West Berkshire Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Via Zoom

Contact: Moira Fraser 

Note: This meeting will be streamed live here from 4:00pm: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/jointpublicprotectioncommitteelive 

Items
No. Item

28.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 315 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 15 December 2020.

Minutes:

(Vice-Chairman in the Chair)

The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 December 2020 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman.

29.

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:

(Chairman in the Chair)

There were no declarations of interest received.

30.

Notice of Public Speaking and Questions

While the Partnership welcomes questions from members of the public about their work no applications have been received for the public to speak on items not included on this agenda.

Subject to meeting certain timescales up to thirty minutes is set aside on the agenda for questions which 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.

31.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 168 KB

To consider items for inclusion on future agendas.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Forward Plan be noted.

32.

PPP Covid-19 Response and Service Update 3 pdf icon PDF 675 KB

Purpose: To provide the Joint Public Protection Committee with an update on the service response to Covid19 as well as an update on other service delivery matters including performance and an update on the work of the Case Management Unit.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda item 6).  The report provided an update on the service response to Covid-19 as well as an update on other service delivery matters including performance and an update on the work of the Case Management Unit. 

Sean Murphy, Public Protection Manager, introduced the report and informed the Committee that within the terms of the agreement there was a clear accountability for Members to keep under review the performance and work of the service.  He noted that this was not a full performance report. The yearend performance report would be brought to the June 2021 meeting.

Mr Murphy asked Members to note the impact in terms of lost income for the period April 2020 to February 2021 from licence receipts was lower than previously thought and was estimated to be around £70K. This loss was primarily from taxi and private hire sectors and the closure of some licenced premises and other establishments and businesses. In terms of staffing the report showed that the service had around 18 agency and casual or temporary staff though the number of FTE was substantially less than that  The service was now fully staffed with the recent recruitment of Moira Fraser to the role of Principal Officer for Policy and Governance.

Local Covid 19 Response

It was noted that the service had received 11,155 substantive service requests for support together with a further 4,500 plus referrals that came from the national system that related to trading standards.  Of the 11,155 service requests, over 1,700 of them related directly to Covid 19 and included requests for advice from businesses or referrals from members of the public raising concerns about the way a business was operating. There had been a significant increase in relation to service requests around bonfires, licencing, nuisance and fly-tipping. 

In relation to Covid-19, each local authority had been required to update its local outbreak control plan and the Public Protection Partnership had contributed to that work. The work fell into four areas, firstly business compliance, the investigation of out breaks, contact tracing and finally targeted work in specific settings.

  • The period from December to January and early February saw a significant number of reports of outbreaks coming into the service and the investigation of those reports led to a significant increase in work for the service.
  • Weekday local contact tracing for West Berkshire was carried out as well as weekend contact tracing for West Berkshire and Wokingham which had since been extended to include Bracknell. The service was also working with all three local authorities to look at how the enhancement of the local contact tracing role would be delivered going forward.
  • Some of the targeted work included work carried out in care settings in West Berkshire at the request of the Council and also in relation to early years and learning disability settings where work was carried out across all three local authorities. Retail and other workplace settings remained under constant review to see what tailored advice  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

PPP DEFRA Grant Funded Air Quality Project pdf icon PDF 375 KB

Purpose: To set out the details of the Air Quality Project proposed by the Public Protection Partnership for which West Berkshire Council (on behalf of the Partnership) have been awarded £259,406 from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda item 7).  The report set out the details of the Air Quality Project proposed by the PPP for which West Berkshire Council (on behalf of the Partnership) had been awarded £259,406 from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Anna Smy, Strategic Manager, West Berkshire, presented the report which included a copy of the air quality newsletter which set out the work the team were doing, which they had continued to deliver during lockdown. Lockdown had presented an opportunity to look at the impact that changes in traffic levels had during this time.  The team were looking to reflect on what lessons could be learned from this by liaising with Highways Officers around traffic flow.  The team were currently expanding the details of the project plan and looking to submit a report to the West Berkshire Procurement Board before looking at a supplier for the monitoring equipment which made up about 50% of the budget that had been awarded.  In addition, there was funding for an Officer to support the service in delivering significant elements of the work. The Officer would be supported by colleagues in the Environmental Quality Team. The Joint Management Board would be updated on progress and there would be a Project Board with input from each authority. 

