Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 31st October, 2023 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 Tony Edwards, Colleen Morrison and Russell Perrin. Councillors Mike Garnett and Lanie Shears were in attendance as substitutes for Councillors Edwards and Perrin.


Declarations of Interest

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




Minutes pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023 are agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Matters arising




Written questions from members of the public

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




Written questions from Councillors

To receive any questions from Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.




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.


RESOLVED that the response to the following be noted.


Review of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Harassment

Cabinet resolved that:


     i)        The Council seeks to take proactive steps to tackle the ‘hot spots’ the Police identified for harassment, and consideration be given to putting these locations in the public domain.


    ii)        Additional ‘softer’ measures to chart progress in tackling domestic violence (i.e., in addition to conviction rates) be developed.


   iii)        Agreements between relevant local authorities in supporting those who have escaped domestic violence to return to their home authority are formalised, where this is considered appropriate.


Corporate Plan pdf icon PDF 269 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report on the Corporate Plan. They heard a presentation from Councillor Dan Swords, Leader of the Council. He said that he welcomed feedback on the Plan, and stressed that it was a plan, not a strategy. There would be consultation with Officers, as well as consultation with partners and the public. The aim was to achieve buy-in for the finalised plan.


In response to questions, Councillor Swords explained that it would be a four year plan, aligned with the MTFS. The survey used was from the LGA, which allowed the council to benchmark the results against those of other councils.


Dealing with anti-social behaviour was a priority and the council would look to take more targeted action on tenanted properties. The council had recently reviewed its tenancy agreement strengthen the action it could take. He agreed that the council needed to do more to improve tenant participation and it was working to do this.


He said the Corporate Plan would be evidence based. The council was working to improve its support for SMEs.


It was important that the council focused on areas which were priorities for residents, even if the council did not have direct control over them. It was a plan for the whole of Harlow. He agreed that more clarity on the council’s role would be beneficial in these circumstances.


This plan did not link priorities to portfolio holders, as portfolio holders could change. There needed to be flexibility. He would reflect on some of the changes in language found throughout the new draft plan.


RESOLVED that the Committee recommended to the Leader that the following points were considered in the Corporate Plan:


A    A timeline for the delivery of priorities be included.


B    Each priority has a deliverable outcome to measure success against.


C    Consultation with residents on an ongoing basis be included.


D    The Plan references life expectancy where relevant.


E     More detail on improving tenant participation be provided.


Climate Change Strategy - Initial Report pdf icon PDF 163 KB


The Committee received an update report on the Climate Change Strategy.


It was agreed that the Committee would be provided with details on progress replacing both residential and operational boilers. The Committee would also be provided with any further analysis on the decarbonisation of the council’s housing stock.




A    The Committee noted the report.


B    The Committee recommended that the following actions be taken:


                             i)        A list of quick wins be developed.


                            ii)        Progress on the carbon reduction plan be reviewed.


                           iii)        Consideration be given to the use of solar tiles.


                           iv)        Consideration be given to having identified Officers responsible for areas of the Climate Change Strategy.


                            v)        Clear costs for implementing the Strategy be developed.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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


The Committee received a report summarising its work plan for 2023/24.


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.