Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee, 26 November 2002 27
Minutes of the Meeting of the STRATEGY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE
held on 26 November 2002
Councillor Eber Kington (Chairman); Councillor David Wood (Vice Chairman); Councillors John
Clarke, Julie Morris, Robert Leach, Vince Romagnuolo, Jean Steer (substitute for Ron Gee OBE), Don
Tricker, Jimmy Upton and Alan Winkworth.
In attendance: Councillors Brian Angus, Christine Long, Jonathon Reed, Ruby Smith, Clive Smitheram
and Denis Ward.
(Note: All Members of the Council were invited to the meeting and to speak and vote on items 2, 3 and
4 on the agenda)
Stephen Taylor and Catherine Morganti (District Audit); Brendan McCarron and Simon Speller
Officers present: Steve Davies, Andrew Eperson, Natalie Florance, Anne Macgregor, Tamsin Macleod-
Brudenell, David Smith, Trevor Smith, Eileen Thomas, John Turnbull, Alex Williams, Ray Woolston.
25 MINUTES. The Minutes of the Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee held on 8
October 2002 were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
26 ANNUAL AUDIT LETTER 2001/02. Stephen Taylor and Catherine Morganti of District Audit
presented their annual audit letter to the Committee. The main findings emerging from the
year’s audit were that the Council has continued to develop its management arrangements,
structures and processes to focus on improvement. Service performance levels have been
improved and the Contact Centre has become fully operational. The auditors recommended
action to further improve performance management, continue to keep the Best Value Review
programme on track, review the function of Scrutiny Committee, continue work on the Service
Expenditure Review, link grants to voluntary organisations more clearly to priorities and
formalise risk management arrangements.
The Committee was pleased to note that this year’s Audit Letter recognised the Council’s
achievements and ongoing improvements. On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman thanked
the auditors for their work and Council officers for their contribution. He also wished Catherine
Morganti well in her move to a new job. The Committee formally received the Annual Audit
Letter for 2001/02 and noted that it will also be presented to the Scrutiny Committee.
27 FINANCIAL POLICY PANEL. The Committee considered the minutes of the meeting of the
Financial Policy Panel held on 13 November 2002. In particular the Committee commended the
proposed new performance management arrangements. It was agreed:
(1) That the budget targets for 2002/03 are amended to take account of changes in income
from fees and charges with £35,000 of additional income contributing to corporate savings
set out in Minute 16 of the meeting of the Financial Policy Panel;
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council
28 Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee, 26 November 2002
(2) The brief for the 2003 Service Expenditure Review as set out in Minute 17 of the Financial
Policy Panel and paragraph 4 of the Officer’s report;
(3) That, in relation to Performance Management;
(a) the role of the Financial Policy Panel in relation to performance management of the
Council is as set out in Minute 18 of the meeting of the Panel,
(b) the role of Scrutiny and policy committees in relation to performance management are
as set out in paragraph 5 of the Officer’s report
(c) the presentation of the Policy Book is amended as set out in paragraph 5 of the Officer’s
28 BEST VALUE REVIEW – ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND COMMUNITY
ENHANCEMENT: ROLE OF PLANNING, BUILDING CONTROL AND
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. The Committee received a presentation from Brendan
McCarron and Simon Speller, consultants who had worked on the Best Value Review of
Environmental Protection and Community Enhancement. The Chairman thanked them for their
work. The Committee considered the Improvement Plan including the actions needed to ensure
(1) Noted the Best Value Review report on Environmental Protection and Community
Enhancement and agreed the Service Improvement plan contained within the report,
subject to any financial costs being assessed against other priorities in the next four year
Financial Strategy; and
(2) Acknowledged the good practice highlighted in the report which includes matters set
out in paragraph 4.
29 REVIEW OF POLLING STATIONS. The Committee was advised of changes proposed by the
Returning Officer to many of the polling stations used by him and was asked to approve the
proposed polling stations for the 2003 Borough Council elections. The Committee resolved:
(1) That the polling stations listed in the Annexe attached to the report be approved for
use in the 2003 Borough Council elections, subject to the following:
The outstanding matter of the use of St Francis Church Hall as a polling station
in Ewell Court Ward be left in the hands of the Returning Officer in consultation
with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman;
Further approaches be made to NESCOT to secure use of a part of their buildings
as a polling station.
Investigation be made into possible rear access to Stamford Green School from
(2) That additional polling stations be provided at a) Horton Country Park (Ruxley Ward)
and b) St John Ambulance Hall, Hook Road (Town Ward). Officers were also asked
to give consideration to allowing voters who live very close to the building to vote at
the St John Ambulance hall.
(3) That no additional polling station be provided in Ruxley Ward at The Edge, Rowden
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council
Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee, 26 November 2002 29
(4) That Danetree School be used as a polling station in West Ewell Ward.
