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To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2020.
It was moved by Councillor H Williams, seconded by Councillor Webber-Jones and
RESOLVED – the minutes of the meeting held on 8 October be confirmed as a correct record.
Additional urgent business by reason of special circumstances
To be advised of any additional items of business which the Chairman decides by reason of special circumstances shall be taken as matters of urgency at this meeting.
The chairman asked the Chief Executive to provide an update at the end of the meeting following the announcement in relation to Covid-19 that Hinckley & Bosworth would be in tier 3 from 2 December.
Declarations of interest
To receive verbally from members any disclosures which they are required to make in accordance with the Council's code of conduct or in pursuance of Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This is in addition to the need for such disclosure to be also given when the relevant matter is reached on the agenda.
Councillor Lynch, whilst not a member of the Scrutiny Commission but in attendance as Executive member, declared that he was president of the Leicestershire & Rutland Youth Sailing Association which was a beneficiary of grant funding (item 6 refers).
Councillor Ladkin entered the meeting at 6.39pm.
To update members on outcomes arising from the 2018/19 round of Voluntary & Community Sector Commissioning.
Members were updated on the outcomes arising from the 2018/19 round of voluntary & community sector commissioning. During discussion, reference was made to:
· The fantastic work undertaken within the borough by the voluntary and community sector
· The increasing importance in the role of the sector in the current times and into the future due to pressures created by the coronavirus pandemic
· The ongoing relationship of the council in working with and supporting key voluntary organisations to enable access to emergency food
· The value of the work in relation to the funding provided and the need to retain this, particularly given the need to support residents in the current time and through future pressures
· The number of voluntary organisations and local volunteer groups that have been able to continue or adapt their support without requiring additional funding
· The need to look at how voluntary organisations have fared and whether they have been able to secure external funding during the difficult times in 2020.
(i) The hard work of the voluntary & community sector in the borough be welcomed;
(ii) A message of thanks be passed to the groups within the sector;
(iii) The importance of retention of support for the voluntary & community sector be emphasised to the Executive
(iv) The Executive be RECOMMENDED to consider increasing investment in the voluntary and community sector.
To present the refreshed Rural Strategy for the borough.
The Scrutiny Commission received the refreshed Rural Strategy for the borough. During discussion and in response to questions, the following points were raised:
· The need to demonstrate within the report how the issues raised would be taken forward. It was noted that not all actions were for the borough council to address, but would be looked at in partnership with the relevant body or would be facilitated
· Dialogue would continue with parishes
· Priorities would continue to be assessed and themes would be identified.
Councillor H Williams left the meeting at 7.16pm.
RESOLVED – the report be endorsed and RECOMMENDED to Council.
To present the review of PCIF and HCIF grants.
Consideration was given to a report which reviewed the current parish & community initiative and Hinckley community initiative funds, updated on progress of the current year’s scheme and proposed improvements to the scheme.
It was noted that the two schemes would be merged in order to administer them together and Members were assured that the funding for the schemes would not be reduced directly as a result of being merged.
In response to a member’s question, it was noted that there was provision to carry funding over should a project not be able to be completed in the current year due to restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some Members expressed concern about the change in name to the “Community Initiative Fund” as it was felt that it was important for the rural areas to have a clearly identified scheme. It was explained that this was for administration purposes and so a single source of information could be produced for both schemes.
Concern was also expressed about the proposal that funding for projects in Hinckley would be funded from the general fund rather than the special expenses area budget as was currently the case, however some members felt that as the parish scheme was funded by the general fund, so should the Hinckley scheme be.
It was suggested that the Hinckley scheme may previously have been less well-used as it was not as well known or promoted in the same way as the Parish & Community Initiative Fund but also acknowledged that such schemes take a few years to become embedded and for communities to be aware of them.
(i) It be RECOMMENDED that the identities of the two schemes be retained whilst streamlining the administration;
(ii) Other changes recommended within the report be supported;
(iii) The change in timetable be supported.
Covid-19 tier allocations
The Chief Executive provided an update following the announcement that the borough would be in tier 3 from 2 December and explained the implications of this for residents and businesses. Concern was expressed about being grouped as part of Leicestershire in the allocation of tiers and there was uncertainty about whether the borough could be separated from the rest of the county, should the number of cases reach a sufficiently low point to enable de-escalation in tier.
It was noted that support for residents and businesses would continue, but that the majority of government funding to support the local response to the coronavirus was allocated to county councils and not cascaded to borough and districts.