Agenda and minutes

Informal, Communities & Housing Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 17th January, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Webcast - Remote Meeting. View directions

Contact: Damian Eaton  (0161 474 3207)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 225 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The notes of the Meeting of Members of the Communities & Housing Scrutiny Committee held on 22 November 2021 were approved as a correct record.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests which they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.


The following interests were declared:-

 

Personal Interests

 

Councillor

Interest

 

 

Malcolm Allan and Matt Wynne.

Agenda Item 12 – ‘Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes’ as a member of Life Leisure.

 

 

Matt Wynne

Agenda Item 6 – ‘Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget and Rent Levels for 2022/23’ as the owner of a shared ownership home with Stockport Homes.

 

Officers

 

Officer

Interest

 

 

Jennifer Connelly

Agenda Item 12 – ‘Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes’ as the chair of the Stockport Active CIC.

 

 

Mark Glynn and Paul Richards

Agenda Item 12 – ‘Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes’ as directors of Life Leisure.

 

3.

Exclusion of the Public and the Public Interest Test

To consider whether it is in the public interest to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the following item:

 

Item

Title

Reason

 

 

 

12

Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes

Category 3 ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority)’ as set out in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That in order to prevent the disclosure of information which was not for publication, the disclosure of which would not be in the public interest, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any of the exempt information in Agenda Item 12 – ‘Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes’.

4.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-in items to consider.

5.

Responding to our Medium-Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To consider a joint report of the Cabinet Members for Inclusive Neighbourhoods and Sustainable Stockport.

 

The Cabinet has previously set out its approach to responding to the opportunities, challenges and uncertainty outlined within the review of the medium-term financial plan at its meeting on 21st September 2021. This was shared for further discussion and comment with scrutiny committees in October 2021.

 

Following these discussions further development of proposals have been undertaken and these are now being shared again with Scrutiny for comment and consideration.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is requested to comment on the proposals within the four business cases alongside feedback from consultation and equalities analysis.

 

Officer contact: Holly Rae on 0161 474 3014 or email: holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an update on the Cabinet’s proposed approach to responding to the opportunities, challenges and uncertainty outlined within the review of the medium-term financial plan presented at the Cabinet meeting on the 21 September 2021.  The Scrutiny Committee was provided with an opportunity to make initial comments on the proposals at its meeting in October 2021.  Following these discussions further development of proposals have been undertaken and these are now being shared again with the committee for comment and consideration.

 

The Cabinet Members for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) and Inclusive Neighbourhoods (Amanda Peers) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         The removal of the proposal in relation to school crossing patrol services in this latest iteration of the report was welcomed.

·         It was confirmed that no changes were proposed to the waste collection regime as part of the ‘TLC public realm’ proposals .

·         Concern was expressed in relation to the proposal to remove the area committee’s delegated budgets that currently allowed local councillors the opportunity to determine spending priorities for their own wards. 

·         The Delegated Budget allowed councillors to quickly react to concerns from local residents rather than having to wait to identify and secure funding from other sources

·         In response, it was stated that there remained significant underspends within the budget which may demonstrate that the current process might not represent the most efficient way of allocating funding for minor projects.

·         It was suggested that further work should be done to identify why some wards had accrued more funding than others within their budgets.

·         It was suggested it was unfair to justify the removal of the Delegated Budget on the basis they had not been fully allocated when area committees were asked to pause requests for new schemes over the summer.

·         It was acknowledged that there was pressure within the highways service to deliver the totality of the schemes requested by members.

·         While it was stated that councillors would still be able to initiate new schemes concern was expressed that there was not a clearly identified process for how such requests would be prioritised or what funding sources would be available.

·         It was noted that there was an item that was due be considered by the Scrutiny Committee later on the agenda (agenda item 9) that aimed to put in place a process by which schemes and initiatives at the local level could be co-ordinated more strategically through the development of neighbourhood transport plans.

·         It was suggested that there was an increased risk through these proposals that local priorities would be kept in abeyance as there would not be a budget earmarked to deliver them.

·         Members commented that local councillors and officers from the highways service worked well together to deliver and respond to the needs of local residents.

