Agenda item

Approach to Climate and Place Scrutiny Committee

Members are asked to consider and comment on the report from the Governance Manager, Scrutiny.


Members received a presentation on the principles of scrutiny and the approach being taken regarding scrutiny within the new Somerset Council, which would be reviewed after a year.


There would be 5 scrutiny committees, one for each of service directorates, each with their own functional areas of responsibility.


They noted that this Committee’s remit covered:

Climate, Environment and Sustainability:

·       Carbon Neutrality

·       Climate Resilience and Adaptation

·       Renewable Energy

·       Country Parks, Local Nature Recovery Strategy, Local Nature Reserves, AONB Partnerships (Countryside Services)

·       Biodiversity (and net gain) and Ecology

·       Sustainability

·       Waste Service

·       Emergency Planning and Business Continuity

·       Water Management

·       Flooding Response

·       Coastal Protection Authority

·       Somerset Rivers Authority


Infrastructure & Transport:

·       Highways Authority

·       Public Rights of Way

·       Parking

·       Active Travel

·       Traffic Management

·       Transport

·       Public Transport

·       Fleet Management

·       Contracted Transport

·       Strategic Transport Planning

·       Road Safety

·       Infrastructure Commissioning


Economy, Employment & Planning:

·       Economic Development and Tourism

·       Planning (conservation, enforcement, DM, local plan, waste and minerals, s106 allocations/CIL, Phosphates)

·       Affordable Housing and Enabling

·       City/Town Centre Management

·       Trading Standards (Devon partnership)

·       Skills

·       Education Business Partnership

·       Economic infrastructure, services and Innovation Centres

·       Regeneration (non-housing)

·       Major Projects

·       Nuclear Power

·       Scientific Services

Additionally, they would have the responsibility of providing a check and challenge function for decisions and policies made by the Executive, as well as contributing towards policy development and developing its own forward plan.


It was hoped that, with the use of member workshops and task & finish groups, which the Scrutiny Officer was now able to support, the wide remit of the Committee could be addressed.


Mickey Green the Executive Director for Climate & Place introduced himself and his 3 service Directors who gave a quick outline of their service areas:

Ø  Kirsty Larkins – Service Director, Climate, Sustainability and Environment

Ø  David Carter - Service Director, Infrastructure and Transport

Ø  Paul Hickson - Service Director, Economy, Employment and Planning

The Executive Director’s intention was to have a thematic approach to meeting e.g. a watery theme for July’s meeting and invite people like Wessex Water in. Additionally, bringing in items at an early stage in order to get a steer from members.


The following points were raised by members;

§  Concerns over managing the caseload with meeting now bi-monthly instead of monthly as in the past.

§  The use of task & finish groups would be helpful

§  It would be helpful to get the opportunity to be involved with policies at an early stage and have a councillor led process

§  Action trackers on written questions and committee recommendations could become a standard part of the agenda

The following items were also suggested as potential future scrutiny items:

§  Waste, with the new business plan being implemented

§  Transport – active travel and public transport (bus service improvement plan)

§  Items from the forward plan of the previous Scrutiny for Policies and Place Committee

§  Planning and Section 106 agreements in respect of the management of open spaces

§  Climate emergency strategy governance and how this was going to work in relation to the new partnership board and Executive Sub-Committee

§  New local plan – having announced climate and ecological emergencies being able to influence its development at an early stage

The Chair encouraged members to make suggestions of topics for future meetings and suggested that they could be emailed to himself, Vice-Chair, Mr Jackson or Mr Green.


Supporting documents: