Breadcrumb Content

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bordeaux Room, City Hall, College Green, Bristol

Contact: Ian Hird 

No. Item


Welcome, introductions and safety information pdf icon PDF 103 KB


The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting and explained the emergency evacuation procedure.



Apologies for absence and substitutions


It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Cllr Amal Ali, Cllr Amirah Cole and Christina Gray, Director: Communities and Public Health.



Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from councillors. They are asked to

indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular

whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Any declaration of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of

interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.





Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 201 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Communities Scrutiny Commission held on 14 September 2023 were confirmed as a correct record.



Chair's Business





Public Forum pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.


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 at least 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 5.00 pm on Tuesday 14 November 2023

Petitions and Statements - Petitions or written statements must be received at latest

by 12.00 noon on the working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting, this means

that petitions or statements must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00

noon on Friday 17 November 2023


Please note: questions, petitions and statements must relate to the remit of the

Communities Scrutiny Commission.


The Commission noted that the following public forum item had been received:

- A public statement from Suzanne Audrey on behalf of the Public Toilets Equalities Network.



Community Resilience Fund participatory decision making (30 mins) pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report setting out details of the impact of and learning from the Community Resilience Fund (CRF) process of participatory decision making and assessing opportunities to build on this.


Key points highlighted by officers in presenting the report:


1. Through the CRF, the Council had invested £4m of capital funding in 53 community and voluntary sector projects in the most deprived areas of Bristol (£3.2m, 40 projects), and in citywide equality groups (£0.8m, 13 projects).  The decisions about how the funding was allocated were made by groups of citizens, community and voluntary sector groups and elected ward councillors. From the outset, it had been recognised that this was an action learning process.


2. In terms of the participatory process and lived experience from administering the CRF, five key learning points had been identified as follows:

- The importance of co-design as a key principle and building capacity over time to enable and support participation.

- Strong, confident facilitation at meetings was key.

- Importance of participants from diverse backgrounds.

- Building trust and confidence among participants.

- Ensuring access to information and expertise.


Summary of main points raised/noted in discussion:


1. In response to a question about costs, it was noted that the cost of support for co-production of the process and initial technical support had been £250,000; the grant management and programme management support cost £100,00 per annum.  Overall, there was an estimated total spend of 14% (of the overall budget) on programme management over the 4 year course of the programme.


2. The vast majority of participants had given positive feedback about their involvement. 84% of participants had indicated they would take part again, 60% felt they had gained confidence through their involvement and 81% reported making new connections.


3. It was noted that a core objective of the CRF was to build city resilience by growing the power of and focusing the use of funding within communities experiencing the greatest inequality. It was suggested though that, in some cases, due to the area-based approach and criteria based on multiple levels of deprivation that had been applied, there were some deserving pockets of communities and groups that had not been reached through this funding opportunity in spite of being located within close proximity to areas of multiple deprivation, e.g. particular parts of Knowle which were geographically close to Filwood ward.  It was suggested that an additional area of learning might be that in similar future exercises, it would be valuable to consult and capture views from local ward councillors at the outset, to tap into their local knowledge about groups who could be reached out to. 


4. It was noted that a number of potential future opportunities had been identified for applying the participatory process in other areas, for example in relation to decision making around devolved Community Infrastructure Levy.


5. At the conclusion of the discussion, and in noting the key areas of learning as identified in the report, it was suggested that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Cost of Living - Welcoming Spaces (15 mins) pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report setting out details of the ‘One City, Many Communities’ approach to the cost of living crisis over the winter of 2022/2023 which led to 105 Welcoming Spaces across the city, together with an assessment of the learning from this, and information on next steps.


Key points highlighted by officers in presenting the report:


1. The cost of living crisis response in Bristol had been set up to enable the city to come together in support of communities and residents through the challenging winter months between October 2022 and March 2023. The response saw the development of and co-ordinated new ways of working between different sectors. It created new ways of sharing information and supplied funding opportunities to organisations best able to serve Bristol’s citizens and communities.


2. By working with city partners, funding was secured through a private donor for the first 17 Welcoming Spaces. Two rounds of social action grants investing £445,000 were then made available through Quartet Community Foundation. By April 2023, there was a network of 105 Welcoming Spaces across the city. The network included community groups and centres, faith spaces, care homes and leisure centres.


3. An online map had provided people with up-to-date information about the availability of Welcoming Spaces and cost of living crisis support.


4. Key feedback and learning was summarised as follows:

a. It took time to build trust and become established as a Welcoming Space. Spaces already set up and trusted by their communities saw more people using them through the Welcoming Spaces initiative.

b. The survey analysis of Welcoming Spaces showed that the biggest impact of the One City response on citizens was improved wellbeing and health through social connection.

c. The Welcoming Spaces initiative gave encouragement and impetus to build community capacity, leading to new community spaces.


Summary of main points raised/noted in discussion:


1. The community benefits delivered through the Welcoming Spaces initiative were welcomed.


2. It was noted that community groups had been able to apply to a social action small grants fund through Quartet to support welcoming spaces and social action over the coming year and to build upon what had worked well during winter 2022/23. Up to date information about welcoming spaces and cost of living support was also available on the Council’s website.


