Agenda and draft minutes
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Venue: Assembly Room - Oxford Town Hall. View directions
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Note: First meeting of the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel
Election of Chairman for the Scrutiny Panel
Councillor Hallett proposed and Councillor Smith seconded the election of Councillor Gant as Chair of the Panel. There being no other nominations, the proposal was agreed on being put to the vote.
Councillor Andrew Gant was elected as Chair of the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel until the end of the Growth Board’s 2018/19 year.
Election of Vice Chairman for the Scrutiny Panel
Councillor Henwood proposed and Councillor Simmons seconded the election of Councillor Henwood as Vice-Chair of the Panel. There being no other nominations, the proposal was agreed on being put to the vote.
Councillor David Henwood was elected as Vice-Chair of the Growth Board Scrutiny Panel until the end of the Growth Board’s 2018/19 year.
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Councillors Carter, Gaul, Harvey, Prestidge, Turner and Woodcock.
Councillor Cooper (SODC) attended as Councillor Turner’s substitute.
Councillor Hallchurch (Cherwell) attended as Councillor Gaul’s substitute.
Declarations of interest
There were no declarations.
Purpose and recommendation:
· to consider and adopt the proposed terms of reference for the Scrutiny Panel (circulated separately); and
· to consider and agree any matters not covered in the draft terms of reference relevant to the operation and management of Scrutiny Panel meetings.
The Panel considered their draft terms of reference and discussed and noted the points below.
The intention that the Panel scrutinise emerging policy and forthcoming decisions in advance of the Growth Board, as set out on paragraph 8.1, should be reflected in the wording of paragraph 1.1.
There was no call-in power as the decision making process needed to be rapid enough to meet key milestones in the Deal and a call-in to the Panel introduced significant delay. This did not prevent the Panel working in advance of the Growth Board, and the Panel should take a pro-active approach and have an early input into forthcoming decisions. Individual local authorities still retained call-in powers over their Executive members’ decisions.
The Panel was not a Committee under the LGA 2000 as the make-up of it does not comply with the rules for forming a statutory committee; therefore it sets its own rules mirroring as far as practicable the legislation. This includes for avoidance of confusion the same rules about access to information and exclusion of the public as apply to formal committees.
Panel meetings should be scheduled between the publication of the Growth Board’s agenda and its meeting. Officers were encouraged to publish papers in a timely fashion and reduce reliance on verbal updates, late papers or presentations.
Paragraph 4.3 should be revised to: Meetings may be rearranged, cancelled or additional meetings scheduled with the agreement of the Chair.
Introducing a time limit and changing the quorum rules were discussed. The Panel agreed to make no changes at this time, but keep under review. The quorum rules mean that those unable to attend must try to send a substitute.
The Panel agreed to adopt the proposed terms of reference for the Scrutiny Panel with the following changes:
1.1 The purpose of the Oxfordshire Growth Board Scrutiny Panel is to review and scrutinise plans, proposals and decisions to be taken and actions taken in connection with the discharge of the Growth Board’s functions and the delivery of the agreed Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. The Scrutiny Panel will perform a ‘check and balance’ and ‘critical friend’ function to the Growth Board through the review of key policies, decisions and strategic objectives.
4.3 Meetings may be rearranged, cancelled or additional meetings scheduled with the agreement of the Chair. (remainder deleted) .
Notes from the Oxfordshire Growth Board Advisory Sub-Groups - discussion
Purpose: To consider any matters arising from the recommendations from the Advisory Sub-Groups not covered above. (Notes from the JSSP and Housing Sub-Groups circulated separately: the Infrastructure Sub-group meets after this meeting).
To make any recommendations to the Growth Board.
The Panel heard verbal reports about the first meetings of the Sub-Groups from Caroline Green (Interim Deal Director), Paul Staines (Growth Board Partnership Programme Manager) and Sue Halliwell (Director for Planning & Place).
Caroline Green explained that the Growth Board host authority would be responsible for providing support for the Panel’s scrutiny work, so South Oxfordshire DC was recruiting a part-time Scrutiny Officer. The Deal team planned to recruit a committee secretary for the Growth Board and all associated meetings.
The inaugural meetings of the Sub-Groups received briefings about the Deal and their work and discussed their work plans.
Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP)
The Sub-Group agreed its terms of reference and an initial meeting schedule and considered initial JSSP documents to be approved by the five planning authorities.
