Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: Remote (Zoom)

Contact: Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer  email

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Councillor Landell Mills tendered apologies for the meeting.


Declarations of Interest




Announcements and verbal updates from the Chair and/or the Scrutiny Officer

Announcements and verbal updates on matter relevant to the agenda items or to the operation of the Panel from the Chair; Scrutiny Officer; or with the Chair’s permission from other officers in attendance.


The Chair reported the success of the previous meeting of the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group and expressed support for Scrutiny remaining part of it.  


Notes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 263 KB

Recommendation: that the open and confidential notes of the meeting held on 24 November 2021 be approved.

Additional documents:


The record of the meeting of 24 November 2021 was AGREED.


Items to be considered in private

Items to be considered in private - matters exempt from publication


If the Panel 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 or at any other point in the meeting, it will be necessary for the Panel to pass a resolution to that effect 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 Panel 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.


The Panel resolved to move into private session following the presentation of the public report on the grounds that the presence of the public would likely involve the disclosure of exempt information in accordance with paragraph 3, Part 1, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.



Tree Planting and Management pdf icon PDF 233 KB

The Scrutiny Committee has asked the Companies Scrutiny Panel to consider a report concerning tree planting and management by ODS, specifically in light of discussions arising from the Council’s Urban Forest Strategy. ODS representatives Laura Harlock, Parks and Open Spaces Manager, Jason Munro, Head of Service (Operations), and Simon Howick, Managing Director, have been invited to attend for this item.

The Panel is asked to consider the report, NOTE it, and AGREE any recommendations the Panel may wish to make to the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group or to the Cabinet.


Simon Howick, ODS Chief Executive, Jason Munro, ODS Director of Operations, and Laura Harlock, ODS Parks and Open Spaces Manager presented a Scrutiny-commissioned report on Tree Management to the Panel.

The Council’s Tree Policy arose from a near-miss with an individual, following which a more rigorous and systematic system of surveying and managing trees was implemented.

The ODS Tree Service services the c 100,000 Council-owned trees on a three-year basis, surveying them all and developing a prioritised plan of works. Ad hoc inspections also took place. It is also responsible for surveying the County Council’s trees though a s.42 and s.42+ agreement. The Service is also responsible for planting of trees, and emergency work such as during storms. The team is made up of three people, with a fourth seasonal worker in the spring and summer months.

The Service’s tree planning on average involves the planting of approximately 90 trees per annum with a view to replacing in wards where practicable trees previously felled. The seasonal worker who is responsible for this is currently at maximum capacity, so additional tree planting would require investment in additional staff or equipment.

Councillors requested that the schedule for ward visits be made available to them, which was agreed.

Members also asked about how the capacity of the team was impacted by the secondment of one of the three full time staff to Oxford City Council. Careful planning had allowed this to work, but did cause a slight pressure when remaining staff were taking holiday. Regular surveying did also mean that when storms came, it created lower peaks of remedial work afterwards.

The balance between ad hoc and scheduled surveys was explored. Ad hoc surveys had halved in regularity since the Policy was implemented, and ran at about 12 per week.

Clarification over who was responsible for undertaking works on or ultimately replanting damaged trees was raised. In the end it came down to tree ownership; a tree owned by the Council would be the Council’s responsibility, but one in private ownership would not. Likewise, the Council did undertake surveying of County Council trees, but it would not then undertake the works required unless done so via a further contract.

The report was NOTED and no recommendations were made.

Jason Munro and Laura Harlock left the meeting at the end of this item.

NB There are confidential minutes associated with this item.




Shareholder and Joint Venture Group reports

Shareholder and Joint Venture Group reports for consideration are are listed separately below.


Minutes of the consideration of the relevant Shareholder and Joint Venture Group reports are detailed below.


ODS reports

To consider the ODS reports to the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group meeting on 20 December 2021, of which there are two.

The Panel is asked to consider the report and AGREE the questions or issues it wishes to raise at the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group meeting.

Simon Howick, ODS Managing Director, will be present to support the presentation of this report and answer any questions arising.



Minutes below


OCHL report

No OCHL report is scheduled for this meeting.



Barton Report

No Barton report is scheduled for this meeting.



OxWED report

No OxWED report is scheduled for this meeting.



ODS minutes


Simon Howick, ODS Chief Executive, Tim Sadler, ODS Chairman, and Gregor Budde, ODS Financial Director, presented the ODS report to the Panel.

The Panel AGREED that the following recommendations would be taken up at the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group:


1)    That future development of the score card includes environmental and sustainability elements.

2)      That the SJVG requests a review from Council and ODS to assess how the depot project took such a long time to make a decision over Redbridge, one which was ultimately negative.


NB There are confidential minutes for this item.





OxWED minutes


No report to consider


Barton minutes


No report to consider.



OCHL minutes


No report to consider.



Date of the Next Meeting

Meetings are scheduled to be held on:


24 March 2022 (OCHL, Barton and OxWED)

07 April 2022 (ODS)


The Panel is also asked to note that an additional meeting is likely to be arranged around early February to consider an OxWED paper, which is due to go to a meeting of the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group later that month.


The dates of the next meetings were NOTED.