Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 2nd November, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

Contact: Aimee Wittams-Smith Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)  Tel: 020 8770 4171 Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence and notifications of substitutes


Apologies were received from Councillor Ali Mirhashem. The Chair also welcomed Councillor Chris Williams as a new member of Scrutiny Committee.



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2016.


The minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2016 were agreed and signed as a correct records subject to the amendment that Councillor Callum Morton was in attendance.



Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.



Order of Items


The Chair announced that she would bring forward items 6 and 7 on the agenda, as such items were discussed in the order that follows in these minutes.


Introduction to new Borough Commander

An introduction to Dave Stringer, as the new Borough Commander.


Indicative time: 5 mins + 5 mins Questions


David Stringer, Borough Commander introduced himself to the committee and took the committee through his main roles, including his specialist subjects: neighbourhood and community engagement, youth engagement, hate crime and domestic abuse.


He gave an overview of crime in Sutton, including:


·         Sutton was one of three London boroughs in the “low crime” category with low anti-social behaviour and high levels of victim satisfaction. This was also a low level of crime compared with the rest of England and Wales.

·         Agencies work together in operational partnership, in the same building.

·         Relationship between police, safer neighbourhood teams and community (neighbourhood watch) is very strong. Very strong neighbourhood watch in Sutton with almost every street in the borough covered.

·         Many officers are local to Sutton which enforces a sense of community and a strong affinity to the borough.

·         Whilst domestic abuse was high in comparison to other crime, it was an expected level for the demographic.

·         Hate crime levels were low, however engagement suggested that it was higher than figures would suggest as a crime that goes largely unreported.

·         More work to do around young offenders, and to recognise that this should cover young people up to the age of 24 as victims and suspects. Should there be an appearance of gangs or child sexual exploitation, the right interventions must be in place.


Councillor Joyce asked whether “Brexit” had caused an increase in racial hate crime. Mr Stringer responded that it was difficult to measure, however community engagement suggested that minority communities felt less “welcome” following the results of the referendum. He also informed the committee that sensitivity appeared to be much higher during the period since the referendum, and that the police were working to handle reports in a quick and robust manner. Councillor McManus asked about the causes of domestic violence, and Mr Stringer referred the committee to a vast amount of research that was available including on intergenerational abuse, alcohol and drug abuse. He also suspected that there could be links between gambling and domestic violence. Councillor Emmerson asked about increases in vehicle theft and the levels of visible police officers on the streets. Mr Stringer informed the committee that a new model was being put into place to ensure that there would be two dedicated ward officers in six wards in Sutton by the end of the year and by the end of 2017, two officers and a dedicated PCSO in every ward. Mr Stringer highlighted that the more involved and engaged Councillors were with their ward panels, the more they were able to assess feedback and reduce crime.


Councillor Mary Burstow asked whether there could be a better attendance from the Police at Licensing Sub-Committee hearings as there had not been much attendance or objections to applications recently. Mr Stringer undertook to follow this up.


Following a question from Councillor Ali, Mr Stringer informed the committee that on the whole a lot of crime goes unreported and indicated that there are a lot of ways to report crime.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Review of SSPB Annual Strategic Assessment pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To review the Safer Sutton Partnership Board (SSPB) Annual Strategic Assessment (annual report).

Indicative time: 20 mins


Chris Lyons, Community Safety Manager, presented the Sutton Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment report. Councillor Ali asked about the timeframe associated with this work in future. Chris Lyons confirmed that the next strategic assessment (to be re-named the needs assessment) was being prepared for February 2017 in order to inform the new Community Safety Strategy which will start from April 2017. 


Chris Lyons offered Scrutiny Committee members the opportunity to review the papers before they were finalised and agreed.


Chairs Q&A - Councillor Ruth Dombey (Strategy and Resources Committee)

The Chair of Strategy and Resources Committee to attend to answer questions from Scrutiny Committee members regarding the work and decisions of Strategy and Resources Committee.

Indicative time: 10mins


Councillor Ali introduced the item, which was a new constitutional arrangement whereby Scrutiny Committee would be able to take the opportunity to ask questions of the Chairs, and other key members, of decision making committees. She explained that as this was the first time this item had come to Committee, she would begin by trialling an approach similar to that used by the Mayor of London, where questions are submitted in advance to allow some preparation.


Q: What do you see as the role of the Strategy and Resources Committee? (Councillor Joyce)

A: Councillor Dombey gave a history of the decision to move to a Committee system in Sutton and referred the committee to the remit of Strategy and Resources in the Council’s Constitution, in particular to set the overall strategic direction of the council and to ensure that the budget is available to carry it out. She also highlighted that Strategy and Resources does not sit above the other decision making committees.


Q: How are cuts in local authority budgets affecting the Strategy and Resources Committee? (Councillor Ali)
A: Councillor Dombey advised that the council has a £145m budget and has had to cut £58m which will continue with a further £70m to save each year. She emphasised the requirement to manage the public’s expectations given the circumstances and highlighted that a lot of the decisions made were based on research and expertise.


Q: Do you feel that it is helpful for the S&R Committee to have such a large portfolio? Do you feel that it would be better to pass some of the portfolio to other areas? (Councillor Emmerson)

A: Councillor Dombey highlighted that although the list of the remit was very long, it did not mean other standing committees had less work, as a lot of the items on their remit were a lot of work and as such she felt that the subject areas had been divided up well and that a lot of the work that covers more than one area needed to sit within S&R for budgeting purposes.


