Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 6th April, 2022 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Matthew Stembrowicz  Email:

No. Item


To Receive Apologies for Absence








Public Questions & Statements

To receive questions / statements from the public, if any.


None received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 350 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 9th March 2022.


Minutes of the meeting held on 9th March 2022 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 721 KB

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Code of Conduct for Members requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.


None declared.


Petitions From Members of the Public

To consider any petitions received from members of the public.


None received. 


Consideration of Any Matter Referred to the Committee by a Member

To consider any requests made by non-executive Members of the Council, and notified to the Monitoring Officer with seven clear working days’ notice, to include an item on the agenda of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


None received.


Responses of the Council or the Cabinet to the Committee's Reports or Recommendations

To consider any responses of the Council or the Cabinet to the Committee’s reports or recommendations:


None to report.


Waste Contract: Serco Briefing - Target Operating Model Update

To receive a briefing and update on the progress made towards implementing the target operating model of the waste contract from Serco Officers.


The DFC introduced the briefing and informed Members that it had been two years since Serco had taken over the contract, with core service delivery maintained under exceptional circumstances during the Covid-19 Pandemic. He added that the target operating model (TOM) contained two aspects relating to collections and additional added value items. It was noted that the new collections TOM which had previously been reported to be live from June had been delayed, and was now expected to launch in September, as agreed by the Council to avoid difficulties during the summer season. The DFC noted that from a residents perspective, there had been no disruption in service, as weekly collections continued as expected. He added that the impact of delaying the roll-out of the new collections TOM was carried by Serco and they accepted responsibility for this. It was noted that the Gap analysis work discussed previously had made significant progress, with a number of issues now complete, on-track to being delivered, or deemed as no longer deliverable. Roadside litter-picking was given as an example, which had been impacted by changes to Health and Safety legislation. He added that despite these issues, core services and collections had continued to be delivered to a satisfactory standard.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          The SRD stated that as a result of the tripartite agreement, rollout of the new collections TOM had to be staggered between each Council, and whilst efforts had been made to bring the North Norfolk launch forward to June, this had not been possible, and was therefore delayed until after summer. He added that there needed to be approximately two months between the rollout in each District, to account for settling-in and resolution of any initial issues.


      ii.          The SRD stated that in terms of performance, March had been the best month to date, with only 27 of 250k collections missed, which equated to a 99.9% successful collection rate. He added that continuing to operate the old collections model did create additional costs for Serco, but did not impact residents, and it was therefore in Serco’s best interest to implement the new TOM as soon as realistically possible.


     iii.          Cllr S Penfold asked how the DFC would rate Serco’s performance in delivery of the overall contract on a scale of 1-5. The DFC replied that on the whole, whilst Serco had not delivered the full service outlined in the contract from the outset, performance had still been satisfactory given the impact of the Pandemic, and on that basis he would rate performance as good.


    iv.          Cllr C Cushing asked what benefits would be realised for residents and Serco once the new collections TOM had been implemented. The SCM replied that the TOM would rectify a number of issues relating to property and trade growth, which were co-mingled collections. She added that this growth had brought the current collection model to capacity, and reorganising routes to make collections more evenly spread would help to better distribute workload across the collection teams.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 183.


Items of Urgent Business: Planning Customer Experience Questionnaire

To determine any other items of business which the Chairman decides should be considered as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


Cllr J Toye – Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enforcement introduced the item and noted that nutrient neutrality requirements had been placed on the District that would have a significant impact on development. As a result, it was reported that this would have an impact on applications beyond the month of March and would therefore potentially skew the results of any Planning customer experience survey completed after this time. The DFPCC noted that the nutrient neutrality requirements meant that the Council may not be able to issue as many decisions in the months ahead, and suggested that the March applications were therefore likely to provide a more comprehensive response from approximately 125 applications. He added that the survey could be sent to all applicants in March or the first 100 to simplify the process. It was noted that the survey form had been kept simple to encourage the maximum response, and covered a range of issues raised by the Committee including communication and customer satisfaction. The DFPCC noted that the form would be circulated electronically in April, subject to the approval of the Committee, to provide an evidence base for the service improvement plan.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr N Housden noted that there was no mention of pre-application advice within the survey and suggested that this was an important part of the service that should be covered. The DFPCC stated that this was an intentional omission as it was separate to submitting a formal planning application and therefore had different timescales and requirements, though could be included if necessary. Cllr N Housden replied that he felt pre-application advice formed the groundwork of any application, and therefore formed an important aspect of the service.


