Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 6th February, 2024 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Isle of Wight

Contact: Megan Tuckwell  Email: democratic.services@iow.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

67.

Apologies and Changes in Membership (If Any)

To note any changes in membership of the Committee made in accordance with Part 4B paragraph 5 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

No apologies or changes in membership had been received.    

68.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To confirm as a true record the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 9 January 2024 be confirmed as a true record.

69.

Declarations of Interest

To invite councillors to declare any interest they might have in the matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations were received at this stage.

70.

Public Question Time - 15 Minutes Maximum

Questions may be asked without notice, but to guarantee a full reply, a question must be put (including the name and address of the questioner) in writing or by email to Democratic Services democratic.services@iow.gov.uk, no later than two clear working days before the meeting. The deadline for submitting a written question is Thursday, 1 February 2024.

Minutes:

No public questions were received.

71.

Progress Update pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To receive an update on the progress against the outcomes arising from previous meetings, and to provide an update on any outstanding actions.

Minutes:

The chairman introduced the report which provided an overview of the progress against actions and outcomes from previous meetings.

 

An update was sought with regards to the request of the committee in January 2023 to receive a copy of the review of leisure centres once it had been completed. The Cabinet Member confirmed that the report was being finalised and would be available to share with the committee once the final data from January and February 2024 had been included.

 

An update was sought with regards to the request of the committee in February 2023 to receive a copy of the signed heads of agreement in relation to the proposed disposal of Kingston Marine Park. The Cabinet Member confirmed that work was underway, both legal teams were actively engaged and were optimistic in moving forward.

 

Comments were made regarding the request of the committee in September 2023 to receive a copy of the refreshed Corporate Plan when available. The Deputy Leader advised that, following review, the priorities remained the same and it had therefore been determined that a refresh was not needed at this time.

 

Reference was made to the request of the committee in September 2023 to receive a copy of the report setting out the findings and recommendations following the independent review of the Floating Bridge. The chairman confirmed that an additional meeting of the committee had been arranged (27 February 2024) to consider the matter, and the external consultants would be in attendance to present their report.

 

It was noted that the Cabinet’s presentation of its budget proposals for 2024-25 (Budget and Council Tax Setting 2024-2025 and Future Years' Forecasts) had been deferred by one week pending final details on the governments financial settlement. The chairman advised that an additional meeting of the committee had been arranged (12 February 2024) to consider this. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the progress report and updates be noted.

72.

Committee's Workplan:

72a

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To identify any items contained within the Council’s forward plan which would benefit from early consideration by scrutiny, either before the Cabinet makes a decision or to monitor post-implementation, and should therefore be included in the Committee’s work programme. The forward plan can be viewed online here.

72b

Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To note the content of the current work programme, and to consider the inclusion of any additional items. Members of the public are invited to submit in writing to the Committee possible items for inclusion in its workplan.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the committee’s work programme and the committee were invited to identify any item contained within the published forward plan that would benefit from early consideration within the committee’s own workplan or that of one of the policy and scrutiny committees.

 

Discussion took place regarding the decision taken on 25 January 2024 to Increase Parking Tariffs and Permit Prices, and Changes to Parking Provision at Union St, Newport, and questions were raised around the Leader’s decision to delegate authority to the Strategic Director of Community Services (and why this decision was not made by a Cabinet Member). It was noted that a call-in of this decision had been submitted and subsequently rejected on the basis that no representations had been received in the specified timeframe. Concerns were raised around the constitution, and it was suggested that this matter be referred to the Audit and Governance Committee.

 

Comments were made with regards to the Islands demographics (a declining youth and working-age population and an increasing aging population) as it related to the Island’s workforce, economy, and housing. It was agreed that the item would be scoped and presented to the committee in due course.

 

It was advised that a future agenda item on cross-Solent ferry operators was being scoped and would be presented to the committee in due course.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the committee’s work programme, and the forward plan, be noted.

73.

Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Budget and Council Tax Setting 2024-2025 and Future Years' Forecasts pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To comment on the draft budget proposals for 2024-25, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet (on 8 February 2024) and the Full Council (on 28 February 2024).

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the meeting of the committee on 12 February 2024.

74.

