Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville and Montpelier Rooms - Municipal Offices

Contact: Pauline Hartree, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillor Wilkinson.  Councillor Horwood was present as substitute.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 10 September 2018

Minutes:

Under minute 6, in the first paragraph the figure of £1 billion was corrected to £1 million.

 

The minutes were then approved and signed as a correct record.

 

The Chair advised that agenda item 4 ‘public and member questions, calls for actions and petitions’ be moved to immediately before item 9, given that all the questions related to the Cheltenham Transport Plan. 

 

 

4.

Cabinet Briefing

An update from the Cabinet on key issues for Cabinet Members which may be of interest to Overview and Scrutiny and may inform the O&S workplan. 

Minutes:

The Leader updated Members on the Gloucestershire 2050. Detailed reports had been delivered, as well as the final draft of  a county wide concordat.  A member seminar is scheduled for 12 November 2018.  There is more work to do, but going forward this might be an issue the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would like to consider further, perhaps through the devolution working group.

 

The Leader also reported that he had met with Gloucestershire County Council regarding a potential light touch review of parking.  There is currently no process for individual Members to comment as it is intended that there will be collective feedback.  However, the Gloucestershire County Council survey form will be circulated to members.

 

5.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee on 11 September 2018 – brief update from Councillor Horwood

 

Police and Crime Panel on 14 September 2018 – brief update from Councillor Brownsteen

 

There have been no meetings of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee since the last O&S meeting on 10 September 2018.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Councillor Horwood reported he had requested that telecare be added to the workplan.   One of the current main themes is an integrated approach to health and social care and the potential of having a single contract.  Potential configurations are being considered, including the development of GP led integrated locality boards, based around GP surgeries, with Cheltenham and Winchcombe being one potential locality.  

Councillor Horwood had fed back to the committee on current performance reporting, including a request that A&E performance data for Cheltenham be reported separately from Gloucester.

Formal approval for the merger of 2gether and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust is planned for May/June 2019 with the formal merger thereafter.   Councillor Horwood reported that there are currently no community beds in Cheltenham and he would continue to press the case for this.

Councillor Dobie report that the Health and Care Overview Scrutiny Committee will apologise for not bringing the changes in gastroenterology forward.

Policy and Crime Panel - Councillor Brownlee was unable to attend this meeting but his written update on the last Police and Crime Panel had been circulated with the agenda.   Councillor Payne stated that he was interested that the Police and Crime Panel is considering a county wide Child Friendly Gloucestershire initiative but was concerned that this would cut across Gloucestershire County Council’s children’s services.  Councillor Payne requested more information on what the Police and Crime Panel are planning on this.

 

6.

Updates from scrutiny task groups

Minutes:

There were no updates from scrutiny tasks groups.  The urban gulls scrutiny task group will report back to the next meeting of this committee on 26 November 2018

7.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Review of the scrutiny workplan and prioritisation of any new items

Minutes:

Councillor Parsons requested that the subject of travellers and other unlawful occupants of council land be included in the workplan for the January meeting.

 

Councillor Baker suggested that Stagecoach be invited back to this committee.

 

The Democracy Officer would discuss the inclusion of these items on the workplan with the Chair and update the work plan accordingly for circulation with the agenda for the next meeting.

8.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

A total of 15 questions had been received from the public and a total of 3 questions had been received from Members.  The Chair explained he was unable to answer the questions as they were of a technical nature regarding the Cheltenham Transport Plan therefore he had requested officers to provide responses, which had been published before the meeting.  Printed copies were also been made available at the meeting. 

 

The Chair explained the process and said that he would be unable to answer any supplementary questions as he is not the Cabinet Member responsible for the portfolio under which the Cheltenham Transport Plan falls.   Supplementary questions would be noted and responses will be emailed to questioners within five working days of this meeting.

 

A total of 15 questions had been received from the public and a total of 3 from members. 

 

The full text of public and member written questions received by the deadline, the supplementary questions asked at the meeting and the responses are appended to these minutes.

 

 

9.

Cheltenham Transport Plan pdf icon PDF 838 KB

Scott Tompkins, Lead Commissioner Highway Authority, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) will attend to give a presentation followed by a Q&A session.

