Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 7th March, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House, Honiton

Contact: Susan Howl, Democratic Services Manager  01395 517541; email

No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



There were no members of the public present.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 300 KB


The minutes of the Scrutiny Committee held on 7th February were confirmed and signed as a true record.


Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest



Councillor Roger Giles – Minute 57, Fly tipping

Type of interest – Personal interest

Reason – Involved in RIO in Ottery St Mary


Councillor Stuart Hughes – Minute 57,Fly tipping

Type of interest – Personal interest

Reason – Member of Devon County Council


Councillor Graham Godbeer - Minute 58, Quarterly Monitoring of Performance

Type of interest – Personal interest

Reason – Daughter is the manager of a Job Centre in Minehead


Councillor Pauline Stott - Minute 58,Quarterly Monitoring of Performance

Type of interest – Personal interest

           Reason – Owns a motorhome


Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online



The Chairman stated that an issue had arisen from the meeting of Cabinet the previous evening, and he had accordingly decided that it would have to be raised as a matter of urgency due to the timings of the two meetings involved.

At the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 7 February, four recommendations were referred to Cabinet and discussed on 6 March. At the Cabinet meeting it was resolved that the recommendations would not be accepted. The Chairman said that the final recommendation from Cllr Hughes about a post appeal panel may have been accepted but was not clear.

The Chairman was particularly concerned about the restrictions caused by having a short call-in period.   He stated that at EDDC most of the decisions are made by Cabinet members and Portfolio Holders which is a small proportion of all councillors. Call-ins are an important aspect of the checks and balances within the decision making process and allow other non-cabinet members to participate in the process. They are also a rare occurrence.

Following discussion at Cabinet, Cllr Thomas had suggested that training for Councillors might be helpful.

Scrutiny members were disappointed with this outcome, particularly because call-ins were infrequent.

Cllr Wragg stated that she had initiated the suggestion to have a call-in on the specific issue discussed at the last Scrutiny Committee because she was not getting information and answers to questions she was putting to officers. It was not a trivial matter and involved a potentially large sums of money. The Chief Executive, Mark Williams, had informed those supporting a call-in that it could be discussed at Scrutiny Committee but not called-in.

Cllr Bond stated that the Strategic Lead for Governance & Licensing and Monitoring Officer, Henry Gordon-Lennox, had addressed the issue at Cabinet and stated that the Portfolio Holder decision in the case concerned had been called in correctly, but the amount of money involved was too small to warrant the call-in.

Committee members queried whether the recommendations put to Cabinet and not accepted, could be re-presented and go to Council in order for a debate to be had on the issues raised. Cllr Godbeer suggested that the issue could be discussed at Council if was raised as a called minute.

During the discussion some members wanted the timescale for call-ins to be clarified. Others commented that they had no experience of a call-in since being a councillor and because so few decisions were called-in.

The Chairman stated that he was not confused about the issues relating to call-ins, and considered that the conditions for call-ins were too restrictive. Henry Gordon-Lennox had commented at Cabinet that if the process was extended from five days to ten, it would not be helpful.

Cllr Chapman stated that the message given to members changed throughout the process of dealing with this issue, having initially being told that they were out of time, and then being told by Mark Williams that the call-in was in time. She went on to query that if members supporting the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.



There were no items that officers recommended should be dealt with requiring the exclusion of the public or press.


Decisions made by Cabinet called in by Members for scrutiny in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules

There are no items identified


There were no decisions called in.


Fly tipping pdf icon PDF 259 KB

An update on incidents of fly tipping across East Devon will be provided at the meeting.



The Chairman confirmed that Cllrs Tom Wright and Marcus Hartnell, as Portfolio Holder and Deputy, had been invited to the meeting but were unable to attend.  Cllr Rylance had particularly wanted this issue raised but was also unable to attend the meeting. Andrew Hancock confirmed that he and Cllr Wright had met Cllr Rylance to discuss the issues that she had raised.


The Service Lead for Streetscene, Andrew Hancock, was in attendance and had provided a number of reports which summarised the situation in East Devon and provided comparisons to the national average, as well as enforcement action taken by EDDC.


