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To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman at a later date.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.
Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with through written submissions only.
Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate who the question is for and include your name, address and contact details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda.
Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response given by the appropriate Portfolio Holder or officer at the meeting. All questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Thursday 26 November 2020.
A letter received from Peter Greenaway, President of the Dorchester Chamber for Business was read out, relating to the agenda item on ‘Parking Services Phase 1 Project Report – review of report to Cabinet 8 December 2020’.
The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee is invited to review the report, ‘Parking Services Phase 1 Project Report’, which will be considered by Cabinet on 8 December 2020. Comments made by the committee will be fed through to Cabinet.
A copy of the report which will be considered by Cabinet on 8 December 2020 is included on this agenda.
The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee was invited to review the report ‘Parking Services Phase 1 Project’ which was to be considered by Cabinet on 8 December 2020. The comments of the committee would be provided to Cabinet for consideration.
The Chairman stated that comments to be made at the meeting should be related to the content of the report and not about the use of officer delegated powers or the communications which accompanied the notice.
The Executive Director of Place provided an overview of the report and noted that the phase 1 project and the recommendations to be considered by Cabinet were about ensuring consistency in charging arrangements for parking. A separate report for phase 2 of the project would be brought forward for consideration at the appropriate time.
The Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment noted that the report covered two key areas – the harmonisation of parking charges and hours and the need to address a revenue shortfall in this area.
The Lead Member for Highways (supporting the Portfolio Holder in this area) noted that work had been undertaken with councillors on this issue. In addition, she noted that revenue from car parking was used for areas such as highways winter maintenance so it was important to secure revenue for areas such as this.
The Chairman invited any non-committee members to address the committee and points were raised as follows:
· It was felt that consultation comments received reflected a snapshot of comments made on this issue. It was understood that members of the Dorchester BID had submitted comments but these were not included in the appendix.
· There was recognition of the support that had been provided to local businesses by central and local government during the pandemic and also that there was a need for income from car parks but it was felt that this was not the right time to consult and make changes. Support should be provided to local businesses at this current time
· Comments were made with regard to the level of information provided in the report in order to support the reasons behind the recommendations proposed.
The Chairman opened up discussion to members of the committee and during discussion the following points were raised:
· There were representations about whether the parking scheme should be unified across the Dorset Council area as it was felt important to have the ability to support differing local needs. However, a counter point was noted that it may not be considered fair that some areas currently paid higher charges for car parking
· A concern was raised with regard to the potential impact on the night time economy and that the views of people relating to this had not been reflected in the comments received
· In response to a question on what proportion of the population would be representative in order to reflect the views of Dorset residents, the Executive Director of Place noted that a statistical method would consider 30 replies to constitute a representative sample. The ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
The committee received an update in respect of the ‘Transforming Cities Fund’, following reports to Cabinet on 5 November 2019 and 5 May 2020.
Councillors considered the update report and the following points were raised:
· Reference was made to local plan proposals for Alderholt including plans for improving transport infrastructure and whether this would be included in the proposals? In response, the Head of Highways confirmed that the report provided an update following the previous reports to Cabinet and set out the main schemes that it was hoped to deliver over the next four years. Further detailed work was required. A discussion could be had following the meeting about Alderholt specifically
· Discussions were being held at a sub-national level with regard to further investment in infrastructure and this would include lobbying for funding for Dorset for improved infrastructure in towns. Ward members would be kept informed on this work
· The Chairman asked about representation on the Council Governance Board and this could be picked up with the board
· The Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment noted that this was a positive start in this area and recognised that there were other areas to look at to ensure the council maximised grant funding opportunities when available
· A point was raised with regard to the importance of connectivity between the Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council areas and ensuring joining up to the wider network and how this could be further supported
· The Head of Highways confirmed that the council would continue to involve stakeholders in examining issues including the best ways to improve corridors between areas and welcomed input from councillors. Other work underway included work on a new local plan
· The Chairman requested regular updates on this work for the committee
· In response to a question, the Head of Highways provided an overview of funding in this area
· In response to a question, the Head of Highways noted that the project was low risk in terms of delivery but agreed that if the risk factor increased in an area, this could be raised with the committee
Following discussion, the committee noted the following recommendation:
That the Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee support the following
actions, in line with the decisions of Cabinet on 5 November 2019 and 5 May
(a) The delivery of the proposed three-year delivery programme in line with the TCF Strategic Outline Business Case, already approved by Cabinet, and guidance set out by the DfT in the Assurance Framework.
(b) The agreed Governance Framework and the delegation of the authority to the Head of Highways in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and the Environment through the TCF Council Governance Board (CGB), for approval of future TCF proposals, detailed programme delivery decisions and the detailed design of each element of the programme.