Housing and Affordable Housing
The Sub-Group agreed its terms of reference and an initial meeting schedule and discussed a briefing on the Year 1 and Year 2-5 affordable housing and infrastructure programmes and affordable housing delivery. They noted that the individual programmes for affordable housing were developed and approved by each district council. There was a wish to consider how to encourage innovative models for affordable and market housing.
The Sub-Group would meet after the Panel and would consider the Quarter 1 report for the Deal infrastructure programme along with projects such as rail improvements, the expressway and the Local Transport Plan.
The Panel noted they would receive the Sub-Group notes to allow them to align their work plans with those of the groups, add visibility to the groups’ work, and allow discussion with the groups as required to conduct effective scrutiny and input into decisions going to the Growth Board.
The Chair reassured the Panel that he intended to attend the Growth Board meetings to report the Panel’s recommendations and any areas of challenge to the Board’s proposed decisions.
The Panel agreed that in future they would consider the notes from the Sub-Groups as part of their consideration of the Growth Board agenda and not as a separate item.
Oxfordshire Growth Board 25 September - discussion
Purpose: To consider reports and matters to be considered at the Oxfordshire Growth Board meeting on 25 September (published on 17 September separately from this agenda).
To make any recommendations to the Growth Board.
The Panel considered the agenda and reports published in advance of the Growth Board meeting on 25 September.
The Panel noted:
· Work on the Deal was moving into a delivery phase.
· There was a developing discussion around linking housing growth, transport networks, and creating environmental and social value.
· The proposed expressway was not part of the Deal or the strategic plans developed within the county, but had a direct and significant impact on these plans. In particular it impacted on the JSSP and the Local Industrial Strategy. Comments were made about the need to improve publicity and transparency in relation to the Expressway and the need and whether the synergies with rail have been explored thoroughly enough.
· The Growth Board’s role was to take proper account of this and provide a collective view to influence as far as reasonable these decisions made at national level.
The Panel commented:
· The Growth Board website should be kept up to date, recognising the competing pressures on officers’ time, as this was a key source of information.
· A single point allowing access to all the Deal documents, associated strategies, the JSSP, and supporting information would be useful.
Work programme for the Scrutiny Panel
Purpose: to discuss the scope, suggest areas of enquiry and monitoring, and agree an outline of the Panel’s work plan.
Once formulated, the work plan will be reviewed at each meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Panel and take account of any changes to the latest Oxfordshire Growth Board’s Forward Plan (circulated with the papers for the Growth Board)
Recommendation: The Panel is asked to:
· suggest items for consideration;
· agree a method by which officers can create an initial work plan for the 2018/19 council year in consultation with the Scrutiny Panel Chairman; and
· consider this at the next meeting.
The Panel considered items and lines of enquiry for its work programme.
Stefan Robinson, Oxford City Council Scrutiny Officer, outlined principles for agreeing a manageable and effective work plan.
Panel members suggested scrutinising:
· How to strengthen the social and environmental value of growth.
· The quarterly reports to Government on progress against key milestones including evidence gathering; progress against targets; and reasons behind good and poor progress.
· Affordable housing models and faster delivery of higher numbers of affordable houses.
· The effectiveness of the proposed housing prospectus and event in engaging developers and registered social landlords in the Year 2 –Year 5 programme.
· The Local Industrial Strategy.
· The effectiveness of public participation: how the Growth Board is engaging the public in its work and promoting transparency and public awareness.
The Panel agreed:
· Panel members should send further suggested topics to Scrutiny Officer at DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk
· The Oxford City Council Scrutiny Officer and Deal programme officers would prepare and prioritise a list of items including those above to present to the Panel at the next meeting to allow the development of a work programme.
 Added 6/11/18 to correct omission from minutes
Dates of meetings
The Scrutiny Panel should meet in the week before the Growth Board meetings on:
Tuesday 27 November
Tuesday 29 January
Tuesday 26 March
Tuesday 4 June
Recommendation: to agree a pattern of dates and times of meetings for the municipal year, and authorise the clerk to organise meetings of the Panel in consultation with the Chairman.
The Panel agreed:
· to meet on 22 November at 6.30pm in Oxford (location to be agreed);
· to meet 3 working days before the Growth Board meeting (meet on the Thursday preceding a Growth Board on a Tuesday) generally at 6.30pm;
· arrange such other meetings as may be required by their remit and work plan.