Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday, 24 June 2009.


Due to the weather conditions, the Chairman was not in attendance at the start of the meeting. 


Vice-Chairman in the Chair


a)           Mobile Working


A Member expressed his disappointment about the Mobile Working item that had still not come forward to the General Purposes Committee even though he had been assured that the matter would be discussed at some point.  He reminded Members that he had been asking for this particular item to be included on the Agenda since the Environmental Health organisational review in January 2009.


The Vice-Chairman pointed out that the Licensing and Business Support restructure (report item 14) actually covered improved working practices for mobile working within the Licensing Team.  This methodology for such working practices would act as a template for other parts of the organisation where appropriate.


The Principal Member Services Officer believed that this matter had already been discussed at the Business Improvement Sub-Committee.  Further enquiries would be made.


The Chairman arrived and took the Chair.


Shirley Matthews was welcomed as a new Member of the General Purposes Committee.


Referring to Mobile Working, the Chairman said that he had spoken to the Executive Member and had tried to get this matter brought back to the General Purposes Committee but to no avail.


b)           Minutes


The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2009 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Mrs J. Ball, Mrs M. Chapman-Allen and Mr P. Balaam.


Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 3)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.


The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.


Mr D. Williams declared a personal interest in agenda item 11 by virtue of his dealings with migrant workers in his profession.


Local Joint Consultative Committee : 15 July 2009 (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To adopt the confirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 15 July 2009.


RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 15 July 2009 be adopted.


Local Joint Consultative Committee: 24 September 2009 (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To adopt the unconfirmed Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 24 September 2009.


a)           Redundancy Compensation Update (Minute No. 30/09)


RESOLVED that the training budget be ring-fenced to ensure its retention for that purpose only.


b)           Minutes


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee held on 24 September 2009 be adopted.


SWAFFHAM: Request for Designation of Area under Police and Criminal Justice Act (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Director of Organisational Development.

Additional documents:


Mr Richard Bishop, the Town Clerk to Swaffham Town Council and Inspector Porter, from Norfolk Constabulary were in attendance for this item in support of a request that an Order be made to designate town centre areas under Section 12-15 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act.  This Order would have the affect of empowering the Police to ask persons drinking in public places within the designated area to stop.


The Principal Member Services Officer explained that such Orders had already been introduced in the other four towns in the District.  In the case of Thetford, the area originally designated had subsequently been amended.


The area put forward for designation was highlighted (see final appendix attached to the report).


Inspector Porter explained that many complaints had been received from residents with regard to the public disorder in Swaffham. 


Without such an Order in place, the Police could only use their discretionary powers, under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, to move people on from a specified area, who were felt to be causing alcohol related disturbance in the town, for up to 48 hours.   Furthermore, the Police had to have good reason and evidence to support their assertion that the person or persons were likely to cause alcohol-related crime or disorder. 


Inspector Porter had been working in Swaffham for the past 18 months and since then had seen a 9% reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents in the town.


Mr Bishop said that the initiative for the Order had stemmed from the Police and the Town Council was in full support of its implementation.


A Member asked if there had been many convictions from alcohol related incidences.


Inspector Porter did not have the said data to hand; however, Members were informed that there had been a drop in the number of alcohol related incidents in the Market Place but unfortunately, these had increased in other parts of the town.  The Committee was reminded that the new CCTV system soon to be installed in Swaffham would assist with such matters.


Referring to the proposed Designated Public Space (DPP) on the map, particularly with regard to the outside areas used by public houses and cafes, a Member asked if such areas would be covered by the premises licence. The Principal Licensing Officer, who was in attendance for agenda item 14, pointed out that the DPP would not apply to an area that was licensed.


The Chairman felt that the DPP would only move the problems to the quieter areas of Swaffham.  Similarly, another Member asked what would happen if the problem migrated.


Members were informed that the boundaries highlighted on the map would not be too restrictive.  The entire town centre was being put forward for designation and if someone wanted to drink outside of that area, they would have to walk or drive to it, which was very unlikely.  The drinking hotspots and the anti-social behaviour were always in the same locations.  The Town Council was quite happy with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Partnership Working - Commercial Ballots (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of the Director of Organisational Development.

Additional documents:


The Principal Member Services Officer explained that the report concerned an arrangement in principle to undertake ballots on a commercial basis.


The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) had been carrying out ballot services on behalf of the NHS for 7 years.  The type of ballot involved followed regulations similar to, but not exactly the same as, those which local authorities’ electoral service units were familiar with and the AEA was asking member practitioners whether they would like to participate.


