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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item



Additional documents:


There were no apologies


Substitute Members

To note details of any substitution arrangements in place for the Meeting.

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There were no substitute members present


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members and Officers, relating to

items to be considered at the meeting.

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There were no declarations of interest for the Committee to note


Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 1st March 2022

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The Chair stated that consideration of the minutes of the meeting of 1st March 2022 would be held over until the next Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 26th May 2022.


Chair's Announcements

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There were no Chair’s Announcements


Public Questions

To deal with questions from the public within the open forum question and answer

session of fifteen minutes in total. Questions from each member of the public

should be no longer than two minutes each and relate issues under the

Committee’s remit.

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There were no Public Questions


Member Questions

To deal with written questions by Members, relating to issues under the

Committee’s remit, with the maximum length of oral supplementary questions at

Committee being no longer than one minute. Responses to any supplementary

questions will be dealt with in writing if they cannot be dealt with at the meeting.

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There were no Member Questions


Discretionary Funding Policy - Energy Council Tax Rebate pdf icon PDF 109 KB


The Government has announced a package of support known as the Energy Bills rebate. There are two elements to the support.  One being a mandatory scheme and the second being a discretionary scheme.  The purpose of this report is to formally agree the criteria for the discretionary scheme and approve the Policy



It is recommended that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

a) Consider the eligibility criteria, as set out in Annex A;

b) Provide feedback to the Cabinet for consideration on 9 May 2022; and

c) Agree to waiver call-in arrangements for this item following Cabinet consideration on 9 May 2022, subject to there being no fundamental change to the recommendation after it had been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

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The Chair addressed the meeting and advised that he was content that there had been no substantive change since the policy had been reviewed by O&S and therefore its decision to waive the right to Call-In of this decision should stand, allowing the policy to be acted upon immediately following the Cabinet decision without any further Call-In consideration. 


The Officer presented the policy that included the proposed criteria for entitlement to payments from the Discretionary Fund


The Committee noted that the report had been brought to Overview and Scrutiny to enable the committee to consider the proposed eligibility criteria of the Discretionary Scheme.


The Committee noted that this report would focus on the Discretionary scheme, for which, the Council had been awarded £152,850


The Committee welcomed the scheme as a serious attempt to focus on those that were hard to reach, and suggested support groups that could help to contact eligible people including  Town & Parish Clerks Citizens Advice Bureau and other charitable trusts. The officer confirmed that work was already underway to contact all of these support groups.


The Committee commented that the eligibility criteria appeared to be complex and may be difficult to administer.  The officer agreed that the scheme was relatively complex but the proposed eligibility for the support would prioritise relieving hardship.


The Committee queried how potential recipients (especially those without web access) would find out about the scheme.  The officer confirmed that the Council’s comms team was working to promote the scheme and a leaflet had been included with every council tax bill


The Committee commented that those without a bank account would find it difficult to receive payment.  The officer confirmed paper applications would be available for those without web access and recipients without a bank account would be sent a barcode that could be taken to a Post Office for cash payment.


The Committee queried if it was possible to reduce the eligibility for E-H Council Tax households and include/increase A-D Council Tax households.  The officer confirmed that the Council could chose to extend eligibility to A-D households to provide an addition to the mandatory £150 council tax rebate.  However, the size of the fund available would mean that the Council would be administering thousands of small value payments which would have less impact than the proposed scheme.


The Committee noted that as the Discretionary Scheme closes at the end of November and eligible households needed to be identified as quickly as possible, and asked if the number of Direct Debit payers had been identified.  The officer confirmed that 67% of Council households pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit.  Those eligible for Mandatory Scheme payments had already been identified and work would begin to identify those eligible for Discretionary Scheme payments will begin once the eligibility criteria had been agreed


The Committee noted that there was an initial risk that insufficient funding would be available, but projection modelling now indicated there may a small surplus.


The Committee commented that, should there be  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS.150


Active Cotswolds Programme Update pdf icon PDF 460 KB


To provide an overview of the Active Cotswolds programme

To provide an update on progress



That the Committee reviews overall progress of the programme

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The Officer presented the Active Cotswold Programme that had the three aims to provide an Active Environment, a Healthier District and Connected Communities 

-The Active Environment work stream has focussed on a sustainable transport strategy, the provision of cycle and walking infrastructure across the District including utilising former railway routes and an assessment of the Kemble to Cirencester public transport provision.

