Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 15 June 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtually

Contact: Sharon Hurr  Email:

Link: To listen to the live broadcast recording please follow the link which will direct you to the live broadcasting webpage

No. Item


Chairman's Announcements

Any apologies for absence will be noted at this point.


Apologies were received from Mr Barrett and Mr Palmer.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 422 KB

To approve the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26 January 2021, 9 March 2021, 30 March 2021, and 8 April 2021.


To receive an update on progress against recommendations made to the Cabinet and the Council.

Additional documents:


That the minutes of the meetings held on 26 January 2021, 9March 2021, 30 March 2021 and 8 April 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Matters Arising


With regards to questions from Mr Seabrook forwarded to Ofwat, the Chairman confirmed that not all answers had been received and this matter was being pursued.  Mr Frost also confirmed that Mrs Shepherd and he would be meeting with Ofwat and Southern Water tomorrow (16 June 2021) and would raise the as yet unanswered questions.  On the matter of the new strategic pipeline to Tangmere and the connection to the White House Farm development Mr Frost responded that he would take that matter forward outside the meeting and further advised that it was not unexpected for water to be delivered and sewage to be removed by tanker for the initial occupations of a development prior to any necessary improvements to the network being finalised.


The Chairman gave an update on the Committee’s recommendations to be considered by Cabinet on 4 May 2021:


·         That the recommendation made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to Draft Revised Air Quality Action Plan be approved for public consultation.


Cabinet resolved that the revised Air Quality Plan be approved for public consultation


·         That the recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to Southern Gateway as detailed at page 131 in the private agenda pack be agreed.


Cabinet considered recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4 May 2021. With reference to minute 11 the recommendations set out on page 131 of the Cabinet agenda pack were agreed. Where the recommendation referred to Full Council a further update would be provided in due course.


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.


The Chairman declared a personal interest as he knew Mrs Marshall, the CEO of Chichester BID as a Fishbourne Parish Councillor and local resident of Fishbourne.


Mrs Sharp confirmed she was no longer a director of Chichester BID.


Mrs Apel declared a personal interest as a Trustee of Stonepillow.


Public Question Time

The procedurefor submittingpublic questions in writingbyno later thannoon 2 workingdays before the meetingis availablehereorfromthe Democratic Services Officer (whose contactdetailsappear on thefrontpage of thisagenda).


There were no questions from members of the public.



Recovery Plan Review

The Leader of the Council, Mrs Lintill will provide a verbal update.


The Chairman welcomed the Leader of the Council Mrs Lintill, who provided a verbal update regarding the Recovery Plan Review:


The Council’s clear priority for 2020/21 has been to support our residents, businesses and communities through the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and the recovery phase whilst maintaining our day to day services. This support has taken many forms this year.


Our Revenues Team began the year by implementing the multiple grants schemes for businesses based on their Business Rates value. Restrictions and government funding changed rapidly throughout the year and the Team worked hard to make sure as many as possible received financial support they needed. To date an excess of £54m has been paid out. In addition, £500,000 of COVID Recovery Grants, funded by the Council was administered by our Economic Development and Communities Teams and allocated to eligible businesses and community or voluntary organisations. Timely paid by our Finance Team.


Our Health Protection and Economic Development Teams both saw huge increases in the number of requests for advice from local businesses. Both Teams worked extremely hard to respond to all requests and ensure businesses were supported. Later in the year, two COVID Information Recovery Officers were employed to support businesses with reopening and operating in a COVID-safe way.


Support to individuals has also been provided this year. The Hardship Fund, administered by our Benefits Team, paid out around £350,000 to residents receiving Council Tax Reduction, with each receiving a one off payment of up to £150 towards their Council Tax balance. The Team also administered Test and Trace Support Payments and managed to set up the scheme and start making payments within just two weeks.


Since the ‘Everyone In’ initiative to bring all rough sleepers into accommodation at the start of the pandemic, our Housing Team have continued to work with rough sleepers, alongside our partner Stonepillow and supported by funding from the Government. This has meant a significant reduction in the number of people sleeping rough in the District, with many former rough sleepers being supported to access and sustain accommodation.


Supporting West Sussex County Council’s Community Hub, the Communities Team co-ordinated a small task force who helped collect and deliver essential food and medical supplies to those advised to shield. Well over 100 referrals for support were received this year.


