West Berkshire Council

Agenda and minutes

Contact: Moira Fraser / Jo Reeves 

Items
No. Item

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 28 September 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 28 September 2020 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman.

21.

Declarations of Interest

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration, and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members’ Interests, the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

22.

Notice of Public Speaking and Questions

To note those agenda items which have received an application for public speaking. The Partnership welcomes questions from members of the public about their work.

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Partnership or an item which is on the agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact Democratic Services.

Minutes:

No public questions were submitted to the meeting.

23.

Future Plan

To detail future items that the Committee will be considering.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Future Plan be noted.

24.

Fee Policy for Relevant Protected Sites under Caravan Sites and Mobile Homes Legislation pdf icon PDF 371 KB

To provide the Joint Public Protection Committee with an update to the Fee Policy for Relevant Protected sites, following on from the Private Sector Housing Policy presented to the JPPC September 2020 meeting, and to seek authority from the Committee to go out to consultation with Licensees.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda Item 6). The report provided an update to the Fee Policy for Relevant Protected Sites, following on from the Private Sector Housing Policy presented to Committee in September 2020. Authority was sought to go out to consultation with Licensees.

Rosalynd Gater, Commercial Team Manager, introduced the report. She informed the Committee that if Members were minded to approve the report the caravan site licensees would be consulted and the outcome of that consultation would be brought back to the next meeting for approval prior to changes being implemented from 1 April 2021.

The changes proposed to the fee policy were as follows:

The annual fees for sites were currently £14 per unit. This was based on Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) guidance. This guidance gave two options for setting annual fees. Option one was a set fee per hour (the existing scheme). Option two was a calculation that was based on a national set time to administer the site license and for the inspection of the sites. The fee for this second option was a combination of these two elements, multiplied by the hourly rate of the service which would equate to £59 per hour.

Ms Gater referred to benchmarking data. This found that option was more closely aligned with the charging mechanism used by other local authorities. However, the analysis found that while option two would benefit larger sites, it would result in the fees for smaller sites increasing. The majority of sites within the PPP area were smaller and therefore option one was recommended as this was the fairer option. Option one would also achieve a higher level of income.

The fee for new site licences was £440 for the licence itself and £16 per unit. It was also proposed, based on the benchmarking data and DCLG guidance, that the £16 per unit would be capped for sites with up to 200 units. Only three sites in the PPP were currently in excess of 200 units and therefore, not many sites would be affected by the change.

Ms Gater explained that the previous separate fees for variation of licence and alteration of licence had had been amalgamated and was proposed at £59 per hour (the hourly rate for the officer). This could cover a wide range of different alterations.

Clarity was then provided on the process to be followed for non-payment and non-compliance including enforcement. In cases of non-payment, an application would be made to a first-tier tribunal for an order that required payment. If payment was not met within three months an order would be submitted to the tribunal to revoke the site license. 

Ms Gater concluded by stating that the next step was to send out the fee policy to caravan site licensees for comment subject to the approval of these proposals by the Committee.

Councillor Parry Batth thanked Ms Gater for her very comprehensive presentation.

Councillor Chris Bowring asked why fees were being set for 2021-22 when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Surveillance and implementation of RIPA within the PPP pdf icon PDF 337 KB

The Joint Management Board requested an update on the subject following external audits of the partner authorities by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO).

To follow up on feedback from senior officers across each of the 3 partners that this process (external audit) could be improved if there was a greater collective understanding of how officers in the PPP may use the methods and powers incorporated under the relevant legislation and associated policy.

To circulate information about body worn cameras and CCTV for enforcement purposes.

To highlight the work of the National Anti-Fraud Network and how it links to the PPP.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda Item 7) which provided an update on the subject following external audits of the partner authorities by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO).

The report was in follow up to feedback from senior officers across each of the three partners that the external audit process could be improved if there was a greater collective understanding of how officers in the PPP might use the methods and powers incorporated under the relevant legislation and associated policy.

