Agenda and minutes

Stronger Communities and Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Board - Wednesday 14th September 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Suite. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item



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All those in attendance stood to observe a minutes silence in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.



Declarations of Interest

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It was recorded that Councillor B Groom declared a pecuniary interest (employment) in the report pertaining to the Council’s Highway Works Permit Scheme. Cllr Groom withdrew from the meeting for the duration of that agenda item.

It was also recorded that Councillor P Hogarth MBE currently served as a Member of West Midlands Fire & Rescue Authority representing Solihull MBC. Cllr Hogarth remained in the meeting and participated in the report pertaining to West Midlands Fire Service’s 2022-2025 Community Risk Management Plan.



Questions and Deputations

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There were no questions or deputations.



Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To receive, for approval, the Minutes of the last meeting held on 7 June 2022.

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The Chairman invited the Board to receive, for approval, the Minutes of the last meeting held on 7 June 2022. In considering the Minutes, Cllr M Carthew highlighted that it would be useful to attribute questions and comments to individual Members in future Minutes. The Chairman indicated that the observation would be duly noted.


That, the Minutes be agreed as a correct record.



West Midlands Fire Service - Community Risk Management Plan pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider (WMFS) West Midlands Fire Service’s Community Risk Management Plan.

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In attendance: Patrick Gibson (West Midlands Fire Service – Solihull Station Commander).

West Midlands Fire Service presented their 2022-2025 Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) for consideration and discussion.

The Board was advised that the purpose of the Plan was to identify and assess all foreseeable risks that communities in the West Midlands might face – from house fires and road traffic collisions, through to flooding and terrorism. That information was then used to shape WMFS priorities, their Service Delivery Model and how they used their resources to reduce risk and vulnerability in local communities.

WMFS delivered a PowerPoint presentation to support the item and a copy of the Plan was circulated together with further detail background information.

In summary, the key work-streams to identify community risk included:

·  Risk Modelling - historic incident data alongside a range of other people and place datasets were used to identify characteristics present within communities that had the highest and lowest risk of an incident occurring.

·  Trend Analysis - strategic risk analysis, incident reports and performance dashboards helped identify annual and temporal trends in all incidents reported to WMFS.

·  Research - literature reviews of credible academic work to understand the research that existed globally into incident response management planning.

·  External Environment – to consider the social, technological, economic, environmental, political, legal and ethical factors that might affect service delivery and/or presented opportunities for inclusion within the Plan.

·  Forecasting – looking beyond the three-year CRMP planning cycle to understand potential future requirements taking account of global factors and major incidents to better understand unprecedented events.

·  Current Service Capabilities - reviewing existing capabilities and whether they were proportionate to the foreseeable hazardous scenarios WMFS were likely to respond to.

In addition to the above, the Board also received a detailed appraisal of calls for service and service performance.

Having considered the report, the Board asked the following questions and made the following observations:

·  Cllr Mrs Sleigh asked for further detail in relation to the next round of CRMP public consultation and was advised that research and data which highlighted emerging risks would form the basis for community consultation. A comprehensive communications plan would also support the launch of the consultation to ensure strong engagement with the public and partner agencies.

·  Cllr M Carthew highlighted from the report the work undertaken with schools and colleges and asked if similar work was also undertaken with community, youth and religious groups. WMFS advised that all community fire stations either undertook, or were part of, a number of community initiatives throughout the year.

·  Cllr P Hogarth MBE highlighted and endorsed WMFS community initiatives such as the Fire Cadets; a national uniformed cadet group open to young people between the ages of 11 to 16. Cllr Hogarth also highlighted Safeside, WMFS’s learning and interactive safety village for children, young people, adults and in the future, businesses.

·  Mrs A McGrory asked if within the WMFS risk analysis for the coming winter (and taking account of the cost of living crisis), had the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Highway Works Permit Scheme pdf icon PDF 383 KB

To review the Council’s Highway Works Permits Scheme to ensure objectives are being met and to consider the associated improvement plan, prior to submitting the performance report to the Department for Transport.

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In attendance:Councillor K Hawkins – Cabinet Member (Environment & Infrastructure); Alan Brown (Assistant Director – Highways & Environment); Paul Tovey (Solihull MBC - Head of Highway Management); David Keaney (Solihull MBC - Traffic Manager) and Kim Stone (Solihull MBC - Highway Permit Scheme Manager).

The Board was invited to undertake a performance review of the Council’s Highway Works Permit Scheme.

Officers reported that the Council, as Local Highway Authority, had statutory responsibilities for the efficient co-ordination of all street and road works within the Borough. The Traffic Management Act 2004 allowed Highway Authorities to introduce Permit schemes to deliver that duty.

In October 2018, the Council launched its own Permit scheme which, to date, had resulted in greater control over road and street works taking place in Solihull and by directing works to be carried out at the least disruptive times. Along with suitable traffic management, the impact of works had also been reduced.

In summary, the report highlighted:

·  Operational Performance - Local Authorities were required to review the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year’s operational performance (and every 3rd year thereafter). Performance reviews for Years 1 and 2 had previously been completed and published in line with DfT guidance. The review of performance in Year 3 had now been completed and was scheduled to be presented to the Cabinet Member for Environment & Infrastructure in December 2022, along with any recommendations from this Scrutiny Board. A full appraisal of the performance data was submitted for review and consideration.

·  Resources – there were now 10 members of staff working full time on the Permit scheme, all fully funded from the ring-fenced revenue generated from the Permit applications and fixed penalty fines.

·  Emerging Priorities - since the introduction of the Scheme in 2018, there had been significant changes in network use and layout.Some of those changes had come about as a result of known planned works such as HS2, the Commonwealth Games and National Highway Improvements, whilst others such as Covid-19 were not.

·  Street Manager System - in July 2020, the DfT launched a new data management and communication convention to aid the sharing of street and road works information.The new protocol had been successfully implemented into the Council’s existing Permit system and additional costs associated with operating the new system had been funded directly from Permit scheme revenue.

·  Statutory Guidance - the DfT had recently updated their Statutory Guidance, which was due to come into force in April 2023. It would introduce changes associated with work inspections and charging, aiming to simplify the inspection process and enable a more tailored approach to be established to manage poor performance and encouraging improvement.

In addition to the above, it was reported that as part of the annual review process to consider how the scheme was performing, a number of key recommendations had come forward which were summarised within the report. Those recommendations were intended to ensure that the scheme continued to add value and benefit residents of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 607 KB

To receive, for information, the latest version of the Boards Work Programme for 2022/23.

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The Boards most recent Work Plan was submitted for information and comment. The Plan highlighted a number of topics for consideration during the Boards remaining meetings in 2022/23. A proportion of the Plan was also set around the requirement to act as the statutory “Crime & Disorder Committee”.

In considering the Work Plan, Mrs A McGrory sought the Boards agreement to defer the report on the Strategic Assessment of the Third Sector from 16 November 2022, to a later date in the Work Plan.


That, the Board:

(i)  Approves its current Work Plan for 2022/23, as submitted, subject to the deferral of the Strategic Assessment of the Third Sector to a later date in the 2022/23 Work Plan.