Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 11th October, 2021 1.30 pm

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

Contact: Niall Jackson  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item


Previous Minutes. pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of 13 September 2021.


The minutes of the meeting of 13 September 2021 were confirmed and signed.


Update on previous actions. pdf icon PDF 202 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 Count noted the actions around nosy exhaust and stated that these needed following up. He asked the panel to directly question the police on whether they have the noise monitoring kit available, if they are utilising the equipment and if they are not to provide their reasoning for this. He noted that a member of the public reported a car with a noisy exhaust and provided the registration number but had no reply form the police and asked the panel to follow this up. 

·         Councillor Booth reminded the panel that he was still waiting for the information regarding apprenticeships to be provided and asked for this to be added as a separate point in the action plan. He noted that this had been agreed in the previous minutes and a response was still to be received. 


Discussion with Anglian Water

This item will be in the form of a question and answer session with  representatives from Anglian Water and Cambridgeshire County Council.


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

·         Councillor Mason noted that a key concern raised by members was that the infrastructure across Fenland may be outdated due to the surge in growth across the area in recent years. He asked Anglian Water what their plans and associated timescales are to address this issue. Briony Tuthill answered that for infrastructure investment Anglian Water invest in 5-year asset management periods and that 9 million pounds had been allocated to the Fenland area for the current period. She explained that this figure was determined by regulatory guidance and the ongoing need for asset maintenance. With growth, Briony noted that improvements are made on a case-by-case basis and that these are completed with the housing developer before construction begins. Hannah Wilson clarified that changes to infrastructure due to growth are funded by the infrastructure charge which is levied from all developers making a connection to Anglian Water systems. 

·         Councillor Booth commented on the issue of low water pressure in rural areas and the concern about Friday bridge pumping station due to its age. He asked for clarification on the design life for Friday Bridge pumping station. Rose Schisler noted that Anglian Water had been undertaking refurbishment work in the Friday Bridge area which had slightly changed the way water moved around the system. She noted that normal service should resume imminently. Commenting on the water pressure issue, Rose said that Anglian Water had not received many complaints. She requested that any complaints received by Councillors be forwarded to Anglian Water so that they could look at feeding water from other areas to maintain the water pressure for the affected areas. Rose noted that there is no set time for an asset to be in service and that service life depends on the pressures put on the specific asset.

·         Councillor Booth noted that complaints have been forwarded to Anglian Water from Councillor Bligh and that Councillors encourage residents to send their complaints to Anglian Water. He explained that complaints are not always directed to Councillors and mentioned that social media provides a good source for seeing how many people are affected. He also asked for a further update on the works around Parson Drove and Gorefield and when these would be delivered. Rose Schisler explained that the current schemes in this area will be delivered by November and that further investigation will be undertaken on whether more work is required after this date. She thanked Councillors for encouraging residents to send their complaints to Anglian Water.

·         Councillor Wicks questioned the quality of water delivered from taps in remote areas and asked what guarantees there where that the water delivered was of a consistent quality. Rose Schisler reassured the panel that all water is treated to the highest standard and is regulated by the drinking water inspectorate. She explained that there are several stages to water treatment and is treated based on where it comes from. She noted that water is monitored to  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC16/21


Annual meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Presentation on FDC’s key achievements and performance 2020/21


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

·         Councillor Count noted that the annual report stated that highway schemes under the Wisbech Access Strategy were fully funded. He questioned this believing that only the purchase of land and design were fully funded, and other further funds had to be obtained from elsewhere. Councillor Boden confirmed this and stated that the report had not been updated from a previous one. He explained that the schemes would be ready to commence in 2022 but that bids could only be made for government funding once the sites are shovel ready.

·         Councillor Count questioned whether it would be useful to put a time limit on obtaining the external funding before looking elsewhere to attain the necessary funds. Paul Medd noted that there was potential for the Wisbech Access scheme to be entered for the levelling up fund but that this was not guaranteed. He stated that this would provide another potential route to obtain the funding for the schemes.

·         Count questioned why the target number for action taken on safety issues in private rented homes had dropped from 400 last year to 250 this year when only 226 houses had action taken last year. Councillor Boden explained that the figures were not comparable as the target set last year was pre-Covid. He noted that Covid had made it difficult to access houses to take action, time taken on investigations had increased, and that there were also additional new houses to consider. He clarified that there had also been a change in approach to programme of work allowing for a more targeted approach meaning that less properties had to be visited.

·         Councillor Count commended the Council on receiving the Customer Services Excellence award. He noted the figures provided showing how many calls were answered within 20 seconds but questioned whether stats could be provided for those with an elongated wait which he had heard reports about. He asked what guarantees the Council had that customers who were answered quickly are not then hung up on. He also questioned whether the Council had the facility to implement a call back system for those kept on hold for a long time due to excessive queues. Councillor Boden suggested that Councillors try to use the customer services on occasion to see the process first-hand. He noted that he occasionally did so and usually received a quick response. He noted that the annual customer satisfaction survey had only achieved 75% satisfaction in the previous year but that this had been skewed as most negative responses were concerning the second lockdown and people’s dissatisfaction with this. Councillor Boden informed the panel that the average length of calls stood at 5 minutes. He explained that this was previously longer, but average times had dropped due to staff gaining experience in dealing with requests. He also noted that the time taken to respond to calls had increased during the implementation of the My Fenland project due to training needs  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC17/21


Future Work Programme pdf icon PDF 130 KB

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


Members considered the Future Work Programme:

·         Councillor Mason noted that the 2020/21 Planning Service Annual Review would be carried over to the meeting of 8 November. He stated that the Investment Board would attend the meeting in March to provide an update.

·         Councillor Connor noted that he had been in communication with the road safety team and requested them to be invited to a future meeting.