·         It was suggested that the online consultation on the proposals in the MTFP was not always intuitive with proposals for the Delegated Budget being found under the ‘governance’ section of the consultation.

·         The proposals in relation to charges for residents parking permits was considered to be broadly acceptable and constituted an equitable approach to the current variation in the status of schemes across the borough.

·         The charges for residents parking permits were reasonable in the context of the benefit derived and could be justified in terms of the cost of providing the scheme and its enforcement.

·         A strategic approach to vacancy management needed to be implemented and would not always be appropriate to see every vacancy as a saving opportunity with consideration needing to be given the demands of the service.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

6.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget and Rent Levels for 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 571 KB

To consider a joint Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive (Section 151 Officer).

 

The purpose of this report is to provide the Scrutiny Committee with the opportunity to comment on an illustrative Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget. The Cabinet will be meeting on 1 February to recommend to Council a HRA budget for 2022/23, including the level of rent and service charges.  The illustrative budget is based on a number of key assumptions set out in the report regarding income from rent and service charges; expenditure commitments contained within the HRA 30 year Business Plan and Asset Management Strategy and indicative spending requirements to support inflationary pressures and identified investment priorities.

 

This report takes account of the HRA Rent Strategy 2020 - 2025 which was approved by the Cabinet on 20 August 2019.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to comment on the report and the illustrative HRA Budget for 2022/23. 

 

Officer contact: Michael Cullen  on 0161 474 4631 or email: michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with the opportunity to comment on an illustrative Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget. The Cabinet will be meeting on 1 February to recommend to Council a HRA budget for 2022/23, including the level of rent and service charges.

 

The illustrative budget was based on a number of key assumptions set out in the report regarding income from rent and service charges; expenditure commitments contained within the HRA 30 year Business Plan and Asset Management Strategy and indicative spending requirements to support inflationary pressures and identified investment priorities.

 

The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         The acknowledgement that the proposed increases would be difficult for some people was welcomed.

·         The comparator housing associations referenced within the report had been selected either because they had operations in the borough, or because they had a broadly similar property portfolio as Stockport Homes.

·         It was noted that those tenants in receipt of housing benefit would see the amount of such benefit increased to cover the additional cost.

·         It was noted that other providers in the borough may choose to increase their rent levels as well, but this was beyond the control of the council.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

7.

EPC Ratings On New Residential Developments pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To consider a report of the Director (Place Management).

 

At its meeting on 22 November 2021, whilst considering the CAN report, the Chair of the Communities and Housing Scrutiny Committee requested that further information on EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) be provided.

 

This report provides the information requested together with an analysis and explanation of the results.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer contact: Andy Kippax  on 0161 474 4319 or email: andy.kippax@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing further information on EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) that had been requested by the committee at its meeting on 22 November 2021.

 

The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         It was commented that EPC ratings were largely focused on the cost of energy rather than other targets set by the council such as carbon reduction.

·         There was insufficient work being done nationally to address issues of poor EPC ratings in private rented accommodation.

·         There were a significant number of very poorly rated owner occupied properties.

·         Government funding was available to address properties with low EPC ratings, however there was often no follow-up assessment undertaken of the property meaning that the data available to the council was out of date.

·         Properties with electric heating received disproportionately poorer EPC ratings compared to those with gas central heating.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

8.

Fair and Inclusive Stockport - Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider a joint report of the Director of Public Health and Corporate Director (Corporate and Support Services) & Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the actions being taken by Stockport Council and partners to tackle inequality. The report gives an overview of the inequalities picture in Stockport and the impact of COVID-19 has had on these inequalities. 

 

The report also summarises some of the main national and Greater Manchester reviews of inequality, the recommendations made by these reviews and how Stockport’s approach to tackling inequalities responds to these recommendations.

 

Finally the report also sets out the outputs from work that is being taken forward to develop our Fair and Inclusive Framework and delivery plans.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer contact: Kirsteen Roe on 0161 474 3376 or email:  kirsteen.roe@stockport.gov.uk or Jennifer Connolly on 0161 474 2442  or email: jennifer.connolly@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Public Health submitted a joint report of the Director and the Corporate Director (Corporate and Support Services) & Deputy Chief Executive providing an overview of the actions being taken by Stockport Council and partners to tackle inequality. The report gave an overview of the inequalities picture in Stockport and the impact of COVID-19 has had on these inequalities along with a summary of some of the main national and Greater Manchester reviews of inequality, the recommendations made by these reviews and how Stockport’s approach to tackling inequalities responds to these recommendations.