 

GCC Cabinet Member Councillor Nigel Moor, CBC Cabinet Member Development and Safety Andrew McKinlay and GCC officer Fraser Reid will be in attendance to answer any relevant questions

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited Scott Tompkins, Lead Commissioner, Highways Authority, Councillor Nigel Moore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning and Fraser Reid, consultant, to present their update on the Cheltenham Transport Plan.  The presentation is appended to these minutes.

 

Scott Tompkins talked through the presentation and highlighted the following particular points regarding phases 1-3 and the current phase 4 trial::

 

 

·         Reminded Members of the full approval process in 2015, resulting in the implementation of the phased approach to the Cheltenham Transport Plan.   Mr Tompkins  would be happy to share the report to the Lead Cabinet Member as part of the approval process.

·         Additional monitoring is taking place in locations which were being impacted

·         Data from November 2015 is being used as the baseline as this is accepted to be ‘neutral data’ as there were no particular events or school holidays.  This is using industry standard criteria for baseline data.

·         Bath Road and Oriel Road were taken out of the planned phase 2 implementation so the impact of the current trial could be analysed

·         Acknowledged that communication and signage at the start of the phase 4 trial needed to improve.

·         Key data will be the September to December term time data.  There  has also been a change to signage and increased communication about the trial.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments regarding phase 4 as follows:

 

·         What weighting is given to peak traffic flows, not just the 24/7 traffic flow data collection.   Mr Tompkins reported that the Traffic Regulation Committee will make the decisions.

·         A Member congratulated Gloucestershire County Council on the successful implementation of phases 1-3 but that the phase 4 Boots Corner trial had not started well due to inadequate and confusing signage which affected the public relations.

·         Monitoring is critical to be able to properly and accurately assess traffic flow and air quality

·         Particular attention was drawn by Members to increased traffic flow in Ambrose Street, St James’ Square and St Georges’ Street.

 

The Chair invited CBC’s Head of Public Protection to respond to a number of Members’ questions and comments regarding air quality monitoring, as follows:

 

In response to several Members’ questions regarding the location of the air quality monitoring locations, the map showing the locations was displayed and pointed out the new air quality monitoring locations, represented by the blue triangles. 

 

In response to a question regarding the validity and accuracy of the air quality monitoring data, particularly given the need to monitor particulates as well as NO2 levels.  The Head of Public Protection confirmed that the air quality monitoring equipment and reporting was in accordance with Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs guidance.

 

A Member expressed disappointment that improving air quality was not the priority and felt that there is a lack of air quality monitoring in the most appropriate and relevant locations particularly where traffic flow is being impacted since the start of the Boots Corner trial.   The Chair asked whether the locations of the new air quality monitoring locations should now  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle policy for Hackney Carriages pdf icon PDF 74 KB

An information/discussion paper on the consultation. The Cabinet Member Development and Safety Councillor McKinlay and Gary Knight, Chairman of the Cheltenham Hackney Carriage Association will be in attendance.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced this item as a follow up to the resolutions agreed at the Overview and Scrutiny call in which was heard on 28 March 2018. 

 

The Chair invited the Cabinet Member Development and Safety and the Business Support and Licensing Team Leader to introduce the information/discussion paper which had been circulated with the agenda.  The Licensing Team Leader highlighted the following points and invited questions:

 

·         The new taxi and private hire licensing policy, approved by Cabinet on 6 March 2018, states that all licensed Hackney Carriage vehicles are to be wheelchair accessible by 2021.

·         The Cabinet decision was supported by the Overview and Scrutiny call in on 28 March 2018 with the caveat that further constructive consultation take place with taxi drivers regarding appropriate mitigation issues

·         Four meetings have taken place between offices and members of the local taxi association.  It proved challenging to find any middle ground for discussion given the taxi drivers’ strength of feeling.

·         It was agreed that a number of practical issues, including the proposed specification for wheelchair accessible vehicles, would be subject to Cabinet approval in November, as detailed in the information/discussion paper.

 

Members raised the following questions and issues:

 

·         Is the policy we are pursuing in line with neighbouring authorities?   It was confirmed that no other local authority within Gloucestershire is applying the same policy

·         In response to a question regarding Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed elsewhere, the Licensing Team Leader explained that in this case they would only be able to operate as a private hire vehicle in Cheltenham

·         A member asked if a response had been received from Alex Chalk MP and Laurence Robertson MP requesting them to raise the matter with government and to ask when the minister would be clarifying government policy on this issue.   No response had been received; the Chair requested that the  Democratic Services officer follow up on this.

