Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 3rd December 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, North Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EP. View directions

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.


114.1              Councillor Hampson declared an interest in agenda item 10 by virtue of his being a private landlord.


Declaration of Party Whipping

To declare if any issues to be covered in the Agenda are under party whip.



115.                There were no declarations of party whipping.



The minutes of the meeting held on 26th November 2018 will be presented at the meeting taking place on 7th January 2019.


116.1              Members were informed that the minutes of the meeting held on 26th November 2018 would be presented at the meeting on 7th January 2019.


Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:


·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers


117.1              There were no public questions.


Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:


·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings


118.1              There were no petitions or deputations.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To receive the latest version of the Committee’s work programme and the Council’s Forward Plan.

Additional documents:


119.1              The Committee considered the Work Programme and Council Forward Plan. The Chair informed the Committee that the Aspire Trust would be attending the next meeting to assist in consideration of their annual report.


119.2              Members suggested that the Guildhall Development Plan be considered in situ and, as such, it was agreed that the meeting at which this would be considered would be held at the Gloucester Guildhall. It was confirmed that the change of venue would be communicated to the public and to all Members.


119.3              RESOLVED that:-   The Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the Work Programme and the Forward Plan.


Community Building in Gloucester pdf icon PDF 384 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods that outlines plans for the medium and long-term delivery of community building activities in Gloucester.


120.1              Councillor Jennie Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, introduced the report and welcomed the Chief Executive Officer of Barnwood Trust and Chief Inspector Of Gloucestershire Constabulary to the meeting.


120.2              Councillor Watkins explained the Council’s journey to and through Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) which Barnwood Trust was leading. She stated that ABCD involved bringing about a cultural shift in how communities and agencies interact.


120.3              The Chief Inspector gave a presentation and provided an overview of research conducted. He cited that Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) had decreased and that ABCD had a role to play in achieving such outcomes.


120.4              The Corporate Director thanked the Barnwood Trust for their thought leadership, support as well as training and mentoring. She also stated that the establishment of a community interest company was under consideration and presented an outline of a ten year budget.


120.5              Councillor Pullen stated that he saw the value in potentially pooling resources for community building. He noted that numerous community organisations were struggling with gaining grant funding and questioned whether it would be preferable to directly support already existing groups. Councillor Pullen also asked what outcomes were being attempted and what a healthy community looked like.


120.6              Councillor Watkins stated that outcomes were not necessarily linked to what organisation support came from and that outcomes involved community activity and not simply services. The Corporate Director explained that the Council’s contribution would be £15k per annum and that staffing would be generated by partnerships. She further stated that it would give good opportunities for fundraising and secondments from Barnwood Trust and the County Council. She advised Members that if fundraising proved to not be possible, the company would not be set up.


120.7              Councillor Ryall welcomed Members’ suggestion of a Member Development session to explore ABCD and Community Building in more depth. She questioned the worth of the evaluation of this form of Community Building being conducted by the agencies that were carrying out the work. The Chief Executive of the Barnwood Trust agreed but highlighted that it was a matter of making the most of resources and that there were always difficulties in assessing impact.


120.8              The Chief Inspector, in response to a query from Councillor Finnegan questioning whether the police had taken on too much, stated that such a community building approach was a positive way of working and built trust and intelligence in neighbourhoods.


120.9              Councillor Haigh stated that ABCD worked best when communities did it themselves. She further stated that communities would like previous funding levels to be returned by way of grants to fund services they required.


120.10            Councillor Watkins highlighted that it was important to change relationships and how the Council worked with communities.  She advised Members that a number of organisations had changed and employed community builders.


120.11            The Chair stated that community organisations were still competing for money from the same pool of money and that the approach had the appearance being ‘to-down’.


120.12            Councillor Lewis informed Members that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 120.


Accessing the Private Rented Sector for Temporary & Permanent Accommodation pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, which was approved by the Cabinet on 7th November 2018, which revised incentives to be made to landlords to secure referrals from the local authority to prevent or relieve homelessness.


121.1              Councillor Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, provided an overview of the report. She stated that there would be an opportunity to review the scheme. She further stated that it was already working well and praised officers for their expertise.


121.2              Councillor Watkins advised that she wanted to reassure landlords of where support could be accessed and for financial incentives. She stated that the Council would be looking to expand the scheme and that there would be a review and changes made where necessary.


121.3              Councillor Pullen shared his view that what was in issue was a lack of housing stock but that the incentives outlined were helpful. He stated that numerous landlords were reluctant to deal with those who may have complex needs and queried what would be done to change such attitudes.


 121.4             Councillor Watkins stated that having a relationship between the Council and landlords first was key. She further stated that some landlords had had poor experiences with a minority of tenants.


121.5              Councillor Haigh stated that the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was insufficient to source necessary property. With regard to the one off fee being offered to landlords, she queried the possibility of there being attempts by other authorities to undercut the Council with higher fees. Councillor Haigh also referred to a bond being held by the Council (rather than in a deposit scheme) and questioned what position this would leave tenants in respect of their recourse to law if necessary. The Corporate Director stated that it would be preferable to examine how it operates in practice and review the scheme in due course.


121.6              In response to the Chair’s noting that there was scope to alter the scheme as power had been delegated, Councillor Watkins stated that it was necessary to balance the need to source housing and to attract landlords.


121.7              Councillor Hilton shared his understanding that the scheme would help some residents but not all. He stated that both landlords and tenants should be consulted when the review is undertaken.


On the motion of the Chair, and in accordance with the Constitution, the Committee resolved that the meeting be extended beyond two hours.


121.8              With reference to point 4 of paragraph 3.7, Councillor Wilson queried whether rental values would change after twelve months and further queried whether landlords may want different tenants. Councillor Watkins stated that in building relationships with landlords, their recognition of the positive impact they could have was hoped.


121.9              Councillor Hampson shared his view that the rental estimates of properties were conservative and that the incentives were insufficient. He noted that two thirds of homelessness was as a result of eviction from private sector housing and suggested that a better incentive would be a form of guaranteed rent scheme. Councillor Watkins queried whether such an insurance based scheme would guarantee the whole rental value.


121.10            Councillor Hampson suggested that some of the optional aspects of the scheme were not strong and stated that they were matters  ...  view the full minutes text for item 121.


Financial Monitoring Quarter 2 Report pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources which details year-end forecasts and progress made against agreed savings targets for the 2nd quarter ended 30th September 2018.

Additional documents:


122.1              Councillor H. Norman, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, introduced the report and provided an overview of key matters.


122.2              With regards to the Performance and Resources portfolio, Councillor Norman informed Members that there were pressures surrounding the Housing subsidy and that, historically, this balanced in Quarters 3 and 4. She also highlighted that large IT initiatives were to be initiated.


122.3              Councillor Pullen noted that there were just two vacant market stalls and that, as such, he was surprised to see a deficit in that area. He asked for the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy to clarify what a private management company would do to improve market income generation. It was confirmed that an answer would be circulated.


122.4              In response to a query from Councillor Hilton about whether there was confidence in having the culture budget on target, Councillor Norman stated that she was optimistic about this and that she believed the Council would be able to increase income.


122.5              Councillor Hilton asked for clarification on how the vacancy factor was built into draft budget proposals. Councillor Norman advised that an answer would be provided.


122.6              RESOLVED that: - The Overview and Scrutiny note the report.




Date of Next Meeting

7th January 2019 at 6.30pm in the Civic Suite, North Warehouse.


7th January 2019 at 6.30pm in the Civic Suite, North Warehouse.