The Chairman introduced and welcomed Katie Mogan, newly appointed Democratic Services Manager, to her first meeting of the Committee.
The Chairman said that the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on Saturday 4 April 2020 to enable councils to hold remote committee meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic period. This was to ensure local authorities could conduct business during this current public health emergency. This meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was being held remotely under these regulations, via the Zoom application and was being recorded and live streamed on YouTube.
The Chairman said that comments had been sent to Members regarding the Executive’s comments on recommendations made by Overview and Scrutiny Committee in relation to two Task and Finish Groups’ comments on Parking and on Affordable Housing including enhancing the council’s relationship with registered social housing providers. He did not read out the full wording and asked that a summary appear in the minutes, as follows:
On 5 January 2021, the Executive received a report which included consideration of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations on enhancing working arrangements between the council and registered providers, following the investigative work of a task and finish group.
The Executive approved the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations, which were:
· that Housing and Planning Officers review how the housing service’s in-depth knowledge of affordable housing need can be most effectively shared with developers at the pre-application stage to maximise the delivery of the size, type and tenure of affordable homes that are most needed locally
· that dialogue between the council and registered providers is maximised to promote high standards of management and development, including:
· that East Herts Council reinstates regular Housing Forum meetings to cover both housing management and housing development matters and
· that East Herts Council works with registered providers on maximising the environmental sustainability of registered providers’ existing and new homes
· that Council Officers and registered providers make it easier for elected members to understand key registered provider policies and raise issues directly with the registered providers, including:
· that each registered provider be asked to provide a dedicated e-mail address for elected Members to use to directly raise issues
· that East Herts Council Officers work with their registered provider counterparts to draw up a short briefing note for Members on the options available to registered providers to tackle anti-social behaviour perpetrated by their tenants or tenants’ household members or visitors.
On 24 November 2020, the Executive considered the outcome of the work of the Task and Finish Group, which made a number of recommendations in relation to Town Centre Parking, an update in relation to a Resident Parking Zone and consideration of Climate Change / Sustainability implications of parking policy. The Executive also considered the matter on 11 February 2020 when it was agreed that authority be delegated to the Head of Operations in consultation with the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Chairman of the Parking Task and Finish Group and the Executive Member, to assess the full viability of the recommendations and bring a further report to the Executive setting out the cost implications.
Work had been carried out to consider the cost implications in the context of the corporate plan, but that the Council had been impacted by Covid-19 both economically and in terms of parking behavior particularly, in relation to long stay parking.
A number of recommendations had been built into the service plan and that this would be monitored through portfolio holder meetings. The update to the Residential Parking Zone was recommended to Council for adoption on 16 December 2020.