-The Healthier District work stream had developed the Leisure Management options appraisal that was being considered later in the meeting and making services more digitally accessible to residents.

-The Connected Community work stream had engaged with the public to assess digital accessibility utilising the Digibus around the District.


The Committee welcomed Active Cotswold Programme Update and commended the wider brief to promote Active Lifestyles, including facilitating cycling and walking, rather than just providing fitness centres.


The Committee commented that the Tetbury to Kemble line had not been mentioned in the work looking at former railways despite it being promoted by many support groups within the town, and asked if the playing pitch review included the new rugby club that was being built in the town.


The Officer stated that more work was being completed on the development of cycle routes that included the Tetbury to Kemble line.


The Committee noted that the development of cycling routes were designed to both promote healthy lifestyles and improve green access to towns for shopping, leisure and employment.


The Committee noted that the improvements to walking and cycling facilities within the Cotswold Water were grouped in one area and future work would be more widespread.


RESOLVED:  The Committee reviewed overall progress on the programme



Options Appraisal of Leisure and Culture Management Arrangements


The purpose of this Report is to provide the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with the opportunity to consider the outcomes of the Leisure and Culture Management Options Appraisal. The Committee may provide feedback for Cabinet and Council to consider, as part of the decision for the future operating models to be used for the Leisure and Cultural Services.



That the Committee:

a) Considers the outcomes of the Leisure and Culture Management Option Appraisal;

b) Provides feedback to be proposed to Cabinet and Council as part of the decision making process.


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The Officer presented the Options Appraisal and summarised the proposal


The Committee noted the Options Appraisal of Leisure and Cultural Management Arrangements and its recommendations


The Committee noted that the “locally focussed” reference applied to the management approach being closer to that of the Council, rather than describing the cultural approach of the museum or its displays.


The Committee commented that the ‘Leisure Only’ option (i.e. without the Museums) was not offered, although the ‘Culture Only’ option had subsequently been soft market tested.  The officer stated that the details of a ‘Leisure Only’ option was not available when the initial options appraisal had been developed.


The Committee commented that the manner in which success was achieved should be considered in any decision making as the report did not currently identify that the success of the museum had been widely attributed to a talented, dynamic curator.


The Committee commented that care should be taken with Council owned assets/buildings, to ensure these were not given away if an external contractor was chosen.


The Committee commented that there is provision for an extension to the current contract and that a robust negotiation process would be required to ensure a good settlement is delivered if this option is taken.  


The Committee commented that when the current contract was agreed the Council’s leisure centres were the principle facilities in Cirencester, but that there are now a number of similar facilities and it was important that the Council’s facilities should remain a preferred option.  The officer agreed that the leisure market was now more challenging particularly in Cirencester, but that the swimming pool remained a valued community facility and public areas and changing facilities a the centre were also being maintained and refreshed.  The officer also stated that ensuring the attractiveness of dual use facilities was more difficult, however there were currently good relationships with the management of each of the dual use facilities.


The Committee welcomed the decision to undertake a second evaluation with criteria that gave a higher consideration to the costs involved in delivering each option, rather than just considering whether the option would deliver against the Council’s identified outcomes.

The Committee noted that the second evaluation indicated that the cost of delivering the services was significantly less if an External Contractor provided them, compared to either the In House, or the LATC/NPDO option.


The Committee commented that the drafting of the service contract was key to ensuring that the External Contractor clearly understood the expectations and service standards of the Council and that they were able to deliver them.


The Committee commented that the Council understood the need to share risk with an External Contractor, as this was now commonly done, however it did not want to be left to pick up the pieces if the contract requirements were not met and the service failed.  The drafting of the final service contract would be key to avoiding this.


RESOLVED: The committee considered the outcomes of the Leisure and Culture Management Option Appraisal  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS.152


Quarterly Digest


To consider any issues arising out of the Quarterly Digest for future debate and/or action by the Committee

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There was no issues arising from the Quarterly Digest to consider


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 160 KB


To receive the Executive Forward Plan and identify any areas for inclusion in future Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings.



To note the current Executive Forward Plan.  


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There was no additional areas for inclusions in the Executive Plan