Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Sandra Hancock  Email: democraticservices@watford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

10.

Apologies for Absence/Committee Membership

Minutes:

There was a change of membership for this meeting: Councillor Smith replaced Councillor Turmaine.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Dhindsa.

11.

Disclosure of interests (if any)

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

12.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2019 to be submitted and signed.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2019 were submitted and signed.

13.

Other scrutiny meetings - minutes

    The following scrutiny committees and task groups have met since the last meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee –

     

    ·       Mental Health Task Group – Tuesday 18 June 2019

    ·       Finance Scrutiny Committee – Tuesday 25 June 2019

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee noted the other scrutiny committees and task groups that had taken place since its last meeting.

14.

Call-in

    To consider any executive decisions which have been called in by the requisite number of councillors.

    Minutes:

    It was noted that no key executive decisions had been called in.

15.

Watford 2020 Update pdf icon PDF 353 KB

    Report of the Watford 2020 Programme Manager

     

    This report provides an update on the Watford 2020 programme.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee received a report of the Watford 2020 Programme Manager which provided an update on the latest position of the corporate transformation programme.

     

    The Watford 2020 Programme Manager and Group Head of Transformation gave a presentation explaining the background to the Watford 2020 Programme and the accompanying report.  The Group Head of Transformation explained about each of the enabling projects and the current position, including –

     

    ·             Customer Management System Replacement

    ·             Front Office

    ·             Personal IT

    ·             Wider Area Network (WAN)

    ·             Unified Communications

    ·             Business Support

    ·             Business Intelligence

     

    The Watford 2020 Programme Manager provided an update on the following service-led projects –

     

    ·             Development Management / Planning Policy

    ·             Community and Environmental

    ·             Community Protection

    ·             Revenues and Benefits

    ·             Corporate Asset Management

    ·             Communications

    ·             Transport and Infrastructure

    ·             Print and Post

    ·             Legal

    ·             Human Resources

     

    At future meetings councillors would be provided with updates on the progress of these areas.

     

    In response to a question about involving external organisations who worked with the council, the Watford 2020 Programme Manager confirmed that as part of the workshops external agencies were considered where necessary.  The team was aware that there were various outside organisations that interacted with the council.

     

    The Watford 2020 Programme Manager stated that the team were mindful of GDPR.  A Data Protection Impact Assessment had been carried out and any GDPR implications were reviewed.  It was part of the design process.

     

    Following a question about the ‘RAG’ status and those in red, the Watford 2020 Programme Manager advised that a monthly report was presented to the Watford 2020 Programme Board, chaired by the Managing Director.  This report provided details of each project.  Officers considered whether there was anything that could be put in place to ensure the project met its deadlines or the board could be asked for an extension with relevant explanations for the request. 

     

    A question was asked about complaints and the ability to provide feedback.  The Watford 2020 Programme Manager confirmed that one of the first things to go live was the compliments, comments and complaints form.  It was also possible to provide feedback through the member and staff portals.

     

    The Group Head of Transformation responded to a question about tender decisions and whether officers involved in those processes and decisions represented areas from across the council.  He explained that the decision process depended on the contract and which officers were appropriate for each procurement exercise, but officers from different service areas were involved.

     

    The Portfolio Holder, Councillor Watkin, thanked the programme team for the presentation.  He suggested it may be useful to give councillors a demonstration at the next meeting.  He suggested the process of transformation looked impersonal.  However, officers were fully involved and did any related work in addition to their normal work.  It was important to understand the pressure officers were under.  He commented that it would take time for the processes to bed in.  He asked councillors to provide any feedback they received or had about the process.

     

    In response to a question about job losses, the Group Head of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

What's happening about rough sleeping in Watford? pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    Presentation by Head of Housing and Housing Strategy Officer

    Minutes:

    The Head of Housing and Housing Strategy Officer gave a presentation about rough sleeper numbers in Watford and how the housing service was trying to resolve the issue with its partners.  They were accompanied by Steve Devine, the Rough Sleepers Prevention Services Manager from New Hope.

     

    The presentation included a comparison of the rough sleeper count in Watford over the last five years and how this compared with the other Hertfordshire local authorities.  It was noted that the actual number of rough sleepers was usually three or four times higher than the count.  This was due to the strict rules that applied to the count.  Even those known to be rough sleepers could not be counted unless they were asleep or just about to settle down for the night.  The actual number of known and verified rough sleepers in November 2018 was 46.

     

    The Housing Strategy Officer explained about the funding that had been acquired from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and how it had been used to support the rough sleeper service work.  The council also provided some funding that went towards the outreach work.  She referred to the winter night shelter that had provided accommodation for over 100 users during the coldest nights of the winter. 

     

    The Housing Strategy Officer then informed the scrutiny committee about the ‘Complex Needs Housing Project’ and the ‘Rough Sleeper Pathway’.  The council had published best practice guidelines for those people and organisations who wanted to work with rough sleepers.

