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 78 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2019.


The minutes of the meeting held on 19 December 2019 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.


An apology was received from Councillor Ed Colman. Councillor Helen Crane was in attendance as his substitute.


Chairman's Announcements (if any)




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 Roger Atterwill, Paul Claussen, Gordon Bambridge, Harry Clarke, Philip Morton, Ian Sherwood, Sarah Suggitt, Alison Webb.


Corporate Plan Refresh 2020 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To receive a report from the Senior Policy Advisor, Greg Pearson.

Additional documents:


The Senior Policy Advisor, Greg Pearson, advised Members that the current Corporate Plan for Breckland had been adopted in February 2019 and was agreed to run to the period 2019-2023.  In order to ensure that it remains current and continues to reflect decisions made by the Council throughout the year an annual refresh is required. The document at the meeting today represents the first annual refresh.


The Senior Policy Advisor explained how the refresh worked and highlighted that Appendix A was the plan as it was first agreed, Appendix B contained the proposed changes and amendments that Officers had worked with the Cabinet to identify. Appendix C set out proposed changes to the narrative and the explanation within each key corporate theme.


Councillors Martin, Kybird and Birt made a number of recommendations that they felt would improve the documents further.  The Senior Policy Advisor said he would take on board the suggestions and review the document.


Councillor Atterwill suggested it may be more helpful for Members for two more columns to be included whilst trying to review the Plan, one for the Plan objective timelines and a further column to see what had been achieved in the previous 12 months. In addition that information should be readily available to the public to show transparency and accountability.


The Executive Director Strategy and Governance, Maxine O’Mahony explained that the information requested in the two columns was already included in a working document. The Corporate Plan was the higher level document and underneath that was the Delivery Plan which included more detail and sat across each different service area that did include the information suggested. This information was shared with the Cabinet on a regular basis. The Executive Director Strategy and Governance also explained that every year after the refresh the Corporate Improvement & Performance Team did a further piece of work to update residents on what work had been achieved against each of the areas so the information was readily available to the public


The Senior Policy Advisor also stated that the delivery of the Corporate Plan was also monitored on a quarterly basis through performance reporting to the Scrutiny Commission and in doing so was out into the public domain. The Chairman suggested Councillor Atterwill look at the Delivery Plan to see if it met the criteria he was looking for.


Councillor Atterwill also suggested that an additional point be added as many residents worked or had other commitments and for many reasons were not able to attend Council meetings but may have access to Livestream or could listen to recordings and so proposed the following be added:


CA44 to include under the column “We will…” ‘Develop a clear strategy to improve open, transparent and accountable decision making by Live streaming Council meetings and publishing recordings of meetings’ with the rationale ‘To provide a more flexible and convenient way for the wider community to access the Council’s decision making process and give the community increased confidence in the integrity and accountability of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116/20


Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive a report from the Executive Member for Health & Housing.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Housing, Health & Environment, Alison Webb thanked the Housing Team for their hard work and commitment to developing the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy and the Allocations Policy. The Strategy had been developed, in consultation with partners, following a review by the East of England Local Government Association who had introduced a new statutory requirement. The aim was to prevent homelessness, the need for emergency accommodation and associated costs.


The Place Manager, Riana Rudland, explained that a commitment had been made and an in depth review had taken place in consultation and engagement with partner organisations. There had been great interest received in working with Breckland Council and key agencies wanted to get more involved with Breckland’s tenancy awareness courses to meet the needs of residents. The Place Manager would welcome the Commission’s comments that could be incorporated in the final Strategy.


Trish Reed, Associate of the East of England Local Government Association gave a presentation on the Homelessness Review and Strategy explaining that they had looked at key issues and challenges and how to take a more pro-active approach to the prevention of homelessness and reduce the need for temporary accommodation.


The main priorities that came out of the review were:


·         to improve access to early housing advice and homelessness prevention services.

·         to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in Breckland.

·         to reduce the numbers in temporary accommodation and reduce reliance on B&B within 2 years.

·         to develop new services and partnerships to improve housing options.


Members were pleased to see all the work being done on the new strategy and felt that the recognition of the housing issue was overdue. Members highlighted the percentage of homelessness of families with children and queried the suitability of properties with a need for temporary accommodation provision within proximity to current work and schools. The Housing Options and Corporate Safeguarding Team Leader, Jane Booth, had joined Breckland Council recently and was focussing on provision and family placement. She assured Members that they did look at family’s education and work needs as a priority and aimed to keep families close to their support network wherever possible.


