Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board
Thursday, 4th April, 2019 6.45 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Penrith

Contact: Members Services  01768 817 817

Items
No. Item

SCb/64/04/19

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Chambers and Councillor Thompson.

 

Councillor Banks thanked all members of the Scrutiny Committees for their work over the last year. He also welcomed the work that had been done by  the Centre for Public Scrutiny, as well as their report with its final recommendations, which he hoped would be adopted as soon as possible.

 

Councillor Banks also thanked the Task and Finish group which looked into Increasing Participation, as this year there were only 3 uncontested seats, down from 21 in 2015. He thanked the work of the members of that group.

SCb/65/04/19

Minutes

To confirm and approve the minutes SCb/52/01/19 to SCb/63/01/19  of the meeting of this Board held on 3 January 2019 as a correct record of those proceedings (copies previously circulated).

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes SCb/52/01/19 to SCb/63/01/19 of the meeting of this Board held on 2 January 2019 were confirmed as a correct record of those proceedings.

SCb/66/04/19

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of the existence and nature of any private interests, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at this meeting.

SCb/67/04/19

Portfolio Holder Update - Leader pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Leader to update the Board on progress against their portfolio plan. A copy of the Portfolio Plan is attached for information.

Minutes:

The Board received an update from the Leader on the work being undertaken within their portfolio plan during 2018-2019.

 

The Leader updated Members on the following points:

·         The Leader gave an update on a number of the meetings he had been involved with recently, which included discussions with Manchester University about the possibility of opening a campus within Eden; and discussions regarding employment land in Eden.

·         The Leader had been to meetings with the Leaders of Councils in Cumbria, regarding the position on unitary councils within Cumbria. The Leader of Cumbria County Council was keen on pursuing one unitary Council for Cumbria, however the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was not minded to pursue this at the moment. The Leaders of the District Councils felt that place and communities were most important to the residents of Cumbria, and any change shouldn’t be driven solely by a need for savings.

·         Joint working is becoming increasingly important. District Councils have been tasked with a great deal of preventative work with regards to health, and there is scope for all of the districts to work together to produced focused responses.

·         The Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has undergone a radical overhaul, and is about to become a company in its own right as of 1 April 2019. The current Chief Executive has done much to improve the governance of the LEP, and push it forward with a bright future. The Leader told Members that he now served on the LEP’s Rural Panel as its chair, feeding into the main Board, and he was confident that there would be many positive changes in the future.

·         From a first glance, there has been a lot of valuable information generated due to the engagement exercise regarding the Penrith Strategic Masterplan. The new Executive will take the decision forward regarding what will happen next with the Masterplan.

·         Transformation is high on the agenda, with a potential of looking at one single Council centre, leaving the Town Hall as a primarily ceremonial building.

·         The land which the Council owns at Rheged is being looked at as an opportunity for commercial development.

 

The Chairman thanked the Leader for his comprehensive update on his portfolio plan.

 

The Leader left the meeting at 7.40pm.

SCb/68/04/19

Portfolio Holder Update - Eden Development Portfolio Holder pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Eden Development Portfolio Holder to update the Board on progress against their portfolio plan. A copy of the Portfolio Plan is attached for information.

Minutes:

The Board received an update from the Eden Development Portfolio Holder on the work being undertaken within their portfolio plan during 2018-2019.

 

The Eden Development Portfolio Holder updated Members on the following points:

·         A cross department working group had been set up to ensure that Section 106 monies are being distributed in a timely fashion and within government guidelines.

·         Flood assessments throughout Eden were taking place, and were now nearing completion, the results of which will feed into the next Local Plan review.

·         Planning permission had been granted for small industrial units on London Road, and pre-commencement work had begun. It was hoped that they would be rented out to small local businesses who wished to expand.

·         Analysis of the results of the Masterplan engagement process is ongoing. This will be taken forward by the new Executive after the election, and will help inform the next review of the Local Plan. Members asked questions regarding when the review of the Eden Local Plan was likely to take place, but the Eden Development Portfolio Holder replied that whether any review goes ahead, and the timescales involved would be a matter for full Council to decide.

·         Support has been given to those parishes who are currently preparing Neighbourhood plans. Lazonby Parish’s Neighbourhood plan is the furthest progressed, with the referendum regarding this likely to be held soon. Penrith Town Council are also preparing their own Neighbourhood plan.

·         PFK will be marketing land at Junction 41 soon with a view to developing employment sites there.

·         The Eden Development Portfolio Holder also gave a brief update on the work of Heart of Cumbria Limited. The Heart of Cumbria own seven properties, which are all going well, and all rent is up to date. Inspections which have taken place are positive. The Heart of Cumbria will be completing on a further six flats in May. At the moment any further decisions cannot be taken until the election has taken place, and membership of the Board of Directors was confirmed going forward.

 

The Chairman thanked the Eden Development Portfolio Holder for his update on his portfolio plan.

 

The Eden Development Portfolio Holder left the meeting at 8.19pm.

SCb/69/04/19

Reports from Scrutiny Committee Meetings

To receive verbal updates from the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen.

Minutes:

The Board received a verbal update from the Chairman of the Housing and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED to note the update.

SCb/70/04/19

Cost Comparisons 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider report F27/19 from the Director of Corporate Services which is attached and which seeks to set out a range of cost comparisons between the Council and a comparative group of similar Councils to assist in consideration of potential areas for scrutiny reviews.

RECOMMENDATIONS that:

1.         the comparative information set out in Appendix 1 be noted.

2.         That consideration be given to whether any scrutiny reviews should be undertaken using the comparative information.

 

Minutes:

Members considered report F27/19 from the Director of Corporate Services which sought to set out a range of cost comparisons between the Council and a comparative group of similar Councils to assist in consideration of potential areas for scrutiny reviews.

 

RESOLVED that the comparative information set out within the report was noted.

SCb/71/04/19

Treasury Management Transactions Report 1 April 2019 to 28 February 2019 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider report F20/19 from the Director of Corporate Services which is attached and which seems to enable the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board to monitor the treasury management activities of the Council.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the report be noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report F20/19 from the Director of Corporate Services which sought to enable the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board to monitor the treasury management activities of the Council.

 

RESOLVED that the report was noted.

SCb/72/04/19

Budget Monitoring: 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider report F15/19 from the Director of Finance which is attached and which seeks to present the quarterly budget monitoring report.  Monitoring is against the revised revenue estimates agreed by Executive on 11 December 2018 and the revised capital estimates agreed by Executive on 11 December 2018.

RECOMMENDATION that the report is noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report F15/19 from the Assistant Director Finance which sought to present the quarterly budget monitoring report. Monitoring was against the revised revenue estimates agreed by Executive on 11 December 2018 and the revised capital estimates agreed by Executive on 11 December 2018.

 

RESOLVED that the report was noted.

SCb/73/04/19

Scrutiny Annual Report 2018-2019

To consider report G34/19 from the Chairman of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board which is to follow.

Minutes:

Members considered report G34/19 from the Chairman of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board which allowed Members to comment on the Annual Scrutiny report which will be delivered at the Annual Council meeting by the Chairman. Due to the late running of the meeting, Members were encouraged to contact Member Services with any comment.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

SCb/74/04/19

Any Other Items which the Chairman decides are urgent

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business at this meeting.

SCb/75/04/19

Date of Next Scheduled Meeting

The date of the next scheduled meeting will be confirmed at Annual Council on 9 May 2019.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting will be confirmed at Annual Council on 16 May 2019.