Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Jeffrey Room, The Guildhall, St. Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE. View directions

Contact: Tracy Tiff, Democratic and Member Services Manager, telephone 01604 837408 (direct dial), email 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashraf, G Eales (T Eales – substitute) and Sargeant. 


Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Members to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11 November 2019.


The minutes of the meeting held on 11 November 2019 were signed by the Chair as a true and accurate record.


Deputations/Public Addresses

The Chair to note public address requests.


The public can speak on any agenda item for a maximum of three minutes per speaker per item.  You are not required to register your intention to speak in advance but should arrive at the meeting a few minutes early, complete a Public Address Protocol and notify the Scrutiny Officer of your intention to speak.


Councillor Beardsworth addressed the Committee on agenda item 5 Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Reporting and Monitoring Working Group.


Declarations of Interest (Including Whipping)

Members to state any interests.


Councillor Smith declared an interest in agenda item 6 – Sports Policy as a Board Member of NLT.


At this point the Chair agreed to re-order the agenda and take item 6 before item 5.


Sports Policy pdf icon PDF 484 KB

The Committee to receive an update regarding the carried motion of full Council of 11 March 2019:



“In preparation for the transition to Unitary we call upon NBC to produce a Sports Strategy for the people of Northampton that draws on the Sports Strategy for West Northamptonshire of 2009.


The purpose of this strategy, as well as reviewing current facilities, would be to identify gaps, reflect current user preferences and requirements.


Only by doing this can we protect the assets in Northampton for the people of the town.



Ian Redfern, Managing Director, NLT, and Councillor Phil Larratt, Deputy Leader of the Council, presented a written briefing note in relation to the Sports Policy Motion that had been carried at full Council on 11 March 2019.  Salient points:


·         It is important for Northampton to have a Sports Policy; Daventry and South Northants both have such a Strategy.  There is a need for one strategy for West Northamptonshire; going forward into Unitary.

·         It was proposed that Officers of NLT would draft a Sports Policy for Northampton and will have dialogue with the Head of Customers and Communities and the Deputy Leader of the Council, NBC.


The Chair highlighted that it was important that Overview and Scrutiny undertook pre-decision scrutiny of the draft Sports Policy.



The Committee made comment, asked questions and heard:


·         In response to a query regarding assurances that facilities such as small parks and small skate parks were included, Ian Redfern confirmed that consultations would take place and it would be aimed that all such facilities would be included. Parish Councils would be included.


Ian Redfern and Councillor Larratt were thanked for their address


AGREED:             That Overview and Scrutiny undertake pre-decision scrutiny of the Sports Strategy at the appropriate time.


Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Reporting and Monitoring Working Group - General Fund MTFP 2020/2021 and Draft Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 85 KB

The Committee to undertake budget Scrutiny.  Copy attached.


Councillor Beardsworth addressed the Committee conveying her concerns regarding budget cuts to the Voluntary Sector; in her opinion, she felt it would be better for the Councillor Empowerment Fund to be cut to zero for each Councillor. She noted the budgetary pressures in respect of homelessness.  In response to a query from the Committee, Councillor Beardswoth suggested that £90,000 should be allocated to the Voluntary sector; there is a need for people to receive the right care and treatment.


Councillor Beardsworth was concerned that charges for the collection of green waste would be implemented and heard that this had been resolved at full Council in February 2019 to be implemented in 2020.


Councillor Beardsworth raised concern regarding the number of households in temporary accommodation of 348.  This was felt to be a big number. She commented that a number of staff had been employed to deal with this and help the homeless but there are not the homes available for them.  There is a need to look at different ways to acquire temporary accommodation


Councillor Beardsworth was thanked for her contribution.


The Chair advised that the O&S Working Group had met recently and considered the draft budget in detail and had proposed six items from the draft budget for the Committee to budget-scrutinise, three of which a written response was received. He highlighted the Committee would not be scrutinising the proposed budget in its entirety at this meeting.


Councillor Eldred, Cabinet Member for Finance, advised that a consultation drop in session on the budget is scheduled for 27 January 2020 and all are welcome to attend.

