Agenda item

Agenda item

Scrutiny reports

Scrutiny Committee will meet on 5 July 2022.  The following reports are expected and will be published as a supplement, together with any other recommendations to Cabinet from that meeting:

·       Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Report

·       Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report

·       Oxford City Council’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy

·       Growth Fund Cycle Routes

·       Waterways Update


Scrutiny Committee met on 5 July 2022 and had considered three Cabinet reports, as well as an update report on the Oxford Waterways project.  The recommendations of the Housing and Homelessness Panel in relation to Tenant Involvement and Empowerment, which had been endorsed by the Scrutiny Committee in April, were also presented.

Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Report

Nineteen recommendations had been made; these mostly focused on formalising or regularising existing tenant involvement activity.

The Cabinet Member for Housing welcomed the recommendations and responded that they would, in particular, help to improve landlord services.  The Cabinet Member highlighted the establishment of a Tenant and Leaseholder Board, and the recommendation that the Council works to develop a Housing identity which is distinct from its role as a district council, as particularly important. 

Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report

The Scrutiny Committee had noted the positive work which had been undertaken in relation to increasing awareness of the importance of safeguarding.  One recommendation had been made, which related to working with the County Council and other organisations to ensure that digital inclusion and digital safeguarding were covered within safeguarding training.  The Cabinet Member responded that this recommendation was accepted.

Oxford City Council’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy

Three recommendations had been made.  These related to reviewing projections for future electric vehicle usage in the City; incentivising the reliability of electric vehicle infrastructure; and investigating whether targets could be set for large housing developments to have charging spaces which were allocated exclusively for car club electric vehicles.

The Cabinet Member for Health and Transport responded that the latter point would be looked at within the process of developing the next iteration of the Local Plan.  The recommendation on reviewing usage projections was not accepted, as the existing modelling work had been undertaken by a specialist consultancy using internationally recognised formulae.  However, the projections would continue to be monitored.  In relation to the recommendation about incentivising the reliability of the charging infrastructure, the Cabinet Member responded that this recommendation was accepted, and was already being addressed through the dynamic purchasing process and other measures.  It was hoped that there would be far fewer problems arising from unreliable electric charging infrastructure in the future.

Growth Fund Cycle Routes

Two recommendations had been made.  These had related to the importance of clear and timely communications about the changes to the routes (and the reasons) and ensuring that Vision Zero was highlighted in public communications, where appropriate, in order to ensure awareness.  The Cabinet Member for Health and Transport responded that both recommendations were accepted.

Waterways Update

At its meeting on 8 June, Scrutiny had received an update on recommendations made in November 2020.   The Committee had noted that there had been some change in priorities during the intervening period, due to a number of important health and safety issues which had been identified.

Four recommendations had been made, which had related to working with adjacent landowners; producing communications for Councillors and residents; lobbying government to hold water regulators to account; and ensuring that the work of the Oxford Waterways Project was aligned with other work related to wildlife and wetland.

The Cabinet Member for Leisure and Parks responded that the recommendations were agreed, with the exception of that relating to the lobbying of government.  This was because the Environment Agency was testing the newly Designated Bathing Water at the Wolvercote Mill Stream on a weekly basis, with any enforcement action to be led by the Environment Agency or OFWAT, as appropriate.  The recommendation was therefore not required.

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