Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 24th March, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: remotely via Zoom. View directions

Contact: Matthew Stembrowicz  Email:

No. Item


To Receive Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Cllr N Housden.






Public Questions & Statements

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


None received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 10th February 2021.


Minutes of the meeting held on 10th February were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Items of Urgent Business

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.


None received.


Declarations of Interest

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.


Crime and Disorder Briefing

To receive a briefing on crime, disorder and policing in North Norfolk during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Chairman invited Chief Inspector Matt Dyson (CI) and Sergeant Toby Gosden (PS) of Norfolk Constabulary to provide a briefing on crime and disorder in relation to the Covid-19 Pandemic.


Briefing, Questions and Discussion


       i.          The CI began the presentation on matters relating to Covid, and noted the Pandemic’s significant impact on policing since restrictions began in March 2020. He added that a key aim of the Constabulary throughout the pandemic was to continue policing by consent, using the four principles of engage, explain, encourage and enforce. The CI noted that from a policing perspective, there had also been more serious hidden risks such as increased levels of domestic violence and exploitation.


      ii.          The CI provided a heat map of the District showing the reported health order incidents, and noted that there had been over 4000 reported, with concentrations mainly in town centers. He then referred to the level of policing activity over a three month period from 1s January to 20th March, and noted that there had been 183 fixed penalty notices issued, 150 formal Covid warnings, and 327 engagement events.


    iii.          The CI referred to the anticipated change in Covid legislation from 27th March 2021, and noted that there was general consensus that the guidance sought to minimise travel where possible, and from 12th April further easing of restrictions would allow shops, self-contained holiday accommodation and campsites to open. The CI reported that he was yet to see clear guidance on cross-county travel or restrictions on mileage, though a busy year of domestic travel was expected.


    iv.          The PS informed Members that his Team was responsible for visibility and engagement across the District, with Beat Managers in all seven towns who had responsibility for engaging with schools, hard to reach communities and hospitals. He added that from the start of the Pandemic, the Team had also taken on responsibility for Covid patrols, which involved working alongside partner agencies such as NNDC to aid Covid wardens. It was reported that a decline in normal crimes such as burglaries, had meant that there was spare capacity for Response Teams to help with deployment plans, which included the use of a dedicated Covid patrol vehicle.


     v.          The Chairman referred to domestic abuse and asked whether there had been any trends that might help the Council’s response, in order to deliver better support services. The CI replied that the trend did show an increase in reports of domestic abuse of approximately 20%, and the PS added that reports could be cross referenced with issues reported to the Council, to ensure that concerns were not overlooked.


    vi.          A slide on performance was shown which outlined the average number of crimes taking place per month, and it was reported that crime rates in North Norfolk remained low relative to other districts. The CI provided further details on crime categories and noted that the 183 monthly violence against person crimes included injury and non-injury, stalking and harassment offences. It was noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 160.


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:


Cllr N Dixon requested that the Committee consider the loss of thirty-eight affordable homes at Cley Road, Holt.


The Chairman introduced the item and informed Members that he had been contacted regarding the loss of affordable homes at Holt, and had subsequently made the decision to include the issue on the agenda for discussion.


Questions and Discussion


        i.          The CE noted that correspondence had been shared with Members regarding the loss of affordable homes from the 2011 Site Allocations Plan, for which an outline application for 82 dwellings had been submitted with a policy requirement for 45% affordable housing. He added that once approved, the outline planning permission had been sold on to Norfolk Homes, who had then submitted a section 73 application to vary conditions of the original outline permission, including the affordable home requirements as part of a section 106 agreement. At this time no change was made on the provision of affordable homes, but with no agreement reached on this matter, the issue was referred to the High Court, with a judgement made against the Council that would no longer require the Developer to adhere to the requirement for 45% affordable housing.


