Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020 6.00 pm

Contact: Lori Hughes 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Vice Chair

The Panel is asked to elect a Vice-Chair for the 2020/2021 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Price be elected as Vice-Chair for the 2020/2021 Municipal Year.

2.

Apologies For Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

3.

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.

4.

Urgent Business

Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business received.

5.

Public Question Time

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

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

6.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 234 KB

The Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board  held on 16th June 2020 are attached for approval.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 16th June 2020 be approved as a correct record.

7.

GMCA Housing, Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 406 KB

The minutes of the GMCA Housing, Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings held on 13 February 2020 and 11 June 2020 are attached for noting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the GMCA Housing, Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings held on 13th February 2020 and 11th June 2020 be noted.

8.

GMCA Economy, Business Growth and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 647 KB

The minutes of the GMCA Economy, Business Growth and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 12th June 2020 are attached for noting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the GMCA Economy, Business Growth and Skills Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 12th June 2020 be noted.

9.

GMCA Corporate Issues and Reform Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 391 KB

The minutes of the GMCA Corporate Issues and Reform Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 16th June 2020 are attached for noting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the GMCA Corporate Issues and Reform Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 16th June 2020 were noted.

10.

Statement of Community Involvement pdf icon PDF 23 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which provided an update on the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). 

 

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 required planning authorities to prepare a Statement of Community Involvement.  Oldham Council adopted its first SCT in 2007.  The SCI identified how the Council would involve the community in the preparation and revision of the Local Plan and the consideration of planning applications.  The SCI was reviewed in 2010, 2016 and 2019 to take account of changes to national planning guidance and legislation.  The SCI also set out policies for giving advice or assistance on neighbourhood planning.

 

In addition, the ten Greater Manchester authorities agreed to produce Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment – the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF).  The GMSF will provide the overarching framework to strategically manage sustainable growth and development across the conurbation over the next twenty years or so.  The SCI set out how the community and other stakeholders would be involved in the preparation of the GMSF.

 

Since the SCI was reviewed and adopted in 2019, the planning department had been considering service improvement to work towards a more efficient service related to determining planning applications.  It was considered necessary to update the SCI for the introduction of proposals which included:

·                  make clear that statutory consultees, councillors and Oldham Partnership received an email or letter with details of strategic planning consultations rather than an electronic copy of the documents;

·                  publicise planning applications by site notices and/or neighbour notification letters, removing the requirement to do both, where it is not deemed necessary;

·                  removing copies of planning applications being available in paper files.  Planning applications would be available online.  This reduced time spent by officers creating paper files;

·                  make submitting representations on planning applications to online only.  This was to reduce the time spent by officers scanning and saving representations to ensure that planning applications could be handled efficiently; and

·                  reduce the number of planning officer reports written in relation to recommendations made on minor planning applications.  The draft SCI removed reference to officer reports.  Planning Officer reports would not be written for every planning application, particularly where they were minor in nature.  This was to ensure that planning officers could issue decisions as efficiently as possible. There would be notes on file that would clearly show that the officer had taken account of relevant material.

 

The SCI had also been updated to reflect the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 to allow Local Plan consultations and development management decisions to continue to progress during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Members sought and received clarification on minor decisions.

 

Members sought clarification on the contact number for those people who were not proficient on electronic access and where it was directed.  Members were informed that the contact number would be for the Planning Section and usually to the relevant case officer.  Members also sought clarification  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Unreasonable Behaviour Policy pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given a report which detailed a proposed new Unreasonable Behaviour Policy and revised Corporate Complaints Policy before final approval was sought.  The new Unreasonable Behaviour Policy aimed to support employees and members to manage unreasonable behaviour from customers.

 

The Council did not currently have a policy for the management of Unreasonable Customer Behaviour and this new policy would be submitted for approval.  The Council wanted to engage with customers in ways that were open, fair and proportionate.   A considered, policy-led approach would help employees and members to understand clearly what was expected of them, what options for action were available and who could authorise those actions.  The policy was intended to be published online on the Council’s website and shared with customers and complainants if they started to behave unreasonably and action taken.  This would help manage both customer and complainant expectations and behaviour, as far as possible, when dealing with the Council.

 

The Council’s existing Corporate Complaints Policy referred to the management of unreasonable behaviour, but the options and processes were not set out in detail.  The Council also operated a Single Point of Contact Procedure (SPOC) and this set out the process to be used when contact was to be restricted to one contact route.  The corporate SPOC was normally used in more complex cases covering multiple service areas.

 

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSC) recommended that Local Authorities had an Unreasonable Behaviour policy to help develop a proportionate approach when responding to unreasonable behaviour and to clearly set out the procedures that could be followed to restrict contact when this behaviour occurred. 

 

An updated Corporate Complaints Policy was also submitted for consideration.  The main changes were that the wording of the policy had been reworked to improve the format, temporary references to how complaints were being managed by the Council during COVID-19 had been included and the Unreasonable Behaviour policy had been referenced within the policy.

 

Members referred to the occasions when meetings had been disrupted and if the policy could include that situation.  Members were informed that a body of information would need to be gathered to make a decision in those cases.  Members asked if these disruptions were logged.  Members were informed that meetings were a different issue and were not addressed as part of this policy.  A response could not be provided at the meeting but would be referred to the appropriate officer for a response.

 

Members referred to occasions where communications were received from unhappy residents and if the policy would cover that aspect.  Members were informed that this would be looked at in an evidenced based approach and if the contact had caused stress which could be included in deciding whether further action needed to be taken.  These would be looked at on a case-by-case basis with support from within the Council on how to best address the situation.

 

Members were provided clarification on vexatious behaviour and the single point of contact.  Reference was also made regarding to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Key Decision Document pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board gave consideration to the latest published Key Decision Document.

 

RESOLVED that the latest published Key Decision Document be noted.

13.

General Exceptions and Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board gave consideration to a report which advised of decisions related to Strategic Investment and Additional Expenditure in Support of Health and Social Care in response to the COVID-19 Emergency.

 

RESOLVED that the report and authorisations granted under Rule 13 (General Exception) and Rule 14 (Special Urgency) be noted.

14.

Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Board were provided with updates on upcoming reports.  The Board was also provided with updates on the Tackling Speeding Motion and the Lorry Watch Scheme motion which had been referred to Overview and Scrutiny by Council.

 

RESOLVED that:

1.         The Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme be noted.

2.         The updates on the work programme provided at the meeting be noted.

3.         The updates on the motions referred from Council be noted and provided as part of the Council action report.

15.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

The date and time of the next Overview and Scrutiny Board will be on Tuesday, 8th September 2020 at 6.00 p.m.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the date and time of the next Overview and Scrutiny Board to be held on 8th September 2020 at 6.00 p.m. be noted.