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To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors P Boylan and N Cox. It was noted that Councillors A Holt and S Watson were substituting for Councillors Boylan and Cox.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023.
The Minutes of the meeting were submitted. Councillor Nicholls suggested that there should be an amendment to delete the following from paragraph 29 of Minute 240 (Waste, Recycling and Street Cleansing Contract Service Design). She suggested that the paragraph should be replaced as follows:
Delete “She expressed a concern about a 30% reduction in litter bins outside of town centres”.
Councillor Buckmaster proposed and Councillor Watson seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023, as amended, be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023, as amended, be confirmed as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.
There were no Chairman’s announcements.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any Members’ Declarations of Interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
The Executive Member for Wellbeing submitted a report in respect of Thriving Together 2024 – 2027, which was the new health and wellbeing plan for East Herts. She set out the background to the paper and summarised the draft work that had already begun in respect of the Health and Welling Plan, including the work of partners in wider health and wellbeing services and ways to include residents.
The Executive Member for Wellbeing said that a helpful approach for residents would be to have this document as a broad mission statement and then have an action plan as a live document which would be monitored and updated on a more regular basis. She said that the Healthy Lifestyles Programme Officer had run a survey for residents that had been broadly advertised and a good number of responses had been received.
The Executive Member for Wellbeing summarised the broadly positive feedback and said that respondents had been given the option to receive further updates or to become part of a wider community group. She said that the report summarised some of the suggested changes and there had been a small focus group prior to Christmas with a few of the residents who had expressed an interest in being more involved.
The Executive Member for Wellbeing said that a number of further edits had been made following the focus group and she welcomed any comments or questions from Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Buckmaster acknowledged the amount of work and expertise that had gone into the report. He emphasised the importance of the document being easily understood and that there should be an associated “live” action plan document. He talked about ensuring enough flexibility so that various agencies and communities were able to engage with the plan.
Councillor Buckmaster said that the council should make sure that there was a measurable baseline. He referred to the social and community benefits deriving from council services such as Hertford Theatre and the leisure centres. He talked about the council’s cultural strategy and taking culture to the community if residents were unable to attend a theatre. He referred to the previous Forever Active programme from a few years ago and said that every councillor had a part to play in ensuring that the council reached out to as many people as possible.
Councillor Nicholls said that this work was important in tackling loneliness and issues related to mental and physical health in local communities. She referred in particular, to pre-empting the need for adult care as a way of tackling the consequences of neglecting mental and physical health. She welcomed the inclusion of arts and creativity in the health and wellbeing plan and talked about the provision of services in rural communities.
Councillor Carter mentioned that she had noticed that respondents were perhaps weighted to the older age group, and she felt that this should be looked at going forward in the next stage of the process.
In reply to a question from Councillor Andrews ... view the full minutes text for item 286.
The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability submitted a report that presented to members the final draft version of the Air Quality Action Plan for East Hertfordshire following public and stakeholder consultation. He commented on the linkages between improving air quality and improving health outcomes.
Members were referred to the data regarding air quality within the three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability said that since September, an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for East Herts had been produced and this could be seen at Appendix A.
A public and stakeholder consultation exercise had been undertaken and the analysis of this consultation was attached at Appendix B. The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability said that within the three AQMAs, the main contributing factor was vehicles and diesel cars were the main source of air pollution.
Members were advised that the action plan needed to be an active and evolving document throughout the next five years. There had been a 6-week consultation period which was in line with the DEFRA code of practice and there been 189 responses of which 182 had been from the public and seven from statutory consultees.
The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability said that several changes had been made following the consultation responses. He said that the Council had tempered the language which was used in the AQAP regarding Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) from exploring implementation to exploring the potential pros and cons of this.
The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability concluded that the draft AQAP focussed on making best use of the council’s limited resources and tried to target the actions which could have the most significant impact on the three AQMAs. He said that the council would continue to work with key partners to undertake as wide a range of activities as was possible to improve air quality. Members were reminded that lots of the options for controlling and influencing air quality lay outside of the control of the council.
Councillor Buckmaster referred to the complexity of the issue of air quality. He commented on the statutory duties of East Herts Council regarding monitoring and action plans and Hertfordshire County Council in terms of the public health focus.
Councillor Buckmaster said that discussions between the two councils should continue and there was a Hertfordshire County Council seminar in Stevenage planned for 29 February, which was for county and district members to attend. He said that this was nearly fully subscribed but was a good forum to have. He emphasised the importance of common branding in terms of joined up thinking.
Councillor Buckmaster said that jointly across the county and the district, members and officers should consider what the vital outcomes were in terms of output. He talked about getting people to change behaviours in terms of anti-idling and wood burning stoves. He said that county council members had access to budgets for interventions to try to influence behaviour.
Councillor Buckmaster said that there should be a forum where ... view the full minutes text for item 287.
The Democratic Services Officer submitted the work programme report and sought Members’ comments on items for inclusion in the draft work programme of proposed scrutiny topics.
Members were advised that the report set out what had happened pre-Christmas in terms of updates on the work programme. It was noted that the Executive had suggested that Overview and Scrutiny Committee might wish to review the Anti-Racism Charter.
The Democratic Services Officer said that, pending further information from the Head of Housing and Health in terms of a reporting update, this had been provisionally booked in for the 5 March meeting.
Members were reminded that the March meeting had quite a few topics scheduled so the Committee might want to re-consider the topics for that meeting. The Democratic Services Officer reminded Members that as the Committee dates for 2024/25 had now been agreed, Members were invited to consider what scrutiny topics they might wish to review and include on the work programme.
The Democratic Services Officer said that that any proposals for scrutiny should be completed using the proposal form available in the TEAMs area. Members views were sought on the work programme and whether they wished to make any changes, in particular whether a bulletin was required in respect of the East Herts Markets and the Anti-Racism Charter.
Members were also asked if they wanted to delay the consideration of the Development Management and Community Forums to 2025.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services asked for clarity from Members as to whether they wished to receive bulletin updates in respect of the Anti-Racism Charter and the East Herts Markets. Members confirmed that they would like a bulletin on both of these topics. The Committee also said that they would like the Development Management and Community Forums topic delayed until mid-2025.
Councillor Woollcombe proposed and Councillor Watson seconded, a motion that, subject to the above changes, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme in Appendix 1 (programme of proposed scrutiny topics) as amended, be agreed. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that, subject to the above changes the work programme in Appendix 1 (programme of proposed scrutiny topics) as amended, be agreed.
To consider such other business as, in the opinion of the Chairman of the meeting, is of sufficient urgency to warrant consideration and is not likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information.
There was no urgent business.