Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 21st March, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Parkside, Station Approach, Burton Street, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. LE13 1GH

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Evans and Webster.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2024.


The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 25 January 2024 were approved, subject to the following amendments.


That the following is added to Minute Number 32:


‘Councillor Gordon declared that her sister has a second home that it is rented out.’


That the following is added to Minute Number 36:


‘Councillor Cox mentioned that there is an app for young people to view a list of activities within their area.’




Members to declare any interest as appropriate in respect of items to be considered at this meeting.



Councillor Gordon declared an interest in Minute Number 47 as she is a council tenant. However, she was advised that as no decision would be taken she could stay for the consideration of the item.



To consider the attached Forward Plan and identify any relevant items for inclusion in the Scrutiny Work Programme, or to request further information.


The Chairman introduced the Cabinet Forward Plan and invited Members to comment.




Members are to review and comment upon the attached Scrutiny Work Programme 2023/24.


The Chairman introduced the Scrutiny Work Programme 2023/24 and invited Members to comment on the document.


It was queried why the Social Allocation item wasn’t on the agenda, in response Members were advised that the Chair had agreed to move this item to later in the year.


A request was made to scrutinise the Senior Leadership Team pay structure.




The Leader is to provide his annual presentation to the Scrutiny Committee.


The Leader delivered his annual presentation and in doing so he stated that he was going to cover three areas. The following points were raised.


The process of Governance:

  • Will be taking a considered and sedate approach;
  • As the trend is not going back to a Committee system, a more of a hybrid system, with the aim for more Members to be involved at early stages of policy development, is being reviewed.
  • A single policy decision can affect several Members of the Cabinet, so need to have a flexible approach. Members have been invited to Cabinet briefings and Cabinet and has met with Conservative Members to discuss any items of concern.
  • High point of Scrutiny was the consideration of the housing support review. It was noted that this was achieved with the crucial involvement of Officers.
  • It was suggested that the Corporate Plan could be addressed in the work programme.


Legacy issues:

  • The new administration inherited 16 issues and some have posed practical problems;
  • The Levelling Up Fund is a complex matter, opportunities are there but not without issues, it is not just about the town, but the Borough and Rutland.


The Future:

  • The upcoming General Election creates uncertainty and hiatus.
  • As Leicestershire does not receive its fair share of assistance and support, this means that Higher and Further Education is at a disadvantage when compared to neighbouring areas, which in turn impacts on employment opportunities and anti-social behaviour.
  • Regarding the Climate Emergency, the Leaders stated that the Council needs to grab the issue firmly and get on with the job. With the new legislation on food waste collection the Council suffers from underfunding from central government. In addition, the weather has been affected which has seen increased risks of flooding.
  • Financial position, there are significant problems and nationally we are not in a good position.


Following the Leaders presentation Members were invited to comment and ask questions.


A Member commented that they agreed that there should be more shade, especially on the park and in light of the extreme weather that has been experienced, e.g. heat, heavy showers, and hailstones. The Leader stated that the Town Estate are in favour of more trees to provide shading.


The Leader was asked for his stance on flooding and the support that has been provided for villages affected. The Leader reminded Members that the Council has a limited role in assisting people affected from flooding. The Leader has engaged with the Severn Trent Water Authority regarding historic planning applications and objections about flooding, which weren’t supported by Severn Trent but were then subsequently flooded. He added that the County wide Flood Defence Strategy is now up to date and a review is due to take place.


In response to a query on whether the Council were proactive in getting sandbags out, the Leader stated that within the resources available the Council were proactive as could be.


Following a query regarding the recent layoffs at locally based businesses and what the Council are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.



The Committee is to receive the Complaints Update.


The Director for Housing and Communities, Michelle Howard, and the Corporate Policy and Communications Manager, Martin Guest, gave a joint presentation with an update on Complaints.


The report also set out future improvements to systems and processes that will further enhance how the Council responds to complaints and feedback from residents, tracks the implementation of associated actions and strengthens capacity for insight and analysis.


Activity, performance, and trends between 1 April 2023 up to the end of December 2023 were also covered within the report. It was also noted that the Housing Ombudsman complaints handling code was to become statutory from 1 April 2024, and that some minor policy amendments were being made to reflect some required changes. A self-assessment to confirm compliance with the complaints handling code had been carried out in December 2023 and an updated self-assessment would be completed by June 2024.


Following the presentation the Committee provided comments and asked questions.


Officers were thanked for their hard work on processing complaints as they come in and investigating them to resolve issues identified. The importance of customers / tenants knowing how to complain and being empowered to complain was noted.


It was commented that the report presented to the committee did not cover the beginning of the process (i.e. the interface and how easy it was for people to make a complaint). Members wanted assurance that there were a range of ways in which customers and tenants can complain to the Council, e.g. phone call, letter, reception, or email. It was explained to the Committee that the policy sets out the ways that people can complain and that complaints received through any of the methods available are logged through a central complaint log.


A query was raised about how the Council supports people who don’t have the means or ability to complain via technology. It was explained that people may receive support to make a complaint via a trusted person and be supported by council officers to complain or be supported during the complaints process for example by the community support hub. Some recent changes to the Parkside reception area were also outlined, which had been implemented in response to customer and member feedback, meaning that there is now a customer liaison officer located in one of the customer meeting rooms in order to assist when people come in and ask for advice.


Members were requested to bring to Officer’s attention anyone they know who is struggling to access Council services or is dissatisfied with council services, so that this can be looked into and investigated.


The committee felt that the Council could better publicise its policy and also the ways in which residents can be supported to have their service requests resolved including to contact ward councillors who can provide advice and connect residents to the relevant council teams. A comment was made that a residents may not always know that they can contact their ward Councillor to assist them with issues.


It was explained that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.



To consider any other items that the Chair considers urgent.


There was no urgent business.