Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual WEBEX video conference via the Council’s YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/cheltenhamborough. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies.   

 

The Chair acknowledged that the committee membership could change following the upcoming elections and took the opportunity to thank everyone, including Councillors Holliday and Sudbury, for their hard work and support.   

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 324 KB

8 March 2021

Minutes:

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

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 8 March 2021, be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Public and Member questions, calls for actions and petitions

Minutes:

None were received.

5.

Matters referred to committee

Minutes:

No matters had been referred to the committee.

6.

One Legal pdf icon PDF 287 KB

Borough Solicitor and the Head of Law – Litigation and Business Development (One Legal) and Darren Knight, Executive Director – People & Change (CBC)

 

Objective: One Legal are a commissioned service like Ubico and Publica.  This is an opportunity for members to understand what One Legal is doing well, where are the priorities for improvement and how the quality of service to clients, including Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC), is measured

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded members that this was an opportunity for members to understand what One Legal was doing well, where there were priorities for improvement and how the quality of service was measured.  He welcomed the Borough Solicitor and Head of Law – Litigation and Business Development from One Legal, as well as Darren Knight as the Commissioning Officer and Gill Morris, the Client Officer from CBC.  

 

The Borough Solicitor welcomed the opportunity to come and speak to members about One Legal and having circulated a paper with the agenda, outlined some key points.  One Legal started in 2009 and at that time was a shared service between CBC and Tewkesbury Borough Council, the main drivers for which were cost savings, which proved quite substantial for both authorities and importantly, to build resilience.  The service had grown over the years with Gloucester City joining in 2015 and then in October last year, Stroud District.  In addition, One Legal provided legal support to other organisations and related bodies including Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), Ubico and the Police and the charges to these organisations supported the budget and costs to the partner councils.  Governance was provided in the form of the Joint Management Liaison Group (JMLG) which comprised of two members and one senior officer from each of the partner authorities.  As an organisation, One Legal currently had 35 permanent members of staff, an increase from16 in 2009 and it was noted that there were vacant posts which they were in the process of recruiting. 

 

In the past, as well as having carried out all of their day to day tasks (property sales, purchases, leases, licenses, procurement, litigation and planning) they had also supported and provided advice to all of the partners  and various committees (Licensing and Planning).  It had been a challenging 12 months for everyone, not least because of having to get to grips with working from home but also maintaining the day job at the same time as responding to the additional challenges brought on by the pandemic, which had given rise to interpretation of a myriad of regulations and other related advice.  Also, over the last year they had been working on developing a new case management system, as well as having, as mentioned, welcomed Stroud District to the partnership.  Particular projects of importance to CBC on which they have worked and advised included major redevelopment regeneration projects such as the CBC and CBH new build programme and some major and complex land transactions such as Maud’s Elm and the Minster Innovation Project, as well as having provided support in relation to anti-social behaviour and supported the development of planning policies, development management and in resisting the High Court challenge to the local plan.

 

Looking forward their current priorities included reviewing the business plan and completing the implementation of the new case management system and once that had been done they would devise, with partners and the JMLG, their key performance indicators.  A new development which had the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Marketing Cheltenham pdf icon PDF 513 KB

David Jackson, Manager (Marketing Cheltenham)

 

Objective: consider the performance, outcomes and the return on investment from Marketing Cheltenham ahead of a potential second phase of delivery beyond July 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded members that they had invited Marketing Cheltenham to come back to the committee to discuss performance and outcomes, as well as the return on investment, ahead of a potential second phase of delivery beyond July 2021. 

 

David Jackson, the Manager at Marketing Cheltenham (MC) referred members to the paper that had been circulated with the agenda.  This would be taken as read but he reminded members that he had attended a meeting back in February 2020 and had been invited back to discuss performance, which was timely as MC was nearing end of current term. 

 

Reflecting on the last year, post covid, things had changed significantly, but pre covid both financially and operationally MC were delivering well; almost on budget with significantly higher expenditure in the second year reflecting the full staffing contingent. 

 

He apologised that the link to KPIS within the report did not work, though these were subsequently emailed to members and are included at Appendix 1.

 

The KPIs showed that delivery was coming on as well in terms of economic value of tourism and the visitor economy, and the hospitality sector which had grown 18% between 2014-15 and 2018-19 and 6% in the last year of operation.  They also included some marketing KPIs around website traffic, social media, income generation and other areas of their operations.  Post March 2020 things changed considerably.  With the visitor economy and hospitality sector having been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic and with it a lot of the products or propositions were closed and struggling. 

 

MC quickly pivoted into a number of other CBC corporate priorities including covid recovery communications, business support and grants, the Golden Valley development and launched the new inward investment platform ‘Moving to Cheltenham’.  This as well as supporting the wider economic recovery and post covid response (reopening the high street safely fund, supporting the BID with their renewal ballot in July 2021 and much of marketing and communications for the Recovery Task Force.  Generally speaking, MC had needed to act nimbly over the last year and rethink their model and approach, which he felt in many ways demonstrated the value of the team and MC to be a valuable resource for CBC in terms of delivery, if not just visitor economy KPIs, but also some of the broader recovery agenda that has come to the fore in the last 12 months. 

 

In recognition that the current funding commitment (first phase) from CBC was coming to an end, which had been synchronised with the BID term, there were ongoing discussions with ELT and partners to agree an extension of a further year.  This would allow for the lessons learnt to form part of a wider review of MC and what form and function it would take going forward, though it was generally acknowledged that this would be broadened to embrace a wider economic agenda and communications efforts. 

