Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Monday, 18th December, 2017 5.00 pm

Venue: The Writing Room - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR

Contact: Allison Taylor  Allison Taylor

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 126 KB


The Chair welcomed all Members to the meeting and explained the evacuation procedure in the event of an emergency.



Apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were noted from Cllr Gill Kirk, Cllr Jude English, Cllr Tom Brook and Cllr Estella Tincknell. Substitutions listed above.



Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the 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 declarations of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.



There were no declarations of interest however the Chair of OSMB highlighted that in his role as Chair of OSMB he also performs the function of observer to the Shareholder. 



Chair's Business


·         The Chair highlighted that following the publication of the Safer Bristol report into the Ebrahimi case that Scrutiny should have a role in scrutinising the implementation and progress against the actions agreed by the council. OSMB members were in agreement.

·         It was noted that OSMB had received a response from the Deputy Mayor regarding libraries task and finish and the funding for mutualisation.

·         The process for budget scrutiny was highlighted with the dates of 18th and 22nd being critical meetings and that the cabinet papers will be dispatched on the 15th January for cabinet and this will be less than the standard 5 clear working days.

·         The Energy Company Business Plan is scheduled for Scrutiny on the 11th January.


ACTION  - Scrutiny team to incorporate review of Ebrahimi into the OSMB work programme




Public Forum

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 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 *name deadline date*


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 *name deadline date*.



There was no public forum received.



Exclusion of Press and Public

That under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it (they) involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph(s) 3 (respectively) of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.


The Chair reminded all members and officers that they have signed confidentiality agreements and should be aware of the implications of these.



Bristol Holding Ltd pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Business Plan for Bristol Holding Ltd


The Deputy Mayor set out a brief context for the holding company including details of how the company has been ‘slimmed’ down to reflect current business need. The holding company’s operation and governance is such that it can expand and contract to reflect business need.


The following points were raised and discussed by the members present: 

·         The Executive confirmed there has been no decision on the proposed housing company at this time in the context of the size of the holding company

·         Offices clarified that the holding company has a role in ensuring that the council is not disadvantaged from a tax perspective when its purpose was questioned.

·         Members questioned the transparency of having a holding company and officers confirmed that each company has an individual set of accounts and individual business plans in order to ensure transparency.

·         Confirmation was requested on the roles and responsibilities of the shareholder and the Executive and specifically whether the chair of OSMB in their role as observer was observing the advice given directly to the Mayor, as the shareholder. It was confirmed that the Mayor is the shareholder but that the Deputy Mayor is the Shareholder’s representative at the Shareholder Group and that the Mayor received all the recommendations from the Shareholder Group.



Bristol Waste Company pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Bristol Waste Company Business Plan


At the outset the Chair confirmed that officers were to be invited back to a future OSMB meeting to discuss waste and recycling service issues enabling the discussion at today’s meeting to be focused upon the business plan for the company.


ACTION - Waste Company officers to be invited to attend an OSMB as soon as is possible


The following points were raised and discussed by the members present: 


·         Questions were raised about the future plans for the Days Road site. Officers confirmed that there is a 99 year lease on the majority of the site but part of the site (where the bays currently are) has a lease due to expire in 2019. The company is waiting to hear back from Network Rail on their future plans however it was confirmed that most of the site will remain with BCC for the foreseeable future.


·         The business plan references the Waste Company’s contribution to Bristol being a better connected city. Officers confirmed that this relates to ongoing work with IBM on using mobile applications for bag tracking and other initiatives, all of which are currently in proof of concept stage. It was agreement that an update will be provided for scrutiny on this at an appropriate stage.


ACTION - An update on the Waste Company’s contribution to Bristol as connected city to be scheduled at an appropriate point.


One member of OSMB raised the following concerns:

·         The need for all of the report to be exempt

·         Reporting back on the achievements of the company over the last year


·         Officers from the company confirmed that an annual review has been written and circulated to members but that this and last year’s business plan will be recirculated.

·         Officers from the council advised that scrutiny had been given the full paper prior to the cabinet decision and in those circumstances it is required to be exempt. A public version of the business plans would be  published for cabinet with minimal amount of exempt information. The Chair of OSMB advised that there was the option to wait and scrutinise what was in the public domain or have the opportunity to scrutinise in exempt session the full set of reports. It was highlighted that reviewing the procedure for exempt information would be useful.

·         Council officers advised that it is not the intention to remove the reserve or change the ethos of reinvestment back into other activities but there is a need for the council to have clarity on the investment plan.


ACTION – Waste Company officers to recirculate the annual review and the 2017-18 business plan


·         Members questioned Bristol’s ambition at having a 47% recycling target (28% for flats) when 50% is the national average and there was a perception that Bristol is lagging behind European counterparts.  It was suggested that the company should do more to focus upon tackling waste and recycling in flats in order to make a step change. Officers from the company advised that there is a pilot in Hartcliffe on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Summary of the Draft 2017 Governance Review Report undertaken by the Council's Independent Shareholder Advisors pdf icon PDF 163 KB


The summary was introduced by the Independent Shareholder Advisors (ISAs).


The following points were raised and discussed by the members present: 


·         The Chair highlighted that the report has gone to the Shareholder and that a response is in the process of being drafted and that this will take some time therefore it was important that this be discussed in exempt session.

·         OSMB thanked the ISAs for their constructive feedback and recommendations.

·         Members asked for further detail on who was involved in the review and also what national best practice existed. The ISAs advised that it was a range of council officers, councillors, company NEDs and executives to gain a broad range of opinions. Norfolk and Cornwall were cited as best practice (noted that one of the ISAs sits on the holding company for Cornwall)

·         Council officers advised that the full report is being finalised and should be going to the Shareholder group in early January following presentation to SLT. It is anticipated that it will be available for OSMB in February.

·         Members highlighted that the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) conference and the Parliamentary Select Committee on scrutiny have highlighted that councils are being over-zealous with exempt reports specifically on items viewed to be commercially sensitive and the need for exemption of the meeting’s reports was questioned. The ISAs advised that a lot of progress has been made in order to be able to bring this level of information to OSMB but that they would come back with a more considered opinion on this specific issue. They did however note that there is a large difference in the commercial nature between Waste and Energy and that Energy is operating in a very competitive market. The Chair highlighted that the council needs to find a mechanism for members to access appropriate information and also for as much information as possible to be made public. The Chair highlighted that Waste unlike Energy is a statutory function of the council and thus there is a very different trading position. 

·         It was highlighted that Bristol Energy is scheduled to come to OSMB on the 11th January.

·         A member of OSMB questioned if the original ethos for the companies still stood which was in their view to ensure that a profit was made and that this was reinvested back into positive outcomes for citizens. It was felt by OSMB that this should be outlined in the cabinet report to demonstrate the commitment to this. The Deputy Mayor asserted that assessing social value is a high priority. The need for the correct skills and experience from the client side was discussed in the context of the council’s new structure and the need for dedicated resources at a senior level. Officers advised that a new Shareholder Liaison Director was due to be starting in December within the council.

·         Members highlighted that if a housing company were to be established this would be in a very competitive market and the correct resources will be needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Date of Next Meeting


Next meeting is Thursday 11th January at 6pm, City Hall.



The Meeting concluded at 20:07.



CHAIR  __________________