Agenda and minutes

Communities Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 10th October, 2019 5.00 pm

Venue: City Hall Meeting Spaces - First Floor - 1P 09 - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions

Contact: Dan Berlin 

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 126 KB


The Chair welcomed the Commission and attendees, and clarified the agenda running order.


Apologies for Absence


Councillor Estelle Tincknell attended from 6pm


Declarations of Interest


The Chair and Councillor Carla Denyer declared they are members of the Bristol Libraries Forum. Councillor Jo Sergeant is a previous member.


Chair's Business pdf icon PDF 38 KB


The Chair provided a copy of the statement delivered to Cabinet on 3rd September 2019 as a supplementary item. This is of relevance to Agenda Item 8: Neighbourhood Enforcement.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting as a correct record.


The draft minutes of the previous meeting (27 July 2019) were considered and a typographical error identified. The minutes were otherwise agreed as a true record by Commission Members.


Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 52 KB


The Action Tracker from 27 July 2019 was considered; all actions are now complete.


Public Forum

Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum. The

detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at

the back of this agenda. Public Forum items should be emailed to and please note that the following deadlines

will apply in relation to this meeting:-


Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the

meeting. For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in

this office at the latest by 5 pm on Friday 4th October.


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the

working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting this means that your

submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on

Wednesday 9th October.


The following Public Forum was received:


Q1: Agenda Item 8, Neighbourhood Enforcement

Answers were referred to at Agenda item 8.

Q2: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update

Q3-8: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum

Q9-18: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum

Q19-20: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update, on behalf of Friends of Redland Library Group

Q21-23: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update, on behalf of Friends of Redland Library Group

Q24: Agenda Item 9, Libraries update, on behalf of Friends of Clifton Centre and Library (FOCCAL)

Answers to the questions were referred to at Agenda item 9.


S1: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, on behalf of Friends of Bristol Central Library

S2: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, on behalf of Friends of Redland Library Group (apologies)

S3: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum (apologies)

S4: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum

Statements were acknowledged under Agenda item 9.



Neighbourhood Enforcement pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Additional documents:


Public Forum question regarding noise complaint enforcement in rented properties was asked by Cllr Stevens, with a written response provided by Officers confirming that regular noise nuisance complaints from HMOs or AirBnB rentals are treated in the same way as other complaints. The Chair provided an opportunity to follow up on the Public Forum question and it was established that further considerations around the licensing of rental properties could be referred to the relevant Officer.

The submitted report outlines the approach to Neighbourhood Enforcement. This is a refresh of existing policy to ensure a focus on correct process.

It was clarified that the new tools were introduced in September 2019, while services were restructured and the current Neighbourhood Enforcement team came into effect circa 18 months ago. In the current arrangements the Neighbourhood Enforcement teams work with partners (including the Police and other teams) to improve joint working and avoid silo working. Improvements can be made to working between licencing and planning. Upcoming training will support this. Members supported this action. Further mapping work around joint working will take place around ensuring licensing and planning work is concurrent.

Members found the table on statutory nuisance (council properties) confusing. The previous case management system in place could only record correspondence. The new CMS allows for reporting, and there is an aim to include more detail in the future. Labelling should also be looked at.

Action: Officers should develop the detail and labelling of the statutory nuisance table.

Action: More information should be made available regarding Fixed Penalty Notices (including, if possible, frequency of visits, offences, and breakdown by ward).

The issue of household waste on private property was raised. Officer confirmed that public space protection orders can be issued for domestic waste, and Community Protection Notices can be issued for waste in gardens, served against property owners.

Members raised a concern around the lack of enforcement taken against landlords – core cities have similar problems. It is not thought that any changes in this area are forthcoming. It was clarified that any waste (domestic or commercial) that is fly tipped is subject to the same legislation, but that domestic waste is not as regulated as commercial.

Areas with active Street Scene groups have expressed interest in future collaboration with the council.

Action: Ward prioritisation issues to be fed in to Clean Streets work.

Action: Messaging around evidence needed and actions that can be taken to support enforcement to be promoted within Clean Streets project.

Members raised that engagement initiatives have not been effective, and raised whether a pilot to could assess the effectiveness of the new teams. These checks are being made on Gloucester Road. 

