Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny - Monday, 8th July, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Oakenshaw Community Centre

Contact: M Sliwinski  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Apologies and Named Substitutes


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Rogers. Councillor Begum attended the meeting as Councillor Rogers’ substitute.


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.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 433 KB

The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 14th March 2024 will be considered at this meeting.


As there was only one Member in attendance who was also an Overview and Scrutiny Member in the last municipal year, the consideration of the minutes was deferred to the next meeting.


Public Speaking

To invite members of the public who have registered in advance of the meeting to speak to the Committee.



There were no registered public speakers on this occasion.


Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Productivity Plans pdf icon PDF 275 KB

This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack once the report has been published on the Executive Committee agenda (due for publication by end of Monday 1st July).


A report on Productivity Plan, which showed how the Council had improved productivity to date and how it planned to improve productivity in the future, was presented for Members’ consideration. It was stated that the Productivity Plan before Members would need to be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – now Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – and published on the Council’s website by 19th July 2024 and would assist Government in understanding what worked well across local government sector as well as identify any gaps.


Redditch Borough Council’s (RBC) proposed Productivity Plan response was covered during the presentation, with some of the points covered regarding Redditch position including:


·       RBC had had a strong shared service with Bromsgrove District Council for 14 years, which delivered large savings by making efficiencies on the use of resources. It was noted that other shared service / function arrangements across Worcestershire authorities also delivered significant savings, with the case of Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) quoted as making savings of £4 million over the last decade due to shared arrangements.


·       The Council had leveraged Towns Fund Funding (£16 million) to regenerate Redditch Town Centre.


·       The Council linked financial and performance monitoring through quarterly reports that were submitted to the Executive Committee and were scrutinised by Budget Scrutiny Working Group (sub-committee of Overview and Scrutiny).


·       Productivity of the Council was also measured and monitored through Members’ corporate dashboard that was available online, a two-tranche Medium-Term Financial Plan process which linked finance to strategic direction, the appointment of a new portfolio holder for performance on the Executive Committee, in addition to service areas methods of operation.


Following the report presentation, Members asked a number of questions to which the following responses were provided:


·       How the Council monitored the success of agile working? – It was stated that Agile Working Policy was introduced by the Council around 15 months ago. The Workforce Strategy Board, chaired by the Chief Executive, managed and monitored agile working implementation on a strategic level. It was noted that the Board was working on developing a suite of agile working performance measures that could be quantified and show progress in this area across Council services. It was reported that service business plans would now be required from each service area, where as part of this the service area needed to demonstrate and quantify performance measures of the service on agile working. It was underlined that ‘agile working’ was different from ‘home working’, with the needs of customers and the business being prioritised.


·       It was highlighted that on the request of the Leader of the Council an all-Member briefing on agile working had been arranged for September 2024 to make all Members aware of the arrangements in this area.


·       Migration of Council data across software systems and ensuring compatibleness and accuracy of legacy data – Officers noted that cleaning of data was one of the main uses of digital tools across the Council with some services holding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Overview and Scrutiny Training Event - Consideration of Items Suitable for Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 236 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered items of business discussed at the Overview and Scrutiny training session in June 2024 that would be suitable for scrutiny in the 2024-25 municipal year.


It was noted that paragraph 3.6 of the report listed items put forward by Members as potentially suitable for consideration at meetings of Overview and Scrutiny. Following discussion, the items that were taken forward to be considered by Overview and Scrutiny in 2024-25 were as follows:


  • Modelling financial implications of various decisions relating to Redditch Library – full report to Overview and Scrutiny meeting


  • Decarbonisation of the Council’s Capital Programme – via a verbal or written update at Overview and Scrutiny meeting


  • Parking Enforcement – Management of Contract – Overview and Scrutiny to scrutinise this item once the Executive report on this subject becomes available


  • Play and Parks Provision – full report to Overview and Scrutiny


  • Review of Health Inequalities – report to Overview and Scrutiny to revisit the outcomes of a previous review of health inequalities undertaken by Redditch Councillors and whether further investigation was required.


·       State of the River Arrow – It was noted that as a main river this was an area under the responsibility of Environment Agency (EA). It was clarified that the issue Members wished to consider were water quality issues along the brooks and streams to the River Arrow, including the impact of invasive species such as Himalayan Blossom on these areas. It was stated that North Worcestershire Water Management (NWWM) had undertaken work on invasive species and the brooks and smaller waterways that came under the Council’s and NWWMs control. This issue was agreed to be considered by Overview and Scrutiny.


The following items were suggested, as per paragraph 3.7 of the report, for consideration by the Task Groups and Working Groups:


·       Road maintenance and cleanliness – to be considered by the Performance Scrutiny Working Group


·       Upkeep of verges – to be considered by the Performance Scrutiny Working Group


·       Aspirations / future for young people including job provision and recreational activities – it was noted that this would be included as part of the remit of the Post-16 Education Task Group, with the terms of reference due to come before the Committee prior to this Task Group commencing with meetings.


