Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Tuesday, 28th November, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Crompton Suite, Civic Centre, Oldham, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1NL. View directions

Contact: Sian Walter-Browne 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies For Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Williamson.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

3.

Urgent Business

Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business received.

4.

Public Question Time

To receive Questions from the Public, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

5.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 181 KB

The Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 17th October 2017 are attached for approval.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 17th October 2017 be approved as a correct record.

 

6.

Minutes of the Health Scrutiny Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The minutes of the Health Scrutiny Sub-Committee held on 26th September 2017 are attached. The Board is requested to note the minutes.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Health Scrutiny Sub-Committee held on 26th September 2017 be noted.

 

7.

Academy Conversions and Free Schools pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report of the Head of School Support Services which provided an update to the Overview and Scrutiny Board on the LA Policies for Academy Conversions and Free Schools.

 

In 2016 the Local Authority had introduced two policies, the Academy Conversion Policy and the Free Schools Policy. These policies were developed in order that the Local Authority could formally specify its preferred requirements with regard to Academy and Free School sponsors and also to inform sponsors of the approach that would be taken by the Local Authority with regard to the conversion process including the transfer of staff, pension pooling and lease arrangements for land. These policies had been used as a guidance document for a number of conversions.

 

Following the closure of the Collective Spirit Free School and the GM (UTC) School, it was proposed that the policies were reviewed and possibly combined into one policy, subject to Cabinet approval.

 

Members were informed that Department for Education guidance had been requested as to whether the free school programme would be restarted in view of the outcome of the general election, which had not yet been received. This would affect the timeline for the policy review, which would be added to the work programme when the national policy was clarified.

 

Members asked for clarification on the position of Councillors as Governors. They were informed that academies were not required to have a governing body, though most chose to do so. The Head of School Support Services was asked to provide information as to which maintained schools were looking for local authority governors which could be considered by the political groups to explore the possibilities.

 

Members sought further information concerning schools challenging enforced conversion. They were advised that this had occurred where a school had been re-inspected prior to conversion and the subsequent inspection had been positive. Members were informed that conversion no longer attracted additional funding and that there were over 250 schools nationally without sponsors, who may not convert if sponsors could not be found.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.       The Academy Conversions and Free Schools report and the information provided at the meeting be noted.

2.       The work programme would be updated with a timeline for the policy review when the national policy on free schools had been clarified.

8.

Strategic Regeneration: Oldham Town Centre Masterplan and Prince’s Gate Update pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report and a presentation from the Director Economy and Skills and the Head of Strategic Regeneration and Development, which updated them on the two key Strategic Regeneration programmes of the Oldham Town Centre Masterplan and the Prince’s Gate Development.

 

Members asked about the connectivity of communities around Oldham, as it was not always easy to access the town centre and people, therefore, went elsewhere. They were informed that access issues were being considered as well as making the town centre more attractive to local communities.

 

Clarification was sought and provided around the proposed market development. Members were advised that the current building was not sustainable, that the market needed a better building and a better mix of uses, and that there were a number of passionate traders determined to make it work.

 

The Board was informed that there had been a number of discussions with the College and the council was supporting bids to finish their development projects. It was hoped that the College expansion could lead to them having their own degree-awarding powers and that would increase student footfall and demand for student accommodation encouraging developers to see Oldham as an opportunity.

 

Members enquired whether the Masterplan was ambitious enough and were informed that additional sites were being considered for improvement. However the cost of acquiring them could be too high. The current timescale was for the new market development to begin in the latter half of 2019 and the other developments would follow.

 

Members sought clarification on the extent of disruption the developments would cause. They were advised that most of the road infrastructure was already in place. It was anticipated that the market development would be the most disruptive as the other sites were more self-contained.

 

With regard to the Princes Gate development, the Board was informed that it was hoped to exchange contracts next month and planning applications were expected in January 2018. Work was expected to begin in summer 2018, with stores opening in 2019.

 

Members asked about the risks and were informed that these were assessed and mitigated as far as possible. Most of the capital was coming from the private sector and the Old Town Hall development had an ongoing very positive impact in attracting investors.