 

The Cabinet Member for inclusive Neighbourhoods (Councillor Amanda Peers) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         The report highlighted the huge amount of work that needed to be undertaken to reduce the gaps between the most polarised wards in the borough.

·         It was commented that it would be useful if maps included within reports were overlain with ward boundaries so that locations could more readily be identified.

·         Concern was expressed that problem gambling was not specifically identified in the report.  It was clarified that this issue was within the scope of a number of other areas of council activity.

·         It was stated that it was incredibly disappointing that notwithstanding significant levels of investment and intervention by the council over many years, there deprivation gap had increased.

·         The Inequality Summit and the work of the cross-party working group was seeking to make long-term changes.

·         It was suggested that there should be more regular reporting to the scrutiny committee on progress in addressing the issues raised in the report.

·         It was further suggested that all members should be provided with a briefing on this issue.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

Stockport Local Transport Strategy, Local Implementation Plan and Neighbourhood Transport Plans pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Place Management.

 

This report provides an overview of several recent requests from Councillors, motions to Council and a Scrutiny Review requesting a more joined up approach to managing the highway networks and transportation improvements within Stockport. Councillors have also requested more visibility of proposed schemes within their areas and a clearer overview of how individual schemes fit together.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to:-

 

(1)  Comment on the proposed approach to developing neighbourhood transport plans and note the responses to the motion to council regarding slower speed 20mph and the Scrutiny Review on Active Streets and School Streets.

 

(2) Comment on the proposal to sign the Walking Charter.

 

Officer contact: Mark Glynn on 0161-474-3700 or email: mark.glynn@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an overview of several recent requests from Councillors, motions to Council and a Scrutiny Review requesting a more joined up approach to managing the highway networks and transportation improvements within Stockport.

 

Councillors had also requested more visibility of proposed schemes within their areas and a clearer overview of how individual schemes fit together.

 

The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Any work to ensure that highways work was co-ordinated more effectively was to be welcomed.

·         Concern was expressed that there would be difficulty in implementing the strategy and plans without local budgets administered by the area committees.

·         Area Committees would retain delegated responsibility to act as the local highways authority, but without the budget to act, this role and function would be significant diminished.

·         It was unclear how future residents permit parking schemes would be funded as the newly introduced policy stated that this would be borne from the area committee’s delegated budget.

·         In response, it was stated that it was not intended that there would be a loss of ability for local councillors to undertake smaller schemes within their wards.

·         It was stated that there was currently an identified budget in place that allowed members to readily understand whether it would be financially possible to deliver a local scheme, whereas in the future this may have to be done by way of a competitive bid against the priorities of other wards throughout the borough.

·         It was stated that against a borough wide metric for scheme prioritisation, some wards might struggle to deliver local schemes.

·         The intention of the proposed strategy and plans was to encourage and support members to think more strategically about the delivery of schemes within neighbourhoods and when funding resources became available these could be used to deliver their priorities in that more strategic way.

·         It was commented that the area committees’ delegated budgets were not solely highways budgets used to deliver highway schemes, but had been used by area committees to support initiatives such as fencing to prevent anti-social behaviour, CCTV, new noticeboards and replacement benches.  It was noted that the removal of these budgets would also have a consequential impact on these activities in the future.

·         The approach towards local transport plans was welcomed as a means of applying further rigour to the delivery and co-ordination of highways activities.

·         It was confirmed that the recommendations of the scrutiny review in relation to the Council's policy for active streets, school streets and play streets had been fully accepted by the Cabinet and would be implemented as soon as possible.

·         It was clear from the report that a lot of the interventions that would be introduced in the future were designed to tackle speeding, and consideration should be given to a greater use of average speed cameras.  In response, it was stated that the siting of speed cameras was agreed at a Greater Manchester level but was largely determined by government criteria that significantly limited the number of locations that could be considered suitable.  It was also noted that the cost of such cameras was prohibitive.

