Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 23rd January, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey GU21 6YL

Contact: Toby Nash, Scrutiny & Democratic Services Officer, Ext 3056, Email 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:


No apologies for absence were received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 November 2022 as published.

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That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Monday, 21 November 2022 be approved and signed as a true and correct record.


Matters Arising from the Previous Minutes OSC23-002 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To review any outstanding items from the previous minutes.

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The Chairman introduced the report on matters raised at previous meetings of the Committee, drawing the Committee’s attention to actions undertaken subsequently.


That the report be noted.


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 interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

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No declarations of interest were received.


Water Resources Management Plan - Affinity Water OSC23-004 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

For the Committee to receive a presentation from Affinity Water regarding the proposed Water Resources Management Plan 2025-2075.

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Representatives of Affinity Water were unable to attend the meeting and had instead agreed to attend the meeting due to be held on 20 February 2023.



That the report be noted


Thames Water - Waste Overspill & Woking Waterways Presentation OSC23-005 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

For the Committee to receive a presentation from, and hold discussion with, Thames Water regarding potential sewage overspill into Woking Borough’s waterways.  A briefing paper is included to provide background.

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The Committee welcomed to the meeting representatives of Thames Water, Richard Aylard, External Affairs and Sustainability Director, and Nikki Hines, Social Housing Relationship Manager.

Thames Water had accepted that their performance on sewage disposal and river health had not met either their or their customers’ expectations.  The CEO of Thames Water, Sarah Bentley, had committed to an eight-year turnaround plan beginning in 2021.  As part of the plan, Thames Water committed to reducing the duration of total spillage across their network by 50% on 2020 levels by 2030.  In sensitive catchment areas, referring to chalk and limestone waterways, waterways that run through Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and waterways used recreationally, the total duration of spillage would be reduced by 80% on 2020 levels.  The upper river Wey, including the parts that flowed through the Borough, was considered a sensitive catchment area.  Thames Water had begun reporting their spillages voluntarily to the public via a live map. 

The Committee was provided with a general explanation of the process for treating sewage.  A works such as Chobham could process approximately 3,500 homes’ waste.  On entry, sewage would be screened and any items that would block, damage, or otherwise impact the ability to treat the sewage were removed.  The screened sewage would be pumped to filter beds of bacteria that cleaned the sewage.  The treated sewage would then be pumped to a further filter bed before being discharged.  Each stage required a minimum amount of time to be effective.

Thames Water routinely tested the composition of treated sewage but did not routinely test untreated sewage.

There could be several causes of spillage into waterways, the process to initiate and end overspill was automated.  Thames Water’s wastewater responsibility covered both smaller foul water and larger surface water systems.  During periods of rainfall surface water had the potential to enter the foul system due to several factors.  The factors were: ingress from the ground, damaged access points, through holes that were required in manhole covers, and incorrect connections (deliberate or not) made into the sewage network.  Incorrect connections could cause significant amounts of surface water to enter the narrower pipes of the foul water network and quickly cause blockages.

The sewage system had been designed primarily to prevent the backing up of sewage into homes.  After rainfall, due to the increased water levels in pipes and the minimum time required to treat sewage, any additional flow would be diverted to storm tanks at sewage works, so long as a defined amount of sewage, or greater, was being processed.  Once filled the tanks required emptying and cleaning.  Any more excess sewage could not be stored and the system would automatically eject additional sewage into waterways.  The Committee was informed that the composition of discharge was sewage watered down by rainwater.

Sewage treatment works were continually upgraded to ensure sufficient capacity.  Thames Water engaged with local authorities to determine expected future demand and continued to be a statutory consultee on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Joint Waste Solutions Performance Review, Forward Plan and Interim Strategy OSC23-003

For the Committee to be updated on the performance of the Joint Waste Collection Contract for the year 2021-22, the Resources and Waste Strategy for England and Surrey’s Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy.


Reporting Person: Mark Tabner / Joint Waste Solutions / Amey

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The Committee welcomed representatives of Joint Waste Solutions (JWS); Sarah Beck, West Section Manager, Alex Davies, Senior Performance Manager, and Kelly Goldsmith, Partnership Director.

Service Update

Amey, and contract partner JWS, had transferred to a new IT system which had positively impacted the delivery of services. The new IT system had been fully implemented to provide services and efforts were being made to develop the product to provide service improvements.

