Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 23rd June, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Angela Brogden (0113 37 886661)  Email: angela.brogden@leeds.gov.uk

Link: to View Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

1.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals against the refusal of inspection of documents.

 

2.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

There were no exempt items.

 

3.

Late Items

 

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no late items.

 

4.

Declaration of Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

5.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Cunningham, with Councillor Garthwaite attending as substitute.

 

6.

Minutes - 31 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 31st March 2022.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 31st March 2022 be approved as an accurate record.

 

7.

Scrutiny Board Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 406 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting the Scrutiny Board’s terms of reference.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that presented the Board’s terms of reference for information.

 

It was noted that functions relating to Civic Enterprise Leeds and CIL, which currently sit within the remit of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board, may be transferred to another Scrutiny Board.  Members were advised that confirmation of any changes made to the Board’s terms of reference would be reported back in due course.

 

RESOLVED – That the Board’s terms of reference be noted.

 

8.

Co-opted Members pdf icon PDF 411 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on the appointment of co-opted members to the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities).

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which sought the Board’s consideration for the appointment of co-opted members.

 

It was noted that the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board has historically considered the appointment of co-opted members on an ad-hoc basis where it has been deemed appropriate.

 

RESOLVED – The Board agreed to consider the appointment of co-opted members on an ad-hoc basis, where deemed appropriate.

 

9.

Sources of work for the Scrutiny Board pdf icon PDF 457 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on potential sources of work for the Scrutiny Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report on potential sources of work and areas of priority within the Board’s terms of reference.

 

The following information was appended to the report:

 

-  The Best City Ambition

-  A summary of the Council’s 2022/23 budget proposals relevant to the remit of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

 

·  Councillor S Arif, Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles

·  Councillor M Harland, Executive Member for Communities

·  Councillor H Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate

·  Councillor M Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Housing

·  Polly Cook, Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality

·  Lee Hemsworth, Chief Officer Community Hubs, Welfare & Business Support

·  Sean Flesher, Chief Officer Parks and Countryside

·  Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities

·  John Mulcahy, Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory

·  John Woolmer, Chief Officer Environmental Services

·  Mandy Sawyer, Head of Housing and Homelessness

·  Adam Crampton, Head of Property Management

·  Tim Rollett, Intelligence and Policy Manager

 

The Chair invited views from the Executive Members, officers and Board Members around potential areas of work for the Scrutiny Board to undertake this year. In summary, the following key areas were highlighted:

 

Ø  Parks and Countryside – Linked to the Board’s commitment to track progress against the new Parks and Green Space Strategy 2022-2032 (provisionally scheduled for the Board’s February 2023 meeting), it was suggested that the Board explores further opportunities to help raise the profile and use of local parks.  Linked to this, the Board particularly highlighted the value of voluntary Friends groups and requested that the current list of known Friends and In Bloom groups be provided for information.

 

Ø  Cemeteries and Crematoria – It was proposed that the Board receives an update on the current Cemeteries and Crematoria Strategy.  Linked to this, Members raised a particular interest around provisions for natural burials.

 

Ø  Safer and Stronger Communities – It was noted that the Board would be receiving a general Safer Leeds update at its July meeting.  It was suggested that this update could reflect matters of particular interest around policing recruitment and training needs and the potential impacts on Neighbourhood Policing Teams, as well as the impact/benefits of the existing PACT meetings. It was also suggested that the Board may wish to maintain an overview of progress relating to the LASBT services following changes made in early 2020 and progress with the new LeedsWatch model.  It was felt that new Board Members would also find it particularly insightful to visit the CCTV control centre.

 

Ø  Migration – Having previously maintained a watching brief of the strategic approach to migration in Leeds, it was suggested that the Board considers the current position with a particular focus around the support being provided to Ukrainian and Afghan refugee families.  In undertaking this piece of work, Members acknowledged the value of inviting representation from across other Scrutiny Boards too.

 

Ø  Sustainable Energy and Air Quality While acknowledging that a broader Climate Emergency update  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Performance Update pdf icon PDF 836 KB

To receive a joint report from the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment and Director of Resources which presents a summary of performance against the strategic priorities for the council and city and other performance areas relevant to the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

Minutes:

The Director of Communities, Housing & Environment and Director of Resources submitted a joint report which provided a summary of performance against the strategic priorities for the council and city and other performance areas relevant to the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

 

·  Councillor S Arif, Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles

·  Councillor M Harland, Executive Member for Communities

·  Councillor H Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate

·  Councillor M Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Housing

·  Councillor D Coupar, Executive Member for Resources

·  Polly Cook, Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality

·  Lee Hemsworth, Chief Officer Community Hubs, Welfare & Business Support

·  Sean Flesher, Chief Officer Parks and Countryside

·  Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities

·  John Mulcahy, Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory

·  John Woolmer, Chief Officer Environmental Services

·  Mandy Sawyer, Head of Housing and Homelessness

·  Adam Crampton, Head of Property Management

·  Tim Rollett, Intelligence and Policy Manager

 

In consideration of the report, the Board discussed the following issues:

 

Ø  Void properties – With regard to the increased numbers of void properties recorded in 2021/22, Board Members discussed the key issues that had impacted the service’s ability to recover to the pre-covid position as well as anticipated improvements moving forward.

 

Ø  Healthy Holidays scheme – Board Members praised the success of the Healthy Holidays scheme which is run in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation, Active Leeds, Catering Leeds and others.

 

Ø  Recycling rates – The Board discussed current performance in relation to recycling rates and in doing so had requested that actual figures, as well as percentage rates, are reflected in future performance reports.

 

Ø  Refuse Service Review – In anticipation of this review being concluded this summer, it was noted that the Scrutiny Board would be given the opportunity to consider the review findings once available.

 

Ø  Woodland Creation – Board Members discussed tree planting activity linked to the council’s plan to plant 50 hectares each year on council land to help mitigate the effects of climate change, benefit pollinators and wildlife and enabling people to connect with nature.  Linked to this, it was suggested that Board Members may wish to visit ‘The Arium’ to see first-hand the positive work being undertaken.

 

Ø  Grounds maintenance – The Board discussed the current initiative to encourage the formation of native wildflower species seed stock within the verge and noted that interpretive signs are being introduced across the city to help communicate the benefits to biodiversity from this approach.

 

The Board was advised that this would be the last report that presents

performance relating to the Best Council Plan priorities. Future reports will be

based on the Three Pillars contained in the Best City Ambition.

 

The Intelligence and Policy Manager explained that a review of performance reporting is currently taking place in light of the recent adoption of the Best City Ambition and that the initial outcomes of this performance review (revised KPIs and proposed changes to the report format) would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 414 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2022/23 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that presented the draft work schedule for the forthcoming municipal year. Reflected in the work schedule were known items of scrutiny activity, such as performance and budget monitoring, as well as other areas of work recommended by the former Scrutiny Board to be pursued in the 2022/23 municipal year.

 

With regard to the other potential areas of work identified during the Board’s discussions, the Chair explained that he would work with the Principal Scrutiny Adviser to consider how best to prioritise and incorporate these into the work schedule with a view to bringing an updated version to the Board’s next meeting for consideration and approval.

 

RESOLVED – That the Chair works with the Principal Scrutiny Adviser to consider how best to prioritise and incorporate the other identified areas of work into the work schedule with a view to bringing an updated version to the Board’s next meeting for consideration and approval.

 

12.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Thursday, 21st July 2022 at 10.30 am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 10.00 am)

Minutes:

Thursday, 21st July at 10.30 am (pre-meeting for Board Members at 10.00 am)