 

David Jackson gave the following responses to member questions:

 

 

·         The scope and purpose of MC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

risk and performance

Darren Knight, Executive Director – People & Change

 

Objective:  the committee will review the scorecard in real time using Clearview

Minutes:

The Chairman explained that due to technical issues, this item would have to be deferred until the next meeting. 

 

The Executive Director – People & Change, apologised to the committee, he had hoped to share real time scorecards with them, but was currently unable to load the system to be able to share it. 

9.

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended

Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (10/03) – update from Councillor Paul McCloskey (to follow)

 

Gloucestershire Health O&S Committee (22/03) – verbal update from Councillor Horwood (to follow)

 

Police and Crime Panel (23/03)   - update from Councillor Jonny Brownsteen (to follow)

 

Minutes:

An update on the 23/03 meeting of the Police and Crime Panel had been circulated prior to the meeting by email and this was attached at Appendix 2.  Members were asked to contact Councillor Brownsteen directly with any questions or comments.

 

No further written updates had been received. 

 

Councillor Horwood was invited to provide a verbal update on the 22/03 meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC).  He started by apologising for not having produced a written briefing on the special meeting of HOSC on the 22 March.  He explained that family member had been taken unwell and had as a consequence been the focus of much of his time over the last weeks.  The decision for the HOSC was whether to take any particular action in relation to the Fit for the Future proposals, these the large scale changes that we had discussed a number of times, including the closure of 24 acute medical beds and the shifting of the acute medical take to Gloucester, the closure of vascular surgery at Cheltenham, the reconfiguration of general surgery, which was still under consideration but would probably result in this and undoubtedly emergency surgery to Gloucester, as well as other services.  Still a major change and in his view probably the most major downgrade in services in Cheltenham that we had seen.  There was a lot of discussion at the special meeting and a lot of criticism about the timing of this and the fact that it had been done during the pandemic.  Not simply because of the difficulties of being able to ensure robust public consultation, but actually because there were a lot of lessons to be learned from the pandemic, which really ought to inform the reconfiguration of services. Despite numerous reassurances given at that meeting, he was still of the view, and this had been supported by data produced by BBC Radio Gloucestershire from a Freedom of Information request about covid related deaths, which showed that there had been quite a lot of unavoidable deaths in Gloucester, from the centralisation of surgery at Gloucester (which was a red site, meaning a covid risk site, rather than a green site, like Cheltenham) which would suggest that making a permanent shift to Gloucester might not be the best idea.  There were also questions about whether there was bed capacity at Gloucester and they were reassured that the South West Clinical Senate, the independent internal panel that having looked at this last year had expressed a lot of doubts, was now reassured that the ‘bed test’ was met.  They were then, somewhat contradictorily, told that the final model for general surgery had not yet be agreed and because he personally couldn’t reconcile the two things, he had moved to recommend that the County Council refer the matter to the Secretary of State.  Whilst he had been supported by a number of other councillors, but unfortunately not enough and ultimately the proposals were given the green light by HOSC.  He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Cabinet Briefing

A verbal 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 work plan

Minutes:

The Leader explained that she hadn’t submitted a written update as at the time of publication there was little for her to update on.  One thing worth mentioning, though she didn’t have much information at this stage, was the Western Gateway bid for nuclear fusion based down near Oldbury and Berkley.  She advised that this had come somewhat from left field as GCC had only liaised with Stroud District Council who would be directly affected, and had not consulted any other districts.  She had requested that members be briefed as soon as possible after the elections so that our members were up to speed on an issue that wouldn’t directly impact us, but would in terms of the wider Gloucestershire area.  The Chair agreed that this was an issue that members should know more about and looked forward to a future briefing. 

11.

Updates from scrutiny task groups

A verbal update from Councillor Payne on the O&S Review task group

Minutes:

Councillor Payne, as Chair of the O&S Review task group, updated the committee on progress.  He reminded members that following the Campbell Tickell review and recommendations, the committee had asked him to Chair a task group to look at how the recommendations should be actioned.  He acknowledged that the pandemic had slowed progress, and apologised that for reasons outside of his control, he had been prevented from attending any meetings, other than the very first; though the Democracy Officer had kept him informed of progress.  The group had now agreed all actions and the Democracy Officer was in the process of finalising the draft report.  This was likely to be tabled at the next meeting and in view of the fact that the composition of the committee could possibly have changed following the elections, he felt it was important that the minutes of the final meeting form the main body of the report, or be attached as an appendix, as he felt that they captured the thought and careful consideration that had been given to each of the recommendations.  He took this opportunity to thank the other members of the task group for their efforts and the Officers for their hard work. 

 

Councillor Barrell commented that she, along with Councillor McCloskey, had been a member of this group and had both been really impressed with the documentation that had been produced by Officers and thanked them for their support. 

 

The Executive Director – People & Change, as lead officer for the committee, had seen real improvement over the last 18 months and thanked members for their positive feedback. 

12.

Review of scrutiny workplan pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Minutes:

The work plan had been circulated with the agenda and the Chair advised that the agenda for the next meeting would be agreed by the lead members, next week.   

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:

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)

 

At this point the live stream was ended. 

14.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

8 March 2021

Minutes:

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

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the exempt minutes of the meeting held on the 8 March 2021, be agreed and signed as an accurate record. 

15.

Date of next meeting

7 June 2021

Minutes:

 

The next meeting was scheduled for 7 June 2021.