Agenda and minutes
Venue: Conference Room, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham
Contact: Email: CommitteeServices@horsham.gov.uk Direct line: 01403 215465
To approve as correct the minutes of the meeting held on 11th January 2016
The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11th January 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Members' Interests
To receive any declarations of interest from Members of the Committee
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements from the Chairman of the Committee or the Chief Executive
There were no announcements.
Replies from Cabinet/Council regarding Scrutiny & Overview recommendations
There were no announcements.
Minutes of the meetings held 12th January, 10th February (attached) and 8th March 2016 (to follow)
A Member of the Business Improvement Working Group presented the notes
of the meetings held on 12th January, 10th February and 8th March 2016.
The main focus for the Working Group was the review of the S106 process.
The Committee noted the recommendation on page 13 of the agenda which
related to a new Working Group being established to look at the Council
investing in its own affordable housing stock.
At the meeting of the 8th March 2016 the Chairman of the Working Group gave
a summary of the conclusions of the S106 review and there were a number of
recommendations listed which the Group would consider at its next meeting,
along with the draft version of the final report, if approved by the Working
Group the final report would be presented to the Scrutiny and Overview
Committee on 9th May 2016.
The Committee suggested that following completion of the S106 review the
Working Group should review the outcome and progress 12 months later. This
would be fed back to the Chairman of the Working Group.
It was also confirmed that all Councillors would be briefed on the planning application for new homes and a business park on land north of Horsham and this would include briefings on the infrastructure package to be secured through the s106 process.
That a new Working Group be established to look into the potential for the Council to invest in building and managing its own affordable housing stock.
All new working groups are to be approved by the Committee.
Crime and Disorder Working Group
To receive an update from the Chairman
The Committee noted that there had been no further meetings of the Crime
and Disorder Working Group and the next meeting was on Monday 18th April
That an update from the Crime and Disorder Working Group be received.
All updates of Working Group meetings are to be received by the Committee
Minutes of the meeting held 17th February 2016
The Chairman of the Finance and Performance Working Group presented the
notes of the meeting held17th February 2016.
There was some concern at the meeting regarding the CenSus Revenues
and Benefits performance and the cost that the Council had incurred as a
result of the audit of benefits payments which revealed for the second year
that errors had exceeded the permitted tolerances.
As a result of the Group’s concerns the Members had asked for a full
explanation from Mid Sussex District Council which was the lead authority for
the Revenues and Benefits service in the CenSus partnership.
There would be an informal briefing, to which all Members were invited, which
would be given by the Chief Executive at Mid Sussex District Council, their
Head of Finance and HR and also the Head of CenSus Revenues and
Benefits on 22nd March 2016. The Committee suggested that the Cabinet
Members who represented Horsham on the CenSus Joint Committee, also be
invited to the briefing. The Chief Executive would contact them.
The Chairman of the Working Group clarified that this cost was recouping of
an overpayment and that the authorities would be asked to pay back money
which had been paid out in error.
The Committee agreed that this item should appear on the next agenda for
the Working Group in order for Members to monitor this.
Members questioned the impact of Adur District Council exiting the CenSus
partnership 2017. The Chief Executive explained that the remaining
authorities were faced with a number of options and a report would be
brought before Councillors in due course. The Committee suggested that the
Committee and Working Group be involved in this.
The Committee also noted the discussions which the Group had at the
meeting on requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, following
an email received by a member of the public in relation to the performance
indicators which were monitored by the Working Group.
That the notes of the Finance and Performance Working Group meeting held 17th February 2016, be received
All notes of Working Group meetings are to be received by the Committee
Social Inclusion Working Group
Minutes of the meeting held 7th March 2016 to follow
The Chairman of the Social Inclusion Working Group presented the notes of
the meeting held 7th March 2016.
The Working Group heard from the Financial Inclusion and Engagement
Officer at West Sussex County Council in relation to the causes of
indebtedness and financial hardship.
Arising from discussions the Working Group suggested that the Council
review its method of council tax collection, by adopting a more flexible
approach. A more flexible system would help those residents suffering
financial hardship by making it easier to pay their bills and therefore avoiding
debt; in addition it could optimise the efficiency of collection and reduce costs
to the Council.
The Scrutiny and Overview Committee agreed with this proposal and made a
recommendation to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets.