·         An all-party working group was looking into the implementation of a 20 mph speed limits, and it was stated that it needed to be as easy as possible for members to initiate these schemes.

·         The proposal that the Council sign the Walking Charter was welcomed.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

10.

Portfolio Dashboards

The Scrutiny Committee has the opportunity to consider the portfolio dashboards for the Inclusive Neighbourhoods and Sustainable Stockport portfolios and raise any issues with regard to performance.

 

Members can view the portfolio dashboards by visiting the following pages:-

 

Inclusive Neighbourhoods Portfolio Dashboard

Sustainable Stockport Portfolio Dashboard

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Committee had the opportunity to consider the portfolio dashboards for the Inclusive Neighbourhoods and Sustainable Stockport portfolios and raise any issues with regard to performance.

 

The Cabinet Members for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) and Inclusive Neighbourhoods (Amanda Peers) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

There were no issues raised.

11.

Agenda Planning pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To consider a report of the Strategic Head of Service (Legal & Democratic Governance and Monitoring Officer).

 

The report sets out planned agenda items for the Scrutiny Committee’s next meeting and Forward Plan items that fall within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider the information in the report and put forward any agenda items for future meetings of the Committee.

 

Officer contact: Damian Eaton on 0161 474 3207 or email: damian.eaton@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Strategic Head of Service & Monitoring Officer (Legal & Democratic Governance) submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out the planned agenda items for the Scrutiny Committee’s next meeting and any relevant Forward Plan items.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

Item including information 'Not for Publication'

Additional documents:

12.

Active Communities: Update on Transition to New Arrangements for Operation of Council-Owned Leisure Centres and Delivery of Active Communities Programmes pdf icon PDF 428 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director (Place) and Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The report provides an update on the transition to new arrangements for the operation of Council-owned leisure centres and delivery of programmes to improve physical activity amongst the least active in the Borough from Stockport Sports Trust (trading as Life Leisure) to Stockport Active CIC, who will retain the trading name Life Leisure.

 

The report provides updates on how the different areas of Life Leisure’s work will be monitored by the Council in future, how they will be scrutinised by Members and the governance structures which will be in place between Life Leisure and the Council.

 

The report provides an indication of the level of management fee which is likely to be required to support Life Leisure in 2022/23 and in the following two years (2023/24 and 2024/25), subject to their trading performance.

 

(NOTE: The report contains a confidential appendix that has been circulated to members of the Scrutiny Committee only).

 

The Scrutiny Committee is requested to comment on the approach proposed above and is recommended:-

 

(a)       To note the transition to new arrangements for the operation of Council-owned leisure and delivery of programmes to improve physical activity amongst the least active in the Borough from Stockport Sports Trust (trading as Life Leisure) to Stockport Active CIC, who will retain the trading name Life Leisure.

 

(b)       To note the arrangements for how the different areas of Life Leisure’s work will be monitored by the Council in future, how their will be scrutinised by Members and the governance structures which will in place between Life Leisure and the Council.

 

(c)       To note the indicative level of management fee which is likely to be required to support Life Leisure in 2022/23 and in the following two years (2023/24 and 2024/25), subject to their trading performance.

 

Officer contact: Peter Ashworth on 0161 474 2392 or email: peter.ashworth@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an update on the transition to new arrangements for the operation of Council-owned leisure centres and delivery of programmes to improve physical activity amongst the least active in the Borough from Stockport Sports Trust (trading as Life Leisure) to Stockport Active CIC, who would retain the trading name Life Leisure.

 

The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport (Councillor Sheila Bailey) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Work was continuing to identify funding sources for the replacement of leisure facilities in Marple.

·         Discussions were continuing with staff and informally with the trade unions with regard to the transfer of staff to the new Stockport Active CIC.

·         The intention was that the public should not notice any significant changes following the transfer of operations to the new Stockport Active CIC.

·         While there had been some changes to personnel at Life Leisure, there remained a large number of members of staff with the skills and knowledge of the business.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.