Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01362 656870
The Chairman to welcome Members to the first General Purposes meeting.
Members to note a copy of the Terms of Reference of the Committee has been attached to this agenda for reference.
The Chairman, Councillor Lynda Turner welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the new General Purposes Committee.
Officers were asked to introduce themselves when presenting their reports.
The new Terms of Reference attached to the Agenda were noted.
Apologies (Agenda item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was received from the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Colman.
Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 3)
The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011. Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.
Urgent Business (Agenda item 4)
To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)
To note the names of any non-Members who wish to address the meeting.
Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Waste & Environment and Councillor Webb, the Executive Member for Housing, Health & Communities were in attendance.
Report of Sarah Barsby, Assistant Director of People & Governance.
A verbal update will also be provided to Members on the Member Training survey and the Members Intranet page.
Sarah Barsby, the Assistant Director for People & Governance presented the report.
The report outlined the Member training programme. Additionally, as part of the former Member Development Panel (MDP), those Members had previously fed into a training needs assessment survey, and it was suggested that this draft survey should be shared with the General Purposes (GP) Committee Members ahead of the new intake of Councillors in 2023 after the District Elections to get a sense of what training was required.
Another survey undertaken at the last Member Development Panel was in respect of how the Members intranet pages could be improved, the Digital Team had been in attendance at that meeting to note any suggestions made, and since then, a new Members Page had been created in ‘test format’ and a link had been sent to MDP Members to obtain any feedback. This information would be shared with GP Members too, to get their views and how this page could be made into a more digital resource.
This Committee would then have proper oversight and an opportunity to have an input and both surveys would be circulated to GP Members after this meeting.
The Chairman mentioned the attendance statistics and the fact that many Members had asked for training sessions to be held via Zoom, but she had been disappointed that not many Members had taken up this opportunity. She was aware that training was voluntary and different ways of learning was being offered but felt that more should be done to encourage Members to attend.
On that point about non-attendance, Councillor Ashby asked if a process could be put in place of why Members had not been able to attend, to gather data, and suggested a drop-down menu.
The Chairman pointed out that this could raise a GDPR issue, and such training was voluntary, but it could form part of the survey response. This could be investigated provided any confidentiality matters were taken into account.
Members were informed that the assessment survey would provide a better understanding of Members’ availability.
Councillor Monument felt it would be useful if great care was taken on how the questions were asked. She herself had no problems at all with attending meetings in person or virtually via Zoom but if she was asked to vote for either of these it would unfairly balance the count. She felt that the questions on availability/preference should include more detail to provide better feedback.
As a fairly new Councillor, Councillor Hambidge asked if the previous training sessions held via Zoom were available to view.
Teresa Smith, the Democratic Services Team Leader advised that all training presentations were available on the Members’ Page but if there was anything that he was interested in that he could not find she would try and assist.
Councillor Bambridge reminded the Committee that there were 49 existing Members that could be used as Mentors for any new Members.
Councillor Webb pointed out that the uptake for the housing presentations had been fairly ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Report of Alison Webb, Executive Member for Housing, Health and Communities.
The Executive Member for Housing, Health & Communities was very pleased to bring forward the Communities Team Service Review report.
The Team had been working extremely hard on this review to ensure that the Council had the right skills in the right place. The pandemic had fundamentally changed the way the Council worked with its communities and had brought this authority much closer to other organisations who had worked hard throughout to ensure that everyone was keeping safe and well.
The Inspiring Communities theme within the Council’s Corporate Plan set out the commitment to continue to harness the strength of working with community partners and organisations and to help them recover from the lasting affects of the pandemic. This was also in line with the upcoming Integrated Care system and the Government had recently published its vision for ‘levelling up’ the UK over the next decade.
This was a really exciting time working with Breckland’s communities but to enable this to be delivered effectively and to make the most of the partnerships and other opportunities, the Council need to make sure that the right skills were in the right place. The structure that was required had been considered so that service outcomes could be met.
Samantha Armitage, the Community Services Manager was in attendance to provide further details and feedback from the consultation process.
This service focused on the Council’s communities and covered the prevention of vulnerability through early intervention services such as collaboration with the Team’s weekly multi-agency, multi-partner meetings, social prescribing services, which were in partnership with the NHS providing holistic support to people with non-clinical needs and tackling issues through the Inspiring Communities programme such as loneliness, mental health, domestic abuse and County Lines.
The Team were also focusing on addressing health inequality through the integrated care system to improve the health and wellbeing of communities through the key partnerships and community engagement. Ensuring that Breckland residents had a safe place to live through the partnership it had with the Police in the Operational Partnership Team.
The proposed changes were highlighted (see section 1.5 of the report). It was also highlighted that the proposal would result in some contractual changes but would be cost neutral and would not increase the establishment numbers.
Councillor Ashby asked how it was cost neutral when the Team was going to be increased by two new posts.
The Chairman explained that the two extra posts were being funded by grant funding as part of Breckland’s ongoing Inspiring Communities programme.
The Executive Member for Housing, health & Communities explained that £1m had been set aside for the Inspiring Communities programme and was being channelled into the areas to best help Breckland/s communities. Now that the pandemic had eased slightly, all needed extra help and therefore this was the ideal opportunity to refocus the Team.
The Community Services Manager explained that the budget line for the two additional 2-year fixed term posts had already been approved with the approval of the Vulnerability programme.
In response to ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Next Meeting (Agenda item 8)
To note that the next meeting will be held on Tuesday 5 April at 2.00pm in the Anglia Room, The Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE
The arrangements for the next meeting on Tuesday, 5 April at 2pm in the Anglia Room were noted.
Further dates to be confirmed.
It was also noted that adhoc meetings could be required at times.