Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 6th February, 2023 5.30 pm, NEW

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, St Luke's Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE. This meeting will be livestreamed here: (Copy and paste the link in your browser).. View directions

Contact: Claire Wilson - Scrutiny Officer  Tel: 01423 500600 ext. 58323 Email:

Note: New 

No. Item


Apologies for absence and notification of substitutes:


Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Sam Green.


(5.30 pm)


Declarations of interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest


The Chair, Councillor Chris Aldred declared an interest regarding Minute 84/22. Councillor Aldred was a retired member of UNISON and the public question was submitted by the Secretary of the Harrogate Local Government Branch of UNISON. The vice-chair of the Commission, Councillor John Mann was in the Chair for consideration of this item.

 (5.32 pm)



Of the meeting of 30 January 2023 (to follow)


The Minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 30 January 2022 would be submitted to a future meeting of the Commission.

 (5.32 pm)


Exempt information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt items - none


There was none.

 (5.32 pm)


Public arrangements- questions:

To consider any questions under Standing Order 27


A public question was submitted under Standing Order 27. The question was submitted by Mr David Holgate, Secretary of the Harrogate Local Government Branch of UNISON. He asked:


Can the Committee take the appropriate action, in the time available to it, to investigate and establish if Harrogate Borough Council has correctly followed its own processes and procedures in reaching a decision at this very late stage, to transfer 5 of its staff to Veritau rather than North Yorkshire Council, when the staff have been led to believe over the past 18 months that they would be transferring to the new County Council, were told in August by Harrogate Borough Council they would be transferring to the new County Council, have been told as recently as 23rd January by the Chief Executive of the new County Council they will be transferring to the new Council and, understandably, have had an expectation that they will be transferring to the new County Council?


The following response was provided by Councillor John Mann on behalf of the Commission:


Thank you for your question.


For clarity, items of work can be suggested for the Commission’s work programme at any time by Members of the Commission.  Suggestions from members of the public or other groups are not, however most effective through Public Questions as there is no mechanism for debate or discussion and would rely on some further decision/action by the Commission to seek information that could have been provided initially.  Suggestions are usually discussed with the Scrutiny, Governance and Risk Manager prior to an appropriate meeting where a clear scope can be agreed for discussion under the “Future Items of Work” item.  At this point the remit of the Commission would be discussed including the ability to deal with any work items proposed.


With regard to your question, from the information provided I can confirm that the Commission generally cannot review the following:


·                     Individual complaints

·                     Matters that are subject to an ongoing review process

·                     Matters that have agreed resolution processes in place i.e. it is not an appeals process/body


The issue would appear to include elements of all of these points as there are ongoing discussions within an agreed resolution process, therefore the specific issue could not be considered by the Commission.


I can, however, confirm that the Commission could consider a wider review such as the approach to TUPE (Protection of Employment) transfer generally and potentially lessons learnt, etc and a scope could be worked up for consideration, time permitting. The potential outcome would be recommendations for improvement for next time (by the new council), this would not, however, include the specific consideration of the points raised in your question as this would potentially be “an appeal”.  I would point out that this would seem to be a much larger in-depth review that Overview and Scrutiny has agreed not to undertake this year due to the timescale for Local Government Reorganisation and it is unlikely that it could be concluded prior to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.


Local Government Reorganisation Update:

Management Board to attend


The Chair welcomed Management Board (MB) to the meeting. A previous Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) update had been provided by MB in September 2022. There was now just eight weeks until vesting day on 1 April 2023. An overview of the transition work programme was provided by the Chief Executive, including a red, amber, green rating for each workstream. The overall position was considered favourable. Projects rated red were finance and ICT, this was as expected due to the complexity of bringing together all the councils systems. Office 365 would be the common platform and current work involved migration, the red rating indicated the degree of oversight needed. It was noted that the overall good performance reported for the programme reflected the safe and legal approach to transition but did not reflect the amount of work undertaken to achieve this or the level of future transformation activity required.


The Director of Economy, Environment and Housing provided an update on projects within Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) 2024 programme. This was originally planned to coincide with HBCs 50th anniversary, but due to LGR was ending a year early. This had started with 43 projects, 80% of these were effectively complete, the 20% remaining were well advanced and would be handed over to NYC. The Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) project was considered the highest profile project. The following projects were highlighted:


A sustainable environment:


·                     The Clotherholme/Ripon Barracks (brown field site) development for 1,300 houses, including employment facilities. The applicant was Homes England with a strategic oversight board in place. The current focus was on the planning application and the level of contribution towards health provision was nearing agreement. It was likely to be recommended for approval subject to a S106 agreement. If the application was submitted after 1 April 2023 the decision would be made by NYC.

·                     Developments west of Harrogate included a number of sites for around 2,500 new homes and employment sites. A parameters plan has been published that sought to bring sites forward in a co-ordinated way. It was complex and included infrastructure a delivery strategy and highways works, including sustainable and active transport plans. Delivery of these sites was seen as key to meeting planning targets


Supporting our communities:


·                     1,268 new homes had been provided and the adopted Local Plan had helped to enable this. Housing developments were required to have some provision for affordable housing. HBC was also using the ex-council buy back scheme to provide homes.


Excellent public services:


·                     HBC had an ambitious leisure investment strategy, including refurbishment and decarbonisation at the Hydro and a new pool in Knaresborough, both would have very good environmental standards. Brimhams Active’s business model was considered effective and was aligned with market requirements. The Hyrdo project was slightly behind timescales and over budget due to newly discovered necessary work. Current planned completions were June 2023 for the Hydro, and September 2023 for Knaresborough pool


Harrogate Convention Centre and Destination Harrogate:


·         Design work was complete to RIBA phase  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.


Overview and Scrutiny Commission Draft Work programme 2022/23: pdf icon PDF 330 KB

The Scrutiny Officer to submit a written report


The Chair noted that the following meeting of the Commission was due to take place on 27 February 2023 and this was a Crime and Disorder meeting held with North Yorkshire Police and Harrogate Borough Council’s Community Safety Hub. Whilst there was a meeting scheduled for 27 March 2023 it was likely that this would be cancelled due to a lack of business.


(7.00 pm – 7.02 pm)


Forward Plan of Key Decisions: pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To consider current Forward Plan items


The Chair noted that Members could contact the named officers for more information about any of the Key Decisions included on the Forward Plan.


(7.02 pm – 7.04 pm)