Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 9th October, 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



There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of interest


For item 5 and 7 of the agenda Councillor Elliott Colburn, declared he is employed by the South West London Health and Care Partnership.


For item 6 Councillor Jill Whitehead declared she was Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee in 2015 when the Flood Risk Strategy was agreed.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 8 May and 26 June 2019.

Additional documents:




that the minutes of the meetings held on 26 June and 8 May be agreed as an accurate record.


Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust Ongoing oversight

Indicative timing: 45 minutes

 Report to follow


Introduction to new Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust Chair

Introduction to Gillian Norton the new Chair of Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust.


Gillian Norton introduced herself as the newly appointed Chair of the Board of the Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust (ESTH) and explained the role was an invited post, but that her role at St George’s hospital had been subject to competitive interview.  She would be continuing in the role as Chairman of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and become a Chairman in Common for both organisations. Invited posts are now a common NHS appointment process nationally. The Chair of the Board included that her previous roles in local government, and the role at St George’s hospital meant she had an understanding of services provided by partners such as local authorities and their links to hospitals.


Members asked about the remaining financial deficit reported by the Epsom and St Helier Trust, The Chair of the Board explained that the deficit was a structural deficit which was being tackled. She also outlined the role of the Chair of the Board compared to the role of the Chief Executive. 


The Chair suggested that her roles at both ESHT and St George’s hospital allowed experiences and learning to be shared between the organisations.


Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust Clinical and Financial Performance Update pdf icon PDF 75 KB

A report prepared by Epsom and St Helier Trust regarding their finance and performance.

Additional documents:


Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive, Epsom and St Helier Trust presented the report.


Members raised issues of poor accessible access to the Davis Unit located behind Ferguson House. The Chief Executive, Epsom and St Helier Trust acknowledged the issue.


Members asked if the areas reported as rated as lower than good in the recent CQC inspection report was a result of issues relating to the estate. The Chief Executive explained the criteria used to provide the rating, and suggested for the area of critical care and surgery estate was an issue, but staffing levels remained an issue in A&E services. Recruitment remains challenging to non major trauma centres such as ESHT and that there was ongoing work to address this issue.


The  Chief Executive explained that the levels of cesarean births reported at ESHT although rising was not a national outlier, and related in part to patient choice.


Members heard that the steam powered boilers were being replaced by gas powered boilers which would result in heating being more controllable across the site.


Members asked about reports of possible strike action by ambulance staff. The Chief Executive explained that ESHT was in negotiation with the unions and was meeting with staff regarding pay and conditions for ambulance staff and the aim was that these staff would receive at least the London Living wage.  He mentioned that both staff and patients had provided positive feedback about the vehicles and that the numbers of patients who had arrived for appointments on time had increased.


Members asked about concerns they had heard from local residents regarding the recent sale of land at the Epsom site and the poor value achieved by the sale. The Chief Executive explained the process followed to achieve the sale of this land. The ESHT had made a commitment that the land when sold would be used for social or elderly care. The Chief Executive added that income from the sale had allowed additional investment at the Epsom site. He reported he was confident the sale had been the best possible within the constraints.


Members asked questions about detail within the report provided, and the Chief Executive provided additional information and explanation.




The report be noted.


Flood Risk Management pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Sutton Council is designated as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) under the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010, and is required to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management within the borough. Sutton Council’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) and associated Action Plan was published in June 2015.


This report provides the annual summary of progress against the Action Plan


Indicative timing: 30minutes

Additional documents:


Members asked about areas of the borough where residents had reported problems obtaining insurance and ongoing issues due to flooding. The Flood Risk Officer explained that the Council’s role included ensuring the gullies were maintained and that Thames Water would also check their asset in the area. The Flood Risk Officer agreed to report back to Members about these areas.


Members drew attention to a discrepancy in the data on the number of properties at risk of flood provided in the report. The Flood Risk Officer agreed to investigate and agreed he would report back to the Committee.


The Flood Risk Officer explained that the gullies were maintained by the Council’s Neighbourhood Services team, clearing should take place every two years. He requested that if Members became aware of blocked gullies they report the issue.


Members asked about the two areas of the borough, Wallington Bridge and Worcester Park which were areas of known flood risk.  The Flood Risk Officer reported that there are projects for both sites being prepared for submission to the Environment Agency and provided details of progress of the projects.


Ed Clarke, Environment Agency outlined the process for obtaining funding for flood projects nationally and regionally.


In relation to climate change and flood risk the Flood Risk Officer reported that he reviews the Planning applications for major schemes, he reviewed flood risk and how it would be managed, considering climate change and frequency of events when completing the assessment.  


