Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 30 March 2017.


The minutes of the meeting held on 30 March 2017 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 and Nairn.  Councillor Wilkinson was present as Councillor Brame’s substitute.


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.


Councillors Bambridge, S Chapman-Allen, Claussen, Dimoglou, Newton and Sharpe were in attendance.


Unsightly Sites Report

To receive a verbal update from Communities Manager.


The Communities Manager, informed Members he had been in consultation with Members to submit unsightly sites by 21 April.  In total 34 had been received which ranged from buildings, alleyways and general land.  The list would be shared with Officers from across the Council to assist with gathering as much information as possible to prioritise for action.  Elements for consideration would be the effect the site has had on the community and external agencies and previous action taken.  It was stressed about the importance to positively engage with the land owners in a collaborative way.


Councillor Crawford asked that St Mary’s Church on the Bury Road in Thetford be added to the list.


Councillor Oliver asked if there was a framework approach on dealing with those sites where collaborative working with the land owner was not possible.  The Communities Manager confirmed that whilst a framework approach would be formalised, each site would be assessed on its own merits.


Councillor Jermy was pleased that there was a right balance in terms of encouragement from the outset.  He asked that Members be involved in the consideration process as they would be able to provide information or local knowledge on the derelict sites.


The Communities Manager confirmed that member engagement was really important, and would continue to update Members at future meetings.



Quarter 4 2016-17 Performance Report Overview pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of Deputy Leader Executive Member for Strategy, Governance and Transformation, Sam Chapman-Allen


Additional documents:


The Deputy Leader and Executive Member of Strategy, Governance and Transformation said that the improved performance report was presented in a much better format, and appreciated the work that had gone into the new look.


The Quarter 4 performance was assessed as ‘fair’ with seven indicators marked ‘Green’; five marked as ‘amber’; and four marked ‘red’. 


The Chairman asked how the staff turnover indicator had been set. The Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager said that measures and targets were set on a yearly basis. A benchmarking exercise was undertaken with the East of England Local Government Association and regional local authorities.


Councillor Joel asked if staff figures included the Capita colleagues.  It was confirmed that they did not as they were not employed by Breckland.


The Chairman went on to ask the Breckland Place Manager if the Commission should scrutinise supermarkets to see how they are considering the reduction of packaging.  The Breckland Place Manager said that Sainsbury’s had worked in partnership through their corporate responsibility programme.  In addition, local campaigns had been held in the past alongside national policy, however it was not certain if the Commission would have any influence over the supermarkets buying power.


Councillor Oliver asked if there had been a return on the cash investment.  The Chief Accountant would need to respond to this question.


Councillor Crawford said that as homelessness was not a targeted performance, how the Council would know if it was doing well.  The Housing Manager confirmed that this would be part of future performance rates.


Councillor Jermy added that he sat on the Norfolk County Environment and Waste Committee and £43m was spent in residual waste.  There were discussions taking place at County Council to look at how this figure could be reduced. 


The staff turnover was highlighted as a red indicator; however this was due to the period of transformation which included service reviews.  It was asked if the staff turnover figure could be reflected in the number of compulsory redundancies.


A Member asked if the number of customer complaints upheld could also show the total number of complaints that had been received.  The Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager would add this detail for future reports.


The Chairman thanked the Corporate Improvement and Performance Manager for the improved performance report.  She asked that the recommendation be amended to read “To feedback and comment on the content of the report”.




Housing/Homelessness Strategies pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Report of Executive Member Growth, Gordon Bambridge.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member Growth presented the final proposed Breckland Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2017-21 to Members.


The Chairman asked the Executive Member how he had worked with Officers on the strategy.  The Executive Member said he had talked through all policies with his officers, added his comments and was satisfied that the policy was right for Breckland and complied with all actual and what could be future policy for Government.


The Strategic Housing Manager added that the strategy had been designed to provide clarity.  The document had been updated following discussions from a previous Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting, public consultation with key partners, employers, the public, social media and Parish Councils.  A positive response had been well received and a number of clear themes had developed on how to ensure the complex needs and mechanisms of housing was in place.  It was set with the caveat that Government policies continued to change for example the Homelessness Act was now in place. 


Councillor Wilkinson added that work with the outside agencies was important and applauded that Cabinet adopt the strategy.


