Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of interest




Chair's Announcements


The Chair reminded the Committee of the valuable role it had to play as a critical friend, working collaboratively and, where relevant,  concluding with constructive  recommendations on the basis of consensus.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 482 KB


Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 08 September 2021be APPROVED as a true and accurate record.



The Committee resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 08 September as a true and accurate record.


Work Plan and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 224 KB

The work plan is driven to a very large extent by the Cabinet Forward Plan a summary of which is attached. The Scrutiny Committee agrees its priorities for items coming onto the Forward Plan, which then form part of its work plan.


The Committee is recommended to:


1.    Confirm its agreement to the current priorities and the work plan both of which are attached.






Additional documents:


The Scrutiny Officer reminded the Committee of the interrelationship between the Cabinet Forward Plan, the Committee’s workplan and its priorities. The timetabling  of Cabinet reports  meant that the Committee would not always be in a position to consider all of those reports in which it might have an interest.   Final decisions about the Committee’s workplan would always rest with the Committee.


Agreed that the substantive items proposed for the November meeting of the Committee should now be: Workplace Equalities & Action Plan; East Oxford Community Centre and Housing Development; and Anti-Social Behaviour Policy (subject to any changes which may be made to the Cabinet Forward Plan in the meantime).



Annual Air Quality Status Report pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Cllr Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport & Zero Carbon Oxford; Mish Tullar, Head of Corporate Strategy; Amanda Ford, Environmental Quality Team Manager; and Pedro Abreu, Air Quality Officer have been invited to attend for this item.

Consideration by the Committee in October 2020 of the previous annual report did not conclude with any recommendations to Cabinet.

Additional documents:


Pedro Abreu, Air Quality Officer, introduced the annual report which  fulfilled a statutory duty and provided an overview of all monitoring data for the year and an update in relation to the  air quality actions set out in the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025. 

The previous year had been atypical given the consequences of Covid and significantly reduced traffic volumes. As a result of this, for the first time since air quality monitoring started in Oxford, there were significant reductions in air pollution levels and the city had been compliant with all short and long term UK air quality objectives. The highest annual mean however continued to be in St Clements.

The Committee noted the importance of being able to monitor the consequences of the introduction of LTNs on air pollution, particularly where traffic had been displaced as a result. The Air Quality Officer said that working in partnership with the County Council, air quality was being measured at an additional 16 sites to capture the consequences of LTNs. In discussion it was noted that while measuring values within an LTN was likely to  be directly attributable to the LTN, measuring those outside it might well be the consequence of other unrelated traffic flow considerations. A detailed briefing on air quality for all Councillors would take place the following day.

Live, accessible,  reporting a of air quality  was agreed to be of potentially great benefit for the city’s residents and might usefully extend to the provision of real time alerts. It was a source of regret that there were only three live monitoring points in the city. The Air Quality Officer confirmed the intention to make the live data available in due course - as part of the development of a new air quality website for Oxfordshire, a joint project that is being delivered by Oxford City Council together with the other District Councilss. He noted however that the number of live reporting instruments was constrained by their considerable expense and other costs associated with their use. While a considerable number of air monitoring devices were commercially  available, not all were reliable. Monitoring for the purposes of the statutory return necessitated the  consistent use of devices of a recognised quality to ensure valid and comparable data over time. Data from the city’s 71 diffusion tubes -provide monthly means, which are then aggregated into an annual mean for comparison against the NO2 air quality mean limit value.

Concerns about the use of wood burning stoves would be addressed by information programmes to draw attention to the impact of their use and advice about best practice in relation to their use.

Given the role of the County Council as highways authority, the importance of a close working relationship with it was recognised and the Air Quality Officer confirmed that there was close co-operation in relation to analysing the consequences of LTNs. He noted that at least 9 months of continuous monitoring were needed before any firm conclusions could be drawn.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Reports for approval pdf icon PDF 309 KB

A report from the Housing & Homelessness Panel in relation to Q1 performance is attached for the Committee’s consideration before submission to Cabinet.


Councillor Linda Smith, as Chair of the Housing & Homelessness Panel, spoke briefly to the Panel’s report on Housing Performance in Q1. The presence of tenant ambassadors at the meeting had been of great value and, indeed, the one recommendation to Cabinet (increasing the breadth and depth of engagement  with the Lived Experience Advisory Forum) had come from them. She was pleased to report that tenant ambassadors were to be invited, as a matter of course, to subsequent meetings of the Panel in the current Council year. 

