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The Chair introduced the meeting and explained how the Executive Committee would operate whilst meetings took place virtually.
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.
There were no declarations of interest.
The Chair advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the Parking Enforcement Task Group’s final report on 4th June 2020. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had approved the recommendations detailed in the group’s report, subject to a small amendment to the first recommendation, which required the Leader of the Council to formally request that the County Council should write to the Secretary of State for Transport to request additional funding in order to issue more Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).
Members were asked to note that one of the recommendations in the Task Group’s report, Recommendation 4, had been divided into two for the consideration of the Executive Committee. This had occurred because, whilst the Council could determine whether to send a copy of the group’s report to the County Councillors, only the County Council could determine whether the issue of road markings should be discussed at a meeting of the Redditch Highways Forum.
Reference was made to an extract from the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 4th June 2020, which set out the Committee’s debate in respect of the Parking Enforcement Task Group’s report. The Chair advised that, due to the short time between the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Executive Committee meetings, it had not been possible to send paper copies of the supplementary pack to Members, though the pack was available to view electronically on the Council’s website or using the modern.gov app.
the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on Monday, 24th February 2020, be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
This report is due to be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at a meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday, 4th June 2020. There is the possibility that the Overview and Scrutiny committee will amend the recommendations. Any changes agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be reported to the Executive Committee in an extract from the minutes of the meeting, which will be included in a supplementary pack for the meeting.
Councillor Mark Shurmer, Chair of the Parking Enforcement Task Group, presented the group’s final report. The Committee was informed that during the review Members had gathered evidence from a range of sources including Council Officers, Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council, which delivered the parking enforcement service in Redditch on Redditch Borough Council’s behalf, and scrutiny reports issued by other Councils on the subject. The group had consulted with other Borough Councillors by circulating a survey, which had revealed that parking problems were frequently reported to Members representing wards across the Borough, particularly in respect of parking near schools. Each member of the group had also spent time accompanying a Civil Parking Enforcement Officer during a shift working in Redditch and this experience had been very informative.
The review of parking enforcement had been launched following discussion at a meeting of the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee, where problems with parking in the Borough had been raised as a concern by Members. The group had initially focused on the Council’s contract with Worcestershire County Council to provide the parking enforcement service in Redditch. Members were asked to note that the service could not generate a profit that would benefit the Council; any excess revenue generated by the service over the costs of delivering the service had to be returned to Worcestershire County Council. However, there had been years where the service had operated at a financial loss and in those instances Redditch Borough Council had to cover the costs.
Members were advised that the group had proposed five recommendations all of which had been based on evidence gathered during the review. In presenting the group’s recommendations to the Executive Committee one of these recommendations, recommendation 4 in the Task Group’s report, had been presented in two parts; whilst the Executive Committee could determine to send paper copies of the group’s report to the County Councillors representing a division in Redditch, only Worcestershire County Council could decide whether road markings should be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of the Redditch Highways Forum, as proposed by the group.
Following presentation of the report the Chair explained that, at a recent meeting of the Worcestershire Leaders’ Board he had already mentioned the issue of parking enforcement and the need for more Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to be introduced for the zigzag lines located outside schools. There had been general consensus amongst the other Leaders present at the meeting that this would be a suitable subject for further discussion as there was the same problem across the county.
The Committee subsequently discussed the group’s report in detail. The hard work of the group was recognised, and Members welcomed the majority of the group’s findings. Members noted that this was an issue that had implications for all wards, as Members frequently received complaints about problem parking, and action to address this problem could help to enhance community safety.
However, during consideration of this item concerns were raised about the group’s proposal that Redditch Borough Council ... view the full minutes text for item 123.
The Head of Community and Housing Services and the Community Safety Manager presented a report outlining proposed amendments to the Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Policy.
The key aims of the policy were to set out how the Council would tackle anti-social behaviour in the Borough. In many cases, the Council could take action to address anti-social behaviour, but it was not always possible for the Council to respond. The policy introduced a risk assessment that placed the victim at the centre of the process. As part of the process any personal issues impacting on victims could be identified. A reassessment process had also been incorporated into the policy, to occur in the eighth week after the initial intervention, to enable officers to assess the impact that any action taken had had on the reported anti-social behaviour. An equality impact assessment would also be undertaken as part of the process. This would enable officers to identify issues impacting on the perpetrator, though this did not necessarily mean that action would not be taken.
