Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 28 July 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Owen  Democratic Services Manager Email:

Note: See media below to watch the meeting via YouTube 


No. Item


Apologies and substitutions


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Collett and Sheppard-Bools with the substitution of Councillor L Mullaney for Councillor Sheppard-Bools authorised in accordance with council procedure rule 10.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2022.


It was moved by Councillor Williams, seconded by Councillor Pendlebury and


RESOLVED – the minutes of the meeting held on 9 June be confirmed as a correct record.


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 Webber-Jones declared an interest in the item “Job & skills works and sector shortage skills” as he worked in the skills area.


Job & skills work and sector skills shortages

To receive a presentation on the council’s work in partnership, including an update on the Employment & Skills Taskforce.


Members received a presentation about employment and skills which provided information about the Employment and Skills Taskforce, local employment statistics, labour shortages, work underway locally in partnership with other agencies, apprenticeships and the Primary Engineer programmes. A representative of Primary Engineer was in attendance. During discussion, the following points were raised:


·         Whilst the figures showed job vacancies in the borough, there were barriers such as travel due to the rural nature of the borough. It was felt this was a national problem and with rural bus services being cut back even further, the problem would worsen

·         Participation in the Primary Engineer programme could be presented as evidence in an Ofsted inspection – it had been previously commended as a new way of bringing careers-focussed education into schools

·         The need to simplify the qualifications system (for example apprenticeships levies, T-levels) due to its overly complex nature, and the risk of it becoming more complicated with the shared prosperity fund

·         The need to strengthen the relationship between schools and promoting STEM subjects.


Councillor Cope left the meeting at 7.10pm.


In response to questions, it was agreed that more information would be sought on the following matters:


·         The location of job vacancies in relation to the location of unemployment benefit and universal credit claimants to assist members in understanding the reasons for the consistently high number of vacancies

·         Clarification in relation to the definition of those unable to work.


Social housing demand pdf icon PDF 505 KB

To provide updates on social housing demand within the borough, the allocations policy and other considerations impacting the availability of rental accommodation.


Members received an update on current social housing demand and the housing allocations policy. During discussion, reference was made to:


·         The high level of demand for housing and lack of understanding by applicants about the limitations the council has

·         The high number of social housing properties acquired through new developments – it was agreed that data on the number of completions and time taken to let them would be provided

·         The decline in availability of private rented properties, figures for which were requested

·         A report on the cost of living crisis which would come to the next meeting.


Economic Regeneration Strategy 2021 - 2025 pdf icon PDF 414 KB

To provide an update on work to fulfil the aims of the Economic Regeneration Strategy 2021-2025.


The Scrutiny Commission received an update on the work undertaken over the previous year to fulfil the aims of the Economic Regeneration Strategy 2021 to 2025. It was agreed that the action plan and monitoring document would be circulated to members.


In response to a member’s question, it was noted that there may be opportunities within the UK shared prosperity fund to bring forward commercial units.


A member commented that some restaurants within the Crescent development hadn’t looked after the plants outside their units and there was no greenery in the way of trees or hanging baskets. Members were reminded that the site was in private ownership and it was agreed that the conditions on the planning consent would be looked into and comments would be passed back to the owner.


The report was noted.


Heritage Strategy 2018-2023 action plan update pdf icon PDF 443 KB

To provide an update on work to fulfil the aims and objectives of the action plan.


An update on work undertaken to fulfil the aims and objectives of the Heritage Strategy action plan was provided. Members highlighted the importance of heritage and conservation and of ensuring resources remained available.


A member mentioned the Desford Heritage Festival which had been well received in the village and suggested that contact be made with the organisers.


The council’s work on heritage was commended.


Scrutiny Commission Work Programme pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Work programme attached.


During discussion on the work programme, a member reminded the meeting of a previous request to look at preservation of ancient hedgerows. It was reported that a briefing on this had been requested.


Members were updated that the report of the working group reviewing the planning service would be brought to the next meeting.


In response to concerns about cost and availability of fuel for vulnerable people over the winter, it was noted that this would be included in the cost of living report which would be brought to the following meeting. It was requested that any work undertaken be shared with parish clerks and be placed on the agenda for the Parish Forum.


Matters from which the public may be excluded

To consider the passing of a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the public from the undermentioned item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3, 5 and 10 of Schedule 12A of the 1972 Act.


On the motion of Councillor Williams seconded by Councillor Ladkin, it was


RESOLVED – in accordance with section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3, 5 and 10 of Part I of Schedule 12A of that Act.


Crematorium update

To provide an update on the crematorium project.


An update on the crematorium project was provided for members following delays due to ground conditions. It was noted that monitoring was being undertaken. Members asked for a further update at the earliest opportunity and noted the report.