When high streets began to reopen, our Community Wardens and, later, specially recruited and government funded COVID Ambassadors, helped the public to feel safe with a presence in the City Centre, reminding people to follow the appropriate guidance. We also provided safety signage conveying social distancing messages. This work will continue through 2021/22, along with other initiatives to support the return of the high street, funded through the Government’s Welcome Back fund.


The Council contributed to the national COVID response, with testing sites being set up in some Council-owned car parks across the District and use of Westgate Leisure Centre as a mass vaccination site. NHS staff, were also given free parking in our Northgate car park.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Covid -19 Recovery Plan and future services framework (Quarterly) pdf icon PDF 265 KB

The Committee is invited to note the progress on the recovery action plans, the efficiency review and the Future Services Framework and make comments to Cabinet.


That the Committee notes that: the Housing and Community; the Planning, Health and Environmental Protection; and the Organisational Recovery Groups have completed the majority of their actions and should be discontinued after their next meeting.


That the Committee recommends to Cabinet the formation of an Economic Development Panel.


That the Committee recommends to Cabinet that Cabinet recommends to Council that the Local Council Tax Support grant of £160k for additional Hardship payments, which is no longer required, is reallocated towards the Council’s budget deficit – see para 5.3.


Additional documents:


Mrs Shepherd reminded the Committee that it had recommended to Cabinet that it should support the four thematic recovery plans:


·         Community and Housing;

·         Economic;

·         Planning, Health and Environmental Protection;

·         Organisational.


Mrs Shepherd drew the Committees attention to the report in which the key achievements to date were highlighted, together with new work, and changes in milestones.  Detailed action plans and progress to date were also included within the report. 


Mrs Shepherd reported that a vast amount of work had been undertaken over the last year to support communities, businesses and the Council, recover from Covid-19 and concluded that most of the actions had been completed.  It had been the intention for the Recovery Groups to be time limited, with the majority of the actions within the Housing and Community, Organisational and the Planning, Health and Environmental Protection recovery plans having been completed or at an advanced stage of progress.  Therefore, it was considered that three of the four Groups had substantially fulfilled their purpose and should conclude with a final meeting. Progress on the remaining actions within the Planning, Health and Environmental Protection could be reported to DPIP and Environment Panel as appropriate.


Mrs Shepherd confirmed that the Economic Recovery Group still had a number of major projects and actions to oversee. The impact of COVID-19 on the Chichester economy was difficult to assess at the present time and was also likely to change.  The Government plans for economic recovery were also awaited and it was therefore recommended that a politically balanced Economic Development Panel was formed to continue to oversee the Economic Recovery Action Plan and to advise Cabinet on economic strategy and policy.  The full ‘terms of reference’ and membership were to be agreed at July meeting of the Cabinet.


Mrs Shepherd added that the Governance Review Working Group would be reviewing the operational model for the Council and further consider, maximising councillor involvement in decision making, and build upon the consensual working experienced in the recovery groups. This group would make recommendations to Council regarding whether in addition to the Economic Development Panel, there was merit in establishing further Panels. 


Mrs Shepherd commented that she was proud of what staff had achieved during the pandemic and the Annual Report which would be delivered later in the year would illustrate that performance had been extremely good.


Mr Ward gave a precis of the current financial position and reported that last year he had attended Corporate Governance and Audit Committee and had predicted the Council would be facing a deficit of £8m but the Government had provided extensive support through specific grants, a general Covid-19 emergency support grant and the Sales, Fees and Charges compensation scheme for authorities which were significantly affected by loss of income. 


Mr Ward reported that the financial figures for last year were not yet finalised but it was likely that the deficit would be well below the estimated £8m figure.  With regards to the future financial position it was currently uncertain with £2m of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


OSC 2020-21 Annual Report and 2021-22 Work Programme pdf icon PDF 144 KB

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider and agree its 2020-2021 Annual Report and the 2021-2022 Work Programme and to recommend them to the Council for noting.


Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the Annual Report written with the support of officers and invited questions and comments from the Committee Members.  In response to comments, the Chairman confirmed his view of the importance of scrutiny and agreed the priority to invite statutory organisations to attend the Committees meetings and respond to the Committees questions.


Officers responded to Members’ questions and comments:


·         With regards to the roll out of vehicle charging points, Mr Frost confirmed that the tendering of the project by West Sussex County Council was currently awaited following the withdrawal of the original chosen provider.  Mr Frost added that the formal West Sussex County agreement was also awaited and then the Council could review and assess if they wished to join the scheme.

