Agenda and minutes

Stronger Communities and Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Board
Wednesday 20th January 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Online via YouTube - any member of the press and public may view the proceedings at this virtual meeting via this weblink https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DDSVoAIgTnwgp0

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations on interest.

 

2.

Questions and Deputations

Minutes:

There were no questions or deputations.

 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To receive, for approval, the Minutes of the last meeting held on 4 November 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the last (virtual) meeting held on 4 November 2020, was submitted for review and approval.

resolved

That the Minutes from the meeting held on 4 November 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

 

4.

MTFS Update - Budget Strategy 2021/22 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To seek comments on the budget proposals identified for 2021/22 to 2023/24 within the Environment and Highways, Leisure Tourism and Sport, and Stronger and Safer Communities cabinet portfolios, to go forward to the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board and the Full Cabinet in February 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance: Mrs Alison McGrory (Assistant Director – Communities & Partnerships); Alan Brown (Assistant Director – Highways & Environment); Lauren Beach (Economy and Infrastructure Finance Manager); Councillor Mrs A Rolf – Cabinet Member (Stronger & Safer Communities); Councillor J Tildesley – Cabinet Member (Leisure, Tourism & Sport); and Councillor K Hawkins – Cabinet Member (Environment & Highways).

To Board considered a detailed report which set out the budget proposals identified for 2021/22 to 2023/24 within the Environment and Highways; Leisure Tourism and Sport; and the Stronger and Safer Communities Cabinet Portfolios.

Officers reported that the focus of the budget strategy this year had been on reset and recovery in the light of the wide-ranging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Cabinet Portfolios had not been asked to propose savings to meet a corporate target but instead had identified options for mitigating service pressures. These had been considered by the Budget Strategy Group at their three meetings held in October and November 2020. The budget proposals had also been shared with all Members at a seminar in December 2020.

Each individual Scrutiny Board this month was now being asked to consider, in detail, the proposals which related to the Cabinet Portfolios within their remit.The Board was advised that in developing the budget proposals for review by the Budget Strategy Group, the directorate leadership teams had worked with the Cabinet Portfolio Holders to establish the scale of the pressures and identify mitigating actions within each service area. The detailed indicative budgets for the services relating to this scrutiny board were submitted and considered together with an overview of the projected reserves position.

As part of the Council’s fees and charges policy, the charges levied by the Council needed to be approved annually as part of the budget setting process. A schedule of fees and charges within the remit of this scrutiny board was also submitted and considered. Officers advised that the fees and charges took into account the guidance set out in the Council’s policy and had been reviewed in the light of the pressures faced by the Council and with reference to current and forecast inflation.

As a result of the report, the following questions and observations were noted:

·  2021/22 Fees and Charges for Leisure Centres and Libraries - the Chairman and a number of Members stated that, having regard to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and future economic recovery, they were pleased to see the proposed 2021/22 fees and charges for the Council’s leisure centres and libraries, particularly, with little or no increase.

·  2021/22 Fees and Charges for Car Parks – the Board welcomed the proposal not to increase car parking charges and appreciated that this would help with Solihull’s economic recovery.

·  Leisure Centre Fees and Charges (Swimming) – the Board sought further comment as to why the Borough’s two leisure centres had different fees for this individual activity. Officers advised that fees and charges were benchmarked against similar service provision available locally.

·  Bulky Household Waste Collections – the Chairman considered that greater promotion of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Speed Enforcement in Solihull - A New Approach pdf icon PDF 294 KB

To provide an overview of current practice and discuss moving towards a new partnership led approach to speed and traffic enforcement in Solihull. The views of Scrutiny Board are requested in respect of the specific questions detailed in the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance: Alan Brown (Assistant Director – Highways & Environment); Paul Tovey (Head of Highway Management); David Keaney (Traffic Manager); Councillor K Hawkins – Cabinet Member (Environment & Highways); and Inspector Sharon Jones (West Midlands Police).

The Board was invited to (i) consider a detailed report which set out an overview of the current practice; and (ii) discuss moving forward towards a new, partnership led, approach to speed and traffic enforcement within Solihull. To complement the report, Officers also delivered a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the key objectives of the report.

It was anticipated that the report would facilitate a discussion regarding the setting of 20mph speed limits on the local road network in Solihull and, in turn, future policy making. The approach would also facilitate information sharing on behalf of the Police and the Highway Management Team in respect of current priorities and levels of service.

Officers also highlighted that the report provided an opportunity for the Board to feed into the review process at an early stage in order to help achieve the overarching road traffic casualty reduction targets set out in the Council’s Road Safety Strategy 2017 to 2030.

The Board’s recommendations resulting from the above would be fed into the Environment & Highways Cabinet decision-making process at a later point in the year.

