Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Monday, 22nd January, 2018 4.00 pm

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

Contact: Allison Taylor  Allison Taylor

Link: Click here for video

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 126 KB



 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and attendees introduced themselves



Apologies for absence.





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.






Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair


Mayor’s Forward Plan - Key decision item for Cabinet on 23 January 2018 - urgent decision taken under APR16 - WECA Strategic Transport Feasibility:

The Chair raised his concern over the very short notice given of this urgent item, to be considered at the 23 January Cabinet meeting.

Following discussion, OSMB


That their comments, as set out below, should be referred to the 23 January Cabinet meeting:

OSMB was disappointed that an item could be added to the Cabinet agenda less than 24 hours before the meeting in such a way that most members and interested parties would not even have the opportunity to read the paper, let alone to scrutinise it.

OSMB has repeatedly asked for the Forward Plan to be made more relevant, and yet here was an item that was in the plan which had to be brought forward at extremely short notice.

OSMB’s view is that surely a Forward Plan is only published when there is a reasonable anticipation that the meetings referred to in it will happen. For scrutiny and public accountability to happen, there has to be an opportunity for the review of documentation, and, if appropriate, scrutiny of the document.

In this case, the only reason the item was deemed urgent was because no-one planned for the possible cancellation of the 6 February Cabinet meeting until 2 working days before the 23 January Cabinet meeting.

OSMB recognised that they do not have enough knowledge or information to comment on the proposals themselves within these papers but wish to highlight that those that do would not have been aware of them.

In addition, the Chair commented that he felt he could not have refused to let this item go forward for decision at this short notice, but also felt that it could set a precedent for items bypassing scrutiny in the future. In the circumstances, the Mayor should be asked to give a categorical assurance that he was committed to making the Forward Plan fit for use and that he recognised the importance of ensuring that no decision was excluded from the possibility of being scrutinised.


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*.



OSMB noted the content of 2 public forum statements received, as follows:

1. Cllr Charlie Bolton – subject: items for future scrutiny.

2. David Redgewell – subject: Bristol Arena.



Bristol Arena - Update pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:


The committee considered an update report due to be considered at the 23 January Cabinet meeting.

Following discussion, OSMB


That their comments, as set out below, should be referred to the 23 January Cabinet meeting:

At today’s meeting (22 January 2018) OSMB has received an update report on the Bristol Arena. Members were advised that the outcome of the value for money report and the subsequent decision on the Arena project was to be scheduled for the April 2018 Cabinet meeting.

OSMB members have significant concerns that this timing is unlikely to permit any meaningful scrutiny activity (either OSMB and/or Task and Finish work) and specifically that members in wards adjoining either site and/or on transport routes to either site will not have any opportunity to contribute to the decision making process or bring forward the views of their constituents despite the significant impact of the decision upon their communities.

OSMB Members were keen to highlight that, whilst they strongly feel the need for scrutiny on this item, it is acknowledged that due to the commercial nature of the project this may have to be done in way that respects commercial sensitivity* and also does not further delay decision making.

OSMB members therefore seek assurance from the Mayor that he will work with officers to enable meaningful scrutiny on this item prior to the publication of the Cabinet reports for the April meeting. **

*It was noted that a full review of the exempt procedures process needs to be carried out and that this should be informed by the government’s Select Committee into Scrutiny and recent guidance from the CfPS.

**It was noted that consideration will need to be given to the Easter Holidays and the possible moving of the Cabinet date to later in April.


Bristol City Council 2018-19 Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Additional documents:


The committee considered the 2018-19 budget proposals as detailed in the report to be considered by the Cabinet on 23 January 2018.

Following discussion, OSMB


That their comments, as set out below, should be referred to the 23 January Cabinet meeting:

Consultation Report Overview and Corporate Strategy

The following summarises the discussion:

The responses received as part of the consultation were relatively low compared to the population (with around 600 respondents). Concerns were raised that that the results of the consultation were therefore not representative, which could be partly due to fatigue, although it was noted that with sample sizes of 500 and over the data was more reliable.

 Increasing public engagement remained a priority although there were some challenges around resources and timing. Furthermore, caution should be exercised when targeting particular groups to participate which could skew the findings. One solution would be to improve engagement when

ideas were in the formative stages.

 Plans were in place to co-ordinate all of the consultation/engagement that was taking place citywide in order to better share data and learning.

Many of the procedures relating to recent City Council consultation exercises have been queried by Members. A Scrutiny Task and Finish Group could be established to enable Member to shape the process and improve engagement.


Capital programme (Appendix A2 to the Budget Report)

The following key points were raised by OSMB and discussed with the Executive and relevant officers:

 Funding for Temple Meads Masterplan - it was noted that funding appears to reduce over the five year programme. Officers confirmed that this is due to the expectation that further into the programme, external funding sources should come forward. The total is £2m (with WECA) with the levering in of £1.5m of Network Rail funding to undertake the Masterplan for the station and surround. It was noted that this work will be extensive requiring this level of budget envelope.

 Members were pleased to see capital investment in the People Directorate. The focus of this was confirmed as extra care (enabling independent living) as opposed to residential care. It was noted that Bristol has an over-reliance on residential care and that this needs to be addressed alongside the city’s affordable homes and under-occupation strategies. It was noted that a Business Plan is not yet written for this work and that further work is required to engage with service users and providers to develop this.

 Housing Revenue Account (HRA) – it was clarified that the HRA is still facing significant challenges. From 2020, councils will have the ability to increase rents but this is offset by the reducing housing stock due to Right to Buy. The current assumptions indicate that capital will run out by year 7/8 of the business plan and that the HRA will be in deficit in 16 years’ time. Significantly more work is required to address the future HRA business plan position in 2018/19. A series of member briefings on the HRA are to be organised to focus on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.