Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Contact: Democratic Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 20 October 2022.


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 October 2022 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Apologies and Substitutes

To receive apologies for absence and to note substitute Members in attendance.


Apologies were received from Councillors Brame, Eagle and Jermy. Councillor Hambidge was present as substitute for Councillor Brame and Councillor Clarke was present as substitute for Councillor Jermy.


Chairman's Announcements (if any)


The Chairman stated that Norfolk County Council were negotiating with Government on a possible new devolution deal which could see Norfolk gain additional powers and funding to improve residents lives. He asked members if they would welcome a visit from Norfolk County Council for an update at some time in the future and confirmed this would be discussed further under the work programme item.


Urgent Business

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.




Declaration of Interests

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.





Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.


The Chairman welcomed non-members present to the meeting.


Fuel Poverty and Credit Unions pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To receive a short introductory presentation from Chris Mole, Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union.

Additional documents:


Councillor Birt raised a Point of Order under the Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12, Part 1, Paragraph 4 that set the requirement for the distribution of the agenda and read out the paragraph:


‘(1A) Five clear days at least before a meeting of a principal council in England-


(a)  Notice of the time and place of the intended meeting shall be published at the council’s offices and, where the meeting is called by members of the council, the notice shall be signed by those members and shall specify the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting; and

(b)  A summons to attend the meeting, specifying the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting, and authenticated by the proper officer of the council, shall be sent to every member of the council by an appropriate method.’


Councillor Birt stated that in this instance it did not specify ‘the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting’, the business proposed was passed to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission by full Council as two separate motions from two different meetings and suggested that they should be two different items on the agenda.

He stated that there had not been an Officer report included in the agenda pack and there had not been any reference made to the motions. Although the title of the agenda item included fuel poverty, it had not been mentioned at all and therefore the item that members of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission had been asked to discuss was now different. He stated that the agenda before them was not what was to be discussed today.

The Chairman said that the Commission were meeting to discuss two motions, fuel poverty and Credit Unions as a result of two recommendations from Full Council. The Commission was not a decision-making body, and this item would be discussed to agree recommendations to be recorded through the minutes and passed back to Full Council who would make any decisions. The Chairman asked for the two motions to be made available for Members.






(Council minute ref 106/22)

Breckland Council notes that:


The rising cost of living crisis is causing genuine problems for people with their finances. There is anecdotal evidence of an increase in loan shark and pay day lender activity across the Breckland district with residents being forced into credit options at significantly high levels of interest. Often residents become unable to make the repayments and are pushed into a spiral of debt. Conversely, the level of credit union engagement in the district is low.


The long-term solution to the problem must be to increase wages and control the cost of living so that people are not forced into their arms, but in the short-term more needs to be done to give residents information about other ways to access alternative credit options.


This Council believes that credit unions offer a sustainable alternative to high-cost short-term credit and should be supported by this council.


This Council therefore  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104/22


IT Security & AI Data Protection Overview pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Report of Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer & Corporate





The Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services, Councillor Jane James, introduced the report on IT Security & AI Data Protection. The threat of cyber attack was on the rise both with the quantity and complexity of cyber-attacks increasing every year. With this in mind it was vital that Breckland Council remained vigilant, resilient and prepared to defend the information held. It was also important to ensure that the information held was compliant with legislation and in keeping with the high level of trust placed in the Council by its residents.


The report laid out the robust approach Breckland Council had taken against cyber security which was in line with best practice and was the best possible chance to protect against cyber-attacks. It was important to state that cyber-attacks remained a constant evolving challenge and needed constant review and investment. No matter how good the technology and investment in place the Council also relied on people as part of that defence and there were regular cyber security training courses available.


Councillor Birt had reservations on the introduction of AI specifically around the Terms and Conditions of Amazon which stated that ‘Amazon processes and retains your Alexa interactions’, he felt that this would become an issue if the Council progressed to using more specific related data and suggested that this was something that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (OSC) needed to be aware of and continually scrutinise.


Councillor Birt also stated that he originally requested this subject be brought before OSC in order to protect residents. He felt that there had been recent multiple failures of IT systems which had not been addressed in the report.


The IT & Digital Manager, Ben Meen explained that the system failures had not been mentioned in the report as they were technology failures and not security issues. He said that they had introduced as much resilience into the processes as possible and were working on a cloud solution to back up of data which was a much more effective solution of storing data safely and enabled the continual use of systems in in the event of a disaster scenario.




Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item)

To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.



Councillor Wilkinson informed members that the new build for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kings Lynn had been gathering pace and letters had gone in to the Minister again this week from all the Leaders of the Councils covered by the QEH.


Councillor Wilkinson stated that the Youth Advisory Board were looking at a campaign for inclusion playgrounds as there were currently none in Norfolk.


Councillor Kybird informed members that further to previous discussions on Councillor Call for Action on issues within Dentistry, Primary Care and Ambulance waiting times, these were all being discussed by Norfolk Health Scrutiny which was a statutory Body set up in partnership with the County Council and districts across the county for the express purpose of scrutinising the health service and there was much work being done with regard to this and information could be found in the minutes of these meetings.


Scrutiny Call-ins (Standing Item)

To note whether any decisions have been called-in for scrutiny.




Councillor Call for Action (Standing Item)

To consider any references.


The Chairman stated that with reference to a previous Councillor Call for Action with regard to Primary Care, and Dentistry, Executive Director, Steve James had been in contact with the Clinical Commissioning Group who would identify a suitable time from a resource perspective, noting how busy they currently are and have limited resource.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 223 KB

(a)          A copy of the Commission’s work programme is attached.  The Commission is asked to agree any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme as appropriate.


(b)        Member Issues:  In accordance with the Commission’s protocol for member leadership, which states that members of the Commission will take the lead in selecting topics for overview and scrutiny and in the questioning of witnesses, members are invited to put forward items for selection for future review.


A copy of the Key Decision Plan is attached for Members’ information.

Additional documents:


The Chairman explained that there may be items to be added in the near future after Cabinet have reviewed the recommendations from agenda item 7 on Fuel poverty and Credit Unions.


Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 26 January 2023 at 10am in the Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE.



The arrangements for the next meeting scheduled for 26 January 2023 at 10.00am in the Anglia Room, the conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE were noted.


Exclusion of Press and Public

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 from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.”


Part B – Item from which the press and the public are excluded



RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.



IT Security & AI Data Protection Overview

Appendix A from the report of Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services.


This item was discussed in a private session.