Agenda and minutes

Community Overview & Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 5th October, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Sally Hampton - Member & Community Support Officer  Tel: 01538 395429 Email:


Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Notification of Substitute Members, if any.

Additional documents:


There were none.


To Approve the Minutes of the Previous Meeting. pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:


DECIDED:    That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Panel held on the 27th July 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.



To Note the Minutes from the Last Meeting of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:


DECIDED: That the minutes from the last meeting of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel be NOTED.



Declaration of Interests:

·         Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

·         Other Interests


Additional documents:


No declarations of interests were made.


Questions to Portfolio Holders, if any. pdf icon PDF 104 KB

(At least two clear days notice required, in writing, to the Proper Officer in accordance with Procedure Rule 15).

Additional documents:


1.    Questions received from Councillor Salt:


Between instigating the climate emergency and today – please inform the council by how much SMDC’s actions have reduced carbon emissions? When presenting the data, could you explicitly demonstrate what has been Covid’s impact and what has been down to our own efforts?



The stated intention of the Council is to produce a comprehensive climate change plan effective from the year 2021/22. This year the Council set out key enabling actions which taken together with the work of the Climate Change Subgroup will inform that Climate Change Plan. This year’s activity was set out in the form of an information digest. Data collection and analysis is one of this year’s key activities. This activity is ongoing with the aim of ensuring data used to underpin the Council’s targets is as comprehensive as possible and consistent to ensure we can compare like with like. The Council has engaged the Energy Saving Trust to assist with data analysis and options for consideration. Some key illustrative data is below:

2019 Data: Indication of CO2 emissions for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council -  CO2 emissions from fleet vehicles (Waste, Street Scene, Parks), staff business mileage.

·         Fleet: 636 metric tonnes of CO2

·         Business Travel: 63.75 metric tonnes (shared with HPBC) = 31.875 metric tonnes for SMDC

·         Property: Gas and electricity (Leisure Centres not included and Moorlands House not apportioned to using organisations) = 421 metric tonnes

·         Total 1,089 metric tonnes of CO2



·         Alliance CO2 from business travel has been reducing year on year - from 110.34 metric tonnes in 2013 to 63.75 metric tonnes in 2019. Mileage has reduced in that period from 459,407 miles in 2013 to 284,985 miles in 2019.

·         Covid-19 Comparing Alliance business miles/CO2 for the 5 month period April to August 2020 with the same period in 2019 – 27 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019), 9.1 metric tonnes CO2 (2020).


·         Further work is required on the data (to check data is fully inclusive, takes account of recording systems which have changed over time to make sure year on year comparisons are robust and to provide a detailed breakdown by area of operation). The data for the Council’s CO2 emissions will be ready in December 2020 in time to inform targets for the 2021/22 plan.


By way of supplementary questions, Cllr Salt asked if the Council would be carbon neutral by 2030. The Portfolio Holder believed this would be the case, albeit an ambitious target for the whole of the District. Councillor Porter was also asked to explain how the £10k grant would encourage carbon neutrality. The Climate Change Community Fund had been delayed due to Covid-19 and examples of the type of projects that schools could use the money for included; eco clubs, recycling, tree planting and nature based projects. It was hoped that the scheme could commence in Spring/Summer 2021.



2.    “When will Biddulph TC receive its funding for the Covid grant application that it made months ago?”



Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Your Housing Group Update. pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered a briefing paper introduced by Sharon Wheeler – Regional Housing Manager South, which provided a performance and development update on YHG business areas identified in the legacy agreement and related to business activity between January 2020 and June 2020. Aaron Hamersley – Head of Housing Management, was also present at the meeting, along with two customer representatives; Cheryl Ballan and George Wallace.

Topics covered within the report included:


·         Your Housing Group Response to Covid-19

·         Housing Management

·         Neighbourhood Inspections

·         “Out and About” Customer Engagement Events

·         Agile Working

·         Neighbourhood Information

·         Compliance

·         Development

·         Repairs and Maintenance

·         Improvement to Assets

·         Digital Engagement

·         Community Regeneration

·         Regeneration

·         Revolution Launderette Unit, Mill Street Leek

·         Swallow Walk, Biddulph


The Panel thanked the Officers and Team for the report which contained  positive information. Members commented and asked questions around the following subject areas:-


Regular surgeries in the 3 main towns Sharon Wheeler advised that the organisation felt it was more effective to hold ‘out and about’ events rather than customers being asked to attend fixed surgeries.  Statistics confirmed that the surgery at Leek was not well attended. It was generally accepted that the mobile office was a good way for people to make contact with YHG but it was important for this to promoted.  


