Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny - Thursday, 26th October, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber Town Hall. View directions

Contact: M Sliwinski  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Apologies and named substitutes


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ashley.


Declarations of interest and of Party Whip

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, and any Party Whip.


There were no declarations of interest nor of party whip.


Public Speaking

To invite members of the public who have registered in advance of the meeting to address the Committee. Please note that the deadline to register to speak at this meeting is 12 noon on Tuesday 24th October 2023.



There were no public speakers on this occasion.


Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Garden Waste Service pdf icon PDF 539 KB

This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee (due for publication on Monday 23rd October 2023).


[With the Chair’s agreement item 5 on the published agenda – Pre-Decision – Garden Waste Service – was considered as item 4 at the meeting]


The Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services addressed the Committee to introduce this item and in doing so stated that the provision of Garden Waste Service to residents was a matter the Portfolio Holder had been passionate about, and campaigned, for over a decade and he was pleased that a dedicated Garden Waste Collection Service was finally going to be provided to Redditch residents, subject to approval of the report recommendations by the Executive Committee and Full Council.


The Environmental Services Manager introduced the report and noted that in 2017, Redditch Borough Council commissioned Bromsgrove District Council to use spare capacity within their garden waste service to support Redditch residents by providing a limited service utilising a single vehicle and crew every other week for 20 scheduled collections per year (February – November). This was to gauge the level of interest for the service among Redditch residents.


It was added that in 2021 the Government outlined plans for potential changes to legisltation around Garden Waste including the possibility of making collection of garden waste a statutory service for local authorities. Last week it was announced, however, that the Government was not planning to change legislation on Garden Waste. This meant that the Council would retain discretion over whether to provide the service and whether, and how much, it charged for it.


The proposals were set out as being to purchase one additional refuse vehicle and to recruit three full-time staff to provide a dedicated Redditch Borough Council Garden Waste Collection Service. As the lead in time for purchases of new Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCV’s) were approximately 18 months at the moment, it was proposed that if the Council were to expand the current service, an RCV was hired to support the service from February 2024 until the delivery of the dedicated vehicle. This would necessitate the hire of the refuse vehicle for the 40 weeks of the year that the current garden waste service operated.


The current arrangements cost £49,000 for the provision of the vehicle and staff from Bromsgrove District Council’s service, but generated £88,500 in income, leaving a net benefit to Redditch Borough Council of £39,500 with minimal direct risk. It was estimated that the service with the new arrangements, if agreed, would require 1-2 years to build its customer base to a break-even point (approximately 1,300 additional customers at current pricing levels). This service, however, then had the potential to grow and deliver more significant income for the Council in the longer term.


It was noted that based on the current customer base of 1,800 customers, there was a risk of losing up to £100,000 of revenue in year one as a result of the increased costs and lost income from the service-level agreement (SLA) arrangements. However, a dedicated crew and vehicle would have the capacity to generate higher income over time, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Domestic Abuse - Council Support Provided to Third Sector Organisations pdf icon PDF 318 KB


Members received a paper that set out the support currently provided by the Council (through its grants and schemes) and regional and national bodies including the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, and the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership (NWCSP) to third sector organisations providing domestic abuse prevention services or supported victims of domestic abuse.


It was noted that the paper set out the list of grants provided by one of the above agencies to the third sector organisations, the project details, the grant amount associated with the service, and the geographical area covered by the service as some of the services covered the Redditch area specifically and other services on the list had a wider geographical reach, for example covering the whole of Worcestershire county or the West Mercia police area.


The Portfolio Holder for Community and Housing Services was invited to address the Committee and in doing so thanked the Overview and Scrutiny for deciding to scrutinise this topic. She noted that all Members had a role to play in raising awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse in society, and to work towards reducing its incidence by raising awareness of the issue in local communities and assist and signpost residents towards the support services that were available.


The Portfolio Holder commented that the report provided reassurance that Redditch Borough Council was doing much, in conjunction with partners, to provide support to third sector organisations offering domestic abuse support services. It was vital that all council services had an awareness of recognising signs of domestic abuse issues, and the Portfolio Holder encouraged all Members to undertake the training on recognising signs of domestic abuse.


After the report presentation, the following areas were discussed and considered by Members:


·       Scale of domestic abuse in Redditch – It was noted that domestic abuse was a ‘hidden crime’ with many unreported incidents. It was estimated that victims of domestic abuse would experience 45-50 incidents before coming forward to report the issue to support agencies. Officers estimated that there were hundreds of families impacted by domestic abuse in Redditch Borough.

·       Identifying incidences of domestic abuse from data – Officers reported that domestic abuse was not classed as a crime type in itself. To analyse domestic abuse incidence, reported crime data shared by the police was interrogated by offence type within which some offences would have a marker recorded to indicate that the offence was classed as a domestic abuse case. For example, an incidence of assault with injury could have a domestic abuse marker included. It was noted that this would be recorded by the police officer investigating the crime who would put the marker against that crime. It was noted that for violence with injury offence, domestic abuse was the second highest marker, only behind the alcohol-related marker. For the reason above, however, it was difficult to break down crime data in terms of the number of domestic abuse crimes as a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.


Executive Committee Minutes and Scrutiny of the Executive Committee's Work Programme - Selecting Items for Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the Executive Committee Work Programme (Forward Plan) and it was requested that the following items from that Work Programme be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for pre-decision scrutiny:


·       Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendations

·       Pay Policy 2024/25


It was requested that the following items be added for pre-scrutiny by the Budget Scrutiny Working Group:


·       Council Tax – Discretionary Council Tax Reduction Policy

·       Council Tax – Empty Homes Discounts and Premiums


It was queried by Members, in relation to the Executive Committee item on Council Tax Base and Business Rates Yield 2024-25, whether the Council had scope in relation to setting the business rates yield. Officers present undertook to contact the necessary Officers who would provide an answer before the Committee made a decision on whether it would add this item to its work programme.


RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme be updated with items from the Executive Committee’s Work Programme as detailed in the preamble above.




Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 218 KB


It was requested that the consideration of the overview item on Social Housing Repairs be moved to 19th February 2023 meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


It was reported that the item currently on the work programme relating to the Matchborough and Winyates Regeneration Proposals would be withdrawn from the Executive Work Programme. Members asked for the item the be kept on the Overview and Scrutiny work programme until confirmation of the details with regards to this item had been received.


RESOLVED that subject to changes detailed in the preamble above the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme be noted.


Task Groups, Short Sharp Reviews and Working Groups - Update Reports

a)          Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Kane


b)          Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Holz


c)           Fly Tipping and Bulky Waste Task Group – Chair, Councillor Khan



Updates on the Task Groups and Working groups were provided as follows:


a)    Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Kane


Councillor Kane reported that the next meeting of the Working Group was due to take place on Monday 30th October.


b)    Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Holz


Councillor Holz reported that no meetings of the Group had taken place to date and the next scheduled meeting was due on 4th December 2023. Members of the Group would be contacted shortly about agenda items that could be considered at that meeting.


c)     Fly Tipping and Bulky Waste Task Group – Chair, Councillor Khan


Councillor Khan reported that the Task Group held its first meeting on 24th October with further meeting dates agreed. The actions from the first meeting included the ask for Officers to gather up-to-date statistics on fly tipping incidence in the Borough and compare this with neighbouring authorities. Another action was for Members of the Task Group to formulate questions which could be used in a resident survey on the subject of fly tipping. The third action was for Officers to provide case studies for the next meeting of authorities that had household recycling pop-up centres, for example Birmingham.


RESOLVED that the Task Groups, Short Sharp Reviews and Working Groups Update be noted.


External Scrutiny Bodies - Update Reports pdf icon PDF 421 KB


a)          West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Council representative, Councillor Marshall;


b)          West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Transport Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Council representative, Councillor Marshall; and


c)           Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) – Council representative, Councillor Marshall.

Additional documents:


The Council’s Representative on the external scrutiny bodies, Councillor Marshall, updated the Committee on recent meetings of the following external scrutiny bodies.


a)    West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee


Councillor Marshall reported that she attended a question-and-answer session with the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street. A written update on this would be provided to the Committee at the next meeting.


With regards to WMCA bodies, it was reported that councillors from non-constituent councils were not being remunerated for attending meetings. The workload of a non-constituent members was, however, comparable to that of constituent authority members who, in contrast, were in receipt of annual allowance. It was deemed that given comparable workload for constituent and non-constituent representative councillors, the issue should be raised with the Council’s Monitoring Officer in the first instance for advice. It was clarified that if any remuneration was to be agreed for non-constituent councillors on the WMCA, the payment would come from the WMCA itself.


A question was raised in relation to the benefits of Redditch Borough Council’s representation as a non-constituent member of the WMCA, and the benefits of sending elected member representation to meetings of WMCA’s scrutiny bodies. It was noted that by being a non-constituent member, the Council had an opportunity to bid for some of the funding that was available through WMCA, for example the Homes England funding. There were also issues decided at regional level that had an impact on Redditch, for example in relation to skills training and funding for young people.


Members asked that it be checked which grants provided by WMCA were available to access by its non-constituent authorities such as Redditch Borough.


b)    West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Transport Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Committee


Members were referred to the information contained in the written update report provided in the agenda pack.


c)     Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


Councillor Marshall reported that the following issues were raised at the last HOSC meeting on 11th October 2023:


·       Hillcrest Mental Health Ward - It was noted that the Ward was recently given a ‘poor’ rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). There were actions being implemented to improve the situation. However, it was noted that Hill Crest would not be likely to be used as the facility where patients from Redditch would be placed and the unit would be used for psychological rehabilitation. It was reported that the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust (HWHCT) recently updated the Athelon ward and it was likely that the mental health facility would move there from the current Hill Crest facility. This would reduce the need for HWHCT to outsource beds to Wrexham and would see improvement in the offer to patients. However, it was noted that the bed capacity would be 14 at Athelon ward which still represented a reduction in mental health beds capacity. It was added that specialist treatment might still require patients to be referred to a facility further afield.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

Should it be necessary, in the opinion of the Chief Executive, during the course of the meeting to consider excluding the public from the meeting on the grounds that exempt information is likely to be divulged, it may be necessary to move the following resolution:

“That, under S.100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following matter(s) on the grounds that it/they involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs (to be specified) of Part 1 of Schedule 12 (A) of the said Act”.


These paragraphs are as follows:

Subject to the “public interest” test, information relating to:

·         Para 3 – financial or business affairs;

and may need to be considered as ‘exempt’.



The Committee agreed that exclusion of the press and public was not required for item 11 – Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of 7th September 2023 – as it was agreed that discussion would only concern the accuracy, not the content, of the public and restricted versions of the minutes. Subsequently, when item 11 was under consideration, no discussion took place on any of the content of the restricted minutes record of the meeting of 7th September 2023.


Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of 7th September 2023 pdf icon PDF 480 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 7th September 2023 were considered including the minutes record of the exempt session of that meeting (Minute Item No. 32 – The Town Hall Refurbishment – Final Decision). No information regarding the exempt minutes was disclosed or discussed during consideration of this agenda item.




the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Meeting held on Thursday 7th September 2023 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.