The views of the Board were requested in respect of a number of specific questions pertaining to 20mph speed limits and potential new ways of working for speed enforcement. The following questions and observations were noted:

Speed Limits

·  Members welcomed this aspect of the overall Review and highlighted that excessive traffic speeds were regular Ward issues raised with them by local residents.

·  The report highlighted that feedback on the current use of 20mph speed limits within Solihull had been mixed and Officers were asked for further local evidence to support their introduction. Officers highlighted a similar picture from a number of local authorities where 20mph speed limit zones had been introduced. The Board was advised that as a benefit of lowering the speed limit, collisions were likely to be less severe rather than eradicating collisions completely. The DfT’s own data also indicated that general compliance with 20mph speed limits was poor.

·  The safety of children was a clear priority and the use of 20mph speed limits around school sites particularly, was supported. The Board highlighted the potential usefulness of additional roundel signage on the carriageway surface where permissible. Officers highlighted the significant number of school locations in Solihull and the small number of those sites which currently had 20mph speed limits in force. The Board was further advised of the use of carriageway roundel markings for speed limits and the regulatory requirements surrounding their use (i.e. they could not be used in areas with part-time variable speed limits). Officers also highlighted the strict regulatory signage requirements for 30mph speed limits.

·  Members reiterated that traffic congestion and inconsiderate parking was a factor to consider for road safety initiatives in and around school sites, in addition  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Safer Solihull Partnership Review pdf icon PDF 436 KB

To update members of the Stronger Communities & Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Board on the outcome of the review of Safer Solihull CSP to date, and to seek the views from members on the proposed new governance arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance: Mrs Alison McGrory (Assistant Director – Communities & Partnerships) and Councillor Mrs A Rolf – Cabinet Member (Stronger & Safer Communities) and Chair of the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership.

The Board was invited to consider a detailed report regarding the outcomes, to date, of a Review of the Safer Solihull Community Safety Partnership and to seek the Board’s views on a proposed new Governance Framework and a potential reset of the Board’s crime and disorder scrutiny function, going forwards, to complement those arrangements.

In addition to the report itself, Officers also delivered a PowerPoint presentation to highlight the key objectives of the report.

Officers emphasised that it was important that there were clear lines of accountability for each of the statutory Partners at a senior level and that there was clear oversight and challenge by Elected Members. In order to achieve this, the report set out a number of proposed changes to the existing formal governance process.

As a result of the report, the following questions and observations were noted:

·  In supporting the overall principles, the Chairman highlighted that the Review brought about the opportunity to reset the Board’s Crime and Disorder Scrutiny function to ensure that all Strategic Partners were held to account equally. To date, the community safety performance of the Police tended to be the main focus of much of the Board’s attention.

·  Moving forwards, the Board considered that each Strategic Partner should have measureable individual community safety targets within the new structure. From a scrutiny perspective, those targets could be reported to the Board at the beginning of each Municipal Year and the Board could then undertake performance monitoring and robust challenge at agreed points during the ensuing year. The Board considered that this would be a more effective means of scrutiny instead of Partnership updates on key activities as was the current model. Officers supported the suggested approach which would ensure all Strategic Partners demonstrated their “added value” to Safer Solihull Partnership, rather than reporting on the regular work of their individual organisations by default.

·  The Board supported the proposed new framework and highlighted that there was an opportunity to strengthen links to other groups to better deliver the Partnerships priorities and have clearer accountability and commitment. Members also sought clarification as to what budget, if any, had been appropriated to the new proposed arrangements going forwards. Officers highlighted the importance of the links to the two Safeguarding Boards within the Framework and the ongoing work to clarify those linkages. In terms of the individual groups that reported into the Safer Solihull Strategic Board, work was also in hand as part of the Review to fully understand their work and achievements to ensure clear and measureable outputs.

·  The Board also highlighted the importance of streamlining the governance arrangements so the role and purpose of each group within the Framework was relevant and obvious; and that clear pathways of communication resulted.

·  Officers also highlighted that the Review sought to re-establish the links between the Strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Plan 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 593 KB

To receive the Board’s Work Plan for the remaining meetings of 2020/2021.

Minutes:

The Board received its draft Work Programme for the remaining meeting in 2020/21. The following observations for the Board’s March 2021 meeting was noted:

·  Councillor J Tildesley – Cabinet Member (Leisure, Tourism & Sport) indicated that he would be in a position to bring forward a, post-lockdown, update for the Council’s Cultural Services; and

·  Strategic Environment Contract 2020 Key Performance Indicators - Alan Brown (Assistant Director – Highways & Environment) advised that due to the current stage of the competitive procurement of the new contract, this item would need to be removed from the Work Programme (as it would not be permissible for the Board to influence the KPI’s).

resolved

That the Board’s remaining Work Programme for 2020/21 be received and agreed.