Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 3rd February 2020 6.30 pm

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

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.


There were no declarations of interest.


Declaration of Party Whipping

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



There were no declarations of party whipping.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on the 19th of December 2019 and the 6th of January 2020.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: -  That the minutes of the meetings held on the 19th of December 2019 and the 6th of January 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.


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


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


There were no petitions or deputations.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 46 KB

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

Additional documents:


7.1      The Head of Communities explained that the Annual Report on the Grant Funding provided to the Voluntary Sector which was on the Committee ‘s agenda for its next meeting on the 3rd of March 2020 had been pushed back on the Cabinet ‘s forward plan. In response, Committee Members agreed to replace the report with the Climate Change Manifesto report. The Annual Report on the Grant Funding provided to the Voluntary Sector would be made a floating item on the work programme until it was ready to be considered at a Committee meeting.


7.2       Councillor Hilton requested that an interim report on Marketing Gloucester Limited (MGL) is brought before the Committee. He stated that this would focus on the report from the organisation which investigated the claims which were made in a whistleblowing case against the company in 2014, as well as the letter from the former employee who had raised the alarm. Councillor Hilton expressed his concern that the Council had so far not been able to locate the whistleblowing report.


7.3      Councillor Lewis suggested that the Committee should seek legal advice before holding the meeting to avoid potentially impinging on the ongoing police investigation into MGL. Councillor Hilton stated that the purpose of the meeting would be to look at the Council ‘s role in the whistleblowing investigations, if any.  In particular, this would mean looking at the correspondence between MGL and Council Officers, and documents from any meetings between MGL and Council, if any. Councillor Wilson stated that he agreed with this. Councillor Stephens echoed the point made earlier about the need to be careful about not prejudicing an ongoing police investigation. Yet, he also believed that there was a sense of urgency with this.


7.4      Councillor Ryall stated that she agreed with these observations and the importance of the issue at hand. However, she also stressed the importance of not dealing with the issue on politically partisan lines. She added that any investigations should be impartial.


 7.5   Councillor Coole summarised that they would be seeking legal advice before a decision is made on whether to hold the MGL meeting. Following this, he would then set up a meeting with the other group leaders discussing the potential Special Meeting.


 7.6      Councillor Haigh asked whether there any progress had been made on extending the local delivery of grass cutting Trial to Matson, pursuant to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee ‘s recommendation at its meeting on the 25th of November 2019. Furthermore, she asked whether any other wards had expressed an interest in the scheme. Councillor Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods outlined that whilst there were no further updates, the plan was to consult with the community in Matson, and then proceed from there. Furthermore, she added that there had been expressions of interest into the scheme from community partnership organisations in the Barton and Tredworth wards.


7.7      RESOLVED that: - subject to the above, that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the Work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To receive the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, and the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Strategy which outlines proposals for the Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy for 2020-2025.


Additional documents:


8.1       Councillor Watkins presented the report and outlined key elements. She stated that this report was the result of cross-party work. Moreover, since the last meeting, there had been a consultation with stakeholders and members of the public. The result of this was a 100% agreement rate amongst those who had participated in the consultation. She explained to the Committee that the report before them was not final, and that changes could still be made. For example, as a result of the discussion at the present meeting. Lastly, she then thanked Officers who had been involved in putting the strategy together for their hard work.


8.2      Councillor Gravells then addressed the Committee. He thanked the Chair, and then Councillor Watkins for the joint report. He added that housing was a key issue. Furthermore, that there would be an action plan once the strategy had been updated. Lastly, he stated that if Members wanted to bring the strategy before the Overview & Scrutiny Committee for consideration every year, this could be done. The Chair stated that he had spoken to the Head of Communities about doing this.


