Agenda and minutes

Venue: Skype Virtual Meeting - Skype. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall  Tel: 01772 536989, Email  gary.halsall@lancashire.gov.uk

Media

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

County Councillor Bernard Dawson replaced County Councillor Azhar Ali for this meeting.

 

The Chair welcomed County Councillors Ian Brown and Peter Steen as new members of the committee, replacing County Councillors Anne Cheetham and David Foxcroft permanently.

 

Also in attendance were County Councillors Erica Lewis and Matthew Salter.

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from County Councillor Liz Oades.

2.

Constitution: Chair and Deputy Chair; Membership; Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved: That the appointment of Chair and Deputy Chair; the membership of the committee and the terms of reference, as presented, be noted.

3.

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the Agenda.

Minutes:

County Councillor Stephen Clarke declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 6 as he was the Lead Member for Flooding.

4.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes from the meeting held on 25 February 2020, be confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.

 

5.

Chair's update

Verbal update

Minutes:

The Chair pointed out to members that the External Scrutiny Committee should consider what it could achieve prior to the next election in 2021. It was reported that the committee prior to the pandemic had been focussing on three distinct themes being:

 

·  Flood risk management.

·  Universal Credit and the effects of it on the people of Lancashire.

·  Low carbon energy.

 

Going forward, the Chair suggested that the committee should continue to review these matters as potentially single item agendas to encourage a debate and formulating recommendations on these important issues.

 

Resolved: That the update be noted.

6.

Strengthening flood risk management and preparedness - Cabinet member responses to the recommendations of the scrutiny task and finish group pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Technical Services, Rural Affairs and Waste Management; Rachel Crompton, Flood Risk Manager; John Davies, Head of Service Highways; and Marcus Leigh, Highways Service Manager – Infrastructure; to the meeting to present the written responses to the committee's recommendations on strengthening flood risk management and preparedness.

 

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Technical Services, Rural Affairs and Waste Management, thanked the committee and the members of Strengthening Flood Risk Management and Preparedness Task and Finish Group for their comprehensive report. The recommendations of the task group had been looked at in great detail and the Cabinet Member accepted all of the recommendations. Timescales for proposed actions were also set out in the response.

 

A number of comments and issues were raised by members in relation to the written responses and the following was noted:

 

·  Assurance was sought by the committee that the ongoing review of staffing levels within the Flood Risk Management Team, would not result in a reduction in the number of staff supporting the function.

It was reported that following a recent restructure of the Highways Management Service a review of where the Flood Risk Management Team needed strengthening was currently underway. In addition a new manager post had been created within the team. Councillors suggested this information be communicated to Flood Action Groups to quash local rumour.

·  The acceptance of the cabinet member to create a culvert policy was welcomed by the committee. The importance of locating historic culverts was highlighted. In addition it was felt that a map identifying locations of riparian responsibilities across the county would be advantageous.

·  On surface water attenuation for new highways sponsored by the county council, it was reported that plans for current projects had already been completed and work was underway. It was pointed out that if the county council discovered aspects that could alleviate flooding then the appropriate action would be taken.

·  On concerns regarding riparian owners' responsibilities it was explained that the subject matter was felt to be of a technical /specialist nature that provided a barrier to some owners in understanding their responsibilities. It was reported that the county council was exploring new ways of explaining riparian responsibilities to residents and local landowners.

·  It was acknowledged that all risk management authorities were working within the constraints of a fragmented system. One member of the task and finish group had hoped that its work would have identified measures to reduce risk, improve resilience, speed recovery and build a single voice to influence change at a national level and felt that the outcome of the work was letters rather than leadership. In addition the member felt that they were unable to report back to their residents on what had changed as a result of the work undertaken. Furthermore it was felt that the county council did not recognise the value of flood action groups and the expertise they had and felt that the response to medium term recommendation M8  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The External Scrutiny Committee was presented with a single combined work programme for all of the Lancashire County Council scrutiny committees.

 

On Universal Credit, it was reported that the External Scrutiny Committee was awaiting on a written response from County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, to the committee's recommendations on Universal Credit and its effect on the people of Lancashire. It was noted that claims for Universal Credit had risen since the pandemic. It was felt this matter should be revisited at the committee's next meeting along with the written response from the Cabinet Member.

 

Resolved: That;

 

1.  The External Scrutiny Committee continue to review low carbon energy, flooding and Universal Credit at forthcoming meetings.

2.  The External Scrutiny Committee delegate to the scrutiny officers the further development and delivery of this programme, identifying appropriate methods of scrutiny, in consultation with the Chairs and with the input from any member.

8.

Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the Minutes, the Chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.  Wherever possible, the Chief Executive should be given advance warning of any Member’s intention to raise a matter under this heading.

Minutes:

There were no items of Urgent Business.

9.

Date of Next Meeting

The next scheduled meeting of the External Scrutiny Committee will be held on Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 10am.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the External Scrutiny Committee would take place on Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 10.00am.