RECOMMENDED TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR FINANCE AND ASSETS
That the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets review the Council Tax fixed collection date with a view to having more flexibility in the system. By engaging with those in debt at an early stage rather than simply pursuing them for payment would have appositive outcome on the Council by reducing costs (e.g. bailiff costs) and potentially reducing cases of homelessness.
Minutes of the meeting held 25th January 2016
Letter from the Working Group to the West Sussex Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee
The Chairman of the Health Provision Working Group presented the notes of
the meeting 25th January 2016.
The Working Group agreed to write a letter to West Sussex County Council to
seek its support in action to address the lack of health provision in the District.
A letter addressed to the Chairman of the WSCC Health and Adult Social
Care Select Committee (HASC) was presented to the Committee for
The Committee noted that the Chief Executive had already corresponded with
HASC and circulated a copy of his letter.
There had previously been meetings with the CCG and NHS England and
Members were keen to keep pressure on in relation to this issue with the
support of the County Council. The Chairman of the Working Group had
already contacted the local MP.
Once there was a strategy in place the Council could look to gain the support
of the local GPs.
Members noted that there was also some parallel working with the Cabinet
Member for Community and Wellbeing and the Leader in relation to this
That the notes of the Health Provision Working Group meeting held 29th January 2016, be received
All notes of Working Group meetings are to be received by the Committee
Feedback from West Sussex Joint Scrutiny
Feedback from the Joint Scrutiny Steering Group meeting on 27th January 2016 and from the Joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group on Housing Provision for Care Leavers on 2nd March
The Chairman of the Committee had attended the meeting of the West
Sussex Joint Scrutiny Steering Group, which met twice a year, at which it
agreed that the West Sussex Joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group would
review the housing provision for care leavers.
Councillor Alan Britten represented Horsham District Council on the Task and
Finish Group and he provided the Committee with an update following the first
Ofsted had highlighted many areas which required improvement in relation to
the education and housing provision, for care leavers. The service was
considered to have deteriorated.
The Task and Finish Group, which included representatives from all district
and boroughs in the County along with the County Council, would be looking
into whether there was adequate support for young people leaving care. The
review was due to be completed by the end of April; some Members were
concerned that this was not adequate time to cover such a wide scope.
Councillor Britten wished to thank the Community Development and
Engagement Manager and the Housing Needs Manager, for their help and
assistance during this review and he would report back on progress at the
next meeting of the Committee.
The Committee supported the suggestion that this Task and Finish Group be
responsible for reviewing and monitoring the progress and outcome following
the completion of this review. Normally any follow up would be carried out by
the Joint Scrutiny Steering Group. Councillor Britten would report this back to
It was also important that the outcome of this review was fed into the Scrutiny
and Overview Committee and then subsequently Council.
Planning Appeals: Budget 2015/16 Costs to Date and Current Status of Major Appeals
The Chairman of the Committee was concerned about the costs of three
major planning appeals, which were in addition to the figures reported in the
performance data for the Finance and Performance Working Group.
The Committee noted that there were not any decisions at this stage.
To receive any suggestions for the Scrutiny and Overview Work Programme 2015-16
· Request for a report from the Cabinet Member for the Local Economy for review of Costs and Revenues of Parking Services
The Scrutiny and Overview Work Programme was circulated.
There was one additional suggestion for the work programme raised by the
Chairman. As a result of all the additional housing in the District he was
concerned that this would lead to an increase in car ownership and that there
was no provision for an increase in parking in the town centre. Car parking
fees were also an important part of the Council’s revenue and needed to be
The Chairman sought support from the Committee to ask the Cabinet
Member for the Local Economy to produce a report with a strategy for the
future with consideration to be given to the additional houses, potential car
parking sites, park and ride and the car parking revenue. The Committee
suggested that this also include rural car parks.
The Committee noted that the Cabinet was already looking at a future vision
and plan for Horsham and parking was also part of this.
The Committee supported the request that the Cabinet Member for the Local
Economy produce an overall review of car parking in the District.
CIL Report Consultees: Role of Scrutiny & Overview Committee
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule
Consultation and Viability Assessment were now available and the Scrutiny
and Overview Committee had expressed their wishes to be a consultee in the
process. Members were awaiting confirmation from the officers on when the
consultation period would take place, but in the meantime Councillors Crosbie
and Jupp would begin reading the documents as part of the background work
for Scrutiny’s official response.
Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as urgent because of the special circumstances