With respect of the following items, it was determined these items would be considered via alternative formats to reports at Overview and Scrutiny:


  • Pension fund investment – strategies for divestment from carbon-intensive investments – It was proposed that the Chairman of Pensions Investment Sub-Committee (Worcestershire County Council) should be approached for a briefing paper on the current position.


  • Operation of various tier authorities in Redditch Borough (including County Council – Borough Council joint working) – It was clarified that this did not concern whether to consider options with regard to unitary authority system but concerned cooperation between the County Council and Redditch Borough Council and how the relationship could be improved. It was suggested that before a decision was made on whether Overview and Scrutiny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Executive Committee Minutes and Scrutiny of the Executive Committee's Work Programme - Selecting Items for Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Additional documents:


The Executive Committee Work Programme was submitted for Members’ consideration. It was requested that the following items from the Executive Committee Work Programme be added for pre-scrutiny by Overview and Scrutiny:


·       Update Report on the Town Hall Hub – an extra Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting had been arranged on Thursday 25th July 2024 to pre-scrutinise this report.

·       Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy


It was reported that in relation to the item on Food Waste Business Case and Associated Waste Related Issues, an all-Member briefing was likely to be arranged in September 2024 to consider this in the first instance.


It was noted that finance-related reports on the Executive Work Programme were due to be pre-scrutinised at meetings of the Budget Scrutiny Working Group (sub-group of Overview and Scrutiny Committee).




the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme be updated with items from the Executive Work Programme as per the preamble above.


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

a)          Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst


b)          Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst


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


d)          Post-16 Education Task Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst.



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


a)    Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst


Councillor Warhurst reported that the Group held a meeting on Friday 5th July.


b)    Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst


The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 16th July.


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


The Committee Officer was in the process of reviewing progress to date and agreeing the next meeting date with the Chair and Members of the Task Group. This followed a change in the membership of the Task Group following Borough elections in May 2024.


d)    Post-16 Education Task Group – Chair, Councillor Warhurst


The date of the first meeting would be arranged once the terms of reference for this Task Group had been approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.




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


External Scrutiny Bodies - Update Reports pdf icon PDF 207 KB


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


b)          West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Transport Delivery Overview and Scrutiny – Council Representative, Councillor Munro; and


c)           Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) – Council representative – to be confirmed.


Updates on the meetings of External Scrutiny Bodies were provided by the representatives as follows:


a)    West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Council Representative, Councillor Kane


Councillor Kane reported that a meeting took place on 1st July 2024 and a written report on the meeting was included in the papers for this meeting. The main item on the agenda was the skills scrutiny review. Councillor Kane observed that as a non-constituent authority on the West Midlands Combined Authority, Redditch Council’s powers were limited and Redditch Councillors did not have voting rights at meetings of WMCA.


Councillor Kane explained that in respect of skills for authorities in the wider (non-constituent) area, which did not benefit from WMCA Skills Funding, the main benefit of WMCA was in terms of best practice, which was particularly around construction sector.


The Chair reported that there existed occasional opportunities for non-constituent authorities to access Skills grants and funding from WMCA.


b)    West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Transport Delivery Overview and Scrutiny – Council Representative, Councillor Munro


Councillor Munro reported that he had submitted his apologies for the first meeting of this body, which was held earlier today (8th July). Councillor Munro pointed out that transport arrangements to the venue of this meeting, Summer Lane in Birmingham, were difficult. Councillor Munro reported that the agenda papers contained no items / details that had any implication for Redditch.


c)     Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) – Council Representative, Councillor Kane


Councillor Munro reported that he attended the meeting of this body held today (8th July) as Councillor Kane’s substitute and was granted an observer status. It was highlighted that two matters discussed at the meeting were of direct interest to Redditch.


The first was in relation to the Adult Mental Health Acute Inpatient and Rehabilitation Redesign. It was of concern to Redditch residents due to the Hillcrest Mental Health Unit. It was noted that rehabilitation of mental health patients should take account of the Royal College of Psychiatrists ‘Getting It Right First Time’ Programme which insisted, among other things, on the minimum period of inpatient treatment, that patients should be centre of care and that patients should be treated locally. However, Councillor Munro reported that the decision to close the Redditch local mental health setting, Hillcrest, had nevertheless already been taken, and Hillcrest would close by April 2025.


14 inpatient beds at Hillcrest were to be transferred to the Elgar ward at Worcester Royal Hospital, which Councillor Munro commented, represented to him a further reduction in hospital services in Redditch.


The second matter related to voices of carers and patients, with the consensus reported among Members of HOSC that these voices were not being heard enough. This topic, it was reported, also touched on the large health inequalities which existed within Redditch.




the External Scrutiny Bodies updates be noted.