·         With regards to the reporting of progress of the Southern Gateway project, Mrs Hotchkiss confirmed a report would be presented to full Council when the Development Agreement was ready to be signed and subsequently, a quarterly report would be provided.

·         On the matter of the Local Plan, Mr Frost advised that the work was reported to the Development Plan and Infrastructure Panel (DPIP) as the appropriate forum. 


The Chairman advised that ‘Planning Issues – Enforcement and Local Plan Programme’ was included in March 2022 as a possible Work Programme item.  He had agreed to leave this on the Work Programme, the main points for debate would be discussed with officers and it may be appropriate to leave this item for Planning Committee or DPIP with a focus on any OSC related items being considered by OSC as required.  Mr Frost added that Council had recently approved the revised Local Development Scheme, which was the timescale for the Local Plan and Members will wish to monitor progress with the next key milestone as the update report, which would be taken to full Council next month.


The recommendation was seconded by Mrs Apel.




That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider and agree its 2020-2021 Annual Report and the 2021-2022 Work Programme, and to recommend them to the Council for noting.

Members took a ten minute break.


Budget Amendment: March 2021 Council Minute 82 pdf icon PDF 180 KB

That the committee note the amended motion presented to March 2021 Council and Council minute 82.


That the committee note the work to date and planned work by the Economic Development and Place Services relevant to the items listed within the motion and recommend any actions to Cabinet. 


Mrs Hotchkiss introduced the report and explained that the Chairman had tabled a motion, the details of which were set out in the report.  Following a discussion with Cllr Dignum and Cllr Sharp, amendments were made to the motion, which were also included within the report.  The Council resolved the amended motion at the March meeting.  Mrs Hotchkiss highlighted further points within the background section of the report including the budget figures. 


Mrs McKay introduced the Inward Investment Strategy and explained that this was adopted in 2020 with a review after two years.  Since this time the Covid-19 pandemic had occurred and officers had carried out a review of the strategy and were confident the main principles remained sound.  One of the key objectives in the strategy was to consider branding, and launch the Inward Investment agenda.  Engagement had taken place with an expert called White Label to undertake the launch on the Council’s behalf.  White Label would put in place a series of launch events including the Invest Chichester website, to be launched later this month.  White Label would also be brokering a stakeholder engagement with landlords on the high street.  The work with White Label will continue until late autumn 2021, at which point the renewing of the Inward Investment Strategy would be considered with the impacts of post Covid-19 being more evident.  The Economic Development Strategy was likewise adopted in 2020 and remains in place until 2025, covering the key areas of Inward Investment, supporting the high street, and business growth.    


Mrs Murphy provided further information regarding branding, explaining this could be applied to geographical areas, to promote an area as desirable for tourism, business locations and places which local residents can be proud of.  It was necessary for branding to appeal to many different groups and developing a place brand was a long term commitment.  Towns and cities across the UK had already produced place brands and had seen the benefits relating to inward investment.  Currently the district does not have a place brand, and establishing this would be for the benefit of the district, not the council.


Place brand was wider than inward investment strategy (which focusses on businesses).  Mrs Murphy drew Members attention to the report and the key challenges including the need for agreement from partners, the varying nature of the district with the city, rural towns and the coast, how this work would need to be resourced and the number of brands already in existence.  Mrs Murphy added that it could be argued that a Place Brand could still help the area with an estimated cost of between £50-£65k to develop, plus ongoing costs.   The report further included the setting out of the anticipated process as suggested by the Local Government Association and Mrs Murphy noted that it could be seen as increasingly important, as part of the recovery process following the pandemic.


Officers responded to Members’ questions and comments:


·         Mrs McKay confirmed that Global Baby (the French parent company having the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Communications Strategy 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

The Committee is invited to review the draft Communications and Digital Strategy 2021 – 2026 in appendix one and to refer any comments to Cabinet.

Additional documents:


Mrs Parker explained that the Council recognised that effective communications and engagement were central to the delivery of all services. In response to this, a communications and digital strategy had been produced which aimed to provide a framework from which communications was enhanced and developed to meet customer and stakeholders’ needs.


Over the past year, communications had been more important than ever, ensuring that businesses and residents were able to access support as necessary.  The experience had also further enabled and developed partnerships with groups, organisations, parish councils and other public sector partners who had been at the forefront of ensuring residents were aware of the support available. This experience, along with the knowledge and feedback gathered from councillors, staff, residents, partners and businesses had been used in the production of the strategy for the next five years. Although communications and technology were constantly adapting and changing, ensuring the customer was at the forefront of the approach was also evident within the strategy.


