Councillors' Attendance Statistics
Agenda and minutes
Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 23 January 2012 7:00 pm
Venue: Salon - York House. View directions
Contact: Jessica Vine; 020 8891 7078; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive any apologies for absence.
No apologies for absence were received.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Members are requested to declare any interests orally at the start of the meeting and again immediately before consideration of the matter. Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and whether the interest is of a personal or prejudicial nature.
Members are also reminded of the requirements of Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 that they should declare and not vote on specified matters if they are two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax payments.
Mr Neil Bryson, Co-opted Member, declared a personal interest in item 6 (Proposal for a Cultural Trust) by virtue of the fact that the Orleans House Gallery currently sold copies of his drawings.
i) To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2011 at 7.00pm.
ii) To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2011 at 8.23pm.
iii) To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2011 at 7.00pm.
i) The minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2011 at 7.00pm were received and approved, and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
ii) The minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2011 at 8.23pm were received and approved, and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
iii) The minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2011 at 7.00pm were received and approved, and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
This report provides the full response of the Executive to the Drug Misuse Scrutiny Task Group recommendations of the 24 March 2011 and provides an update.
This report also gives details on the progress of the implementation of Drug Testing on Arrest in the Borough.
Report of the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture attached.
Appendices A and B attached.
The report was presented by the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture; the Assistant Director of Commissioning Corporate Policy and Strategy; and the Community Safety Manager.Also in attendance were Emma Seria-Walker (Acting Consultant in Public Health, Richmond Borough Team, NHS South West London) and Chief Inspector Steve Kyte (Richmond Borough Police).
The Cabinet Member reiterated her thanks to the Task Group for the report that had been produced in 2011. She noted that many of the recommendations had already been completed and that the drugs testing on arrest programme was proving to be very useful.
The Committee discussed the Cabinet’s response to the task group’s recommendations and was informed that:
(i) The recommendations that were not yet implemented could be tracked by officers and the Committee could be advised of progress via information reports.
(ii) In relation to recommendation 4, it was considered that NHS Richmond already provided services which addressed the needs of all communities, including the LGBT community; therefore it was believed that the recommendation did not need to be implemented.
(iii) Street pastors were in operation in Richmond and in Hampton Wick. These volunteers carried out similar work to that of the SOS bus, by addressing anti-social behaviour and providing assistance to people late at night.
(iv) Richmond could be described as an ‘importer of crime’ because many people travelled into the borough to commit crimes. This was likely to be due to the relatively affluent nature of the borough.
(v) Due to offender management systems the NHS and Police were now better placed to judge who should be targeted for drugs assistance programmes.
(vi) The Alcohol Strategy Group had discussed an overall substance misuse strategy and was interested in working towards this, with the proviso that Alcohol misuse was recognised as a discreet issue within this strategy. It was hoped that an overall strategy would be in place by July 2012.
(vii) The Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considering the young people’s substance misuse service at the meeting in March.
(viii) A Risky Behaviour Needs analysis had been completed and a programme had been commissioned. A Risky Behaviour Strategy would be developed by May 2012.
The Drugs Test on Arrest programme was discussed. It was noted that the scheme was progressing well and Committee Members were advised that:
(i) The scheme was cost effective: the cost of testing for drugs was low in comparison to the benefits which could be afforded by the scheme.
(ii) The scheme was now testing for cocaine as well as for opiates.
(iii) 60% of those who tested positive for opiates were not residents of the Borough.
(iv) In Richmond the use of cocaine was recorded as being higher than the use of cannabis.
The Committee discussed the expenditure differences between prevention and treatment and the future funding of intervention programmes. It was noted that the public health funding allocations beyond 2013 were unknown and if funding changed substantially then the programmes may need to be revised.
The Committee considered that it would be useful to receive further updates on test on arrest and the task group’s recommendations.
It was RESOLVED:
i. That the response of Cabinet to the recommendations of the Drug Misuse Scrutiny Task Group be noted.
ii. That the progress of Drug Testing on Arrest be noted.
iii. That the Committee receive an update on the progress of the Task Group’s recommendations in January 2013.
This report provides a mid year performance review of the Community Safety Partnership Plan 2011-14 and covers the first half of year 1 of the 3 year plan.
Report of the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture attached.
Appendix A attached.
The report was presented by the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture; the Assistant Director of Commissioning Corporate Policy and Strategy; and the Community Safety Manager.Also in attendance were Emma Seria-Walker (Acting Consultant in Public Health) and Chief Inspector Steve Kyte. The Cabinet Member advised the Committee that the report was an opportunity to review the performance of the Community Safety Partnership Plan ahead of the finalisation of the Strategic Assessment.
