Agenda and minutes

EAP Prosperous Communities - Thursday 2nd March, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: The Executive Room, The Cube, George Street, Corby NN17, 1QG

Contact: Fiona Hubbard - 01933 231519 - Email: Fiona.Hubbard@northnorthants.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from George Candler (Executive Director of Place & Economy).

 

2.

Executive Advisory Panel (EAP) Terms of Reference (General) (including scoping document) and making the most of the EAP including a Presentation (Presentation to follow at the meeting) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that Councillor Lawman & Councillor Binley were co-chairmen of the Prosperous Communities EAP.

A Terms of Reference document applicable to all EAPs had been circulated.

Officers explained that a review of the role of EAPs within the Council had been undertaken. The approach to EAPs had been refreshed with the focus being on policy development work undertaken throughout the year, moving away from overseeing Executive papers and decisions being made, with scrutiny committees focusing on that element.

It was noted that it was important that the EAP was consulted early in the development of policies and strategies so that it could add value to the proposals. Deciding on policy development areas would be done by reviewing the Corporate Plan, Service Delivery Plans and listening to the ideas of EAP members. There were likely to be times where national policy may prompt some policy development work which would benefit from EAP input.

It was emphasised that officers would bring proposals and documents to the EAP which would be in draft format, with the intention that these would prompt discussion and benefit from an early member opinion and discussion. EAPs were not “pre-scrutiny” and were not intended to replicate or replace the role of scrutiny but were intended to assist the Executive in the development of proposals and recommendations to be submitted through the formal governance and decision-making process.

Whilst operating within certain rules, EAP meetings were intended to be less formal and provide an opportunity for debate and discussion of ideas, views and consideration of options.

Councillor Lawman stated that there was an important role for officers in ensuring that the Executive Forward Plan was populated well in advance of formal reports being submitted and that officers should ensure that EAPs were able to input into proposals and policies in advance of reports going to the Executive.

In addition, EAP members were encouraged to raise issues for debate where a policy or strategy potentially needed to be created or amended. Councillor Binley recognised that officers will normally have a good indication of what new areas of discussion were likely to be needed, as a result of proposed Government policy initiatives etc. and the opportunity should be taken to engage the EAP in discussion of the Council’s response to such initiatives.

It was recognised that where items were discussed and the EAP had suggestions or comments to be recorded and incorporated that ideally this would be by consensus, however, where this was not possible the majority view would be formalised. Opposing or divergent opinions could be noted in the report or registered later by members through the formal decision-making process. The EAPs role was to influence and inform decision making.

Councillor Allebone stressed the importance of ensuring there were two-way lines of communication with the Executive, in order to provide assurance to EAP members that their input was recognised and appreciated, albeit the Executive were not bound by the EAPs views.

EAPs could benefit from inviting external attendees and expert  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Service Plans and relevance to EAPs

Minutes:

It was noted that the Service Plans from relevant directorates would also be a useful source of information, when the EAP was considering its future work programme, as these may provide details of items for future consideration by the Executive and initiatives to support the successful implementation of the Corporate Plan.

Details of appropriate topics for potential discussion were presented. From Place & Economy these included Active Travel Strategy, Active Travel Schemes (Corby/Kettering), Local Transport Plan, Home to School Transport (updated policy), Parking Strategy (stakeholder engagement), Acquisition Policy, Commercial Lettings Policy, Commercial Investment Strategy. In addition, the developing Skills Improvement Plan, the development of a Prospectus for NNC and the Council’s role in contributing to the business support landscape were also noted.

In relation to Adults, Health Partnerships & Housing, reference was made in their Service Plan to a refresh of Housing Policies (operational), a refresh of strategic policies and assessments around housing requirements and growth, Community Safety Partnership delivery, CCTV Strategy and implementation of ASC Provider Services Strategy.

Councillor Lawman suggested that it may be possible for the EAP to consider issues that fell outside of normal Executive decision-making matters and look at ways other local authorities implemented policies and undertook operational matters for ideas and comparison, whilst recognising that performance monitoring was a scrutiny function. Such considerations may benefit discussions on policy amendments or creation, where current policy may be hampering improvements to service delivery and efficiencies.

Councillor Mercer felt that, if the EAP was going to maximise its contribution to future NNC policy, it needed to look at issues likely to arise in the longer-term and what the financial and operational implications for NNC may be. Councillor Mercer commented that financial pressures on local authorities were likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

It was agreed that it was also important to understand the potential future challenges facing partners, particularly where there may be direct implications for NNC.

Councillor Lawman queried whether the EAP would be able to initiate site visits to other partners and organisations to supplement its discussions on seeking out best practise and new initiatives and whether there was a budget available. Officers confirmed that where appropriate such visits could be considered.

 

4.

Discussion - future meetings, venues, live streaming etc

Minutes:

It was noted that the EAP was scheduled to meet bi-monthly. The final meeting of the EAP in the current Municipal Year was on 11th May 2023. Dates for 2023/24 had been approved as part of the Municipal Timetable and invitations would be circulated in due course.

Meetings of the EAP would be live streamed or recorded and uploaded onto You Tube. The meetings were accessible to the public.

It was noted that meetings would normally be held in The Cube, however, if set-up as MS Teams meetings, virtual attendance would be possible. Councillor Mercer felt that it would be better if these were set-up as hybrid meetings, thus ensuring that travel time and carbon emissions was reduced. Allowing attendance by virtual means for both members and officers would be more efficient.

The Panel agreed that the choice of whether to attend on site or by virtual means would be permitted.

 

5.

Forward Plan - List of Items for the EAP pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Minutes:

Members noted that the EAP were being requested to create a Forward Plan to allow for the development of a work programme and agenda setting. A template had been included with the agenda for reference.

Councillor Lawman noted that some issues were cross-cutting and queried how these would be dealt with? Was a joint meeting feasible? Officers confirmed that, subject to the agreement of the relevant Chairmen, joint EAP meetings could be held on cross-cutting issues. This would be more efficient and effective.

Councillor North agreed that a Forward Plan would be helpful and queried whether key dates/deadlines could be included against subject topics agreed to be within scope of the EAP. It was noted that some items were potentially subject to procurement and discussion on these at an early stage would be welcome. This was noted.

Officers confirmed that the EAP scoping document was not inclusive and members were encouraged to forward ideas for inclusion within the remit of the EAP.

The meeting discussed a number of potential topics including Waste Management, Housing Strategy, HRA Integration.

Councillor North queried whether it would be possible to have a synopsis of each topic detailed in the scoping document, to enable members to have a better idea of the subject matter encompassed by EAP. This was noted.

 

6.

Close of Meeting

Minutes:

There being no further business, the Chair thanked Members and Officers for their attendance and closed the meeting.