Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 19th February, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Contact: Stephanie Davis
020 8726 6000 x84384  Email:

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2019 as an accurate record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.


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 was none.


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 urgent items of business.


Grounds Maintenance Service pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To receive a report and hold a discussion on the current position of the contract which has been brought back in house.

(Report to Follow)


The Sub-Committee received a report set out in the supplemental agenda which provided an update on the decision to bring the Grounds Maintenance service back in-house from 1 February 2019.

The report was introduced by the Head of Environment who advised the Sub-Committee that following the decision to bring the Grounds Maintenance back in-house, the Council was taking steps to ensure that all the staff who transferred over from the previous contractor Idverde, were being paid the London Living Wage. A benefit of managing the service in-house, was that it would allow greater flexibility to meet the standards expected by the public.

Following the introduction, the Sub-Committee was given the opportunity to ask questions about the service. The first question concerned the decision to bring the service back in-house and whether there had been any particular concerns about the performance of the previous contractor. In response it was advised that the nature of the previous contract, with a cap on the total budget available to deliver the service, together with a detailed specification of the work required had meant that in practice it was very difficult for the contractor to deliver without operating at a loss.

As the service being provided by the contractor had not met the expected standard, it was questioned what steps had been taken to address the issues. It was advised that financial penalties were levied against the contractor for not achieving the standard set out in the contract. It was highlighted by a Member that in applying financial penalties, it would have made the service even less financially viable for the contractor, which was acknowledged. 

The Sub-Committee was advised that many of the complaints from the public about the service related primarily to grass cutting and the emptying of bins in parks. It was suggested by Members that the decision of the contractor to delete the Park Ranger role and incorporate it into a broader park maintenance role may have helped to contribute towards the issues.

Despite the difficulties experienced with the contract it was emphasised that the contract had come to its natural end, rather than being terminated early.  In light of the contract coming to an end an assessment was undertaken on the different options for the service going forward. This included in-house delivery, partial in-house with certain services out sourced and going back to market for a contractor to deliver the service in full. From the analysis it was clear that the cost would be approximately the same to deliver the service in-house as going back to the market. As such it the decision was taken to bring the service back in-house as it offered the Council a greater degree of flexibility on service delivery.  A request was made for information on the business case for bringing the service back in-house to be shared with the Sub-Committee.

As it was noted that the initial preparation work for changing the delivery of the Grounds Maintenance service had started in early 2018, it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/18


Trams Update pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To receive an update on action that have been put in place and review responses to recommendations made at the meeting of 20 March 2018 on Tram Safety and Future proposals.


In attendance will be Mark Davis, General Manager London Tramlink

Jackie Townsend Managing Director and Ben Groome Operations Manager, Trams Operation LTD

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee received a report set out on pages 17 to 46 of the agenda, which provided an update on the improvements made to passenger safety following the tram derailment in November 2016.

In attendance at the meeting for this item was:-

·         Jackie Townsend – Managing Director, Tram Operations Limited

·         Mark Davis – General Manager, Transport for London – London Trams

The Sub-Committee received a presentation from Jackie Townsend on the performance of the tram network in Croydon and the steps that had been taken to improve safety following the derailment. During the presentation the following was noted:-

i.      The investigation into the tram derailment was still ongoing.

ii.    The tram system was accessible for all without assistance. With space available for mobile scooters and buggies. Going forward further consideration would need to be given to the provision of bicycle storage.

iii.   The service regularly achieved near 99% performance on a daily basis, with only a noticeable drop during the Ampere Way fire which had effected the service for over a week.

iv.   The majority of issues with the trams in Croydon arose from road traffic accidents. When incidents occurred, Trams Operations Limited worked with both the Metropolitan and Transport Police to clear the route as quickly as possible.

v.    Following the tram derailment, an emphasis had been placed on improving the competency and expertise of drivers with more assessors and trainers employed along with enhanced safety guidance being provided to staff.

vi.   Changes had been made to the staff rosters to ensure they were more fatigue friendly. From April a system of five day rosters would be introduced, down from seven day roster system used at present.

