Agenda and minutes
To improve accessibility individual documents published after 1 May 2020 are available as HTML pages where their original format supports this
Venue: Long Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Lucy Brown, Committee and Member Services Officer email DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk
Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest made.
There were no announcements.
Minutes from 07 June 2023
Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 07 June 2023be APPROVED as a true and accurate record.
The Committee resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 07 June 2023 as a true and accurate record.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 12 July 2023, will consider a report from the Executive Director (Communities and People) on progress made on Oxford City Council’s Safeguarding Action Plan for 2022/23 and presenting an updated Safeguarding Policy for 2023-26. Cllr Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Richard Adams, Community Safety Manager and Laura Jones, Safeguarding Coordinator, have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations.
Cllr Jarvis arrived at the meeting.
The Committee agreed to take items 7, 8 and 9 next on the agenda, followed by items 5, 6 and 10.
Cllr Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, presented the report which reported on progress made on Oxford City Council’s Safeguarding Action Plan for 2022/23 and presented an updated Safeguarding Policy for 2023-26. She highlighted that the annual report to Cabinet sets out how Oxford City Council would fulfil its statutory safeguarding duties and the new processes put in place for this year to deliver this function more effectively.
Cllr Aziz, Richard Adams, Community Safety Manager, Laura Jones, Safeguarding Coordinator and Ian Wright, Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety, answered questions as follows:
· Safeguarding Champions attend quarterly internal Strategic Safeguarding meetings to review safeguarding concerns and best practice scenarios.
· Trends identified through MyConcern, outcomes from the annual staff safeguarding questionnaire, or trends identified from Board meetings, are incorporated into the training for Safeguarding Champions. Trainers meet quarterly to update the training material to ensure it is up to date.
· Any allegations made against Safeguarding Champions would go to a designated safeguarding lead, as per the Safeguarding Policy and Allegations Policy procedures.
· The Council’s safeguarding coordination function moved from the Policy and Partnership Team to the Community Safety Service, within Regulatory Services and Community Safety.
· The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Child Exploitation Subgroup meetings, attended by the Community Safety Manager, receive quarterly reports detailing trends in child exploitation safeguarding concerns, which would include information gathered from language schools, however it would be dependent on the language school to report any concerns raised. However, languages schools are overseen by Oxfordshire County Council Education Safeguarding Advisory Team, and Oxford City Council works closely with them.
· The only significant changes to the policy were to governance and the change of responsibilities within the team. The section outlining procedures had been taken out and put into a separate document for the policy to read in a more structured way.
· All staff received full safeguarding training and would refer to the procedure document when raising any concerns. A summary was available for staff on the intranet page.
· When adults are moved from exploitive situations, they would be supported by a multi-agency response team, supported by the Council’s Anti-Slavery Coordinator. Further detail on the types of removal were not included within the report.
· Longitudinal studies for local data was not available, however this could be followed up with the Anti-Slavery Coordinator to ascertain whether it could be produced and included within future reports.
· Contextual data regarding the number of adult exploitation cases would be provided in future reports.
· The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) Accreditation project was currently underway, and works across the whole organisation and further information could be provided at a future Scrutiny Committee meeting.
Cllr Arshad arrived at the meeting.
In response to a question regarding the responsibility of ensuring any youth group organisations commissioned by the Council had adequate safeguarding policies and practices in place, ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 12 July 2023, will consider a report from the Executive Director (Development) seeking Cabinet approval to participate in the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership (OIEP) Charter and endorsement of a series of Oxford City Council pledges. Cllr Susan Brown, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy and Partnerships, Clayton Lavallin, Economic Development Team Leader and Emma Coles, Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership Manager, have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations.
Clayton Lavallin, Economic Development Team Leader and Emma Coles, Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership Manager, presented the report which sought Cabinet approval to participate in the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership (OIEP) Charter and the endorsement of a series of Oxford City Council pledges. It was further highlighted that the partnership was a county-wide group that brought together employers, business, education, community groups and local government, aimed to reduce economic inequality across the county and was supported and funded by all of the Councils across Oxfordshire.
Oxford City Council had set out thirteen pledges across five of the six available themes of which it was already engaging with through its respective service areas under the Council’s corporate plan.
