Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham
Contact: Democratic Services 01362 656870
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2018.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2018 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 had been received from Councillors Oliver, Dimoglou, Brame, Crawford, Joel and Matthews. Councillors Wilkinson and Newton attended as substitute members.
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 Clarke, Hollis and Duigan.
Chairman's Announcements (if any)
The Chairman requested that this Agenda item follow “Apologies and Substitutes” in all future Agendas.
Norfolk County Council Highways
An opportunity for Members to ask questions of Matt Worden, Area Manager South Department for Community and Environmental Services, Norfolk County Council.
The Chairman welcomed the Norfolk County Council Highways Area Manager for South Norfolk and Breckland, Mr Worden to the meeting.
The Chairman explained how she was concerned about the highways issues across Breckland District and raised a series of questions of which Mr Worden responded. She thanked Mr Worden for the data supplied to the Commission but felt there was a great deal of raw data which was not specific to Breckland.
A number of issues were discussed under this item so for ease of reference have been grouped into subject order
Mr Worden advised Norfolk County Council (NCC) had one of the largest surface areas in the Country. The roads in Norfolk were historic 16 and 17th century agricultural tracks which NCC had surfaced and dressed many times. The budget for the dressing programme was £10 million per annum for the whole County and was distributed on a needs basis. Each road was given a priority and the highest priority would be dressed but he confirmed every road on the list was dressed every two years with B roads every 5 years.
The Chairman asked what determined the priority of the roads to be dressed.
Mr Worden explained that each A and B roads were means tested and reported in their highest priority from immediate treatment required to it did not need treatment at that time.
He went on to explain that surface dressing was an application of emulsion and chippings. The programme would usually be carried out during the summer months and was a very economic method of maintenance as it stopped water getting into the roads. In comparison resurfacing would put a layer of material 40-60 mm in depth and this was restricted mainly to the A and B roads for the use of heavy lorries as merely dressing those categories did little for the structure of the road.
The Chairman stated that many rural roads are unclassified but still took heavy vehicles.
Councillor Newton asked if inspections were carried out once a surface dressing had taken place. An example he gave was where a road had been dressed but not directly to the edge of the kerbs. As a result surface water collected at these points and then damaged the road.
Mr Worden confirmed that if the road was surface dressed it should be carried out kerb to kerb. However, if it was patched it would not. A full surface dressing would be inspected 14 days after completion and signed off. If it was patching on a main road the inspector would inspect on his next round however if it was a rural road patching it may not be inspected for 6 months during the next routine inspection.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and Performance
Councillor Clarke questioned how performance was measured.
Mr Worden confirmed that NCC had subscribed to the National Highways Transportation (NHT) and were ranked 6th for road conditions in a rural county. In addition NCC had a ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Car Park Management
To receive a verbal update from Executive Director of Place.
The Executive Director for Place advised Members that a survey had been carried out on Breckland carparks that had highlighted the car parks were heavily used across the market towns. Following a request from Swaffham and Attleborough Town Councils a consultation had been undertaken with a view to enforcing a two hour maximum stay and 90 responses had been received. Whilst a number of respondents supported the two hour maximum stay some felt it was not long enough and should be extended to three hours. All responses would be analysed before a recommendation could be made to the Executive Member Place.
In order to carry out an enforcement trial, the Car Park Orders would need to be amended to permit the council to enforce the time limit.
Councillor Wilkinson felt the two hour limit could be successful in Swaffham but queried which car parks it covered in Swaffham and asked if Breckland Council owned Station car park.
The Executive Director Place confirmed it was the Market Square Car park along with Pitt Lane and Pedlars. he highlighted to Members that parking at Theatre Street would remain a long stay car park so therefore clear signage would be imperative to inform the public of those car parks that would be restricted an d those that were long stay. He also confirmed that Breckland did own the car park in Station Road.
Report of Deputy Leader and Executive Member of Strategy, Governance and Transformation, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen.
The Executive Manager People and Public Protection introduced the newly appointed HR Manager to Members.
He outlined that in January 2017 Full Council approved the Employee Handbook that contained a number of employee policies. Three additional policies have been developed and the report sought the approval of those additional policies.
Career Break Policy
A career break had been requested by a longstanding member of staff. There was no scheme currently available hence the preparation of this new policy.
An employee would be required to have had 26 weeks employment before they may request a career break. This was in line with statutory leave such as maternity, adoption and parental leave requests. Career breaks would be unpaid and may be any employee so long as they met the length of service required.
Stuck not Sick Policy
This policy would allow officers the ability to access 2 Emergency days in one leave year. Approval must be obtained from the line manager and could be used for an emergency day not previously authorised. For example in adverse weather, an Officer could access one of the two emergency days and take it as annual leave, flex leave, unpaid leave or agree a period of time to work back the time taken.
Councillor Wilkinson asked if the Union were in agreement with this policy.
The Executive Manager People and Public Protection advised it was proposed with support from the Union. It would benefit Officers for example on occasion a child was absent from school due to sickness or adverse weather and the employee had no remaining annual leave entitlement so could access the Stuck not Sick day as an emergency for them to take the day off at short notice.
Drug and Alcohol Policy.
The policy addresses the principals by which the Council would like employees to operate by when addressing alcohol, drugs and substances. The recommendation would be to test for Alcohol, Drugs and Substance misuse on a “just cause” basis rather than adopt random sampling.
