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Contact: Simon Trevaskis
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Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were no disclosures of interest made at the meeting.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
To consider and respond to the Call-In in accordance with the procedure set out in the Council’s constitution.
The Chair of the Scrutiny & Overview Committee, Councillor Sean Fitzsimons introduced the Call-In item, outlining the key decisions that were to be reviewed at the meeting and highlighting that there had been a separate key decision relating to emissions-based parking charges published on 18 December, which the Committee may also wish to consider submitting a separate call-in, to provide additional scrutiny of those particular decisions.
The Chair explained the process for considering a call-in confirming that the Committee needed to agree whether to review the decision and if it decided to proceed, confirm how much time it wished to allocate to discussing the item. The Committee agreed that it would review the decision and allocated one hour to the consideration of the item.
The Chair went on to explain that there were three outcomes that the Committee could reach as a result of the review. These were:-
1. That no further action was necessary and the decision could be implemented as originally intended.
2. To refer the decision back to the decision maker for reconsideration, outlining the nature of the Committee’s concerns
3. To refer the decision to Council, if the Committee considered that the decision taken was outside of the Budget and Policy Framework.
Councillor Gareth Streeter as one of the signatories of the call-in was given the opportunity to explain the reasons for calling in the Parking Charge Review January 2021 and to highlight to the Committee areas they may wish to consider. It was noted that the reasons for making the call-in included the need to gain reassurance that parking charges were not being used as a means to increase revenue, to gain reassurance that the potential impact on local businesses had been understood and also to ensure that there was an opportunity to publically debate the proposed new charges, with concern expressed that the size of the increase was not in keeping with previous increases.
The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon, Councillor Muhammad Ali, along with council officers, was in attendance at the meeting to address the call-in and answer any questions arising.
Prior to answering questions from the Committee, Councillor Ali was provided with the opportunity to give a response to the call-in. It was outlined that climate change and air quality were key policy drivers at both a local and national level. The proposed increases had been developed alongside emission-based parking charges, as a mechanism for encouraging people to use more sustainable modes of transport and lower car usage. As the proposals had been in development since early 2020 and prior to the Section 114 Notice being issued, the Council’s financial position had not be a consideration in the development of these proposals.
Following the response by the Cabinet Member, the Committee was given the opportunity to question the proposals. The first question asked whether there was any evidence to indicate that increasing parking charges had a direct correlation with lower vehicle usage and how the impact from the new charges would be quantified ... view the full minutes text for item 51/20
The Committee is recommended to:
1. Consider and review the Cabinet report and the Action Plan;
2. Consider any proposed amendments or feedback that it wishes to make on the action plan; and
3. Submit that feedback in a report to Cabinet at its meeting on 18 January 2020.
The Committee considered a report setting out the findings of the Strategic Review of the Council’s Companies conducted by PwC, along with an action plan providing the Council’s response to these findings. The Committee was asked to review the action plan, with any conclusions or recommendations due to be reported to the Cabinet for further consideration on 18 January 2021.
Prior to discussing the action plan, it was highlighted that a number of the actions had deliver dates in December and January, and at the time of the Committee meeting these remained on target. A report providing an update on the action plan was due to come to the February cycle of meetings, along with the findings from the second stage of the review. The second stage would include options for the future of the Council’s housing development vehicle, Brick by Brick. The Council had recently appointed two new Directors to the board of Brick by Brick, who were in the process of implementing actions regarding governance arrangements.
It was clarified that where recommendations had been marked as ongoing, this was due to either other actions being required to facilitate their delivery or the appropriate processes were being put in place. As a follow up, it was questioned how the various actions in both this review and others, would remain visible. It was confirmed that there was a master list of recommendations, with a process underway to rationalise these as many overlapped with each other.
For the first stage of the discussion the Committee was given the opportunity to ask clarifying questions. In response to a question about those responsible for defining the scope of the review, it was confirmed that it had been commissioned by the Cabinet in September 2020. The scope of the report had been set by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Executive Director for Place and had been informed by the Report in the Public Interest (RIPI).
It was questioned why the future of Brick by Brick had not been included in the review, as it was dependent on funding from the Council. It was advised that the initial scope of the review had been to focus on what was wrong with Brick by Brick and the Council’s governance, to gain an understanding of the potential risks to the Council. The second phase of the review, which was due to report in February 2021, would be looking at the options for the future of company.
It was confirmed that Brick by Brick had cooperated with the review, including allowing the appointment of a third party quantity surveyor and had provided all the financial information it was able to provide. The options in the second phase of the review would include the potential cost for building out or not, what could be recovered from sales and how much it would cost the Council to deliver these options.
It was highlighted to the Committee that both the Strategic Review and the RIPI report had made recommendations ... view the full minutes text for item 52/20
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This motion was not required.