(c) Regular TCF update reports going to the CGB and from there to DfT as stipulated within point 8 of the award letter, with consideration of Traffic Regulation ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
To receive an update in respect of energy procurement following a decision taken by Cabinet on 5 November 2019.
Link to Cabinet agenda and minutes for information:
The committee received an update in respect of energy procurement following a decision taken by Cabinet on 5 November 2019.
Councillors considered the contents of the report and during discussion the following points were raised:
· A discussion was held with regard to green energy supply and the Energy Officer provided an explanation of the green tariff including the use of power purchase agreements. Some initial work had been undertaken in this area to look at prices and the demand that the council might be able to commit to, which could differ over time. Discussions were being held with the council’s sustainability team
· The Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment highlighted that the council finding its own power source was part of the council’s green agenda and was recognised as very important, although this would take time
· In response to a question, officers provided information on the council’s spend on gas and electricity
· The Energy Officer noted that the approach taken by the council was risk managed, provided flexibility for going to the market and could be reviewed in three years time. There were no break periods, as a level of commitment was required, however there were opportunities to reduce consumption which could be absorbed by the contract.
That the Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee note progress made in respect of the procurement of energy supply contracts. This is following the decision of Cabinet on 5 November 2019 and is assured that action taken is in line with the decision of Cabinet.
A copy of the Property Strategy and Asset Management Plan report considered by Cabinet on 3 November 2020 has been included on the agenda for this meeting for review by the committee.
The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee considered a report on asset management methodology at the meeting on 29 September 2020. The report subsequently considered by Cabinet on 3 November 2020, included further detail on areas including time scales and process and included points raised by this scrutiny committee. The report is therefore brought back to this committee for information and assurance.
A copy of the Property Strategy and Asset Management Plan report considered by Cabinet on 3 November 2020 had been included on the agenda for this meeting for review by the committee.
The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee had previously considered a report on asset management methodology at the meeting on 29 September 2020. The report subsequently considered by Cabinet on 3 November 2020, included further detail on areas including time scales and process and included points raised by this scrutiny committee. The report was therefore brought back to this committee for information and assurance.
The Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Assets and Property provided an overview of the work undertaken and noted that the paper considered by Cabinet, set out the process and allowed decisions to be taken in order to maximise the use and value of the council’s estate.
The committee considered the Cabinet report and during discussion, raised the following issues:
· A comment was made with regard to the need to keep a customer facing hub in the east of the Dorset Council area
· Although the council would need to work through the whole portfolio, priority was being given to larger leases and consideration of where there were natural break points in leases, some of which would be in 2021 and some in 2022
· In response to a question, an update was provided in respect of the marketing of the former council offices at Furzehill
· Reference was made to the Property and Asset Management Strategy Action Plan set out as an appendix to the report and the target dates that had been set. In response to a request, the Corporate Director for Property and Assets agreed to provide a quarterly monitoring report in respect of the action plan
· A review of agile working had been accelerated by the current pandemic and the need for council officers to work from home where possible and this would impact on the way space was used in future. Consultation was currently underway with managers as to how work would be managed moving forward and this would be factored in when planning for office space
· A point was raised in respect of how officers worked from home and a concern noted that not one solution would fit for all circumstances. In response, the Corporate Director noted that these elements were currently being addressed by Human Resources. Officers where possible, would continue to work remotely until the end of March 2021 and work being undertaken was factoring in staff returning to offices but on a different basis
· In response to a question, the Corporate Director confirmed that the council had 62 hotels and 53 farms or landholdings included within its assets
· The Chairman welcomed a regular report to the committee on progress with the action plan
· The Corporate Director confirmed that relevant decisions would need to go through the council’s governance structure.
To receive the Annual Complaints Report 2019/20.
The committee received the Annual Complaints Report for 2019/20. The Service Manager for Assurance provided an overview of the key messages in the report.
The committee discussed the contents of the report and commented that complaints were being effectively dealt with, with many issues being resolved by the team. The committee expressed their thanks to officers working in this area.
A point was noted with regard to the wellbeing of officers working in this area and detail was given of the support that they were being provided with, both with the nature of the work and in terms of the current situation with working from home.
The committee noted the report and that future reports in this area would be provided to the committee on a regular basis.
To review the Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan.
Councillors reviewed the committee’s forward plan and potential items for review at future meetings. Councillors would be meeting informally following the meeting to consider items to take forward for review.
To review the Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions taken at recent meetings.
The committee noted the Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions taken at recent meetings.
To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.
There were no urgent items.
To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.
There is no exempt business.
There was no exempt business.