Agenda and minutes

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No. Item




Councillor Smith sent his apologies.


Declarations of interest


Councillor Nelson declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 7.


Councillor Fifield confirmed with the Monitoring Officer that working in the area of housing and homelessness in his role at Gloucestershire County Council does not constitute a prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8.



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Minutes of meeting held on 30 October 2023.


The minutes of the meeting held on 30 October were approved and signed as a true record.


Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions


None had been received on this occasion.


Cabinet Briefing

Briefing from Councillor Hay, Leader (if she has an update, or if O&S Members have questions for her)


Objective: An update from the Cabinet on key issues for Cabinet Members which may be of interest to Overview and Scrutiny and may inform the work plan


The Leader was delighted to share the good news that the council has just been awarded in principle £20m from the Levelling Up Fund, towards the Golden Valley Development, after an earlier bid was unsuccessful due to not fully fitting the criteria.  She said this was down to the council’s commitment to the project, hard work from Members and officers, lobbying, and the support of the local MP to put the bid in.  Not only does it de-risk the borrowing and whole project, but it secures GCHQ going into Golden Valley, which in turn secures Plexall going in and all the other organisations which have expressed interest.

Regarding CBH, she confirmed that the process was continuing, with the main focus on consultation with tenants and leaseholders.  Officers are hoping to appoint an independent supplier with expertise in housing to undertake the tenant consultation in the next few weeks,  starting before Christmas but allowing extended time to respond.  GE has met with all service heads at CBH to hear their views.

The Chief Executive said that his first job is to listen to CBH colleagues, and he has met and had positive and in-depth discussions with the various heads of service, using the opportunity to provide reassurance and answer all questions across the different service areas. He confirmed that the independent consultation provider will be appointed before Christmas and make allowance for the busy period.    He said that his message to CBH colleagues was in reality not to expect the TUPE process to begin until early 2024, but he has asked CBC heads of service to be available to talk to CBH teams and colleagues when invited to do so, and provide reassurance to employees about the transfer.  They should be clear that this isn’t necessarily about expecting CBH to adopt CBC’s culture, but about shaping a new culture together for a new joint organisation. There will be more to update when the consultation dates are in place.

He finished by saying that the 2021 and 2023 Campbell Tickell reports highlighted a number of areas where the council was advised to strengthen partnership work between CBC and CBH to make efficiencies; this work continues and will be ongoing while the consultation is underway.



Matters referred to committee


There were none.



Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) / Operational Policing pdf icon PDF 10 MB

Objective :

·         Current position of levels of criminality in Cheltenham with a particular focus on anti-social behaviour and organised crime.

·         How is success measured and how are they performing against it in a Cheltenham context?


Police and Crime Commissioner, Chris Nelson

Chief Inspector Gav Morgan, Gloucestershire Police



Additional documents:


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) commented that he had received and responded to eight written questions, adding that it would be useful to have received these more in advance to allow more time to answer.  The Chair said that the committee is testing out a new system of sending questions in advance and thanked him for his feedback.


He highlighted the following issues:

-       getting out of special measures imposed by HM Inspectorate, in record time and faster than any other force.  This was significant, as the force had had to work hard to address six inadequate ratings;

-       the one outstanding issue, concerning the control room and answer times for 999 and 101 calls, will hopefully be sorted by January;

-       the adoption of a new enhanced operating model (EOM) in June this year.  It is not yet up the full strength but will result in all sorts of improvements across the force – better arrest rates, more investigations, crimes dealt within half the time, response to Grade 2 emergencies 30% faster.  It is a continuous improvement model, and won’t be fully working until next June, but there is a lot to feel good about;

-       as an example, the solved rate of crime in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury is over 30% in neighbourhood policing, the area of most concern to residents, including anti-social behaviour and household burglaries.  This is a great credit to the local teams and a major achievement - the best in the county - and compares very favourably with an average solved crime rate of 10-15% around the country.


