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Economy Scrutiny Minutes – 11th July 2023

12:04 pm, Thursday, 12th October 2023 - 6 months ago

Present:   

Councillor Freeston (in the Chair) Councillors Goodwin (substitute for Wilson), Holland, Pettigrew (substitute for Hudson), Sandford, Smith and Wheatley.

Officers in attendance:

  • David Baker (Contract Business Manager Equans)
  • Anne Campbell (Scrutiny Advisor)
  • Damien Jaines-White (Assistant Director Regeneration)
  • Simon Jones (Assistant Director Law and Governance)
  • Guy Lonsdale (Deputy Section 151 Officer)
  • Jo Robinson (Assistant Director Policy Strategy and Resources)
  • Paul Thorpe (Operations Director, Equans)
  • Jacqui Wells (Head of Housing Strategy)

Also in attendance:

  • Councillor Jackson (Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder Economy,
    Net Zero, Skills and Housing)
  • Councillor Harness (Portfolio Holder Finance, Resources and Assets)

There were two members of the press or public present.

SPE.1   APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND DEPUTY CHAIRMAN

It was noted that at the Annual General Meeting of the Council held on 25th May, 2023, Councillor Freeston had been appointed the Chair and Councillor Hudson the Deputy Chair of the Economy Scrutiny Panel for the ensuing Municipal Year.

SPE.2  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence from this meeting were received from Councillors Cairns, Hudson and Wilson. Apologies were also received from Councillor S Swinburn, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport.

SPE.3  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest received in respect of any item on the agenda for this meeting.

SPE.4   MINUTES

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meetings of the Economy Scrutiny Panel held on the 28th February 2023 be agreed as a correct record.

SPE.5   QUESTION TIME

There were no questions from members of the public for this meeting.

SPE.6   FORWARD PLAN

The panel received the published forward plan and members were asked to identify any items for examination by this panel via the pre-decision call-in procedure.

RESOLVED – That the forward plan be noted.

SPE.7    PROVISIONAL FINANCIAL OUTTURN REPORT 2022/23

The panel received a report from the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Resources and Assets providing key information and analysis of the Council’s position and performance for the third quarter of the 2022/23 financial year. The panel noted this report was considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 14th June 2023 and was referred to all scrutiny panels to consider matters within their terms of reference. Mr Lonsdale highlighted the balanced position at year end.

Members sought clarification on the following matters: ear marked reserves and corporate reserves; business rates equalisation; replenishing reserves; and South Humber Industrial Investment Programme (SHIIP) underspend and return on capital.

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

SPE.8   COUNCIL PLAN PERFORMANCE REPORT 2022/23 – QUARTER 4

The panel received a report from the Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy, Net Zero, Skills and Housing providing oversight of performance against the council plan for the final quarter of the 2022/23 financial year. Please note this report was considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 14th June, 2023 and was referred to all scrutiny panels to consider matters within their terms of reference. Members noted that future reporting on financial position and council plan performance would be via a combined report.

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

SPE.9    REGENERATION PARTNERSHIP PERFORMANCE REPORT – QUARTER 1 (JANUARY – MARCH 2023)

The panel considered a report from Equans containing a summary of performance against key performance indicators for the period January to March 2023.

Members raised a number of concerns including Peakes Parkway underpass; empty homes target; passenger demand bus services’ booking systems; disabled facilities grant(s) (DFG) including criteria and priority cases; future works to Broadway; Grimsby Market Hall occupation rates and future initiatives; planning enforcement; residents’ parking schemes; footpath inspection and maintenance; inspection of utility companies’ work including road user and pedestrian control and to reinstate footpaths, cycleways and highways; and income generation from service(s). 

Officers committed to providing more information regarding:

  • DFG and information on spend. Whilst outside the terms of reference of this panel, when published, the Health Scrutiny report in this regard would be circulated to members of this panel for information.
  • The proposed date of commencement to drainage improvement works to Broadway, Grimsby.
  • The number of applications and percentage take-up/approvals relating to residents’ parking schemes. Mr Thorpe recalled one such application but would confirm details in writing outside of the meeting.
  • Footpath inspections and maintenance protocol procedures. Mr Thorpe advised members that the Council highway inspection policy confirmed the frequency and criteria of inspection. This was dependent upon the hierarchy of road and footway.  Mr Thorpe would provide confirmation to members outside of this meeting.
  • The logistics relating to utility companies’ work in road user and pedestrian control and reinstatement of footpaths, cycleways and highways. Mr Thorpe advised members of the service’s role in managing the permit scheme.  The permit scheme aimed to minimise disruption on the highway network by coordinating road works.  The responsibility for the safe management, the quality and technical undertaking of the works was that of the utility company.  Mr Thorpe committed to provide further information on the frequency each permit was inspected.
  • Adding target data to quarterly performance report. Mr Baker agreed that this data could be introduced to the report.

RESOLVED – That the report and members’ comments be noted.

SPE.10    ECONOMY SCRUTINY PANEL – WORK PROGRAMME 2023/24

The panel received a report from the Statutory Scrutiny Officer (Assistant Chief Executive) summarising the panel’s agreed 2023/24 work programme and the timetable of activities to undertake this work. The panel also considered any further issues it may wish to omit, retain or add to its work programme for 2023/24.

RESOLVED – That the Economy Scrutiny Panel work programme 2023/24 be agreed.

SPE.11    TRACKING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF SCRUTINY

The panel received a report from the Statutory Scrutiny Officer (Assistant Chief Executive) tracking the recommendations of the Economy Scrutiny Panel.

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

SPE.12    QUESTIONS TO PORTFOLIO HOLDER

There were no members’ questions to the Portfolio Holder.

SPE.13    CALLING-IN OF DECISIONS

There were no formal requests from members to call in decisions taken at recent meetings.

There being no further business, the Chair declared the meeting closed at 7.34 p.m.