Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 21st November, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent

Contact: Charles Hungwe 

Link: This meeting will be livestreamed


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from the following Members:


Councillor d’Abbro;

Councillor Farooki, substituted by Councillor Boyd;

Councillor Austin, substituted by Councillor Garner.


Declaration of Interests pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest advice attached to this Agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete the Declaration of Interest Form


Councillor Packman declared an interest on agenda item 9 (Purchase of 24  Homes at Tothill Street, Minster for Affordable Rent).


Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To approve the Minutes of the extraordinary Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 19 September 2023, copy attached.


Councillor Britcher proposed, Councillor Davis seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the extraordinary Panel meeting held on 19 September 2023.



Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 26 September 2023, copy attached.


A Member asked for an update regarding the request by the Panel that they get regular updates through a Gantt Chart to report progress regarding the implementation of Levelling Up Funds projects in the district.


The Chair said that he had not received any response from officers regarding the Panel request and agreed to follow up on this request with officers.


Councillor Green proposed, Councillor Davis seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the Panel meeting held on 26 September 2023.


Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To approve the Minutes of the extraordinary Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 24 October 2023, copy attached.


Councillor Currie proposed, Councillor Kup seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the extraordinary Panel meeting held on 24 October 2023.


Cabinet Member Presentation - TDC Policy regarding Broken Bins and Green Bins Renewal Policy for Households


Councillor Albon, Cabinet Member for Cleansing and Coastal Services gave a presentation to the Panel and made the following key points:


·  The Waste Collection Team currently collects from over 70,000 properties throughout the district;

·  There were 57,000 properties that were classed as curbside collections;

·  The Council had two delivery teams that consisted of a single driver;

·  Over the course of a fortnightly collection cycle our crews collect over 250,000 of these containers;

·  In 2022/23 the Council had received 6,639 reports of damaged wheeled bins;

·  Replacement bins were delivered Mondays to Fridays and 35 to 45 bins were delivered each day;

·  The lead time for replacement was four to 5 weeks;

·  Over the last two years the Council had spent £406,750 on bin replacement;

·  The option of removing and replacing bin lids was time consuming;

·  Members were asked to note that bins changed shape over time due to weather conditions and wear and tear;

·  Bins also changed shapes due to manufacturer changing the styles. That would mean new parts would not fit on old style bins;

·  Broken bins were recycled to make more bins because not all damaged bins could be repaired;

·  The body and lip of the bins were not repairable. Only the wheels and the lid could be replaced;

·  Bin replacement resulted in overspend on the budget.


Green Bins Presentation


·  The service was run as a fortnightly collection service;

·  Two vehicles were used for each collection cycle and that was increased to three vehicles in summer;

·  The service cost £67.50 in 2022/24 and this would be £71.50 in 2024/25;

·  Currently there were 12,374 customers;

·  Last year there were 136,114 collections and there were 1,077 missed green bin collections;

·  Between September 2022 and August 2023, 4,241 tonnes were collected.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  The Council seemed to be in favour of not repairing bins. If a resident reported that a bin was damaged during collection, would they get a replacement free of charge?

·  Was £19.95 the cost that the Council paid per bin?

·  How many bins were recycled per year?

·  Were there any bins currently at the Margate depot?

·  There was an environmental cost to the collection of bins;

·  Would it be possible for the Council to come up with an arrangement where residents could collect parts from the Council and repair bins on their own?

·  The Council could start with a pilot scheme for residents to repair their broken bins. This would include the Council setting up a safe place to collect spare parts;

·  In 2022/23 the Council spent £186k on bin replacement. Why is this expenditure up by 20% to the previous year’s expenditure?

·  How often were purchases made?

·  There was a broken bins pandemic across the country. Did the Council check how other Councils were managing this issue?

·  Did other councils have similar problems?

·  Should the Council spend more on purchasing better quality bins that lasted longer?

