Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 8th July, 2010
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Paul Marment (Chairman), Councillor Alan Millard (Vice-Chairman), Councillor David Billing, Councillor John Bishop, Councillor J.M. Cunningham (Substitute) and Councillor Lee Downie,
In attendance:
Andrew Godman (Head of Housing and Public Protection), Rebecca Coates (Community Safety Manager), Brendan Sullivan (Scrutiny Officer), Hilary Dineen (Committee and Member Services Officer).
Also Present:
Councillor Michael Paterson.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
1 ELECTION OF A CHAIRMAN
It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Paul Marment be elected Chairman of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee. A further nomination was proposed, but not seconded.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Paul Marment be elected Chairman of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee.
2 ELECTION OF A VICE-CHAIRMAN
It was proposed and seconded that Councillor Alan Millard be elected Chairman of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee. A further nomination was proposed, but not seconded.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Alan Millard be elected Chairman of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee.
3 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Elliot Needham and Lawrence Oliver. Councillor Julian Cunningham advised that, having given due notice, he would be substituting for Councillor Elliot Needham.
4 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
No other business was submitted for consideration by the Committee.
5 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
There were no presentations from members of the public.
6 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee;

(2) The Chairman advised that, due to a decision made at Council on 30 June 2010, the memberships of this Sub-Committee had changed from the published agenda in that Councillor Downie was now a Members of the Sub-Committee and Councillors Steve Jarvis and David Kearns were nominated substitutes;

(3) The Chairman advised that Brendan Sullivan would be presenting the reports of the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development as she had given her apologies;

(4) Members were reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda, and the nature of the interest, should be declared as either a prejudicial or personal interest at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a prejudicial interest should leave the room and not seek to influence the decision during that particular item;

(5) The Chairman gave a further reminder that any advice from a Member of the Committee concerning a party whip direction should also be declared.
7 SETTING THE CONTEXT OF PARTNERSHIP WORKING AND SCRUTINY
The Scrutiny Officer presented the report of the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development which set the context of Partnership Working. He advised that questions would be noted, conveyed to the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development and written responses would be circulated to Members in due course. He drew attention to Paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 of the report which detailed the background to the report particularly that the Local Government Act (2000) had established the need for the development of joint plans in order to work with partner organisations, which led to the foundation of the Local Strategic Partnership and the list of public bodies that have a duty to co-operate under the Local Government and Health Act (2007). The Scrutiny Officer informed the Sub-Committee that the Local Area Agreement was a statement of commitment from all key partners to work towards the aims of the Sustainable Community Strategy and that funding of projects developed through the Local Strategic Partnership would come from the Performance reward Grant, a paper considering the allocation of the Performance Reward grant would be considered by Cabinet on 27 July 2010. He informed Members that the role of Partnership working would likely become more important in the delivery of future services, although guidance from Government regarding this is expected in the near future. In relation to the scrutiny requirements which apply to partnerships, the Scrutiny Officer advised that the Local Government and Health Act (2007) had extended the role of Council Scrutiny and that this function now included not only the actions of the Executive, but other public sector bodies affecting the lives of inhabitants of the area. He advised that the Council now had an increased role in the scrutiny of community safety activities, including the requirement to hold at least one meeting per year which the Police and other statutory Partners should attend and the introduction of the Councillor Call for Action.

Members questioned whether Performance Indicators would still form a part of the Local Area Agreement; requested sight of the 2009 Fundamental Service Review on Partnership Working, together with associated documents; asked for confirmation of who was responsible for Health Scrutiny. They requested that, in view of the many recent changes, the list of public bodies listed under the Duty to Co-operate in Paragraph 3.9 be reviewed for accuracy. Members expressed concern that there was no direct funding for the Local Strategic Partnership, which they felt would affect their ability to drive projects forward and asked for clarification regarding the Sub-Committee relationship with the Responsible Authorities Group and Joint Action Group. Members considered that the work of Registered Social Landlords should be scrutinised and that the Sub-Committee should be more informed about the work of Pathfinder, in order to effectively scrutinise it.

The Head of Housing and Public Protection Service informed Members that revised terms of reference regarding the Responsible Authorities Group were being draw up and that once completed these terms of reference would be referred to the Sub-Committee together with the terms of reference for the Joint Action Group and confirmed that scrutiny of these groups work were the responsibility of this sub-committee. He advised that Registered Social Landlords, although not statutory, were part of the Local Strategic Partnership and therefore could be scrutinised whilst scrutinising the work of that Partnership.

The Scrutiny Officer informed members that any group could be invited to a meeting of the Sub-Committee whether or not they were a statutory body.