Councillor Turner queried the Career Break Policy and raised concern that there could be a period of time where a level of service would not be maintained if there were a number of Officers on a Career Break. The Executive Manager People and Public Protection confirmed that any career break request would require the authorisation of the Chief Officer.
Councillor Kybird questioned if there would be a lead time to any break.
The Executive Manager People and Public Protection confirmed that this would be a discussion between the Chief Officer and the employee.
Councillor Turner queried the 26 week continuous employment before requesting a Career Break and felt that it was a very short amount of time as an employee may be in their probationary period.
The Executive Manager People and Public Protection advised it would be 26 weeks following the probation period. He added that the policy had been aligned to other Special Leave requests that were at the discretion of the Chief Officer.
Councillor Clarke asked ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Task and Finish Groups
To receive a verbal update from the Task & Finish Group Chairmen in respect of the following meetings:
· Public Loans Works Board - Councillor Robert Kybird
· Housing - Councillor Lynda Turner.
Flagship Housing Task and Finish Group
The Chairman of the Task and Finish Group, Councillor Turner, provided an update to Members advising that it had been a useful meting and the following areas had been discussed.
· Communication - between tenants, housing associations, Officers and Members and what the result of failures and consequences were of that.
· Right first Time – consider the reporting mechanism for issues, the response times and the failures of it.
· Processes for Tenants and Members. The group agreed there needed to be clarity between Flagship, Officer and Members to ensure correct processes were followed for effective response, this included clarity of roles, responsibilities and expectations of both Flagship and their Tenants.
· Members agreed that all housing providers needed to work in harmony with Breckland to provide a better service.
· There needed to be a clear definition of terminology agreed for example what did the term “vulnerable” actually mean.
· A clear understanding was needed of the assessment criteria, timetables, voids, basic facilities, how the multi-agency approach worked and the complaints procedure for tenants.
· The group agreed the need for a far better understanding of how Flagship operated and would therefore invite the appropriate senior officers from Flagship to the next meeting.
Councillor Jermy queried if the group would consider the implications of a potential merger between Flagship and Victory Housing.
The Executive Director for Place added that he was aware of the potential merger but stressed that this would be a long process and that no decision had been made yet. He would be meeting with the appropriate Officers to understand what the merger could mean to Breckland and would notify the Chairman of the Task and Finish Group so information could be considered.
Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) Task and Finish Group
The Chairman of the Task and Finish Group, Councillor Kybird, provided an update to Members. He advised that the following Terms of Reference had been agreed.
1/ To consider the scenarios where Breckland District Council may wish to borrow from PWLB after exhausting internal funding groups.
2/ To understand the principles of PWLB borrowing and to produce an example table of necessary returns to support that borrowing (mindful it must be proportionate to the council, project specific and there must be a borrowing need).
3/ To understand the separate infrastructure funding sources.
4/ To report back to OSC and Governance and Audit committees.
5/ To look at the long term ambition for the District, providing better services with benefit to the Council.
7/ To produce worked examples for affordable housing and solar panel arrays.
Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item)
To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.
Councillor Wilkinson gave the following update on Outside Bodies he has attended.
Norfolk Health Committee
The Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Commission have recently asked for figures on how those with physical and learning difficulties have been cared for since 2014. In addition, he advised members that the Norfolk Health Watch were continuing to monitor the Norfolk Continuing Care Partnership as this was a new initiative.
Breckland Youth Advisory Board
The Board had now received their first funding and would visit all Secondary Schools and Academies across the Breckland District for activities including diversity, mental health and career advice.
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.
Councillor Newton had previously provided information on an Aerial System with a built in modem as an alternative to BT Broadband. He advised that there was a government grant available for this and in the interest of residents and businesses regarding “not spots” (broadband related) he felt it was essential to look into it as the Council had earmarked £950,000 and allocated it to Broadband.
This would be added to the work programme for consideration.
Councillor Turner suggested that the Breckland Lottery should run for a period 6 months and an update is reported to the Scrutiny Commission. This would be scheduled onto the work programme.
Councillor Nairn advised Norfolk County Council (NCC) had issued a statement that from 1st April the recycling centres would be charging between £3 and £5 for an 80litre bag of various waste items. He was concerned this could lead to a greater level of fly tipping across Breckland. He requested that at the next meeting figures be provided to the Commission regarding the amount of fly tips that had been cleared in Breckland and the costs involved prior to the change. He asked for the situation to be monitored at each Overview and Scrutiny meeting.
The Executive Director for Place advised that after it had been in place for a period of two months an update would be given as to before and after costs for the clearance of flytips and the number recorded.
(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.
The Chairman advised that Councillor Oliver would chair the next meeting.
The Chairman requested that following the launch of the Shopappy initiative an update be added to the work programme for November.
Councillor Kybird asked if the Enforcement Policy covered all areas that Breckland could enforce.
The Executive Director for Place advised the aim of this project was to bring all Enforcement activity under one policy.
The Chairman reminded Members to email any specific Highways matters to Leanne Neave, Democratic Services Officer for collation and a response from NCC would be requested.
To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 19 April 2018 at 2.00pm in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham NR19 1EE.
The arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday 19 April at 2.00pm in the Anglia Room, Elizabeth House were noted.