Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda item

Feedback from other scrutiny meetings attended

Gloucestershire Health and Care O&S Committee (11 July) – written update from Councillor Harvey attached


Gloucestershire Economic Growth O&S Committee (6 September) – written update from Councillor Paul McCloskey (to follow)


Police and Crime Panel (14 July and 8 September)   - written update from Councillor Helena McCloskey attached


Updates on the Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Police and Crime Panel had been circulated with the agenda.  An update on the recent meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee had been circulated separately to the agenda (Appendix 1).


Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee

Councillor Paul McCloskey was invited to address the committee. He highlighted that

in terms of Vision 2050which would be launched in January it was important that decisions were made early on in terms of the type of infrastructure required. He also informed Members that the new Chair of the scrutiny committee had introduced a new way of working  by holding meetings around the county on a rotational basis. The next meeting would take place on 19 October.


The following questions/issues were raised by Members :


·         The LEP was, according to Government, responsible for funding sustainable transport projects (including walking and cycling) but was in fact more focussed on driving economic development. A significant East-West national transport infrastructure project was underway but stopped at Oxford and it was asked whether the committee had discussed the future of this project in terms of its extension into Gloucestershire which would bring great economic benefit to the county. In response Cllr McCloskey confirmed that there had been no discussion of this national project as the main focus had been on junction 10 of the M5 and the A46 corridor at junction 9. The Leader added that he was keen to raise the Oxford issue as part of the tourism strategy as currently there were very poor public transport links between Oxford and Cheltenham. As a general point the Leader explained that as there had been no announcements for growth deal funding for the area the LEP was just managing existing schemes. A Member added that in terms of cycling the county council was considering aligning different funds/use S106 funds to support cycle routes between Bishops Cleeve and the racecourse and a Cheltenham-Gloucester cycle route. It was hoped that having hosted the Tour of Britain there would be more interest from businesses in cycling in order to alleviate pressure on the road network.

·         A Member referred to the EU smart cities programme which concerned the sustainable development of urban areas which required new, efficient, and user-friendly technologies and services, in particular in the areas of energy, transport and ICT which included telecommunications which should now be regarded as an essential service. He gave examples of innovative ways in which EU countries had used land to create sustainable modes of transport which had also become tourist attractions. He believed that the smart cities model fitted well in the proposed cyber development and suggested that an analogous model was needed to develop smart rural areas.

·         A Member highlighted that Fastershire had now completed its assessment of Phase 2 and would provide funds to suppliers to fund faster broadband provision to those houses in urban areas of Cheltenham with slow speed broadband.


Members were invited to address any further comments directly to Councillor P McCloskey.


Police and Crime Panel

Councillor Helena McCloskey informed Members of the following :


·         a further inspection of child protection services within the constabulary had taken place since the July meeting and the official report was expected soon. Work was ongoing towards hosting a summit to improve the service to all children in the county in need of protection. She reported that the decision log was now up to date and March 2017 data was now being used.


·         work relating to a new neighbourhood policing officer had been deferred until the new year due to the fact that managerial work had been delayed due to the poor inspection. The Police were recruiting and training new PCSOs, 3 of which would be based in Cheltenham.


·         The PCC had now been appointed as the Chair of the Criminal Justice Board and an independent review of its work would be carried out.


·         The Panel had received a presentation on Young People Becoming Adults which concerned diverting first time offenders from the criminal justice system by means of restorative justice techniques. Copies of the presentation would be made available to Members and Cllr McCloskey would make this available to Members.



Members raised the following questions/issues and the following responses were given:


·         Restorative justice-this was a dialogue between the child and the victim in terms of outcomes and whereby the child’s views were taken into account when the plan was produced so that a child understands what is expected of him. Members recognised that where a child was involved in the criminal justice system and obtained a criminal record employment became difficult so the aim was to hold the prosecution back in order to try to divert children from offending.

·         A discussion was held on the income deprivation affecting children index (part of the Indices of multiple deprivation)  where Hesters Way was 402nd out of 32 844. Some Members deemed this to be a collective failure between the County Council and the Police. They recognised that there were long standing  issues in Hesters Way and all parties should now come together to address them. The Leader confirmed that the council had been tackling these issues for decades and Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project had been in operation for some time so locally everything was in place to conduct these conversations. Members felt strongly that they wanted to know what plans were in place to bring the area out of the multiple deprivation and what progress had been made, if any and the question was asked as to what improvements could be made. Members agreed that
Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project and Cheltenham Borough Homes, who had a good overview of areas of deprivation across the town, should be invited to a future meeting of O&S. The Leader added that to review the success or otherwise of tackling that deprivation it was important to ask whether it had improved relatively to what it was and whether it was likely to move out of the lowest 10 % in relative terms

·         Members expressed frustration at the lack of answers and information from the PCC further to his attendance at O&S and requested Cllr McCloskey to relay their concern to the PCC at the next meeting.

·         The Chair informed Members of the forthcoming Member Seminar on public health on 26/09.

Supporting documents: