Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 12 January 2016 9.30 am

Venue: Committee Room 1, East Pallant House. View directions

Contact: Lisa Higenbottam on 01243 534684  Email:

No. Item


Chairman's Announcements

Any apologies for absence that have been received will be noted at this point.


Mrs Apel welcomed the committee, members and officers.


Apologies for absence had been received from Mr J Ransley.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 17 November 2015.


To consider progress against the recommendations to Council and Cabinet including further to minute 30 of November 2015 the attached letter to Tony Dignum from Louise Goldsmith.



Additional documents:


The revised minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Tuesday 17 November 2015 were circulated.




That the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) held on Tuesday 17 November 2015 are approved as a correct record.


Accordingly, Mrs Apel signed and dated the official versions of the minutes.


Mr Hyland, referring to the letter received from Mrs Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council (WSCC) in response to Mr Dignum’s letter regarding infrastructure support to the voluntary sector, confirmed that Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester had been advised that as we had no knowledge of future funding from WSCC, the Council could not make a commitment to continue the contract at this stage. Notice had been served in October 2015 that funding beyond March 2016 could not be confirmed.  It is hoped to give a further update to the Grants and Concessions Panel on 22 January 2016.


Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce any urgent items that due to special circumstances are to be dealt with under the agenda item below relating to Late Items.



There were no urgent items.


Declarations of Interests

Members and officers are reminded to make any declarations of disclosable pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests they may have in respect of matters on the agenda for this meeting.


No declarations of interest were received.



Public Question Time

The procedure for submitting public questions in writing no later than 12:00 on Monday 11 January 2016 is available upon request to Member Services (the contact details for which appear on the front page of this agenda).


There were no public questions.


Housing Strategy Review pdf icon PDF 63 KB

The committee is requested to consider the review of the Housing Strategy and to support the recommended options for future housing delivery together with capital investment. The committee is asked to note the progress achieved in delivering the milestones and targets in the Housing Strategy delivery plan, to endorse the new target dates and to raise any areas of concern to Cabinet.

Additional documents:


The committeeconsidered areport bythe HousingEnabling Manager (copy attachedto theofficial minutes).Mrs Grangeadvised thatthis mid-termreview ofthe Housing Strategytook accountof changesin Governmentpolicy, however the Housing & Planning Bill has yet to be approved by Parliament and detailed regulations are still awaited.She requested thecommittee to:


·         Consider whetherit agreeswith thefindings ofthe strategyreview thatthe existing prioritiesand affordablehousing targetsremain valid

·         Consider whetherit supportsthe proposedallocation of capitalfunds

·         Consider whetherit hasany concernsregarding performanceto date and whetherit supportsthe newtargets andactions setout in italicsin the deliveryplan


The Committeemade the following comments:


·         Requested commenton thePrime Minister’scomments regarding public land releasedfor housebuilding andChichester beingone of thefive national sites.The sitein questionwas thelower Graylingwellsite. TheGovernment was willingto consider50% starterhomes affordableto localpeople and possiblywith localconnections. Theapplication was due tobe reconsidered by aspecial PlanningCommittee on20 January.

·         Questioned priorities2 and3; whetherdownsizing was notworking; sheltered accommodation in Midhurstoutdated anddifficult tolet andwhat new Government emphasiswas onolder peopleand how thismight be helpedin Chi andMidhurst. Mr Dunmallhad workedwith Hydeand run anumber of workshopson downsizing.Those wishingto downsize weregiven priority on housingregister, howeverit appearedthat theywere particularabout properties theywanted tomove to.It wasdifficult toencourage thisunless providers offeran incentiveto move.Mrs Grangeadvised that weare in discussionwith regardto two out-dated sheltered schemes,but potentiallya totalredevelopment of thearea is required andregistered providers are generally not considering  redevelopments at the current time dueto lackof available funding. A newPlanning Policy was introduced in 2015 which requires LocalPlanning Authorities to considerthe housing needsof olderpeople.

·         Are therefurther cutbacks inthe pipelineto providingservices versus underwritinghousing asthe risingcost ofhousing willbecome agreater issue? Thecapital reflectedin thereport ismoney alreadyin place and includes commutedsums fromS106 agreements.The lowerpart of table sets out proposed changes to the use of these capital funds.  The strategymoney is safe andisn't threatenedby anythingelse theCouncil maywant touse it for. The only funds not yet secured are the receipts expected from Church Rd.

·         How manytenants haveused theright tobuy (RTB)scheme and is thisa problem iftoo manyproperties havesold? Arelandowners notkeen on releasing landbecause ofthis? Prior to2013 RTBnumbers droppedoff to 2-3 sales per annum but they haveincreased sincethe Government revitalisedthis scheme (13/14 -15 RTB sales, 14/15 – 9 RTB sales. It is expected that property  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Hyde Report pdf icon PDF 425 KB

Further to minute 20 of 15 September 2015 the committee is requested to consider the attached report from the Hyde Group.


MrMorrisey (Director of Core Operations, Hyde) introduced the report (copy attached to the official minutes). He reiterated the recommendations which had been made by Cabinet to Hyde requesting further information from them at this meeting. He acknowledged that Hyde could have been far better at communicating to residents in advance of the service charge increase and he had rearranged communication plans to build in prior discussions with residents. Ms Chatfield, Service Charge Manager, had attended these group meetings which had enabled Hyde to listen to residents re service charge issues and other items they had raised.


The Committee made comments including:


·         A short notification time was given to a member to attend a local residents meeting at Bishop Luffa.

·         The effect of Hyde service charges on housing benefits paid?  Most service charges are eligible for housing benefit. The Council receives a subsidy back from the Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) for claims.

·         Did Hyde realise the enormous impact these increases would have on residents? At the time they were very close to issuing statements and there was a naivety on their part, however lessons have been learned and in future more consultation will be carried out.

·         There are surpluses on your books over the last few years of £25m, £31m and £45m and your profit margins have increased from 6% to 14%. Hyde appears to be a large capital company with a certain arrogance rather than a registered provider charity with an ethos to help people. Hyde has a well-documented procedure to assist tenants with financial issues. Income services team talk to residents and offer to extend payments or to provide support in covering the costs. The last resort is eviction action. The charity is a not for profit organisation and remains so. Any surplus is used to develop new properties. We are trying to increase the housing stock and generate a surplus to reinvest it.

·         Feeling from residents that more complex complaints are not getting attention and going on for months? Hyde has recruited 2 additional staff responsible for resolving complaints to ensure that they are not passed around. Ms Chatfield undertook to let members have their names.

·         How far back is Hyde legally allowed to recover service charges?  Could charges have been introduced over a longer time to alleviate residents’ financial problems? Will we see a reduction in service charges in future years? Hyde can only charge going back 18 months and then only in the year that the service is carried out. There will be a spike in the first rollout as there are charges in that year for services which are only required to be carried out every five years such as electrical maintenance.

·         It is understood that S20 notices are a way of consultation with tenants to charge one off charges according to Building Control legislation dating back to 2000. The regulations changed in 2002 to allow consultation for any changes in charge.

·         Those tenants who are covered by housing benefit will cover the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


Review of Business Improvement District (BID) pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Further to minute 247 of 17 March 2015 the committee is requested to consider the Chichester Business Improvement District’s (BID) progress to date against its Business Plan and to make any recommendations with regard to its future operation.


Additional documents:


Mrs Apel welcomed Ms Charlotte Wickins (BID Manager) and Mr Andrew Finnamore, (BID Chairman) to the meeting.


The Economic Development Manager introduced the report (copy attached to the official minutes). Mr Finnamore then took members through the BID’s reports, introducing Ms Wickins, the new BID Manager, who had been in post for a year. He acknowledged that public relations needed to be addressed to ensure that business leaders understand that the BID is the independent voice representing businesses and the city and to make clear what the BID’s contribution achieves and its value. Members of the BID currently pay a levy of l% of rateable value; business will be consulted on whether they would like to increase this levy percentage in the second term.


MsWickins advised that businesses would go to the vote on 27 October 2016 to decide whether to continue with the BID. An Ambassador has been taken on to help with business consultation in this regard. A Ranger would also be employed to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the BID on the street. Mr Finnamore would be standing down at the end of the 5 years term in March 2017 and a new Chairman would be sought. If the vote is in favour, the second term of the BID would focus on income improvement possibly with added services, raising Chichester’s profile nationally, improving the night time economy, discount codes and Wi-Fi access.


The Committee made comments including:


·           With Thursdays shut it appears that the town is not that busy. The BID is concerned at the slowing down of the night time economy and is having regular meetings with Chibac (the business security partnership). They are looking to support the City Angels as part of the BID. They would like support from the district council to look for a place for a central nightclub as there is a need for the town to be attractive to a younger audience.

·           What are you using the knowledge from the new mobile mapping system for? This will be used to monitor smart phones coming into the city to identify where people go and by their regularity can identify a city worker or visitor. It will be a more accurate indication of footfall in the city.

·           The city maps are a success, but who fills the map pockets up? The job of the new Ranger will be to fill up map pockets.

·           Questioned whether peer pressure could be used to utilize all areas of business i.e. above shop floors? Most businesses require landlord’s permission and change of use approval and they may not want the disruption of trying to let the space.

