Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 February 2012.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 February 2012 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Apologies and Substitutes (Agenda Item 2)

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


Apologies for absence were received from Mr A Byrne. 


Urgent Business (Agenda Item 3)

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 Interest (Agenda Item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that 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 R Richmond and Mr W Richmond declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 7a by virtue of owning property in Breckland with tenants receiving Housing Benefit.


Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda Item 6)

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


Mrs E Jolly, Mr W Richmond, Mrs L Turner and Mr M Wassell were in attendance.


Executive Member Portfolio Update (Agenda Item 7)

Lynda Turner, Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services, has been invited to attend the meeting to update Members on key ongoing issues and policies within her portfolio and to answer any questions.


The Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services advised that she would concentrate on updating Members on two key areas of her Portfolio, dealing with the Olympic and Jubilee celebration plans and the Serco contract.



The review of the service was well underway and the consultation period had finished.  Recruitment had commenced for a Communities Manager who would work across all three authorities and for a Pride Co-ordinator/Team Leader for Breckland.  The whole Communities Team would be working under the Pride umbrella.


Ways were being sought to maximise both financial and human resources.  The grant system was being reviewed to make it more efficient and effective and the review of the Local Strategic Partnership was also well underway.


The Portfolio was involved in a variety of events to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.  There had been 49 applications for street parties and by careful financial management all had been supported.  Grants would be used for a variety of purposes, including the purchase of time capsules, tree planting and to fund cream teas for care home residents.


There had also been 11 applications for grants towards Breckland Olympic Torch relay events.  One was from Attleborough High School which would be hosting the original 1948 Olympic Torch and holding a Family Olympic Sports Day in June. 


At the conclusion of the Paralympics the Tour of Britain would commence and the first stage would take place in Norfolk and Suffolk.  The Council had agreed £10,000 of funding to support events to celebrate the Tour which would pass through Swanton Morley and Dereham.  Those events would encourage tourism and provide an economic boost for Breckland.


There had been many offers of royal and jubilee memorabilia which would be displayed in a travelling show which would tour the District.


The Light Dragoons had been invited to parade through Dereham on their return from Afghanistan towards the end of the year.  The newly refurbished Dereham Memorial Hall would be used for the reception if the offer of the welcome home parade was accepted.


Norfolk County Council (NCC) had cut its Youth Service and seven district-based Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) had been created across the County.  The YABs promoted local ownership by young people.   The Executive Member was the Chairman of the Breckland YAB which would appoint a Youth and Community worker to support youth activities using a £45,000 commissioning budget provided by NCC.  The YABs were multi-agency and various Members were involved.


The Chairman noted that he had attended a meeting in Mattishall about community development which had included an excellent presentation by a teenager from Great Yarmouth about dealing with deprived communities.


The Executive Member was aware through her work with Youth and the Older Persons Forum, that Great Yarmouth had very similar ways of working to Breckland.  She was convinced that the expansion to include joint working with Great Yarmouth was the right way forward for the Council.


The Chairman was sure that across the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Task and Finish Groups (Agenda Item 8)

To consider reports from Task & Finish Group Chairmen in respect of the following meetings:


Housing Task & Finish Group

To receive a verbal update.


Mrs Matthews (Chairman of the Group) told Members that there had been a useful and very interesting two and a half hour meeting at which they had worked on the Council’s Allocations Policy.  The meeting had been run on a workshop basis with input from the Housing Associations.


They had discussed who they wanted to house and who they did not want to assist and there had been a consensus to move to a closed Register and to require local connections.  No conclusions had been reached about the qualifying period for local connections which she acknowledged would be difficult to determine.


Mr Jermy said it had been a very enjoyable meeting at which everyone had used their local knowledge to contribute to the debate.  He mentioned that he had spoken to the Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services about the proposed five year tenancy tenure.  If someone had a local connection it was more likely that they would want to stay and not move on.


The Chairman of the Commission agreed.  He also said that he had spoken to the Deputy Chief Executive about Flagship Housing’s failure to agree to the Council’s requirements.


Mrs Jolly advised that two recent applications at Planning Committee had included affordable housing elements, but the requirement had been lowered from 40% to 21% for financial viability reasons and there were not as many one-bedroom dwellings as hoped, but it had been considered better to have some rather than none.


Mr Kybird noted that when Thetford expanded it would be essential to have key-worker allocations.  He asked if that was within the Group’s remit and the Group Chairman said that it had been mentioned.


Mr Joel asked if key workers moving from other parts of the country should have a qualifying period and the Commission Chairman suggested that in such cases the recruiting employee could be a sponsor.  However, there were unemployed people in the District and young people without jobs and the Council needed to focus on jobs and homes for them. 


He thanked the Group Chairman for her update.


Shared Services (Standing Item)(Agenda Item 9)

To receive an update on Shared Services.


The Senior Internal Consultant informed the Commission that all three Councils had agreed in principal to shared services.  A consultation period was taking place and would run until 12 April 2012.  Feedback would then be collated and a report would be presented to all three Councils on 24 May 2012.  If approved a ‘slotting in’ process for officers would take place.


The Chairman thanked the Senior Internal Consultant for his update.


Health & Scrutiny (Standing Item)(Agenda Item 10)

To receive an update on the Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee.


Mr Kybird informed Members that unfortunately the Norfolk Health & Scrutiny meetings coincided with Breckland full Council meetings.  Therefore, he and Lady Fisher had agreed to attend future meetings alternately and report back to the Commission.


Scrutiny Call-ins (Standing Item)(Agenda Item 11)

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




Councillor Call for Action (Standing Item)(Agenda Item 12)

To consider any references.




Work Programme (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 84 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.


The Chairman noted that the Scrutiny Officer was unable to be present. The April work programme looked too full and he sought agreement to move some items to future agendas.


The following items would be considered at the April meeting:


·   Shared Services – as it would be the last meeting before the full Council decision

·   Discretionary / Non-Discretionary Services – to know where the Council stood at the end of the financial year

·   Homelessness Strategic Delivery Plan

·   Breckland Tenancy Strategy

·   Street Trading – as the Executive Member had asked the Commission to consider whether street trading should be under the umbrella of Environmental Health


Any urgent matters that came up in the meantime would be included as necessary.  The Deputy Chief Executive and the Director of Commissioning had been asked to advise the Commission of any issues that might need scrutinising.


Members agreed that the rest of the items on the work programme should be moved back.  Suggestions were then made for future items.


Mr Rogers referred to land in Watton that was available for development.  He asked why Breckland was not buying it to provide employment for the residents of the 1000 additional houses that had been built.


The Vice-Chairman referred to the Executive Member’s presentation at the last meeting and suggested that the marketing of the commercial portfolio should be scrutinised.


The Chairman thought that both issues should be considered together on a future agenda.


Mr Kybird asked about the utilities particularly in view of the impending hosepipe ban.  The Chairman explained that the Scrutiny Officer was doing her best to arrange a utilities meeting.


Mr William Richmond asked for a report on how the Customer Contact Centres were doing in the towns.


Mr Robert Richmond asked for flooding to be considered.


Mrs Matthews said that County Councillor Ann Steward had advised the Town Council that Swaffham was one of seven areas chosen to take part in a pilot scheme to create jobs.  She asked for more information.


Mr Gilbert suggested that Norfolk County Council should be invited to the Commission as there was too much duplication.


The Chairman thanked everyone for their input.


Next Meeting (Agenda Item 14)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 26 April 2012.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 26 April 2012 were noted.