Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 6 December 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be in person at Abbey House, Abingdon OX14 3JE.

Contact: Candida Basilio, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members. 


Apologies were received from Councillors Kate Gregory, Ken Arlett and Jo Robb.


Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 


The chair had no urgent business but paid tribute to the Head of Legal and Democratic, who recently passed away. A moment’s silence followed.


Declaration of interests

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting. 





Minutes pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the committee minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2023.


On page three of the minutes, fourth bullet point, a member raised whether a response was had from the Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) for Transformation and Operations – in her absence, a response was given via Simon Hewings, Head of Finance, who was present. The feedback from the DCE was that the cost centre was labelled for the Climate Team, but in reality it also covered the Insight and Policy team, where they were a number of staff vacancies and secondments. The budgets will be segregated in future for clarity.



The minutes on 7 November were agreed as a correct record by committee, and the chair shall sign them as such.



Work schedule and dates for all South and Joint scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To review the attached scrutiny work schedule. Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.



Members did raise this issue of a long agenda for the 6 February meeting. It was confirmed that the items will be interlinked, but that the weight of the agenda would be considered. It was possible to have two February meetings if desired. Scrutiny do need time to consider papers effectively and reasonable time to discuss in a meeting.

Topics were raised for the work programme – including;


1. Inviting Thames Water as a guest. Chair clarified that we would need to explain why we want to speak to external parties and give ample time to invite them in. A member added that we should also speak to the Environment Agency at the same time.


2. CIL monies that were unallocated – was it appropriate to call in those external partners involved in unallocated funds. Chair added that this may be a Joint Audit and Governance Committee. Another member added that it could be a duplication of work for some partners.


3. Can we look at procurement strategy? Officers would need to comment on what committees were planned to be involved.


It was noted that the budget date for Council was moved back one week.


There was discussion about whether there would be separate scrutiny meetings on the Joint Local Plan rather than Joint Scrutiny, it was explained that all members can speak to and debate the JLP and that there were many stages and at those stages the appropriate scrutiny committee will be involved.



The committee noted the work programme.


Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 




SODC Community Infrastructure Levy Pilot Grant Fund Policy pdf icon PDF 604 KB

An opportunity for Scrutiny Committee to review the policy, ask questions and make any recommendations or comments to Cabinet.


Cabinet Member for Finance and corporate assets introduced the report.

We had raised significant funds, and now we had the challenge of filling in the infrastructure gap. He explained that infrastructure such as roads, health and schools was dealt with under Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and Integrated Care Board (ICB) CIL funds. The topic of this grant scheme, for SODC and Parishes and Towns, was where community facilities come into play. This scheme aims to help towns and parishes to apply for such funds.


The CIL was portioned as follows:

·       50 percent to Oxfordshire County Council for delivery of the following infrastructure types: education, transport, libraries and household recycling centres

·       20 percent for public health care infrastructure

·       30 percent retained by the district council for infrastructure that it is responsible for, such as leisure and other community facilities


Development and Infrastructure Team Leader was present to answer questions. He added that not for profit organisations, third parties can apply also – such as sports clubs. The report was comprehensive in terms of explaining the scheme, and questions were welcomed.


Committee comments were as follows:

·       Members were supportive of this scheme.

·       Discussion was had on leisure centre facilities and having a better reach. Section 19 was queried – can we have full income and deductions for planned expenditure added for clearer analysis. Officer responded that the table was projected end of year balance for SODC and factors in spend and income. It was difficult to factor in how much will come in, with the slowing down of planning applications. The further breakdown was available. The income was a conservative prediction as there were variables out of our control. A member considered that the breakdown in the report would be helpful.

·       Had consideration been given to 60 percent of SODC residents living in rural areas, and whether these residents get a fair share of CIL funds. Member asked if transport links to more urban leisure centres could be part of this? Cabinet member added that this approach should help with this issue, as CIL from urban areas can be spend widely across the district. The officer replied on the transport suggestion – he explained that the spend must be on physical infrastructure but suggested that Towns and Parishes could look at spending their funds on bus links to centres, for example. This scheme does support Towns and Parishes to apply for more funds for infrastructure projects, but transport would be for Towns and Parishes to arrange from their own funds not SODC, as Town and Parish funding portions had a wider remit.

·       A member asked if figures for years three, four and five were complete? Can we purchase equipment with this funding? Officer replied to the first question by saying that there were more gaps as we looked further ahead. More might materialise later, and this was the best position provided for now. In response to the equipment question, the officer responded that this would be possible as part of delivering and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.