·           The use of a cherry picker to clear vegetation from gutters above shops and spread the cost/benefit?  This is a good example of an additional service which could be charged for.

·           The pedestrianised areas are not attractive. Are we able to apply pressure to WSCC to upgrade the condition of the street/pavement surface? WSCC have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Budget Review Task and Finish Group

An oral report will be provided by members of the Budget Review Task and Finish Group.


In Mr Ransley’s absence, Mr Ward (Head of Finance & Governance) gave an oral report on the considerations of the Budget Review Task and Finish Group.


The amount of Revenue Support Grant (RSG) we will receive is worse than predicted. Those authorities who run out of Revenue Support Grant (RSG) will still have to contribute by way of a negative RSG. Our New Homes Bonus (NHB) grant has been confirmed for 2016-17 which is more than anticipated. The overall position in the draft budget assumed no Council Tax increase and the outsourcing of the Council’s leisure function.


This authority does not rely on NHB to resource the base budget and therefore we are in a better position that some of our neighbours. It was surprising that the split of business rates 80% district and 20% county had not been consulted upon by Government.




That the oral report be noted.


Think Family Expansion Programme pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Further to minute 177 of 6 March 2014 the committee is invited to consider and note the work of the Think Family Expansion Project to date and to comment on the changes to the project going into phase two.


Additional documents:


The Community Interventions Manager introduced this report (copy attached to the official minutes).


The Committee made comments including:

·         What is the latest on the Charles Avenue plans?  A number of residents are willing to be involved. There is a risk that the building could be lost unless we get on with it. There is money in WSCC budget to bid for.

·         Why is key worker paid retrospectively? The wages are paid by the Council and then we invoice WSCC.


Members were pleased with the excellent partnership work going on to achieve the outcomes on the various projects and wished thanks to go to all those involved.




That the work of the Think Family Expansion Project and the changes to the project going into Phase 2 be noted.


Improving the Health of our Communities and Workforce pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The committee is requested to consider the progress achieved on this work stream, to note the outcomes and to raise any issues of concern.


Additional documents:


The Community Wellbeing Manager introduced this report (copy attached to the official minutes).


The Committee made comments including:


·           How popular was the standing desk? These had been well used well in the contact centre and it was proposed to introduce these in a few more areas.

·           Had the sickness absence rate decreased? This was on a downward trend.

·           Workplace stress? A staff survey carried out last year had identified some service areas which suffer from more stress than others. A new employee assistance programme is being developed and when approved with start in April had been introduced and a ‘mindfulness’ course which was open to members as well.

·           What would sugar reduction champions be doing?  WSCC Public Health is a pilot area for the national sugar reduction campaign. Mrs Lintill is the Council’s sugar champion. WSCC had not yet progressed their campaign. A new mobile phone app will be promoted which allows barcodes to be scanned to identify sugar levels. Work with local food establishments is ongoing to develop their menus to provide healthy options. There are national initiatives such as advertising calorie content on wine bottles.

·           Environmental Health Services are workingwith local food establishments to deliver the Eat out Eat Well project to developtheir menus to provide healthy options.

·           What is active transport? Cycling or walking - not using the car. There are pool bikes for staff; green transport is encouraged etc. A running club had been introduced.




That the progress achieved on this work stream be noted.


Cultural Grants Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 45 KB

The committee is requested to agree the terms of reference of this task and finish group, along with the membership and appoint a Chairman.


The committee considered the report under this item (copy attached to the official minutes).




1.         That Mr N Galloway, Mr G Hicks, Mrs J Tassell, Mrs C Apel and Mrs N Graves be confirmed as members of this Task and Finish Group with Mr Hicks as Chairman.

2.         That the Terms of Reference, scope and outline plan be approved.


West Sussex Joint Scrutiny

The Chairman will provide an update on the proposals of the Joint Scrutiny Steering Group for future joint scrutiny work. Mr Potter will provide an oral update on the recent Flooding Review.



MrsApel provided an update on proposals of the West Sussex Joint Scrutiny Steering Group for future joint scrutiny work.


Mr Potter provided feedback on the recent follow up Flooding review.


MrsApel requested nominations from members to act as a representative on the Housing and Care Leavers Panel. There were none so it was decided to open this representation out to the wider membership.


Late Items

Consideration of any late items as follows:

a)    Items added to the agenda papers and made available for public inspection.

b)    Items which the Chairman has agreed should be taken as matters of urgency by reason of special circumstances reported at the meeting.


Mrs Apel announced that a workshop would take place on Tuesday 29 March 2016 at 2pm to discuss the future 2016-17 scrutiny work programme. Members were requested to make a note of this date and time.