      ii.          The CE reported that he had asked the Head of Planning to review the issue, and consider whether there had been any failings in the process or by individuals, and what learning could be gained from the issue. It was noted that systems and processes had now been revised, though delivering affordable homes remained a challenge. The CE stated that North Norfolk had delivered ahead of its required housing targets since 2014, significantly above the levels from 2008-2013, and as the site in question was yet to be delivered, the issue remained subject to negotiation. He added that Norfolk Homes had now submitted a revised application with a lower number of affordable homes, subject to a viability assessment. It was noted that on other developments the Council had managed similar situations via Section 106 agreements, where affordable housing could not be delivered. As a result, the CE stated that the Authority had set to protect its position on the provision of affordable homes in the context of a changing financial climate, and this case had been a learning opportunity. It was suggested that it would be helpful for the report to be presented to the Development Committee and the PPBH Working Party, to advise Members for future policy development.


     iii.          The DSGOS informed Members that in considering the Committee’s response to the issue, it should be noted that the Committee’s remit was limited, in that was not able to review quasi-judicial matters or regulatory decisions. He added that a potential option would be to consider the loss of affordable homes as part of the Planning performance review, that was already in place on the Committee’s 2021/22 Work Programme. It was suggested that the Committee could also recommend that the report prepared by the Head of Planning be shared with the Development Committee and PPBH Working Party, to ensure that the necessary actions had been taken in response to the issue.


     iv.          Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 161.


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.


None to report.










Options considered:

This report summarises the budget monitoring position for the revenue account and capital programme to the end of January 2021. The report also provides an update on the financial impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s Financial position.


Not applicable.



The overall position at the end of January 2021 shows an £8,443,191 underspend for the current financial year on the revenue account, this is however currently expected to deliver a full year overspend of £164,729 which, as per the previous COVID update, is to be funded from the General Fund reserve if required.









Reasons for Recommendations:

It is recommended that Cabinet:


1)     note the contents of the report and the current budget monitoringposition;

2)     agree to fund any deficit from the General Fund reserve at the year-end ifrequired

3)     Approve the capital programme funding as identified fromreserves.


To update Members on the current budget monitoring position for the Council.



(Papers relied on the write the report and which do not contain exempt information)

Text Box: System budget monitoring reports



Cabinet Member(s) Cllr Eric Seward

Ward(s) affected



Contact Officer, telephone number and email: Duncan Ellis, 01263 516330,


Additional documents:


Cllr E Seward – Portfolio Holder for Finance and Assets introduced the report and informed Members that at present there was a small overspend of £165k, though it was hoped this would be balanced by the year end. The DFR stated that the period 10 report highlighted the position of the revenue and capital account at the end of January 2021, with a further update on the ongoing impact of Covid-19. It was noted that a year-end deficit of approximately £1m had been forecasted in May, though this had reduced to £400k, and subsequently to £165k, as outlined in the report. The DFR stated that efforts continued to balance this deficit by the year end, though it could be covered by reserves if necessary. On fees and charges support, it was reported that the Council was expected to receive a grant of approximately £750k, to cover income losses incurred as a result of the pandemic. The DFR referred to grant schemes administered by the Council, and noted that the funding received for this had aided the Council’s cashflow and delayed requirements for borrowing, that had saved approximately £350k. He added that the Council’s investments had also seen an upturn, which in combination with savings equated to a positive budget impact of approximately £440k.


Questions and Discussion


        i.          Cllr C Cushing referred to a request for £424k of additional funding for Cromer Pier that was expected to go to Cabinet, and asked when this would be considered. The DFR replied that the report would go to Cabinet in the coming months, as consultants were in the process of finalizing requirements. He added that work had been done approximately three years ago to move to a more regular maintenance schedule, with an annual requirement to prepare an updated report on the condition of the asset. It was confirmed following a question from Cllr C Cushing, that the £424k was additional funding, and had not yet been included in the Pier maintenance costs.


      ii.          The recommendations were proposed en bloc by Cllr P Heinrich and seconded by Cllr W Fredericks.




1.     To note the contents of the report and the current budget monitoring position.


2.     To agree with the decision to fund any deficit from the General Fund reserve at the year-end, if required.


3.     To agree with the approval of the capital programme funding as identified from reserves.



Sheringham Leisure Centre Project Update: March 2021 pdf icon PDF 397 KB

To receive and note the update on the Sheringham Leisure Project.


