Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 4th October 2021 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Items
No. Item

29.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

30.

Declaration of Party Whipping

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

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of party whipping.

31.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 6th September 2021 were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.

32.

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

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

33.

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

Minutes:

There were no petitions and deputations.

34.

Election of Chair

35.

Action Points Arising from Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 399 KB

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

Minutes:

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

36.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 403 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

36.1    The Chair, Councillor Hilton, introduced the latest version of the Council Forward Plan and put forward some suggested items which he hoped the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could examine over the coming months.

 

36.2    The Chair suggested that the Committee consider the Capital Strategy, Temporary Negotiated Stopping Places and the Geographical Information Systems and Grounds Maintenance Contract. The Committee agreed to add these items to the Work Programme with dates to be confirmed.

 

36.3    The Chair further noted that the Green Travel Plan Progress Report and Update and Blackfriars Priory Development Plan were already on the Work Programme and reiterated his interest in considering these items once the Forward Plan dates were finalised.

 

            RESOLVED

 

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

 

2)    To NOTE the Work Programme

 

37.

Waste Street Scene and Grounds Maintenance Services - Transitional Progress pdf icon PDF 373 KB

To receive an update on the transitional progress of the Waste Street Scene and Grounds Maintenance Services contract.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

37.1    The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment introduced the presentation and explained that mobilisation efforts were underway for Ubico to commence service delivery for Gloucester City Council from April 2022. He referred to the management structure and noted that beneath the programme board, there were project working groups in place for focused workstreams. He noted that one of these working groups had been set up to deliver a digital system which would allow automated workflows and processes to be used across the service, which was a countywide first/project.

 

37.2    The Leader of the Council explained that efforts to secure the fleet were underway and that a communications plan had been established, with the next newsletter due in the Winter. The Leader of the Council highlighted that a progress table was attached at Appendix A.

 

37.3    Councillor Wilson expressed the view that the most significant challenge for the service delivery was delivery of the appropriate fleet service vehicles, due to the UK-wide supply chain issues. He raised concerns that there was a possibility of the vehicles not arriving in time for the start of the new service contract in April 2022 and asked whether Ubico had any contingency plans in place to mitigate the risk.

 

37.4    The Managing Director of Ubico confirmed that all large waste collection vehicles had been ordered and that delivery slots for these vehicles had been secured. She noted that most of the smaller specialist vehicles had been ordered but acknowledged that there were problems with the supply chain market. The Managing Director of Ubico confirmed that where problems were known, steps would be taken to mitigate the issues and consideration was being given to alternative options such as hiring vehicles. She emphasised that the situation was being well monitored and was a key priority for Ubico.

 

37.5    Councillor Dee asked whether hiring or leasing waste collection vehicles was usual practice. The Head of Operations for Ubico advised that it depended on the circumstances. By way of example, he noted that Ubico were currently pricing up work for Gloucester City Homes and if prudent, Ubico would hire vehicles at first instance.

 

37.6    In response to a question from Councillor Lewis regarding the timeframes for hiring fleet vehicles, the Managing Director of Ubico confirmed that colleagues at Ubico were analysing options in relation to the benefits of both owned and leased waste collection vehicles. She confirmed that Ubico were considering options such as short-term spot hire and noted that in her view, vehicles would likely be hired on a 6 to 12-month basis.

 

37.7    Councillor Durdey commented that a further key risk area was staffing and invited comments from Ubico as to how the organisation was dealing with the staff transfer and training. The Managing Director of Ubico confirmed that Urbaser had been helpful and cooperative in allowing Ubico to meet with staff ahead of the TUPE transfer process.  She explained that the waste collection workforce is usually a large and steady one and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Draft Council Plan 2021-2024 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To consider the report of the Leader of the Council presenting the draft Council Plan 2021-2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

38.1    The Leader of the Council introduced the report and explained that the overarching vision of the Draft Council Plan 2021-24 was to work with partners and residents to build a ‘greener, fairer, better Gloucester’. He noted that the Draft Plan set out the City Council’s strategic direction over the next three years and how it intended to deliver the vision through two key priorities, namely tackling inequalities and taking action on climate change.

 

38.2    The Leader of the Council explained that the report outlined the timetable for the development of the final plan (8.1) and noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were being asked to consider the information set out in the report as part of the consultation process. He noted that when the plan was approved, a detailed set of actions would be developed which set out how the City Council would achieve these goals.

 

38.3    Councillor Wilson expressed the view that there was little he disagreed with in the report and noted that the vision was a positive one. Referring to promise set out in Priority 1 to tackle food poverty, Councillor Wilson raised concerns that this was a complex issue and that this could be an over-promise. He asked for further information on the specific steps which the Council would take to address the problem.

 

 

38.4    The Leader of the Council confirmed that the City Council would continue to support the work of the County Council in this area as the City Council did not have the finances to tackle the issue in its entirety on its own. By way of example on steps to help tackle the issue, the Leader of the Council commented that he, and other Members had been working within their communities handing out food parcels to vulnerable families this year. It was clarified that the promise was to help with the issue rather than tackle it as a whole.

 

38.5    Councillor Durdey expressed the view that the plan was a bold one and commended the focus on creating equal opportunities and using regeneration to help tackle unemployment.

