Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL.
Contact: Rhiannon Whiteley, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 8 November 2022.
The minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 8 November 2022 were approved as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. To agree any relevant briefing notes submitted to the Committee.
There were no items of urgent business.
Declaration of Interests
No interests were declared.
Single Use Plastic Policy Implementation PDF 108 KB
The report was presented by the Strategic Lead for Waste. She explained that Cabinet had adopted the single use plastic policy last year around February 2022 and a framework is required to be implemented to make sure that the Council are acting to that policy. The report outlines the two proposed options for implementing the policy.
The report recommends option 2 is taken forward which is to implement a procurement process to ensure that the policy is considered at the point of procurement for new procurements and a review is carried out for live contracts.
The Chair queried how the policy would work in terms of enforcing this against external providers.
The Strategic Lead for Waste gave the example that in a recent contact for new uniforms it was specificed in the procurement contract that they were not to be delivered in single use plastic.
Councillor Byrne queried what has been done in the last year and asked it the policy had been forgotten about.
The Strategic Lead for Waste agreed the route to delivery has been delayed. She confirmed that it is part of the procurement process and they are trying to strengthen the process.
Councillor Muldowney stated that she had looked back at the decision made by Cabinet a year ago that said elimination of Single Use Plastic was to be a priority. She queried what was being proposed now.
The Strategic Lead for Waste confirmed that what is being proposed is a route for delivery to what Cabinet decided.
Councillor Muldowney queried the differences between options 1 and 2.
The Strategic Lead for Waste responded that option 1 would require a project manager to deliver the strategy, calculations of time needed at different levels to deliver on that first option have been completed and given the Council’s current sitution it was not considered the best use of time. It was felt at a procurement level the same goals could be delivered in a lot less time intensive way.
Councillor Muldowney stated that the calculations and data should be in the report so that the Committee is able to properly scrutinise the options and know what each one means. Councillor Muldowney requested that the data is provided after the meeting.
The Strategic Lead for Waste agreed the data would be provided to Members the following day.
Councillor Arnold queried how the policy can be policed and if it will be more expensive to change contracts.
The Strategic Lead for Waste confirmed that through the contract change policy, financial implications will be considered on an individual basis. Sometimes it reduces the costs. The policy will be policed through a robust look at contracts and the procurement process and it will be considered at the point of purchase.
Councillor Chukwu queried how it will be implemented in schools and if they are on board.
The Strategic Lead for Waste responded that they will be writing supporting documents to help explain it to Schools. The Government is banning disposbale plastic cutlery ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Waste Service Update Report PDF 86 KB
The Strategic Lead for Waste presented the Waste Update Report to the Committee. She confirmed that the report outlines the changes to the Waste Service coming into place in September 2023 and an overview of the improvement plan.
The new waste service collection plans due to commence in September 2023 are as follows: -
· Alternate Weekly Refuse Collection
· Weekly Recycling Collection
· Alternate Weekly Garden Waste Collection
· Weekly Food Waste Collection
The Strategic Lead for Waste updated the Committee that in February 2023 17 agency workers will become full time employees. She also confirmed that there remains a national HGV driver shortage which poses a challenge for recruitment of drivers.
The Chair raised concerns about the new caddie bin to be provided and raised concerns about the number of bins and whether they will be returned to the correct house. The Chair also queried if another vehicle will collect the food waste.
The Strategic Lead for Waste explained that there will be one 5 litre caddie which residents can store in their kitchen and there will also be an external 27 litre caddie to be stored outside. Both bins are small enough that they don’t need wheels and can be carried. The bin to be stored outside is lockable so creatures cannot open it and it will fit on top of resident’s wheelie bins. The Strategic Lead for Waste proposed holding a Member’s engagement session where they can view the sample caddies. The Strategic Lead for Waste confrimed that the new trucks have a rear lifting system for recycling and a side lifting system for food. A company has been found that will transport the food waste to Croydon in vehicles that use bio-fuels. Members were invited to visit the food waste plant if they wanted to.
The Chair queried if a food waste recycling centre had been considered in Thurrock. The Chair also queried who is on the Waste Service Board.
The Strategic Lead for Waste confirmed that she is on the board, Councillor Jefferies, the Assistant Director of Street Scene and Leisure, representatives from the fleet, the Health and Safety representative, Directors Julie Nelder and Julie Rogers, customer service team and information management team representatives.
The Assistant Director of Street Scene and Leisure added that the board is operatrionally focused and therefore there has been input from across the Council. It is task related and therefore some of these representatives wont be invited all of the time.
Councillor Byrne commented that the department have never ever put their hands up and said we got it wrong. He stated that a resident told him that recently when a driver got out of the truck there was a smell of cannabis. Councillor Byrne stated that he has raised this as a complaint and the response was the worked don’t smoke.
The Assistant Director of Street Scene and Leisure Council stated that the Council has recently improved the drug and alcohol policy and they will be implementing this. If evidence is provided ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Council Funded Police Officers Options Paper
The Committee discussed that item 7 is an exempt report and therefore the public and press and any officers not involved would need to leave the meeting so the item could be heard in private.
Councillor Byrne commented that he could see no reason why item 7 should be an exempt report. It goes against what Councillor Coxshall has said about the Council being transparent going forward and demonstrates that they are keeping secrets again like they have done for the last 2 – 3 years.
Councillor Muldowney also queried why the report should be exempt.
The Senior Democratic Services Officer confirmed that under the legislation the reason given by officers for keeping the report confidential from the public is that it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
The Assistant Director for Counter Fraud, Community Safety and Resilience confirmed that when he came to the role the report was exempt and his understanding is that this is because it is about changing the roles of those outside our organisation.
The Members took a vote and three agreed it should remain exempt (The Chair, Councillor Arnold and Councillor Pearce) and three members disagreed (Councillor Byrne, Councillor Muldowney and Councillor Chukwu).
The Senior Democratic Services Officer confirmed that if a decision was made by Members that the report should not be exempt she would advise that legal advice is obtained and the item should be deferred.
The Assistant Director for Counter Fraud, Community Safety and Resilience agreed with the Senior Democratic Services Officer.
Neil Speight from the press asked to speak and the Chair allowed this. Neil Speight outlined that he had seen the report as it had been leaked to him and he could not see any reason why it is exempt. In his opinion, the report is about an important policy of the Conservatives and the only reason it is not being disclosed to the public is because it embarrasses them.
The Chair responded that she had read the report and had also queried why it was exempt but she could not ignore the fact that it was on pink paper.
The Senior Democratic Services Officer advised the Chair that if she was not sure she could defer the item so that legal advice could be obtained as to whether all or parts of the report could be disclosed to the public and that it would be within her discretion to call an extraordinary meeting so the item could be heard at a later date as there were no more Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings scheduled for this municipal year.
The Assistant Director for Counter Fraud, Community Safety and Resilience added that the review was on the value for money of the contract and the right time to assess this was at the end of the first year of the contract, not the last and the longer this goes on the less importance ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
Item 7 was deferred to be heard at an extraordinary meeting on a date to be confirmed.