Councillor Bambridge added that he had worked with the Housing Team when he witnessed the team dealing with a family who were applying for housing as they were due to be made homeless, and had also been involved in the armed forces.  He was very complementary on the way the housing team had dealt with the case.  He believed the system was working very well and the policy would only strengthen this.


Councillor Crawford was concerned the traveller sites were always full, and asked if there was capacity to take in travellers within Breckland.  The Housing Manager said he was aware of issues and had arranged meetings with the Police to address issues.

Councillor Crawford went onto ask if the authority checked for licenses on houses with multiple occupancy as the number of cars could cause issues.  The Housing Manager confirmed that there was a licensing scheme in place and landlords were approached for the appropriate licence.


Councillor Sharpe queried the figures within the report, in particular with the rates of new homes planned for the next 20 years, and the demographic information. The Strategic Housing Manager explained that the figures are correct, and relate to projected demography of household formation and attrition over a long term period.


Councillor Jermy was pleased to see comments made previously had been incorporated into the report.  He went onto ask what the mechanism would be for the report to return to the Commission, and if there would be a refresh with other housing policies.  The Housing Manager said the allocations policy would be reviewed.  Due to the recent service review within the Housing service area, a Housing hub would be developed which would provide general advice, allowing the options team to provide a more specialist advice service.  It had been proposed that a Handy Person Service be introduced which would provide more assistance and advice with low level adaptations.


The Strategic Housing Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


Review of Street Name and Numbering Policy pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of Executive Member Growth, Gordon Bambridge.


Additional documents:


The Executive Member Growth presented the report to Members highlighting the key amendments within the policy.  It included a previous recommendation from Scrutiny that all town and parish councils create a pre-approved list of preferred names to share with developers at their earliest opportunity.


The Chairman suggested a reply slip be sent to Parishes to ensure that they respond with their approved list.


The Breckland Place Manager said there would be an opportunity to share the revised policy with the Parishes at the Town and Parish Forum.  The planning team regularly had meetings with parishes across the district and would encourage them to create the pre-populated list.


Councillor Joel asked how to report the street signs that required cleaning as the report it button on the website did not include a comments function.


The Breckland Place Manager would look into this issue, and whilst it was unclear who cleaned the signs, replacements sat with Serco and the Environmental Services team.


It was RESOLVED that option 2.2 of the revised Street Naming and Numbering policy (April 2017) be recommended to full Council.


Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item)

To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.



Councillor Wilkinson said he had recently attended a tour of the Police mental health suite at its headquarters in Wymondham.


The Youth Advisory Board within Breckland had gone out to tender and more details would follow shortly.



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.


There were no Councillor Call for Actions. 


However, as the Deputy Leader, and the Executive Member for Place were present, the Chairman asked for a brief update on their portfolios to allow for Member questions.


The Deputy Leader said that following on from the work of the Budget Task and Finish Group, the Leader wished to establish a group of Members to drive through the list of opportunities that had been identified.  Further details on this would follow in due course.


Councillor Jermy asked for an update on the Public Space Protection Order consultation within Thetford.  He also added that Serco grass cutters had been shredding litter.  The Commission were informed that the Executive Member for Place had attended a meeting that week and those issues had been raised.  He also added that the Public Space Protection Order would also be reported back to a future Cabinet meeting.


Councillor Oliver raised the issue of the New North Road in Attleborough and asked if there was a way to enforce no-parking, especially on waste collection days.  The Breckland Place Manager had been aware of the issue and had been liaising with Serco trialling solutions.  Councillor Oliver asked for Ward Members to be kept informed of progress.


The Executive Member Place said he was pleased to see the outside bodies being reviewed as he questioned what the result was for Breckland in attending some outside body meetings.


The Executive Member Growth said he was a member of the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board outside body who provided the district with excellent service.  The Council also paid grants to this body.  It was asked for the Internal Drainage Board be invited to a future Scrutiny meeting.


The Breckland Place Manager confirmed that an Officer would be in attendance at future Safer Neighbourhood Area Partnership meetings.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 94 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 asked for Serco to be invited to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in September.


Councillor Oliver asked for a report on the Treasury Management Policy at a future meeting of the Commission.



Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 6 July 2017 in the Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham.



The arrangements for the next meeting on 6 July 2017 at 2.00pm were noted.