Agenda and minutes

Joint Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 21 September 2023 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 Andy Cooke sent his apologies, and Councillor Diana Lugova was in attendance as substitute committee member.

It was noted that Adrian Lear, Technical Projects Team Leader, and Andy Marr from Saba were unable to attend.



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 but chair ran through some housekeeping matters.


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. 



No declarations were declared.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Joint Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2023.



The minutes of the Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 10 July 2023 were agreed as a correct record and the co-chair shall sign them as such.


It was commented that it was hoped that the item discussed at the above meeting on the Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) would be revisited in a year’s time.


Work schedule and dates for Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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 Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.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



Committee noted the work programmes.


Public participation

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


Mr. Salmons addressed the committee, providing a statement on the withdrawn planning application for a maintenance depot site, which he objected to. He was thanked for his statement and provided with a response from the Head of Legal and Democratic, who explained the correct process would be the review of his recently submitted corporate complaint on this matter.



Performance review of Saba (car park operators) 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 693 KB

Joint Scrutiny Committee is to consider Saba’s performance in delivering the car park operations contract for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 and to make any comments before a final assessment on performance is made.


Additional documents:


Cabinet Member for Environment (South), Councillor Sue Cooper, and Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste (Vale), Councillor Mark Coleman, were present to introduce the report and answer any questions.

Officers supporting the item were Head of Development and Corporate Landlord, and the Technical Services Manager. Saba representative Nigel Griffin was present to answer questions.


Councillor Coleman gave an introduction to the report. The contract end was in three years’ time. In summary, overall performance was 97%, despite a few KPIs not meeting targets, and the Head of Development and Corporate Landlord considered that performance for the year 2022-23 should be rated ‘good’. Scrutiny were asked for any comments before the assessment was formalised.


Comments for officers and Cabinet members were as follows:

  • It was asked why there was an 8.8% contract cost rise year on year. Councillor Cooper explained it was index linked.
  • Regarding a question on revenue, Councillor Cooper explained that we receive a report every November, showing details of revenue coming in. A member raised whether members could look at revenue figures. Councillor Coleman suggested that he could bring a response back to the Co-chair.
  • A member asked how often pay machines break down? Could this information be given?
  • Members would like to see how the public feel about the carpark service, noting there were no complaints reported in this period. Nigel Griffith added that customer satisfaction was not widespread over the contracts they had, but he would look for opportunities. There were issues around what was Saba responsibility – customers may complain about maintenance issues that are out of the scope of the Saba contract.
  • A member suggested a mystery shopper experience to gain feedback.
  • A small number of customer satisfaction survey returns was a trend, members and officers could look at options.
  • A member asked about Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) – could Saba comment on what they felt was going well? Cabinet member added that lots of praise was given on Saba staff training. Saba representative was happy with the collaboration, and it had gone very well and CPE was considered to be a better system so far.
  • A member asked Saba about KPI’s that reached 100% - do they look to improve KPI’s further or just maintain the score? Saba representative explained that KPIs can be reviewed.
  • KPI2 – had the staffing issue been resolved for issuing Customer Penalty Notices (CPN’s)? Saba representative explained that there was a period of time developing a new team, and this team had now stabilised over this period.
  • A member questioned whether the Saba staff wage was competitive enough to retain staff. Particularly as the contract price increase should be reflected in staff pay, as staffing was Saba’s biggest running cost. It was asked that the Saba representative take this away to discuss.
  • KPI7: A member questioned the rating changing from “good” to “fair”. It was considered that data was not there to support a downgrading of that score for customer satisfaction. Cabinet members considered that Saba should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Performance review of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Joint Scrutiny Committee is to consider the performance of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) in delivering the joint leisure management contract for the period 2022/23 and make any comments before a final assessment on performance is made by Cabinet Members with responsibility for Leisure.




Cabinet Member for Leisure Centres and Community Buildings (Vale), Councillor Debra Dewhurst, and Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing (South), Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, were present to introduce the report and answer questions.

Supporting officers present were Leisure Facilities Team Leader, Property Assets Manager and Head of Development and Corporate Landlord. GLL representatives present were Gary Starkey and Kevin Williams.


Councillor Filipova-Rivers introduced the report. GLL had been contracted with since 2014. There were differences between South and Vale, but the contract was shared. The management fee had changed for South – a reduction was made due to the Covid support package - see paragraph ten of the report.

Contextually, the reporting year was a Covid recovery year, with impacts still being felt. Energy costs had been the newest development, with little government support (although a new funding scheme was being developed). Uncertainty was still an issue, but to the credit of both councils and the work of GLL, we had kept all services running for residents. The only exception was some tweaks to opening times when needed. Decarbonisation schemes were picking up momentum, which was positive, supported by successful funding bids and contributions. There was a strong relationship between council officers and GLL staff, which was based on check and challenge, with regular meetings held to challenge performance and have frank discussions about challenges to delivery.


Comments to officers and Cabinet members were as follows:

  • Congratulations was given on customer usage. Cabinet member explained that KPT2 differed for customer usage, depending on whether people are pay-as-you-go or had a membership and what facilities they use. GLL representative also explained that “warm places” would have been a free service that would not have been for members only. The social value of these schemes was noted.
  • The difference between subscriptions pre-Covid and now would like to be understood. Cabinet member explained that the rate was down. Noted that GLL had become a living wage provider as well.
  • Cabinet member for Vale explained that Vale memberships lost subscriptions from corporate memberships – during Covid, people worked from home and those memberships were lost.
  • A member raised issues with Faringdon Leisure Centre complaints, and that the standards varied across the districts and wasn’t reflected in the KPT for complaints to the council (KPT8). It was explained that a national customer service team had been put into place and had seen improvements from the previous system of trying to call a centre directly.
  • Poor scores for food and drink – may seem unimportant but could have a big impact on how a customer may feel about their experience of their visits in data surveys. This would need ongoing conversations.
  • Concern over the large variation in centres and whether an overall KPT was fair. Could centres be grouped? GLL could bring appendices to the next performance report to committee to show KPT breakdown per centre.
  • Cabinet member explained that for costs related to energy – GLL was picking up those costs as the councils outsourced the risks.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.