Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Samantha Morris/Alyson Grice  Overview and Scrutiny Officers

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome

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Apologies were received from Mr B Allbut.



Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip

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Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 4 December 2018).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.


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Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

(previously circulated)


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The Minutes of the meetings held on 26 September and 25 October 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




Draft Scrutiny Report: Bus and Community Transport Provision pdf icon PDF 76 KB

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The Board was asked to consider and approve the draft Scrutiny Report on 'Bus Provision and Community Transport Provision'. The Chairman, who was also the lead member of the Scrutiny Task Group (Task Group) and  thanked all those involved.


In introducing the report the Chairman suggested that the Scrutiny had been very revealing and had involved discussions with bus operators. The report was critical of current levels of bus services although some positive aspects had been highlighted and the report reflected what the Task Group believed to be the way forward. The Task Group had found that issues with reliability put people off using buses and there was a need to get to grips with how to connect public transport, which was reflected in the report's recommendations.  A Wychavon District Cabinet Member had made valuable points about the economic impact of bus services. A big issue was the lack of incentive for bus operators to increase passenger numbers.


The report's first recommendation addressed the need for a strategic approach to bus services which had been lacking in recent years, for example links to investment sites and accessing funds from Section 106. While it was important to note that the Council was in a very different position now in terms of staff numbers, staff were capable and there were a lot of positive things which the Council could do; the report was an important starting point and intended to be helpful and constructive.


The Vice-Chairman (also a member of the Task Group) endorsed the report and agreed the way forward was about how the Council stepped up to the challenge of changing attitudes about bus services, communicating better and being more strategic. She suggested that the report be sent to District Council Leaders, and advised that Wychavon District Council was thinking of committing investment to supporting public transport in view of its contribution to supporting the economy. She also highlighted the approach of other councils such as Cornwall, which was very different to Worcestershire.


Board members were invited to comment on the report and the following main points were made:

·         All Board members praised the report and the detail included.

·         A member referred to his work to support bus projects in his local area of Upton, and the core issues of isolation for the young and elderly and for those with learning disabilities, some of whom faced a difficult walk to the bus stop. Isolation was the problem, but also tackling congestion.

·         A member flagged up issues around the Concessionary Fares Scheme referred to in the report. This was a national issue and he suggested that the £5m budget could be better spent to support transport in rural areas and that he would like to encourage the Local Government Association and other networks to look at the impact of the Scheme on the delivery of public transport in rural areas.

·         It was suggested that the report should be sent to the Parliamentary Rural Economy Committee, which was looking at public transport  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1073.


Withdrawal of West Mercia from the Strategic Alliance With Warwickshire - Report From The County Council's Representative on the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 73 KB

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Cllr MacKay, the Chairman of the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel (PCP) had been invited to update the Board on the recent decision of West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner to withdraw from the Strategic Alliance with Warwickshire.


The PCP Chairman referred to his update in the Agenda papers. The Alliance with Warwickshire Police would end in October 2019 in accordance with the terms of departure of the Agreement. The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had informed the PCP that while he wanted collaborative working with Warwickshire to continue, he and the Chief Constable were in agreement that the Alliance was a drain on resources for West Mercia, which mutual discussions about governance had been unable to resolve. The PCC believed that ending the Alliance would enable a more efficient and effective policing service for West Mercia residents.


During the Board's discussion with Cllr Mackay the following main points were raised:

·         The way in which the withdrawal from the Alliance had been handled and the lack of prior communication with the PCP, was very concerning

·         The lack of detail about financial implications was also concerning

·         It was suggested that the background to the situation referred to in the report raised questions about the working relationship between the Chief Constables of West Mercia and Warwickshire Police Forces

·         It was clarified that whilst the Alliance had been set up by the then Police Authorities, provision had been made for it to continue when the PCC took over governance of the Police later in 2012

·         In moving forward, members urged robust scrutiny from the Police and Crime Panel in order to ascertain the impact on areas such as day to day work including in the areas of domestic violence, road safety deaths and serious injury in Worcestershire, funding, caseload management for crime in rural areas and tackling cross-border crime – the Police and Crime Panel should be entitled to such information

