Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 8th May, 2019 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Cathy Hayward, Committee Services Officer  Tel: 020 8770 4990, Email:


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chair, Councillor Colin Stears, welcomed those present.



Apologies for absence and notifications of substitutes



Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mo Saqib



Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes for the meeting 6 February 2019.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 February 2019 be agreed as an accurate record.



Declarations of interest


For item 5:


Councillor Jill Whitehead declared she was Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee on 15 September 2016 and, as part of that Committee, took part in the decision to consult on the Parking Strategy but is able to approach item 5 with an open mind.  


Councillor Jillian Green declared she is a member of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee.


For item 6:


Councillor Sam Weatherlake declared he is a member of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee.



Parking: The process and methodology used in communication with residents pdf icon PDF 141 KB

The Chair of the Scrutiny has asked officers to review resident engagement and communications regarding the parking strategy consultation.


This reports sets out the consultation process followed for the Parking Strategy.



Additional documents:


Parking: The process and methodology used in communication with residents - Questions from Residents pdf icon PDF 58 KB



Indicative time: 20 minutes


Parking: The process and methodology used in communication with  residents - Questions from Residents 


Question 1: asked by Sandra Ackland, Controlled Parking Residents Forum


In light of the fact your council meetings are being heavily attended by concerned residents are you able to review the way you run them? Residents are currently being limited to between 100 and 120 per meeting and this system is run as a ticket on the door, first come first serve basis. This is not working. Residents that want to come are put off from attending as they do not want to arrive to then be turned away, especially if they are paying for parking or coming in via public transport. Could the system be changed so that anyone that wants to attend can email in with their name and address and they can put on a list of attendees so that they are guaranteed a seat at each meeting? This will not only mean that you will have a clear idea of exactly how many people will attend but it will also guarantee residents that they would not have a wasted journey.


Jessica Crowe, Assistant Director - Customers, Commissioning and Governance  suggested that the Council could investigate applications such as Eventbrite as a method of allocating seats to meetings when it is known there is a high level of public interest. Further investigation would be needed to ensure that those without access to online methods were not excluded, and that seats were not held for people who did not attend.  Previously overflow rooms have been used for broadcast, in addition to the ticketing used and to date no member of the public has been turned away from a Council meeting. Venues used have been within the constraints of availability and suitability for holding public meetings. 

It is recognised that there are improvements which could be considered around arrangements for the meetings if a large attendance is expected.


Question 2: asked by Wendy Smith 


The Council claim to have consulted with residents in stages 1 and 2 but appear to have relied on non-descript flyers, the internet and drop in sessions held during working hours, excluding anyone who works or has no access to the internet . Would it not have been more effective for our local councillors to have held meetings in each ward to discuss the issues and proposals with the residents of that ward before stage 2 was published? The needs of properties adjacent to a train station or hospital will be very different from those near a school or sports ground. A borough-wide approach has resulted in a tremendous amount of distrust and antagonism.


Martin Szybut, Head of Communications and Engagement explained that hard copies of parking consultation information were posted to 43,000 homes, in addition the consultation was promoted on line, at Local Committees and by face to face meetings with Councillors. 


There has been learning taken from this consultation, including the suggestion that the time period between  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32a


Parking: The process and methodology used in communication with residents - Questions from Members of the Committee pdf icon PDF 56 KB


Indicative time: 20 minutes


Question 1: asked by Councillor Sam Weatherlake


There have been many comments from residents to the effect that either they did not receive the letters informing them of the various stages of the consultation, or that the appearance of the envelopes failed to convey their real importance. Assuming that Royal Mail did deliver the survey as contracted, did the Council take professional advice on the presentation of the letters to ensure that they would be noticed and opened?"


The Head of Communications and Engagement said that Royal Mail had been used to deliver the hard copies of the consultation who state they have a 98.4% delivery rate, which is a gold standard within the industry. The letters were branded with ‘important information about parking’. 


Question 2: asked by Councillor Annie Moral


Could we in future form a Task and Finish Group for all consultations involving more than a thousand residents, comprised of residents, Officers ,and Councillors. To ensure we are targeting, and collating information correctly to achieve the best outcome.


The Assistant Director - Customers, Commissioning and Governance outlined the methods used for consultations carried out by the Council, which often included this kind of approach: for example the recent carers strategy consultation included a reference group involving stakeholders including carers. It was recognised that the most appropriate method used for each consultation varies but that this point could be taken on board.


Question 3: asked by Councillor Param Nandha


What lessons have been learned from St Helier and other wards, and how are you or what measures are taken to improve more engagement with residents to increase response rate?


The Head of Communications and Engagement explained that learning had been taken from the first stages of this consultation, and the Council are aware that the demographic of the population of each ward varies, and engagement methods must vary.  For example it is known that in some wards residents are less able to access online methods, and whatever methods are used they will always need to balance costs and resources available. The Council welcomes any and all suggestions as to practical ways of improving engagement and increasing feedback.


Question 4: asked by Councillor Edward Joyce


What is the likely timeline for the completion of the consultation in those wards which are not leading the consultation process?


Matthew Hill, Assistant Director, Highways, Transport and Regulatory Services outlined that it is planned that the consultation process is put on hold for both areas 2 and 3 at the moment to enable area 1 to be fully completed.  Stage 2 consultation for area 2, and stage 1 for area 3 will start in the autumn.


Question 5: asked by Councillor Elliot Colburn 


Is the Council confident that all posted communications regarding the parking strategy reached residents?


The Head of Communications and Engagement felt the use of Royal Mail had been the correct choice of delivery provider, as it separated the correspondence from ‘pizza leaflets’ and gave a single point of contact for enquiries  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32b


Question and Answer Session with the Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee

A question and answer session from members of the Scrutiny Committee to the Chair of Housing, Economy and Business Committee.


Indicative time: 40 minutes



Councillor Jayne McCoy attended the Committee to respond to questions in her role as Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee and Councillor David Bartolucci in his role as Lead Member for Revenues and Benefits.


Questions answered by Councillor Jayne McCoy


Question 1: asked by Councillor Jill Whitehead


Could you let us know what is being done to retain and improve the vitality of local High Streets in our district centres in Sutton, which have been suffering from the effects of the economic downturn and a change in people's shopping habits? The Local Plan pledged to protect our local district centres but what is being done in practical terms to do this, bearing in mind the number of empty shops in several local high streets?


There have been changes in shopping habits and business models of high street shops resulting in a move to online shopping in recent years. The Council has responded with the development of the Town Centre Masterplan, as high streets now have a changing to role, moving to provide a leisure experience. In the long term the Council aims to attract investment to the High Street, and also develop the Council’s portfolio which can help manage the types of shops located in the High Street.


In the short term improvements such as markets are being used to support keeping the High Street vibrant, and changes to the layout of Worcester Park High Street have made it more attractive.  


Question 2: asked by Councillor Param Nandha


During your time, thinking about regeneration projects, what lessons have you learned in terms of the ingredients for successful future town centre regeneration?


Learning has been that Sutton must market itself promoting what is on offer and available in the area. There is a need to work with developers regarding design and not offering support to developments which may blight the area for the future.    


Question 3: asked by Councillor Edward Joyce


How can the council work best with the voluntary sector to alleviate the problem of homelessness.


Homelessness does  not only include rough sleepers, but also those in temporary accommodation. Encompass’s work has included homelessness prevention supporting  homeless residents and those at risk of homelessness, working with social housing providers, private landlords, and housing associations. A problem in the area is the lack of affordable housing. 


Question 4: asked by Councillor Elliot Colburn


The new local plan needs to re-evaluate its provision of gypsy and traveller site provision and submit plans to the Inspector by 2022/23. When will the Council begin looking at this again?


The Local Plan is required to review the requirement for sites. In addition provision at the current site, remains under review.


Question 5: asked by Councillor Neil Garratt


Has Sutton Living met the aspirations you had for it when it was being set up?


The aim of Sutton Living was to deliver housing  the private sector was not able to provide, this has been slower than planned and has met various difficulties.  An aim  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


South Area Policing Plans pdf icon PDF 131 KB

A report prepared by South Area Commander, Dave Stringer, providing an overview of knife crime incidents across the BCU.


Commander Stringer will also provide a verbal update on aspects of the policing service under the new organisational model.


Indicative time: 30 minutes


Additional documents:


South Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer presented the report.


Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer explained that the Beddington North Safer Neighbourhoods team are no longer based in Beddington  but in Sutton. They team travel by public transport to the Beddington area daily and that a base within the area is being sought. 


In discussion Members heard that response rates remain high. The South Area Commander acknowledged drugs and making money from Sutton residents via drugs is an area of work for the team. There is information sharing and enforcement between agencies around issues such as drugs, knife crime and gangs.


In discussion the Members noted the police are aware that a burglary was likely to be  the most serious crime residents would experience in their lives, and that any evidence from burglary reported  would be followed up. The Police aim to target burglary over the next few months.       



Street Cleaning: Review of the arrangements of the management of the contract and performance of the street cleaning service pdf icon PDF 215 KB

This report provides detail on the management and performance of the Street Cleaning service.


Indicative time: 40 minutes

Additional documents:


Andrew Chandler, Head of Waste and Street Cleansing presented the report.


The Head of Waste and Street Cleansing acknowledged concerns that the street cleaning contract is not providing the results in all areas as expected, he asked that Councillors report issues they are aware of in their wards. The current contract is an output based contract, as such the contractor can not be held to a schedule.  


In discussion members heard that the Council is in commercial discussions with the contractor, when these discussions have been completed, the Neighbourhood Services team have agreed to attend Local Committees. Discussions at the Local Committees can not consider changes to the contract, which would have to be presented to a Standing Committee. By attendance at Local Committees the Neighbourhood Services team would gather information and intelligence about local areas. The Neighbourhood Services team have worked with other teams such as Planning and Regulatory Services to address issues relating to litter bins.


The Head of Waste and Street Cleansing informed the Committee there was a plan in place to force improvement.     



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Topics and issues for possible consideration in the next cycle.


Indicative time: 5 minutes


Members of the committee reviewed the workplan and will inform the Chair of any additional items they wish to be included, or if they wish to amend the order of the items on the workplan


The theme of domestic violence was suggested for consideration for the workplan for 2019/20. 



Any urgent business

Urgent items at the discretion  of the Chair - To consider any items which, in the view of the Chair, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There was no urgent business.



Date of Next meeting

The next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is Wednesday 26 June at 7.30pm.


The date of the next meeting is 26 June 2019.

appendix to the minutes pdf icon PDF 49 KB