Clayton Lavallin and Emma Coles answered questions as follows:
· A full list of pledges was available on the Future Oxfordshire Partnership website.
· It was proposed that the Council initially focus on a range of already identified activities as pledges in order to greater enhance successful outcomes. Service Heads had focused on areas where evidenced improvement could be shown, rather than signing up to all pledges where the Council was successful in its current working practices.
· The proposed pledges aligned with the main corporate objectives and would support the Council in developing good practice across the County.
· Pledges would be reviewed regularly, and more could be agreed as part of improving services across the Council.
· A further review of the 39 pledges could be undertaken with Service Heads to ensure that opportunities had not been missed and better communication regarding the process of how pledges had been determined would be beneficial.
· The Working Group could review pledges that include only buying from organisations that have trade union recognition included within their procurement policies as any work with Unions was especially welcomed by the OIEP.
· An impact report would be produced on the pledges, and the employees and the communities that they work with.
· The Council’s companies have made separate pledges, recognising the different opportunities presented by their different working practices.
Cllr Corais joined the meeting.
The Committee resolved to make the following recommendations on the report for Cabinet:
1. That the Council requests that the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership ensures the full list of possible pledges is easily and prominently available online.
2. That the Council reviews the full list of possible pledges to see if it could sign-up to additional pledges; including whether the Council could sign-up to any pledges within the ‘recruit inclusively’ theme.
3. That the Council undertakes a RAG rating audit for the full list of potential pledges outlining what it could do against each one, whether there are any additional budget or resource implications, whether the Council is currently meeting a pledge or if more work needs to be done and then prioritises pledges on the basis of that audit, to provide assurance that the Council is doing as much as possible to ensure an inclusive economy.
4. That the Council engages with the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership to ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Cabinet, at its meeting on 12 July 2023, will consider a report from the Head of Business Improvement seeking approval for a new Citizen Experience Strategy 2023-25. Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies, Tom Hook, Executive Director (Corporate Resources), Helen Bishop, Head of Business Improvement and Vicki Galvin, Senior Programme Manager for Customer Experience, have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations.
Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focussed Services and Council Companies, presented the report which sought Cabinet approval for a new Citizen Experience Strategy for 2023-25 and highlighted that the Citizen Experience Strategy was more wide ranging and aspirational than the previous Customer Contact Strategy, which covered the period 2019 to 2022.
Helen Bishop, Head of Business Improvement, advised that the Strategy aligned to the Thriving Communities, Equalities, Inclusive Economy, and People Strategies to ensure this Strategy was more cultural and set a vision for modern, inclusive and accessible services.
Cllr Chapman and Helen Bishop, answered questions as follows:
· The consultation process included surveying customers contacting the Council’s customer contact centre, visitors to the front-line service at the Westgate Library and all of the Council officers involved in customer service. The equalities impact assessment provideed further information on the testing of different dimensions of the strategy with the Policy Officer Group and Equalities Steering Groups.
· The low score for customer satisfaction for those users accessing the Council’s website was noted, and had already been identified as an area for improvement.
· Whilst the score for customer satisfaction for those users of the contact centre was not low, work has been undertaken for customer service centre employees to ask more definitive questions to users to better determine successive outcomes.
· Collaborative work with the Council’s partners provided better customer service, and provided the Council’s customers with access to other organisations that were required to support specific issues not necessarily under the Council’s remit.
· The use of language to use ‘citizen’ rather than ‘customer’ was determined as a better definition to encompass all those that live in, work in and visit the City and a definition had been included within the Strategy to make this clear. However, this could be kept under review.
· Following the achievement of maintaining the Customer Service Excellence quality mark, the next annual assessment was scheduled for November 2023, and a piece of work was underway to review customer service across the organisation.
· Accessibility to council services should enable users to use both digital and face to face contact to ensure full accessibility to all citizens.
· Collaborative working with Activate Learning was being implemented to help citizens with their digital skills, and the Council would work with these citizens to promote accessibility to council services.
The Committee resolved to make the following recommendations on the report for Cabinet:
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 work plan, or agree any amendments as required.
The Committee noted the Forward Plan.
