Agenda and minutes

Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 2nd February 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room - Grafton House. View directions

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

34.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies of absence were received from Councillors M Goonan, C Smart and E Xhaferaj.

35.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 January 2017 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 5 January 2017, be signed as a true record.                       

36.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Pope declared an interest as an employee of Suffolk County Council.

37.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

It was requested that Agenda Item 5 – Call In report Ref No: E/16/45 Transforming Sports & Leisure be considered prior to Agenda Item 4 – Call in report Ref No E/16/43 Future of the Angle and this was agreed.

 

Resolved:

 

that, subject to Agenda Item 5 being considered before Agenda Item 4, the Order of Business be as printed on the Agenda.

38.

OS/16/11 - Call In Report E/16/45 Transforming Sports & Leisure - Open Agenda pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

38.1    The Chair welcomed all present, including James Fairclough, Head of Culture & Environmental Services and John Stebbings, Operations Manager, Sport & Leisure and then detailed the order of proceedings for the Call-In.  The Chair reminded the Committee that if any of the debate drifted into the exempt appendices it would need to be discussed within the closed part of the meeting. 

 

38.2    The Chair stated that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee was a non-political Committee and that the first duty of a Councillor was to do what they thought was right and necessary for Ipswich, the second duty was to the residents they represented and then only after these duties were discharged did they have a duty to their party.  She therefore assumed that all present wanted what was best for Ipswich regardless of party and that vigorous questioning of the Executive would come from all sides. 

 

38.3    She informed the meeting that the scope of the Call-In had been agreed with Councillor Vickery and the Monitoring Officer.  Copies of the draft scope had been tabled.  The Chair sought approval of the scope from the Committee.  This was AGREED. 

 

Opening Statement – Councillor Vickery

 

38.4    Councillor Vickery, the Lead Signatory for the call-in addressed the meeting and said that the meeting had made front page of the press; that members of the public were present who would like to address the Committee and that a petition about the crèche closure had been signed by over 500 people.

 

            The reason for this call-in was that he wanted to see the Sports and Leisure facilities thrive in Ipswich and there was concern that the Executive had made decisions based on a flawed report.  The report to Executive had been entitled ‘Transforming Sport and Leisure’ and yet there had been no detail in the report showing any sort of transformation, other than closing the crèches.  No consultation had taken place with users and potential users of the facilities and no other option had been considered, such as keeping the Crown Pools crèche open as that was more widely used.

 

            One option which Suffolk Coastal District Council had instigated for the procurement of all services was the formation of a Trust called ‘People and Places’, which was a non-profit organisation which had reduced their costs from £800,000 to £350,000.  That sort of saving could well transform the Sport and Leisure facilities in Ipswich and save the crèches.  He failed to see how the Executive decision to close the crèches fulfilled the IBC aims of ‘A Better Ipswich’, ‘A Healthier Ipswich’ and ‘A Fairer Ipswich’.

 

            He had received numerous complaints and requests from current users of the crèche, too many to bring to this committee tonight, who had pleaded to try and keep the crèches open.  In particular, mothers such as Claire Kendall, who left her youngest of three children in the crèche so that she could accompany her other two children whilst they were swimming in Crown Pools.  Or Bethany Stromberg, a mother of two, who  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Exclusion of Public

To consider excluding the public (including the Press) from the meeting during consideration of the following item under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items under Regulation 21 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2000 as it is likely that if members of the public were present during this item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information falling within paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

40.

OS/16/11 - Call In Report E/16/45 Transforming Sports & Leisure - Closed Agenda

41.

Re-admittance of Public

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the public be re-admitted.

42.

OS/16/11 - Call In Report E/16/45 Transforming Sports & Leisure - Open Agenda

Minutes:

Closing Statement – Councillor Vickery

 

42.1    Councillor Vickery clarified his earlier points: 

·         That the case about Single Status Harmonisation was important

·         The creches need to be promoted better to reduce the unit costs

·         There should have been consultation to find out if users would have paid more and the decision taken on that basis

·         It was difficult to find child care for short periods of time elsewhere so the crèche was a good service

·         There had been no consultation about the £65k reduction whatsoever. 

·         No alternative options have been put forward.

