Venue: The Writing Room - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions
Contact: Romayne de Fonseka 0117 922 2770
All parties were welcomed to themeeting.
Apologies for Absence
Declarations of Interest
Declarations of interest were received from Cllr Negus in respect of being a member of the Tree Forum and Cllr Sergeant as an ex-Library Service employee.
Members are requested to approve the minutes of the previous meeting on 24th April 2017 as a correct record.
The minutes of the meeting were agreed with no amendments.
(1) thatthe minutesof the meeting heldon 24th April 2017be approved asa correct record.
This item was taken at the end of the meeting.
The Chair remarked that there were unresolved items on the Action Sheet. It was agreed that these would be passed to the Strategic Director for response.
Action: That the outstanding items on the Action Sheet be passed to the Strategic Director for response.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Tuesday 11th July 2017.
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 Friday 14th July 2017.
Members noted the following statement which had been received for this meeting, details of which are available in the Minute Book:
This item and Item 8 were taken in reverse order at the meeting.
The Commission elected Cllr Carole Johnson as Vice Chair for the 2017/18 year.
(1) That Cllr Johnson be elected as Vice Chair for 2017/18.
(2) That the Commission’s Terms of Reference are noted.
(3) That the additional meeting date set for 2017/18 is noted.
Fire Safety in BCC Tower Blocks
This item will consist of a verbal briefing.
This item and Item 7 were taken in reverse order at the meeting.
Officers provided a verbal briefing to the meeting and in the ensuing meeting the following points were made:
· Officers confirmed that there were 59 high rise blocks, of which 34 have cladding, with 3 more in the pipeline.
· Information bulletins have been provided to residents and councillors have been made aware of these.
· Where fires have occurred in blocks, these have not spread beyond the flats where they have started.
· The cladding materials in use are not completely non-combustible, but have limited combustibility, and as a complete system with the render finish, is a fire safe product.
· Members suggested that information be displayed in tower blocks where there is cladding, to explain the type and purpose of the cladding. A discussion ensued on how best to communicate information to residents without inadvertently giving misleading or confusing information, and without making assumptions about the forthcoming Grenfell-related government recommendations.
· There is a multi-agency group that meets weekly which is concerned with all high rise buildings in the city, not only council owned properties.
· Officers agreed that a priority was to clarify the advice given to residents in event of an fire emergency.
· The process for assessing fire safety of a project involved council technical officers as well as Building Control inspection and sign off.
· Members raised the issue of the number of agencies involved in a major refurbishment project, and the potential lack of communication and ownership of safety and quality assurance issues.
(1) That the issue of Fire Safety in BCC Tower Blocks be referred to Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, with a recommendation that scrutiny is involved in assessing the impact of the post-Grenfell government recommendations, when these are issued.
A discussion took place around the “Your Neighbourhood” consultation, including the consultation in general and the individual service areas within this. Discussion centred around a number of issues including:
· that these proposals had not previously come to Scrutiny prior to being published in the consultation;
· it was suggested that the comments/feedback facility needed to be more structured to encourage more detailed feedback, and there was a lack of guidance in engaging with the options presented;
· that additional information should be available to assist respondents in thinking about what alternative solutions there are; the Executive Member agreed that further information will be added to the website shortly;
· that the single closures option was a disincentive to responding with ideas;
· that in the consultation document, volunteering had been dismissed as a viable option, and this would also act as a disincentive to potential volunteers;
· that other issues could be included in the weighting criteria above the 4 selected
· that it was not clear from the consultation documents how respondents’ views would be taken into account in making the final decision regarding school crossing patrols in particular
· the variation in running costs of the different libraries and reasons for this;
· that some organisations have approached the Council with a view to taking on the running of public toilets, and this was a positive sign;
· that if libraries are closed, whether this will be a permanent reduction in the municipal infrastructure that will prove to be irreversible;
· that the joining up of consultations for different service areas in order to demonstrate local impact was, in principle, a positive approach and to be welcomed, however in this case the service areas are not particularly connected to each other
The Commission agreed by a majority decision (7 in favour, 1 against, 1 absentee) that the Chair would take the following statement to Cabinet.
(1) that the Chair convey the following statement from the Commission to Cabinet:
“This Scrutiny Commission considers the “Your Neighbourhood” consultation document to be flawed, as it does not provide explicit opportunities to put forward meaningful alternatives to the options already presented, and does not encourage public engagement in suggesting and shaping alternate options.”