The Scrutiny, Governance and Risk Manager to submit a written report.
The Chair introduced the report submitted by the Scrutiny, Governance and Risk Manager. He explained that the Commission had met informally and undertaken a work-planning workshop. A new process had been applied to prioritise potential work items and the Chair expressed the view that it had been effective but could be further refined. Details of the potential work items that had been prioritised were within the report, along with other items that had been discussed but not prioritised. The Chair confirmed that the Commission had agreed Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) was a focus for the Commission and associated work would be undertaken when appropriate.
Appendix A to the report contained the schedule of meetings and details of the focus for meetings. This included special meetings with external invitees held on behalf of the Council with the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire and other key stakeholders. Full details of the outcomes from the work-planning workshop held on 14 June 2021 was within Appendix B.
The Scrutiny, Governance and Risk Manager updated the Commission about the following potential work items:
· Agency workers – this item had been suggested by the trade union UNISON before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the workshop it had been agreed to seek the views of the trade union to establish if this was still a priority item of work. Subsequent to the workshop the UNISON branch secretary had confirmed this was still a priority item to be progressed
· Station Gateway and Cycle Routes – this had been suggested by a member of the public however no further information had been provided. At the workshop it had been agreed to seek additional information to develop a potential scope. Subsequent to the workshop the member of the public had been contacted however no further information had been received.
· Complaints – this had been identified as a potential work item at the workshop and it had been noted that significant work had previously been undertaken by the Commission and a draft scope prepared. The work undertaken by the Commission had been circulated to Members as agreed
Members discussed the review of Local Bus Provision. There were comments about the scope (that had been developed and agreed before COVID-19), the approach to a review and involvement of bus companies and the public, as well as views about potential outcomes and key dates.
Councillor Michael Harrison, who was an Executive Member for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), explained that NYCC was the authority responsible for transport matters and it was in the process of forming a response to the proposals within the national bus strategy. NYCC Executive had discussed this at a meeting held on 22 June 2021. It was stated that if the Commission wanted to input into the NYCC work this would have to be prior to October as this was the date for completion. NYCC had also committed to further consultation about the Station Gateway proposals which would be discussed through the Harrogate and Knaresborough Constituency Committee.
It was noted that a task and finish group had been formed to undertake a review of Local Bus Provision however the Commission now had a task and finish group looking at the UCI Road World Championships and it was not usual to have more than one working group running concurrently. Therefore any in-depth review undertaken by a task and finish group would be able to start once the UCI review was concluded.
Double taxation and parish precepts were an item on the draft programme of work and this was discussed in relation to LGR. A Notice of Motion recommending any successor Unitary Authority consider creating a Parish Council for the town of Harrogate had been submitted for debate at a meeting of the Council to be held on 7 July 2021.
In reference to some of the potential areas of work, including local bus provision and LGR, Members acknowledged that high-level strategic decisions would be made and could not necessarily be influenced. The Commission could however have involvement in investigating how changes would affect local residents.
The programme of work for the 2021/22 would comprise of Local Government Reorganisation and the seven items listed as high priority:
• Agency workers
• Criteria for referral to planning committee
• Affordable housing delivery in the AONB
• Contract tendering/procurement
• Local bus provision
• The provision of sports pitches in the district
• Double taxation/parish precept
(5.54 pm – 6.33 pm)