Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Executive Scrutiny Committee Minutes

Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020
10:00 am
Remote Meeting via Microsoft Teams.
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Cllr Mrs Sylvia Walmsley(Chair), Cllr Chris Clough(Vice-Chair), Cllr Chris Barlow, Cllr Pauline Beall, Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Lynn Hall, Cllr Tony Hampton, Cllr Paul Kirton, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Tony Riordan, Cllr Norma Stephenson O.B.E, Cllr Laura Tunney
Peter Bell, Nigel Hart, Michael Henderson, Rebecca Saunders-Thompson, Judy Trainer, Margaret Waggott, Sarah Whaley, Gary Woods
In Attendance:
Councillor Clare Gamble
Apologies for absence:
Item Description Decision
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
RESOLVED that subject to the amendments above the scrutiny work programme be endorsed.


There were no declarations of interest.
Consideration was given to the Executive Scrutiny Committee minutes from the meetings which were held on 21st January and 25th February 2020.
Members were asked to consider a review of the scrutiny work programme for the remainder of 2020/21 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The main proposals within the report were discussed as follows:

Members of the Executive Scrutiny Committee would receive regular reports at an appropriate time during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Select Committees would resume their work under remote meeting arrangements from July 2020.

Select Committees would review the scope of in-depth work to include issues emanating from COVID-19, recognising that some elements of planned work may need to be removed (e.g. site visits) and consideration would need to be given to new ways of working to gather evidence.

Members' were informed that prior to the work programme for scrutiny being paused in mid-March 2020, Scrutiny Liaison Forum had considered all topic suggestions scored under the “PICK” prioritisation tool and had recommended that topic suggestions 1-12 attached at Appendix 1 be included on the Select Committee Work Programme for 2020/21. It was also explained that the Scrutiny Liaison Forum had made comments in terms of combining some reviews into one, conducting some as Task and Finish Reviews and that some reviews be pulled where appropriate, full detail of which were contained within the report.

The Scrutiny Liaison Forum had also recommended that topics suggested by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation be considered as part of joint health scrutiny arrangements, however with regard to topics under Population Health and Prevention in Stockton, presentations would be included within the Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee Work Programme.

Members' attention was drawn to paragraph 15 of the main report which detailed the potential work programme for 2020/21.

The Chair for the Place Select Committee, Councillor Chris Barlow was keen to continue with the 'Planters in Residential Streets Review' as it had already commenced as a Task and Finish Review, and was one Members could carry out using remote meeting facilities. The Assistant Director for Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services agreed that this could be continued on a remote basis with the use of Microsoft Teams.

Discussion took place around the Planning Enforcement Review and the reasons why it had been suggested that this be pulled. It was explained that there had been a recent change in terms of Planning Enforcement and that there was a possibility it could be too soon to review.

Members discussed the Hospital Discharge Review and whether this was to include hospital discharge to care homes. The Chair of Adult Social Care and Health Committee confirmed the review did not include hospital discharge to care homes, however agreed to take it back to committee and discuss further whether to incorporate it within the review.

Questions were raised relating to Action Fraud and whether it had been looked at previously by any other Committee. Officers confirmed that the review had been carried over from the previous year and had been suggested by Victim Support following their involvement in the Hate Crime review.

Discussion was had as to why refuse collection and recycling were not a higher priority.

A request was made that if the Play Equipment Review took place, Members look at fencing around play areas and flooring as it was felt that fencing was no longer put around play areas and this needed to be addressed to discourage dogs entering the areas.

Suggestions were made that Scrutiny Committees continues to meet over the summer recess due to the amount of time which had been lost because of COVID-19. Officers agreed to hold discussions with each Chair to investigate each committee’s availability during that time and where possible would be fully supportive of this.

The Chair of the Executive Scrutiny Committee highlighted that the 33 topic suggestions that had come forward were excellent and each one had merit, however due to the challenging circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it had been difficult to try and put those topics in to some order, therefore creating the need to combine some, and use a Task and Finish for others etc. It was however highlighted that should a review be finished ahead of time, Scrutiny Committees could look at bringing other reviews forward.

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