Members also voiced concerns over the monitoring of the application process to ensure it was not too long and no applicant slipped out of the process for any reason. The Housing Options and Corporate Safeguarding Team Leader assured Members that the process was monitored and was improving and statistics could be provided should Members wish to see any of this information.


Members suggested that the Housing and Planning departments should work together to try to ensure the needs of the housing department were met, particularly with the percentage of affordable housing being reduced from 40% to 20% as part of the Local Plan. It was felt that there needed to be clear communication between the two departments and that the policies needed to be in place in planning terms to try and get the delivery of smaller one and two bedroom houses.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 117/20


Allocations Policy pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive a report of the Executive Member for Health & Housing.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Housing, Health & Environment explained the Draft Allocations Policy was due to go before Cabinet in March. Members were asked for their comments. The aim of the report was to change the banding levels, reduce the need for temporary accommodation and to shorten the stay for people in temporary accommodation.


After a short discussion Members noted the report.




Quarter 3 2019-20 Performance Overview Report pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive a report from the Executive Member for Governance.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Governance, Sarah Suggitt introduced the Quarter 3 Performance Report for Members to note. In summary the Council continued to perform strongly with 8 of the 14 Key Performance Indicators performing at or above target. There had been significant improvements in the indicators which measured the performance of the Environmental Services Team. The service reported that 40% of all household waste collected within this period was either recycled or composted against a national Local Authority average of 29%. Areas where performance required improvement was the Customer Contact Centre, of the 26,555 calls received within this period, 81.5% were successfully answered against a target of 90%. In addition the average wait time showed an area which needed improvement. As was reported last quarter a Deep Dive analysis of the service was underway, it was proposed that this exercise would be concluded with findings and recommendations for improvement at the end of March.


Councillor Birt had concerns in respect of the calculation of the average wait time. He felt that this still was not clear and the data needed to be accurate to enable accurate measuring of the performance indicator. The Executive Manager Information, Sarah Barsby, explained the way the time waiting was reported was by way of industry practice which enabled benchmarking against other organisations. The rationale behind this was that until the customer had heard the options available they had not yet made a decision as to whether to queue or use other methods available. Other ways of measuring could be looked at. The Chair asked Members to vote on whether further investigation should take place on calculating wait times, or to remain with the benchmark measuring. Only 2 Members voted for further investigation and it was agreed that the current benchmark calculation remain.


Councillor Martin expressed concerns in respect of the results of the Contact Centre and felt it was not improving as it should. He suggested waiting until the ‘Deep Dive’ had been completed and the results of the findings being made. This could then be reviewed at the next meeting as to whether any further measures should be taken to improve the service. In response the Executive Manager Information stated that there had been some improvements made this month which was a result of some changes already made. The new Customer Experience Manager, Adele Newsome, was introduced, who had spent a considerable amount of time with Contact Centre Team to understand the pressure points and what could be done to address performance.


Councillor Birt mentioned confusion over the missed bin collection rate calculation. The Chairman explained how this was calculated.


Councillor Birt re-iterated that he had asked the Performance Team to investigate a ‘histogram pictorial’ to record Freedom of Information requests and complaints. The Corporate Improvement Performance Manager advised that they were currently unable to articulate this as they did not have the correct software to be able to produce such information.


Councillor Jermy suggested, based on the previous report on Homelessness, that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119/20


Pay Policy Statement 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To receive a report from the Executive Member for Governance.


The Executive Director Strategy and Governance, Maxine O’Mahony, apologised and stated this was an error and should not have been on the agenda, it was a statement of fact, not for debate and would be included on the Cabinet agenda.


Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item)

To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.





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.




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 133 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:


Councillor Martin suggested that the Highways Agency be invited to a future meeting to explain the calculation of traffic movements and the advice they provide to Planning.


Councillor Martin also asked if a representative of Anglian Water could be invited as a statutory body to explain how it assessed individual applications and how they were dealt with. Councillor Webb said she would ask Anglian Water if they would come along to a future meeting.


Councillor Jermy suggested, given the size of the project, a review of the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension plan, now that the first residents had moved in, how it was going and if there had been any strain on infrastructure.


It was agreed that the request for the Contact Centre be added to the Work Programme and reviewed following the ‘Deep Dive’ exercise.




Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 19 March 2020, at 10:00am in the Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham.



The arrangements for the next meeting on 19 March 2020 at 10:00am in the Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham 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 paragraphs 1, 2 and 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 paragraphs 1,2 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.



Worksmart 20:20 - Terms & Conditions

To receive a report from the Executive Member for Governance.

Additional documents: