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					Meeting of the Strategy & Resources Committee, 26 November 2002                                      27




             Minutes of the Meeting of the STRATEGY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE
                                     held on 26 November 2002

                                        __________________

                                             PRESENT-

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
(McCarron–Heal)

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
               report.

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
     continuous improvement.

     The Committee:

               (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
                       Manor Park.

     (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
                  Road.

                                                                           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
                         budgets.

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
       Council funds.

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
       report;
       (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
                                                                                               Chairman




                                                                              Epsom & Ewell Borough Council

				
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