Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 March 2023, as a correct record.


Resolved: That the Minutes of the Scrutiny Committee held on 21 March 2023, be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest

Any declarations not already registered


There were none.


Responses of the Cabinet to reports of the Scrutiny Committee


There were none.


Actions from the Previous Meeting


There were none.


Introduction to Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Officer, Customer and Resources gave a presentation on an introduction to Scrutiny. The presentation set out the model of Governance at the Council and summarised the main role and scope of the Scrutiny Committee as set out in part 5 of the Council’s Constitution and the procedure rules for the operation of the function were set out in Appendix C.


Members asked questions of clarification which focused on Performance Indicators and Portfolio Holder attendance, call in and in-depth working groups.


Resolved: That the report be noted.         



West Kent Housing Association Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 4 MB

The Chief Executive, West Kent Housing Association (WKHA) will be in attendance to answer questions on their service including new housing provision and maintenance of current stock and future challenges.


The Chairman welcomed Tracy Allison the Chief Executive of West Kent Housing to the meeting, who gave a presentation on the work of West Kent Housing within the District. The Chief Executive provided Members with some highlights of the services which included overall customer satisfaction at 4.3 out of 5, and complaints down from 2021.  West Kent Housing were also reconfirmed as ‘Gold’, following their Investors in People assessment, and had also recently been a finalist at the UK Housing Awards and Winner at Kent Housing Group awards.


An active approach to damp and mould was undertaken from summer 2022 and a dedicated expert had been employed to help and support residents to live well in their homes. The Chief Executive of West Kent Housing further advised on the plans for investment in their current housing stock. A key piece of work would be looking at how the current homes could be modified to meet net zero.


An overview was given on some of the recent regeneration which had taken place. There was an ambition to build more new homes, but there were further challenges ahead including the ending of s106 monies, as 47% of affordable housing nationally came from this money. A lack of planning conditions requiring affordable homes, and the continued increase of land value. Challenges also included that as a sector there were not any guidelines for net zero or the standards for new decent homes legislation, access to skills to complete the works and upward pressure on prices.


In response to Member questions the Chief Executive advised that West Kent Housing worked closely with their communities through Tenancy support officers, annual health and safety checks such as gas safety, were also carried out in house as well, which enabled yearly contact with residents. During the pandemic it was a priority to contact those who had not been in contact, as well as actively checking that anyone over 70 had been contacted to make sure that they had necessary support. Close attention was given to those residents who did not want visitors.  All staff who go into homes had received safeguarding training and often some residents would only trust the West Kent Housing Team and they would work with support services. There was also support for staff in suicide awareness.


In response to questions which were centred around customer satisfaction, Members were advised that in 2021 all residents were written to, asking them to complete a survey which was undertaken by an independent organisation for satisfaction. The survey covered a range of questions including benchmarks which were used across the sector. West Kent Housing also introduced their own rant and rave survey. This survey was sent to residents who had received a service within the month and asked for their rating. If a low rating was provided, a follow up call would take place to find out what went wrong and satisfaction levels had increased. This was carried out alongside a random survey for tenants on their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the report which summarised performance across the Council as at the end of March 2023. Members were asked to consider 13 performance indicators which were performing at 10% or more below their target with a commentary from Officers explaining the reasons and detailing any plans to improve performance.


Members discussed Performance Indicators LPI_DS Waste 002, 003, 004 and 005 and noted that the spike had been due to the change in the collection rounds, but were pleased to see that there was a continuing downward trend. Members further discussed recycling rates and whether Cabinet should be asked to look into this area in more detail in addition to potential future focus of the Scrutiny Committee.


In response to questions regarding audit actions fully implemented within agreed timescales (LPI_AUL1), Members were advised that the targets from internal audits were agreed with the Managers of the service area. If a deadline was missed, it would be referred to the Chief Officer, Finance & Resources as the responsible officer and he would have to be satisfied for the reason the deadline was missed. It was likely that if a target was missed there were a range of factors which influenced this, some of which may be external factors.  


Members further debated a number of performance indicators, discussing the value of the indicator and whether it provided qualitative or quantitative data and the impact of the indicator. Particular focus was given to the LPI_CDH 05 and LPI_CS001 and LPI_CS 002.


Action: For Performance Indicator PLI_CDH 05 be considered for rewording to provide more specific qualitative data.


It was explained by the Chief Officer Customer & Resources that the performance Indicators were set with the relevant service areas and Managers, in conjunction with the Chief Officer and Members as appropriate. The indicators were part of a wider set of internal management data collection which included further quantitative data. When they were reviewed, the indicators would follow a process which included going to the relevant Portfolio Holder, this could be as often as necessary. Currently a review of a number of Performance Indicators was being undertaken.


Some are national indicators, which are set by Government, others were industry best practice and others were slightly more historic and council processes were changing and it was important to bring the monitoring up to date.  It was important as Officers the indicators were challenging and were based on SMART Targets (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound).


Action: For the Scrutiny Committee, be updated on the process of reviewing Performance Indicators.



Resolved: That


a)       the report be noted; and

b)       Cabinet, be asked to look at the Performance Indicator for recycling rates within the District.



Establishment of In-depth Scrutiny Working Group pdf icon PDF 43 KB


The Committee considered various areas for a new In-Depth Scrutiny Working Group to carry out a detailed evaluation.  Members discussed the Council’s response to Homelessness, waste and recycling collections. Following discussions on working groups a motion was put to vote whether to constitute a second working group to look at waste and recycling.  The motion was put to the vote and it was lost.


Debate continued on the Terms of Reference of the working group and membership.


Resolved:  That


a)     an In-depth Scrutiny Working Group be set up consisting of Cllrs: Horwood (Chairman), Baker, Leaman, Manston and Scott (co-opted);


b)     The working group consider the challenges and available measures relating to homelessness prevention including the approach and suitability of out of district placements; and


c)     A report on the work of the In-Depth Scrutiny Working Group and any recommendations be brought to a future meeting of the Committee for consideration.



Work Plan pdf icon PDF 42 KB


The work plan was discussed, and the following additions were agreed:


21 November 2023


·       West Kent Police

·       Portfolio Holder for Improvement & Innovation

·       Portfolio Holder for Finance & Investment


9 January 2023


·       Local Water companies

·       Portfolio Holder for Cleaner & Greener

·       Portfolio Holder for People & Places


19 March 2023


·       Everyone Active

·       Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation

·       Portfolio Holder for Housing & Health


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