Q: How would the Strategy and Resources Committee like to see the Scrutiny Committee develop its role? (Councillor Morton)

A: Councillor Dombey welcomed Scrutiny Committee’s movement beyond the three key scrutiny areas. She felt that the committee could scrutinise some key policy decisions each municipal year and that the forward plan could be used to see what is ahead.


Q: What are the major topics on the S&R forward plan over the next six to twelve months ? Are there any that you welcome scrutiny being involved in? (Councillor Hunt)

A: Councillor Dombey referred to the forward plan and considered that it would be helpful to work on the issues around governance in an increasingly complex landscape where decisions are made in different places and with different partners and how it all fits together.


Q: The remit of the Strategy and Resources appears vast, certainly to a relatively new councillor trying to understand  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.



The Committee will receive an update from David Williams, Chair of Healthwatch.


Indicative time: 10mins


Peter Flavell, Manager of Healthwatch Sutton (HWS) presented the action plan following their investigation of the Jubilee Health Centre (West) which is available at the following link:


Councillor Bartolucci endorsed HWS recommendation to include user suggestions in reviewing design work and Councillor Burstow expressed support for clear responsibility in the areas that HWS had highlighted. The Chair thanked HWS for all of their hard work, and Mr Flavell thanked the Scrutiny Committee for their assistance.

David Williams, Chair of HWS, updated the committee that as Sutton was part of the Southwest London Collaborative Commissioning Group (SWL CC) area, HWS had been developing ideas for action that may need to be taken once the SWL CC and NHS England’s upcoming changes were developed.   He explained the process of patient engagement undertaken by the organisation and informed the committee that HWS had a strong influence and reputation compared to other boroughs and CCGs. David Williams expected work over the coming year to be concentrated on the SWL CC’S Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), feedback received from patient surveys, developments at The Epsom and St Helier (ESTH) NHS Trust and the delegated responsibility for primary care from the CCG. Councillor Emmerson took the opportunity to express concern about the potential loss of “acute hospital” buildings through the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.


Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust to attend to discuss the written update from the Trust based on the ongoing estates review, performance of the Trust and the recent CQC inspection, in particular the progress on the action plan drafted following the report.


Indicative time: 30mins



Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive, and Tim Hamilton, Director of Communications at Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust presented an update on the performance of the Trust, the Estate Strategy and the Action Plan following the CQC inspection report discussed at the last meeting of the committee. The update included:


  • ESTH deal with three Healthwatches (Epsom, Sutton, Merton) and get the most input from Sutton
  • Epsom and Sutton hospitals remained “safe”, infection control was not on target, however staffing levels were good with over 98% of areas with the correct staff on duty.
  • Positive patient experience - changed “friends and family” test provider at start of financial year and the response rate has improved with each ward receiving a bespoke detailed feedback.
  • Delivered cancer access standards every month since April, even with an increase in referrals from GPs.
  • The trust had been the top in London for A&E for 12-13 weeks, and had been top in the country the most recent 2-3 weeks.
  • A lot of work with Sutton social services to improve delayed care and rethink the process for emergency care.
  • 18-week standard for planned care (from referral) had not been met recently due to recruitment issues in specialties such as dentistry, and an increase in referrals due to closure of units such as urogynaecology at St George's and other surrounding hospitals.
  • The only way to achieve target for making up the deficit was to sell some land, the Trust were in talks with the Council about how best to achieve this.
  • CQC action plan: 190 of the 364 actions had been completed with the rest in progress. The most important to ESTH was negotiating the capital from NHS England for fixing the outside St Helier hospital which they hoped would be in the next financial year..
  • He welcomed the transparency of the council in publishing the  draft STP and expressed that the most important part for ESTH was in the financial plan as after a lot of hard work lobbying, the Trust had got the £219m allocated to other options to be available in the ‘do- nothing’ scenario. The Trust hoped that this money could be put into refurbishing part of St Helier hospital. The other important part for ESTH was to get the best “working hypothesis” for acute sites - previous reorganisation plans have proposed having only three acute sites in South West London, but the STP is suggesting four acute sites at the best option. Daniel Elkeles was in agreement that having four acute sites is a better proposal than three.

Councillor Burstow asked whether “Brexit” had an impact on staffing and Daniel Elkeles responded that it had not yet, however the English language qualification requirement had been increased to A Level or equivalent, which nurses did not meet from European countries however those from India and the Philippines were meeting the target, as well as the benefit that nurses from these countries were trained in areas that UK nurses were not traditionally trained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Consultations investigation pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Report and recommendations from the Consultations task and finish group investigation undertaken by members of the Scrutiny Committee.


Indicative time: 10 mins

Additional documents:


Councillors Pathumal Ali and Patrick McManus presented their report following a Task and Finish group investigation on consultations, in particular the recommendations arising around clarity and feedback. An amendment was made to recommendation 9 on page 42, so that it would be:

The council should seek to improve the clarity of its consultation material and process from the outset to ensure that residents can best understand what the council is seeking to address.


Councillor Ali informed the committee that the next step was for standing committees to consider the recommendations.


Resolved that the Scrutiny Committee agreed:


  1. The recommendations of the members of the task and finish group as outlined in the report, subject to the above amendment.
  2. That arrangements would be made for the final report and recommendations to be considered by the relevant decision making committee or committees.



Any urgent business


There was no urgent business