3. It was noted that the city’s libraries had been involved in the warm spaces initiative; Friends of Libraries groups in Hillfields, Clifton and Shirehampton had successfully bid for Welcoming Spaces funding to provide activities, hot drinks, and support on days when these libraries were not usually open.


4. A suggestion was made by a member that in bringing forward new high-rise development proposals, greater consideration should be given by the Council to enabling community use of lower/ground floor space.


5. It was noted that a key challenge to be taken forward into the post-May 2024 committee model through the relevant policy committee was that of making funding and the availability of welcoming spaces sustainable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Community toilets scheme update (15 mins) pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report setting out an update on the Community Toilet Scheme.


As per the public forum, the Commission noted that the following public forum item had been received in relation to this item:

- A public statement from Suzanne Audrey on behalf of the Public Toilets Equalities Network.


Key points highlighted by officers in presenting the report:


1. The Community Toilet Scheme had started in 2018; 90 facilities joined the scheme by March 2020, when the scheme was necessarily paused due to the Covid pandemic before re-opening in May 2021 with 63 venues.


2. An audit carried out in January 2022 by the community marshal team on the 90 Community Toilet Scheme facilities in place at that point had identified issues such as missing information stickers, incorrect accessibility information, and some closed venues. The audit's purpose had been to assess the scheme’s robustness, partner satisfaction and to scout for new members.  As a result of these efforts, the scheme was expanded to include 159 facilities, with 119 being accessible, and with a new booklet produced to assist residents without internet access.


3. In response to the issues raised in the public statement submitted to this meeting by the Public Toilets Equalities Network, it was noted that the Council aimed to continue working with the network to further grow the scheme.  It was important to acknowledge, however, that maintaining, auditing, and publicising the scheme remained a challenge, given the limited staffing and other resources available to support the scheme.


Summary of main points raised/noted in discussion:


1. In response to a question, it was noted that as soon as possible following a notification,  information about the scheme on the Council’s website would be updated to reflect any changes in information about which toilets were accessible and the opening hours. The team did not have the resources to develop an App with fully ‘live’ information but Bristol’s community toilets were listed on the Great British Public Toilet Map


2. It was noted that whilst resources were limited, the team was able to offer assistance in relation to matters such as signage for community toilets within premises; this included the availability of an example sign on-line.


3. The increased geographical spread of community toilets across the city was noted and welcomed.



Library services (75 mins) pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report setting out an update on library services, including an assessment of the improvement work undertaken through Bristol’s Library Innovation Fund and details about the likely future approach to developing a new Library Strategy for the city.


a. Summary of main points raised/noted in discussion of section 1 of the report - Background and key data on library services:


1. Points highlighted by officers in presenting this section of the report included:

- Library budget and building details.

- Improvements carried out through grant funding, including Library Improvement Fund resources from Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which had enabled Reference Library refurbishment to take place, creating a flexible event space, restoration and upgrading of historic desks, accessible desks and new exhibition spaces.

- New library developments to be taken forward in Filwood and in Southmead.


2. A point was raised about the fact that a number of years ago, some customer services staff had been located in some libraries for a few hours each week.  It was suggested that this could be put forward as an idea that could be reconsidered from a public service/contact perspective, and which could also perhaps enable certain libraries to remain open for longer hours.  It was noted that this suggestion would be forwarded to the Head of  Citizens Services although it was inevitable that the resource and staffing implications of any future proposal would need to be assessed carefully given the financial situation faced by the Council; it was also noted that this may be an issue that could be put forward for consideration by the relevant policy committee(s) under the new committee model that would take effect from May 2024.


3. Members noted and welcomed the refurbishment of Henleaze library and the proposals to develop new library facilities in Filwood, as part of a £14.5 million upgrade to Filwood Broadway, and in Southmead, as part of the Glencoyne Square development.  In response to a question, officers agreed to circulate details of the initial design brief for a new Filwood library; it was noted that this brief would be subject to significant further design development as the proposals would be taken forward in close collaboration with stakeholders and local residents.

4. It was suggested that in the context of taking forward the new Filwood library proposals, consideration should also be given to liaising with partners with a view to seeking to extend the current opening hours beyond the current 22 hours per week.


5. There was a discussion around the incidence of anti-social behaviour which had unfortunately been experienced in and around some libraries in recent years. It was noted there had been issues in particular at Junction 3 (Easton) and in Filwood, Southmead and Hartcliffe, mainly associated with anti-social teenage behaviour.  Some libraries had used security staff and others, following liaison with the local police and other services, had used a variety of measures aimed at deterring anti-social behaviour,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Quarterly performance report (quarter 1, 2023/24) pdf icon PDF 715 KB


The Commission received and noted a report setting out the progress to date made against delivering the Business Plan performance metrics and actions relevant to the Communities Scrutiny Commission remit.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 220 KB


The Commission noted the latest update of the work programme.