      ii.          Cllr V Holliday suggested that Parish Councils and residents comments appeared to be have been missed within the survey, and asked whether this data could be included to form a wider evidence base. She added that question F on the overall processing of planning applications was fairly vague, and suggested that a more specific question would have greater value. The DFPCC replied that Parish and Town Councils would be dealt with separately via forum meetings, whilst the survey would focus specifically on planning applicants, as pre-application advice did not necessarily have a specific outcome or timeframe, and was therefore difficult to survey. He added that discussions with Parish and Town Councils would also feed into the service improvement plan.


     iii.          The Chairman noted that the brief was focused on customer experience, and this would require some definition which in the first case would include applicants, though might also include consultees such as Parish/Town councils and residents. Cllr J Toye reiterated that Parish and Town Council feedback would be included in the process at a later point, and the survey was only the first step in data collection to provide an evidence base for the service improvement plan. He added that gaining the views of the wider public could be a challenge, but would be given  ...  view the full minutes text for item 184.


North Walsham High Street Heritage Action Zone Project Update: April 2022 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To receive and note the update.


Cllr R Kershaw – Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Growth introduced the report and informed Members that the project had moved from design and consultation into the construction phase, with work commencing on the restoration of the Cedars and Church approach. He added that the project took a holistic approach, that sought to go beyond infrastructure by providing extra resource, public talks on historic buildings, sign-writing and other workshops with local students and historic research into the town. It was reported that the cultural programme was also progressing well with the consortium established by NNDC, and further arts and culture funding had been made available to host events in the town. Cllr R Kershaw stated that the redesign of the town centre would also resolve a long standing issue with bus routes through the town, and as a result additional funding had been received from NCC and the Town Council to establish a new bus waiting area on the new road car park. He added that solutions were also being explored to improve Kings Arms Street and improve traffic flow through the town. It was reported that a funding uplift had also been received which had enabled the advance purchase of materials to mitigate the impact of inflationary costs and remain within budget.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr S Penfold stated that he and Cllr L Shires had used their NCC highways funding allocations to pay for a feasibility study into the Grammar School road roundabout and Kings Arms street, and noted that he would update Members as this work progressed. He added that Medieval Masonry, one of the contractors working on the Cedars restoration project were also very supportive of providing training opportunities, and suggested that this should be explored with the high school.




To note the update.















Options considered:

This report and accompanying scoping document  outlines the key lines of enquiry in response to the Councillor Call for Action on the potential impact of second homes and holiday lets on the District. Subject to approval of the questions raised, Officers and contributing Members will have until July 2022 to collect data and submit evidence. Upon completion of this process, a summary report will be prepared outlining the potential next steps in responding to the CCfA.


1.     The Committee can choose to either approve the report and accompanying questions to proceed with the investigation, subject to possible amendments, or choose not to approve the report, in which case the investigation will not proceed.

2.     Members should consider the time required to gather a range of evidence and data, as well as the time required to prepare a summary report on this information. As a result it is suggested that the summary report be prepared for consideration at the July O&S Committee meeting.




This report and associated scoping document will gather and summarise the necessary evidence to determine any potential future actions the Council could take to address any potential impacts of second homes and holiday lets on the District. 






Reasons for



To approve the scoping report and associated questions in appendix 1 to allow officers to commence the investigation.


To support the Committee’s actions in responding to the Councillor Call for Action on the impact of second and holiday homes.



