Agenda and draft minutes

West Dorset District Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 20th November, 2018 2.15 pm

Venue: Committee Room A/B, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester

Contact: Lindsey Watson (01305) 252209  Email: lwatson@dorset.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

53.

Code of Conduct

Members are required to comply with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and the Council’s Code of Conduct regarding disclosable pecuniary and other interests.

 

·                Check if there is an item of business on this agenda in which the member or other relevant person has a disclosable pecuniary or other disclosable interest

·                Check that the interest has been notified to the Monitoring Officer (in writing) and entered in the Register (if not this must be done within 28 days)

·                Disclose the interest at the meeting (in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct) and in the absence of dispensation to speak and/or vote, withdraw from any consideration of the item where appropriate.  If the interest is non-pecuniary you may be able to stay in the room, take part and vote.

 

For further advice please contact Rob Firth, Monitoring Officer, in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

54.

Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 12 June 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 12 June 2018, as previously circulated to members, were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

55.

West Dorset Tourist Information Centres Service Review - Progress Report pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To receive a progress report in respect of the Service Review of West Dorset Tourist Information Centres.

Minutes:

The committee received and considered a report which provided an update on the Service Review of West Dorset Tourist Information Centres and in particular the options for the Lyme Regis and Sherborne Tourist Information Centres.  It was noted that in light of the recent decision of the Shadow Executive Committee to not support the transfer of services and assets in West Dorset, there was a need to explore other options to take to the new Dorset Council.

 

Members considered the issues arising from the report and during discussion the following points were raised:

 

·                A point was noted that current support for the tourist information centres would end in 2019 and that there was a process which moved this issue forward to the Programme Board of the Shadow Dorset Council

·                In response to a question it was noted that the current agreements ran up until December 2019

·                There was a trend for people using online information in respect of making holiday arrangements but it was noted that tourist information centres also provided a valuable function for wider services in their local area

·                A comment was made that the tourist information centre in Bridport had been a success and demonstrated the importance of retaining local services

·                In response to a question, it was noted that there were no plans to alter the arrangement with Dorchester TIC based in the Library, and as such it would transfer to the new Council in April 2019.  Sherborne would have a longer time frame as it was part of a wider project

·                The situation with regard to Lyme Regis was considered

·                It was recognised that there was uncertainty with regard to the issue of transfer of services and assets

·                Councillor Thacker referred to a meeting to be held that week with the Local Government Resource Centre (LGRC) and town councils to discuss how work was moved forward and whether there was any action that could be taken.  The issue with regard to the limit of £100k was causing some issues

·                A point was noted that the figure of £100k was set out in the Statutory Change Order

·                It was agreed that an item to receive an update on this issue would be provisionally added to the committee work plan for the meeting in January 2019 subject to there being information to report at the time

·                A comment was made that this was seen as a fragmented process with town councils being left to determine a plan for their area

56.

Response to Scrutiny Request pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider a report of the Assistant Chief Executive in response to a scrutiny request submitted by a councillor.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered a scrutiny request submitted by Councillor D Rickard and a report that had been produced by the Assistant Chief Executive, which provided information in order to enable the committee to consider the response to the scrutiny request.

 

The Chairman provided an overview of the issues raised and asked the committee to consider whether the information provided by the Assistant Chief Executive, answered the issues raised in the scrutiny request.

 

Councillor Rickard provided an overview of the issues raised in the scrutiny request which focused on his perception of loss of sovereignty of the district council over matters that had been agreed before the existence of the Shadow Executive Committee and his view that this created a democratic deficit with West Dorset councillors not being able to adequately represent their electorate and communities.  He made particular reference to the issues around the transfer of services and assets which had been subject to ongoing work by the district and town councils but which had not been supported by the Shadow Executive Committee.  He felt that work should continue within the sovereign Council and that plans should be carried forward to the new Council.

 

In response, the Chairman noted the implications of the Statutory Change Order and read out the information included in paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4 of the report.

 

Members considered the scrutiny request and the information provided by the Assistant Chief Executive and during discussion, the following points were raised:

 

·                A point was raised that following years of work, authority had been taken from the district council by the Shadow Council

·                In response, the Chairman reminded members that all district council members were also members of the Shadow Council and that through the Shadow Executive Committee, Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Council they had the right to use functions such as Call to Account and requesting items be added to agendas in order to input into the process

·                A concern was expressed that the Shadow Executive Committee could stop a project that had been ongoing and that this should be called to account

·                It was noted that a call-in in respect of the decision of the Shadow Executive Committee on transfer of services and assets had failed

·                Members considered the budget implications for the new unitary council in respect of some of the non-statutory services

·                A question was raised in respect of advice which it was said had been given to members about the procedure to be used to review the decision on the transfer of services and assets and whether the correct procedure had been used?  It was suggested that Councillors Rickard and Day could contact the relevant officer/s to clarify the advice given in respect of the call-in procedure

·                It was noted that the Shadow Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be undertaking a Call to Account of issues in this area

·                A point was raised that the district council should be reviewing what had taken place and what the council should be doing up until March  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Plan pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To consider the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work plan.

To consider the Strategy Committee Forward Plan and decisions taken at recent meetings.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the committee’s work plan, the Strategy Committee Forward Plan and decisions taken at meetings of the Strategy Committee.  Members noted that an update on issues around Universal Credit had been requested for the next meeting in January 2019.

 

In respect of a potential review of consideration of the reasons that people were living on the street and the role that the council had in this area, it was noted that a review had been scoped during 2017 but that this had been put on hold due to work being undertaken to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force in April 2018.  A request was made for an update in respect of issues around this work for the meeting in January.

58.

Questions

To receive questions submitted by members in writing to the Chief Executive and in respect of which appropriate notice has been given.

Minutes:

There were no questions.

59.

Urgent items

To consider any other items that the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

60.

Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Minutes:

It was proposed by T Harries seconded by M Rennie

 

Decision

 

That under Section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the business specified in the minute below, because it is likely that there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing that information.

61.

West Dorset Toilets Cleaning and Maintenance Contract - Exempt

To consider a report of the Building and Facilities Manager.

Minutes:

The committee received and considered a report of the Building and Facilities Manager with regard to issues around the West Dorset Toilets cleaning and maintenance contract.  Options were set out in the report and the committee’s views sought on the direction to be taken.

 

Members considered the issues arising from the report and following discussion, it was noted that the committee supported the production of a report to Strategy Committee to recommend a preferred course of action.