In response to questions the Committee was advised that:
(i) Richmond was one of the safest London boroughs when considering violent crime. The borough had been the safest on record overall for a number of years and was still amongst the top performing boroughs in London. It was noted that it was difficult to maintain the top position for a sustained period of time and that many of the crimes that were reported in Richmond, such as theft of garden plants, may not be reported in other boroughs.
(ii) Richmond Police team was retaining current levels of funding until 2014, but after this point funding issues would need to be reconsidered for the borough. The Partnership could play a role in examining priorities.
(iii) Though the mediation service was still in its infancy, initial results indicated that it was working well. Councillors were welcome to submit a request for mediation if they knew of cases where it was necessary.
Councillor Naylor thanked the Council’s Licensing Team for their work in reducing low crime and anti social behaviour levels in his ward and across the borough. Councillor Harborne advised the Committee of a successful initiative to tackle graffiti problems in Richmond.
The Committee was advised that the Council’s Strategic Assessment would be finalised in the coming months to coincide with the Police’s Strategic Assessment. Committee Members considered that it would be useful to review the finalised version when available.
It was RESOLVED:
i. That the
performance on the Community Safety Partnership Plan be
This report provides information on the proposal to establish a not-for-profit organisation for the management of the Council’s cultural services.
Report of the Director of Education, Children’s and Cultural Services and the Head of Culture and Service Improvement attached.
The report was presented by the Head of Culture and Service Improvement and the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture, with assistance from the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, and theBusiness Improvement Lawyer.
The Head of Culture and Service Improvement explained that the proposals encompassed the Council’s arts and libraries services and the sports and fitness services. Some of the sport and fitness services were already outsourced: the Pools in the Park contract was in place until 2016. The report set out the differing proposals for managing the Council’s cultural services and detailed why a Cultural Trust was proposed. The preferred legal format for the trust was a Charitable Incorporated Organisation: a new format which was due to be available in 2012 and meant that trustees were not individually liable, and that the trust would not need to register with Companies House.
The Director of Finance and Corporate Services provided the Committee with information on the recent central government proposals regarding changes to the funding of business rate subsidies. If implemented, these changes meant that the financial benefits to the Council of creating a charitable trust would be substantially lessened. The Council was making representations to the Parliamentary under Secretary of State on this matter but as yet the outcome was unclear. For this reason, it was noted that the Council’s Cultural Trust proposals could require reconsideration in the coming months.
Committee Members discussed the trust proposals as set out in the report and in response to questions, were informed that:
(i) A cultural trust would have access to funding that was not normally accessible to local authorities: this included funding from grants and foundations. It was noted that benefactors were more likely to donate to trusts than to the Council.
(ii) It was proposed that any cultural services’ assets would be owned by the Council and leased to the trust. Exact details about building maintenance and other arrangements were to be determined.
(iii) Cultural trusts had been successfully implemented in other cities and towns across the UK, such as Glasgow and Peterborough. There were also many sports and leisure trusts already in operation.
(iv) The Scrutiny Committee would be able to monitor the performance of the trust, along with the details of the commissioning plan and contract, in order to ensure accountability was maintained. The Council would be able to determine the level of detail at which it wished to monitor the trust’s work. It was acknowledged that more detailed monitoring may incur greater financial cost.
(v) Though the trustees would not usually be personally liable for the trust, they would need to always act in the best interests of the charity and its charitable beneficiaries (i.e. the inhabitants of the borough in need of the cultural or leisure facilities).
(vi) It was envisaged that most staff would remain working in the same location: currently most cultural services employees were based at sites such as libraries and only three staff were based at the Civic Centre. Staff would be employed solely to work for the trust and would not carry out other council work.
(vii) The board of trustees could consist of up to eleven members, up to two of which could be councillors. The accountability to residents would be fulfilled by scrutiny of the trust’s work and by commissioning of services rather than by the representation of councillors on the board.
(viii) If a councillor did serve on the board of the trust it would mean that when the board was considering issues regarding the Council, the councillor would not be able to participate.
(xi) When consulted on the delivery of cultural services, residents had previously indicated that their key priority was that the services were maintained, and that the identity of the service provider was less important.
(x) If, in the future, the trust were to face difficulties, the services could either be managed by another organisation, or could be managed by the Council.
Issues discussed by Members included: the need to ensure accountability to residents; the means of scrutinising the trust’s work; the role of trustees and councillors; and the issue of whether there was a public mandate for the proposals.
