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 215 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2022.


The minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 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 Dale and Eagle.


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.


The Chairman welcomed non-members present to the meeting.


Q2 performance report pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Report of Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services.

Additional documents:


The Innovation and Change Business Partner, Ryan Pack, presented the report that provided members with an overview of the Council’s performance for the period 1 July to 30 September 2022.


Councillor Birt queried the leisure participation and how this was measured, and why the customer satisfaction had not been monitored; he understood why it had not been monitored during lockdown, but felt it was a key measurement that should be looked at.  He went on to ask what the non-functional issues were with the Tascomi system.


Members heard that there would be a user and non-user customer satisfaction survey that would be collected after the winter season.  However, there had been intelligence gathered in other ways such as complaints and compliments.


Councillor Birt asked if there had been information gathered, and if there was could it be shared with members.  The Assistant Director for Contracts and Operations said a request for a summary would be provided.


Councillor Jermy referred to the Disabled Facility Grants (DFG’s) and whilst it was important to monitor the number of applications completed, he would also be interested to see how many completions there had been.  He was also aware that residents were being informed that the budget had already been allocated for this financial year and was concerned for the length of time some people would need to wait, which would also create a backlog.


Councillor Jermy also said that he was pleased to see that complaints were being responded to but asked what numbers were being received.


The Executive Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Alison Webb said that the issue regarding funding was across the County and was not just a Breckland district issue.  Members also heard that during the Covid period there had been no visits made by Occupational Health Therapists to assess the homes.  Since the impact of Covid had reduced, the Occupational Health Therapists were now catching up with those visits causing more homes requiring adaptions.  Whilst there was an issue with funding, the Housing Team were looking for funding to seek someone who could undertake simple adaptions to push ahead.


Councillor Jermy said that his concern was that there had been many examples where the lack of adaptions had prevented people from leaving hospital and at times had been a deal-breaker in some going into care.


Councillor Turner also added that she had been aware of a resident who had been provided with a bungalow but had not been able to move into it due to the adaptions not being done and asked that this became a priority issue for the Commission to investigate.


It was requested that a thorough update on the situation with Disabled Facility Grants be provided to the Commission at a future meeting.


Councillor Webb added that the Cabinet were looking at ways to resolve these issues and believed that the budget would be increased next year to deal with the demand.  However, those specific details  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78/22


Task and Finish Groups pdf icon PDF 304 KB

To receive the final report from the Chairman of the Task & Finish Group – Serco Contract.


Councillor Lynda Turner, the Chairman of the Task & Finish Group reviewing the Serco contract presented the report to Members.  Members were asked to consider the recommendations provided and note that the Task & finish Group felt that monitoring of the contract annually remained a priority.


Councillor Birt said he had specifically asked for information to be included within the report that stated that to scrutinise the Serco contract he had asked to see the full contract, but that he been denied that request. 


The Chairman informed that having been declined his request to see a full copy of the contract, there had been two routes then open to the Councillor. He could have made a formal freedom of information request, or he could have applied for a judicial review of the Council’s decision. He added that he had noted Councillor Birt’s comments that he had not seen the contract in full. He went on to say that recommendations had been made by the Task & Finish Group which was under consideration.


The Solicitor to the Council added that it was felt by Officers that the Task & Finish Group had had access to sufficient information in order for them to review the contract. He noted that Councillor Birt was the only councillor on the Task & Finish Group who had felt that this was not the case.


Councillor Birt went on to say that information had come to light that had not been covered within the report and had spoken to workers on the ground some of whom were being paid under the minimum wage.  Whilst this was being corrected, he had learnt that the agency workers had been paid more than those who had been employed.  He had also noted that the contract had stated that the grounds maintenance staff were working towards an NVQ qualification. 


Councillor Wickerson added that the Task & Finish Group had been a worthwhile exercise, but had been disappointed to learn that the Governance and Audit Commission had also commissioned an audit of the contract, information of which would have been useful to the Task & Finish Group.


Councillor Kybird, as Vice-Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee felt that the Committee had not gone out of the way to commission the work as it would be completed on an annual basis.


The Assistant Director of Contracts and Operations said that she recalled informing the Task & Finish Group that the audit was taking place, but it also formed a joint audit with North Norfolk District Council.  She went on to say that the Group had three specific terms of reference and it was important to remain focussed on those areas; of which terms and conditions was not part.


Councillor Wickerson said he had been disappointed that there had been a cross-over and it would have been useful to know the information shared.


Councillor Jermy said that Councillor Harvey had passed on his thanks to the Chairman of the Task & Finish Group, and to Officers and that he had been pleased  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79/22


Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item)

To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.



Councillor Kybird informed Members that the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Commission had met in September to consider the Safeguarding review which had been a useful exercise.  There had also been a joint meeting between Norfolk and Suffolk Health Scrutiny to look at the three key areas of inadequate performance although improvements were being made.


Councillor Wilkinson said that the Breckland Youth Advisory Board had recently met to outline their plans for 2022/2023 and further funding had been provided to fund the youth mental health programme.  A decision would be taken in due course by Breckland Council if they would continue with funding the Board.


Councillor Wilkinson also mentioned that an interim Chief Executive had been appointed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was pleased to inform Members that the Communications Team had been awarded a national award for their part in delivering the communications in health and wellbeing.



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 currently two Councillor Call for Actions outstanding.  The first request related to Councillor Mike Nairn regarding the grass cutting. 


The second request was from Councillor Atterwill who suggested inviting Primary Care Providers to a meeting to understand the current provision of care issues (including dentistry) The Executive Director Steve James would report back on this at the next meeting.


The Assistant Director for Contracts and Operations informed Members that there had been a number of concerns raised earlier in the year with Norfolk County Council grass cutting, and the Environmental Services team had emailed all Councillors the land ownership and what had been removed or remained.  Telephone calls had diminished over time and operationally they were not seeing any major issues.  Whilst this was the case, Members felt it would be useful to understand the procedures and how to make a complaint if required. 


It was requested that Officers from Norfolk County Council, together with Officers from Breckland attended a meeting early in 2023 to discuss the performance of the contract.






Work Programme pdf icon PDF 239 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 IT Infrastructure item would be presented at the next meeting of the Commission.


The Executive Member for Health and Communities was keen to ensure that information regarding the two motions presented at recent full council meetings on Fuel Poverty and Credit Unions would be considered at the next meeting of the Commission in December.  Members were asked for further information to inform the discussion and any key issues that were to be raised.


Councillor Atterwill said that he would liaise with Steve James, Executive Director to ensure that the right organisations were invited to a future meeting.


Councillor Jermy said both Fuel Poverty and Credit Union items were critical and felt that waiting until December did not do the urgency justice.  He would like to see a Fuel Action Plan created.


Members also requested that the Citizens Advice Bureau be invited to the next meeting so that Members could understand their role and input.



Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 1 December 2022 at 10am in the Anglia Room, The Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE.



The arrangements for the next meeting scheduled for 1 December 2022 at 10.00am in the Anglia Room, the Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE were noted.