Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary, Overview & Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 6th December, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

Contact: Charles Hungwe 

Link: This meeting will be livestreamed


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from the following Members:


Councillor Paul Moore, substituted by Councillor Manners;

Councillor Green, substituted by Councillor Will Scobie;

Councillor Wing 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


There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.


The Re-tendering of the responsive repairs contract pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:


Sally O’Sullivan, Head of Tenant and Leaseholder Services introduced the report and made the following comments:


  • This report was regarding the proposed approach to the procurement of a partnering contractor for day to day responsive repairs, voids, compliance and major works;
  • This service was currently provided by Mears and the contract was due to expire on 31 March 2025;
  • Due to the size and complexity of this contract, the Council had to start the process now to ensure that there was enough time to apply the right model and procure the right partner to deliver this service;
  • Officers sought the assistance of a consultant to help get this right. The consultant chosen had worked extensively with local authorities across Kent to procure the same kind of contract, meaning they had a wealth of experience to apply to this process;
  • Officers had carried out a series of workshops and discussed what was working well and what needed to be improved with the current service and explored different options for the approach to service delivery with the new contract. Officers had a strong focus on local delivery and the employment of local operatives;
  • As part of this we looked at the option to bring the entire service in house. This was discarded due to a number of operational issues that would hinder set up and smooth service delivery; these included:


§  Not having a depot available to work out of, to store plant and materials and this would take substantial investment and time to set up;

§  Requirement for additional management for finance and ICT;

§  The ability to cope with peaks and troughs of work through seasonal demand;

§  The Council would still have to procure contractors to carry out specialist works for example, asbestos management and electrical safety.


  • This was discussed more extensively in section 3.12 to the committee report;
  • Officers decided that the best proposal was to rework and improve the current model which is Price Per Property (PPP) and Price Per Void (PPV). This would mean there would be in place, a fixed price agreement per property through which the service provider would carry out repairs and maintenance, using the national schedule of rates for anything that fell outside;
  • The main benefits of this model included the following:


§  Less administration than if the Council were to approve individual SOR for all jobs/voids;

§  Officers can focus on quality of works rather than value;

§  Officers would have faster repair completion as this model meant the contractor would complete works without seeking authorisation from TDC in a majority of orders;

§  Familiar way of working for TDC officers;


  • The main disadvantage was that contractors may try to charge in appropriately for repairs they deemed as falling outside the price per property model or carry out works in a property so that the final value falls outside the price cap;
  • Officer were going to write elements into the contract to mitigate against these risks and this includes:


·  Including a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Tenant and Leaseholder Services Q2 report for 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:


Sally O’Sullivan, introduced the report and advised Members that a new look Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reporting format was introduced by the Service and was used for presenting the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 performance. Ms O’Sullivan made further comments as follows:


  • As part of the new look KPIs, the Service also developed a dashboard style way of reporting that was hope would be more accessible than our previous reports;
  • The compliance reports would remain the same for now as their requirements were prescribed within policy;
  • Officers had also introduced a new dashboard to show progress on the Tower blocks retrofit and refurbishment programme;
  • Most of our operational Performance Indicators (PIs) were running as was envisaged;
  • In Q2 the team achieved voids target for the first time since the service came back in-house. This had been due to the hard work of the voids team and strong contract management by the Senior Repairs Surveyor;
  • The Council was also continuing to reduce tenant arrears, which had now fallen to under 3.9%. This was a massive achievement as when the service came back in-house, arrears were at around 7%;
  • Where the Council needed to do better was with its capital spend. The Council had struggled to procure contracts over the last six months and finally by the end of Q2 were in a position to award some key contracts. This meant that over the next six months, officers hoped to catch up on much of the capital programme that had fallen behind;
  • For the compliance statistics, the Council was again operating steadily for most workstreams. Worth highlight was he progress made on the electrical safety programme, which had increased to 97.67% and continued to increase to a level where soon officer would feel comfortable to move this service area to a business as usual workstream;
  • Worth pointing out also was that there was one property that did not have a valid gas safety certificate. This was because the resident was a hoarder and officer had been unable to complete all the tests required to obtain a valid certificate;
  • Officers had done everything possible and there was evidence to show the efforts made should the Council be approached by the regulator for social housing. Unfortunately, officers were now having to apply for an injunction to clear the property to allow these works to be completed.


Councillor Whitehead, Cabinet Member for Housing made comments as follows:


  • As evidenced by the thoroughness of these reports, a huge amount of work goes into both collecting and analysing data within Housing, and the comprehensive nature of this work was something that Officers involved deserve significant credit for;
  • Councillor Whitehead made special praise to the new dashboard style reporting, which made information more accessible and very clear to understand, and also welcomed the inclusion of in-depth reporting on the tower block retrofit and refurbishment programme.
  • This was a huge piece of work that had already included an inclusive and comprehensive resident consultation. Inclusion of this as a separate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Jackey Bakers Recreation Ground pdf icon PDF 111 KB

  • View the background to item 21.