The report also provided information about body worn cameras and CCTV for enforcement purposes. The work of the National Anti-Fraud Network and how it linked with the PPP was also highlighted within the report.

Paul Anstey, Head of Public Protection and Culture, presented the report. He explained that as part of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), each of the three partner authorities were audited externally by the IPCO. The audit considered the policies in place and how they were implemented. The IPCO sought to ensure that local authorities were acting and using RIPA powers appropriately, for example in the use of cameras in operations, either body worn or CCTV. This was an area with strict codes of practice to be followed.

The PPP engaged with the National Anti-Fraud Network. This provided a level of expertise and oversight across relevant areas of activity.

The three audits held were largely complimentary. It was noted that the PPP helped its local authorities to upskill relevant officers. An example of this was the work done in relation to online trading via social networks. This helped to ensure that officers were conducting investigations on a proportionate basis. There were internal checks and balances to ensure that data collected from operations was treated securely and sensitively, i.e. data gained from telephone records. A clear audit trail was produced.

The PPP in its day to day work had to ensure that it was covering all of the bases and that added to the reason for retaining inhouse expertise around case management. The report also indicated who the key people were who need to be aware of clear audit trail.

Mr Anstey concluded by stating that the PPP conducted its work professionally. The PPP had established a good reputation and had an excellent track record in using the RIPA powers. The PPP’s prosecutions had a 100% success rate when using RIPA powers.

Councillor Chris Bowring referred to the IPCO findings given in the report and queried if there was awareness of the PPP as the findings related to individual local authorities. Mr Anstey gave an assurance that there was awareness. He explained that the audits took place for each individual Council as a whole and was not solely concerned with PPP activity. The PPP assisted with the wider work of local authorities, i.e. on surveillance activity.

Sean Murphy, Public Protection Manager, stated that while responsibilities fell to the individual councils, there was a common thread across the three authorities. He had been involved in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

PPP Covid-19 Response and Service Update pdf icon PDF 527 KB

To provide the Joint Public Protection Committee with an update on the service response to Covid19.

To provide an update on other service delivery matters including performance.

To provide an update on the work of the case management unit as requested at the last JPPC meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda Item 8) which provided the Committee with updates on the service response to Covid-19, other service delivery matters including performance and the work of the case management unit as requested at the last JPPC.

Sean Murphy, Public Protection Manager, presented the report which provided the third update since April 2020. In that time, there had been various different regulations and tiers to be followed and these were taken forward as part of the service response, most particularly with businesses.

Performance data showed the changes experienced to volumes of work and the impact on response times. It was the expectation that improvements would be made, where needed, by year end.

The information provided on the Case Management Unit gave an indication of the work that had been undertaken and the outcomes achieved. Cost information was difficult to provide as this differed on a case by case basis.

Communications activity was outlined in the report. For example, the PPP website had proved very useful and had become the ‘go to’ place for information for businesses and the public.

Mr Murphy proposed the addition of a further recommendation that the Joint Management Board be given oversight of service prioritisation when considering the potential for a number of changing factors as a result of Covid-19.

Councillor James Cole gave thanks for the case management information. The Case Management Unit was clearly useful and he looked forward to seeing more information in due course.

Councillor Hilary Cole took the opportunity to thank the PPP’s officers for their outstanding work. She particularly drew attention to the close working arrangements with Public Health during the Pandemic.

RESOLVED to note:

·         the role the PPP were playing across the councils with respect to Covid-19 response;

·         the status of non-Covid related service delivery including the Q2 performance report; and

·         the update on the Case Management Unit.

RESOLVED that a further update would be received at the March 2021 meeting on progress.

RESOLVED to delegate to the Joint Management Board the oversight of service prioritisation in light of the prevailing pressures on the service as a result of the need to have a dynamic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

27.

Any other items the Chairman considers to be urgent

Minutes:

No urgent items were raised.