Chief Inspector Gav Morgan (GM) confirmed that the EOM has meant a restructure of how daily business is carried out, and while it has taken a while to find the right level and resulted in a few struggles for neighbourhood policing, with the help of the PCC and other departments, it is beginning to show real results, including a 38% detection rate in Cheltenham last month.


He confirmed that:

-       the terms of reference of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) have been reviewed with Tracey Birkinshaw (Director of Community and Economic Development), resulting in more focussed, multi-agency, problem-solving meetings feeding into the CSP, and a sub-group led by Inspector Mike Yates working with partners and stakeholders.  This will progress in the new year;

-       there has been a lot more work around plain clothes policing, as a result of concerns around the night-time economy and the vulnerability of young females.  With the help of Safer Streets funding, an operation is being developed to help target the perpetrators intent on causing harm;

-       work has been carried out around the ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ initiative with the council, in The Moors and St Peter’s areas, with a second meeting scheduled to start developing and pushing that forward;

-       a lot of work on bike thefts is underway, with Safer Streets funding used for better signage and QR codes resulting in better recovery of bikes.  Marking bikes makes it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Homelessness and Rough Sleeping pdf icon PDF 426 KB

Objective :

·         What is the approach in Cheltenham for tackling homelessness and rough sleeping including how we work with partners?

·         What is the current level of homelessness in Cheltenham?

·         What support is being provided, how are you performing and how is success being measured?


Martin Stacy (Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager)

Nigel Potter, (Housing Strategy & Enabling Officer),

Paul Tuckey, (Housing Options Manager, Cheltenham Borough Homes

Councillor Victoria Atherstone, (Cabinet Member for Housing)


Additional documents:


Martin Stacy (MS) thanked the committee for the opportunity to speak, and began by saying that everything his team does has its roots in the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy.  This was reviewed last year, with homelessness and rough sleeping highlighted as two separate priorities, rather than a single priority as was previously the case.  This was because although there is an overlap, both require a distinct focus.  Rough sleeping has its own set of challenges, and a different range of commissioned services is required to get people off the street, to engage with support services, and ultimately to live independently.  Both priorities are complex areas requiring a range of solutions and approaches and a significant amount of collaborative work across partnerships – the briefing paper gives assurance of that.


He went on to say that all priorities in the Housing Strategy – including increased provision of affordable housing, making the best use of existing stock, and creating cohesive and sustainable communities – support the efforts to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, and although Members are only focussing on those two priorities here, it is worth noting the wider housing strategy.  It is accompanied by an action plan, setting out key indicators across the priority areas, which will be updated each year and reported to Cabinet as an opportunity to reflect on the key achievements of the previous 12 months.


Paul Tuckey (PT) also welcomed the opportunity to share what is happening in housing options which covers homelessness and preventative techniques, taking both a proactive and reactive approach when people are threatened with homelessness.  He highlighted the following aspects of his team’s work:

-       the journey which began five years ago when the Homelessness Reduction Act widened the service within homelessness, enabling a more preventative approach.  Since then, 6-7 colleagues have joined the team, various initiatives have been undertaken, including early intervention for rough sleepers and additional assistance to prevent people from being evicted from their homes;

-       they also manage the Homeseeker Plus Housing Register for people seeking social housing, to help them get the most suitable accommodation;

-       the report covers the last two years, but emerging issues this year are the rise in the number of homeless applications and rough sleepers due to loss of private rented accommodation; more people needing additional support for mental health and addiction issues; pressures on other services, such as rising numbers of people no longer able to stay in mental health accommodation, prison releases and the rise in people with refugee status following the closure of hotels.


Member questions

A Member was aware of the number of complex issues causing the increase in homelessness, many of which aren’t the responsibility of CBC.  He understood that people were falling through the gaps with adult social care, and wondered how CBC is working with Gloucestershire County Council to prevent further homelessness on account of this. 


PT said from an operational point of view, a lot of work with statutory and non-statutory agencies was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 560 KB

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (31 October 2023) – update from Councillor McCloskey


The Gloucestershire Health O&S Committee has not met since the last meeting of O&S.


The Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel has not met since the last meeting of O&S.