·         Members pointed out that cross-border liaison and support were essential to tackle cross-border crime and expressed concern that this may be adversely affected. Cllr Mackay reported that the proposal was for continued collaborative working with Warwickshire

·         A member commented that the aims of the original Alliance agreement had sounded positive and asked whether the PCP had been able to ascertain whether the Alliance was actually working? Cllr Mackay explained that specific details had not been provided but the PCP intended to look deeper as the situation evolved. He had been advised that savings had been made through the Alliance but not to the extent where West Mercia residents were receiving the best service . The funding agreement (West Mercia met 69% and Warwickshire met 31%) appeared to be out of step with the governance split.

·         Cllr Mackay clarified that the PCP had limited powers to influence the PCC constitutionally, however the Panel had expressed its disappointment at the lack of prior notice and now hoped to move forward in its role as 'critical friend'.


Other councillors present were invited  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1074.


Member Update and Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 85 KB

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Children and Families O&S Panel


The Family Front Door Scrutiny would now focus on the Council's relationship with schools, rather than all parties involved.


The Panel continued to keep updated on the future of Short Breaks for children with disabilities.


Corporate and Communities O&S Panel


The Panel had looked at the Libraries consultation and withdrawal of the school library service. The Panel Chairman was also aware of briefings at district level. The Panel had been reassured that the aim of the consultation was to look for savings and better ways of working and there had been no mention of closing libraries.


Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


During a meeting attended by the Worcestershire Hospital Trust's new Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief executive, the HOSC had been updated on evaluation work of Winter pressures and detailed plans for this Winter..


An update had also been provided on the quality of Acute Hospital Services and feedback from the latest Care Quality Commission inspection. The HOSC Chairman had invited himself to one of the Trust's staff feedback sessions at Kidderminster Hospital which had provided detail about the moves taking place, from which it was hoped to see improvements.


Other Board members who were also HOSC members were disappointed by the delay in completion of the bridge work at Worcestershire Royal Hospital which would delay implementation of  extra bed capacity. There had been optimism from the Trust about plans for the winter but members queried whether aspirations were achievable and the potential impact if this winter was harsh.


Adult Care and Wellbeing O&S Panel


The Panel would now be receiving regular updates on the Adult Social Care Outcome Framework and would be updated on the Adult Social Care Business Plan.


Referring to the comments from the November O&S Panel budget meetings, the Chairman highlighted the Panel's concern about the £14.3m overspend in Adult Services, although it was recognised that in part this was due to savings from the new Three Conversation Model coming through later than anticipated.

Public Health was predicting a small surplus budget, however from 2020 the budget would no longer be ring-fenced.


Updates on the Three Conversations model and on assistive technology were planned.


A Board member queried the value of assistive technology against a human visit, and was advised that members had seen assistive technology working very well and for many people it gave back a degree of control. It was hoped to arrange a member visit to see assistive technology in action.


A Board member asked whether the Panel Chair had been able to attend Directorate meetings which included updates on quality assurance at nursing homes and was advised that this was being arranged.


Economy and Environment O&S Panel


The Panel had been updated on broadband, with the Council's initiatives proving very successful and 90% of businesses were now connected to fibre. The latest rollout was for fibre to premises in areas more difficult to connect. There were grants of up to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1075.


Process for handling the Call-in: Cabinet Member Decision: 21 November 2018 - Proposal to introduce Parking Charges at Worcester Woods Country Park pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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The Chairman invited the Board to consider how it wanted to handle the Call-in received in respect of the cabinet Member Decision on 21 November 2018, regarding the proposal to introduce parking charges at Worcester Woods Country Park.


The Agenda report included the options available to the Board.


In discussing the desired approach, the Board agreed the importance of offering all those individuals and groups affected with the opportunity to put forward their views, in person or through written comments – this should also include local residents, Cllr Rob Adams (due to the proximity of residents in his division) and the MP Robin Walker.


The Board agreed to deal with the Call-in itself, on the proposed date of 14 January 2019, which was a date which the Scrutiny Officers had checked with the Cabinet Member for Communities and with the callers-in. The discussion should be the main business of the meeting and where possible, written comments circulated in advance.