Ms Smy advised Members that air quality across all three areas was generally good though there were localised areas where the pollutant nitrogen dioxide had been identified as above the Government’s air quality objective and it had been necessary to declare air quality management areas.  The action plans which had resulted from this provided cross-Council solutions to improve the local air quality and due to their locations, they were also focused on traffic and vehicle related measures.  The grant would enable the group to look beyond the existing scope and monitoring to contribute to the wider national strategy as well as local issues. 

Ms Smy advised that the purpose of the project was to understand the true picture of the pollutant PM2.5 which included tyre debris and brake dust and which was 200 times smaller than a grain of sand.  Ms Smy added that PM2.5 could be breathed in and get lodged in the lungs as well as travel to other organs in the body.  Pollutant levels nationally had been relatively stable since 2009, e.g. nitrogen dioxide had naturally decreased due to improved vehicles and greener fleets but PM2.5 had plateaued.

Currently, only indicative maps were available to help assess the implications across the area which suggested the highest levels of exposure were between 11 and 12 micrograms per metre cubed compared to the WHO goal of 10 micrograms as an exposure level.  Ms Smy clarified that the purpose of the grant as stated by DEFRA was to provide support to develop and/or implement measures that delivered air quality benefits in the near future (one to two years).  The project would focus on developing solutions over the longer term by increasing awareness  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

The Future of the Public Protection Partnership - Outline response to Wokingham Borough Council's Executive Decision pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Purpose: To outline the response of West Berkshire Council and Bracknell Forest Borough Council, to the paper presented by the Chief Executive of Wokingham Borough Council recommending that all functions currently governed through the Joint Public Protection Committee and delivered by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) would be brought back in-house to Wokingham and to provide an overview of options available to the West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest Councils to ensure any operational and financial risks are appropriately managed.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report (Agenda item 8).  The report was presented by Paul Anstey, Head of Public Protection and Culture, and outlined the response of West Berkshire Council and Bracknell Forest Council to the paper presented by the Chief Executive of Wokingham Borough Council recommending that all functions currently governed through the Joint Public Protection Committee (JPPC) and delivered by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) would be brought back in-house to Wokingham.

The report set out the work that needed to be done and provided some context and scale as to the financial implications.  Mr Anstey said the three Councils were working in partnership to make this a positive experience though it was inevitable there would be discussions in the future where there might be slight differences of opinion.  There were risks associated within the process and the timescales for this were important to adhere to in order to cause minimum disruption to all parties and hopefully minimise all risks that had been identified as a result of the decision. The outcome of the process would be to define the terms of how Wokingham wanted to operate their service and to make sure West Berkshire and Bracknell were clear in their position about how they wished the Partnership to move forward beyond the time at which Wokingham exited.

The report aimed to clarify that communications and relationships in managing the process were strong and clear and that communication to the staff was going to be imperative to the success of the service in the longer term.  Mr Anstey said that further papers would be circulated in relation to project planning, the staff involved in the project and also to make sure that the project managed and mitigated any of the ‘business as usual’ risks in due course. 

Councillor John Harrison commented that from the perspective of Bracknell Forest Council the decision was not unexpected and that Bracknell had full confidence in the staff of the PPP and in the common sense of having the Partnership structure.  Councillor Harrison added that it was unfortunate staff would have to go through a period of uncertainty but common sense and goodwill on all sides would lead to a resolution of any issues.

Councillor Hilary Cole said West Berkshire were disappointed that Wokingham were leaving the Partnership but understood the reasons why and agreed the need to work together to make the transition as smooth as possible for all three Councils and believed the six month transition period was sufficient to enable this to happen.

Councillor James Cole noted there was a lack of detail in Wokingham’s budget of £500K in terms of actual cost and asked whether that figure was likely to be adequate.  Mr Anstey said the process as mapped out in the agreement, was to establish what were termed as direct losses and the management of the costs from staffing levels, equipment and accommodation through to any organisational change in project support and  sought to identify costs that could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.