The Cabinet member for
Corporate Services introduced the draft Corporate Plan
It was confirmed that comments
made by the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) had already
been incorporated into the draft. Now, the scrutiny committee is
being asked to provide their comments.
The consultation to follow
Cabinet briefing will be meaningful, and the public will be asked
to prioritise what they want.
There are six themes. The need
for strategic and operational partnership as an underlying
principle has been reflected.
As well as the public, the
consultation is important for staff, so they can see where they fit
in our broader aims, and to increase job satisfaction and making
sure staff are listened to.
Committee chairman led the
committee through the report, followed by the illustrated
On the report, Councillors has
some comments on page three, item 15, regarding consultation.
Cabinet member for Corporate Services informed the committee that
improvements were being sought through an improved consultation
survey, which includes multimedia, with video clips from Cabinet
members introducing their themes. There will be an online questions
and answers session in August also.
Discussion was had on what
constituted a valid response to the consultation. Cabinet member
for Corporate Services confirmed that the aim was for quality and a
fair spread of responses from different groups within the
Councillors were keen to see
reaching out to diverse groups.
Regarding the timelines for the
plan, it was confirmed that the timelines were achievable despite
Covid-19 impact. The Policy and Insight manager confirmed that her
team had been working towards the October Council date, and there
is confidence in this timing. The team are very focused on the
Corporate Plan right now.
Cabinet member for Corporate
Services added that there is confidence that people will engage,
and that there would be engagement monitoring. In response to a
question about monitoring, Cabinet member for Corporate Services
confirmed there would be key performance indicators set once the
lower projects (that are created from the six broader themes) were
set. We are committed to two-way communication with the public and
stakeholders. A yearly report will be produced.
The committee discussed
reaching people on low income, the elderly etc, where some people
might not have internet access. Can there be some poster
distribution or placing of documents in libraries/public places.
Cabinet member for Corporate Services did remind the committee that
Covid-19 restrictions may impede our movement (site visits are an
issue) but the request is noted.
The timeline chart was
Councillors were keen to ensure
we kept promises. Promises of a leisure centre in the old Corporate
Plan were cited. Cabinet member for Corporate Services emphasised
that we have a theme on openness, as this is a very important
priority to the council and we are committed to it.
Next, the Chairman led the
committee through the illustrative themes. The feedback is outlined
- Ensuring that we are
being clear and honest – focussing on what we as a district
council has influence to do.
- Can we link the work
programme to the Corporate Plan goals? Chairman to
- Retrofit was
mentioned as a good method of improving homes, but it was also
argued that making homes sustainable from new build would mean no
costs later for the homeowner and be more cost effective. 20% of
the district’s carbon emissions are from housing.
- Consider ensuring we
are well placed to tap into any government scheme/funding that
presents itself – ensuring that our teams are well placed to
access government schemes/funding with projects that are ready to
go or advise and signpost our residents to make use of the scheme.
Any further comments on this, please contact the Cabinet member for
- Would like to see
more specific details – e.g. definition of affordable
housing, what is expensive housing, what price will we build house
to? – house prices in SODC 12.6x that of the average salary.
Cabinet member for Corporate Services will feed this back to
Councillor Robin Bennett.
- Balance between
aspiration and pragmatism – we are unaware what is coming
from Central Government, so we need to have a plan that can adapt
to uncertainty – important to pick this up in framing the
- Ambition however is
important to achieve. The aim is for the Corporate Plan to aspire
and inspire. We can be champions of carbon zero.
- Planning enforcement
is important to our residents – consider whether to
strengthen this in the illustrative projects.
- Importance of picking
up on contextual matters e.g. operating within legal planning
framework/Central Government changes that could be coming –
Chairman and Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Adrianna Partridge, to
consider this as a future agenda item.
The district declared a climate emergency, this is a
big part of future thinking – focus on what we can
- Question from
committee on whether the themes are ranked in any particular order,
and if they were which one would Cabinet member for Corporate
Services put as number one – Climate Emergency theme was
discussed as being number one if we were to rank them. They are
grouped in a logical way, but very much want to see what feedback
we get from the public first.
- Committee requested
that the active travel illustrative project includes walking and
- Chairman was in
support of this theme being ranked as number one.
- We know how much
people have valued being in a rural setting in the South
Oxfordshire over the last three months or so. We have a duty to
- Committee asked
whether consideration could be given to including the Environment
Agency in our list of relevant partners, as a closer relationship
would be beneficial. Particularly in relation to flood
- Possible addition to
point five on illustrative projects slide to include wildlife
- It was asked whether a project around local green
space designation in urban areas could be part of the plan –
protect people’s connection to nature, even in urban areas
– this is already included from CEAC feedback into theme
- Cabinet member for
Corporate Services added that herself and Councillor Simpson are
liaison officers for Earth Trust
- Committee discussed
importance of maximising the value of the transformation budget
that was agreed as £250,000 for 2 years.
- Clarification from
Cabinet member for Finance that he is anticipating an emergency
budget being presented in September/October that revises the
existing budget to reflect losses arising from Covid-19, value of
our assets reducing and the other many unknown impacts that are
still working through.
- Need to be realistic
on what is deliverable with financial constraints.
- Cabinet member for
Corporate Services reiterated LGA survey that demonstrated that
public levels of trust in LA’s after the Covid-19 crisis are
at an all-time high. It is important to build on this.
- Add in representation
of different groups into introductory theme text.
- Committee asked to
give consideration to increased public participation and
accessibility of all public meetings e.g. a review of the 3-minute
speaking slot, potentially set up calls after debate for people to
comment and ask questions. We would need to factor in a new office,
new IT and also social media.
- Encouraging diversity
in democratic decision making – more diverse make up of
- Promotion of
Corporate Plan in different languages – translation services
- Promotion of
Corporate Plan in easy read materials and plain language to extend
reach of the Corporate Plan.
- Concern over just
digital interaction – Insight and Policy manager confirmed
they would have firstname.lastname@example.org
email address and a telephone number for people to give their
- Consideration to be
given to hard copy materials in public places, libraries
Cabinet member for Corporate
Services thanked the committee for their input. We do not want to
overpromise or under deliver. The wording of the plan will be
amended as per the feedback given today.
Councillor Mocky Khan
South scrutiny committee formally note the draft corporate plan and
ask that any comments and suggestions are taken on board in the
Chairman thanked Councillor
Powell, Cabinet member for Corporate services, the officers
involved and the guest Cabinet members.