Mrs Parker drew Members’ attention to the ten point plan in the draft strategy.  This illustrated the commitment to being customer centred and accessible to all whilst ensuring people were able to easily access the Council’s services online so that it became the preferred method of contact.  However it was also recognised that not everyone would wish to access Council services online.  


Mrs Parker explained that each major project had a specific communications plan, considering who needed to be reached and how they wish communication to be undertaken.  This strategy also considered each of the main themes including working with the media, using social media, direct communications, how marketing campaigns were delivered and income generated.  


Mrs Parker reported that the Council has signed the Local Digital Declaration, which was a shared ambition for the future of local public services in the digital age, and the commitment to realising it. Many website improvements had also been made to ensure easier customer access and feedback would also be sought from customers going forward with this work.


Officers responded to Members’ questions and comments:


·         With regards to the involvement of people in the many consultations, Mrs Parker confirmed that the changes made in undertaking consultations had resulted in a positive impact and Mrs Parker also confirmed that there had been an increase in people accessing services online during the pandemic with encouraging feedback received.

·         On the matter of face to face communication, Mrs Parker agreed this was the best form of communication and the importance of working with Members was recognised, as those out in the community.  There was a significant input into social media and responding to people’s comments, the result of which was that people developed a more detailed understanding and often changed their stance on an issue.  Mrs Parker further explained that considerable work had been undertaken on the website to meet accessibility guidance introduced by the Government, and when English was not a first language, a company was in place to ensure support could be provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Chichester Business Improvement District Renewal pdf icon PDF 243 KB

That the committee is requested to review the ‘Renewal Business Proposal’ prepared by Chichester Business Improvement District (BID) and to make recommendations to Cabinet regarding the future support for the BID.


Additional documents:


The Chairman welcomed Mr Derek Marsh, the Chair of Chichester Business Improvement District (BID) and Ms Helen Marshall, the Vice-chair and Chief Executive Officer of Chichester BID.


Mrs Murphy introduced the report, and explained the purpose of which was for Members to review the Renewal Business Proposal prepared by the BID and make recommendations to Cabinet.  Mrs Murphy explained that BIDs were business led partnerships operating in a defined area, and a levy was charged on all business rate payers to fund BID projects and services. A BID was created via a ballot process, and the ballot was managed by the Council.  A BID could be created for a maximum period of five years.  The first BID for Chichester city was established in April 2012, and second BID in April 2017 and therefore ends in March 2022.  The BID would like to proceed to a third term.


Mrs Murphy drew Members attention to the report which set out some of the BID achievements including flags, Christmas lights, and funding for safety initiatives.  The current BID team were undertaking significant research and consultation which was also detailed within the appendices to the report.  If the BID was not successful in ballot, then any initiatives would require funding potentially by another organisation.  The report also highlighted the proposed areas of focus for next five years if successful, including campaigns, partnership work to improve the public realm and support to BID levy payers and improve footfall.  It was proposed that the ballot was undertaken on 18 November 2021.  The Council was a levy payer so would continue to pay the levy if ballot successful.  The Council also collected the levy on behalf of the BID from the payers and paid this on a monthly basis to the BID.


Mr Marsh explained that he and Ms Marshall were appointed in December 2020.  The BID had been somewhat moribund due to Covid-19 lockdowns and the previous Chair had resigned nine months previously.  Currently preparations for the ballot were well behind schedule and the BID had lost visibility in the City. The BID Operations Manager had taken extended sick leave, the other two staff had resigned and much of the corporate memory had consequently disappeared.  Among other problems, the BID bookkeeper caught long Covid and BID were therefore, without key financial support for some months.


It was immediately clear that a huge effort was required to get back on track. Mr Marsh also explained that it was not always understood that the BID was run by two companies limited by guarantee, was not a quango or an arm of CDC. The BID must follow, among other things, the Companies Acts, comply with General Data Protection Regulations and prepare annual accounts for filing at Companies House, and the Board of Directors must exercise stewardship of the management.


Ms Marshall as CEO, took over the day to day running of the BID business and was making preparations for the ballot. As a non-executive Chair, Mr Marsh explained that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 327 KB

Members are requested to consider the latest Forward Plan and whether any items should be added to the Committee’s Work Programme.


The Chairman requested whether other items should be added and it was concluded that all items were present within the Forward Plan.



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.


There were no late items.