·  Had the Council worked out the cost of repairing bins to replacing them?

·  How many broken  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Budget Monitoring 2023/24: Report No.2 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

  • View the background to item 12.

Additional documents:


Matt Sanham, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced the report and made the following comments:


·  There was overspend on temporary accommodation;

·  This was not unusual at this time of the period under review;

·  There was a forecast of £1.4million surplus for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA);

·  Cabinet had proposed budget changes and sought Full Council consent to those recommendations.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  Why was the Council expecting car imports this when this had not happened in the previous year?

·  The Maritime Services budget of £330k was creating false expectations;

·  Basing expectations that were based on windfall of unconfirmed opportunities was not a viable financial planning approach;

·  Was the significantly high expenditure for the Homelessness budget driven by greater number of people appearing on streets due to increased evictions?

·  Was the largest proportion of this expenditure due to cost of temporary accommodation?

·  If the cost of temporary accommodation was significant on the budget expenditure the council should consider purchasing more housing;

·  How were the ongoing issues regarding the bridge impacting operations at the Ramsgate Port?

·  Were costs for the Berth 4/5 available?

·  The expected levels of inflation had dropped. Would this impact the overspend?


Matt Sanham and Mike Humber responded to Member questions and comments as follows:


·  If there were no car imports, new ad hoc opportunities would bring in income;

·  Homelessness was also driven by evictions. The Council would need to put measures in place to mitigate the impact of this aspect of the budget;

·  The work on Berth 4/5 including the electrics were completed, ready for use by Bretts;

·  The bridge was out of service as some repairs were going on hoping that it would back in service by Christmas;

·  Costs would be recovered from the contractor who did the original works;

·  The council built the budget based on known assumptions.


Members noted the report.


Adoption of a Combined Surveillance/CCTV/Image recording technologies Policy pdf icon PDF 87 KB

  • View the background to item 13.

Additional documents:


Eden Geddes, Enforcement & Multi-Agency Task Force Manager introduced the report and made the following comments:


·  CCTV and the use of image recording is now commonplace;

·  From town centre CCTV to building security cameras to dash cams, ring doorbells and mobile phones;

·  The council's use of CCTV is governed by a profusion of legislation, codes of practice and central government guidance;

·  New and emerging technologies and capabilities such as Artificial Intelligence, biometrics, or advances in IT system integration must consider the increased risk to individual rights and privacy and ensure that the council continues to be compliant;

·  In response the council has developed this policy which is intended to regulate the council’s operation and use of image recording systems across all areas of the council;

·  This policy also introduces minimum standards as a guide to all departments planning to procure or utilise these types of technologies.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  Once information was collected by the Council through the CCTV system where was it stored?

·  Would individuals be able to check if their personal information had been destroyed and not kept for longer than was required by law?

·  Who gave authorisation form the use of the CCTV?

·  Was the Council still operating temporary mobile CCTV systems or where these now permanently positioned?

·  Were the Council’s CCTV manned 24 hours a day?

·  Was Kent Police able to access the Council’s CCTV?

·  Could Cabinet look at the authorisation to use cameras for the new CCTV system?

·  Who ensured that the cameras were used for the identified purposes?

·  Who made the decision for the setting up the system?

·  There was a camera that broke down in one street. However, the crime stats in that area could not be used to justify the re-installation of the camera in that street. The camera was not replaced;

·  Being policy compliant was important for the installation and use of CCTV.


