Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet Advisory Panel A - Monday 19 April 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meetings - This meeting will be held virtually. Details of how to access the meeting on YouTube are contained in the meeting page, along with the agenda and papers.. View directions

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Note: This meeting may be viewed on YouTube by highlighting, and opening, the following link: https://youtu.be/7kxNZjnnxoQ 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

The Chairman informed Members that Councillor Lucas Reynolds would be formally confirmed as the Panel’s new Vice-Chairman at the Annual Council meeting on 28th April 2021 to fill the current vacancy.

2.

Items Drawn Down for Debate

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that the following agenda item had been drawn down for debate:

 

8

Replacement of Vehicle Fleet

 

 

 

Accordingly Members endorsed the officer recommendations in respect of the following items from Parts B and C of the agenda:

 

9

[Dartford] Joint Transportation Board Agreement

 

10

Committee minutes:

·         Strategic Housing Board on 27 January 2021

·         Policy Overview Committee on 16 March 2021

 

 

 

3.

Declarations of Interest in items discussed at the meeting

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or the Strategic Director (Internal Services).

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests in items included in Part A of the agenda or in items from the remainder of the agenda which had been drawn down for debate.

 

4.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 25 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 25 March 2021 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel received the minutes of the Cabinet held on 25 March 2021.

5.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

6.

References from Committees

None at this stage.

Minutes:

There were no references from other committees.

7.

Draft Environmental Enforcement Policy pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Summary:

 

To consider the Council’s [draft] Environmental Enforcement Policy which sets out the overall approach the Council takes towards environmental crime investigation and enforcement action. This policy provides a framework to explain the processes of environmental enforcement and assists the Council’s Environmental Enforcement Officers in decision-making. It is intended to ensure that these enforcement decisions are lawful, consistent, balanced, fair, transparent and proportionate. The policy also details the Council’s approach to regulation and the subsequent, appropriate use of enforcement powers.

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the draft Environmental Enforcement Policy, attached at Appendix A to the report, be approved;

 

2.    That the Director of Housing and Public Protection be granted delegated authority to make amendments to the draft Environmental Enforcement Policy, as required by changes in legislation, government guidance or fees and charges; and

 

3.    That the Customer Access Review for the draft Environmental Enforcement Policy, attached at Appendix B to the report, be noted and approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager presented the Council’s draft Environmental Enforcement Policy which set out the Council’s overall approach towards environmental crime investigation and enforcement action.  This had been produced following observations by the Policy Overview Committee that it would be helpful to have an overarching policy which brought together the diverse investigation and enforcement activities across the Council and the involvement of key partners, including officers from LA Support. The policy provided a framework to explain the processes of environmental enforcement and assisted the Council’s Environmental Enforcement Officers in decision-making and in ensuring that enforcement decisions were lawful, consistent, balanced, fair, transparent and proportionate. The report explained that the Council sought to influence offending behaviour through education and clear communication but also outlined the other sanctions, penalties and enforcement action that could be used where this approach failed or more serious offences were committed and the circumstances where these would be applied. The policy also detailed the Council’s approach to regulation and the subsequent, appropriate use of enforcement powers. He advised Members that the Council’s activities had generally been well received by the public and thanked Members for their support. He highlighted the robust approach taken against fly-tipping and, most recently, enforcement to prevent the dumping of commercial waste. Many of the activities carried out by the Council were ground-breaking and the Council was market leader in terms of environmental enforcement across Kent and also worked closely with the other districts across the county, and with Kent police and the Environment Agency.

 

Members welcomed and supported the report and the activities carried out by the Council’s enforcement officers and partners.

 

A Member sought clarification on the limited options for paying reduced fines where fines were paid promptly and asked what powers were available to the Council to deal with high level fly-tipping or the dumping of waste on privately owned land?

 

The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager explained that concessions were offered for early payment on fixed penalties issued for ‘low-level’ fly-tipping offences and that the Council had been an early adopter of the use of fixed penalty notices. He also explained that the fine was an alternative to prosecution and that it was up to the offender whether they paid the fine and discharged the offence or whether they let the matter go to court, where fines could be significantly heavier. The Council’s powers to deal with fly-tipping on private land were extremely limited but the Council did attempt to target problem areas and to offer advice to private landowners. Whilst the Environment Agency could intervene in specific circumstances it was unfortunately the case that the cost to landlords of clearing up their land could be significant.

 

A Member asked how the Council monitored and evaluated its enforcement activities and measured its success? The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager explained that the data available showed that there was a very low level of repeat offending, which appeared to demonstrate the efficacy of the enforcement activity, and a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Replacement of Vehicle Fleet pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Summary:

 

To seek approval to purchase 4 vehicles to replace the existing aging fleet.

 

Recommendation:

 

That for the reasons detailed in the report, Contract Standing Order 7.5 be waived and 4 replacement fleet vehicles be purchased from KCS Professional Services (KCC), pursuant to a framework agreement.

Minutes:

The Enforcement and Regulatory Services Manager introduced a report which sought approval to purchase 4 new vehicles to replace the Council’s existing fleet. The majority of the current vehicles were old and becoming less reliable, and consequently costing more to maintain. The Council’s requirements had been assessed and suitable vehicles identified. Consideration had been given to purchasing electric vehicles but rejected partly because of the higher cost and also due to the current limitations of electric vehicles. It was likely that this would be a more viable option when the vehicles would next have to be replaced and the market for electric vehicles would have matured sufficiently for this to be a more practical proposition. It was proposed that the new vehicles would be purchased through KCS Professional Services, using an existing framework agreement, which had been competitively tendered, and the Cabinet was being requested to waive Contract Standing Orders to enable this to happen.

 

A Member said that whilst he understood the current limitations of electric vehicles he felt that the Council should still consider purchasing at least one electric vehicle in view of its’ environmental objectives, the direction of travel towards electric vehicles and the increasing number of charging points. He wondered whether it might be possible to purchase a small electric vehicle, at a reasonable cost, instead of the petrol Fiesta detailed in the specification for the replacement fleet. Another Member suggested that if a fully electric vehicle was not considered to meet the Council’s needs then consideration should be given to buying a hybrid. Members felt that these options should be proposed to the Cabinet for consideration.   

 

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the need for a replacement vehicle fleet to be acquired and asked the Cabinet to consider the merits of purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle as part of the new fleet.

9.

[Dartford] Joint Transportation Board Agreement pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Summary:

 

To inform the Cabinet of the final [Dartford] Joint Transportation Board agreement.

 

Recommendation:

 

That the [Dartford] Joint Transportation Board agreement, attached at Appendix A to the report, be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel endorsed the recommendations contained in the report.

10.

Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To receive and note the minutes of the following meetings:

 

·         Strategic Housing Board held on 27 January 2021

·         Policy Overview Committee held on 16 March 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Advisory Panel received the minutes of the meetings of the Strategic Housing Board held on 27 January 2021 and of the Policy Overview Committee held on 16 March 2021.