Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 21st June, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Charlotte Raper, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committeemeeting held on 7 January 2016.


Observing that no current Members of the Committee were present at the previous meeting, the Committee agreed to note the contents of the Minutes for the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 March 2016.



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.


There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests


Councillor Fish declared Non-Pecuniary Interests in relation to Item 6: “Community Asset Transfer Policy” in that he was the Director of the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and a Board Member of Chadwell Centre Community Hub.  The Chair noted that since the item would discuss Policy rather than a specific case, it was likely there would be no conflict of interest.  Councillor Fish was welcomed to participate in the debate.



Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 60 KB


The Officer presented the current terms of reference to the Committee and outlined that they were currently being updated by the Monitoring Officer.


The Chair asserted that the current terms of reference were not appropriate, and requested they come back in September once updated.




The Terms of Reference for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be updated and brought back to the Committee in September 2016.



Community Asset Transfer Policy pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Regeneration and Assets and the Officer presented the report outlining the proposed policy for efficient use of publicly owned buildings and Spaces in Thurrock, particularly in terms of leasing or selling property to a Voluntary Community of Faith Sector (VCFS) organisation.  The report also highlighted the importance of a simple, transparent and consistent process which would be fit for purpose to deal with every type of organisation and every type of asset.


Councillor Wheeler explained that he had been contacted by an angling club with a query which he believed was relevant to this item and asked what types of organisations could apply, and whether they had to be voluntary.


Members were advised that there would be an assessment of the eligibility of organisations when they apply, however if they were a club charging fees then they would be running a commercial organisation and as such would be ineligible.  The officer continued to express that it would be difficult to give an exact answer without knowing the organisation’s specifics.


Councillor Watkins asked what plans there were for promoting the policy to communities and the expressions of interest process.  The Officer outlined that reasonable awareness had already been raised through the consultations carried out but there was also hope that relevant training would be introduced.


Councillor Watkins continued to seek clarity on the expressions of interest process, particularly circumstances of several organisations showing interest in one asset.


The officer described an historic case whereby two organisations wanted use of the same property and the outcome had been an agreement where one organisation became the subtenant of the other as neither wanted use of the property at the same time as the other.  The Committee heard that it could only be assessed on a case by case basis, but there would be sufficient advertising to ensure the Council would not be open to complaints or challenges suggesting unfair advantage.  In every case there would be an assessment of broader community benefit versus commercial benefit to the Council and the matter would be put to the Member Property Board.


Councillor Watkins then addressed the Member Property Board proposal and whether it would be flexible so that Ward Councillors could be included in cases directly affecting their ward.


The Committee was assured that the Panel would be constituted to reflect the specific asset in question and as such membership would vary from case to case.


Councillor Fish drew the Committee’s attention to existing examples in which there had been significant delays and was concerned that this might show the policy and the process weren’t working as they should.


The Officers recalled the examples in question and the delays had been on the part of the organisation obtaining the necessary documentation, but Officers were aware that banks were proving particularly slow in providing references.


The Head of Regeneration and Assets agreed with Members that the process needed to be smooth and that it would be refined as time progressed.  Currently organisations had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Corporate Performance Framework 2016/17 and End of Year Corporate Performance Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Strategy, Communications & Customer Services led a presentation outlining the overall performance framework to give context to the report, before presenting the report itself.  Within the presentation she highlighted the Council’s priorities and objectives, the performance management path, the Corporate Plan and KPI framework for the year ahead and the new reporting process.


Councillor Wheeler enquired as to whether there was a nationwide comparison of Councils to give Thurrock an overall rating.  The Chair explained that there had been the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) but it had ceased to exist in 2010.


The Corporate Director for Adults, Housing & Health continued to explain that there were no overall performance assessments on a national scale, but national frameworks remained within certain individual service areas.


Councillor Wheeler asked if there were any comparative assessments in place and whether they took into account the wealth, size etc. of the Authorities in question.  The Committee heard that there were “Comparative Groups” which grouped Authorities of similar size and population to facilitate benchmarking.


Councillor Fish raised concern about the change from Red, Amber, Green (RAG) to Achieve/Fail as the amber served as a warning of services which might require attention though not necessarily urgent.


The Corporate Director for Adults, Housing & Health outlined that the RAG system would continue to be used internally to act as an early alert, and there would continue to be some level of tolerance within internal operations.  The Achieve/Fail system was for information to be sent to Overview and Scrutiny Committees, Cabinet and Council.


The Head of Strategy, Communications & Customer Services also reminded Members that there is also a “direction of travel” assessment regardless of the tolerance which would also serve as an indication of services which are declining.


Councillor Duffin sought clarity regarding targets, as in some work sectors achieving 50% of targets would be unacceptable, however within Councils it seemed to be a different picture.  The Chair emphasised that within Local Authorities the figure was promising, but also expressed that Thurrock had always preferred “stretching” targets above “safe” targets.




1.    Members commented on the activities for the upcoming year within the Corporate Plan 2016/17.


2.    The Committee commented on the performance framework for 2016/17 and supports a full and thorough review of existing KPIs and other performance tools in 2016 in line with recommendations made by Corporate Overview


3.    Members noted the progress and performance against the corporate priorities for 2015/16.




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 47 KB


The Chair asked whether Members were happy to note the Work Programme, and if there were any additional items to request.




Members noted the Work Programme.