Agenda and draft minutes

Dorset Council - Resources Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 19th August, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: A link to the meeting can be found on the front page of the agenda.. View directions

Contact: Helen Whitby  01305 224187 - Email: helen.whitby@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

42.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Andy Canning.

43.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 2 June 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 June 2020 were confirmed.  The Chairman would sign them at the earliest opportunity.

44.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.

45.

Public Participation pdf icon PDF 25 KB

To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee

from town and parish councils and members of the public.

Please note that public speaking has been suspended during the

Covid-19 crisis. Each question or statement is limited to no more than

450 words and must be electronically submitted to

helen.whitby@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk by the deadline set out below.

 

The question or statement will be read out by an officer of the Council

and a response will be given by the Chairman. All

questions/statements and the responses will be published in full within

the minutes of the meeting.

 

The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or

statement is 8.30am on Friday 14 August 2020.

 

Minutes:

There were no statements or questions from Town and Parish Councils.

 

Public questions from Ms Sarah Carney were received at the meeting.  The questions and response are attached to the minutes.

46.

Urgent items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

47.

Covid-19 Response Update pdf icon PDF 829 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Executive.

Minutes:

Following consideration of a report at its meeting on 2 June 2020, the Committee considered another report by the Chief Executive which provided an update on the Council's continuing response to Covid-19. 

 

Aided by visuals which demonstrated the support provided by Dorset Council, the Leader drew attention to the scale of work undertaken in a short space of time and paid tribute to the immense support provided by both members and officers.  The results of the Committee's previous review had been well received and they were now asked to scrutinise the update report considered by Cabinet on 30 June 2020.  Decisions had been taken quickly as the situation had warranted and it was acknowledged that they might have been different if there had been more time. The financial implications of Covid-19 and climate change would feature within the Council's budget for some time.  Attention was drawn to the fact that there had been no Covid-19 deaths in Dorset for some time and of the cases there were, the majority were not acute.  Dorset had done well compared to other areas and this was attributed to everyone playing their part to prevent spreading.

 

The Chief Executive reminded members that the declared major incident continued despite easing of lockdown.  Many people in the community were still feeling the impact of the pandemic, remained vulnerable and concerned about going out or contracting Covid-19, whilst others were starting to enjoy life again.   Going forward the Council would need to reshape its operations as it moved towards a new "normal".  The day to day impact of Covid-19 had been less in the South West and he too acknowledged the public's contribution to this.

 

With regard to why Weymouth was chosen to house the homeless, it was explained that it was not the only placed used, but where the largest number were housed.  One of the issues was that people in need of temporary accommodation had complex needs and the support agencies they needed access to were centred in Weymouth.  This was not a long-term situation and the Portfolio Holder for Housing was addressing this.

 

One member referred to the £1.3m ‘test and trace’ funding the Council had received and asked what it was for.  The Chief Executive explained the three tiers of the test and trace procedure.  Data on any local outbreaks was received within 24 hours and the funding was so support local test and trace for any such local outbreaks.

 

Attention was drawn to a recent publication from the Institute for fiscal Studies on geographical areas and how they would be affected by Covid-19.  The thesis was that the vulnerability of areas depended on the age of the population, the economy and the number of families living in poverty.  Dorset featured in the bottom 9 in each of these categories.  The Council's response to Covid-19 had been successful and although the infection rate was low and deaths had reduced Dorset was still vulnerable.  In responding to any further outbreaks, it was suggested  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Covid-19 Recovery and Reset Executive Advisory Panel - Methodology pdf icon PDF 335 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of Place.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Executive Director of Place which explained the setting up of the Executive Advisory Panel (EAP), its purpose, scope and method used to identify the priorities for Dorset Council in its planning for recovery and reset.

The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Development and Change explained how the member led EAP had been established, how its terms of reference had been agreed and a forward plan produced.  Several meetings had been held with presentations from directors, members and others on the issues faced by the Council, what had been learned and could be taken forward from the pandemic.  Most of the evidence had been gathered and a final meeting was to be held on 30 September 2020.  A report would then be produced which would identify areas to be further explored by one of the two new scrutiny committees. A light peer review had been agreed with the Leader and Chief Executive and the findings from this would be included in the EAP's report.

 

The Executive Director of Place explained how the national guidance had been used to inform what action could be taken locally for reset.  He had chaired the Local Resilience Forum's Recovery Group which had produced a pan Dorset recovery plan and each of the multi-agency organisations involved had produced their own reset plans. The Council had developed its own plan and the EAP had sought guidance from officers and members with regard to reset priorities.

 

The Covid-19 Recovery Lead explained that the Local Government Association had offered a member and officer panel to carry out the peer review.  This would provide a challenge and external perspective to the Council's recovery work and would take place in September.

 

One member referred to the need to make the Council better able to support businesses quickly and drew attention to the planning process backlog and the effect any delay could have on businesses.  The Executive Director of Place confirmed that the planning application backlog (both validation and decisions) was being targeted to good effect and this was progressively being cleared alongside the determination of other ‘in-time’ applications.  He would provide detailed information outside of the meeting.  Planning performance information is attached to the minutes.

 

The Chairman wanted assurance of the analytical approach to decision-making being taken by the EAP and asked how decisions were being taken on what had worked well and not so well.  The Portfolio Holder for Corporate Development and Change explained that this was based on evidence gathered and that it would be for the scrutiny committee to scrutinise the EAP's work, gather more information if appropriate, and then make recommendations for consideration by the Cabinet and Council.  The EAP had welcomed additional members to meetings and comments from other members on their top five priorities for reset.  He extended this invitation to members of the Committee.

 

Decision

That the approach and method used to analyse and prepare the programme for recovery and reset be noted.

49.

Resources Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To note the Resources Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan.

 

To review the Cabinet Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted

50.

Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business.

Public Participation pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Dorset Councillor's Questions and Responses pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Planning Performance Summary pdf icon PDF 44 KB