Pre-Decision Scrutiny - LEP Integration of functions into Upper Tier Local Authorities pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To consider the report on how the Local Enterprise Partnership functions will be integrated into the Isle of Wight Council from April 2024, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet on 8 February 2024.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration, Culture and Leisure was in attendance to present the report which sought the Cabinet’s approval for the council to work jointly with Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council to deal with the changes arising from the new integration of the Local Enterprise Partnership functions.

 

It was clarified that this report focused on the governance arrangements and a future report may be required to provide greater detail on disaggregation. It was suggested this report be presented to the committee when available.

 

Discussion took place regarding the distribution of funding and the committee urged the council to seek an agreement from Hampshire that funding for the Solent geographic area would be spent on the Solent geography, in line with the guidance published by the Government. Questions were raised around the process for the appointment to the board of directors and the committee sought assurance that the Isle of Wight would be fairly represented.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the report to Cabinet be noted.

75.

Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Council Tax Premiums on Second Homes and Empty Properties pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider the report, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet (on 8 February 2024) and the Full Council (on 28 February 2024).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report which sought the Cabinet’s endorsement (and recommendation to the Full Council) for the council to adopt the powers enacted in legislation that enabled the council to apply a 100% council tax premium for second homes and empty properties. It was highlighted that if the council did not adopt this power before 1 April 2024, it would not be able to apply the empty property premium until 1 April 2025 and the second home premium until 1 April 2026 at the earliest.

 

Questions were raised regarding the number of second homes, lodgers and houses of multiple occupancy, and legal loopholes. It was confirmed that there were sufficient staffing resources available to manage this from April 2024. The committee noted that the introduction of the proposed second home premiums was unlikely to deter second home-owners and would generate additional income for the council.

 

It was suggested that the committee monitors the progress one year after the decisions had been implemented, by way of adding to the committees workplan an update on council premiums on empty properties (in April 2025) and second homes (April 2026).

 

Following discussion, it was:

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the recommendations to Cabinet be supported.

76.

Quarterly Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To review the Council’s performance measures for Quarter 3 of 2023-24.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report which provided a summary of progress against Corporate Plan activities for Quarter 3 of 2023-24 and detailed any issues which required attention (and the remedial action in place to deal with these).

 

Questions were raised regarding the data on the number (and value of) Disabled Facility Grants which had been approved, and whether this was likely to create budget pressures. The Chief Executive confirmed the funding was rolling across financial years and therefore no budget pressures were incurred.

 

Discussion took place regarding the statistics on the number of households in temporary accommodation, and questions were raised regarding those who are not on the housing register, the definition of ‘temporary’, and whether the banding system was being applied appropriately.  The committee requested a one-off examination of the data set for temporary accommodation to be presented in the next quarterly report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the report be noted.

77.

Members' Question Time pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Questions may be asked without prior notice, but to guarantee a full reply, a question must be submitted to Democratic Services no later than 5pm, Friday 2 February 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Chris Jarman and Cllr Clare Mosdell submitted a written question in relation to the council’s policy regarding coastal protection (specifically relating to A3055 Military Road) (MQ 04-24). Clarification was provided by the Strategic Director of Community Services, and it was agreed that this matter be referred to the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration, alongside the work already underway. The chairman confirmed that a written response would be provided.

 

Cllr Chris Jarman submitted a two written questions in relation to the use of external consultants in answering questions submitted to the committee (MQ 05-24 and MQ 06-24). Following discussion, it was agreed that Cllr Jarman should liaise with the Chief Executive directly, and a written response would be provided.

 

Cllr Chris Jarman submitted a written question in relation to the council’s constitution, particularly with regards to the distinction between alternative budget proposals and budget amendments (MQ 07-24). Following discussion, the chairman confirmed that a written response would be provided.

 

Cllr Chris Jarman asked an oral question in relation to the deadline for members of the public to submit a written question to the next meeting of the committee on 12 February 2024. The Deputy Monitoring Officer confirmed that a question must be submitted no later than two clear working days prior to the start of the meeting in order to guarantee a written response. The chairman noted the exceptional circumstances that had delayed the publication of the budget proposals, and on that basis, asked officers to extend the deadline for which a written reply would be supplied by 24 hours.