Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 14th September, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices

Contact: Hanna Taylor, Democratic Services Officer, Ext 3056, Email 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Minutes pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13 July 2019 as published.

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That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Monday,  13 July 2020 be approved and signed as a true and correct record.

Some members commented on the delay in the distribution of the minutes.  The Chair agreed that there was an unacceptable delay and that the process for the approval of the minutes would be looked into and to avoid it happening again in the future.  The Chairman also thanked members of the Committee for working through the number of supplementary reports which also came after the distribution of the papers.



Matters Arising from the Previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To review and outstanding items from the previous minutes.

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CIL Funding


The frustrations of members were voiced as the Joint Committee would not be meeting until November, which then had a knock on effect on any potential projects using NCIL funding and it was suggested whether smaller forums could oversee the expenditure of up to approximately £10,000.  The Chair added that the flowchart and short paper that detailed the NCIL funding process would be finalised and sent to the Chair of the Joint Committee and distributed to all members.  The Chair thanked all members of the Committee and Mr Amoako for their help with this.


Financial Position


The Councils financial position had been added to the agenda of the next meeting of the Finance Task Group, it was thought that the financial position of the Council would become clearer after quarter two returns.


Woking Football Club & Associated Developments Task Group


A question was raised following a resident’s question to the Executive recently regarding the release of the Part II element of the Task Group’s report.  It was unsure  whether it was within the remit of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to allow the report to be released however the Chair confirmed with Gareth John, the Committee’s supporting Solicitor that it was not the case. The Chairman would liaise with Peter Bryant, Head of Democratic and Legal Services, as to whether the Part II information from the Woking Football Club & Associated Developments Task Group could be released into the public domain.  The Committee had no objection to the Part II report being made public once it had the approval of WBC legal services.


Corporate Peer Challenge


Following the previous meeting of the Committee on 13 July, the Chairman had collated feedback from members on the Chief Executive’s recommendations, based on the Corporate Peer Review recommendations that would be reviewed at the Executive on Thursday 16 July.  The Chairman thanked the Committee for their comments and reviewing the papers at short notice. The Chairman felt the important piece of scrutiny work undertaken by the Committee was overlooked, however since the meeting it had been confirmed that the report of collated feedback had been taken to the Executive and would be attached to these minutes for information. 


In the light of the issues that arose from undertaking the piece of scrutiny work, the Chairman reassured the committee that no late items of scrutiny would in future be accepted for inclusion to the agenda.



Urgent Business

To consider any business that the Chairman rules may be dealt with under Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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There was no urgent business to discuss.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary and other interestsfrom Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

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Surrey Police - Youth Support Update

Reporting Person: Detective Inspector David Bentley

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The Chairman introduced Detective Inspector David Bentley, Surrey Police, who provided a presentation on the Youth Support and Public Health within the borough.  The presentation covered the five main points in the Public Health approach which included: Population, Partnership, Prevention, Data & Evidence base and the Causes of Causes.


Inspector Bentley detailed the pilot approach Surrey Police were currently using to assist with early intervention with children, and how youth experiences can impact growing up and how decision were viewed.  It was explained that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as domestic abuse, emotional, physical, sexual abuse and neglect can have negative impacts and lasting effects on a person’s health and wellbeing.  There were evidential links between ACEs and mental health conditions, criminal justice, homelessness and early death.  The approach aims to identify the levels of need and intervention for children by reducing childhood exploitation, reduce childhood demand on public services and address the needs of children with ACE.  The aims were also discussed of partnership work with other public services to help at the first stages of trauma, and the work would be implemented to support schools and encourage engagement with the Police.


The importance of identifying a vulnerable child as early as possible was stressed as it allowed more invention work to be undertaken and therefore more support and guidance at a young age.


Inspector Bentley added that since the pandemic, more intervention work was undertaken online and there was a piece of research on the impact of COVID on the younger generation which would be published shortly and may be of interest to members.  Members who were keen to help were encouraged to assist with engagement, identifying any cases of concern and continue partnership working.


Following a question raised, the positive work of the Bike Theft Prevention Scheme was mentioned as there had been a 30% reduction in bike theft.


Members thanked Inspector Bentley for the presentation and praised the proactive approach. 


Youth Service Provisions pdf icon PDF 671 KB

Reporting Persons: Adam Thomas, Sandie Bolger (Surrey County Council) and Kevin Page (ROC South Sub Group).

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The Chairman introduced those presenting on the item which would provide an overview of the youth work in Woking, and an update following on from Surrey County Councils consultation that ended in June 2020.


Sandie Bolger, (WBC Youth Development Officer), updated the Committee on the current delivery of youth work, which had been conducted online recently due to Covid-19, to continue one to one support however as of recent, meet ups could be help outdoors, as it was classed as educational. Other activities included art project packs, gardening kits, online games and challenges, the team have had a strong presence on social media and supported families with mental health and wellbeing.


Adam Thomas, (WBC Family and Community Services Manager), shared information on how Covid had negatively affected employment for 18 to 24 year olds which then resulted in a rise of claimants of Job Seekers Allowance / Universal Credit from 250 to 644.    To address this identified need, Officers were in conversations with the DWP and applying for funding to develop expanded youth provision that focuses specifically in supporting 18-24 year olds back into employment.


