Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 12th October, 2020 1.30 pm

Venue: A virtual meeting via ZOOM Video Conferencing System

Contact: Linda Albon  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item

Councillor Mason welcomed members of the public and press watching the livestream of the Overview & Scrutiny meeting via YouTube due to Government guidance on social distancing. The meeting was held in accordance with the provision set out in the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and with Fenland District Council’s Virtual Meeting Protocol.


Previous Minutes. pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of 7 September 2020.


The minutes of the meeting of 7 September 2020 were confirmed and signed.


Annual Meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 401 KB

Members to receive a presentation.


NB: Presentation added retrospectively to give clarity to the minutes of this item. 


Members had received a copy of the Leader and Chief Executive’s presentation prior to the meeting. 


Councillor Mason welcomed Councillor Boden and Paul Medd to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance; he congratulated them on the compilation of the report and said that it was an opportunity today to look forward rather than back.


Members asked questions, made comments and received responses as follows:


1.    Councillor Miscandlon asked if there is enough capacity within the Corporate Management Team (CMT) following the departure of Gary Garford and is there an intention to review CMT capacity. Paul Medd responded that he has been asked this on several occasions over the last ten years as we have worked our way through austerity and are now confronted by COVID-19. He has always said it is important to strike the right balance between making savings in the management structure where possible but equally retaining the appropriate management capacity to ensure we are able to effectively deliver members’ priorities. In his opinion yes, we have enough CMT capacity although we are busy and have a lot to do in the range of services we deliver. However, since Gary Garford’s departure we have benefitted from interim cover provided by Simon Machen; a very experienced director in economic growth and regeneration. Meanwhile, management capacity is frequently discussed with the Leader, so it is under continual review. Councillor Miscandlon thanked Paul Medd for his reply.

2.    Councillor Mason said that the panel are very interested in the Investment Board and Fenland Future Limited. How much has been invested thus far and what are the key projects coming up that can be spoken about? Councillor Boden said there are some exciting possibilities but for reasons of commercial confidentiality he cannot say too much about those prospects currently. However, he can say that the first formal Investment Board approved further appraisal work to be carried out on the development of the Nene Waterfront. A timetable has been drawn up and it is expected that a detailed report will be taken to the Investment Board early next year. A paper will be presented on potential investment in residential property at their next meeting and preparations are in place for the inaugural board meeting of Fenland Futures Ltd, which will take place soon. Councillor Mason thanked Councillor Boden for his response; he appreciates that much is currently confidential, but the panel will be updated as and when possible.

3.    Councillor Miscandlon asked how COVID-19 has affected the investment programme going forward as was originally envisaged by the Investment Board. Councillor Boden said there was a change of focus when setting up the new arrangements to deal with COVID-19, and generally the pandemic has caused some operational delays in making decisions about investing in property funds which had previously been discussed. There were no benefits anticipated from the Commercial and Investment Strategy in the 20/21 budget but the impact on the budget was detailed in the report to Full Council in August,  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC17/19


Future Work Programme pdf icon PDF 478 KB

To consider the Draft Work Programme for Overview & Scrutiny Panel 2020/21.


Members considered the Future Work Programme. 


Councillor Booth said that the agenda meeting for November looked quite heavy and suggested the Culture Strategy update be deferred to a later date. This was agreed.


Councillor Mrs Mayor asked if Anglian Water would be attending the December meeting. Anna Goodall confirmed they were committed to attending at a future meeting and will identify the most relevant person to attend once they have received the questions that members would like to ask.