Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel – 28 May 2009
PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the Chair.
Councillors Ali, Armitage, Mrs Bromby, Ellerby, T Foster and Sidell.
The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
152 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) -The following members declared personal interests
Nature of Interest
|Councillor Ali||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Armitage||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Mrs Bromby||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Davison||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Ellerby||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor T Foster||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Sidell||Planning and Evaluation session||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
No whip was declared.
153 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 14 April 2009, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.
154 PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests from members of the public to address the Scrutiny Panel.
155 (1) SCHEDULED MEETING DATES AND TIMES – Resolved – That the scheduled meeting dates and times for the Municipal Year 2009-2010 be noted.
156 (2) ANNUAL AUDIT AND INSPECTION LETTER – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the council’s annual audit and inspection letter provided by its external auditors, the Audit Commission. The letter was attached as an appendix to the report. Each year the letter gave an overall summary assessment of the council, drawing on audit, inspection and performance assessment work.
The Annual Audit and Inspection Letter highlighted improvement actions that needed to be taken by the council. Of particular interest to overview and scrutiny was the comment from the Inspectors that ‘the scrutiny function did not sufficiently engage in performance management’. However, the Service Director informed the panel that this was now being addressed.
The Service Director also reminded members that the Annual Audit and Inspection Letter could be used to assist the scrutiny panel when formulating their work programme.
The members of the scrutiny panel then engaged in a discussion on the council’s Annual Audit and Inspection Letter.
Resolved – That the council’s Annual Audit and Inspection Letter be noted.
157 (3) LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – JUNE TO SEPTEMBER 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for June to September 2009.
The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis. Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.
Resolved – That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for June to September 2009 be noted.
158 HUMBERSIDE PROBATION TRUST – The Service Director Legal and Democratic informed the meeting that the local media had been publishing articles on the proposed cuts to Humberside Probation Trust, the severe threat to front-line jobs of compulsory redundancies, the threat to the effectiveness of a highly rated and successful probation service and the threat to the jobs and livelihoods of North Lincolnshire residents and their colleagues in the Humberside region.
The Service Director added that the council nor the Safer Neighbourhoods Partnership had been informed of any potential impact to North Lincolnshire of a staffing review at Humberside Probation Trust.
Members of the scrutiny panel then engaged in a discussion on the staffing review at Humberside Probation Trust, and its likely impact on North Lincolnshire residents.
Resolved – That the Service Director Legal and Democratic write to the Chief Executive Officer at Humberside Probation Trust inviting him to attend a future meeting of the scrutiny panel to discuss the impact of any staffing changes on North Lincolnshire residents.
159 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY AND FLOODING – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services informed the meeting that on behalf of the Government, Sir Michael Pitt had completed and published his comprehensive review of the lessons to be learned from the summer floods of 2007. The Final Report examined over 1000 written submissions, consulted widely, considered the experiences of other countries and visited the communities affected by flooding.
The floods of 2007 caused the country’s largest peacetime emergency since World War II. The impact of climate change meant that the probability of events on a similar scale happening in future was increasing. The Review therefore called for urgent and fundamental changes in the way the country was adapting to the likelihood of more frequent and intense periods of heavy rainfall.
The review identified 91 recommendations to be implemented to enable the country to co-ordinate further periods of heavy rainfall. The Government had indicated that it would implement all 91 recommendations.
Of those 91 recommendations, two were specific to council’s overview and scrutiny function. The logic being that due to the wide range of organisations which had a part to play in reducing the impact of future flooding in local areas meant that the scrutiny model was particularly well-suited to holding all the partners to account. The two recommendations were specific to flood risk management and critical infrastructure.
Members of the scrutiny panel then engaged in a discussion on the likelihood that overview and scrutiny would be utilised to review work by public sector bodies and essential service providers in order to manage flood risk.
Resolved – That the Service Director Highways and Planning be asked to attend a future meeting of this scrutiny panel to discuss (a) his role as the council’s lead on flooding, and (b) the impact that the Sir Michael Pitt’s review would have on the overview and scrutiny function at North Lincolnshire Council.
160 POLICING PLEDGE – The Service Director Legal and Democratic informed the meeting that Police forces across the country had recently introduced the Policing Pledge. The Policing Pledge was a set of promises to local residents that not only gave more information about who their local neighbourhood policing team was, but also ensured that communities would have a stronger voice in telling the police what they think was most important and what they are most worried about.
The Policing Pledge made a number of promises on how resident’s local police would work with residents to help resolve their concerns. It also set standards for the kind of service residents can expect. The Pledge identified how Humberside Police would deal with emergencies and non-emergencies within certain agreed times and if a resident had been a victim of crime, it would agree with them how often and for how long they would be kept informed of progress on their case.
Resolved – That Chief Superintendent Simmonds be invited to attend a future meeting of the panel to discuss the Policing Pledge and its likely impact on North Lincolnshire residents.
161 ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.