Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Harry Mayo, Democracy Officer  01242 264 211

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Britter and Holliday.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were none.

 

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Minutes of 28th March meeting

Minutes:

Minutes of the last meeting were approved by those Members who attended, and signed as a true record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

There were none.

5.

Cabinet Briefing pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Briefing from Councillor Jeffries, Deputy Leader, on the updated Cabinet Member and Officer portfolios

 

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

Minutes:

Councillor Jeffries (Deputy Leader) was in attendance to take any questions on behalf of the Leader.  There were none.

6.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Climate change overview pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Objective: To look at CBC’s climate change initiatives and the relevant Cabinet/Council decisions in the near future, measuring outcomes and addressing risks

 

Alexandra Wells (Climate Emergency Project Support Officer)

Laura Tapping (Climate Emergency Programme Officer)

Minutes:

Laura Tapping, Climate Emergency Programme Officer, gave a short presentation outlining the council’s climate emergency plan, as set out in the discussion paper circulated to Members, and highlighting what needs to be done for Cheltenham to become a net zero council and borough by 2030.  She acknowledged that there would be many challenges, that communities and individuals, as well as the council itself, would need to change their behaviour, and that a bigger team and budget would be needed to fulfil all the actions set out in the pathway published last year.

 

In response to Member questions, officers confirmed that:

-       with regard to the selling of council assets to save carbon emissions, a huge range of things contributed to carbon emissions, and that every service needed to review what it was doing and how, every decision needed detailed consideration of its carbon impact in order to bring about any reduction, and climate change must be the lens through which everything the council does is looked at to reach targets.  New technology and the way the government is looking at the problem should help local authorities to take action. Asked whether the team was looking at hypo-situations, such as the council’s move from the Municipal Offices or analysis of the energy efficiency of its services, Alex Wells, Energy Officer, confirmed that part of the reason why her role had been created was to work with the property team, and ensure that energy efficiency is always considered when looking at the property portfolio;

-       as a brief explanation of heat transfer,  a heat network could connect a number of buildings where excess and waste heat is produced – such as the cloud of steam over the testing facilities at Spirax Sarco – and look for ways to use this to heat other buildings.  This was part of government strategy and a number of potential opportunities had been identified;

-       the ‘missing link’ between the work of the climate emergency team and the council’s green space team had recently been identified, and some baseline surveys of land would be created to understand biodiversity and where improvements could be made, such as by reducing mowing activities. Officer resource would need to be found for this.  The recently-published SPD included a whole section about biodiversity, encouraging homeowners and developers to consider the green spaces around them when taking any actions;

-       improving bus services was a big aim of the team, in addition to encouraging people to walk or cycle;  GCC was responsible for bus provision, and there had been little scrutiny of the service, but officers hoped pressure would be put on bus companies to improve;

-       the remit of the climate emergency team was to offer guidance to CBC departments rather than implement works - the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) set out actions for the team, though in some cases this simply meant designing and putting together a business case for a project. The team worked closely with other departments to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Overview and Scrutiny Review (2020) - follow up pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Objective: Follow-up on the recommendations (actions) that were agreed in June 2021 – is there anything that needs to be revisited?

 

Darren Knight (Executive Director People and Change)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Darren Knight, Executive Director People and Change, explained for the benefit of new Members that in 2019, a company specialising in good governance was employed to review the way Overview & Scrutiny worked.  It made a number of recommendations which had been implemented over the last two years, making the committee more effective, ensuring good reports, good questions and answers, and diverse agenda items.  Members could further improve their effectiveness, for example through training.

There were no Member questions. 

9.

Digital platform implementation and customer access pdf icon PDF 677 KB

Objective: Update on the implementation of the digital platform

 

Darren Knight (Executive Director People and Change)

Sanjay Mistry (Programme Manager)

 

Discussion paper to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Darren Knight, Executive Director Place and Change, told Members that process-mapping across the council had been carried out to analyse various processes and transactions, and the data used to create a business case to invest in new customer technology which would improve customer service, allow more flexibility, ensure efficiency, and make savings.  This included working with Stroud District Council, and joint procurement of the software system Netcall, which was used by one in four local authorities. He added that the plan was to start decommissioning one system – booking a bulky waste collection – in August, and would ultimately result of greater flexibility in deploying resources and better data to plan, forecast and manage demand across the council.

He emphasised that the extension of the digital platform would not exclude face-to-face meetings, but would ultimately allow officers to respond, manage and track enquiries in a more efficient way. 

Sanjay Mistry, Programme Manager, added that using the technology when redesigning processes would ensure that they deliver the expected benefits, and would also improve the authority’s self-sufficiency. Instead of being beholden to software suppliers, it could develop its own abilities and maximise opportunities, making it as efficient as possible and ensuring maximum return on investments. The system was bought in December, and after 12 weeks of training and implementation, the council was close to delivering the first development process which would allow it to delete the existing platform. CBC was one of three councils (together with Tewkesbury and Stroud) in the county using the technology, and would work in close partnership with the others, to share learnings and development and accelerate the roll-out.  Darren Knight confirmed that this meant more could be done in-house, led by Sanjay and his team of analysts, who were experts in process mapping and process redesign. 

Members thanked the officers for an interesting and detailed report. In response to Member questions, officers stated that:

-          cyber security and risk were not included in the report but, having seen the impact on other councils, were at the forefront of all thinking.  Officers would be happy to pick this up offline or in exempt session, and go through all the details in terms of monitoring and how the council would react if there was an issue and it couldn’t use technology for a period of time;

-          to ensure the design not only looked good and provided flows and utility needs but was actually intuitive and engaging for real users, the plan was to set up a resident group which would come and test the technology in an observational setting, so any frustrations with the system could be corrected. The group would be as diverse as possible;

-          once a process was set up and running, it would always need ongoing maintenance and review, and officers were working to build the capacity and capability of the team to ensure this, and they were currently advertising for a business analyst. To ensure continuous improvement as technology moves forwards, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended pdf icon PDF 417 KB

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (31st May) – update from Cllr. McCloskey to follow.

 

The Gloucestershire Health O&S Committee and Police and Crime Panel have not met since the May elections.

 

Minutes:

Councillor McCloskey’s report had been circulated.  He pointed out to Members that, in view of the large council tax contribution that the county received from Cheltenham Borough, it was fundamentally important that borough councillors and officers knew what it happening at county level.  He was be happy to take questions, or be contacted separately.

 

Members thanked him for his helpful report.

 

11.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Minutes:

The Chair explained for new Members that this was a standing item on the agenda and could be reviewed at leisure.  The workplan set out what it was felt should be considered at the next meeting, but was not set in stone. Members were welcome to email him or Democratic Services to make changes. 

 

12.

Date of next meeting

4th July 2022

Minutes:

4th July 2022. 

13.

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:

Members resolved to move into exempt session.

14.

End of year performance review

Objective: Consider the end of year performance: have we achieved what we set out to, and if not, why?

 

Darren Knight (Executive Director People and Change)

Ann Wolstencroft (Program Manager, HR)

 

Discussion paper to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Darren Knight, Executive Director People and Change, introduced his report and invited Members to consider whether they wanted further information. The Chair suggested debating this at the Chairs’ meeting, and taking it forward from there, if Members were comfortable with that.

15.

Exempt minutes

Exempt minutes of 28th March meeting

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the previous meeting were approved by those Members who attended, and signed as a true record.