Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th November 2023 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 160 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 30th October 2023.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 30th October 2023 were approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record, subject to an amendment to paragraph 56.11 and the correction of a typing error at paragraph 57.6.


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

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


To ask a question at this meeting, please submit it to by 12 noon on Wednesday 22nd November 2023 or telephone (01452) 396203 for support.


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 nor deputations.


Action Point Item pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To note the outcomes of action points arising from previous meetings.

Additional documents:


65.1    Councillor Hilton referred to the update regarding GL1 Leisure and noted that he would be interested to see documentary evidence of the Council selling the nearby nightclubs and when this occurred. The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Norman, pointed out that this sale would have taken place a long time ago and that this information was likely held by Gloucestershire Archives.


65.2    Referring to the update concerning the Covid Memorial, Councillor Dee noted her disappointment in the update and design proposals. She stated that she disagreed with the location and the look of the stones, and that she would be interested to know who had contributed to the design.


65.3    Councillor Wilson noted that he shared Councillor Dee’s view and expressed that he found the proposed design disappointing. In response to additional comments from Councillor Wilson, the Chair pointed out that the design proposals did include a plaque to provide context.


65.4    In response to a query from Councillor A. Chambers as to whether there was any way Members could raise their concerns, it was suggested that Members pass their concerns onto the Leader of the Council as the Cabinet Member with portfolio responsibility for the Covid memorial. The Managing Director noted that the Council aimed to have the memorial in place by Spring, and that work had been underway for some time with Ecclesiastical Insurance as the funding partner. The Managing Director noted that the location had been selected as it was near the Ecclesiastical Offices, and that the Gloucestershire Community Foundation had been involved in the work.


          RESOLVED – That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the updates.


Community Safety Overview pdf icon PDF 402 KB

To receive an update from the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods on the Council’s community safety work over 2023.


66.1    The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Padilla, provided an introductory overview. He advised that the Council’s Community Safety Team had doubled in 2023 as a result of external funding secured by the team, noting that the Community Wellbeing Team Leader as the Community Safety Lead had secured £1.08m of external funding to help the Council deliver community safety projects.


66.2    Councillor Padilla outlined some key developments within the Council’s community safety work, including the receipt of Safer Streets funding from the Home Office which had enabled the Council to recruit a Safer Spaces Lead Officer, and the work of the Stronger Safer Gloucester Partnership (SSGP) which he noted was regarded as the most active community safety partnership in the county. Councillor Padilla paid tribute to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and local policing teams for their work in addressing safety issues, and advised Members that the Community Safety team would be looking to develop a new Community Safety Strategy for Gloucester from 2025 onwards.


66.3    The Community Wellbeing Team Leader delivered a presentation providing further information about the work of the Community Safety team over 2023, including the Stronger Safer Gloucester Partnership, youth violence prevention, external funding updates and Street Aware work, including the ‘Op Ebrius’ operation to tackle street drinking in Gloucester city centre. She also updated Members on the Council’s Safer Spaces work and initiatives the team were exploring to gather data around how safe people feel within the city.


66.4    The Inspector introduced himself to Members and provided an overview of burglary and vehicle crime statistics, noting that there had been a 14% reduction in these crimes in 2023 compared to 2022. He advised Members that he would be happy to provide further data if requested.


66.5    Councillor Wilson asked whether the Community Wellbeing Team structure chart could be circulated to Members, to which Community Wellbeing Team Leader agreed that she would be happy to do so though the Democratic Services team.


66.6    In response to an additional question from Councillor Wilson regarding the Street Aware and Safer Streets Officers, the Community Wellbeing explained that these were different roles with different responsibilities.


66.7    In response to a further question from Councillor Wilson regarding the amount of time the Community Wellbeing team spent submitting bids, the Community Wellbeing Team Leader confirmed that bid writing did take up a significant amount of time when funding became available, as there was a need to be reactive when funding submissions opened.


66.8    The Chair asked whether it was the responsibility of the same team member to write funding bids. The Community Wellbeing Team Leader confirmed that it was her responsibility to put funding bids together, and that it was useful that the Council had a strong working relationship with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner as they were helpful with endorsing funding bids where this was needed. She noted that maintaining good working relationships with partners was a key element of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.


Financial Monitoring Quarter 2 Report pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources presenting the year-end forecasts, financial pressures on the Council during the Quarter ended 30th September  2023 and performance against certain financial performance indicators.

Additional documents:


67.1    The Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources, Councillor Hannah Norman, introduced the report. She advised that the report sought to outline year-end forecasts and the financial pressures on the Council during Quarter 2 ending in September 2023, as well as the performance of the Council against certain key performance indicators. Councillor Norman highlighted that the forecast year end position was currently a decrease of the Council’s General Fund balance of £1,078k against a budgeted decrease of £104k.


67.2    Councillor Norman referred to 4.3 in the report and highlighted that key pressures facing the Council included temporary accommodation costs which were at an overspend of £456k, however she noted that the position had improved due to Council’s decision to acquire emergency temporary accommodation. Councillor Norman outlined that further pressures included the decline in planning income as a result of development costs increases, and the closure of Longsmith Car Park and costs associated with lost income and repair maintenance work.


