Agenda item

Agenda item

Scrutiny Committee Reports

Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer, addressed Cabinet, noting apologies from Cllrs Gant and McManners in their capacities as Chair and Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Committee.  


Council Strategy (item 11 on the Agenda). The Committee had seen the pre-consultation iteration of the strategy. Timetabling constraints had, regrettably, meant that the Committee was unable to see the version of the strategy which was now before Cabinet. The Committee’s response was therefore limited to some general observations with no specific recommendations. The Committee had been particularly pleased to note the increase in the number of people who had engaged with the consultation compared with previous consultation exercises and the general support shown by the consultation for the individual proposals.


The Chair repeated the apology she had given to the Scrutiny Committee for the timetabling difficulties associated with the production of this report occasioned by the recent General Election. She noted that it had been a very effective consultation exercise and had included the opportunity for an early sight of the pre-consultation draft by a number of groups.


Plans for Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ) The Committee had considered the Council’s plans for the introduction of the ZEZ at some length and concluded with 5 recommendations.  The Committee was generally supportive of the  proposals and, indeed, was advocating that the zone should be expanded and that the move to it should be swifter. The Committee had some concerns however about the nomenclature of the ZEZ and about the efficacy of the proposals for enforcement using handheld ANPR devices.


Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon, said that while there had been a very full discussion at the Committee he had to register his concern that aspects of the Committee’s report did not accurately reflect the views or position of the Council. He drew particular attention to paragraph 9 (nomenclature of the ZEZ – there is no evidence of ambiguity about the use of ZEZ); paragraph11 (potential use of geofencing – the technology is not yet available); and paragraph 16 (use of ANPR – there is no evidence to support the concern that the current proposal for its use will be ineffective).


Customer Experience  (item 12 on the Agenda).The Committee had been very supportive of the principles behind the proposals and its recommendations came from an enthusiasm for the topic. The Committee had been particularly keen to advocate a greater understanding of the Council’s customers so as inform the development of services for them. It was also keen that similar strategies should be adopted by Oxford Direct Services.  The Committee’s discussion had strayed into a wider consideration of the desirability of a citizen’s engagement strategy, while recognising that this was outside the scope of the Customer Experience Strategy.





Performance MonitoringThe Committee’s approach to Performance Monitoring was much improved. Councillor Fry was now undertaking preparatory work with relevant officers, on a regular basis, before Committee meetings so as to facilitate more effective discussion at them.  


Commentary on the recommendations from Scrutiny was not available at the time of publication. They are, however, attached to these minutes.


Councillor Fry spoke in his capacity as Chair of the Budget Review Group, to the Scrutiny reports on the budget and Capital Strategy in a confidential session at the end of the meeting.



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