Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

To improve accessibility individual documents published after 1 May 2020 are available as HTML pages where their original format supports this

Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: Main Hall - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: John Mitchell, Committee Services Officer  email  DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

27.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

None.

28.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chair drew the Committee’s attention to a message from the head of Legal Services which advised that staffing pressures meant that attendance at all  Scrutiny Committee meetings  by a member of the legal team could not be guaranteed.

29.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 386 KB

 

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

 

Minutes:

The Committee agreed with the  Chair’s  proposal that the minutes should be amended to reflect the previous meetings agreement that scrutiny panel membership should be agreed outside the meeting. The Chair noted that this had now happened.

 

The Committee resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 08 June 2021 as a true and accurate record, subject to the amendment noted above.

 

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

 

30.

Work Plan, Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 234 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer said the Finance & Peformance Panel had meet since the last meeting and had asked to receive two reports: an update on the implementation of Aereon QL; and one seeking further information about the performance monitoring process.

 

Given the cancellation of Cabinet in August and only one item currently proposed for the August Scrutiny meeting,  the Committee agreed that it should be cancelled and that the Tourism Update item (scheduled for the August meeting) should  be moved to  the September meeting.

 

In response to a question about the desirability of Scrutiny consideration of  the performance of Leisure Centres it was noted that this was a report at the top of the list for consideration during the year.

 

 

31.

Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 (Part 2) consultation document pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 21 July, will consider a report on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 (Part 2) consultation document The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery; Adrian Arnold, Head of Planning Services; and Rachel Williams, Planning Policy & Place Manager, have been invited to attend for this item.

Please note that this report and its associated documentation are being published as two separate supplements.  The first will comprise the report and its principal appendices, the second will include supporting documentation.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery introduced the report.The papers before the Committee were being considered in parallel by the relevant Committees of all Oxfordshire’s District Councils and the County Council. At this stage all that was being sought was agreement to proceed with a formal consultation exercise for a plan which would set out a vision and planning framework for the County for the period until  2050.

Given that the consultation document had had to accommodate the views of all the parties involved over several iterations, and been produced at some speed, it was difficult to provide a text which ensured perfection at this stage. Adrian Arnold, Head of Planning Services said this had been a very extensive and complex piece of work which had had to be refined up to the last minute.

The plan had to strike a balance between the need to reflect a position which was appropriate and applicable across the County while at the same time not cutting across matters which were proper to individual Local Plans.  This was well illustrated in relation to affordable housing where there was agreement about some overarching principles but that the detail of policy was better agreed on a local basis. 

A meeting of the authorities’ planning officers would take place  in a few weeks’ time to confirm any editorial changes to the current text ahead of the consultation in the light of  these and the parallel discussions now taking place. Furthermore, once the consultation was underway, the Council, as a consultee, could make further suggestions for improvement.  Officers will take away detailed comments made and ensure that they are reflected either in the editorial changes ahead of consultation or in the Council’s response to the consultation.

The Committee made a number of detailed observations about the consultation proposals. The desirability of assessing the need for   travellers’ sites (given the significant draw, for example, of hospitals in the City) while important, was proper to Local Plans rather than the Oxfordshire Plan. It was suggested that there may be a contradiction between policy options 10 and 16, and not wanting to limit the use of Green Belt land for leisure and recreational use. Officers agreed to consider this. Policy option 13 made no reference to the desirability of preserving parks and open play spaces which was regrettable given the importance of them for those who do not have ready access to open/green space. This was another matter which was more proper to Local Plans. It was noted however that the importance of open spaces and related health matters where very high on the agendas of all the councils involved and was likely to be reflected in the next document which would  come before the Committee in due course as a set of draft policies.

There was concern at the navigability of the consultation document once launched. The Committee was reassured that the final, published, version would be professionally  produced, complete with relevant hyper links  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Strategy pdf icon PDF 366 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 21 July, will consider a report on the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Strategy. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford; and  Mish Tullar, Head of Corporate Strategy have been invited to attend for this item. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, introduced the report which sought approval to proceed with commissioning the Council’s EV strategy. This would  shape a citywide approach to EV charging provision by Charge Point Operators and determine the Council’s own future role in the EV world, one in which it had some agency. He would be pleased to return to Scrutiny in March 2022  to discuss the strategy once complete. 

The Committee raised a number of questions and comments about the report. The inclusion of some references to accessibility, not seen in an earlier draft, were most welcome. Further references to innovation in new vehicles and the desirability of ensuring accessibility in hire schemes (such as Co Wheels) and scooter schemes would be helpful . Motability use of electric vehicles is very limited and the Council might use its position of influence to encourage a more flexible approach. The reference to the EV charging infrastructure to be “a vehicle for inclusivity and unobstructive to those making the use of pavements” was welcome and could be usefully linked with the question at 32 g of the report with a reference, for example, to the need for accessible green transport.  It would be helpful for the strategy to take account of the Centre for Social Justice’s recommendations on transport and its recent report on disability. The term vulnerable drivers might be better replaced by “Drivers with protected characteristics and other needs”. In relation to destination charging there would perhaps be merit in enabling residents to make use of some of those charging points at a reduced rate at non-peak times.

Paragraphs 16 and 17, making the connection between electric vehicles and the wish to reduce the number of vehicles in the City overall, were seen to be key and a greater emphasis on the connection between them would be helpful. In response the Committee was reminded that this was not intended as a scoping document but rather a Cabinet report to set the context for the strategy commissioning process.