The transient nature of student residents is problematic as it can take some time to locate the property owners.

The nature of the roles of the 15 officers within the enforcement team were discussed.

In terms of KPIs, for noise complaints this is the speed of response. In the Clean Streets project local environment quality is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Libraries Update pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Additional documents:


9.      LibrariesUpdate

A number of statements and questions were received as part of Public Forum in relation to this item.

The following statements were received and acknowledged.

S1: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, Helen Pocock, Rebecca Amiel, on behalf of Friends of Bristol Central Library. Statement regarding recognition that the Central Library serves many Communities and has a range of different roles requiring more varied levels of engagement.

S2: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, Lloyd Roberts, on behalf of Friends of Redland Library Group. Statement raised a number of issues around Redland Library that are items of concern for the FORL, including recent roof leaks.

S3: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, Lloyd Roberts, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum. Statement raised concern about engagement with the Bristol Libraries Forum and future implementation of the Libraries Innovation Fund.

S4: Agenda Item 9, Libraries, Merche Clark, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum. Statement addressed that the BLF believe the Vision should reflect the impact Libraries have on literacy and culture, and raised that the strategy should address stewardship of buildings.

The following questions were received with written responses provided by the Head of Libraries; these have been edited for clarity and brevity so do not contain the full detail of question and response. Due to the high volume of question the opportunity for supplementary questions were grouped with themes rather than raised at each question.

The Chair thanked the Officers for providing full answers.

Question 2, Cllr Clive Stevens acknowledged the work of the Friends of Libraries Groups and highlighted that these partnerships will be very helpful towards making libraries sustainable, asking whether the Libraries Service would thank Bristol Libraries Forum (BLF) for their work.

Response from Head of Libraries. Bristol Libraries Forum operates independently from the Council and as such we do not know what specific development support Bristol Libraries Forum has offered friends groups. The Head of the Library Service thanked the two Library Development Officers (LDO) for their work in following up with people interested in running new friends groups.

As part of the supplementary discussion, the Head of Libraries made clear that communications with BLF is very welcome and would be happy to engage further.

Question 3, Lloyd Roberts, on behalf of Bristol Libraries Forum, asked what plans does the Library Service have to engage with the Bristol Libraries Forum?

Response from Head of Libraries. The library service approach is to communicate directly with Library Friends Groups, some of whom may or may not be part of the Bristol Libraries Forum. However we are talking to many community groups and partners and are open to any communication from the Forum. The Bristol Libraries Forum operates independently from the Council and its membership is known only by the Forum, which does not report to the library service. 

Question 4: Lloyd Roberts asked why wasn’t some of the £108k allocated to the Libraries Innovation Fund directed towards promotional activities and what plans does Bristol Library have to improve their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Performance Report Q1 pdf icon PDF 349 KB


A performance report specific to the CSC has been produced in response to feedback. The report is now more streamlined, with 18 KPIs identified.

Items of concern included:

-        High number of empty council properties as an ongoing issue (including some properties being finished to a poor standard)

-        Explanation of why 67 of indicators are below target

-        An explanation of changes in approach to tenant arrears was provided but further information is requested around the approach to ethical debt collection

-        Issue of rise in complaints amid reports of complaints being closed before being actioned. Explanation of a new case management system was provided, with an expectation of seeing improvements by Q3. This should be monitored on the agenda for next year.

Action: Performance queries to be addressed by relevant officers through action tracking.


Risk Report (Corporate) pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Additional documents:


The full corporate risk register was received as it is not possible to produce an individual Communities specific report. It was agreed that this report is too large to be of practical use to the CSC.

Action: Risk Register to be discussed as an item at OSMB leads meeting.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 407 KB

For Members to note the Scrutiny Work Programme


The Chair suggested that the current CSC agenda for December is thin, and could accommodate an additional item examining the impact of university expansion on communities. This was agreed, although noted that the some specific issues may fall within the remit of a different directorate the wider impact on wards should fall within CSC. This would need to be tied to the Local Plan.

Action: Chair to suggest to OSMB that an additional item examining the impact of university expansion on communities to be added to the CSC agenda for the next meeting on 9 December 2019.

Additional items for discussion at OSMB included changes to the company introducing the cardboard sack recycling scheme, and potential impact on Bristol waste collection.