Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND. View directions
Contact: Deborah Miller, Tel: 07920 084239 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link: videolink to meeting
Election of Chair for remainder of 2021/22 Municipal Year
Councillor Mallon nominated and Councillor Murphy seconded that Councillor Snowdon be elected as Chair.
AGREED: (nem con) that Councillor Ian Snowdon be elected as Chair for the remainder of the 2021/22 Municipal Year.
Election of Vice-Chair for remainder of 2021/22 Municipal Year
Councillor Baines nominated and Councillor Levy seconded that Councillor Hicks be elected as Deputy Chair.
AGREED: (nem con) that Councillor Charlie Hicks be elected as Deputy Chair for the remainder of the 2021/22 Municipal Year.
Developing the Overview and Scrutiny Function PDF 225 KB
The purpose of the report is to set out proposals and initial ideas to develop the Overview and Scrutiny function for consideration. Members should consider if they support these proposals and how they would like to develop them further.
The Committee is RECOMMENDED to
(a) consider the contents of the report and agree on how to develop the Overview and Scrutiny function moving forward.
The Committee had before it a report which outlined proposals and initial ideas to develop the Overview and Scrutiny function of the Council. The report asked members to consider the proposals and comment on how they would like to develop them further.
Jodie Townsend, Interim Governance Advisor, in introducing the report, set out the initial thinking behind the proposals. He reported that it would take time to embed and develop a new approach to Overview and Scrutiny, and that if the Overview and Scrutiny function was going to truly add value, then it would need to be supported by Members, both Scrutiny and Cabinet, and by Officers. He indicated that there was a strong commitment from officers and Cabinet to facilitate more effective scrutiny. Training and development had started and would be a continuous process to look at best practice.
He stressed the importance of creating a strong organisational culture that supported scrutiny work and could add real value to policy-making and the efficient delivery of public services. The Committee would need to develop Core Scrutiny Proposals and actions and keep those at the centre of all it did; Suggested proposals for which were set on in paragraph 6 of the report.
Other work being undertaken included the development of Scrutiny operating procedures, including a Cabinet/Scrutiny Protocol; an effective and focused work programme, ongoing training and development for all scrutiny members; the development of an Oxfordshire Scrutiny Handbook and dedicated officer support.
The Chair thanked Mr Townsend for his presentation. The Chair welcomed the report and that he hoped as Chair that the Committee could add real value to the areas which it scrutinised, He expressed the importance of working together in a constructive and respectful manner, acknowledging that effective scrutiny happened when cross-party members worked together on scrutiny.
Members made the following points during discussion on the report:
· Members expressed the importance of having reports well in advance and of scrutiny being engaged at the earliest possible stage of policy making.
· Early sight of the Cabinets forward plan needed to be added to the process.
· Clear guidance on Scrutiny Stakeholders should be added to the core principals, as should language such as transparency and working together to develop.
· There needed to be a clear definition of what ‘place’ and the areas of work which fell under that heading was.
· Information on Champions and relevant user groups should be made available to all scrutiny committees.
· Members queried the budget commitment for officer support and whether there would be any budget for bringing in experts for specific pieces of work
· There was a need to have clear guidance on what each of the committees covered and for that to be relayed to the public. Plain language needed to be used. A business mission statement could enable the other committees to understand the areas of work under consideration and reduce blurred lines.
· The Committee acknowledged the need to be disciplined and focused on a few areas rather than trying ... view the full minutes text for item 3/21
Work Programme 2021/22 PDF 245 KB
The purpose of the report is to support and advise Committee members to determine their work programme for the 2021/22 municipal year.
The Committee is RECOMMENDED to
(a) Consider the results of the limited work programme engagement exercise as detailed in Appendix 1;
(b) Consider suggestions made by the Cabinet and Senior Officers;
(c) Consider the methods by which the Committee would like to undertake its Overview and Scrutiny activity;
(d) Consider and agree the work programme for the Committee for the 2021/22 municipal year;
(e) Agree on whether to create any task group reviews and appoint membership of that review;
(f) Identify any specific training and support needs required to deliver the 2021/22 work programme.
The Committee had before it a report to support and advise Committee members on determining their work programme for the 2021/22 municipal year.
Jodie Townsend, Interim Governance Advisor, introduced the report, which set out proposals from Cabinet members and senior officers on issues the Committee may wish to look at. He emphasised that the Committee did not have to agree the whole work programme for the rest of the municipal year at this meeting. A limited process had been conducted to get an initial list of ideas. However, a more complete process was to be developed for prioritising items for work programmes going forward.
The Committee could also consider activities outside the meetings such as Task and Finish Groups, deep-dives, briefings, and public engagement days.
The Committee made the following points during discussion of the work programme:
· A request was made that work of the past Performance Committee was taken on board such as the renewed Skanska contract and loss of £1.6m.
· Members noted that some of the issues it would wish to look at were due for consideration at the October Cabinet Meeting.
· Members noted that no decisions had been taken on climate and sustainability for the past 18 months.
· Members felt that an informal workshop where members could sit round a table for a broader discussion on the work programme would be a more effective way of agreeing a work programme.
The following areas for Scrutiny were put forward:
· Library Strategy
· Recycling Centres
· Road Work Permissions (Utilities)
· Covid Planning to include Resilience planning for other major events such as Climate and Flooding
· Street Design Guide
· Budget for Highway Maintenance
· Bus Improvement Plan
· Carbon Reduction Framework
· Active Travel
The Cabinet Members and Directors then set out further areas of work that the Committee could get involved with in the future and indicated that although some of the topics that the Committee had raised were going to Cabinet in October, that further opportunities for engagement on those areas would be available over the next 12 months.
Councillor Baines made a formal proposal which was seconded by Councillor Levy, to request that an additional Meeting of the Committee be held prior to the October Cabinet Meeting to consider the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan, National Bus Strategy – Bus Service Improvement Plan and 20 mph Policy and New Approach.
Jodie Townsend reminded the Committee that they were not able to look at everything and needed to focus or 3 or 4 topics for effective scrutiny. He stressed that the Committee looking at the items above at a meeting in October would not be effective scrutiny as proposals were already formulated at this stage.
Anita Bradley, Director for Law & Governance and Rachel Wileman, Assistant Director Strategic Infrastructure and Planning indicated that there was not the officer resource to bring the reports forward in October.
Following Officer advice, the proposal was put to the vote and was carried by 5 votes to 3.
The Committee further agreed that officers should ... view the full minutes text for item 4/21