Councillor McCloskey’s feedback from the  Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (31 October 2023) had been circulated and was taken as read.



Updates from scrutiny task groups pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Scrutiny Task Group – CBH – CBC Transition


Attached updated One Page Strategy for O&S to consider and approve


The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the CBH Scrutiny Task Group met earlier in the day and had made some additions to the one-page strategy included in the agenda pack:  clarification of membership of the group, establishing an end date, and consideration of co-opting tenants, other stakeholders and Cabinet Members onto the group to discuss matters. 


Members and officers made further suggestions which were added.  The Monitoring Officer and Chair confirmed that communication channel would be kept open, with the task group updating when they had anything to share, and the Leader giving regular updates to the Committee. 


Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 524 KB


The Chair confirmed that accessibility would be considered in the new year, and encouraged Members to suggest items for the workplan at any time.


Any other item that the Chair determines to be urgent


There was no other business.



Date of next meeting

15 January 2024


The next meeting is scheduled for 15 January 2024.




The committee is recommended to approve the following resolution:-


“That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraph 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:


Paragraph 3; Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular

person (including the authority holding that information)


The committee voted unanimously on the recommendation to approve the following resolution:-


That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining agenda items as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraph 3, Part (1) Schedule (12A) Local Government Act 1972, namely:


Paragraph 3: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information



Minster Exchange

Objective : What is the strategy and action plan in relation to the letting of the building ?


Andrew Roughan, (Managing Director, Plexal)

Bruce Gregory, (Managing Director, Hub8)

Gareth Edmundson, (Chief Executive)

Paul Jones, (Executive Director Finance and Assets)


(O&S Members are reminded to register for the short tour of the MX in the afternoon).

Additional documents:


The Chair introduced the item, saying Members had been on a very interesting tour that afternoon, and invited the speakers to introduce themselves.


Andrew Roughan (AR), Chief Executive of Plexal, said he acquired a majority share in Workshop Group in January 2023.  Building clusters round science and technology, Plexal inspires and provides fuel for growth and employment across seven sites in the UK (London, Cheltenham, Manchester).  He is happy to share the scale and competence of Plexal to support Hub8, and said that 2024 promises to be an exciting year, not only because of where and what MX is in itself, but because it creates a town-based bridge to the Golden Valley Cyber Park.


Bruce Gregory (BG) introduced himself as the founder and MD of Hub8 and Director of CyNam.  He said Hub8 launched a co-working space at the Brewery Quarter in 2019 to support cyber-tech in Cheltenham, and was followed by a second site at Gloscol’s Cheltenham campus in 2021.  With Plexal, the National Cyber Security Centre Innovation Centre has opened in Cheltenham town centre, resulting in Hub8 currently running three very successful sites across the town.  These contribute to the town’s economic growth, and MX offers huge opportunity for continued growth, embedded in the fabric of the town.  It is a great way to celebrate some amazing companies, and bring together the creative and cultural activities for which the town is known.


The Chair thanked AR and BG.  Several Member questions and responses had been circulated, and she invited further questions.


A Member began by saying he uses Hub8 a lot in his business life, and it provides an excellent place to work – well resourced, fantastic staff and amenities.  He congratulated AR and BG, adding that he’d expected there to be challenges at the Gloscol site but in fact it works well and businesses enjoy using the site.


Member questions

The Chair said she enjoyed the visit earlier in the day, having attended a planning event earlier in the summer, and wondered if it was worth inviting other Members to visit the site to see how it is progressing.  BG said he would be delighted and welcomed the opportunity to show Members round.  In relation to the Gloscol site, he said this location is pioneering – there are not many other further education colleges in the UK with industry embedded as here.  The positive impact on the students is something to celebrate and he would be happy for Members to visit that site too.


A Member asked what lessons have been learnt, how relationships with clients are developing, and how the buildings are being used to suit clients’ needs.  BG confirmed that his company had been on a huge learning curve since 2019, about what the community needs and how best to serve that need.  MX allows companies to grow, an important component, and Hub8 is taking time to build relationships, get to know the community and understand its needs, to create a safe and trusted environment.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.