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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors: J Burrell, Mrs R M Currans (Substitute Cllr. M I Peters) J A Hayes and D J Reynolds.

 

The Chairman welcomed Mr Jim Lowrie, Chairman of Dartford Cricket Club to the meeting and thanked Kent County Council officers David Beaver, Hannah Allard and Nichola Hood for agreeing to attend Scrutiny and inform Members regarding KCC’s Waste Management Strategy going forward.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio holder for Events, Leisure & Heritage was welcomed to the proceedings and the Chairman also noted the presence of the Strategic Director (Internal Services), the Policy & Corporate Support Manager and the Waste & Parks Manager to respond to Members’ concerns. Members were advised that the Strategic Director (External Services) and the Leisure & Communities Officer were on leave.

 

 

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of any grants of dispensation.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2016 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

                                    RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2016 be confirmed as accurate.

4.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that there were no urgent items for consideration.

5.

To consider references from other Committees (IF ANY)

There are no references from other Committees at present.

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

6.

Chairman's Update

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Mark Maddison to his first meeting of Scrutiny as a full member of the Committee, having previously attended as a Substitute.

7.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 August 2016 to 31 December 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 August 2016 to 31 December 2016 be noted.

8.

Dartford Cricket Club in Hesketh Park - Update

To receive an update from Dartford Cricket Club representatives and Council officers.

Minutes:

The Chairman renewed his welcome to Mr Jim Lowrie, Chairman of Dartford

Cricket Club (DCC) and confirmed that all Members had received a copy of the Club’s Community Use Information note tabled that evening.

 

He reminded Members of the background to the Work Plan item. He advised that  the provision of a new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park by the Council had originally been drawn-down by the Committee for scrutiny as a Key Decision by Cabinet in the published Regulation Notice for July 2014 [Min. No. 9 refers].

 

The Committee had noted at that time the substantial investment the provision of the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park represented for the Council, and had expressed a wish to see measurable outcomes for that investment in terms of youth development and benefits to the wider Dartford community. The Committee had added the topic to its rolling Work Plan with a view to receiving a future update report, once the new pavilion building was completed and the facility up and running.

 

The Chairman invited the Policy & Corporate Support Manager (P&CSM) to update the Committee regarding the return the Council had achieved on its substantial investment to date, following completion of the pavilion building in April/May 2015 and its initial 12 months of operation by DCC. In addition to identifying measureable benefits for youth and the wider Dartford community, the Chairman asked how the investment in the new Pavilion had met the relevant Objectives in the Council’s Corporate Plan.

 

The P&CSM advised the Committee that the aim of the Grant Funding of £1M to build the new Cricket Pavilion in Hesketh Park was part of the Council’s Community Facilities Programme for 2014-15. The old cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park had fallen into such a state of dis-repair as to be considered no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and had been restricting the development of Dartford Cricket Club (DCC) as a consequence. The new facility had allowed DCC to expand its sporting potential and play a fuller role in support of a number of Health & Wellbeing initiatives across the Borough, including those to combat obesity which was above the Kent average in Dartford.

 

The DCC Chairman added that the Council’s decision to provide Grant Funding to build the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park was not simply a case of improving an existing facility to make it better; it was a completely new facility. The old cricket pavilion had degenerated to the extent that parts of it were unsafe and the building as a whole ‘unfit for purpose’. He estimated that in a further 5 years the old pavilion would have fallen into complete disrepair and that without the Council’s intervention of Grant Funding to build a new cricket pavilion, Dartford Cricket Club would have ceased to exist.

 

The Committee Chairman asked what measures had been put in place with the local population to encourage participation in the expanded facilities available at the new Cricket Pavilion and whether the Council had set DCC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Disposal of Dartford Household Waste - Presentation by Kent County Council

Presentation from David Beaver, Head of Waste Management, Kent County Council.

Minutes:

The Chairman renewed his welcome to the Waste and Parks Manager and invited his guests from KCC to make their presentation.

 

David Beaver, Head of Waste Management and Business Services, KCC outlined for the Committee, the overall structure in place in Kent for the collection and disposal of household waste.

 

KCC held the statutory role of Waste Disposal Authority (WDA) for Kent and held the overall responsibility for waste policy and implementation for the County. The Kent Resource Partnership (KRP) was the administrative body set up to achieve common goals for waste disposal and recycling and, where possible, affect economies of scale of operation. The success of the KRP was dependent on good co-operation and close working with the individual Kent District and Borough Councils in their roles as Waste Collection Authorities (WCAs). To help individual Councils achieve collective goals for waste collection, the KRP had formed three Project Groups for East, Mid and West Kent. The East and Mid Kent Project Groups shared a single contract for the collection and disposal of waste for all their Districts and Borough Councils, which generated significant economies of operation. It was hoped that a single contract for the West Kent Project Group of authorities might also be possible in the future. Targets for re-cycling varied across Kent authorities but all Kent Councils shared a common strategy to increase re-cycling and further reduce the levels of waste going to land–fill sites.

 

HWRCs and WTSs – Pepperhill Facility

 

Household Waste and Re-cycling Plants (HWRCs) were for use by residents in addition to their local authority collection; Waste Transfer Stations (WTSs) were used by local authorities’ to dispose of waste collected from households.