·         As far as public use at Maidenhall and Northgate, it had been brought to his attention that they were no longer fit for purpose

·         These were the most vulnerable residents in the community

·         There was nothing about facilities in the Transformation of the Sports & Leisure report, which were ageing and in urgent need of maintenance and repair

·         The use of the facilities would be likely to reduce and be less competitive so this would bring in less income

·         The decision taken by Executive was contrary to the Council’s aims and criteria of ‘A Better Ipswich’, ‘A Healthier Ipswich’ and ‘A Fairer Ipswich’.  

 

Closing Statement – Councillor Rudkin

 

42.2    Councillor Rudkin clarified her earlier points:-

·         There was investment needed at the track at Northgate but as this was not an IBC facility no restoration could be committed

·         The report was about extending the Sports & Leisure facilities

·         £12m of savings had to be made on behalf of residents of Ipswich

·         There had been interesting and valuable input from the 27 users, but the crèche was not profitable and did not make money 

·         Talks could take place with the health services to see if they could support the users accessing the crèche service

·         IBC want to provide services but if no cuts were made there would be no services to offer people at all

 

42.3    Executive members then left the meeting.

 

42.4    Councillor Pope said that he understood that the implementation of a revised iCard membership scheme was required and that changes in fees and charges needed to be implemented but the options had not been explored fully.

 

42.5    The Chief Operating Officer reminded the Committee that the decisions were Executive functions and any further debate at Council would need to be referred back to Executive for approval.

 

42.6    On the proposal of Councillor Pope and seconded by Councillor Debman a motion to refer the matter in 12.3 to Council for debate was PUT to the meeting and was LOST.

 

42.7    On the proposal of Councillor Pope and seconded by Councillor Debman a motion to refer the matter in 12.3 back to Executive for further debate was PUT to the meeting and was LOST.

 

42.8    The Executive decision would be upheld and implemented immediately.

 

42.9    The meeting was adjourned for 10 minutes.

           

43.

OS/16/10 - Call In Report E/16/43 Future of the Angle pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

43.1    The Chair welcomed Councillors and members of the public back to the meeting and introduced the Chief Executive and the Communications and Advertising Manager.  She informed the Committee that the scope of the Call-In had been agreed with Councillor Fisher and the Monitoring Officer.  Copies of the draft scope had been tabled.

 

43.2    The Chair sought approval of the scope from the Committee.  This was AGREED.

 

43.3    The Chair detailed the process for the Call-In and the options available to the Committee.

 

Opening Statement – Councillor Fisher

 

43.4    Councillor Fisher, the Lead Signatory for the call-in began his opening statement by voicing his concern about the following three points:-

 

1.    Whether the decision made by the Executive had been based on appropriate interpretation of the results of the research carried out on the Council’s behalf. 

 

He said that it was common knowledge that you could interpret a set of figures in a number of different ways and a skilled practitioner could paint a picture that appeared to be more favourable than the actual true reflection.  We can remember how long it took to decide the questions in both the recent EU and Scottish referendums. It was of paramount importance to ensure the questions did not lead the electorate to give a more positive or negative reaction.  The principle applied to surveys in exactly the same way.  It was clear from the questions asked that the survey was commissioned with a positive response at the desired outcome.  The interpretation of the data by the survey company further highlighted the positive responses for example, 4.5 in the report stated the following:-

 

Almost two fifths of residents who had seen a copy of The Angle in the past year reported reading at least ‘most’ of it, whilst less than 1 in 10 said they didn’t even look at it.

 

The following statement unfairly matched two sets of figures:-

 

The 37% was made up of those who read all of it and those who read most of it, the two most positive responses, whereas the two most negative responses were totally ignored but actually totalled 35%. 

 

If you drilled down into the real numbers they could be presented in the following way to get a totally different perspective on the outcome of the survey.

 

Of 970 responses to the survey only 229 people, less than 3 in 10, reported reading most or all of The Angle.  Nearly 750 people, over 7 in 10 did not bother looking at it or only glanced at it.  Over 4 in 10, responded that they either didn’t see it or they never received it.  You could see how these figures could be turned into a very ugly set of pessimistic numbers.

 

Another thing to note was that the majority of the people reported reading most or all of The Angle were Council Tenants, who, he believed were also receiving a quarterly copy of the Tenant Times. 

 

However, bad the numbers were you had to remember that this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.