Carl Leadbetter, Thames Water, reported that wet wipes and fat in the sewers had become an increasing issue over the years, and that there was work underway to support changes in behavior to address the problem.   Thames Water will be undertaking work in targeted areas in November.




that the Action Plan comments at appendix C of the report be noted.


NHS Sutton CCG GP contract five-year framework pdf icon PDF 78 KB

A report from NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on the work they are doing as part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan to deliver the five-year deal to expand GP services and develop new Primary Care Networks (PCNs).


Indicative timing: 40 minutes


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Dr Jeffery Croucher, Clinical Chair, Sutton CCG, Michelle Rahman, Deputy Director, Sutton CCG and Sian Hopkinson, Associate Director, Primary Care, Sutton CCG presented the report.


The Clinical Chair reported that the CCG had become part of the Health and Wellbeing Board, and worked closely with teams within the Local Authority such as Public Health. 


Members asked if the CCG had a view about the configuration of buildings in the area particularly in Cheam and Worcester Park. The Clinical Chair, explained that the quality of GPs in Sutton was high, but there were some issues with some parts of the estate.


Members asked about social prescribing, The Associate Director, Primary Care, Sutton CCG explained a model was being developed and noted the relationships between partners was good which would support progressing this work. She added there was work underway to develop KPIs to measure reductions created to GP workload as a result of the project. The voluntary sector are recognised as an important partner in this work.


Members drew attention to the lack of a GP practice in the Beddington North ward, it was acknowledged that residents in this area are able to access GP services, but as the services were based in Wallington this caused inconvenience for residents due to distance.      




That the report be noted.


Question and Answer session with the Lead Member for Resources

A question and answer session by Members of the Scrutiny Committee to the Lead Member for Resources.


Indicative timing: 30 minutes



Councillor Sunita Gordon attended the Committee to respond to questions in her role as Lead Member for Resources.


Question 1


Residents and Councillors alike often find it hard to navigate the Sutton Council website. What steps are being made to make it more user friendly?


The Council has a large website which she acknowledged was not great, the content is run by the Customer Services team, as this is an operational service it is not within her remit.


Question 2


Can the Lead Member update us on progress with regards to increasing digitisation of Council services. What further work is planned.  


Work is in place to improve the quality of data, upgrade fiance systems and digitalise repetitive processes. There has been a soft launch of the current digital site. There is awareness that some residents do not use digital services, and it is to ensured there remains a mixed offer.


Question 3


A number of the Council’s shared services are finding it hard to recruit staff partly because of pay rates in South West London compared to elsewhere in London, and partly skills shortage on ket areas. Are answers to grow our own staff through apprenticeships and putting more services on line to reduce headcount.   


Yes, wage levels does make it difficult to increase staff. The numbers of apprentices is increasing which creates opportunities, and there is work to upskill the current workforce.


Digitalisation may not replace staff but can be used to reduce staff time carrying out repetitive processes.


Question 4


Since setting up the Shared Finance Service with RB Kingston, what has worked well and what still needs attention, and what lessons have been learned.


The Shared Finance Service has worked well which has increased capacity. Finance is a core process in the organisation, there are process overlaps in both boroughs which has allowed reorganisation. The service remains under constant review.


Question 5


Have all the key areas for shared services been covered or are there other areas that are planned to become shared services?   


There are a range of shared services in place. There are no plans at present for any more shared services.


Question 6


A number of the Council’s key heritage buildings have been empty for a long period of time, some as far back as 2011. What is being done to find a use for them in the near future to ensure that they are not left empty for years to come? In particular what is being done to maintain the fabric of these important historic buildings whilst they are lying empty? Could they be used to encourage tourism to the area.  


The Council is constantly looking for suitable uses for its heritage buildings. The Council’s bid to be London Borough of Culture may support the possible use of these buildings to attract tourism to the area.


Question 7


How much has been spent on assets purchased this financial year and what will be the returns to the Council and will you be able  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Scrutiny Committee draft annual workplan pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Scrutiny Annual Workplan and Topics Longlist.


David Olney, Statutory Scrutiny Officer provided a verbal update.


The Chair and the Statutory Scrutiny Officer asked that members suggest topics to be added to the workplan.


It was suggested that if the Improving Healthcare Together public consultation is open at the time of the December meeting that this should form the major topic for that agenda.


It was suggested that Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) would be added to the work plan for the March meeting, and that detail for the item would be further developed prior to the meeting.


Any urgent business

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.