Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 14th July 2015

The County Council has four overview and scrutiny committees (OSC) which review and scrutinise the provision of public services in Warwickshire. Three of the four committees will meet during next week. The first of these is the Communities OSC, which will meet at Shire Hall in Warwick at 2pm on 14th July. This Committee has a broad remit covering Fire & Rescue, Community Safety, Trading Standards, Transport and Highways, Economic Development and Environment, Adult Learning, Libraries, Heritage, and Tourism.

The Committee will discuss proposed review topics for the year ahead, both for items at the Committee and focussed review work through ‘task and finish’ groups. The agenda includes an update on Safer Routes to Schools. Last year, a task and finish group made recommendations, which were approved by the Cabinet on criteria for funding safety schemes both on the routes to schools and in the immediate vicinity of the schools. This report will also show the impact of speed activated safety signage on motorists, with the outcome of trials at Burton Green. 

The Committee will review the One Organisational Plan End of Year Performance Report and receive its regular update on the work of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Further details for the meeting can be obtained by clicking this Link.

Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 11th March

The Agenda for this meeting has three main items:

Consultation Plan for Voluntary Sector Support Services – To receive a final report following the consultation on the proposed re-tendering of voluntary sector support services, as required by the One Organisational Plan consultation process.

Priority Families Programme – To report on the progress made during the first phase of the Priority Families Programme, to seek comments on Phase 2, in particular the draft Priority Families Outcomes Plan and consider areas for future scrutiny activity.

Trading Standards Service Business and Customer Satisfaction Surveys – To receive an annual report for 2013/14 on the business and customer satisfaction surveys for the Trading Standards Service.

The Agenda also includes the regular update on the work of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The Committee will be held in Shire Hall, Warwick from 2pm.

Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 20th January 2015

A varied agenda has been compiled for the next meeting of Warwickshire’s Communities OSC. Here are the key items:

Consultation Plan for Voluntary Sector Support

In November, members were advised of the consultation taking place on a savings proposal for changes in funding to the voluntary and community sector. This consultation closes on 12th February and it was requested that an update of feedback received be provided to this meeting.

Pride in Camp Hill
The Committee will review the success of this initiative, what has been achieved, performance levels, a summary of current activity and plans for the future.

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

Flood Risk

Warwickshire County Council is a lead local flood authority, responsible for managing flood risks from surface water, ground water and ordinary watercourses. It has a duty to develop, monitor and apply a local flood risk management strategy. Following a decision taken by the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety in December, the Committee will receive a report and presentation on this Strategy and the current consultation taking place on it.

The WCC Skills for Employment Programme

An update on the Skills for Employment Programme. This follows a significant consultation, with the aim of ensuring that the County Council’s funding is adding value and supporting our aim to ensure that residents are gaining the skills needed and demanded by our local business community.

One Organisational Plan: Quarterly Progress Report 2014/15

The latest quarterly performance monitoring report will be circulated. It will be accompanied by a presentation comparing the performance data for the second and third quarters of 2014/15.

Members will also have the chance to put questions to Cabinet members on areas under the Committee’s remit and receive the bi-monthly update on the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Scheme.

Communities OSC topics for July

The Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets on 2nd July, with a focus on two key themes.

The Priority Families Programme (known nationally as the troubled families programme) is coming under scrutiny with an update on the comparative position in Warwickshire, the funding available and how this scheme has made a difference. Sustaining the programme and the challenges ahead will also be discussed.

Part-night street lighting provides the other key topic. Following the phased introduction of this scheme, the report will provide data after the first full year of operation County-wide. The areas covered in this report are crime data, road safety and the financial savings achieved. An update on LED lantern replacements will also be provided through this paper.

Making Sure – An Introduction to Overview and Scrutiny in Warwickshire

We made the following two videos to highlight how Councillors in scrutiny have made a real difference across Warwickshire. The first video illustrates the work that Councillors have done with the Health service and how an investigation into the Rugby Western Relief Project has improved project management and saved taxpayers money.

