Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 18th July, 2022 1.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fenland Hall, County Road, March PE15 8NQ

Contact: Linda Albon  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item


Appointment of Chairman for the Municipal Year


It was proposed by Councillor Miscandlon, seconded by Councillor Purser and resolved that Councillor Mason be elected Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the Municipal Year.


Appointment of Vice-Chairman for the Municipal Year


It was proposed by Councillor Mason, seconded by Councillor Hay and resolved that Councillor Miscandlon be elected Vice-Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the Municipal Year.


Previous Minutes. pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of 9th May 2022.


The minutes of the meeting of 9 May 2022 were confirmed and signed.


Update on previous actions. pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Members to receive an update on the previous meeting’s Action Plan.


Members considered the update on previous actions and made the following comments:


·         Councillor Wicks stated he is still waiting for the information he requested in respect of the Levelling Up Fund, namely a comparison with other local authorities and the figures they have received from the Combined Authority. Councillor Mason advised that this is in hand.

·         Councillor Hay expressed her concern that the Panel have not yet heard if the Mayor of the Combined Authority will be attending a future meeting, as they would like to know how he will manage the Levelling Up agenda, particularly given the current high rate of vacancies within the Combined Authority.

·         Councillor Miscandlon said that whilst acknowledging vacancies at the Combined Authority, he could confirm that the Skills Committee is fully staffed.  




Progress of Corporate Priorities - Communities pdf icon PDF 320 KB

This report sets out the Council's progress in delivering the corporate objectives.



Councillor Mason welcomed Councillor Boden, Councillor Clark, Councillor Count, Dan Horn, and Phil Hughes to the meeting.


Dan Horn and Phil Hughes were invited to give a brief overview of the priorities within their respective teams.


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


·         Councillor Mason asked Councillor Clark if the Golden Age Fairs have a greater attendance if they are run alongside another event and if so, could it become a policy to link up with other events. Councillor Clark agreed that the attendance is greater and other age groups also attend as a result. She added that the Community Support Team does look at other events and if they could link with the Golden Age Fair within their meetings.

·         Councillor Miscandlon thanked Dan Horn for the comprehensive report on housing figures. He would like to know how many suppliers of social housing there are in Fenland, what stock of homes they have and what the criterion is to acquire a property. Dan Horn replied that there are several registered housing providers in Fenland of which Clarion is the biggest and best known as it has the former council housing stock. However, there is a plethora of other registered providers at work, and the Council encourages them to work within Fenland as we have a target to meet housing need. There are a lot of people on the Council’s HomeLink housing register, and although the register is managed through Clarion, it is a statutory function for Fenland District Council to discharge. Dan Horn said that he would circulate a link to a list of all the providers within Fenland and, as all providers are regulated by the social housing regulator, he will also circulate a link to their latest assessments, which were last done in 2020. Councillor Miscandlon thanked Dan Horn and asked that both links be circulated to all councillors and not just to the Overview and Scrutiny members.

·         Councillor Wicks asked Dan Horn if members could be given contact details for all providers as they currently only have the details for Clarion. They will then know who to contact should they receive a complaint from a ward member. Dan Horn responded that although he can do this, he would encourage members to first ask their residents to follow their housing provider’s formal complaints procedure and for members then to let him know of any issues so he can follow these up alongside the formal route.

·         Councillor Wicks said he would like to know homeless numbers and the relevance against the Military Covenant. Dan Horn responded that the HomeLink register shows that as of 11th July, of the 1576 live Fenland applicants waiting for homes, 25 had declared a link to the military. He added that the allocations policy has a special section on prioritisation which was last approved in 2021. Councillor Wicks said he was also thinking in terms of rough sleepers as that was also included within the report. Dan Horn stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC5/22


Draft Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 170 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report reflects what has been undertaken and achieved by the Overview and Scrutiny Panel during 2021/22 and takes a forward look at the programme of work and challenges for the Panel in 2022/2023.



Members considered the draft Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for 2021-22.


Councillor Miscandlon said he is very impressed with this comprehensive report; it is a credit to Amy Brown and officers, and he will support it wholeheartedly.


Councillor Hay thanked Amy Brown as Monitoring Officer and the Member Services team for the invaluable advice they have provided over the year. Councillor Purser echoed Councillor Hay’s comments.


Councillor Mason asked the Leader if he would like to comment on the report. Councillor Boden responded that the report is a good reflection of the breadth of work that the Overview & Scrutiny Panel has undertaken over the previous year, and it is impressive given what has happened over the last two years. However, one point in the report that did strike him is the comment that all meetings are held in public. He is aware of interest in greater scrutiny of the work of the Investment Board so the Panel may care to consider whether to explore the possibility of meetings that may not be held in public. Councillor Mason said that the Panel had asked for an interim report of the Investment Board in six months’ time to be reassured that things are running as they should and, although he attends these meetings as an observer and is happy with the legalities of it, he realises that if the public are kept informed as best they can despite the confidentiality of the meetings, then that gives greater reassurance that the Investment Board is being run in the correct manner hence the request for the interim report.



The Overview and Scrutiny Panel AGREED to note the Annual Report.


Future Work Programme pdf icon PDF 177 KB

To consider the Draft Work Programme for Overview & Scrutiny Panel 2022/23.


Members considered the Future Work Programme.


·         Councillor Wicks asked why Anglian Water are not included in the programme given they still have several outstanding actions. Amy Brown responded that since last week’s pre-meeting, Anglian Water have been contacted and it has been established that they have provided some further information but due to changes in personnel this had not been picked up. The action plan has been updated; there is still one further outstanding question, and we will continue to work with them to update that. They have also now accepted an invitation to attend a meeting next May and that will be added to the plan. Councillor Wicks said his concern with that date is that there will be a new tenure of Council and some existing members may no longer be in office so will be unable to raise their points on any ongoing matters. Amy Brown suggested that in that case, the situation can be reviewed at the beginning of the year and if there are enough new questions without going back over what they have already answered, then Anglian Water will be invited to an earlier meeting. Councillor Wicks agreed that would be a good idea because we do not know what this winter will bring and what impact it will have. 

·         Councillor Wicks referred to the October meeting when there will be an update on the CPCA Growth Service. He asked that given that their report last year was very general and focussed on the whole of Cambridgeshire, he requested that we ask that we get the salient detail of their activities within Fenland. Councillor Mason said that will be taken into consideration and requested when they are submitted a list of questions the Panel may wish to ask.