Agenda and minutes

Overview Committee - Thursday, 27th June, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House, Honiton

Contact: Debbie Meakin  01395 517540 email


No. Item


Public Speaking

Information on public speaking is available online.


There were no questions raised under this item.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 281 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on the 28 March 2019 were confirmed as a true record.


Declarations of interest

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


Minute 6. Annual report of the Overview Committee 2018 - 2019.

Councillor Ian Hall, Personal, Devon County Councillor for Axminster Division.


Minute 8. Overview Forward Plan.

Councillor John Loudoun, Personal, Councillor for Sidmouth Town Council.

Councillor Marcus Hartnell, Personal, Shop owner in Seaton.



Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online.


There were no matters of urgency.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including press) have been excluded. There are no items that officers recommend should be dealt with in this way.


There were no items classified in this way.


Annual report of the Overview Committee 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

The report sets out the work covered by the Overview Committee in the last civic term.


The Chairman read out the Annual Report of the Overview Committee 2018 – 2019 and took questions.


Issues in that report that were highlighted as of interest to members and to be further considered included:


·         More information and progress on the GESP was required;

·         Circulate slides on forthcoming Firmstep software implementation;

·         Undertake further work on poverty and look locally too as well as take part in the Devon wide initiative as part of the Devon Strategic Partnership Welfare Task Group.  The committee agreed to invite that Group to a future meeting to provide an update;

·         Continue the work started in the previous term on climate change, looking at what could be done locally and seeking clarification on how and to what level targets could be brought forward. It was reported that a report “Climate Change Emergency – Our Response” was before the Cabinet on 10 July 2019.


Further discussion on future work for the Committee, prompted in part by the report, took place under minute 8 Overview Forward Plan.



That the Devon Strategic Partnership Welfare Task Group be invited to attend a future meeting of the Overview Committee.


Brief outline of scoping issues pdf icon PDF 10 KB

The Democratic Services Officer will present the principles of scoping issues to the committee.


The Democratic Services Officer briefly outlined the scoping template currently used by both the Overview and Scrutiny committees in determining how a topic would be handled by that committee.


The criteria covered:

·         Broad topic area;

·         Specific elements of that area;

·         What isn’t included, to make expectation clearer;

·         Desired outcome that Councillors want to reach;

·         Who should be consulted for evidence gathering;

·         What evidence and data already exists that can be reviewed – including work carried out by other authorities;

·         What experts to the committee need to hear from;

·         How the work is handled – by committee meeting, or through smaller task and finish groups that can incorporate other Councillors;

·         Timescale.


The scope was agreed to use as it stands, but may be considered for review in the future.


Overview Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 68 KB

An opportunity to review the current issues planned for scoping and adding to the work of the Committee.  Suggestions are welcomed from committee members to add to the current plan.


The current forward plan of work for the committee includes:


Work already allocated

·         Review of draft drone policy for 25 July 2019

·         Previously planned public toilet review for 25 July 2019 had been pulled by officers, as the report was still under preparation and due to go to Cabinet in September, which may lead to referral to Overview on some aspects of that review later in the year

·         New Council Plan on 29 August 2019

·         Joint meeting with the Scrutiny Committee on 5 September 2019 on service plans, and again on 15 January 2020 on the service plans and budget for 2020/21

·         Economic Development update report on 14 November 2019


There was debate on the review of public toilets, both in terms of the controversy it would attract, and the impact that any public toilet closure would have on both residents and visitors.  The need for a clear equalities impact assessment was also stressed.  The committee were in agreement that there must be debate at Overview committee before any decisions were made by the Cabinet, because of the potential scale of impact on the District as a whole.


Advice was given to the Committee that the committee cycle as it stood meant that the minutes (and therefore any recommendations) would not be before Cabinet until their next scheduled meeting in September.  Options therefore were for the Chairman to ask the Leader if he could address the Cabinet with this request at their meeting on the 10 July, or request that the minutes are taken as a matter of urgency at that meeting on the 10 July.  Any matter of urgency has to be agreed by the Leader.


Work not yet allocated or scoped:

·         Natural Capital in the Heart of the South West document

·         Business case for increase in community engagement officers – this fell under the remit of the Housing Review Board, where the issue had already be raised, but could also be monitored by the Overview Committee as part of its review of the service plans;

·         Review of Governance Arrangements (committee structure/Cabinet and Leader model) – a report was going to the 10 July Cabinet recommending that the Overview undertake this work, working with the Portfolio Holder for Transformation think tank on the topic.  In response to a question, the Chairman advised that the objective was to look at the models of governance available and debate what best suited the Council as it stands now.  The review would be mindful of any legal restrictions on models, and look to seek views of other authorities with their experiences of the different models.

·         Select Committee report on Coastal Town Regeneration

·         Select Committee report on Rural Economy

·         Review out of hours telephone system provided by the council for residents and tenants – the Portfolio Holder for Environment had raised this issue with the Chairman, as he had experienced a poor response to a call but also felt that the system had not been reviewed for some time and therefore should be considered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.