses might move out of the city to surrounding areas to avoid the higher costs. This would mean the city could lose vitality.


Cllr Simmons asked why the County was looking at a workplace levy and not congestion charge. Mr Wilson said the County Council was looking at both.  Initial report is that a congestion change wouldn’t have the same impact or benefits as a levy.  A congestion charge costs a lot to run. The County’s focus is to raise money to improve transport links into city.



The Scrutiny Committee made the following recommendations to CEB


1.    Encourage continued exploration of both a congestion charge and a workplace parking levy.


2.    Welcomes the additional money that a levy charge would bring to improve the transport structures in the City


3.    Need to manage the Impact on the surrounding areas of a levy scheme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.


Police and Crime Panel update pdf icon PDF 122 KB


Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee requested an update on the work of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel (PCP) which exists to examine and review how the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley Anthony Stansfeld, carries out his responsibilities.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Committee to receive a briefing on the work of the PCP and provide comment.  The following documents are included:

·         Report of the Chair of Thames Valley PCP;

·         Police and Crime Plan for the Thames Valley;

·         Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel Annual Report.


The Chair has suggested the following lines of inquiry:

·         How effective are the powers available to the PCP in holding the PCC to account and how can the PCP add value?

·         What role does the PCP have in reviewing the precept and what criteria are used?

·         Does the PCP have a role in ensuring that neighbourhood police teams are adequately resourced?

·         What involvement has the PCP had in priority areas such as preventing CSE, FGM and human trafficking, and enhancing support for victims with mental health needs?

·         What are the priorities for the next Police and Crime Plan?

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Cllr Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Community Safety and Oxford City Council representative on Thames Valley PCP;

·         Clare Gray, Police and Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer.




Additional documents:


Cllr Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Community Safety and Oxford City Council’s representative on Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel (PCP) presented the report.


She explained that the Panel consists of 20 members from across the Thames Valley, 18 councillors and 2 independents. The Independent members have backgrounds in victim support and cybercrime. The panel is predominately made up of conservative members and meets in Aylesbury 6 times a year. Each meeting is themed.


The PCC has appointed Matt Barber, Leader of the Vale of White Horse as deputy. The position of deputy has been around since 2012 but the panel has not yet been informed of Mr Barber’s specific responsibilities.


Clare Gray, Police and Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer said the Thames Valley PCC budget had reduced by £88m over 6 years, a 25% saving of overall budget. Part of the budget is to consider reducing the assets of the police force eg St Aldate’s police station with proviso that there is a city centre police presence.


The Panel ran a taxi licensing themed meeting where they looked at taxi licensing issues across the Thames Valley and discussed the need for a regional database. The PCC is trying to raise the issues of the taxi licensing regime at the national level but is not getting much response.


Cllr Sinclair said she uses the panel to inform the representatives from the other districts of the issues faced in the city ie safeguarding, human trafficking. However the Panel’s powers are limited by the legislation and can only bring things to the attention of the PCC. There is very limited public interest in the process.


Cllr Henwood asked whether there were plans to have a themed meeting on safeguarding across the area. Cllr Sinclair said that the Panel’s Scrutiny Officer could propose it but safeguarding is touched on in a lot of what we already do.


The Scrutiny Committee agreed the following recommendations to CEB


That CEB suggest to the PCC that the Panel meetings are rotated around the Thames Valley to encourage public engagement and to focus on local issues.


That the PCC meetings are promoted through council media outlets.



Performance Monitoring - quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 185 KB



Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has a role in monitoring council performance and quarterly reports are provided to the Committee on a set of selected corporate and service indicators.  The Housing Panel received separate reports on housing performance.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to note and comment on performance at the end of 2016/17 quarter 3 (December 2016).  A written response to comments made by the committee on the Q2 performance report in December will be circulated separately.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Cllr Fry, lead scrutiny member for performance.




Additional documents:


Cllr Fry, Lead Member for Performance monitoring presented the report. He said he did get an officer response from the previous scrutiny comments. However there are still a lot of issues with the way that performance is monitored and presented in these reports.


He made the following comments on the performance report:

·         BI002a and B1002b – why are the targets 0?

·         CE002 – commentary – why can’t Finance provide a figure for income excluding VAT – not very useful?

·         CS003 – Presentation of information – why does commentary have to fill 2 pages.

·         PC027 –The result is 73,390 but the target is 420. And the result from last year was 2,500.  It should be explained that the target is an error.

·         PC004 – Grow in level of active participation in dance – why so specific? Would it not be better to measure How much people are using leisure centres.

·         B1001 – commentary states they have not received any data for several months – why doesn’t  the officer do more to find it out?

·         Indicators that are reported only annually (LG002) need to be presented in a separate report to quarterly one.

·         There’s a real mix of comparisons some indicators compare performance with month before others compare with the same month of year before, which was often more useful.


Cllr Simmons said that the local business spend  is off target and  needs to be raised with CEB


Cllr Hayes said that it feels that a strategy is developed, and the evaluation and monitoring measures are done as an afterthought.  Is there a good reason for monitoring to be done by one individual?. Is training given to assist these officers?


Cllr Pegg said it appears to be a huge time serving exercise.  People need to consider it important and not try and fit everything into the same box.


Cllr Henwood suggested that the relevant performance indicators should be presented at the beginning of all reports going to members.


The Scrutiny Officer explained that collating the performance monitoring report is the responsibility of the Head of Business Improvement.


Cllr Hayes said it was very important for officers to do this well and for scrutiny to see these reports.



Cllrs Fry and Chapman to meet with the Head of Business Improvement and discuss their concerns and how they reports could be improved.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Minutes from 30 January 2017


Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2017 be APPROVED as a true and accurate record.



The Committee resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January as a true and accurate record.



Cllr Pegg asked that this item be moved to the top of agenda for future meetings. The Committee agreed.


Dates of future meetings

Meetings are scheduled as followed:


Scrutiny Committee



27 March 2017

2 May 2017

6 June 2017



All meetings start at 6.00 pm.


Standing Panels

Housing Standing Panel – 1 March 2017

Finance Standing Panel – 29 March 2017




The next meeting is scheduled for 27 March 2017.