Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 31 July 2023 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Candida Basilio, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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


There were no apologies for absence.


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. 


There was no urgent business or announcements.


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. 



There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2023.



The minutes of the meeting on 12th July 2023 were agreed as a correct record, and the chair will sign them as such.



Work schedule and dates for all Vale and Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 168 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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.



The committee noted the work programme.

A report was requested on the Beacon. Deputy Chief Executive for Transformation and Operations would follow up with the relevant officers on what could come forward and when.


Public participation

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


There were no public speakers.


Section 106 affordable housing funding pdf icon PDF 297 KB

For scrutiny committee to review the report and recommendations of the Head of Housing and Environment and provide any comments to the Cabinet member for Affordable Housing, Development & Infrastructure before the report is presented at Cabinet.

Additional documents:


Cabinet member for affordable housing introduced the report. This was a requested refresh of the strategy for applications for bids for affordable housing. Aims to ensure bidders are clear on requirements before applying, and criteria will be given which will be used by officers for bid assessment.


The committee considered the report and policy document (plus application form) for Section 106 affordable housing funding.


The committee asked questions of the cabinet member (Cllr Sue Caul) and officers Paul Fielding and Suzanne Malcolm.

There was understanding that the policy was designed to encourage applications and ensure the funding was used up, not deterring smaller and different types of bidder.


The committee did make a range of observations on the report to Cabinet, and the policy. Although members did not vote on a recommendation, they were in agreement that officers and the cabinet members should action where possible the following suggestions that Scrutiny offer for improvement. It was noted that South Oxfordshire’s scrutiny committee would being doing the same exercise and there would be joint discussions between south and vale cabinet members, in order to agree the best wording that would encourage bidders and stand by the aims of the councils. Officers and the cabinet member explained that the aim was to get the money spent and keep the policy open to many types of developer and not deter schemes that could potentially be worthwhile. Ensure that smaller bidders can access support to develop suitable schemes. The points below summarise the suggestions to be taken forward.

  • It was requested that wording was strengthened in the report to emphasise that the money for bids was ringfenced
  • Paragraphs 20-21 in the report – clarity requested on the spend limits for full council approval
  • Paragraph three of the policy – clarify wording to explain this applies to housing sums only
  • Paragraph four of the policy – wording to be amended to explain the delivery of affordable housing and that affordable housing in perpetuity was a requirement
  • Paragraph four of the policy – it was asked that officers distinguish between essential and desirable. It was confirmed that this was in line with the Housing Strategy but officers agreed to streamline the wording.
  • Wording requested in the policy to explain that a report on the assessment of the bid would be shared with the applicant.
  • Members felt that criteria from page two of the policy could have more explanation, but officers did explain that the purpose was to not be overly prescriptive, as this would deter some bidders.
  • Please remove undefined acronyms or provide explanation – as it was a public facing document
  • A discussion was had on what “low cost” housing meant. Officer to add a line of wording on asking bidders to explain what the resident’s experience would be for utilities/ low-cost housing.
  • Make “low running costs” a markable criteria. This would include non-carbon utilities such as water.
  • Explanation wanted of what “adding social value” was
  • On page three of the policy, committee were  ...  view the full minutes text for item Sc13