Eden Geddes and Penny Button, Head of Neighbourhoods responded to Member questions and comments as follows:


·  Recorded information was retained in the Operations Room for a maximum of 90 days, after which it would be destroyed;

·  Individuals would be able to check if such information had indeed been destroyed;

·  Depending on the size of the CCTV systems, in some cases managers would authorise spending on the use of a small system;

·  If large systems which cost about £250k were to be purchased, that would be considered a key decision and would therefore require a Cabinet decision;

·  The mobile system was coming to the end of its life span. New ones were being trialed;


·  The Council’s CCTV system were monitored 20 hours a day, but would continue to run even when not monitored;

·  The system was accessible to Kent Police, once given access by the Council;

·  The policy clearly stated that where cameras were set up only authorised persons could access these cameras;

·  Proportionality assessment would be carried out to determine whether the cameras should be set up or not;

·  Crime stats were used to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Purchase of 24 Homes at Tothill Street, Minster for Affordable Rent pdf icon PDF 148 KB

  • View the background to item 14.


Councillor Packman left the Council Chamber after declaring a significant interest as he worked for a Housing Association.


Ashley Jackson, Head of Housing and Planning introduced the report and made the following points:


·  Council had recently approved an accelerated affordable rented housing development programme of at least 400 new homes, constructed or acquired, by 2027;

·  Officers were contacted by BDW Barretts, who were required to deliver 24 new affordable homes, as part of their development at Tothill Street, Minster. This requirement was set out in the section 106 obligations for the development. They had been unable to secure an affordable housing provider to deliver these homes;

·  The capital cost for the 24 homes was £3.2m and £50k for associated costs;

·  Paragraph 2.5 to the report demonstrated the cash flow deficit from year one of £30.99k with a breakeven point in year 15;

·  As the homes had been designated as affordable homes in the planning consent and section 106 agreement, they had been designed specifically for that purpose and accordingly were considered appropriate for the HRA, in line with the needs of households on the Council’s register or those living in temporary accommodation. There was a significant level of need for one bedroom homes, as well as for larger family homes;

·  The unit sizes and the mix of dwellings were as follows:


§  8 x 1 bed units

§  16 x 2 bed units


·  The Panel was asked to review the proposals to Cabinet for the new homes to bet let in accordance with the council’s adopted allocations policy.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


·  It was concerning that housing associations were not planning to take over affordable housing in new development projects that were coming up;

·  Two hundred and fourteen houses were planned for the housing development in question;

·  30% of that development was allocated for affordable housing. This meant that 40 houses were set aside for affordable housing;

·  That also translated to 28 houses being set aside for affordable rent and 12 for shared ownership;

·  The affordable housing units were later reduced to 24 and 16 were now set aside for shared ownership. These changes were something that the Council needed to review;

·  The Council had pledged to build 400 homes in 4 years. Was the rate at which the council was buying or building new homes the pace at which these developments should be considering the cost of borrowing?

·  For sites like Pegwell Bay, should the Council be not considering engaging housing associations?

·  Was the Council satisfied with the deal for these new properties?

·  It was agreed that there would be no water supply hook-up for the new properties until there was an agreement with Southern Water;

·  Could the Council give guarantee that all these houses were delivered to the highest standards for all the properties being developed at these sites;

·  How many of these properties were disability friendly or age proof?

·  Would these properties have solar energy?

·  Previously there were five houses at Reading  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Review of Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair advised Members that the Parking Review was still an item to be reviewed by the Panel.


Mike Humber gave the update that with regards to the Parking Strategy, officers were ready to award a contract to a consultant for the review of the Strategy. Dates would be set up for the public consultation as part of this review. Councillor Keen, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods would be invited to the 16 January 2024 Panel meeting to discuss the Strategy proposals with the Panel.


Members made comments as follows:


·  Could Democratic Services chase for an update regarding the Panel request for regular updates in relation to the implementation of Levelling Up Fund projects;

·  Could the Overview and Scrutiny Panel monitor the output of the recently established officer Governance Working Group;

·  Members requested for a follow up on the Panel request for one-off reports for three review topics that had been identified by Members earlier in the year;

·  Another Member requested for the Panel to look at how residents can get access council services through face to face support from council officers. They further said the Gateway was usually empty most of the time. Could this facility be used for such face to face service?


Members noted the report.


Forward Plan and Exempt Cabinet Report List pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:


Members noted the report.