Agenda for Overview & Scrutiny Commission on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2008, 4.00pm

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Hove Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Mary van Beinum, Scrutiny Support Officer 

No. Item


Procedural Business

    55A     Declaration of Substitutes


    Where a Member of the Commission is unable to attend a meeting for whatever reason, a substitute Member (who is not a Cabinet Member) may attend and speak and vote in their place for that meeting. Substitutes are not allowed on Scrutiny Select Committees or Scrutiny Panels.


    The substitute Member shall be a Member of the Council drawn from the same political group as the Member who is unable to attend the meeting, and must not already be a Member of the Commission. The substitute Member must declare themselves as a substitute, and be minuted as such, at the beginning of the meeting or as soon as they arrive.


    55B     Declarations of Interest


    (1)  To seek declarations of any personal or personal & prejudicial interests under Part 2 of the Code of Conduct for Members in relation to matters on the Agenda.  Members who do declare such interests are required to clearly describe the nature of the interest. 


    (2)    A Member of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission, an Overview and Scrutiny Committee or a Select Committee has a prejudicial interest in any business at meeting of that Committee where –


    (a) that business relates to a decision made (whether implemented or not) or action taken by the Executive or another of the Council’s committees, sub-committees, joint committees or joint sub-committees; and


    (b) at the time the decision was made or action was taken the Member was


                (i) a Member of the Executive or that committee, sub-committee, joint committee or joint sub-committee and

                (ii) was present when the decision was made or action taken.


    (3)      If the interest is a prejudicial interest, the Code requires the Member concerned:-

    to leave the room or chamber where the meeting takes place while the item in respect of which the declaration is made is under consideration. [There are three exceptions to this rule which are set out at paragraph (4) below].

    not to exercise executive functions in relation to that business and

    not to seek improperly to influence a decision about that business.


    (4)    The circumstances in which a Member who has declared a prejudicial interest is permitted to remain while the item in respect of which the interest has been declared is under consideration are:-


    for the purpose of making representations, answering questions or giving evidence relating to the item, provided that the public are also allowed to attend the meeting for the same purpose, whether under a statutory right or otherwise, BUT the Member must leave immediately after he/she has made the representations, answered the questions, or given the evidence,


    if the Member has obtained a dispensation from the Standards Committee, or


    if the Member is the Leader or a Cabinet Member and has been required to attend before an Overview and Scrutiny Committee or Sub-Committee to answer questions.


    55C     Declaration of Party Whip


                To seek declarations of the existence and nature of any party whip in relation to any matter on the Agenda as set out at paragraph 8 of the Overview and Scrutiny Ways of Working.


    55D     Exclusion of Press and Public


    To consider whether, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, the press and public should be excluded from the meeting when any of the following items are under consideration.


    NOTE:  Any item appearing in Part 2 of the Agenda states in its heading the category under which the information disclosed in the report is confidential and therefore not available to the public.


    A list and description of the exempt categories is available for public inspection at Brighton and Hove Town Halls.



    55.1 The Chairman stated that the meeting was being webcast and an archived version should be available on the Council’s website within 48 hours. Colleagues were asked to speak clearly into the microphones.


    55.2 She welcomed Mr Childerhouse of the Independent Remuneration Panel to the meeting.


    55A Declaration of Substitutes


    55.3 Councillor Sven Rufus was substituting for Councillor Wakefield-Jarrett and  Councillor David Watkins was substituting for Councillor Paul Elgood


    55B Declarations of Interest


    55.4 There were none.


    55C Declarations of Party Whip


    55.5 There were none.


    55D Exclusion of Press and Public


    55.6 In accordance with section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, it was considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of any items contained in the agenda, having regard to the nature of the business to be transacted and the nature of the proceedings and the likelihood as to whether, if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of confidential or exempt information as defined in section 100I (1) of the said Act.


    RESOLVED: That the press and public be not excluded from the meeting.



Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

    Minutes of the meeting held on 21 October 2008.


    56.1 RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 October be agreed and signed by the Chairman.


Chairman's Communications


Public Questions


Letters from Councillors


Notices of Motion Referred from Council


Budget Update for Budget Setting 2009 - 2010 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

    Report of the Director of Finance and Resources.


    61.1 The Head of Strategic Finance and Procurement outlined the report giving some background to the issues relating to the budget setting in 2009-2010 and referred to the Members’ budget seminars that had been held in November.


    61.2 At paragraph 3.1 of the report, the Head of Strategic Finance and Procurement confirmed that the details as expected of the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2009-2010 had now been announced.