Additional documents:


Mike Humber, Director of Environment introduced the item and made the following key points:


  • This report set out proposals for Cabinet’s approval for improvements at Jackey Bakers Recreation ground;
  • The report referred to a petition that was received by the Council in June about the management of Jackey Bakers and describes the actions taken since then;
  • The report also proposed the adoption of a master plan (attached at Annex 1 to the report) for the future development of the site. The master plan proposals were not currently funded but the adoption of the plan would inform direction and represent a first step towards securing the required funding for the long-term future of Jackey Bakers;
  • The report further proposed that authority be delegated to investigate the options for a future development on the site based on the master plan, including car parking, a new pavilion and other sporting/recreational facilities that might enhance the offer at the site;
  • A further report would be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and the Cabinet once these options had been further explored;
  • The recommendation included the demolition of the existing pavilion subject to planning prior approval being granted at the meeting of Planning Committee on 13 December 2023;
  • Following demolition, it was proposed that temporary facilities were provided with team changing rooms, showers, officials changing, storage and toilets.


Councillor Joanne Bright spoke Council Procure Rule 20.1.


Speaking under 20.1 the Member made the following points:


  • They welcomed the much needed investment in the Jackey Bakers recreation ground. They asked if future park designers would specifically consider the needs of girls and young women in these new plans;
  • Women and girls were much less likely to use sports fields than men and boys and they frequently did not feel comfortable visiting these spaces as they were not being designed with their needs in mind;
  • Recent research from Leeds University and the charity ‘Make Space for Girls’ identified issues such as a lack of social seating, well-lit paths, a lack of toilets and a focus on facilities favoured by boys as reasons why girls were less likely to use parks than boys;
  • The research showed, teenagers using multi-use games areas (such as football fields and basketball courts), were 92% boys and young men;
  • Facilities such as tennis courts, play spaces and outdoor gyms were more likely to be used by girls; but still these were only 34%;


  • The draft master plan for Jackey Bakers imagined a facility used by the whole community but in reality, these types of facilities did not properly cater for 50% of the population. Teenage girls were less likely to exercise outside than teenage boys and this was not going to change unless gender mainstreaming was applied in the planning and design of parks and recreational spaces;
  • The proposed investment in this large recreation site seemed like the perfect opportunity for Thanet District Council to lead by example and prove that teenage girls had as much right to outdoor fun as teenage  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Public Toilets Refurbishment and Renewal Project pdf icon PDF 95 KB

  • View the background to item 22.

report to follow

Additional documents:


Mike Humber introduced the report and made following comments:


  • This report proposed a schedule of investment in public toilets around the district;
  • Budgets totalling £1.25m with a mixture of revenue and capital funding had been identified. A further sum of £250k was anticipated although not yet approved via an external grant from Southern Water;
  • The report proposed maintenance works at seven sites. This would focus on addressing existing defects and was not a full refurbishment of the toilets. But it would return them to a much higher standard of repair. Examples of the work content could be found at Annex 1 with the estimated cost;
  • The total spend on revenue repair work was £279k and subject to approval at Cabinet it was proposed to undertake these works in the new year so that they were completed before the start of the 2024 season;
  • The report also proposed capital works at three sites, Margate Clock Tower, Stone Bay and Botany Bay;
  • These capital works would provide significantly improved and accessible facilities at all three sites;
  • There were currently 27 public toilets in Thanet and this report proposes works in 10 of those 27 locations. This investment was proposed to be the start of an anticipated wider and longer term programme of public toilet improvements subject to further funding being identified;
  • The report also proposed that a further report be taken to Cabinet before the end of October 2024 to provide an update on toilet refurbishment and improvement works;
  • The report would update on the capital works programme and would propose next steps to address refurbishment or improvements at the public toilets not included in this initial phase.


Speaking under public speaking, Ms Ruth Bailey made the following comments:


  • Ms Bailey said that this was a subject that she had raised quite often and she therefore wanted to come along to the Panel to welcome this long awaited toilet strategy;
  • Ms Bailey said that this issue was of great importance to residents and visitors alike and was also speaking from experience having been on the frontline listening to complaints when manning the Visitor Information Kiosk;
  • Toilet provision was not a statutory duty for the Council. However, clean and hygienic toilets, particularly in a seaside destination, were essential. There was no getting away from that;
  • Having this strategy in the public arena was a real positive step forward. Therefore, well one to all concerned;
  • The report was clear and honest in its limitations, the detailed rationale, costings and schedule of works was welcome, as was the re-assessment of disability and baby changing provision;


  • It was pleasing to note that, despite fears to the contrary, this refurbishment programme did not seem to entail the closure or selling off of any of the toilet facilities;
  • The first tranche of toilets would be ready for next summer; which is great. However, the timespan of the total programme was given as 10 years (at paragraph 3.4. of the report) which did seem a rather prolonged period. It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.