The Committee  agreed that the report should now go forward to Cabinet.



Report back on recommendations and from Scrutiny Panel meetings pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 15 September, gave responses to the Scrutiny recommendations on the Domestic Abuse Review Group; Urban Forest Strategy and QL Implementation, copies of which are attached.


Responses to the EV Strategy and Social Value in Procurement are awaited.


There have been no Panel meetings since the last Committee meeting.

Additional documents:


Domestic Abuse Review Group

The Chair said that this significant report had been well received by Cabinet and an update on progress with implementation of recommendations was expected in March. 

Members of the Committee were reminded that if they had any concerns about a safeguarding matter and were unsure of how to respond they should contact LizJones (07485325798)

Urban Forest Strategy

The Chair said that the three recommendations recorded  had, for the most part, been positively received and agreed by Cabinet. It was noted that  the report had omitted reference to the importance of enabling, through permitting, on street parking outside homes as a means of deterring the conversion of gardens into driveways.

QL Implementation

Cllr Fry, as Chair of the Finance & Performance Panel, was pleased with the positive response from Cabinet and its agreement to the Panel’s two recommendations. He was pleased, also, to note that an audit of  QL’s implementation was to be held at some point.

Social Value in Procurement

Cllr Fry said that while a formal response had yet to be received, all indications were that Cabinet was well disposed towards the two recommendations.

EV Strategy

The Chair said that a formal response to the Committee’s recommendations was still awaited. It was noted that there was a requirement for a response to be provided within two months and it was anticipated that one would be given in time for Cabinet in December.





Review Group Scope pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Attached is the draft scope for Scrutiny’s chosen Review Group topic, child poverty. The Committee is asked to agree the scope and make a number of other practical arrangements.


Additional documents:


The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report which set out the proposed scope of the review group on Child Poverty.  He drew particular attention to the option of commissioning this review group in partnership with the County Council given its access to many of the key levers in relation to child welfare and related matters. The principle of involving the County was agreed to be worthwhile. It was not therefore possible, yet, to confirm who should Chair the review group. If, however, it fell to the City Council to appoint as seemed likely,  it was agreed that the Chair should be Cllr Djafari-Marbini, who should otherwise serve as  Lead Member.  The other members of the review group, nominated by the Labour Group, would be Cllr Rehman and Dunne with the latter standing aside in the event that only four City Council members were to participate.

The Committee agreed that ways should be found of ensuring that the voice of children and young people is heard as part of the review.

The Committee resolved to:

1.    Agree the draft scope, subject to points made above;

2.    Agree that the County Council should be invited to join the  Review Group;

3.    Agree the membership level as set out in the report  and  accept the nominations for membership given at the meeting and those which will subsequently be given to the Scrutiny Officer by the Liberal Democrat and Green groups;

4.    Agree that Cllr Djafari-Marbini should Chair or be the lead member of the Review Group; and

5.    Note that further amendments may be required in the event of the County Council accepting the opportunity to contribute to the review, and agree that such changes be delegated to the Chair in discussion with the Scrutiny Officer.


Development of land at South Oxford Science Village (Land South of Grenoble Road) pdf icon PDF 527 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 13 October , will consider a report on the Development of land at South Oxford Science Village. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery; Cllr Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance & Asset Management; Carolyn Ploszynski, Head of Regeneration & Economy; and Jenny Barker, Regeneration Manager,  have been invited to attend for this item. 


Additional documents:


Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery, introduced the report which provided an update on proposals for the development of land in partnership with Magdalen College and Thames Water. The report set out options for delivery of the scheme and the rationale for the preferred option. 

The Committee then passed a resolution in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012to exclude the press and the public from the meeting during consideration of the rest of the item on the grounds that their presence could involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in specific paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.





Dates of future meetings

Scrutiny Committee


·       02 November 2021

·       06 December 2021


Standing Panels

Housing & Homelessness: 06 October; 04 November

Finance & Performance: 08 December

Companies: 14 October; 24 November


All meetings start at 6.00 pm.




Scrutiny Committee


·       02 November 2021

·       06 December 2021


Standing Panels

Housing & Homelessness: 06 October; 04 November

Finance & Performance: 08 December

Companies: 18 October; 24 November


All meetings start at 6.00 pm.