·         In response to a question regarding taxi provision for the frail elderly, The Cabinet Member Development and Safety stated that Government research indicated that the majority who benefit from wheelchair accessible vehicles is the frail elderly

 

The Chair asked whether it is clear that there is a need for all Hackney Carriages to be wheelchair accessible and whether  the relevant legislation covering this is the Equality Act 2010.  In response, the Cabinet Member Development and Safety  stated that there is no national requirement but that this council has taken the decision to have wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2021.

 

The Chair invited Gary Knight, Chairman of the Cheltenham Hackney Carriage Association to respond.  Mr Knight emphasised that there is no government legislation which compels all Hackney Carriages to be wheelchair accessible and that drivers remain aggrieved that this is being implemented by the Council.  Mr Knight also outlined the cost implications of licensed Hackney Carriage drivers to change to private hire.  He also stressed that his Association feel strongly that there is no requirement for 100% of Hackney Carriages to be wheelchair accessible as there is no demonstrable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Publica Annual Report pdf icon PDF 478 KB

Review the annual report of Publica.  David Neudegg, Publica Managing Director and Dave Brooks, Chair of Publica, will be in attendance to present the report and answer any questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed David Brooks, Chair of Publica and David Neudegg, Managing Director to the meeting.

 

Mr Neudegg talked through the annual performance report prepared for the committee and his presentation, which is appended to these minutes. He highlighted the follow particular points:

 

·         Publica anticipate delivering slightly lower costs this year, and in future years.

·         There is a focus on opportunities presented by the transformation program and digital technology, for example improved service around missed bin collections

·         Opportunities to share ideas from other councils

 

During discussion on the Publica annual report, the following questions and issues were raised by Members:

 

·         Not clear from report what services Publica provide to the council.   Mr Neudegg confirmed that HR, finance and ICT services are provided.

·         It would be helpful to have measures against which to compare outcomes

·         Suggestion that a client satisfaction survey be undertaken – what process is currently in place to ensure service key performance indicators are being met?   Mr Neudegg confirmed that there is a service level agreement in place and a new client relationship manager has recently been recruited.  Regular meetings take place to review performance and they are looking at better ways of getting feedback from their clients.

·         Request for update on the communication plan - Mr Neudegg confirmed that a new Communications Director is in place and that the communications strategy will be available this month.

·         Request for more narrative to provide perspective and context

·         Request for feedback, particularly on HR issues.  Mr Neudegg advised that data is provided to the council’s leadership team and stressed that although Publica provide the service, officers provide the operational management

·         Data is required to better understand targets and benchmarking

 

 

The Chair was particularly keen to understand more about possible commercial opportunities which CBC could be contributing to and a clearer picture on the future plans for Publica.    In response, Mr Neudegg stated that Publica’s broad approach is to select new partners rather than sell services.

 

In conclusion, a member emphasised that the public is entitled to be clear on Publica’s performance.  This was acknowledged by Mr Neudegg.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Neudegg and Mr Brooks for attending the meeting.

 

 

12.

Cheltenham Crematorium

Update on the cremators and the plan between now and opening of the new facilities.

 

Yvonne Hope, Head of Public Protection will be in attendance to answer questions.

Minutes:

Councillor Chris Coleman, Cabinet Member Clean and Green, updated Members on Cheltenham Crematorium following the recent briefing note and media release.  Councillor Coleman reported that all commitments to booked cremations had been met and that from now until the new cremators are operational, the crematorium will be used for services only.   Councillor Coleman stressed that the decision to shut down the cremators was taken with a very heavy heart, but that it will be for as short a period as was possible.

 

In response to a number of questions from Members, Yvonne Hope, the Head of Public Protection explained in detail the process for cremations during the period of the shut down.  Ms Hope confirmed that the installation of the new facilities is going according to plan and that the crematorium will be fully operational in the spring of next year. 

 

Councillor Coleman assured Members that the council is working very closely with funeral directors and neighbouring authorities.  Councillor Coleman also wished to put on record his thanks to all the staff involved who have taken this difficult period very personally and continue to provide a remarkable service to families.  This was echoed by Members of the committee who recognise the compassionate service they provide.

 

13.

Date of next meeting

Date of next meeting 26 November 2018

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting is Monday 26 November 2018.