The Committee reviewed the Work Plan and confirmed its agreement to cancel the Scrutiny Committee scheduled for 01 August 2023 and confirmed it agreement to consider the following reports at future meetings:
· September Cabinet reports
o Grant Allocations to Community and Voluntary Organisations 2024/25
o Developing a Sustainable Building Control Service
o Delivery of a New Burial Space
The Committee also agreed to add the following to the list of Scrutiny-commissioned items for 2023/24 for the Scrutiny Officer to schedule into the Work Plan as appropriate:
· Adult Exploitation
The following regular/standard items for Scrutiny (based on previous years) were agreed:
· Tourism Review Group Update – if a substantive update was available
· Domestic Abuse Review Group Update
In addition the Committee agreed to request that the Climate and Environment Panel consider the following item at its September meeting:
· Delivery of EV Infrastructure for Oxford
At its meeting on 14 June 2023, Cabinet considered the following reports from Scrutiny and made responses to the recommendations:
- Housing Management System Implementation
- Tenancy Agreement
- Recommendations of the Child Poverty Review Group
Since the Scrutiny Committee’s previous meeting on 07 June 2023, the following Panels have met:
- Companies Scrutiny Panel (Shareholder and Joint Venture Group, 21 June 2023)
- Climate and Environment Panel (27 June 2023)
The Committee is asked to:
1. Note Cabinet’s responses to its recommendations.
2. Note any updates from Panel meetings.
The Chair presented the report on recommendations.
The recommendations on the Housing Management System Implementation and the Tenancy Agreement from the last meeting were agreed by Cabinet.
The Chair advised that Cabinet agreed its formal response to the Child Poverty Review Group’s 42 recommendations after they were submitted to Cabinet in June 2022, but did not specifically indicate whether it agreed, partially agreed or did not agree with the recommendations. The Chair advised that whilst there were some positive responses, and a number of the recommendations were being progressed through the work of the Council, there were some disappointing responses, particularly around the recommendations that the Council develops a dedicated Poverty Strategy and looks to adopt the Socio-economic Duty.
Cllrs Fry and Altaf-Khan left the meeting and did not return.
Cllr Mike Rowley, Companies Scrutiny Panel Chair provided an update of the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group held on 21 June 2023. He stated that further analysis was required to ensure that the responsibility for future costs for maintaining the infrastructure and communal areas was confirmed, and in particular if there would be a common strategy for all Joint Ventures or whether there would be a bespoke approach for each. It was suggested that this could be an area of Scrutiny-commissioned work.
The Scrutiny Officer updated the Committee on the first Climate and Environment Panel of the municipal year on 27 June 2023. The membership for 2023/24 was Cllrs Hollingsworth (Chair), Dunne, Kerr and Miles. The Panel considered the Work Plan of the Panel for the year ahead, and agreed to focus on the following themes alongside consideration of relevant Cabinet reports and a number of standing items as per the Panel’s scope:
· Tree planting and maintenance
· Energy generation/solar potential on Council buildings
· Air pollution
· Council policies/projects/actions
· Waste – dependent on Government timescales.
In addition, the Panel considered the draft Carbon Reduction and Sustainable Retrofit Guidance for Historic Buildings Technical Advice Note and received a Biodiversity Update presentation. The discussions were wide ranging and constructive, leading to the formulation of 7 recommendations on the TAN tem and 4 recommendations on the Biodiversity Update item – all of which would be submitted to Cabinet for formal responses in July.
The Committee noted the responses to the recommendations and updates from Panel meetings.
Dates of future meetings
· 01 August 2023
· 05 September 2023
· 10 October 2023
· 06 November 2023
· 04 December 2023
· 16 January 2024
· 06 February 2024
· 04 March 2024
· 11 April 2024
Housing & Homelessness: 05 July 2023; 02 August 2023; 05 October 2023; 02 November 2023; 07 March 2024
Finance & Performance: 06 September 2023; 06 December 2023; 22 January 2024; 26 March 2024
Climate & Environment: 07 September 2023; 22 November 2023; 27 February 2024; 20 March 2024
Companies Scrutiny Panel will meet on the same dates as the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group (SJVG): 27 July 2023; 01 November 2023; 07 December 2023; 27 March 2024; 24 April 2024
All meetings start at 6.00 pm.
The dates of future meetings were noted, including that the Scrutiny Committee in August 2023 was cancelled due to no business.