(Papers relied on to write the report, which do not contain exempt information and which are not published elsewhere)




Cabinet Member(s):

John Toye


Ward(s) affected:


Contact Officer, telephone number and email:

Matt Stembrowicz



Additional documents:


Cllr L Withington introduced the report and informed Members that she aimed for the  investigation to be open to comment from all Members and officers. She added that the investigation sought to clarify the situation in North Norfolk, as existing information only provided anecdotal evidence. It was suggested that taking a holistic approach would bring together various data to create a better overall understanding on a number of interrelated issues that could help form a basis of evidence to determine the Council’s next steps. Cllr L Withington stated that it was also crucial to outline and understand the existing legislation available to manage second and holiday homes, and look at the potential of joining up schemes used elsewhere throughout the country.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          The DSGOS noted that an initial three month timeframe was proposed within the report to allow various officers time to gather the necessary information required, with a response expected to come to the July Committee meeting, though some information may be dependent on unreleased census data.


      ii.          Cllr V Holliday raised concerns of predetermination on matters relating house price increases and the availability of affordable housing, and suggested that steps would be required to ensure objectivity. Cllr J Toye stated that it was crucial to be open minded and avoid any sense of predetermination, and suggested that the investigation would be fully evidence-based. Cllr V Holliday suggested that only progressing points one and two of the four stage process at this time would be suitable to address concerns.


     iii.          The ADSG stated that it was important for the investigation to remain objective, though the Council was conscious of the impact on housing supply in the District, which could in part be a result of demand for second and holiday homes. It was suggested that any investigation of housing need should focus more generally on housing supply, rather than affordable or privately rented accommodation.


    iv.          The DSGOS noted that care had been taken to ensure that impacts were discussed as perceived issues, and that the investigation would remain objective and open to all possible information. He added that as a result the of CCfA, it would be for the Committee to determine what the next steps should be upon consideration of the data collected.


      v.          Cllr C Cushing stated that he welcomed the investigation as a worthy exercise to review a very important issue, but noted concerns of predetermination and suggested it was crucial that the investigation remained objective. Cllr L Withington replied that all efforts would be made to ensure that the investigation remained objective and not predetermined, taking a strictly evidence-based approach to outline the current situation in North Norfolk. She added that restricting the investigation to the first two stages would be a disservice to residents as it would limit the ability of the Committee to draw any conclusions. Cllr C Cushing stated that he was supportive of the investigation, so long as it remained open-minded and objective.


    vi.          Cllr V Holliday  ...  view the full minutes text for item 186.


Item Deferred: Pre-Scrutiny: Parklands Property Disposal

Item deferred for consideration of additonal information.  


The Chairman noted that the report had not been ready for consideration and would be considered at a later date.


The Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To note the upcoming Cabinet Work Programme.


The DSGOS informed Members that arrangements had been made to review the Quality of Life Strategy at the next meeting of the Environment and Quality of Life Scrutiny Panel, and due to time constraints, any subsequent recommendations would be reported directly to Cabinet at its May meeting. He added that an Engagement Strategy was also being produced, and this would likely come to a future Committee meeting as a pre-scrutiny item.




To note the Cabinet Work Programme.


Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme and Update pdf icon PDF 304 KB

To receive an update from the Scrutiny Officer on progress made with topics on its agreed work programme, training updates and to receive any further information which Members may have requested at a previous meeting.

Additional documents:


       i.          The DSGOS informed Members that the Committee had reached the end of its annual work programme, and a draft for the 2022/23 year would be prepared for consideration at the May meeting. He added that Members would be invited to submit suggestions, and guidance would be provided to assist with this process. It was noted that Anglian Water were also due to attend the next meeting, and Members would be asked to submit questions in advance of the meeting via email. The DSGOS stated that EEAST and Integrated Care Scheme representatives were also expected to attend the Committee in June or July to discuss ambulance response times, with the review of the Reef project expected in May.


      ii.          It was noted that the Members Champion for Domestic Abuse had met with the PCC and NIDAS representatives, where services and referral options were discussed in detail to develop a better understanding of how the Council could better help support victims of domestic abuse.




To note the Work Programme.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

To pass the following resolution, if necessary:


“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph _ of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act.”