Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 23 January 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

Sc20

Apologies for absence

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

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Max Thompson. His substitute in attendance was Councillor Patrick O’Leary.

Sc21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2019. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting, held on Thursday 28 November 2019, were agreed by all as an accurate record of the meeting. The Chairman signed them as such.

Sc22

Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

None.

 

Sc23

Urgent business and chairman's announcements

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

Minutes:

The Chairman had no announcements to make and briefly ran through housekeeping.

Sc24

Public participation

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

Minutes:

There were no members of the public or speakers present.

Sc25

Council tax reduction scheme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To consider the head of finance’s report. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Officers Paul Howden and James Connolly presented a report on the proposed Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2020/21 which was supported by Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Andrew Crawford. The revisions proposed were to keep the scheme in line with Universal Credit – with regard to disabilities and bereavement support and to help single parents with children under five.

 

Single parents of children under five faced difficulty finding work and balancing childcare costs. Those receiving Universal Credit were not expected to work enough hours to live independently of benefits. The proposed changes to the local scheme helped alleviate what tended to be a short term hardship for single parents with young children.

 

The new proposal included widening of the definition of disability, as per Universal Credit, regarding capacity to work.

 

Currently, bereavement support payments were considered as income. The new proposal was to disregard this as income and scheme in line with other means tested schemes and minimise stress to applicants.

 

The costs were outlined in the report. The cost was viewed as minimal compared to the benefit to the public and it was considered a good strategy in the long term for the council. The committee were supportive of the proposed scheme. Public consultation was carried out and there was discussion regarding how consultations were run in general and timeliness of reports to Scrutiny Committee. The committee agreed that this should be a future agenda item.

 

Discussion was had around the three categories and how officers arrived at those particular three. Officers stated that these categories were highlighted in reports and also in day to day work as most in need. The committee asked to see all categories listed in future reports. Officers would include the equality impact assessment to the report before it was presented to Cabinet.

 

Democratic services were reviewing the 2020-2021 calendar of meetings and would consider timings for presentation of reports to scrutiny.

 

RECOMMENDED: to Cabinet;

To recommend Council to adopt the revised council tax reduction scheme.

 

RESOLVED: to

(a)  note the report and thank the finance team for their work

(b)  request a future Scrutiny Committee agenda item on how public consultations are conducted; and

(c)   request for all relevant available data to be provided in future reports

 

Sc26

Work schedule and dates for all scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 88 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.

 

Minutes:

The committee reviewed the Scrutiny Work Programme. It was confirmed that the next meeting of the committee would focus on one agenda item. On 6th February 2020, the agenda is on the council budget 2020/21.

 

Community Infrastructure Levy Spending Strategy and Planning Appeals 2018/19 will be postponed to the committee meeting on 26th March 2020.

 

The draft corporate plan 2020/24 will be scheduled for scrutiny in June.

 

Civil parking enforcement is going to Cabinet in April, so to review before this date, this item will be on the agenda of the separate South and Vale scrutiny committees.

 

The Chairman is working with officers on the A34 diversion item and will report back.