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Agenda and minutes

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

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors J A Hayes and D J Reynolds.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members, including the terms(s) of any Grant(s) of Dispensation.


There were no declarations of interest.


Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2017 pdf icon PDF 107 KB


The Vice-Chairman sought clarification over the record of Members’ discussion of the Regulation 9 Notice on 11 July 2017 [Min. No. 19 refers].


In particular, Member discussion of the proposal to draw down for scrutiny the Dartford Festival, either in isolation or together with consideration of all Council sponsored events as proposed by the Lead Member (Enforcement & Community Safety) or as a Work Plan item. He noted that the 2017 Dartford Festival had subsequently been drawn down by the Chairman of Scrutiny in isolation and asked why this was the case, given the undertaking by the Committee Co-ordinator to consult senior Officers and revert with definitive advice [Min. 19 last tieret refers]. 


The Ward Member for Newton supported the Vice-Chairman in his request for clarification and voiced his own concern that comments he had made on 11 July in support of the Lead Member’s draw down format had not been recorded in the Minutes.


The Committee Co-ordinator reminded Members of the process for the draw down of items as contained in the Committee’s Protocol and confirmed that the Chairman had adhered to the Protocol in making his draw down bid for scrutiny of the 2017 Festival by the Committee that evening. He also confirmed that the advice of senior Officers had been sought and relayed to the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Lead Member [as Minuted] in July, and that Member Services had subsequently reminded all political Groups represented on the Committee in October of the deadline for draw-down bids for consideration of topics by the Committee in November.




1.    That the Minutes of the Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 11 July 2017 be confirmed;


2.    That the objections of the Ward Member for Newtown, Councillor S R Jarnell be noted in relation to Min. No. 19 which he regarded as an incomplete record of Member discussion of that item on 11 July 2017.




Urgent Items

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


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


To consider references from other Committees (if any)

There are no references from other Committees at present.


There were no references from other committees.


Chairman's Update


The Chairman had no specific issues to update the Committee on and thanked Members for their good wishes following his recent domestic accident.


Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 16 October 2017 to 28 February 2018.




That the contents of the Forward Plan for the period 16 October 2017 to 28 February 2018 be noted.


Dartford Cricket Club in Hesketh Park: Update pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive an ‘Update’ report from Officers.

Additional documents:


The report from the Leisure & Communities Officer enclosed a Community Use Information sheet from Dartford Cricket Club (DCC) dated October 2017[attached as Appendix A to the report].  Members were asked to note the report and the Appendix.


The Chairman opened discussion by reminding Members of concerns that had been expressed at previous meetings of the Committee over the lack of clear and measurable outcomes for the Council’s capital investment [£1M] to construct the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park, and how that capital investment had helped to meet relevant Corporate Objectives for the Council. He invited the Leader of the Council, as Cabinet Chairman, to respond to those continued expressions of concern.


The Leader of the Council advised Members that he saw no difference between the Council’s provision of older facilities such as community halls and previous investment in other Council owned park facilities and the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park or the refurbishment of the Fairfield Pool and Leisure Centre.


He noted with regard to the Fairfield complex that the refurbished facility was running at full capacity, with demand now out-stripping supply. In addition, Fairfield now brought in revenue for the Council, rather than costing the authority money to run, as had been the case prior to refurbishment. He saw no need to provide returns and measurable outcomes [against Corporate Objectives] for such an evidently successful example of capital investment by the Council.


With specific reference to the building of the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park; the Leader reminded Members that the old cricket pavilion had fallen into serious disrepair, had ceased to be ‘fit for purpose’ and as a consequence, had literally threatened the continued existence of Dartford Cricket Club. The Council’s capital investment in a new cricket pavilion, through an open procurement process, had preserved the existence of the DCC in addition to providing a new state of the art facility for expanded community use. He saw no need for annual returns or measurements against specific Corporate Objectives [in terms of capital investment made] for such a similar and obvious success story for the Council.