 

The Board was informed that the decision to select a partner was expected to be made by the Cabinet in March 2018. It may be possible to bring an update to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board in March or to the first meeting of the next municipal year.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.       The Strategic Regeneration: Oldham Town Centre Masterplan and Prince’s Gate update report, presentation, and the information provided at the meeting be noted.

2.       A specific update on the Princes Gate development be provided to the meeting March 2018, subject to the decision to select a partner having been made by the Cabinet in March 2018.

3.       A general update on the developments in the town centre be provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Business Growth and Investment Review pdf icon PDF 818 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members gave consideration to a report from the Director Economy and Skills and the Head of Enterprise and Skills which looked at how the Council could optimize business engagement and provide a competitive business support offer to maximize business growth and investment in the Borough that would help the Council:

  • Maximize Business Rates income.
  • Support the successful implantation of the local and GM SIF’s by creating additional demand for commercial property.
  • Support the successful implementation of Oldham’s Work and Skills Strategy by creating a supply of new jobs and work related opportunities.
  • Create conditions to support the Councils co-operative approach to inclusive growth.
  • Close the gap between the economic performance of Oldham and the GM average.
  • Raise the profile of the Borough by putting Oldham on the map as a place to invest and do business.

 

Members sought clarification on how businesses could connect with the Council as the process seemed very complex. They were informed that, as the Resident First process looked to engage with residents, this looked to engage with businesses in a similar way. It was expected to make and maintain connections, and provide business support by becoming a one-stop shop that could guide businesses through the processes relevant to them. Part of the investment was to identify the many databases and make them and the website accessible.

 

Members asked about the 6% GVA and were informed this was assessed at a very basic level. The proposal was looking to close the gaps to the other authorities and invest time now to add value. It aimed to create better collaboration and identify clear pathways to guide businesses in the best direction for them.

 

The Board sought clarification as to how this could create opportunities for young people. They were informed that this was dealt with in the Work and Skills Strategy, which linked with the Business Strategy. Business systems and training requirements were changing and the Strategy would assist in identifying future business needs. This, in turn, would help the College develop appropriate courses and skills. It was expected that better intelligence and relationships with the business community would lead to better opportunities for young people.

 

Members enquired as to how the figures had been reached and were referred to the methodology set out in the Amion report. It was anticipated that the restructure would increase the amount of business support and the benefits of it. The report set out the key performance indicators and the action plan, which set out the expectations from the investment. Members indicated they would wish to focus on the delivery of the action plan and how this could link into encouraging young people to stay, live and work in Oldham.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.       The Business Growth and Investment Review report and the information provided at the meeting be noted.

 

2.       The Board was minded to support Option 3, the preferred option, to strengthen the function of the Strategic Investment Team through the recruitment of new staff and additional resources to improve  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme pdf icon PDF 187 KB

The Board is requested to note the Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme for 2017/18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board gave consideration to the latest Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme. 

 

Members attention was drawn to the updates on the Transport Strategy and the Selective Licensing Scheme and they were reminded that a detailed report on the latter would be coming to the meeting in March 2018.

 

Members considered the proposal for a MASH workshop, which was in the work programme. It was proposed that the workshop would take place at the end of January 2018 and would focus on adult social care.  

 

RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme be noted.

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11.

General Exceptions and Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The Board is requested to note the decisions that have been taken under Rule 16 or 17 of the Council’s Constitution since the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 5th September 2017.

 

If a detailed explanation is required and an officer is attend the meeting to provide further information, please contact Constitutional Services by 12.00 noon on Thursday, 23rd November 2017.

Minutes:

The Board gave consideration to two decisions authorised under Rule 16 of the Council’s Constitution.

 

RESOLVED that the General Exception and Urgency Decisions related to UPL and Transport for the North be noted.

 

12.

Key Decision Document pdf icon PDF 173 KB

The Board is requested to note the Council’s Key Decision Document.

Minutes:

The Board gave consideration to the Council’s Key Decision Document.

 

RESOLVED that the Key Decision Document be noted.

 

13.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

The date and time of the next Overview and Scrutiny Board will be Tuesday, 16th January 2018 at 6.00 p.m.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the date and time of the next Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, 16th January 2018 at 6.00 p.m. be noted.