30 BEST VALUE REVIEW – HEALTH: THE COUNCIL’S ROLE. The Committee considered
the Best Value Review of Health: The Council’s Role, together with the decision of the Social
Committee, which had considered the same report on 21 November. The Committee:
(1) Noted the Best Value Review of Health – The Council’s Role and acknowledged
the good practice highlighted in the report;
(2) Agreed that a list be appended to the Best Value report, setting out the important
ways in which the Social Committee contributes to the protection and
improvement of the health of residents through its activities such as the
prevention of the closure of Priory Court and the discretionary housing grants
directed at health needs, and looks forward to seeing this being an important
factor in developing the new Strategy for Health;
(3) Agreed the Service Improvement Plan contained within the report, noting that
the cost of actions contained within the plan will be met from within existing
31 PUBLICATION SCHEME – FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. The Committee was
informed of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and requested to approve the
draft Publication Scheme for submission to the Information Commissioner by 31 December. The
Committee approved the draft scheme set out in the Annexe to the report for submission to the
Information Commissioner, subject to minor redrafting of a paragraph on page 2, and authorised
the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chairman, to make any further minor alterations to
the Scheme prior to its submission.
32 BEST VALUE REVIEW OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – OPERATION COURTIER.
The Committee was advised of the results from the experimental “Operation Courtier” scheme
which had taken place in Ewell Court Ward and gave consideration to widening the scheme to
allow other Councillors to adopt the process for their wards should they so wish. The Committee
heard a representation from a local resident who felt that the scheme did not justify the
expenditure on it. The Committee noted the consultation process that had taken place and agreed
that the exercise had been worthwhile. However the Committee did not feel that it was
appropriate to use Council funding in order to extend the scheme to other wards. It was felt that
if other Councillors wished to implement a similar scheme, they should do so without relying on
33 CONSULTATION STRATEGY. The Committee considered a draft Consultation Strategy, the
need for which had been identified in the Best Value Review of Community Engagement. A
local resident made a verbal representation in support of the proposals. The Committee
welcomed the Strategy and agreed to adopt it subject to amendments to include:
A reference to the value of putting both sides of an argument in relevant cases;
The addition of Ethnic/Minority groups in paragraph 6 of the draft;
The deletion of the second and third paragraphs on page 4 of the draft.
The Committee also requested that consideration be given to the establishment of a standing “E-
Panel” when the Strategy is next revised.
34 HOUSING BENEFITS – ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATION GRANT FOR STAFFING. The
Committee was informed of changes to welfare benefits from April 2003, the impact on local
authority benefit administration and asked for approval to staffing changes funded by specific
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council
30 Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee, 26 November 2002
grant. The Committee received the report and endorsed the proposal to fully utilise the additional
administration grant to fund staffing in the benefits section over the next three years.
35 CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2003/04. The Committee considered a report setting out the capital
expenditure monitoring position for 2002/03 and reviewing and updating the current approved
capital programme. It was agreed:
(1) To note the current year monitoring position for all capital schemes;
(2) To recommend to Council the rescheduled capital programme as set out in Annexe 3 to the
(3) To support the inclusion of urgent works identified in the corporate Asset Management Plan for
inclusion in the 2003/04 capital programme, subject to funding being identified;
(4) That all Priority 1 Disabled Access works (to a maximum of £203,000) be included in the
2003/04 capital programme, subject to funding being identified.
36 OUTSTANDING REFERENCES. The Committee noted the matters refered to officers
outstanding as at 18 November 2002.
37 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC. Under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government
Act 1972, the Committee passed a resolution to exclude the public from the meeting for Part Two
of the Agenda on the grounds that the business involved the likely disclosure of exempt
information as defined in Paragraphs 8 and 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) to the Act.
38 HOPE LODGE. The Committee considered the proposed sale of the property known as Hope
Lodge and proposals for its future use. It was agreed to recommend:
A. (a) that Hope Lodge be released for disposal, and
(b) that vacant space within the Old Town Hall, formerly occupied by East Elmbridge
and Mid-Surrey PCT, be offered at an open market rent to the charitable tenants
displaced from Hope Lodge.
B. That a decision be made at Council, in the light of the best information then available, as
agreed with the Chairmen of Strategy & Resources and Social Committees, as to whether
to dispose of the property on the open market or to waive Standing Orders to facilitate
negotiations with Rosebery Housing Group.
39 1 BLENHEIM ROAD. The Committee gave consideration to a report on the marketing of the
former TS Foxhounds building at 1 Blenheim Road. It was agreed to recommend:
C. That the sale be approved of the land/buildings known as 1 Blenheim Road, subject to
planning consent, as set out in the Officer’s report.
The meeting ended at 10.20pm.
EBER A KINGTON
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council