The following motion was proposed by Councillor Elengorn, and seconded by Councillor Elloy:
“The Committee is not so far persuaded of the advantages of the proposal as so far presented.”
The motion was put to the vote and FELL.
The Committee discussed the need to consider the full business case before it was considered by Cabinet. It was noted that if the proposals were advanced, they were likely to be considered by Cabinet in June 2012.
It was RESOLVED:
i. That the outline proposals for establishing a not-for-profit organisation to deliver cultural services on behalf of the Council be noted.
ii. That the Committee receive a further report on the full proposals, including the business case, in June 2012, or before the proposals are considered by Cabinet (if the proposals continue to be developed).
This report sets out the detailed revenue budgets for the Environment Directorate and Cultural Services for the financial year 2012/13, highlighting significant changes from the previous year.
Report of the Director of Environment attached
Appendices A, B, C and D attached.
The report was presented by the Director of Environment and the Head of Finance. It was explained that the proposed budget contained overall savings of £1million for the Environment Directorate; these were predominantly due to staff redundancies and efficiency savings, but it was noted that a number of significant variations were proposed which meant that some service areas were gaining an increased budget.
In response to Committee Members’ questions the following information was provided:
(i) The income from parking services was projected to be lower than in past years due to the Council’s fairer parking policy. However, it was noted that the directorate might be able to generate income in new areas.
(ii) Approximately £200k per annum could be generated if the Council adopted powers to enforce moving traffic contraventions (such as blocking box junctions). It was explained that if adopted, this enforcement would be tailored to each location and would focus on existing traffic layouts. As yet this proposal was still being investigated to determine cost effectiveness.
(ii) Many services were being streamlined to reduce costs and provide more efficient service. An example of this was the readjustment of waste and recycling collection rounds which meant that less vehicles were now needed to provide the same service level.
(iii) When new contracts were negotiated, for example the Parks contract, this was an opportunity for the Council to review which provisions were no longer necessary.
It was RESOLVED:
That the proposed budget be noted.
The Council’s corporate charging policy requires that fees and charges
are reviewed annually. This report details the proposed charges for 2012/13 (excluding Parking Charges, but including Bay Suspension Fees) for consideration as a result of the annual review.
Report of the Director of Environment attached.
Appendix A and B attached.
The report was introduced by the Director and Environment and the Head of Finance. The Committee was reminded that as with the Council’s budget, the fees and charges were being considered in the context of local government efficiency requirements. In response to questions it was explained that:
(i) Although the increase in allotment charges for 2012 – 2013 was relatively high as a percentage, the monetary value was relatively low. Richmond’s allotments were less expensive to rent than the majority of other London boroughs’ and it was proposed that the service became cost neutral over the coming years.
(ii) Charges for some licensing services such as the processing of sex establishment licences were set by the Council, and based on average costs for processing, although it was necessary for the Council to consider what charges were reasonable when setting the cost.
(iii) The 2011 Development Management Development Plan Document was not currently listed as an available Planning Policy Publication as the Council was encouraging residents to access the online version.
(iv) Trade waste disposal charges were not set by the Council. It was recognised that it may be necessary to assess the viability of the collection service in future, as it was difficult to provide competitive costs.
(v) Biodegradable liners for food caddies were being discontinued as it was more cost effective for residents to obtain these from private sources.
(vi) It would be free for residents to hold street parties for the Queen’s Jubilee: further information was available on the Council’s website.
It was RESOLVED:
That the revised fees and charges as shown in Appendix A and B be noted.
This report gives details of the proposed work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2011/12.
Report of the Head of Democratic Services attached.
Appendix A attached.
Committee Members discussed the proposed work programme for March 2012, and future items for the 2012 - 2013 Municipal Year. In considering items it was noted that timings were subject to change (particularly where items were also being considered by Cabinet), and that the work programme could be finalised by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman before March.
It was RESOLVED:
That the Work Programme be amended as follows:
1. Village Plans update be added to the agenda for 20 March 2012
2. Strategic Assessment / Community Safety Partnership Plan be added to the agenda for 18 June 2012 (provisional date) or be considered before the item is considered at Cabinet / Council.
3. Cultural Services Trust proposals be added to the agenda for 18 June 2012 (provisional date) or be considered before the item is considered at Cabinet (if proposals progress).
4. Update on Drugs Misuse Task Group recommendations be added as an agenda item for January 2013.
5. Recommended items: progress of Climate Change Strategy and progress of Uplift Strategy to be provisionally considered for June 2012 or before being considered by Cabinet.