Agenda item

Agenda item

Scrutiny reports

Scrutiny Committee meets on 08 December. Any recommendations to Cabinet from that meeting will be published as a supplement.


Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer, introduced the reports before Cabinet on behalf Cllrs Wade, Fry and Linda Smith in their capacities as Chairs of Scrutiny Committee; Housing & Homelessness Panel; and Finance & Performance Panel respectively


Workplace Equalities

The report’s recommendations related to the extension of monitoring key performance indicators to ODS; monitoring and promoting the effectiveness of positive action; improving management engagement with disclosing details of protected characteristics; the importance of continued monitoring of the demographic profiles of responses to job advertisments and shortlisted candidates; and clarification over a possible misinterpretation of what lies behind pay gaps.


Cllr Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services was pleased to have accepted the recommendations, noting that the additional data in relation to ODS was being collected and that while they could not form part of the formal annual report it could be provided separately.


 Strategic Grants


It had been agreed that the Budget Review Group would look specifically at grant funding and additional information would be provided to support this.


The report’s recommendations sought to address the desirability of stability for grant funded organisations by proposing the opportunity to reapply well before a current grant has expired; and an idea for improving sales of Oxford lottery tickets.


Cllr  Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities had not felt able to support the first recommendation which would have the unwanted consequence of making it harder for new organisations to access the limited funding available. The proposal in relation to lottery tickets was constrained to  some extent by legal restrictions but work would be done see what could be done to promote sales.


Asset Management Strategy

The report’s one recommendation  that the phasing out of gas over the medium to long term should be a strategic objective, committed to within the Asset Management Strategy.

Cllr Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management, responded at the meeting by explaining that the report would be amended  to include a high level target, with the caveat that how this can be achieved, and the pace at which progress can be made, will be dependent, to a large degree, on government policy and funding decisions. 


Air Quality Action Plan


This report’s recommendations included matters tangential to air quality such as LTNs but also covered the importance of strategic and community level engagement, and the desirability of  allowing  residents  to benefit from having a real-time alert function from the new Air Quality website.


Cllr Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, noted that most of the recommendations related to matters already underway and suggested that it was unfortunate that the Committee had not been able to focus more on the Air Quality Action Plan. He would be pleased to attend Scrutiny again to address some of the bigger strategic issues around air quality.


Housing & Carbon Reduction


The report’s recommendations were about having a general high and broad level of engagement with tenants from an early stage in parallel with  special provision for those who have more complex needs  as well as those learning to live with technologies.


The Chair, speaking in Cllr Blackings absence, said the recommendations had all been accepted and the principle of engaging meaningfully with tenants was very welcome.


Tourism Review Group Update


The recommendations from this report had come from the meeting when the report was originally heard along with additional recommendations made during the sign off process.


The original recommendations concerned a wish to work with partners to ensure tourist transport is made as sustainable as possible, and in readiness for the return of high visitor numbers to Oxford to reinvigorate the toilet scheme with city centre shops. The further recommendations concerned a tilting of strategy towards domestic tourists and a more wide-ranging review of the recommendations of the Tourism Review Group in the light of the consequences of Covid.


Cllr Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Tourism said she had been pleased to accept the recommendations. While the proposed focus on domestic tourism was sensible in the present climate, sight should not be lost of pent up demand from overseas, particularly the USA.


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