Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

No apologies had been received.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 221 KB

7 June 2021

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda.

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 7 June 2021, be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

None had been received.

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

No matters had been referred to the committee.

6.

UBICO ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Beth Boughton (Managing Director – Ubico), Karen Watson (Client Officer – CBC) and Councillor Dobie (Cabinet Member Waste & Recycling & Street Services)

 

Objective:Consider the Ubico annual performance report, as well as understanding the main risks and opportunities and consider how Gloucester City have been integrated (this is also an opportunity to meet the new MD, Beth Boughton)

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Beth Boughton (MD – Ubico), Rob Heath (Operations Director – Ubico), Karen Watson (Client Officer – CBC) and Councillor Dobie (Cabinet Member Waste & Recycling & Street Services).  He thanked them for the report that had been circulated with the agenda and reminded members that this was an opportunity to review performance, understand any risks or opportunities currently facing Ubico, as well as consider how Gloucester City Council would be integrated.

 

Rob talked through some key performance data as shown in the Executive Summary of their performance report and along with Karen Watson, Client Officer, gave the following responses to member questions:

 

·         Last year the council decided to make every effort to reduce the amount of glyphosate it used and members had supported this move for environmental reasons.  As a result of covid and the vast reduction in footfall, paired with weather conditions, there had been more germination of seeds than would have usually been seen, which had resulted in prolific weed growth.  The council avoided the use of glyphosates and instead undertook manual weed control with a weed ripper and a hired small pavement sweeper that came complete with a weed ripper arm.  Members were assured that with the help the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and input from many other authorities, all of whom were dealing with the same issues, all manner of alternatives had been explored, however, due to the scale of the task at hand, the plan for addressing weeds now included one glyphosate spray. This started in June, a month later than planned due to covid and would take 4-6 weeks to complete, with the weeds then being removed manually.  Weed spraying was cheap but not good for the environment and manual weed removal was great for the environment but not cheap and therefore it was hoped that through a combination of as minimal as possible glyphosate usage and manual weed pulling, the 50% reduction that had been committed to, would be met this year.  Ubico staff were to be commended for their hard work and the innovative ways in which they were approaching this job and people were urged to bear with them as they worked their way across the town, tackling the worst hit areas first.  Members were advised that a further update would be circulated this week and next, and would include a map which outlined where spraying had taken place.  It wasn’t possible to give any firm dates for completion of this work, but members were invited to identify any areas that perhaps had not been spotted.

 

·         Ubico had a robust process in place for dealing with overweight vehicles, monitoring and identifying where and when a vehicle should tip a street or two earlier on a particular route in order to avoid further instances and another process for crews that failed to act on this instruction.  It was noted that with fortnightly collections, it would take the crew two weeks to get back to a particular street and members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Air Quality Action Plan update and Schools Monitoring project results pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Gareth Jones, Senior Environmental Health Officer (CBC) and a GCC representative has been invited

 

Objective: receive an update on progress on the revised Air Quality Action Plan and consider the results from the Cheltenham Schools Air Quality monitoring

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Gareth Jones (Senior Environmental Health Officer – CBC) and a short time later, Jo Atkins (Thinktravel co-ordinator – GCC).  He reminded members that as well as receiving an update on the revised Air Quality Action Plan, they would also be considering the results of the schools air quality monitoring and could discuss next steps.

 

Gareth Jones had circulated an update with the agenda, but summarised that the revised action plan was a statutory document that needed to be submitted to DEFRA by September and progress on this was reasonable.  He had hoped to have received an update from the consultants today, which he would have shared with the committee, but unfortunately he hadn’t received anything, but he did confirm that the plan would include ideas for addressing the air quality issue in the specific AQMA at the bottom of the high street.  Given that a significant amount of pollution was caused by LGVs and Royal Mail operated a large fleet of LGVs from that area and were on record as having committed to improving their environmental performance, he was pleased to announce that he was due to meet with Royal Mail the following day.  Members’ may have seen media coverage that in Bristol, Royal Mail had, or were about to go entirely electric and it would be great if they could be  persuaded to do the same in Cheltenham, and tomorrow would be the first step. 

 

He referred members to the other report which was circulated with the agenda, which summarised the results from some survey work around three schools and highlighted that the results were actually quite confusing.  They certainly didn’t show the clear differences between holidays and term time, but it was important to note that there were a lot of other things going on at the time, particularly road works, which would have affected the result.  It had however, been a very interesting piece of work and he felt demonstrated that the team could do more of it in the future. 

 

Gareth gave the following responses to member questions:

 

  • The period of monitoring was during the Easter half term and the period immediately after, when schools were open and levels of covid/self-isolation were relatively low, meaning there were no widespread closures of schools or parts of schools that we were seeing at the moment; so in his view covid had not impacted the data in the results.  In terms of next steps on this, he felt anything was possible, longer periods of monitoring, at more schools, but there would be a cost associated which would exceed the remarkably low £3k that they had managed to deliver this project for; in no short part down to the fact that they had managed to find a very cost effective intern to write the report, which he felt was of outstanding quality and consultants would be far less cost effective.   

