Agenda and minutes

Joint Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 29 January 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon OX14 3JE.

Contact: Candida Basilio, Democratic Services 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members. 


Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak gave apologies. Councillor Ed Sadler sent his apologies, and Councillor Kate Gregory attended in his place as a substitute member of the committee.



Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 


Chair ran through housekeeping matters and reminded members of meeting etiquette.



Declaration of interests

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 





Minutes pdf icon PDF 279 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Joint Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2023.




The minutes of the meeting on 7 December 2023 were agreed a correct record, and these would be signed by the chair at the end of the meeting.



Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 




Work schedule and dates for Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To review the attached scrutiny work schedule. Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.


Additional documents:



Chair reminded members that ideas were welcome for the work programme, and recent ideas were to ask Thames Water and the Environment Agency to speak to us. Members previously mentioned how other authorities had invited Police to scrutiny.

A member asked if they could invite the Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) back to tackle concerns over health centres. Chair asked members to help form the context / scope of a potential conversation and what Scrutiny Committee would like to achieve from discussions. The Co-chairs would discuss this further.

There were no further comments raised about the Joint Scrutiny work programme.



Garden waste permit pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Joint Scrutiny Committee is asked to review and provide comments to Cabinets on the proposal to implement a garden waste permit model from 1 April 2025.



Joint Scrutiny was asked to review and provide comments for Cabinets on the proposal to implement a garden waste permit model from 1 April 2025.


Chair opened this item by explaining that although this seemed a small agenda, this item affected many residents. Although it was a discretionary service, the Environment Act would make the garden waste provision a service that must be provided by councils from 2026 (however it would still be optional for residents to take up).


Cabinet Members for Environment (South and Vale) were present to introduce this item. Officers present online were Head of Corporate Services, Head of Housing and Environment, and the Customer Services Manager. Cabinet member for Corporate Services (South) was also online.


Cabinet member for Vale briefly summarised the report. The aim was to move all customers to one payment date and move away from direct debit. It was proposed to move all customers to the same renewal date of 1 April, with payment to be made in February-March for the service to be provided from 1 April to 31 March as of 2025 (municipal year). It was felt that moving to a single payment date would be less confusing for customers. Residents would be given a tamper-proof permit sticker to label their brown bin. The sticker system would make it easier for waste crews to identify who had paid for the service. The councils were committed to improving operational efficiency and creating customer service improvements.


The new system was considered by officers to provide efficiencies in administering the service, simplifying the process for both customers and staff. There would be a comprehensive communications plan in place to inform residents of the transition to this new system. The cost of the permit system to the council was expected to be slightly lower than the existing costs to the councils, and the cost of the sticker would be part of the consideration when setting the annual garden waste fee. Staff would remind residents on a yearly basis to pay for their new permit(s).

Committee commented as follows:

  • A member raised the issue of residents updating/paying for the service yearly and queried whether this was really a simpler method for residents, as direct debits were a rolling payment. The removal of the minimum collections rule was queried, and the Cabinet member for Vale explained that the intent was to avoid administrative burden of, for example, calculating the refund for one missed bin. Legal officers had explained that the method proposed was used in other authorities. Customer Services Manager responded on direct debits – councils across the country use a variety of methods. Officers were concerned about the difficulties of collecting non-payment from direct debits. 1,600 cases were open where the direct debits had failed and fees not collected, and this created a burden on administrative resources.
  • Another member echoed the above comment on the yearly payment - if we were investing in a CRM system, can we use it to its capacity and send out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Vale of White Horse District Council