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The second video shows how the Children & Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee helped to improve the education of children who had been excluded from mainstream schools.

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We hope you enjoy them both.

Scrutiny Annual Report for 2012/13

We’ve just published our Scrutiny Annual Report for 2012-13.

The report brings together all the major pieces of scrutiny we’ve done over the past year, including in-depth reviews of Council and local health services, the performance of individual departments, and the ongoing improvement of services.

Read the report here: Scrutiny Annual Report 2012-13

Scrutiny Annual Report

Scrutiny primer

I’m a little conscious of banging on about what scrutiny is all the time on this blog so here’s a quick run-down for those who don’t know:

  • In summary, scrutiny is one of the building blocks of local democracy. It holds local leaders to account for the decisions they make, challenges performance, and makes suggestions to improve services.
  • The Centre for Public Scrutiny have a nice introduction here: www.cfps.org.uk/introduction-to-scrutiny
  • And we’ve done an introduction to our own work here: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/osexplained

Get Involved

Councillors are currently considering what they want to scrutinise over the next 12 months. If you want to get involved and send us your ideas, either leave us a comment below or email us at democraticservices@warwickshire.gov.uk

Review of 2012 – Communities

Before the first set of scrutiny meetings kick off this year we thought we would look back at the past twelve months and highlight some of the key areas that scrutiny members worked on last year.

Street Lighting

Streetlighting

Part-night street lighting was one of the Council’s most controversial policies of 2012 and it looks as though that will continue through 2013 as the programme is rolled out across the County.

Towards the end of last year a group of Councillors were tasked with looking at the proposals and consider a number of areas including; alternative technologies, the impact on crime and road safety, and the level of savings that would be achieved. The group made a series of recommendations that focused on keeping residents safe and improving communication with the public.

The full report can be read here: Street Lighting Task and Finish Group Report

The issue provoked a lot of negative press attention over the Christmas break and, in response, the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be hosting a special Q&A session with the Cabinet member and street lighting engineers to give people a chance to have an input.

Subsidised Bus Services

Bus Stop

In 2011-12 the budget for subsidised bus services was hit with a major reduction of 45%. Good public transport links are vital for many people in the County and Councillors wanted to know what they could do to help the situation.

A small group of members, working closely with Transport Operations officers, put together proposals for an innovative, low cost set of evening bus services that would run on Friday and Saturday evenings. The services were designed to reduce transport inequality and support the night-time economy across Warwickshire. The Cabinet agreed to consider the proposals as part of the 2013 budget so we’ll soon find out if the proposals become a reality.

The full report can be read here: Bus Services Report

Libraries

Libraries

2012 changed the face of the library network in Warwickshire. We saw the introduction of 12 community libraries that are being run by local community groups, opening hours changed across the County, and the first stages of the mobile library service reconfiguration have been agreed. Scrutiny members have been working to ensure the best possible service is delivered to local people, despite big reductions in funding.

Fire & Rescue

Fire

Warwickshire’s Fire and Rescue Service has been through a period of major structural change and has faced some significant challenges over the past twelve months – but despite this the service has been an open and forthcoming scrutiny partner.

Scrutiny has been involved at every stage of the ongoing implementation of the Fire & Rescue Service Improvement Plan and the updated Integrated Risk Management Plan, and continues to work with the service on keeping Warwickshire residents safe.

Spreading The Word

YouTube

2012 also saw the debut of scrutiny updates on YouTube. We’ve been thinking a lot about how to better connect with people and this was one of our favourite ideas – it’s quick, free and has the potential to reach a lot of people who would never think of coming to one of our meetings in person. Giving more people the opportunity to find out what goes on at our scrutiny meetings will hopefully lead to more people getting involved in future scrutiny work.

Scrutiny videos are posted on our blog and you can find them on the WCC YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/Warwickshirenews

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