Venue: The Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2008.
(a) Breckland Voice – Review of Distribution (Minute No. 33/08)
The Member Development and Scrutiny Officer confirmed that the Corporate Consultation and Communications Officer had looked into the possibility of amending the existing contract with Serco to provide delivery of Voice through some letterboxes. However since a separate team would need to be employed (thus affecting the speed/efficiency of delivery), the increase in costs would mean that this service would be unrealistic.
(b) Empty Dwellings Policy (Minute No. 32/08)
The Chairman confirmed that the amendments proposed by Panel 2 had passed through the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, and had been approved by Cabinet and Council.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda Item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr G Bambridge (who was representing the Council on an outside body), Councillor C Bowes and Mrs P Quadling.
Report of the Strategic Director (Services).
The Strategic Director (Services) presented the report and began by giving apologies from the PFI Monitoring and Sports Development Officer, who was absent on a training course.
He then introduced and asked the Panel to welcome Sam Dawson, the new Arts Development Officer, before going on to present the report as part of a regular update on work areas and achievements and which covered the period May to October 2008.
He highlighted a few key areas covered by the report, citing examples where the Council had worked, or would be working, closely with some swimming clubs to help them achieve accreditation (i.e. key ‘Best Value Reviews’ within their fields), thereby enabling them to apply for other streams of funding.
Members’ attention was also drawn to the summer holiday programme which had been delivered in partnership with Norfolk Music Works and which had culminated in a highly successful event at the Dereham Leisure Centre. This had brought swimming and music together and had been very well received locally.
Finally he highlighted the Gifted and Talented programme, saying that 8-10 people in the District had already been awarded additional funding to help their development.
There was a short discussion about the programme and a Member enquired about the status of an individual application. She requested an update and, in the event of the application being refused, wanted to be informed of the specific reason.
The Chairman asked if the allotted £10,000 would be likely to run out before the end of the Financial Year.
Another Member specifically enquired if the Council helped support small, localised organisations to get established in nurturing young talent as it was felt that this was a key area which could benefit from the programme. The Member Development and Scrutiny Officer pointed out that members of the Community Development Team would shortly be undertaking a tour around the District to explain to smaller communities the kind of support available to them. Details of the tour would be in the Members’ Bulletin and would also appear in the next edition of Breckland Voice.
There was general agreement that this was all very positive. It was acknowledged that whilst much good work was already being done with some of the larger towns and parishes, enhancing development opportunities in the wider community was essential. The key to future success and long term sustainability would be solid groundwork and steady development.
The Chairman concluded the discussion with his congratulations and thanks to the team involved, noting that this was an area which had showed improvement year-on-year.
(1) a report be made to the next meeting to explain the process and the criteria applying to the Gifted and Talented Awards Scheme. Also to give a breakdown of the awards granted to date and the amount of funding still available; and
(2) the contents of the report be noted.
Report of the Strategic Director (Services).
The Strategic Director (Services) presented this report.
Having highlighted the background and a few key events held during Breckfest, he emphasised that there had been widespread recognition of the whole concept across the District, with some events attracting people from different counties, as well as much positive media support and attention.
Feedback from other key agencies worked with, especially in terms of the main Breckfest event in Attleborough on 13th September, had been very positive and only one complaint had been received about noise levels that evening.
As this had been the first time the Council had attempted an event on this scale, it had been a steep learning curve and many lessons had been learnt, particularly in the area of health and safety standards. Overall the project - and especially the flagship event - was felt to have been an overwhelming success and there had already been approaches from neighbouring authorities concerning the possibility of cooperating on similar projects in the future. There had been good support from Breckland staff, too, and there was a real sense of excitement about the prospect of taking things further.
There were some concerns about the need to maintain a balance and to ensure that any work/funding allocated to similar major projects in the future should not detract from the Council’s ongoing commitment to sports and arts development in the community. Members touched upon the need to publicise the Council’s desire to offer support and some funding to smaller villages who might otherwise struggle with the resource-intensive organisation of local events.
The Strategic Director ensured Panel Members that the holiday programmes would continue as normal next year and that, in addition, it was planned to have a feature on the front page of the Council’s website which would be dedicated to publicising events within the District.
The team was starting to focus on next year’s range of events both in terms of the programme (perhaps featuring a local boxing night) and funding. Sponsorship was a key factor but he felt confident that this would be forthcoming since recent events had achieved high profiles in the media. The idea was to build on this year’s achievements year-on-year up until 2012.
Further discussion took place on the need for diversity in terms of the range and appeal of any proposed events. It was acknowledged that if the Council wanted to organise very large events, either alone or with other local authorities, it would be critical to start work on a programme as soon as possible. The Strategic Director confirmed that with regard to the 2008 Breckfest, the Council’s costs had essentially been covered, albeit there were some additional last minute health and safety issues which had proved to be part of the learning curve.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to the Strategic Director and his team.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
To consider the work programme.
Future items were considered and agreed for the next meeting as follows:
The Chairman pointed out that the revised Constitution was to be reviewed at the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting on 23October. It was likely that the three Panels would then be dissolved into smaller ‘Task & Finish’ or Working Groups. It was possible, therefore, that the next Panel 2 meeting may not be held, or be under a different format. However, the work would still go forward in some form.
The Chairman also informed the Panel that the issue of the Local Development Framework would continue to be considered by one panel or Working Group, which would probably have a wider membership.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that the next meeting will be on Thursday, 27 November at 10.00 a.m. in the Norfolk Room.
Arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday, 27 November 2008 were noted.