RESOLVED:
(1) That the report entitled “Setting the Context of Partnership Working” be noted;

(2) That the Scrutiny Officer be requested to ascertain the role of Performance Indicators in the Local Area Agreement and report his findings to the next meeting of this Sub-Committee due to be held on 4 November 2010;

(3) That the Scrutiny Officer be requested to circulate the following to Members:
(i) Fundamental Service Review on Partnership Working (2009) including action plans;
(ii) PARC Minutes relating to the above Fundamental Service Review;
(iii) Cabinet Minutes relating to the above Fundamental Service Review.

(4) That confirmation of the role of this Committee in Health Scrutiny be advised at the next meeting of this Sub-Committee due to be held on 4 November 2010;

(5) That, in light of the many recent changes, the list of public bodies listed under the Duty to Co-operate in Paragraph 3.9 of the report, be reviewed for accuracy and re-circulated to Members at the next meeting of this Sub-Committee due to be held on 4 November 2010;

(6) That this Sub-Committee notes with concern the funding position of the Local Strategic Partnership and, as a result doubts the ability of that Partnership to drive projects forward;

(7) That the Head of Housing and Public Protection Service be requested to present the updated terms of reference for the Responsible Authorities Group and the terms of reference for the joint Action Group to the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee as soon as they are available;

(8) That the Scrutiny Officer be requested to invite representative of Registered Social Landlords to a future meeting of this Committee as part of the scrutiny of the Local Strategic Partnership;

(9) That the Scrutiny Officer be requested to present a report regarding the work of Pathfinder together with options regarding Scrutiny of this group to this Sub-Committee, which may include a Task and Finish Group on the subject.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee are kept fully informed about the context of partnership working.
8 NHDC PARTNERSHIPS TOOLKIT
The Scrutiny Officer presented the report of the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development regarding the NHDC Partnerships Toolkit. He advised that the Council’s Partnership review had concluded that a partnership was “A relationship between two or more independent legal bodies, organisations or individuals working together to achieve a common vision with clear aims and objectives sharing risks and rewards.” He informed Members that there were some 104 groups with which NHDC can be said to work in partnership with, however 7 key partnerships had been identified as listed at paragraph 4.1 of the report, which the review team had conclude should be reviewed regularly and that this Committee should consider those reviews. The Scrutiny Officer drew attention to pages 13-15 of the report which detailed the work and key area for improvement for each key partnership. He advised Members that Appendix A consisted of the toolkit together with the criteria for use and that this was a detailed process. He recommended that the reviews of the 7 key partnerships as detailed in Appendices 1-7 form the basis of the Sub-Committee work programme.

Members queried whether details could be placed on Covalent and discussed that some of the same issues appeared to need addressing for many of the key partnerships particularly conflict resolution and communication and felt that these should be addressed as soon as possible. Members felt that there would be insufficient time in the planned 3 meetings per annum to undertake the amount of work that was required of them in an effective way and discussed whether more meetings should be added to the calendar.

The Scrutiny Officer undertook to discuss the use of Covalent for this purpose with the lead officer and report back to this Sub-Committee. He informed Members that issues could be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee if deemed appropriate and that the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee had undertaken to meet with the Chairmen of the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Sub-Committee and Partnerships Scrutiny Sub Committee in September to discuss the issue of number and timing of meetings as well as the relationship between the various Committees.

RESOLVED:
(1) That the Scrutiny Officer be requested to investigate whether Covalent could be used to monitor the actions included in the review of Partnerships and report his findings to the next meeting of this Sub-Committee due to be held on 4 November 2010;

(2) That, should Covalent not be appropriate for monitoring of actions included in the review of partnerships, the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development be requested to consider alternative methods of monitoring and report her findings to the next meeting of this Sub-Committee due to be held on 4 November 2010.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee are kept fully informed about the use of and actions arising from the NHDC Partnerships Toolkit.
9 EFFECTIVENESS OF ALCOHOL FREE ZONES (DPPO'S) AND DISPERSAL ORDERS (DOS)
The Community Safety Manager presented the report of the Head of Housing and Public Protection Service regarding the effectiveness of Alcohol Free Zones (DPPOs) and Dispersal Orders (DOs). She advised Members of the purposes and methods of implementation for each order:

DESIGNATED PUBLIC PLACE ORDER (DPPO)
The Community Safety Manager informed the Committee that Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) provided local authorities with powers to designate places where restrictions on drinking alcohol would apply. Their intention was not to disrupt peaceful activities, but to specifically address nuisance or annoyance associated with the consumption of alcohol in a public place and that an offence would only be committed should an individual refuse to comply with a Police Officer/Police Community Support Officer request to refrain from drinking. She explained that DPPOs can be requested by the Police, but it was the duty of the Local Authority to provide evidence, consult with local people and businesses, publicise and be responsible for the implementation of these Orders, which was a lengthy and expensive process