8.3      Councillor Coole questioned whether the Council ‘s Severe Weather Protocol (SWEP)  also included severe hot weather. Councillor Watkins stated that SWEP largely focused on cold weather, however there was a yellow warning for other types of weather conditions. Moreover, SWEP was under review every year with the Council working with the County Wide Homelessness Coordinator and other partners. Similarly, changes were recently made to the Protocol in 2019.


8.4    Councillor Haigh stated that whilst she welcomed the report, it would benefit from having a breakdown of private sector housing issues. She added that there was a lot of discussion about affordable homes, however there was little information on social rent, which was a pertinent issue. She suggested that Gloucester had lower targets for social rent compared to other areas in the South West. Secondly, she questioned whether there was a policy on controlling what she believed to be an increase of Households in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and student housing in the City. She explained that other local authorities had these policies in place.


8.5       In response, Councillor Watkins stated that there was not any up to date data on the existing housing stock in the City. However, a new stock condition survey was now underway as part of the strategy. Councillor Gravells agreed with Councillor Haigh that affordable rent was a key consideration, and stated that he was asking Officers to look at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), and would also consider this as part of the Joint Core Strategy. In relation to Councillor Haigh ‘s second query, Councillor Gravells stated that reference is made to both HMOs and student housing in the 2011-2031 City Plan. Councillor Haigh asked that clarification is made between student housing and HMOs.


8.6     Councillor Wilson stated that the report was excellent. However, he expressed his concern with high rent prices in the City, which he believed was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Events and Festivals Plan 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To receive the report of the Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure which reviews the City Events Programme and delivery model for 2019, and sets out the recommended delivery model and programme for 2020.

Additional documents:


9.1       The Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Morgan, introduced the new Head of Cultural Services. He then introduced the Festivals and Events Report, and highlighted key elements. Firstly, he referred to paragraph 3.5 which he believed was one of the most important changes. In relation to paragraph 3.6, he explained that city-wide coordination would be starting imminently, and stressed the importance of having conversations with other organisations in the City. Councillor Morgan further highlighted paragraphs 4.2, 4.6, 4.8, and 5.0 and 6.1. Lastly, he drew Members’ attention to paragraph 10.1, outlining that at this stage Cabinet was behind schedule with the programme of events, however they would be making progress with this.


9.2      Councillor Stephens was of the view that the Culture and Leisure portfolio had traditionally underperformed in the past, and thus it was important to ensure that any changes to the Festivals and Events programme were watertight. He suggested that, as it stood, the Festivals and Events programme needed some amendments. Firstly, he was concerned with the way the budget for the Festivals and Events programme had been calculated. In particular, he questioned why there was a £50,000 increase in the budget, making the total budget £210,000 for this year. Moreover, he suggested that the breakdown of costs was inadequate, and that more clarity was needed on whether the events would be chargeable. 


9.3     Councillor Morgan advised that Cabinet and Officers were still in the early stages of the festivals and events programme, and thus were not able to include all costs. For example, staffing costs had not yet been included in the budget. Councillor Morgan explained that although work was underway, the report was kept deliberately vague to allow for flexibility.  For example, organisations could still approach the Council.


 9.4     The Head of Cultural Services explained that there would be a change in the model of delivery for events in the City. The onus would be on organisations to deliver events, and to come up with robust plans. Moreover, whilst the Council would provide some funding towards the costs of events, the total cost of events would likely exceed this. As such, organisations would be expected to leverage additional funding.


9.5    Councillor Stephens queried whether events would still be held in the event that no organisation would be available to deliver the event.  Councillor Morgan responded to say that given the aspirations to change, it would not necessarily be the same types of events which would be delivered, and it might be that the previous events may not be held under the new festivals and events programme.



9.6      Councillor Stephens reiterated his concerns that the report was lacking a full breakdown of the costs which would be involved in the delivery of events. For example, in situations where organisations would have to obtain private funding. He believed that a review was needed in a few months’ time.


9.7      The Chair agreed with the view that a review would be needed in a few months’ time.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Date of Next Meeting

Monday 2nd of March 2020.