The Chief Executive, as Returning Officer, had agreed that Breckland Council should offer to conduct ballots on an ad hoc basis, for requests received when statutory commitments allowed.


This would not involve the carrying out of the poll itself, nor the counting of the votes.  Any staff involved would receive remuneration, and payment for any work undertaken would be made on the submission of an invoice from the local authority


Members noted the report.


REV-ACTive Project Manager & REV-ACTive Technical Support & Claims Officer (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive, Planning and Regeneration.

Additional documents:


The Senior Economic Development Officer presented the report and asked Members to support the recruitment of two posts on a fixed term contract of 42 months from 2010 to 2014. 


These posts, if approved, would coordinate and manage a range of project partners and contract activity through the REV-ACTive project.


REV-ACTive was a £3m project which sought to identify businesses along the A11 corridor that had the greatest potential to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon levels.


The majority of the cost for both posts would be externally funded.


A Member asked if the initial area being promoted would eventually spread to the whole district.  The Senior Economic Development Officer explained that the work, although starting along the A11 corridor between Thetford and Norwich, might well end up along the A47 at some point.


The Executive Member for the Economic & Commercial Portfolio reported that the project had attracted £1.2m external funding.  It was important that this project was taken forward and he fully supported the recommendation.


It was noted that the two new posts would work alongside the existing Economic Team.


The Chairman asked if there would be redundancy costs associated with these fixed term posts.  Members were informed that such costs would be covered by partners within the Rev ACTive project.


RESOLVED that the posts of REV-ACTive Project Manager and REV-ACTive Technical Support and Claims Officer be approved and added to the Economic Development Service establishment for a fixed term of 42 months to run from 2010-2014.


Permission to Reallocate Staffing Resources (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive, Planning and Regeneration.

Additional documents:


The Principal Officer (Housing Advice and Homelessness) presented the report which sought Members’ agreement to make the post of Housing Advice and Homelessness Assistant permanent and delete the posts of Housing Advisory Officer (part time) and Housing Trainee from the establishment.


Financial savings would be gained by the deletion of the two posts and the re-establishment of the third.


If approved the work to support homelessness in the community would continue by providing essential administrative tasks within the Housing Team.




1)           the Housing Advice and Homelessness Assistant be made a permanent post; and


2)           the Housing Advisory Officer (part time) and the Housing Trainee be deleted from the establishment.


Permission to Appoint to Three Externally Funded Posts Linked to the Migration Impact Fund Project (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Report of the Director of Community Services.

Additional documents:


The Customer Programme Manager presented the report which sought Members’ permission to appoint three externally funded posts – a Service Connector Manager and two Service Connector Officers.


The Customer Programme Manager would be responsible for all three posts.


Although the post would be hosted and managed by Breckland Council, the post holder would be delivering a Local Strategic Partnership project and would therefore have some responsibility to the Breckland Partnership Board.


As one of the 31 successful bids in the region, the funding would enable Breckland Council and the Breckland Partnership to provide better access to services for residents and migrant communities and people living in rural communities that had to overcome geographical barriers to access public services.


RESOLVED that external funding from the Migration Impact Fund (approved by Cabinet on 15/09/2009) be used to appoint the three posts on a 14 month fixed term contract.


Next Meeting (Agenda item 12)

To note that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 3 March 2010 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room.


The arrangements for the next meeting on Wednesday, 3 March 2010 were noted.


Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 13)

To consider passing the following resolution:


“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded for the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 to 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.






RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 to 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act.


Licensing and Business Support Restructure (Agenda item 14)

Report of the Director of Governance and Corporate Development.


The Senior Business Improvement Officer presented the report which concerned a proposal to restructure the Licensing Team and Environmental Health’s Business Support Team.


The Business Improvement Team (BIT) had been commissioned to undertake an end to end service review of the Licensing and Business Support functions within the Environmental Health department.


BIT had worked with the said teams for eight weeks to gain a full understanding of the operational processes.


The restructure, if approved, would create efficient working practices and would support new operation processes for Licensing including mobile working, e-consultation, self service and remote working.


The key changes to the existing structure were explained.


A Member who had followed the whole process quite closely felt that the proposal was very innovative and it demonstrated how savings could be delivered in other departments within the Council.


Another question related to whether these mobile working practices had been developed in isolation.  The Senior Business Improvement Officer explained that licensing had its own system and its own statutory responsibilities; unfortunately, there was not a generic solution for every department in the Council.


The Director for Governance and Finance advised that the BIT was looking at innovative ways of working that could be applied across the Council.


RESOLVED that, subject to satisfactory completion of consultation, the implementation of a new staff structure for the Licensing Team and the Business Support Team be approved.