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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Manchester Bomb Attack - A Minute's Silence


The Chairman invited all present to stand and observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the suicide bomb attack at the Manchester Arena the previous evening.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors M B Kelly, C S McLean 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 7 February 2017 pdf icon PDF 129 KB


Councillor T A Maddison confirmed that he had attended the last meeting of the Scrutiny Committee but was recorded in the minutes as having sent apologies and being substituted by Councillor M A Maddison who was in fact a member of the Committee in his own right. It was agreed that the minutes would be amended.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2017, as amended, be confirmed as an accurate record.


Urgent Items

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


There were no urgent items.


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 announced that he had no update at this point in time but might raise a couple of matters during the item on the Committee’s Work Plan.


Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 18 April 2017 to 31 August 2017.




That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 18 April-31 August 2017 be noted.


Princes Park - Annual Update pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman welcomed Bill Archer, President of Dartford Football Club, and Jason Outram, Finance Director of Dartford Football Club, to the meeting. He reminded the Committee that the Council had a long standing relationship with the football club including providing financial support. The purpose of this item was to look at the relationship with the football club in terms of how this delivered the Council’s corporate objectives in terms of health and wellbeing, community outreach and development etc.


Mr Archer introduced a comprehensive report detailing Dartford Football Club’s many successes both on and off of the football pitch. The Club had come third in the National League South, narrowly missing out on promotion, and had a nationally recognised Academy, a strong Pre-Academy and a thriving girls structure and ladies teams. The Club was producing footballers on the fringe of international representative level and their goalkeeper was a full international player. The Club fed off its links with the local community and the players at all levels were largely home grown and coming through a strong support system. The Academy had proved a popular way for young players to hone their footballing abilities alongside continuing academic studies. All of the facilities at the Club were well used including the golf club, where in addition to normal golf, footgolf was proving increasingly popular, and the community pitches and mini-pitches were used by over 30 local clubs in addition to over 200 casual bookings from local people.


The Chairman noted that the current SLA’s with the Club had ended and asked whether the Council would be providing a grant to the Football Club moving forward. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) confirmed that a grant of £90,000 had been agreed for the current financial year and would be reviewed next year. The Chairman asked what the funding was used for.


Mr Archer explained that the Football Club was expensive to run and that running the golf club was particularly expensive. He confirmed that the physical fabric of the Club was good with an excellent playing surface following drainage work, the problems with the roof appeared to have been remedied and the bar areas and stairwells were currently being decorated.  However, the Club’s revenue would not cover its costs and if the grant wasn’t provided then the Club would have to cut back significantly on aspects of its work with the local community.    The Academy had gone from a small scale arrangement to becoming nationally recognised for its work and the Club had invested its own money in adding a 65 seater stand on the community pitch which was used by local clubs. He briefly outlined the work carried out by the Club at outreach centres in Dartford and Swanscombe and the provision of free football sessions to 5 primary schools and other work with local schools in addition to hosting healthy living activities. The club manager devoted a lot of energy to this work and took first team players with him to these  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Refurbishment of Fairfield Pool and Leisure Centre pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To note the attached report at Appendix A from ‘Places for People’ (PfP) concerning their first year of operation of the rebuilt Fairfield Leisure & Pool facility, covering the period April 2016 to March 2017 and comment accordingly.


Additional documents:


The Chairman welcomed Dave Joliffe, Area Manager, and Tony Crafter, Contract Manager, from Places for People Ltd which was the leisure operator of the Fairfield Pool and Leisure Centre. He also welcomed Councillor Andy Lloyd, Cabinet member for Strategic Council Finances & Major Capital Projects, to the meeting.


The Chairman explained that the Committee was not scrutinising the day to day running of the Fairfield Pool and Leisure Centre but was looking at the outcomes for the Council arising from the award of the management contract to Places for People in terms of how this delivered the Council’s corporate objectives and return on the £12million cost of the refurbishment. He asked how PfP felt that the first year of operation had gone and how they found their working relationship with the Council.


Mr Joliffe confirmed that PfP had had an excellent 15 months and had a very strong working relationship with Dartford Borough Council. The first six months in particular had been a learning curve to establish services and classes to meet customer expectations. There had been very high demand for all of the facilities and usage was already up by over 60% on previous use of the old leisure centre. Membership across all headings exceeded expectations and there had been 450,000 visits to the site  with over 100,000 gym visits and 70,000 swimming lesson visits.  Mr Crafter provided further details on how the facility was delivering community need with over 10,000 swimming lessons for school pupils and the 94 members that Fairfield had inherited on the Health Matters programme from Acacia Hall had risen to 201 by the end of March 2017. PfP had also introduced free swimming for under 8 year olds.


The Committee asked about projections on Fairfield’s capacity for the next 5 years. Mr Joliffe confirmed that there were already pinch points at peak times with the gym near to capacity, but possibly able to add 300 more members once plans to extend the gym into the Spin Class area were realised, and the swimming pool was at 94% usage with little scope for extension.    Although the much higher usage was generating more income it was also necessitating more expenditure on running costs and maintenance so that PfP’s profits were largely in line with original expectations.   It was important that PfP continued to offer the best facilities locally as new low cost competition could dramatically impact on membership numbers.


The Chairman asked how PfP was delivering the intended outcomes envisaged by the Council when it placed the contract and what these outcomes were. It was confirmed that the original contract referred to the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Plan and to the Corporate Plan. The Chairman asked how PfP was delivering against the following objectives: promoting active lifestyles, promoting community cohesion, partner engagement, quality of service, environmental sustainability and health and wellbeing, and whether an outcomes scorecard had been produced.


The Sports and Communities Officer advised Members that there was no outcome scorecard for year one but there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To consider the Committee’s Annual Report for 2016-17 (attached as Appendix A to the report) for approval and submission to the General Assembly of the Council.

Additional documents:


The draft Annual Scrutiny Committee Report for 2016-17 was agreed unchanged for submission to the next meeting of the General Assembly of the Council. The Chairman thanked the Committee Co-Ordinator, David Hook, for his support to the Committee and thanked other officers and the members of the Committee for their hard work and input.




That the draft Annual Scrutiny Committee Report for 2016-17 be agreed and submitted to the next meeting of the General Assembly of the Council.


Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for the 2017-18 municipal cycle as provisionally set out in the draft Work Plan (attached as Appendix A to the report).

Additional documents:


The Chairman stated that, in light of the Committee’s line of questioning on the Princes Park Annual Update and in the absence of any “hard” targets being set for Dartford Football Club to meet in respect of their receipt of a grant from the Council, he questioned whether this should remain as a standing item on the Committee’s Work Plan for future years. He pointed out that the item could still be drawn down if it was not included as a standing item. The Committee felt that it should continue to remain in the future Work Plan whilst the Council continued to provide a grant to Dartford Football Club given that it had been confirmed that the Club would be receiving a grant of £90,000 for 2017/18.


The Chairman also stated that he would like to scrutinise the performance of Kingdom under the Litter Picking contract but noted that the Leader of the Council had announced a review of this and, depending upon the terms of reference for this review, it might or might not be necessary for this matter to be scrutinised at a future meeting.


The Committee agreed to move the scheduling of the Orchard Theatre Annual Report 2016-17 from the November meeting to the meeting on 6 February 2018 so that it could be considered at the same time as the Theatre’s accounts.




That the Committee’s draft Work plan be amended by moving consideration of the Orchard Theatre Annual Report 2016-17 to the Committee’s meeting on 6 February 2018.