    61.3 In the pre-budget statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer there were two important areas that would affect the council:


    • Rises in national insurance contributions, due to increase from 2011, which would need to be built into the Council’s budget


    • The future of public spending


    61.4 There was a typographical error in paragraph 3.19 paragraph [3.10] should read 3.13.


    61.5  The Committee heard that the announced cut in VAT was likely to be cost-neutral for the Council.


    61.6 The Chairman congratulated the officers for arranging such successful budget seminars


    RESOLVED – (1) That the Overview and Scrutiny Commission note the budget assumptions in setting the Revenue Budget and Council Tax for 2009-10 and the changes that have affected budget projections.


    (2) The Overview and Scrutiny Commission note the budget reports that will be presented to Cabinet on 12 February 2009 will be presented to Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 3 February




Targetted Budget Management Month 6 pdf icon PDF 336 KB

    Report of the Director of Finance and Resources


    62.1 The Head of Financial Services (Corporate and Environment) presented the report on Targetted Budget Management (TBM) Month 6 setting out the forecast outturn position on the revenue and capital budgets as at the end of September 2008. The report was presented to Cabinet on 20 November.


    62.2 The Council’s financial position was improving following the financial recovery plans, particularly in areas such as Adult Social Care and Children and Young People’s Trust.


    62.3 Answers were provided to questions about sales from the right to buy [para 3.21]; risk share agreement regarding mental health and substance misuse [p29, bullet point 1]; underachieved income on major works recharges to leaseholders [p 31]; capital budget reprofiling [p36]; and park rangers [p26];


    62.4 Further information would be supplied regarding: additional numbers of clients using older peoples’ services and physical disability services; empty property repair costs; reopening a home care service base in Woodingdean; and breakdown of on-street and off-street parking income.


    62.5 Members were concerned about the difficulties with the heating system to Leach Court and Patching Lodge and the Council’s energy costs. There was also a question on tenants’ ‘central’ gas heating service charges.


    62.6 The Chairman thanked the officers and said that replies to these queries would be forwarded to the Adult Social Care and Housing or Environment and Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committees.


    62.7 The Chairman reminded Members that they could indicate if they wished to ask questions in specific service areas at future meetings, and the relevant invitations could then be extended.


    62.8 RESOLVED; (1) That the Commission note the report.

    (2) That further information is provided to members of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees as minuted above.



Dignity and Respect at Work pdf icon PDF 172 KB

    Report of the Director of Strategy and Governance


    63.1 The Head of Human Resources introduced the report on progress in developing an effective approach to bullying and harassment at work. He said the first meeting of the working group was due shortly.


    63.2 Answering questions, the Head of Human Resources said this was a low-level issue for the council but where it happened it was not necessarily dealt with effectively. There had been 17 cases this year; two of which had been proven and the employee dismissed. One employment tribunal had taken place, which found in favour of the Council.


    63.3 The Chairman said she was disappointed not to see a draft policy at this stage and would like to follow up the matter.


    63.4 Noting the proposed consultation process for developing the policy [report paragraph 4.4], the Commission agreed it would be appropriate for Members to be involved at an earlier stage in drafting the policy.


    63.5 Following discussion it was agreed that the Commission would establish a short-term scrutiny panel as part of its policy development role. The Head of Human Resources welcomed this.


    63.7 RESOLVED – (1) That a 4-Member scrutiny panel be established to make recommendations regarding the Draft Dignity and Respect at Work Policy.


    (2) That the Acting Head of Scrutiny be notified of group nominations, and progress the establishment of the Scrutiny Panel.


Working Relations with Older People's Council pdf icon PDF 49 KB

    Report of the Director of Strategy and Governance.

    Additional documents:


    64.1 The Chairman referred to the report on working relations with the Older People’s Council (OPC) which had been considered by the Governance Committee on 18 November and Cabinet on 20 November.


    64.2 She said it was important for the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen to discuss with Members of the OPC, issues relating to older people that could be suitable for overview or scrutiny.


    64.3 Councillor Morgan, Chairman of Environment and Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee said that the Scrutiny Panel established to consider community safety included an OPC co-optee.


    64.4 Members considered other ways in which OPC Members might be more closely involved with the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.


    64.5 At report paragraph 3.4.1 it was noted that ‘streamlining points of contact’ did not make reference to Scrutiny Members. The Commission felt that there should be regular contacts between Scrutiny Chairmen also and the Older People’s Council.


    64.6 Officers were asked to ensure that despatch lists for overview and scrutiny agendas were kept updated to include the relevant Member(s) of the Older People’s Council


    64.7 RESOLVED – (1) That there be regular contact between the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen also, and the Older Peoples Council.


    (2) That subject to (1) above, the resolutions of the Governance Committee and Cabinet be agreed and actioned by the Commission




Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan pdf icon PDF 59 KB

    Report of the Director of Strategy and Governance


    65.1 The Commission’s work plan was noted.


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