     

    Steve Devine was invited to speak about New Hope and its services in Watford.  He informed the scrutiny committee about the helpline, the Outreach and Intervention Team services and Rough Sleeping Prevention Service (RSPS) at Haven Support Centre, the Sanctuary and the emergency and winter night shelters.  The RSPS was able to signpost people to appropriate organisations to help with their needs.  It was possible for New Hope to get information through StreetLink, which was a mobile app enabling people to report a rough sleeper, who could then be helped by local organisations, including New Hope.  He emphasised to the councillors that not all people begging were rough sleepers.  Rough sleepers did not require any funds to be able to stay in a night shelter initially, as this could be covered by New Hope. He also mentioned the Sanctuary which provided assessment and emergency beds.  Finally, he referred to SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Plan) which was available when the temperature dropped to 0 degrees and below.

     

    The Head of Housing informed the scrutiny committee that the funding was disproportionate for the size of the town.  This was a national problem and not just in Watford.  Previously the service had been reactionary but with the extra funding it now allowed the council and its partners to be proactive.  He asked Steve Devine to explain how the temperature was not only a problem when it was cold.

     

    Steve Devine stated that New Hope had given out a lot of bottles of water  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities pdf icon PDF 398 KB

    • View the background to item 17.

    Report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer

     

    This report provides the committee with an overview of the recent statutory guidance on scrutiny.

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee received a report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer which provided a brief overview of the recently published statutory guidance on scrutiny.

     

    The Senior Democratic Services Officer highlighted some of the key elements of the report, particularly those that were relevant to the scrutiny committee.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the report be noted.

18.

Executive Decision Progress Report pdf icon PDF 382 KB

    The Scrutiny Committee is asked to review the latest edition of the Executive Decision Progress Report and consider whether any further information is required.

     

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee received the 2019/20 Executive Decision Progress Report.  The Senior Democratic Services Officer advised that an additional notice had been published since the report.  Details of the Group Head of Service Transformation’s decision was available online.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the 2019/20 Executive Decision Progress report be noted.

19.

Hertfordshire County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee

    Councillor Grimston, the Council’s appointed representative to the County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee to provide an update.

     

    Minutes:

    Councillor Grimston informed the scrutiny committee that she had attended her first meeting of Health Scrutiny Committee which was held on for Thursday 11 July at County Hall.  It appeared that it would be a busy year.  There had been some hotly debated discussions at the meeting.  The minutes were available on the county council’s website.

20.

New scrutiny task group - Watford Colosseum pdf icon PDF 377 KB

    Report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer

     

    This report asks the committee to consider a new task group suggestion.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee received a report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer setting out a new scrutiny proposal for a task group.  It was noted that the report included the names of three councillors who were interested in taking part in the task group but none had offered to chair it.

     

    Following a discussion, Councillors Grimston and Parker stated they were interested in being part of the new task group.  Councillor Smith said that he was happy to be considered as chair, which the scrutiny committee agreed.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that a new task group be established to review the feedback about Watford Colosseum.

     

    2.      that the Watford Colosseum Task Group comprises Councillors Crout, Grimston, Martins, Parker and Smith

     

    3.      that Councillor Smith be appointed Chair of the Watford Colosseum Task Group.

21.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 399 KB

    The scrutiny committee is asked to review the current version of the work programme.

    Minutes:

    The scrutiny committee received the updated draft of its work programme, incorporating the suggestions from the previous meetings. 

     

    Councillors discussed scrutinising the Community Safety Partnership and asking the Police to attend the meeting.  The Senior Democratic Services Officer advised the scrutiny committee that it was a statutory requirement to hold one meeting to scrutinise the Community Safety Partnership.  She acknowledged that previous timetables had allocated several meetings to the Community Safety Partnership Task Group. 

     

    There were options available to councillors if they had a valid community safety topic to scrutinise, including one off meetings to scrutinise a specific aspect of the partnership.  However, the meeting should not be about getting information without an identified outcome or recommendation.  The Senior Democratic Services Officer reminded the scrutiny committee that the Community Safety Partnership comprised a number of organisations, including the Police, Watford Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council and many others.

     

    Following further discussion, it was agreed that an all member briefing be arranged to explain about the Community Safety Partnership and providing answers to the following questions –

     

    ·             What is it?

    ·             Who is involved?

    ·             What are its aims, objectives and plan?

    ·             How can the council help?

     

    The Senior Democratic Services Officer added that once the councillors had received the presentation they may identify areas that needed further scrutiny.  This could be discussed at a future meeting for inclusion in the work programme or as a separate meeting in December, January or February.

     

    The chair suggested that at the meeting on 27 February the scrutiny committee could discuss how scrutiny had worked this year and if there were any suggestions that could be taken forward in the future.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that an all member briefing be arranged to explain about the Community Safety Partnership and its role.

     

    2.      that the work programme be updated as discussed.

22.

Dates of Next Meetings

·             Thursday 26 September 2019

·             Thursday 24 October 2019

·             Thursday 28 November 2019

Minutes:

·             Thursday 26 September 2019

·             Thursday 24 October 2019

·             Thursday 28 November 2019

 

 

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