The IT system recorded and notified refuse collectors of all properties that required assisted collections.

The garden waste collection service had been reinstated in May 2022 with fortnightly collections, following a pause.  Although there had been issues in restarting the operation, these had now been remedied.  As compensation to affected residents, all accounts had been extended by an amount equal to the period of time the service had been paused.  The billing process had been restarted and the process for billing had been streamlined from twelve to five months, thanks in part to the new IT system.

Alex Davies provided an update on the performance of recycling and waste collection services.  It was noted that the total volume of waste collected in Woking Borough had continued to increase year-on-year.  The year 2020-21 had seen a marked increase above the average, attributed to the effects of the pandemic.  The level had fallen somewhat in 2021-22.

The rate of recycling, the total amount of waste collected less non-recycled waste, had continued to fall year-on-year and had dropped 6% in 5 years.  Part of the drop was attributed to less garden waste being collected during the summer of 2022.  The amount of dry mixed recycling had particularly fallen in recent years.  JWS was analysing possible reasons for reduced recycling in the Borough to aid the development of initiatives to encourage recycling.

Missed bins were regularly reported in the Performance and Financial Monitoring Information, the target was 80 bins per 100,000.  Between April 2020 and November 2022 there had been three occasions where this number had been exceeded.  The new IT system provided the ability to monitor missed bins in real-time.

Amey provided a daily service update to JWS.  Refuse collectors could report an exception, i.e. a reason why a bin couldn’t be collected, which would prevent the bin from being reported as missed.  The system included the ability to record a street as not collected by refuse collectors from within the cab and reason given.

Members of the Committee were concerned there were instances whereby the system or refuse collectors incorrectly reported an exception, preventing residents from reporting missed collections.  JWS explained that this was more likely with food waste collection as missed bins were reported by the refuse collectors, where the other collections were automated.  JWS representatives agreed to review accuracy of reporting with Amey.

Following a request by the Committee, JWS undertook to consider how best to monitor, and feedback, the rate of missed bins in the Borough and how this could be reduced.

New National Policy

A deposit return scheme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Play Area Provision OSC22-057 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

For the Committee to receive a report on the refurbishment of play areas.


Reporting Person: Arran Henderson

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The Committee welcomed Arran Henderson, Jack Fidler and Tracey Haskins to the meeting.

The Committee was pleased by the report and that money had been provisioned for maintaining the various play areas across the Borough.

Following a query from the Committee, it was confirmed that warranty periods existed on individual items when installed, the length of which varied depending on the type of item.  It was considered very rare to need the warranty period.  Most items installed had a life expectancy of 25-35 years.

Arran confirmed that it would not be appropriate to release publicly the scores attributed to parks.  Officers would publicise significant works to play areas ahead of time.

A strategic approach was being developed on how to maintain play areas most effectively.


That  (i)    the proposed approach to assessing play area refurbishment priorities outlined in the report be agreed;

          (ii)   officers begin developing a programme of works for those priorities identified through the refurbishment assessment, within the available project budgets for the coming year; and

          (iii)  officers seek proposals from appropriate consultants to undertake a strategic assessment of the Council’s play areas, as outlined in the report.


Work Programme OSC23-001 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Reporting Person: Councillor Ayesha Azad

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The Chairman introduced the report on the updated Work Programme, drawing the Committee’s attention to the key changes since the document had last been received.

The Committee agreed to include as a suggested addition to the work programme inviting Surrey County Council and Thames Water to a joint discussion on the potential to improve surface water drainage in the Borough.

Thames Water was requested to be invited back once works to local sewage works had been completed and sufficient time for data gathering had passed.


That the Work Programme be noted.


Performance and Financial Monitoring Information pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider the current publication of the Performance & Financial Monitoring Information.


Reporting Person: Councillor Ayesha Azad

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The Members of the Committee considered the recently published Performance & Financial Monitoring Information.


That the Performance and Financial Monitoring Information (October 2022) be noted.


Finance Task Group Update OSC23-006 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To receive an update from the Finance Task Group following its meeting on
10 November 2022


Reporting Person: Councillor James Sanderson

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The Committee received the update report of the Finance Task Group.


Housing Task Group Update OSC23-007 pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To receive an update from the Housing Task Group following its meeting on
15 November 2022


Reporting Person: Councillor Tahir Aziz

Additional documents:


The Committee received the update report of the Housing Task Group.