 

38.6    Referring to the promise to address the root causes of inequality in the city, Councillor S. Chambers asked whether the City Council was working with the County Council to engage with local communities in this regard. The Policy and Development Officer confirmed that it was and also noted that the City Council was playing a leading role in the work of the City’s Commission to Review Race Relations. The Leader of the Council further confirmed that the Council would take this work forward with partners as far as possible.

 

38.7    The Chair referred to the promise relating to keeping residents safe and addressing anti-social behaviour. He noted that 3.7 in the report confirmed that a detailed set of key actions and projects would be drawn up in due course and asked for the Leader of the Council’s comments as to his ideas on steps the Council could take to deliver this objective.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

City Council Energy Costs and Reduction Projects Annual Report pdf icon PDF 463 KB

To consider the report of the Leader of the Council informing Members of the Council’s energy costs and projects to reduce energy usage.

Minutes:

39.1    The Leader of the Council introduced the report and explained that the purpose was to inform Members of the Council’s energy costs and projects to reduce usage. He confirmed that the City Council had adopted a revised Energy Management Strategy back in 2012, and one of the objectives of this strategy included a commitment to reduce the Council’s energy costs across its buildings by 2% a year, along with a  yearly monitoring commitment and an annual report. The Leader of the Council confirmed that the Council owned a large number of buildings which used significant amount of gas and electricity; however the Council had committed to reducing its annual spend on energy by £50,000 per year.

 

39.2    The Leader of the Council confirmed that the 2021 energy costs had not yet been finalised, however the Council was shielded by a 12-month price cap. He clarified that energy saving projects were being targeted towards buildings with a higher energy consumption, such as a lighting placement scheme at Oxstalls Tennis Centre and replacement of incandescent lights with LED lights at North Warehouse and the Guildhall. The Leader of the Council also confirmed that the move to a pool fleet had reduced the Council’s carbon output.

 

39.3    In response to a question from Councillor Organ regarding the issuing of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), the Property Commissioning Manager confirmed that EPCs had to be undertaken for every building let or owned by the Council, and action had to be taken where the rating fell below E. She confirmed that colleagues were working their way through all higher risk premises, and noted by way of example that changing the lightbulbs at Tuffley Park to LED had changed the rating from E to B, and therefore simple changes could have significant and positive results.

 

39.4    The Leader of the Council further commented that the CLS Consultancy report referred to at 4.2 set out detailed recommendations for the property team, who were in the process of picking target sites, one of which was the depot. The Property Commissioning Manager confirmed that the City Council’s Senior Building Works Surveyor would be visiting the depot next week to evaluate what changes could be made to optimise fuel and energy savings.

 

39.5    Referring to the significant drop in gas and electricity use in 2020 due to the pandemic, Councillor Hilton noted that there could be a spike in energy consumption after the pandemic and asked how the Council was monitoring any increased energy use and what it was doing to promote the use of renewable sources. The Leader of the Council confirmed that the Council already secured all electric energy from renewable sources but at the moment, this was not possible to do with gas. He stated that he would question whether the 2021 figures would show any significant spike given that large numbers of employees were still working from home.

 

39.6    The Property and Commissioning Manager further added where possible, the Council would look to replace gas use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Armed Forces Community Covenant Update pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods providing an update on the support offered to current and former members of the armed forces, reservists and their families as part of the commitment to the Gloucestershire Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Minutes:

40.1    The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods introduced the report and explained that the purpose of the report was to provide an update on the support offered to current and former members of the armed  forces, reservists and their families as part of the City Council’s commitment to the Gloucestershire Armed Forces Community Covenant. He explained that the Armed Forces Community Covenant was a voluntary pledge of support between the people of Gloucestershire and the local Armed Forces Community

 

40.2    The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods noted that one of the aims of the Covenant was to recognise the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community. He noted that by 2028 there would be an estimated 1.6 million veterans living in the UK and that the Government had this year renewed the Armed Forces Bill, with a particular obligation on Councils to pay due regard to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in terms of housing. The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods confirmed that armed forces members and veterans were able to access housing support and advice through the City Council’s Housing Team and confirmed that the Council was also working with partner organisations including armed forces charities. The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods explained that the Council would be applying for the Bronze Defence Employer Recognition Award in Autumn/Winter 2021 and that an internal survey of City Council staff had taken place. He noted that it was hoped that the responses would indicate whether the Council needed to do better to support veterans. The Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods paid tribute to the work of Councillor Lewis as the Member Armed Forces Champion.

 

40.3    Councillor Radley asked for an update on what the City Council had done to reach out to staff at Alabarae. The Head of Communities confirmed that the Council had been dealing with some complaints relating to housing standards and that the Community Wellbeing Officer had been recently met with Alabarae. She noted that the Council were in a difficult position as there was a need to balance the standards enforcement role alongside the Council’s obligation to offer housing to veterans and armed forces members. She also confirmed that the Communities Wellbeing Officer had a supportive and collaborative relationship with Alabarea and that the Council was open to further communication.

 

40.4    Councillor S. Chambers asked whether the City Council would be using outreach to raise awareness of support available for armed forces members and veterans, or whether awareness was being raised via the Council website and social media. The Head of Communities confirmed that the Council would promote awareness days online. She commented that generally, armed forces members tended to look to the voluntary sector for support at first instance, however if veterans were seeking help through the Housing Team, the Council would make sure they would have access to the appropriate advice and support available.

 

40.5    Councillor Organ asked whether there had any been any major changes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 1st November 2021 at 6.30pm in Civic Suite, North Warehouse.

Minutes:

Monday 1st November 2021.