 

8.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (9 June) – update from Councillor Paul McCloskey

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman referred members to the Health (HOSC) and the Gloucestershire Economic Overview and Scrutiny committees and in the absence of Councillor McCloskey, asked that any questions on his update be forwarded to him directly. 

 

Further to her HOSC update, Councillor Barrell commented upon how useful she had found the training session, which had taught her a lot about how the health system works and a lot of things that she didn’t know and suggested that anyone interested in knowing more, should watch the recording which was available on the GCC website.  She did want to make members aware of Healthwatch, an official group that actually scrutinises what’s going on in the health system in this area and people can approach them with concerns they have and they very much wanted to hear from members of the public and she noted that they were much more free in terms of what they could look at and do, compared to the council scrutiny committee.

 

In addition, she reminded members that at the last meeting the committee resolved that Cabinet should be asked to consider the suggestion that they reach out to relevant districts on the Fit for Future issue.  She was tasked with taking this to Cabinet, but unfortunately it had been left off the agenda and she was therefore prevented from doing so, however, she was aware that the Leader had asked Officers to look at progressing this issue, and it had been included on the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting. 

 

Fit for Future had been scheduled on the agenda for next HOSC meeting and she looked forward to hearing more about their plans for implementing changes.  They had also mentioned that a lot of concerns had now been addressed and she very much looked forward to hearing more on that. 

 

The Leader apologised for the confusion, but the referral had not been included on the Cabinet agenda, so despite Dilys being at the meeting, Cabinet were not aware of the background to the issue.   She had ensured that it was included on the agenda for the upcoming meeting but in the meantime, there had been dialogue between the relevant people and she proposed that she may be able to send a letter as Leader and simply report this back at the upcoming meeting.  Democratic Services had also reached out to the relevant districts and having not heard back yet, intended to approach them again.  

9.

Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Councillor Hay, Leader

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In addition to the briefing that had been circulated, the Leader confirmed that we had responded positively to the Afghanistan nationals Relocation scheme.  Gloucestershire had been asked to take 35 based on population so Cheltenham would take up to 7, depending on what accommodation we had available.  This was fully funded for 4 months only but we were working with partners, as we did with the Syrian refugees and they would be using the PRS to find homes, which would help to create a community which would be incredibly important for people settling here.  She was reassured to note that GCC were acutely that not all family members would be able to speak English and would therefore be providing educational support in terms of language. 

 

The Executive Director People & Change explained that Cheltenham had been a finalist in the Room151 Impact. along with 5 others and the winners were announced last Friday and unfortunately it was won by Manchester City Council, one of the biggest authorities in the UK.  He felt that to be finalist at that level was an amazing achievement, as well as the reason for our nomination; rapid way in which we had managed to get cash to businesses during the pandemic, being one of the first, if not the first to get business grants out.  This in addition to the fact our discretionary grants scheme had allowed us to broaden the categories and pay more money to more businesses in the borough.  He congratulated the Revenues and Benefits Team for this national recognition.

 

He also took the opportunity to note that the Planning Team had been nominated for a Rural Town Award, for the support provided to businesses in the borough over the last year.  The winner would be announced in September. 

The Licensing Team were also recognised.  Having retained the Purple Flag status for the fifth year running and the work that went into that.  They had also been contacted by the LGA and Kings Chambers about the way in which they had supported businesses by making regulations easier during the pandemic.   

 

10.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Minutes:

The work plan had been circulated with the agenda and would be updated to include an update on Air Quality in 12 months’ time. 

 

The Chairman advised members that the meeting scheduled for the 2 August would be a training session, run by Campbell Tickell who had undertaken the review in 2019.

 

The September agenda was yet to be finalised, but on the Housing and Regeneration item, the Chairman explained that this had been scheduled to come to an earlier meeting, but that the responsible Officer, David Oakhill had assured the Chair that any comments from this committee would be considered and built in, if appropriate. 

 

Councillor Flynn gave her apologies for the August meeting.  

 

11.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXEMPT INFORMATION

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)

Minutes:

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED 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)

 

12.

Cheltenham Trust Update

Richard Gibson (Strategy and Engagement Manager) and Laurie Bell (Chief Executive - Cheltenham Trust)

 

Objective :An update from the Chief Executive on the Trust’s performance over the past year, including a summary of its financial position and performance;

An update on the council’s plans for the management agreement review.

Minutes:

The committee considered an update on the Cheltenham Trust.

12a

Capital Grant Award to support the redevelopment of The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum

Information/Discussion paper from the Strategy and Engagement Manager

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee discussed the proposed Capital Grant Award to support the redevelopment of the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum.

13.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

7 June 2021

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the last meeting were circulated with the agenda. 

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on the 7 June, be agreed and signed as an accurate record.  

14.

Date of next meeting

2 August 2021 (this is not a public meeting, but will instead be a training session)

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for the 2 August and members were reminded that this would be a training session, rather than a public meeting.