67.3    The Chair asked whether Longsmith Car Park was likely to be open before the end of the financial year. Councillor Norman explained that she was awaiting the final report measures, however Financial Monitoring reports and estimates tended to be on the pessimistic side.


67.4    In response to a further query from the Chair as to what was meant by ‘NJC Green Book staff’, the Head of Finance and Resources confirmed that this referred to the National Joint Council.


67.5    The Chair asked whether Councillor Norman was worried about the financial outlook. Councillor Norman replied that currently, local government finance was challenging, with inflationary pressures impacting on every local authority, however she had confidence that Officers and the administration would take the necessary decisions in the Council’s financial interest.


67.6    Councillor Wilson referred to the £500k utility charge for Aspire Trust and asked whether the Council had managed to recover any of this debt. The Head of Finance and Resources confirmed that this £500k was an historic debt from the previous financial year. In response to a further question from Councillor Wilson as to whether there was any possibility of the Council reclaiming any of this money, the Head of Finance and Resources noted that this was a possibility however it was dependent on the Aspire Leisure Trust’s liquidators.


67.7    Councillor Hilton asked whether the administration had any intention to sell Gloucestershire Airport.  Councillor Norman confirmed that no formal discussions had taken place at Cabinet level but invited Members to put forward any questions they had to the Leader of the Council, as the relevant Cabinet portfolio holder, at the next Cabinet Meeting.


67.8    Councillor Hilton reflected on conversations he had had with Cabinet Members at Cheltenham Borough Council regarding a possible sale. Councillor Norman reiterated that no formal discussions had taken place at Cabinet level, however Councillor Hilton could ask the Leader of the Council at the upcoming Cabinet meeting if he so wished.


67.9    Councillor Hilton observed that there was currently no upcoming decision pertaining to Gloucestershire Airport in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.


Report on the Impact of the Cyber Incident and the Lessons Learnt pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources seeking Members to note the impact of the cyber-attack on the Council, residents and customers, and the lessons learnt from the subsequent recovery.

Additional documents:


68.1    Councillor Norman introduced the report and welcomed the Head of Transformation and Commissioning. She paid tribute to all Officers for their hard work and innovation during the cyber incident and subsequent recovery. In particular, she thanked the Managing Director and former Director of Finance and Resources for their leadership, as well as the Council’s IT team for their dedication in recovering the Council’s IT systems.


68.2    Councillor Hilton thanked the Head of Transformation and Commissioning for the report and Council staff for their work in dealing with the cyber incident. He noted that the latest figures confirmed a total recovery cost of £1.142m and observed that the costs had therefore exceeded £1m. He asked whether the recovery had improved systems, and whether all applications had been transferred to the Cloud. Councillor Norman stated that she had previous asserted that she was not willing to give assurances that the total recovery costs would not exceed £1m, and that the Council had received some grant funding towards the costs. She also noted that some of the recovery work was already part of the IT recovery plan and that it had front-ended some upcoming planned improvement work. The Head of Transformation and Commissioning further added that an advantage of the Cloud was that it increased resilience through a distributed structure. He added that the investment had provided the opportunity to reengineer systems from scratch.


68.3    Councillor Hilton asked whether the Council had made a mistake in not investing in its IT systems earlier, particularly following the cyber incident experienced by the Council back in 2014. Councillor Norman noted that the latest attack experienced by the Council was sophisticated, however the Council had invested in its IT systems and was already in a much stronger position than other authorities at the time of the 2021 cyber-attack. The Managing Director also advised that the Council had heavily invested since 2014 in improving its defences, upgrades, and improving awareness and business continuity plans. He stated that hostile agents were evolving threats and it was his view that the Council was not unprepared for the attack.


68.4    Councillor Wilson referred to the narrative in the report at 12.1 and the statement that the configuration of some systems had been customised by external consultants. He asked whether this had the potential to make the Council’s systems weaker if this happened in the future. The Managing Director noted that one positive arising following the incident was that the Council’s backups were still intact. However with the Uniform system used for planning applications, as all Councils’ systems were configured differently, this application had needed to be rebuilt from scratch before the backups could be loaded. He noted that this could be a lesson for all Councils to learn from.


68.5    In response to a query from Councillor A. Chambers regarding whether the Council ought to have adopted the same IT as Gloucestershire County Council, Councillor Norman explained that lengthy discussions had taken place at the time of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 253 KB

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

Additional documents:


69.1    The Chair advised Members of the Committee that a revised Work Programme had previously been circulated. He also suggested that the Committee consider the Proposed Sale of Land at Podsmead for the Purpose of Commencing Regeneration report, and it was agreed that this item be added to the agenda for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 8th January 2024.




1)    That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme be amended to reflect the above and


2)    To NOTE the revised Work Programme.


Date of Next Meeting

Monday 8th January 2024 at 6.30pm in Civic Suite, North Warehouse.


Monday 8th January 2024.