 

The Pepperhill facility on the A2 operated both as a HWRC and a WTS and was used jointly by Dartford and Gravesham Councils and residents of both Boroughs. The HWRC operation at Pepperhill had now reached its full capacity, leading to frustrating delays in vehicle turnaround times for both Councils and residents alike. Contributing factors for the recent delays included:

 

·         New/additional use by the Ebbsfleet Garden Development;

·         Dartford vehicles currently double-tipping due to a separate tip for glass collected at the kerbside;

·         Gravesham Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) use caged vehicles which required manual unloading;

·         Mechanical breakdowns of loading/unloading vehicles.

 

The KCC contract time for the turnaround of Council vehicles was 25 minutes on site, measured from weighbridge to weighbridge. Recent trials conducted on Dartford vehicles based on a single tip and an average glass element had produced improved turnaround times. Joint discussions between the new Pepperhill Operations Manager and the Dartford and Gravesham Waste Managers were scheduled for later in September, to agree an improved service provision.

 

Re-cycling

 

Kent’s major re-cycling centre was the Allington Incinerator plant where the County currently held a contract until 2030. The Allington facility retained a capacity to incinerate domestic waste and continued to dispose of white goods under a Government funded scheme with contributions from manufacturers. This saved individual authorities and KCC significant transportation costs. Composting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Local Scheme of Support for Council Tax (Draw-Down) pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Strategic Director (Internal Services) concerning the Report and Appendices submitted to Cabinet of 2 June 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received as background in the agenda papers [pages 17-66] the Cabinet report and appendices of 2 June 2016, which set out the progress made to date on the review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, in liaison with other Kent authorities. The report to Cabinet had presented for approval a draft consultation document; detailing potential modifications to Dartford’s current approved local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

Cabinet resolved on 2 June [Cabinet Min. No. 7 refers] to give the Strategic Director (Internal Services) delegated authority to publish the consultation document on the Council’s website together with a Customer Access Review (CAR) document for public response, and a further report should be presented to Cabinet in light of that public response.

 

The Strategic Director (Internal Services) advised Members that the public consultation exercise had concluded the previous week [10 September 2016] and that the results were now available to share with the Committee. Given the complex nature of the issue, Members were reminded of the background to the Government’s introduction of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, together with detailed reasons for the proposed changes to the Council’s current approved local Scheme:

 

·         The Council Tax Reduction Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefits in 2013;

·         Government regulations protected pensioners under the new arrangements which would only affect working age claimants;

·         Each Council set its own local Scheme for council tax reduction under the new arrangements but within an overall central government funding envelope;

·         Dartford had consulted other Kent Districts in formulating its local Scheme to ensure that it could be delivered within available Government  funding;

·         The Council proposed that working age claimants now have to pay at least 18.5% of their council tax bill equating to an 18.5% reduction in the maximum entitlement for working age applicants;

·         Dartford (in company with other District authorities) only retained 11% of council tax collected, with the majority going to the major preceptors Kent County Council, Kent Fire & Rescue Service and Kent Police respectively;

·         In recognition of this the major preceptors collectively paid each District in Kent £125K p.a. as an administrative fee towards the cost of their local Council Tax Reduction Schemes under a 3 year agreement now extended for a further year to March 2018; with the provision that Districts undertook a full review of their current local schemes;

·         Together with other Kent Districts, the Council’s local scheme was focussed on the protection of the vulnerable and encouraging working age claimants into employment;

·         The number of working and pension age claimants in Dartford had fallen by approximately 1,000 in the period March 2013 to March 2016 [6,830 down to 5,871]. However, corresponding reductions in the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) since March 2013 had left insufficient Government funding to support the local scheme in Dartford;

·         At present; the Council funded the cost of working age discounts in the local Scheme by some £310K p.a. (based on a 100% collection rate of council tax which, in reality, was only 84.6%). With reductions in Government grant funding set to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To consider the Committee’s draft Annual Report for the 2015-16 municipal cycle (as attached at Appendix A) for submission to the General Assembly of the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked the Committee Co-ordinator for compiling the Committee’s Annual Report for the preceding 2015-16 municipal year and recommended that it be submitted to the General Assembly of the Council for approval.

 

                                    RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Committee’s Annual Report for 2015-16 recording it’s work in that municipal cycle be submitted to the General Assembly of the Council for approval.

12.

Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for the 2016-17 municipal cycle, as set out in the draft Work Plan (attached as Appendix A to the report) and to suggest further topics for scrutiny by the Committee, together with agreed timeframes.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report asked Members to identify topics for inclusion in the Committee’s Work Programme for the 2016-17 municipal year and to approve the initial draft Work Plan attached as Appendix A to the report.

 

The Chairman thanked the Committee Co-ordinator for his report and draft Work Plan which detailed the stock items the Committee considered on an annual basis each year. He sought suggestions from Members for further topics to include in the Committee’s Work Programme for 2016-17 and encouraged all Members to make use of the Draw-Down facility available for every meeting, to consider topics on an ad-hoc basis, with the prior agreement of the Managing Director.

 

The Chairman said that he had discerned a continuous improvement in the quality of the Committee’s Work Programme during the 2015-16 municipal cycle. He felt greater value had been obtained through the Committee’s concentration on pre-implementation work in relation to Cabinet and Key decisions, prior to presentation to the General Assembly of the Council for approval and implementation. This had in turn generated beneficial outcomes for both the Council and the residents of Dartford.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the draft Work Plan (attached at Appendix A to the report) be approved;

 

2.    That the Committee review its Work Plan at each subsequent meeting in the 2016-17 municipal cycle, adding new topics as appropriate and re-scheduling existing items as necessary.