There were various forms of intervention available for Officers to use when handling anti-social behaviour incidents. In the past there had sometimes been a focus on taking legal action. However, in some instances, mediation might be more effective. The choice of action that would need to be taken in response to incidents of anti-social behaviour would need to be assessed on a case by case basis.
After the presentation of the report the following points were discussed by Members:
· The changes that had been made to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy and the legislative basis for these changes. Officers explained that amendments had been made to the policy to enable the Council to make use of powers set out in the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.
· The costs of mediation services that were available for the Council to access and how these costs would be covered. Officers advised that mediation would be available in cases where one of the parties was a Council tenant. The parties concerned would be expected to pay, though it was possible that the Council would have to cover the costs if mediation was considered necessary and the parties concerned were unable to pay.
· The circumstances in which mediation could be useful. Members were advised that anti-social behaviour cases often built up over time until there was an impasse. Mediation could help to address these cases more effectively than legal action and was less financially costly.
· The length of time required for effective mediation and the fact that this would be charged on an hourly basis. Officers advised that, based on consultation with Housing Associations, it had been found that the length of time required for mediation to work effectively varied, though it was likely that the Council would not permit mediation to last beyond two hours.
· The availability of shuttle mediation, whereby the different parties were met by mediators on separate occasions rather than in the same room at the same time. This ... view the full minutes text for item 124.
The ICT Transformation Manager and Portfolio Holder for Leisure, as the relevant lead Portfolio Holder for IT, presented the Members’ ICT and Members’ Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies for the Committee’s consideration.
During the presentation of the report the following matters were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· Elected Members were all offered the opportunity to use ipads for their Council work at present.
· Unfortunately, the functionality of the ipads was limited. This had created difficulties during the recent lockdown as it had impacted on Members’ access to virtual meetings. Members could also not access Microsoft software on their ipads.
· The amended Members’ ICT policy proposed that Members should be offered two options; a Council laptop or Microsoft Surface Pro device or to use their own IT equipment, subject to agreeing to the Members’ BYOD Policy.
· Under the proposals, Members would continue to provide their own broadband access, but the ICT team would provide support in relation to use of the Council’s devices and software.
· All Council devices would need to be PSN compliant and scanning would be required from time to time.
· The cost of purchasing a single laptop would be £400 and a Microsoft Surface Pro device would cost £680 each.
· Additional equipment, such as a docking station to enable Members to view documents on a larger screen, might be required in some cases. These could cost approximately £250.
· The BYOD Policy provided Members with the flexibility to use alternative devices. Initially, as the Council continued to use blackberry software, only android and apple devices could be used under this policy, but when the Council migrated to a different system more alternatives could be used.
· Officers were working on a roll out of Office365 and Microsoft Teams which would provide greater flexibility and functionality for Members in the future.
· Two factor authentication might be required in future, in relation to the BYOD policy, to ensure compliance with security requirements.
· The ICT team would be able to support Councillors in use of the Council’s software but would not be able to assist Members with management of their personal devices.
· Under the BYOD policy, the Council would retain control of Council data accessible from a personal device. Should Members lose the device or cease to be a Councillor, the data would be erased, though no personal data would be removed.
· In cases where a Councillor lost either their Council device or the personal device s/he used for Council business s/he would be responsible for notifying the ICT team so that the data could be erased.
· Any laptops purchased during the lockdown for Members’ use would be paid for using funding from the Council’s Covid-19 budget. This would enable Members to fulfil their responsibilities during the lockdown.
Following the presentation of the report Members discussed a number of points in detail:
· The need for Councillors to be able to access information in a timely manner and to participate effectively in virtual Committee meetings during the lockdown.
· The potential for Members to ... view the full minutes text for item 125.
This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that is due to take place on Thursday, 4th June 2020. Any recommendations made by the Committee on this subject will be recorded in an extract from the minutes of the meeting and circulated for consideration in a supplementary agenda pack.
The Financial Support Manager presented the Discretionary Business Grant Policy for Members’ consideration and in doing so highlighted the following for Members’ consideration:
· The Government had introduced financial support for businesses, including grants for small businesses that were eligible for business rates relief, early in the lockdown for Covid-19.