Housing – Temporary accommodation and income streams


The Committee heard that temporary accommodation is a serious issue and puts a strain on the budget; if required, funds would be used from reserves.  Officers are investigating options for temporary accommodation such as “buy back” of former Right to Buy properties that have come back onto the market.  One bedded bed and breakfast accommodation that is used as temporary accommodation costs around £12,500 per year; should NBC have its own accommodation this cost would reduce to £5,000.  Borrowing would need to take place to acquire such buildings.


Councillor Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, and Phil Harris, Head of Housing and Wellbeing, addressed the Committee commenting that temporary accommodation and homelessness is a massive challenge.  Families in temporary accommodation has increased by 6%.  Regular updates are produced and there is a detailed  action plan.

It was noted that 100 less affordable houses had become available than had been  forecasted.   NBC is working with NPH regarding acquiring the first 22 ex-right to buy homes for homeless families.  These are additional homes to those that are already being purchased.


The Committee made comment, asked questions and heard:


In response to a query whether temporary prefab accommodation could be used; Phil Harris advised that this had been previously investigated but there was a need for more permanent solutions to be looked at. A summary of choices  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Air Quality and Management Change Working Group

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee to receive the minutes of the recent meeting of the Air Quality and Management Change Working Group


The Chair advised that a meeting of this Group had not taken place recently.


Monitoring Of Overview and Scrutiny Reports


Homelessness pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Copy attached


Councillor Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing and Phil Harris, Head of Housing and Wellbeing,  presented the monitoring Action Plan to the Committee, highlighting the salient points.


In response to a query regarding the Homeless Forum, it was confirmed that this Forum had met and an Independent Chair appointed.    The Forum will meet quarterly with the next meeting set for January 2020.  A Family Homeless Forum will also be established.


AGREED:      That monitoring is complete.


Culture and Tourism pdf icon PDF 172 KB


The Committee considered the Action Plan for accepted recommendations contained in the Scrutiny Report - Culture and Tourism.


The Committee made comment, asked questions and heard:


·         Work is being carried out regarding blue plaques.  The Committee was advised who was included on the potential list for a blue plaque; however, there would be a consultation process undertaken and the public invited to put forward suggestions.  A Panel would then make the final decision.

·         In response to a query regarding the impact the transformation programme could have on this project, the Committee heard that it would be aimed.

·         The Committee commented that some residents are keen to host a street party of VE Day in May and queried what the Council would be doing in this respect.

·         It was confirmed that the Museum would consist of a coffee shop and Tourist Information Centre.


AGREED:      That further monitoring takes place at the meeting of the Committee on 20 April 2020.


Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 838 KB

Members to review the Performance Monitoring Report


The Committee considered the Corporate Performance All Measures Report – September 2019. The Chair commented that there was concern regarding the number of people living in temporary accommodation and that it would be useful for this issue to be put forward for a potential Scrutiny Review for 2020/2021.


Concern was raised regarding KPI PP22 – Percentage of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles inspected which comply with regulations.



AGREED:      (1) That it be suggested to the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programming event for 2020/2021 that temporary accommodation is considered as a Scrutiny review for this year.


(2) That the Committee undertakes performance management Scrutiny on KPI PP22 – Percentage of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles inspected which comply with regulations at its next meeting.





Scrutiny Panels

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee to receive a progress report from the Scrutiny Panels.




Scrutiny Panel 1 pdf icon PDF 61 KB


The update was noted.


Gangs and Knife Crime Working Group pdf icon PDF 62 KB


The update was noted.



Potential future pre decision scrutiny.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider any potential issues for future pre decision scrutiny.



The Committee confirmed that it would undertake pre-decision scrutiny on the following items:


Draft Sports Policy – at the appropriate time


Trial  - Buy Back Scheme of properties – 20 February 2020 meeting


At this point the Chair confirmed that not enough Members had expressed an interest into becoming a Member of the Tree Maintenance Policy Working Group, therefore, the Cabinet Member for Environment had been asked to provide a written brief to the next meeting.  The Chair confirmed he would also contact the Committee again, inviting Members to express an interest to join this Working Group.


Urgent Items

This issue is for business that by reasons of the special circumstances to be specified, the Chair is of the opinion is of sufficient urgency to consider.  Members or Officers that wish to raise urgent items are to inform the Chair in advance.