Agenda and minutes

Strategic Planning & Environment Overview & Scrutiny - Tuesday, 6th December, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 314 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.


The minutes from the last meeting were approved and signed by the Chair. 



Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Anderson, Wilkie, Wyatt-Lowe and Banks



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest


Public Participation


There was no public participation


Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to Call-In





Action Points from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 8 KB


The Chair advised that all actions were complete.


It was noted that the Housing and Community Overview and Scrutiny meeting was not quorate and Cllr Wyatt-Lowe was asked to move the Housing meeting.


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe left the meeting


Joint Budget Report pdf icon PDF 730 KB

Additional documents:


TPugh presented the Environment Overview, noting that the two most significant areas of the budget are garden waste and depot transformation. On garden waste, it was noted that Cabinet approved the move to a subscription-based service for 2023-24 with an assumption of an initial 30% take-up and that customers will be charged £46 per annum, resulting in an income of around £650k in the next financial year. The subscription will go live at the beginning of January on the DBC website and communication will be sent to residents. The garden waste service starts on 27th February 2023 and collections will only be taken from those who have subscribed and paid the fee.


Looking at depot transformation, TPugh noted the £134k reduction in costs that is projected for next year, which is made up of salary and transport costs through a focus on route optimisation as this was last reviewed in 2014 and a significant number of changes since then. Proposals for new rounds are being discussed with supervisors to ensure these are being sense-checked before going into more formal proposals. There will be several phases to the transformation and work will also include Clean Safe and Green as well as Commercial services to help better improve income.


The Chair asked if the depot transformation would be coming to Scrutiny. TPugh stated that he was unsure though he understood that it had been previously discussed at Scrutiny.


The Chair asked for further clarification on how the £134k saving would be achieved. TPugh advised that optimising would ensure they run fewer rounds and run rounds more efficiently with fewer vehicles and crew. Given that a number of the crew are agency staff, this will provide an opportunity to reduce the number of agency staff hired.


Cllr Taylor suggested it would be better to optimise rounds once the garden waste subscription scheme has been brought in. TPugh advised that they will operate the same garden waste rounds initially until they understand take up, and towards the end of the garden waste season, an assessment will be completed on demand and expectations for the following year before making round optimisations.


Cllr Timmis noted that a number of residents have already commented on the garden waste subscription and asked if residents can pay a pro rata payment if they want to start using the scheme later in the year. It was confirmed that this would not be offered.


Cllr Timmis confirmed that residents in receipt of benefits would receive a £10 reduction on the garden waste subscription and would therefore pay £35 per annum.


It was noted that whilst residents can sign up to the garden waste at any point of the year, the cost will remain the same. The Chair stated that this should help incentivise residents to sign up at the beginning of the year.


Cllr Timmis referred to comments from residents and asked if St. Albans offer a collection all year round. TPugh stated that he was unsure and that other authorities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 331 KB


The Chair noted the size of the programme for January. It was advised that the KPI item may be moved to February.


In response to a report on the digital strategy, it was noted that a report was not planned. The Chair advised that this would go through Finance and Resources. It was advised that there are a number of work streams that sit beneath the transformation and digital strategy, and whilst some relate to planning, they are primarily related to software and making systems more efficient so there was no intention to bring a report to the Committee. It was agreed a general update on the work underway as part of this strategy could be provided. The Chair asked if this would be included under the quarterly performance update. It was agreed that the work could be expanded upon as part of the digitalisation update in the quarterly report. It was stated that an update on how this will affect the core areas covered by the Committee would be beneficial. It was confirmed that this is not yet on the Finance and Resources Work Programme and it was agreed that the item would be looked at further. The Chair added that councillors could also attend Finance and Resources meetings and that any items of relevance could be brought to the Committee. It was stated that strategies under the master strategy should highlight how officers will drive a better or more efficient service.


Cllr Timmis referred to her request at the last meeting regarding acronyms and asked if they could also include items on climate change given that the Committee also focuses on the environment. The Chair confirmed that each report should have its own set of acronyms listed. LFowell confirmed that she could include the words when officers provide the Work Programme.


Cllr Beauchamp commented that he had attended the Water Resources South East Board as chaired by Affinity and Thames Water where he asked if they would be prepared to speak to borough councils. Cllr Beauchamp confirmed that he would send details of key contacts once the minutes have been released so that the Committee can invite them. The Chair confirmed that if there is capacity for this subject then they can be included within the Work Programme.


Cllr England asked if there is a regular way to discuss recycling over the years, noting that there is not an annual recycling assessment. Cllr England referred to a previous request from Cllr Hobson on an investigation into recycling. It was noted that councillors went on a tour to see what happens to recycling and that it would be useful to know what is now happening to recycling.


The Chair stated that he is keen for the Work Programme to include items that members want to cover and that he is happy to speak to officers to look into this further.


There being no further business, the Chair closed the meeting at 8:56pm.


ACTION: Further update on digitalisation to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.