vii.  The Guardian device, new equipment designed to quickly identify driver fatigue through monitoring the eyes, nose and mouth area of drivers had been introduced. The device caused the driver chair to vibrate, sounded an alarm and send notification to a control centre if the driver’s head dropped or looked in the wrong direction for a length of time.

viii.Trams Operations Limited was the first tram company in the UK to install the Guardian device. Other public transport providers were now looking at introducing it.

ix.   Aligned with the new equipment, a fatigue management procedure had also been introduced to support drivers to manage any fatigue related issues. Managers and supervisors had been taught how to ask staff questions about fatigue and all staff understood what fatigue was and were able to identify the signs.

x.    Enhanced customer training had been introduced to ensure that staff looked after the wellbeing of customers.

xi.   Following the derailment, there had been engagement with staff at all levels of Trams Operations Limited and a process had been put in place to report back to staff after issues had been raised.

xii.  All the improvements introduced had led to an improved relationship with the Trade Unions. New uniforms had been provided for staff and the mess rooms at the depot and the tram link shop  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/18


Utilities pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To receive reports and discuss water resource, managing leakages, and updates on adverse weather on water supply from Thames Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water LTD.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee received a report set out on pages 47 to 62 of the agenda, which provided an update from SES Water and a presentation from Thames Water. The updates provided focussed on water resource, managing leaks and managing the effect of adverse weather upon water supply.

In attendance at the meeting for this item were:-

·         Alice Keeping, Local Government Liaison- Thames Water

·         Danny Leamon, Head of Metering - Thames Water

During the presentation from Thames Water, the following points were noted. A3

i.      2018 was the joint hottest summer on record and had required Thames Water to pump and additional 450 million litres of water into the network.

ii.    Although Thames Water usually tried to avoid asking customers to limit their water usage, they had to in 2018 in those areas that were particularly effected by low water levels. There was a drive to encourage customers to provide mobile numbers to enable Thames Water to communicate more effectively during dry periods.

iii.   Predicted demand for water across the area covered by Thames Water was an average of 2,500 million litres a week. This took into account the variance for seasonal demand, with projections modelled on both a short and long term basis.

iv.   The source of 70% of the water used by Thames Water customers came from rivers, with the rest supplied by underground sources and boreholes. 

v.    There had been below average rainfall for 8 of the last 13 months. Rain was needed to allow the opportunity to put water back into reservoirs, which were currently 90% full. January and February had been dry, which was not good in terms of preparation for summer and it was hoped that rainfall would be closer to average over the next  couple of months to make up for this.

vi.   Croydon was very similar to the rest of London, with 50% of its water supply coming from the River Thames and the rest from underground water sources which were located in Waddon, Russell Hill, West Wycombe and Addington. Thames Water was continuously undertaking maintenance on its infrastructure to ensure that it was reliable for summer.

vii.  Action being taken by Thames Water to manage demand included the offer of smart meters for homes which was now being extended to businesses. There was enhanced modelling in place for extreme weather events and improved support for vulnerable customers during any such events. Thames Water also worked hard to reduce leakages and ensured that there was resilience in the potentially vulnerable areas of the system.

Following the presentation the Sub-Committee was given the opportunity to question the representatives from Thames Water on their service delivery. The first question related to the role out of water meters to all residential properties, with it highlighted that correspondence had been received advising residents that it would be happening in the local area, but to date there had not been any evidence of this work taking place. In response it was highlighted that the installation of water meters  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15/18


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To note the Work Programme for the remainder of 2018/19 municipal year.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee received a report, set out on pages 63 to 66 of the agenda on its work programme for the remainder of 2018 – 2019.

It was noted that the next meeting of the Sub-Committee would be held on 19 March 2019 and would be focussed on a review of the Private Housing Sector in the borough. Prior to the meeting a briefing on the topic had been arrange for Members at 6.30pm on 6 March 2019.

The Sub-Committee resolved that the Work Programme be noted.



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 needed.