Andrew Hancock stated that Fly tipping in East Devon is not a large-scale issue compared to the national picture, however, the Council takes pro-active steps to tackle it. The graphs circulated with the agenda papers show that fly tipping levels are low (when compared to the national average. Between 2013 – 2017, the national average was 2700 incidents, whilst EDDC for the same period was 533.), and the overall trend is decreasing. A slight decrease can be seen in both graphs provided.

Andrew explained that the public report fly tips via the Council’s Customer Service Centre. It is then logged onto the LAGAN system for action by the REACT team.

EDDC cleans up fly tips on average within 3 days. Streetscene has a team of five operatives (REACT) who are responsible for all fast road litter picking and fly tipping clearance. They bag any evidence they find and forward it to the Environmental Health team who then investigate and take the appropriate action. The REACT team spends around 40% of its time on fly tipping, costing EDDC approximately £55k p.a.’


Whenever EDDC is able to it takes enforcement action where evidence leads to the perpetrator. The waste offences spreadsheet show how many FPNs have been issued for this. EDDC has taken 75 enforcement actions since 2015, equating roughly to 5%.


If caught, perpetrators are charged for the cost of removing the fly tip. Unfortunately, there is usually little evidence, since fly tips tend to occur in isolated places.  Covert surveillance via RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) is limited, and the ability of Councils to take more enforcement actions are limited legally, for example, by decriminalisation of offences such as littering.


Andrew stated that social media is used to seek the public’s assistance with reporting fly tips, and successful prosecutions resulting in fines result in EDDC issuing a press release. Environmental Health undertake the investigations and enforcement actions.

Cllr Hughes asked about abandoned vehicles which were reported to Devon County Council but required action by district councils.  Andrew confirmed that this was not a big issue for EDDC with approximately 200 incidents each year. Once again, the powers for a Council to deal with them were restrictive. A vehicle is often not abandoned and then EDDC is unable to intervene and it becomes a highways authority (Devon County Council) problem. A vehicle can be determined as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


Quarterly monitoring of performance - 3rd quarter 2018/19 October to December 2018 pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Updates on these performance indicators will be given at the meeting.

Additional documents:


Cllr De Saram wanted to recognise the achievement of delivering quality green space and wildlife habitats alongside new development as an important action which should continue (Council priority 1).

The Chairman brought members attention to performance indicators showing a status of concern.

Under Council priority 4, days taken to process new Housing Benefit claims, members were concerned about the length of time this was taking due to Universal Credit claims taking so long and being handed to the Job Centre to process which had extended the time to about 5 weeks.

Under Service Plan objectives – Priority 4, members were concerned about the Building Control targets which were not currently being met, and the lack of signage in Exmouth for people with motorhomes and campervans to get to off street car parking, due to work done on flood defences.

Cllr Hughes suggested that this latter item be raised at the next HATOC (Highways & Traffic Offences Committee) meeting on 12th March where Cllr Stott represents EDDC.




That this Committee

1.    recognises the achievement of the Council Action under Council Priority 1 – Encouraging communities to be outstanding, by delivering quality green space and wildlife habitats alongside new development, and supports the continuation of efforts to maintain this.

2.    Records its concerns about the delays in processing new Housing Benefit claims which can have a detrimental effect on vulnerable claimants.

3.    Express concerns that Building Control targets have not been met, creating a significant shortfall in the budget, and request information be provided on;

a)    How the target was agreed, and

b)    What will be done to address the issues and increase the annual fee surplus as projected




1.  Refer the matter of signage in Exmouth for people with motorhomes and campervans to the HATOC committee on 12th March 2019 via the EDDC representative, Cllr Stott.


Scrutiny forward plan pdf icon PDF 98 KB


Following the referral of an issue from DMC involving South West Water, they would be invited to attend the next Scrutiny Committee meeting on 4th April. An invitation would also be extended to Ed Freeman in the Planning Service.


Broadband would also be discussed on 4th April and an invite extended to Gigaclear.


The Annual Report would be discussed on 4th April, with themes identified prior to the Annual Council meeting on 22nd May.


The Police & Crime Commissioner would be invited to attend on 4th April and asked to provide updates on the following;

County Lines – relating to drug related deaths within the District

Policing numbers and visibility