Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

8/20

Apologies for absence and substitutions

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

9/20

Appointment of Vice Chair

To appoint a Vice Chair to the Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the municipal year.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Falconer resigned his position as Vice Chair, and proposed Cllr K Taylor for the position. This was seconded by Cllr McCormick and unanimously approved by the committee.

 

The Chair thanked Cllr Falconer for his past work and service to the committee and welcomed Cllr K Taylor to the role.

 

The appointment was later challenged on the basis that the Vice Chair should have been a member of the administration.  The Chair ruled that the appointment would stand for the present.

10/20

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Cllr Capon declared an interest as CEO of Basingstoke Voluntary Association in relation to the Agenda Item 6 report.

11/20

Urgent Matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

12/20

Minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2020

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

13/20

Governance and Decision Making During the Pandemic pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Contact Officer:        Fiona Thomsen

 

The report details the governance arrangements made during the pandemic period to ensure that the Council was able to lead and support its community by taking timely and effective decisions to provide appropriate and responsive support.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer introduced the Governance and Decision Making during the Pandemic paper.

 

An Appendix to the report detailed the eight urgent decisions made under emergency powers since 23 March where there had been insufficient time to publish notice on the forward plan. Each decision was made following consultation and the waiver of call-in by the Chair of Scrutiny.

 

It was explained that the emergency powers remained in place, but that as a number of committee meetings were now taking place virtually there would be less need to resort to them. 

 

In response to a query it was clarified that the decision for the Leader to delegate to the Chief Executive, or in his absence the Executive Director for the relevant service area, power to take executive decisions in cases of urgency or emergency was constitutionally sound.

 

The committee agreed that the decisions made during the period were all sound particularly in the context of the unique circumstances of the COVID pandemic.

 

The committee raised following queries in relation to the report:-

 

·         In the context that a number of non-essential waste services had been restored for a number of weeks it was queried why weekly bin collections have not resumed. 

·         Clarification was requested in relation to the term ‘Pandemic Period’ which defined the government lock down period from 23 March 2020 to date. It was suggested that the period was open ended and queried how long the revised executive powers would remain in force, and whether there was an exit strategy.

Resolved:                 the Committee

 

·         Request the Chair seek an update from the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Enforcement in relation to a return to weekly waste collections; and

·         Note the governance arrangements and decisions made during the pandemic period.

 

14/20

Covid 19 - Support and Advice for Councillors pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Contact Officer:        Sue Cuerden

 

The report provides a summary of the support and advice provided to councillors throughout the Covid 19 pandemic to date.

 

Minutes:

The Interim Democratic Services Manager introduced a report detailing support and advice provided to councillors during the COVID 19 crisis.

 

The committee unanimously agreed that the daily updates had been very useful and thanked all officers involved.

 

It was further agreed that virtual meetings were now running smoothly utilising the Zoom application.

 

The following observations and queries were raised:-

 

·         A member noted the difficulty in accessing Sinbad from a council iPad. It was explained that as part of the ‘Smarter Ways of Working’ initiative the use of iPads was being reviewed with a potential to replace with laptops. It was further reported that a new information portal for members was due to be launched in the near future.

·         It was cited that there had been no council support for group meetings.

·         It was requested that there be consideration of greater council support for councillors to provide their representative duties, for example the recruitment of dedicated officers.

·         It was suggested that the daily briefings had been so successful that continuation with circulation of regular key points briefing be adopted going forward.

·         It was explained that ward specific information would have been particularly useful, for example, in relation to demand for services.

·         A request was made for advice and training on how best to engage with residents and community groups utilising the council IT platforms available. 

·         It was requested that future briefings clarify whether material was confidential or for general circulation.

 

Resolved:                the Committee

 

·         Note the report; and

·         Request that the above issues be considered by the Executive Director of Corporate Services.

 

15/20

Review of Work Programme

Minutes:

The committee reviewed and agreed its work programme with the following comments:-

 

·         Cllr Taylor agreed to circulate two work suggestion forms for consideration and potential addition to the work programme; and

·         Further to a council motion referred to Scrutiny on 16 July it was hoped that a report conducting a retrospective analysis with a view to learning lessons and sharing best practice in relation to the Covid crisis would be prepared for September’s meeting.