Cllr V Gay – Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Wellbeing and Culture introduced the report and informed Members that the project remained on-track for completion in August, with no change to the budget. It was reported that a name had been decided for the new facility and it would now be known as The Reef, in recognition of the local landscape and geology of the North Norfolk coastline.


Questions and Discussion


Members agreed to note the report and continue the monthly project update reports.



1.     To receive and note the update.



Pre-Scrutiny: North Norfolk District Council Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025 pdf icon PDF 124 KB













Options considered:

All public authorities are required to publish one or more equality objectives, at least every four years, which they think should help them to meet the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty. In addition the Equality Act 2010 requires that people be treated fairly at work or when using services. The Equality strategy sets out the Council’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and four key equality objectives which the Council will seek to deliver against over the next four years. 


The Council is legally required to publish its Equality objectives and it has been considered that the best way to do this is in the form of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.  




To recommend to Full Council the formal adoption of  the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025






Reasons for



To recommend to Full Council the formal adoption of  the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025


The Council is legally required to publish its Equality objectives and it has been considered that the best way to do this is in the form of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. The Strategy will need to be formally adopted by Full Council 




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




Cabinet Member(s)


Ward(s) affected – all

Contact Officer, telephone number and email:

Karen Hill, Assistant Director of People Services, 01263 516183,


Additional documents:


The ADPS introduced the item and informed Members that the Council was required to update its equality objectives at least every four years, to meet the aims of the public sector equality duty. She added that the draft Strategy included four new objectives, in addition to a number of commitments to ensure that the Council treated people fairly as a community leader, service provider, and employer. It was noted that the Council had also approved a number of motions that demonstrated a wider interest and concern on matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion, which had been adopted as part of the Strategy. The ADPS stated that the next step in developing the Strategy would be to undertake a public consultation and develop an action plan that would be updated annually. She added that a self-assessment against the LGA’s Equalities Framework would also be completed to help to establish the Council’s current position, alongside data from the 2021 Census. It was noted that the Strategy would also be supported by other initiatives, such as the Engagement Strategy, the Customer Services Strategy and the Quality of Life Strategy.


Questions and Discussion


        i.          The Chairman sought clarification on whether the draft document was a Strategy or Policy and noted that there had been several references to both throughout the development process. He added that it was his expectation that a Policy document should be clear on the expectations and principles of the Authority, as well clearly expressing the culture of the organisation.


      ii.          Cllr G Mancini-Boyle referred to page 61, and noted that he was pleased to see that his motion regarding the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism had been included in the draft document. He noted the time it had taken to receive the draft, and suggested that efforts should be made to avoid similar delays in the future.


     iii.          Cllr W Fredericks referred to employment application forms, and asked whether there were any plans to exclude gender titles or age from the application process to focus on skills. The HRM stated that this was an important issue, however the Council still used physical application forms, which meant that removing this data would present a challenge for equalities monitoring until an electronic application system was implemented. He added that whilst these changes were under consideration, there were checks and balances in place within the recruitment process to ensure that these concerns did not become an issue.


     iv.          Cllr C Cushing stated that the draft document appeared to contain several actions that would not usually be contained within a Policy document, and noted that Policy should be used to outline the rules and expectations of an organisation. He then noted that other Councils in Norfolk would have their own policies, and asked whether there was a standard template available in the public sector. The ADPS replied that there was not a standard template, though she had reviewed documents from neighbouring authorities, and noted that a Working Group had reviewed examples  ...  view the full minutes text for item 165.


The Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To note the upcoming Cabinet Work Programme.


The DSGOS stated that the Cabinet Work Programme had been updated following publication of the agenda, and there would now be reports on a Community Renewal Fund and Public Protection Orders going to Cabinet in April. He added that Environmental Charter would also go forward to Cabinet in May, following review by Overview and Scrutiny in April.




To note the Cabinet Work Programme.


Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme and Update pdf icon PDF 22 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:


The DSGOS noted that the draft Environmental Charter was expected for review at the April meeting, alongside the Sheringham Leisure Centre Project and Enforcement Board updates. He added that consideration would need to be given to the 2021/22 Work Programme at the May meeting.


Cllr L Withington suggested that lessons from the recent Scrutiny training should be taken into account when developing the 2021/22 Work Programme.




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.”