Meeting documents

SSDC Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 8th February, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting using Zoom meeting software. View directions

Contact: Becky Sanders,Case Officer - 01935 462596  Email:

No. Item



To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 January 2022. The draft minutes can be viewed at:


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 January 2022 were approved as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Charlie Hull, Robin Pailthorpe and Oliver Patrick.


Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Council's current Code of Conduct (as amended 26 February 2015), which includes all the provisions relating to Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI), personal and prejudicial interests, Members are asked to declare any DPI and also any personal interests (and whether or not such personal interests are also "prejudicial") in relation to any matter on the Agenda for this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Public question time


There were no members of the public present at the meeting.


Issues arising from previous meetings

This is an opportunity for Members to question the progress on issues arising from previous meetings.  However, this does not allow for the re-opening of a debate on any item not forming part of this agenda.


There were no issues raised from previous meetings.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman noted that Councillor Crispin Raikes was no longer a member on the Scrutiny Committee, and he wished to convey his thanks to Cllr Raikes for his support and contribution as former Vice-Chairman and previous Chairman.


The Chairman welcomed Councillor Andy Kendall as a new member on Scrutiny Committee.


Verbal update on reports considered by District Executive on 6 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 39 KB


The Chairman noted that unfortunately the routine document detailing responses to the District Executive reports had been delayed due to staff absence. The document would be circulated as soon as possible.


Reports to be considered by District Executive on 10 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 158 KB


Members considered the reports within the District Executive agenda for 10 February 2022 (Informal Consultative Meeting) and raised comments as detailed below. Responses to many questions and comments were provided at Scrutiny Committee (Informal Meeting) by the relevant officers or Portfolio Holder – except those marked by an asterisk:


Somerset Waste Partnership Annual Report and Business Plan Update (Agenda item 6)


·        *Para 18 on page 9 – refers to an increase in cost of £505,219 but it doesn’t explain what the costs are for. Some members sought clarity about if the additional costs would be charged for in the current financial year

·        *Page 9 – members noted that paragraphs 23 and 24 are duplicates and queried if a para for Legal Implications was missing? (this has been corrected since Scrutiny Committee).

·        *Point 7.2 on page 23 – a member expressed some concern regarding the chatbot facility as their experiences elsewhere had been poor

·        *A member raised concern regarding waste collection for residential units situated above commercial premises. Often bags / boxes would be placed on a pavement together and it must be difficult for collectors to differentiate between commercial and domestic waste. At times this has led to waste not being collected (rejected) and left to mount up until the following collection. In some circumstances the mounting rubbish can block pavements making it difficult for pedestrians to pass. What can be done to ensure the waste is collected and not left?

·        *Point 9.3 on page 26 – a member referred to the potential takeover of SUEZ and asked if elected members would continue to have a direct contact where there have been missed collections?

·        *Page 27, point 3 under financial risks – a member asked if we knew what the implications will be for SWP yet, as the report mentions ‘likely to have major operational and financial implications’.?

·        Members welcomed the regular communications from SWP, which are very helpful.


Adoption of Future Chard Strategy (Agenda item 7)


·        Para 15 – A member expressed their surprise at the number of people who had attended, they had hoped for more.

·        A member asked if the strategy had been done earlier or first if it might have helped in attracting more grant funding for the Chard regeneration projects?

·        Members queried the next 12 months and if there were enough staff resources to deliver and support the strategy?

·        The situation with the contractor Midas – was this likely to impact on any Chard Regeneration projects?

·        A member noted that as we are in a transition phase to a new authority, was the document lining up as something the new authority could take forward? Is the whole report at risk if the new authority does not take this up?


Council Tax Policies (Agenda item 8)


·        *Para 11 - a member asked what happens if a landlord has a property where a tenant has left and so the property is empty, and it remains empty for a number of months despite active marketing – are there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.


Verbal update on Task and Finish reviews pdf icon PDF 53 KB


The Chairman provided brief verbal updates on the progress of Task and Finish groups including:


·        SSDC Environment Strategy Refresh - no update.

·        Council Plan Annual Review - a document had been recently circulated to Scrutiny members following a Scrutiny workshop held on 18 January. The document provided responses from the Senior Leadership Team following comments raised at the workshop.

·        Flooding in South Somerset - there is a much awaited report from Somerset County Council (SCC) due around April. In consultation with officers and due to the imminent report, Scrutiny has been asked to put this Task and Finish group on hold until members have had sight of the SCC report. It was hoped to still pick up on this work but at a later date.

·        Productivity Analysis - on hold.


Update on matters of interest pdf icon PDF 55 KB


The Chairman reminded members a Town and Parish Conference relating to Local Government Reorganisation was scheduled for mid February.  He also noted that the first meeting of the LGR Joint Scrutiny Committee had taken place on 31 January, and invited the appointed representatives on the Joint Committee, Councillors Brian Hamilton and Paul Maxwell) to provide some feedback.


Councillor Hamilton advised he had recently circulated a short report via email to Scrutiny members to provide a briefing on what had been discussed at the meeting.. In response to some questions raised during a brief discussion, he noted that:

·        How the committee structure will look like in the future was unclear at the current time.

·        The LGR Joint Scrutiny Committee is likely to be in place until vesting day.

·        There were aspirations from members for planning to be determined at a local level, but it was acknowledged this could be looked at in different ways.

·        He had a fear that more decisions in general may be officer delegated, but especially planning.


A member asked if the Scrutiny representatives could push the importance of member engagement in the planning process. Also that there are still major issues regarding phosphates and the situation is getting desperate.


At the end of discussion, Councillor Hamilton encouraged members to attend the meetings as any member was welcome to ask questions.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 151 KB


The Chairman advised that a request had been received from a non-Scrutiny member for the Committee to review call handling and customer access as there were a number of concerns. The Chairman noted he would take the matter forward.


During a brief discussion, some members also noted that some customers were finding it difficult to make comments about planning applications.


Members were content to note the Scrutiny Work Programme.


Date of next meeting pdf icon PDF 39 KB


Members noted that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for Tuesday 1 March 2022 at 10.30am - as a virtual meeting using Zoom.