DISPERSAL ORDER (DO)
She explained that a Dispersal Order (DO) provided the Police with powers to disperse a group of people causing intimidation or anti social behaviour the intention was not to prevent groups congregating but to specifically disperse groups that had or were likely to cause anti-social behaviour. She advised that although requiring Local Authority consent, DOs were entirely resourced through the Police and can be implemented more quickly to tackle immediate issues.
The Community Safety Manager summarised that both Orders had been useful crime prevention tools that had reduced anti social behaviour and crime, however the process to implement a Dispersal Order was much quicker to initiate, with no cost to the Authority whereas the initiation of a Designated Public Place Order was a lengthy and expensive process which overlapped with existing Police powers

Members asked whether any displacement activities had been evidenced after the implementation of either type of Order, whether consultation with NHDC Members would take place prior to implementation and whether equalities records were being maintained

The Community Safety Manager informed Members that there had been little evidence of displacement activities, however evidence would be reviewed by the Police and that monitoring of equalities issues would be checked.

The Head of Housing and Public Protection Service advised that the intention was to consult relevant Area Committees prior to implementation of either Order, however the responsibility for authorizing or vetoing Orders was a delegated power within his remit.

RESOLVED:
(1) That the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee notes that the implementation of Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) and Dispersal Orders (DOs) supports the Annual Strategic Assessments five Strategic priorities, in particular alcohol related crime and anti social behaviour and criminal damage;

(2) That the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee endorse that new Designated Public Place Orders (DPPO) should not be pursued at this time due to costs, time required to implement and lack of significant additional value to existing Police powers to tackle alcohol related anti social behaviour and crime;

(3) That the Head of Housing and Public Protection Service be requested to consult with relevant Area Committees prior to implementation, renewal or cessation of Dispersal Orders or Designated Public Place Orders.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee are kept fully informed about the implementation process and use of Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) and Dispersal Orders (DOs).
10 CRIME AND DISORDER RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDING COUNCILLOR CALL FOR ACTION
The Scrutiny Officer presented the report regarding Crime and Disorder Responsibilities including Councillor Call for Action. He informed Members that the responsibilities of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee included those set out in Police and Justice Act 2006 (as amended by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) which extended the remit of Local Authorities to scrutinize the functioning of the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, which included Fire and Rescue Authorities, Police Authorities and Primary Care Trusts. He advised that Section 19 required Local Authorities to appoint a committee with powers to review and scrutinize the decisions and actions of responsible authorities for crime and disorder functions and to make reports or recommendations to the local authority with respect to the discharge of those functions. The Scrutiny Officer drew attention to Paragraph 4.4 of the report which highlighted other areas to which Section 19 referred, Paragraph 4.5 which detailed the duty of responsible authorities to cooperate and Paragraph 5 which explained the Councillor Call for Action for Crime and Disorder matters.

The Chairman thanked the Scrutiny Officer for his detailed report.

RESOLVED: That the powers and remit of the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee in respect of Crime and Disorder Responsibilities including Councillor Call for Action be noted

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee are fully informed regarding their responsibilities under Crime and Disorder Scrutiny and Councillor Call for Action legislation.
11 PARTNERSHIPS SCRUTINY SUB-COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME 2010 - 2011
The Scrutiny Officer presented the report of the Head of Policy, Partnerships and Community Development regarding the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee Work Programme 2010/2011. He drew attention to Paragraph 3 which detailed the remit of the Sub-Committee and Table 1 which detailed the Draft Work programme. He suggested that informal meetings of the Sub-Committee could take place in between formal meetings of the Committee.

Members agreed that 3 meeting per annum would not give sufficient time to complete the proposed work in an efficient or effective manner and proposed that the Chairman meet with the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Sub-Committee to consider the number and timings of meetings and the relationship between the Committees. They considered that Pathfinder should be scrutinised and that this should include a request to the Chief Executive to give evidence on the subject.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the draft work programme be endorsed;

(2) That the Chairman be requested to undertake a joint review with the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Finance and Performance Sub-Committee which is to include consideration of the number of meetings and the relationship between the various Committees;

(3) That the role and outcomes of Pathfinder be considered either at a meeting of this Sub-Committee or as a Task and Finish Group to which the Chief Executive be invited to give evidence;

(4) That the Chairman be requested to discuss the nature of evidence to be presented when scrutinising the work of any Partnership.


REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Partnerships Scrutiny Sub-Committee to plan and carry out its workload efficiently and effectively.
Published on Friday, 6th August, 2010
9.45 pm