Agenda and minutes

Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 5th September, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Blackdown House

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


No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



There were no public speakers at the meeting.


Welcome by Chairman


The Chairman, Councillor Alan Dent, welcomed Councillors and Officers to the meeting. He reported that the priority for Scrutiny was the services provided for the Council and that this was a briefing meeting to form our minds for the budget for the following year 2020/21, for which a meeting would be held in January 2020. This meeting would be chaired by Cllr Nick Hookway, Chairman of Overview Committee.


Declarations of interest

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



Cllr Ian Hall; minute 6; Personal interest, chairman of Cloakham Lawn Sports Centre and Devon County Councillor

Cllr Eleanor Rylance; minute 6; Personal interest; Member of Broadclyst Parish Council



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 the press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.



There were no confidential items.


Service Plan Objectives 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 294 KB

The key objective for each service are set out in the agenda papers.

a)     Property & Estates service plan  Property and Estates Service 10.10am – 10.40am

b)     Governance & Licensing service plan Governance and Licensing 10.40am – 11.10am

c)     Organisational Development  Organisational Development and Transformation 11.10am – 11.40am

d)     Planning Service plan Planning and Planning Policy Service  11.40am – 12.10pm

e)     Regeneration and Economy Economy and Regeneration Services 12.10pm – 12.40pm

f)       Growth Point Team service plan Growth Point Team  12.40pm – 1.10pm


LUNCH 1.10pm – 1.40pm


g)     Streetscene service plan Streetscene  1.40pm – 2.10pm

h)     Environmental Health and car parks service plan Environmental Health and Car parks 2.10pm – 2.40pm

i)       Finance service plan  Finance 2.40pm – 3.10pm

j)       Countryside and Arts service plan Countryside and Arts  3.10pm – 3.40pm

k)     Housing service plan Housing  3.40pm – 4.10pm

Additional documents:


The Chairman welcomed the Strategic Lead Finance to open the meeting with an overview of the budget position in the context of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and the main factors influencing this and future budgets. This showed that if no action was taken the Council would be spending £2.1 m over the monies it had available to it in 2020/21.This funding gap grew each year and in 2023/24 the final year of the new Council the annual gap is £2.7m. It was noted that the Council will take action to reduce its annual expenditure/increase its annual income in order that it can prepare balanced budgets through the term of the new Council.


Members noted that a way forward to bridge this funding gap along the theme outlined previously in the Council’s Transformation Strategy, was to focus on the following areas: commercialisation, an organisation fit for purpose and our ‘careful choices’ strategy.


Finance service plan


Councillor Ian Thomas reported that a balanced budget was important and that the current budget made no account for the cost implications for the carbon reduction initiative. Other comments on the service included the following activities:

·        Transformation Strategy was looking at ways to change the cost shortfall.

·        Fraud and compliance initiatives.

·        Band discount scheme for council tax.

·        Maintain compliance and legality.

·        Audit & Governance function.

·        Treasury management.

·        Importance of Capital Strategy & Allocations Group. This Group had an important function in looking at capital projects.

·        The Budget Working Party – the meeting was needed to provide the right information when looking at capital projects.


Clarification and debate covered:

·       Concern that the CAB budget provision had been reduced by £20k. It was noted that there was currently some duplication where payments were made to the Homemaker service and CAB will be asked to cover off this work going forward to reduce the overall cost to the Council.

·        The Queens Drive Delivery Group had been specifically appointed to deliver the projects at Queens Drive.

·        An annual estimate was made on how much income could be obtained from business rates.


Organisational Development & Transformation service plan


Councillor Jess Bailey reported that the three key things to underpin the service plan were: 1. Evolution of the transformation strategy into a commercialisation strategy.

          2. Next year looking at the ‘careful choices’ campaign to consult on services bearing in mind the economic climate.

          3. Fit for purpose coming through for the transformation strategy.


Karen Simpkin, Strategic Lead Organisational Development reported that the key challenge for the service plan was moving towards a digital East Devon. The first steps had been introduced which would ask customers to enter through a portal. Similar systems were being introduced in Teignbridge and Exeter. Aligned to this was the content on the website. EDDC’s was a big website with a lot of content. The Action Plan was to review this on a monthly basis.


Another element was keeping the show on the road, HR and payroll were important backroom functions which keep the organisation going. There were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Update on iPads

Brief update from Laurence Whitlock, Strata IT Director


The Chairman welcomed Laurence Whitlock, Strata IT Director to the meeting. He updated members on progress on the iPads. The brief had been given to Strata to improve the experience for East Devon iPad users. There had been a 5-6 week testing period of the new environment using selected Councillors. The challenge was to find a way around the issues reported by Councillors. It was felt that many of the problems presented had been overcome and positive feedback had been given by those Councillors in the test group. It was noted that Cllr Ian Thomas had reported a couple of continuing issues.


Laurence Whitlock reported that he was confident that the issues he had been asked to address was now addressed and he hoped to be able to deploy the new environment to the wider Council. He hoped to be able to work with Democratic Services to schedule migration to Councillors alongside the IT Trainer, Clive Newton.