Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 8th February, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre

Contact: Adam Rees 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitutions


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Nick Churchill, Shona Johnson and Gareth Williams.


Declarations of Interest

To receive Councillors’ declarations of interest (if any) in relation to any matters on the agenda.


Councillor David Carter declared a non-pecuniary interest as a site rep for Harlow Allotment Association.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2021.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2021 are agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Matters arising


Councillor Carter advised the committee that the Allotment Task and Finish group hadn’t met due to changes to officer structure, however, it would arrange to meet before the next Scrutiny Committee meeting on 15 March 2022.


Simon Hill, Director of Governance and Corporate Support, advised that the report on the review of turnout in local elections was under active consideration by the Returning Officer. Communications planning for May had been adjusted accordingly to also include the postal vote form in Harlow Times.


Written questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To receive any questions from members of the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.

Additional documents:


The questions, together with the answers, are appended to the minutes.


Written questions from Councillors

To receive any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.




Responses of the Cabinet to Reports of the Scrutiny Committee

To consider responses (if any) of the Cabinet to reports and recommendations from the Committee.




Delivery of Council House Building Programme pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee received an update report on the delivery of the Council house building programme.


Councillor Dan Swords, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, provided progress updates on the 20 recommendations that the Scrutiny Committee made to Cabinet in March 2021. Councillor Swords also confirmed that the programme of schemes would be going to Cabinet in March 2022.


The Committee requested that all Councillors be invited to awareness sessions to ensure that the house building process is understood by all. 


The Committee also discussed the objective apolitical approach to be adopted when considering matters at the Scrutiny Committee.


The Committee also agreed that it would be useful to invite Councillors Simon Carter and Dan Swords back to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee once the programme of schemes had gone to Cabinet.


RESOLVED that the Committee:


A     Noted the progress made on delivering the recommendations od the Scrutiny report on Council house building.


Policing and Community Safety Annual Review - Agreement of Questions pdf icon PDF 133 KB


The Committee received the list of questions submitted by Councillors and members of the public to ask in the question and answering session to Essex Police on 15 March 2022. The Committee also received a copy of the Essex Police district data for Harlow from December 2021.  


Councillor Matthew Saggers noted that there weren’t any statistics on cyber crime such as online grooming, cyber bullying and phishing emails. The Committee agreed to add a question on cyber crime. The committee also noted its concerns on the use of e-scooters and increase in racial hate crimes alongside the overall crime rates and low “solved” rates.


The Committee agreed that the questions under the “high level” section and an additional question on cyber crime would be the focus of the question and answer session with Essex Police. The questions under the sections “police approach to work” and “site specific neighbourhood issues” would be submitted to Essex Police for full written responses to be provided. The Committee agreed that it would also ensure that the answers provided by Essex Police are sent to the members of the public who submitted the questions.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To review the Committee’s work plan for the current year.


The Committee received a report summarising its work plan.


RESOLVED that the work plan be noted.


References from Other Committees




Matters of Urgent Business

Such other business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be received as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the minutes.