The Committee suggested that the paper needed to address the question of priorities. This was the subject of discussion concluding with a vote in favour of a proposal, as recorded below.

The final costs of the EV charging rollout were likely to be very considerable but it was not possible at this stage to quantify them. Implementation would be through a mix of private sector and public funding, with the majority likely to be via the private sector.

In relation to the eventual financing of EV charge point installation it was desirable that it should be subject to some ethical funding principles in recognition, for example, of the exploitation of some companies of the “Global South”. It was likely that there would be opportunities for ODS to contribute to the installation of EV charge point infrastructure to the benefit of everyone as well as acting as a market disruptor, a market which, if left to its own devices,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Scrutiny of Council Companies pdf icon PDF 155 KB

The Committee is recommended to:

1.    Note the revised executive arrangements for the governance of the Council’s companies and joint ventures;

2.    Note that proposed changes to the Constitution will be presented to the 26 July Council meeting following consultation with political groups;

3.    Agree how Scrutiny will engage with the shareholder function under these revised arrangements, with reference to paragraphs 16-19; and

4.    Agree to amend the Scrutiny Operating Principles to remove the rule that Standing Panel and Review Group Chairs must be members of the Scrutiny Committee and instead state  that Standing Panel and Review Group Chairs will be accountable to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the proposals for a revised approach to the scrutiny of Council Companies were informed by a recent internal audit of the companies’ governance  arrangements by the Council’s internal auditors, BDO.  The Committee agreed that the revised arrangements would provide improved opportunities and better scrutiny of  Council Companies.

It was agreed that decisions about clerking the Companies Scrutiny Panel  and the consequences of that in terms of the Scrutiny Officer’s capacity  to undertake other work on behalf of the Committee needed further consideration.

Scrutiny Committee resolved to:

1.    Note the revised executive arrangements for the governance of the Council’s companies and joint ventures;

2.    Note that proposed changes to the Constitution will be presented to the 26 July Council meeting following consultation with political groups;

3.    Agree that members of the Companies Scrutiny Panel would seek to attend Shareholder and Joint Venture Group meetings, that Companies Scrutiny Panel meetings would continue to take place prior to Shareholder and Joint Venture Group meetings as a more informal way of agreeing issues to discuss, which would be supported by the Scrutiny Officer; and

4.    Agree to amend the Scrutiny Operating Principles to remove the rule that Standing Panel and Review Group Chairs must be members of the Scrutiny Committee and instead state that Standing Panel and Review Group Chairs will be accountable to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

34.

Operating Principles pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Committee is recommended to:

1.    Agree the Committee Operating Principles, which have been amended  to take account of comments made at the previous meeting (amendments in green).

 

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to agree the amended operating principles.

 

35.

Topics for Scrutiny Commissioned Reports pdf icon PDF 226 KB

The Committee is recommended to:

1.    Comment on and agree topics for Scrutiny commissioned reports on the basis of the suggestions previously provided by the Committee; and

2.    Note the feedback from the monitoring officer regarding the request to make pre-report suggestions on the EV Strategy report and others

Please note, this report will be published as a supplement

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report  which set out proposals for which reports the Committee might commission during the year. It was agreed that the “Empty Houses in Oxford” topic was not recommended for inclusion but that it could reasonably be inserted as a sub heading for a housing report which was recommended for inclusion.

The Committee Resolved to agree:

1.    The list of priority topics as  given in Appendix 1 of the report for Scrutiny Commissioned reports subject to including the red-listed report on empty homes within an alternative report, while noting that the Scrutiny Officer will apportion those topics to the relevant dates and forums for consideration; and

2.    That the priority topic for a Review Group should be Child Poverty and that a scope would come to the Committee’s September meeting for agreement.

 

 

36.

Report back on recommendations pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Cabinet on 16 June considered Scrutiny recommendations in relation to Safeguarding and the Countywide Transformation of Homelessness & Rough Sleeping. The Cabinet responses to those recommendations are attached.

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted Cabinet’s responses to its previous recommendations.

 

The Committee also noted that the extent to which agreed recommendations were implemented was not always clear.  The Scrutiny Officer agreed to explore two options: the addition of an “action to be taken” column in the Cabinet response sheet; and the establishment of a process to feedback on action taken when a subject returns to the Committee.

 

37.

Dates of future meetings

Meetings are scheduled as followed:

 

Scrutiny Committee

 

03 August 2021

08 September 2021

05 October 2021

02 November 2021

06 December 2021

All meetings start at 6.00 pm.

 

Standing Panels

Housing & Homelessness: 04 August, 06 October;  04 November

Finance & Performance: 08 July; 02 August; 06 September; 08 December

Companies: 20 July; 24 November; 13 December  (NB, these dates are subject to the Committee’s decisions in agenda item 8)

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Scrutiny Committee

 

·       03 August 2021 . This meeting is now cancelled

·       08 September 2021

·       05 October 2021

·       02 November 2021

·       06 December 2021

All meetings start at 6.00 pm.

 

Standing Panels

Housing & Homelessness: 02 September, 06 October;  02 November*

Finance & Performance: 08 July; 02 August; 06 September; 08 December

Companies: 20 July; 24 November; 13 December 

 

*revised date

 

38.

Matters Exempt from Publication

If the Committee wishes to exclude the press and the public from the meeting during consideration of any of the items on the exempt from publication part of the agenda, it will be necessary for the Committee to pass a resolution in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 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.

The Committee may maintain the exemption if and so long as, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

 

 

Minutes:

No matters were considered in confidential session.