Contact by telephone – An example of poor attitude and customer service   provided over the telephone was discussed and it was agreed this would be investigated after the meeting. Other members gave accounts of good customer service. However, matters took a long time to resolve and there was an overall level of concern and frustration in relation to the telephone service received by customers. Sharon Wheeler was sorry to hear about these problems and gave assurance that the Moorlands had an active Housing Team. Members could contact her at any time and she would ensure that they were responded to. Cheryl Ballan advised that she would raise these concerns at the next YHG Scrutiny Meeting.


Contact list – A YHG contact list would be beneficial for members. This would be circulated to the Panel.


6 Month extension of evictions – Your Housing Group would follow the latest government guidance for evictions.


Re-instatement of CCTV cameras at Kingsfield Avenue, Biddulph due to anti-social behaviour – Officers agreed this would be looked into after the meeting.


List of YHG assets/ownership – It was agreed that YHG would provide ownership information on a case by case basis and also provide a list of the  specific areas where the organisation had responsibility for grounds maintenance.


Climate change mitigation – Councillor Yates inquired if YHG had identified areas of land that would suitable for planting schemes. Some landscaping had recently been carried out in the area and the YHG Regeneration Manager would contact the councillor in relation to this query.


Fix 360 – The Portfolio Holder for Communities highlighted communication issues with the Fix 360 Repairs Team and the length of time taken by this Team to respond to complaints. He requested that all members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Climate Change Update Report. pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Porter – Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Biodiversity, introduced the Climate Change Update report and a more recent briefing paper on the Climate Change Working Group which set out the work carried out by the Council to date.


Discussion took place around the 10 year fleet replacement programme, possible investment in hydrogen fleet, photovoltaics combined with battery storage packs, LED lighting and heat pumps. Councillor Yates also highlighted his concerns in relation to smaller business potentially being discouraged by the ISO 14001 criteria within the Council’s Procurement Strategy.


Councillor Porter agreed that the fleet replacement programme was a priority to ensure emissions were reduced and the vehicles made as efficient as possible. The Energy Saving Trust was working with the Council and provided advice on vehicles powered by hydrogen. He welcomed suggestions from members to reduce carbon emissions. Councillor Yates offered to send an email containing his ideas and suggestions to the Portfolio Holder. In regard to the Procurement Strategy, Councillor Porter was determined for this to be science led and for products and services to be purchased with the lowest greenhouse gas impact.


Councillor Yates advised the Panel, that the Natural Environment Working Group had made a recommendation to empower Town and Parish Councils to take an active role  in green spaces. In response, Councillor Porter agreed that the Parish and Town councillors had the local knowledge and it was important for them to be involved. He had visited some Parish Councils , was in discussion with the Chairman of the Parish Assembly and hoped to contact as many Town and Parish Councils as possible.


The Panel debated the delay of the transfer of Wetley Moor and the management of all of the country parks by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (SWT). Councillor Yates requested for SWT to be invited to a future meeting of the Climate Change Working Group.


Finally, the Panel discussed the energy consumption of the Council, increased renewable energy and the importance of actions, outcomes and impact, in relation to the Council’s carbon footprint being reduced.




1)    The actions taken to date be noted.

2)    The proposed actions for 2020/21 set out in 7.7.1 – 7.7.8of the report be noted;

3)    For the figures on the number of leased and purchased Council vehicles be circulated to members;

4)    For a written response in relation to the Council Procurement Strategy and ISO 14001 be provided by the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Biodiversity.

5)    For the costs and savings associated with the transfer of the Country Parks to SWT be circulated to members of the Panel.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Any additional items to be added to the Work Programme:

·         Chair’s Items

·         Members’ Items

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The Panel considered its Work Programme and agreed the items listed.


DECIDED: That the Work Programme for 2020-21 be agreed.