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The Chairman provided the following statement:
‘In the light of the situation with Covid-19 case rates, Dorset Council's Chief Executive - Matt Prosser has exercised his delegated powers to continue to hold virtual informal committee meetings.
Where a decision is required, committee members will express a ‘minded to’ decision in respect of recommendations set out in officer reports, with decisions being taken under officer delegated authority in the light of ‘minded to’ decisions expressed by members in the virtual meetings. Any decisions or recommendations required will be confirmed by the appropriate officer at the conclusion of the committee’s debate on an agenda item.’
Appointment of Vice-chairman for the meeting
The Chairman noted that the Vice-chairman had sent his apologies and therefore the committee would need to elect a Vice-chairman for the meeting.
It was proposed by S Bartlett seconded by J Andrews
That D Tooke be elected Vice-chairman for the meeting.
Declarations of interest
To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interests as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.
If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any updates from the Chairman of the Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee.
There was no update from the Chairman at this time.
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 20 January 2022.
There were no questions or statements from members of the public or local organisations.
Questions from Members
To receive questions submitted by councillors. The deadline for receipt of questions is 8.30am on Thursday 20 January 2022.
There were no questions from councillors.
To consider a report of the Service Manager for Assurance.
The committee considered a report of the Service Manager for Assurance which set out the position on Freedom of Information (FOI) compliance and noted the actions taken to improve compliance with Subject Access Requests (SARs).
Councillors considered the issues arising from the report and during discussions the following areas were covered:
· Issues around vexatious requests
· Resources available for dealing with requests and targets for responding
· Work being undertaken with service areas to identify common requests and where information could be made more readily available
· Measuring performance in this area
· Opportunities to make initial discussions on SARs more efficient.
Councillors noted the improved position on Freedom of Information request compliance and the actions that were being taken to improve compliance with Subject Access Requests. The committee were content with the work that had been undertaken and the plan that was in place. A request was made for a further report to be provided, when the council was closer to meeting compliance rates.
To consider a report of the Head of Highways.
The committee received and considered a report of the Head of Highways, which provided information for the committee to undertake a review of the actions taken by the council to respond to the increased visitor demand in 2021, that was generated by pandemic guidance and the increase in ‘staycations’.
During discussion, points were noted in the following areas:
· Further detail provided of how the Council worked to maximise commercial opportunities
· Detail was provided on the role of the Dorset Council Operations Group and in particular, issues around camping on beaches
· Regular briefings were provided to the relevant portfolio holders and lead members
· The success of partnership working between the council and other agencies
· Further information provided on the items listed in the table at 11.1 of the report (additional services provided)
· Further consideration of parking issues was required
· Detail of work undertaken through the Local Resilience Forum and work with partners including town and parish councils
· Reference made to trigger points for the escalation of alert levels
· Plans were being put in place to manage visitor numbers during 2022, which would include learning from 2021
· Funding issues were being reviewed with the Executive Director of Place and Executive Director of Corporate Development
· A particular request was made for continued funding for the communications campaign in this area
· In addition, there was a request for a further report on progress with planning for 2022 tourism, to include an invitation to representatives of the emergency services.
It was proposed by M Roberts seconded by D Tooke
That the committee have reviewed the response by
the council to increased visitor demand during 2021 as set out in the report
and summarised in the notes above
That the committee have tested and challenged
any assumption or proposed course of action as part of the scrutiny role and
summarised in the notes above
That the committee understand the gaps that
remain at this stage in terms of the expectations for the response to
anticipated increased visitor demand in 2022 and the risks this represents
That the committee request that the Director of
Place consider securing proposed funding requirements for Summer Operational
planning 2022 including funding for the Communication Strategy
v) That a report is provided to the committee following the February Half-term and Easter holiday periods, on the progress of Summer Operations and an invitation be extended to representatives of the emergency services to provide their perspectives and future response plans.
The Executive Director of Place, having heard the debate, confirmed the ‘minded to’ decision, under delegated powers on behalf of the informal meeting of the Place and Resources Overview Committee.
To consider a report of the Transport Planning Team Leader.
Further to a request from the committee, a report was presented by the Transport Planning Team Leader, which provided an update on the significant Transforming Cities Fund programme. Councillors considered the information provided in the update, and points were discussed in the following areas:
· A desire to see similar opportunities for towns and villages across the Dorset Council area
· Work being undertaken by the Highways and Greenspaces teams on cycleways
· Linking up projects between the Dorset Council and BCP Council areas
· It was aimed that work would be prioritised for completion by March 2023
· Ensuring effective communications in this area to highlight the benefits
· Detail of the ‘Beryl’ Bike scheme.
It was proposed by D Shortell seconded by D Tooke
That the committee notes the progress that has been made on the significant Transforming Cities Fund programme.
To consider a report of the Senior Assurance Officer Complaints.
Councillors received a report of the Senior Assurance Officer Complaints, which provided the committee with the opportunity to scrutinise the Annual Complaints report for 2020/21.
Councillors discussed the issues arising from the report and points were raised in the following areas:
· Issues around vexatious complaints
· The ‘single point of contact’ list was available for councillors to view
· Lessons that could be learnt through the complaints process
· How information could better be shared with councillors
· In response to a request, an overview of complaints regarding the Place area was provided.
At this point in the meeting it was proposed by D Shortell seconded by D Tooke, that the meeting continue beyond the 3-hour limit as set out in the Constitution. This was agreed by the committee.
· Resources available for dealing with complaints
· Issues around Code of Conduct complaints.
The Chairman, on behalf of the committee, thanked officers for their work in this area.
It was proposed by M Roberts seconded by D Shortell
That the committee have scrutinised and noted the Annual Complaints Report for 2020/21.
1) To review the Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan.
2) Monitoring of the Performance Dashboard – members of the committee to flag up any areas for potential review:
Operational – Corporate: Councillors Brian Heatley and David Shortell
Operational – Place: Councillors Mark Roberts, David Tooke and Jon Andrews
HR: Councillors Andy Canning and Bill Trite
The Chairman, Councillor Shane Bartlett, maintains an overview of all the above areas.
Councillors reviewed the committee’s forward plan and noted items to be considered at the meeting of the committee on 8 March 2022.
The Chairman asked the committee if there were any issues they wished to flag in respect of their review of the performance dashboard. The following points were noted in respect of their targets in the dashboard; repairs on principal and minor roads; reference to a RIDDOR accident report; the number of homes being built. These would be reviewed following the meeting.
To review the Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions taken at recent meetings.
The Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions of recent meetings are provided to members of the Place & Resources Scrutiny Committee to review and identify any potential post decision scrutiny to be undertaken, by scheduling items into the forward plan to review after a period of implementation.
The committee noted the Cabinet Forward Plan and decisions taken at recent meetings, which the committee could use in order to identify potential areas for post decision review.
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.