The Universal Youth Work undertaken by SCC that was focused towards targeted groups was explained and it was reported that interest had been shown in the leasing of Woking’s three youth centres with a meeting scheduled to be held shortly, however the timeframe of completion was currently unknown.


Future priorities had been identified and summarised as the following:

-       Employment support for 18 to 24 year olds

-       Mental Health

-       Engaging youth in resident panels

-       Supporting future community delivery opportunities and utilise community centres.


Kevin Page, ROC Group, shared the groups aim and aspirations and detailed some of their work provided to the community, working alongside partners such as voluntary and faith groups.  Research had shown that loneliness and mental health had been identified as the most common concerns amongst youth.  Mr Page shared the future plans for the group and how to work collaboratively to help young help. 


Members praised the work from all the teams involved and noted how well they had adapted to the new way of working due to Covid.  The Committee also discussed the Community Youth Needs that provided important data and would be an important resource for reference looking ahead.


It was highlighted that volunteers were fully DBS checked and safeguarding process’ were put into place to ensure the youth were fully supported by the appropriate mentors.


Following a question raised, Mr Thomas explained further details on the plans for the Youth hub which was likely to receive funding as the DWP had approached WBC and would offer a variety of support services for different groups.  Sandie added that the Friday Night Project, which had not re-opened as of yet but once it was up and running it was hoping to be on for another night in the week too.


Housing Topic Scrutiny - Current Position pdf icon PDF 346 KB

Reporting Person: Jon Herbert

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The Chairman introduced the Housing Team who would present the item, Louise Strongitharm, Director of Housing, Ernest Amoako, Planning Policy Manger and Jon Herbert, Strategic Housing Policy Development Manager, and explained the background to part one of three of the Housing Topic Scrutiny Review.


Ms Strongitharm and Mr Amoako provided an overview of the current housing position and needs of those within the borough.  The Core Strategy sets out a  housing requirement of at least 292 dwellings per year for the Borough, the housing requirement was informed by housing needs evidence contained in the 2009 Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). At the time, the housing need for the Borough was 594 dwellings per year. The housing need was an objectively assessed housing need for the Borough. The housing requirements is what had been agreed with the Secretary of State to be provided taken into account environmental constraints and all other material considerations. The SHMA was reviewed in 2015, and the need had dropped to 517 dwellings per year. The Government had now introduced a new standard method for calculating the housing need. When the methodology was applied, the housing need for the Borough was 431 dwellings per year. The government decided that where a local authority could not make provision to meet its objectively assessed housing need, it would have to work with neighbouring authorities under the Duty to Cooperate for the unmet need to be provided in their areas. Given that Woking is unable to meets its need, the unmet need was presently being met by Guildford and Waverley Boroughs. 


The Housing Register, which detailed those seeking assistance with housing was prioritised in line with the Allocations policy (band A being those needing emergency/urgent assistance).  The greatest needs of the Housing Register was identified as one and two bed properties.  However the wait times were longer for three and four bed properties as the turnover was significantly less.  Overcrowding was also a concern, with over 300 applicants who were overcrowded by one or two bedrooms. 


Homelessness was also discussed, noting that on average there were 100-150 people in emergency accommodation, which had been fairly steady as of recent years, however due to Covid there were now approximately 200 people in emergency accommodation.  The amount of time people spent in emergency accommodation was longer than desired.  On a side note Ms Strongitharm added that there were roughly a further 200 people waiting on a shared ownership property list, which was managed by Radian Housing Association.  The housing stock of the Council matched the needs shown on the Housing Register.  However as all the properties were currently occupied, and therefore created a challenging situation.


Members raised concern over the delivery to meet the demand and the knock-on effects of Brexit and Covid.  Louise added that the Housing Strategy was due to be updated and that the topic scrutiny review of Housing would feed in to it, along with other various schemes.


Following a question raised, those needing a one bed property  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Reporting person: Councillor D Hughes

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The Chairman highlighted the recommendation from the Executive to scrutinise Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership funding which would be discussed with relevant background information at the next meeting.  Members were asking to note the additional meeting scheduled for 21 December, that will focus on Serco following it’s deferment from the September agenda.



That the Work Programme be noted.


Performance and Financial Monitoring Information

To consider the current publication of the Performance & Financial Monitoring Information (Green Book).  Members are asked to bring their copy of the Green Book to the meeting.


Reporting person: Councillor D Hughes

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It was questioned whether a more simpler version of the Green Book, as recommended following the Corporate Peer Review, would be implemented, especially due to the time gaps between recent versions.  Cllr Davis offered his assistance to work with the Chairman on the matter.


Cllr Davis, Chairman of the Finance Task Group, informed the Committee that Finance Director was wary to try to predict financial activity during this time as it would not be accurate, and hopefully by September there would be more information for members. Members were advised that if they had any questions, to email himself and members of the task group to raise on their behalf.


Members were also in agreement to zero tolerance to fly-tipping, and with the help of cameras there were more opportunities to capture evidence of fly-tipping.  It was unsure on the procedure if fly-tipping had occurred on private property, and the Council may not be able to help clear the sites but can always advise private land owners and help where possible.



Task Group Updates pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To receive an update following the recent meeting of the Finance Task Group.


Reporting person: Councillor D Hughes


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The Committee noted the Finance Task Group Report.