In subsequent debate the Chairman and some Members maintained the view that the Scrutiny Committee needed to be satisfied that the Council’s significant capital investments were meeting Corporate Objectives. They suggested that annual returns comparing activities and performance year on year for the new cricket pavilion in Hesketh Park could provide the DCC with base evidence on which to improve their performance and management of the new pavilion facility, in addition to providing the Council with data with which to measure and support the case for future funding provision exercises.


The Lead Member for Enforcement & Community Safety [speaking in his capacity as a Member of the Scrutiny Committee], supported the views of the Leader. He saw no need or purpose in the scrutiny of obvious Council success stories; other than as part of a ‘holistic’ scrutiny of all Council sporting and community facilities. This view was supported by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Draw-Down - Dartford Festival 2017 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To receive a report from Officers on the 2017 Dartford Festival including; a brief overview of the planning process for the annual Festival, budgetary and financial considerations, safety and security policies and procedures, and the engagement of the community and business in the Festival.


Additional documents:


The report updated the Committee on the Dartford Festival held over the weekend of 15/16 July 2017 as requested by the Chairman of Scrutiny, in the prescribed format set out in Appendix A to the report, in terms of Budget and Financials, Safety and Security and Community and Business Engagement.


Appendix B to the report [Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers] comprised the Event Safety Management Plan for the 2017 Dartford Festival.


Members were asked to note the report and Appendices.


The Chairman reminded Members that the Dartford Festival had been drawn-down by the Committee previously, but not for some 3 years. In drawing-down the 2017 Festival (following consultations with Directors) he had asked that Officers report on a number of different aspects of the 2017 event including; cost, budget, safety & security, growth of the event and the delivery of community values. To aid this process he had provided Member Services with a bespoke template for completion by Officers in a Q and A format [attached as Appendix A to the report].


He asked that his appreciation of Officers’ efforts in completing Appendix A; in particular the information provided regarding the safety and security measures undertaken for the 2017 Festival; be recorded in the Minutes.


He then invited the Leader of the Council to respond as Cabinet Chairman with the Council’s ‘Mission Statement’ for the Dartford Festival.


The Leader of the Council confirmed that the annual Dartford Festival was the single biggest public event organised by the Council. It had grown exponentially in recent years under the stewardship of successive Lead and Cabinet Members for Events, Leisure & Heritage, including the late Councillor Sheila East and the present Cabinet Portfolio Holder Councillor Patsy Thurlow. Now in its 82 year, the Festival’s focus had been restored to that of a live music event firmly connected to the local community; following a sustained period in the doldrums during the 70’s, 80’s and early 1990’s when it had been notorious as a ‘beer and burger’ event which attracted violence.


In 2018 the second ‘community stage’ would be supported by a new 'Community Village' feature. In addition to quality and recognisable headline artists, local music acts were represented through the winners of the ‘Local Bands Contest’ which helped develop and give recognition to local talent. The Festival was now a fun and enjoyable music event, in a great location in the Town centre free to all, with increased sponsorship proposed to ensure that free status going forward.


The Chairman thanked the Leader for his historical and contextual comments and for sharing the Council’s vision for the Dartford Festival going forward. He proposed that Members now consider the specific sections of Appendix A to the covering report in detail, and sought confirmation from Officers of the Council’s core funding for the Festival, whether it was set to diminish in future years and if so, what was the Council’s ‘funding floor’ for the Festival.


The Policy & Corporate Support Manager (P&CSM) advised that Council funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Review Work Plan 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Attached as Appendix A for consideration and approval by Members.


Members reviewed the Committee’s current Work Plan as submitted in the agenda papers [Item 10 Appendix A p.31].


The Chairman offered to consult ‘off-stream’ with Members of other political Groups represented on the Committee over proposals for future topics for inclusion in the Work Plan and the format of any future draw-down proposals.


Members were unable to reach a consensus on the Chairman’s suggestion. Some Members expressed the opinion that the Committee was already over-worked and examining topics in too much detail and that future bids for draw-down items should scrutinise topics ‘holistically’ in tandem with other related areas of Council activity, rather than in isolation.





That Members note the contents of the Committee’s Work Plan as submitted in the agenda papers.