· By the date of the meeting, £12.6 million grant funding had been distributed by the Council amongst local businesses.
· A number of local business which had been impacted by the lockdown had unfortunately not been eligible for funding under existing schemes.
· The government had recently announced that local authorities would be provided with an uplift, or additional funding, calculated on the basis of 5% of anticipated expenditure in response to Covid-19 by the Council as of 3rd May 2020. Redditch Borough Council had been allocated £724,000.
· This additional funding had been allocated to the Council in order to enable authorities to provide discretionary grant funding to businesses that had been ineligible to apply for grant funding under the previous schemes.
· In order to be eligible to apply for a discretionary business grant businesses needed to be able to prove they had been in business since at least 11th March 2020, had not previously received grant funding related to Covid-19 and the business could not be in administration.
· The government had advised the Council that in the first place a number of small businesses should be prioritised for discretionary business grant funding including; market stall traders, small bed and breakfast providers, Voluntary and Community Sector organisations occupying premises where they were not required to pay business rates and businesses occupying shared premises.
· The Council had also identified businesses locally that, though impacted by the lockdown, had not previously been eligible to receive grant funding. These businesses would be allowed to apply for funding under the discretionary scheme.
· The Council had identified tiers of businesses, in terms of the extent to which certain businesses would be prioritised for funding over others. The Government’s priority businesses would be the first to receive funding followed by other local businesses identified by the Council as in need of financial assistance.
· Following publication of the report a couple of adjustments had been agreed to the policy. This would include explicit reference to the fact that political parties would not be eligible to apply for a grant and funding would be provided to market traders on a pro rate basis.
· The Council would advertise the opportunity for eligible businesses to apply for a discretionary business grant for a set period. Applications would be assessed at the end of that period and then funding provided within five days of the decision.
After the report had been presented Members discussed a number of points in detail:
· The Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s pre-scrutiny of the report, which had resulted in Members noting the report.
· The funding that had been allocated to Redditch Borough Council for the discretionary grant, as Members noted that two separate figures had been quoted in ... view the full minutes text for item 126.
There were no recommendations arising from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that was held on 17th February 2020.
The Committee was informed that there were no outstanding recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that required consideration.
the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 17th February 2020 be noted.
Minutes / Referrals - Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Executive Panels etc.
To receive and consider any outstanding minutes or referrals from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Executive Panels etc. since the last meeting of the Executive Committee, other than as detailed in the items above.
The Chair explained that there were no further recommendations requiring Members’ consideration on this occasion.
Advisory Panels - update report
Members are invited to provide verbal updates, if any, in respect of the following bodies:
a) Climate Change Cross-Party Working Group – Chair, Councillor Brandon Clayton;
b) Constitutional Review Working Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer;
c) Corporate Parenting Steering Group – Council Representative, Councillor Julian Grubb;
d) Member Support Steering Group – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer; and
e) Planning Advisory Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer.
The following updates were provided in respect of Executive Advisory Panels and other bodies:
a) Climate Change Cross Party Working Group – Chair, Councillor Brandon Clayton
Councillor Clayton explained that no meetings of the group had been held during the lockdown, though it was possible a meeting would be convened in the next few months.
b) Constitutional Review Working Party – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
Councillor Dormer advised that a meeting of the Constitutional Review Working Party was due to take place on 14th July, 2020.
c) Corporate Parenting Board – Council Representative, Councillor Julian Grubb
Councillor Grubb informed the Committee that a meeting of the Board had taken place the previous week. During this meeting the primary topic of conversation had been Covid-19 and reference had been made to the specific impact of the outbreak on foster care.
d) Member Support Steering Group – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
Councillor Dormer noted that during the Executive Committee meeting an update had already been provided by Officers in respect of the roll out of Office365 and Microsoft Teams. As a consequence, there was very little information to report to the Member Support Steering Group at this time and consideration would be given to cancelling the meeting of the group that was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 16th June 2020.
e) Planning Advisory Panel – Chair, Councillor Matthew Dormer
Councillor Dormer informed the Committee that no meetings of the Planning Advisory Panel were scheduled to take place.