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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online Meeting

Contact: Kieran Elliott  01225 718504, Email: kieran.elliott@wiltshire.gov.uk


No. Item



To receive details of any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


There were no apologies or substitutions.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the meetings held on 26 January and 9 February 2021.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 26 January and 9 February 2021 were presented for consideration, and it was,




To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.



There were no declarations.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.


As the final meeting of the Committee before the May 2021 local elections, the Chairman offered his thanks to all Members, Officers, and those who had interfaced with the Overview and Scrutiny process.


On behalf of the Committee the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Alan Hill, also thanked the Chairman, Councillor Graham Wright, for his management of Overview and Scrutiny for the last four years, especially during streamlined Covid-19 scrutiny arrangements.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so by 5pm on 5 March 2021.



To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on 2 March 2021 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on 4 March 2021. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


There were no questions or statements submitted.


Covid-19 Update

To receive a report and update in relation to the council’s response to Covid-19.

The report to Cabinet and minute extracts from the Select Committees will follow in an agenda Supplement.

Supporting documents:


A report was received as detailed in Agenda Supplement 2 of an update on Covid-19, which would be considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 16 March 2021, as well as questions and comments made at Select Committees regarding recent Covid-19 updates.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Philip Whitehead, presented the report along with the Chief Executive, Terence Herbert, and other senior officers.


Councillor Whitehead thanked the Chairman and Scrutiny for its work and provided an update on latest Covid-19 numbers and highlighted the importance of continuing to follow guidance to continue to reduce infections.


The Chief Executive provided further updates including but not limited to Covid-19 case rates, increase in schools testing with the reopening to all pupils on 9 March 2021, testing sites, communication of the government roadmap to relax restrictions, distribution of business grants, plans for the reopening of leisure and hospitality venues, election planning, the return of council staff to offices in the future, and future development of the Wellbeing hub to support residents.

The Committee discussed the update and sought additional information from the Leader and Chief Executive. Details were sought on an increase in postal vote applications, and it was confirmed that the government had not yet extended the law to permit virtual meetings to continue after the May elections and that local MPs had been lobbied regarding the matter. In response to queries it was stated council staff were not expected to return in significant numbers until at least June in accordance with government guidance, and that appropriate plans were being developed.


Clarity was sought in relation to the extension by 12 months of pavement licences for hospitality businesses and the impact on other types of businesses. The Leader noted concerns, but also that many businesses required such extensions to operate and be sustainable during ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.


The council was thanked for its work communicating specifically with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations in Wiltshire including translated materials and direct engagement. It was also confirmed that all polling stations for the May elections had received risk assessments for the new arrangements that would be in place to ensure safe and secure elections.


There was discussion of schools reopening and whether similar bubble arrangements in response to positive Covid-19 tests were in place as during previous terms. It was stated that specific arrangements were for each school to determine, and that some might continue with arrangements whereby whole year groups were sent home in response to a positive test, or it might be a more contained approach. Details were also requested regarding the opening of skate parks, which could open from 29 March 2021, but those run by parish councils would need to be confirmed by that council following risk assessments in line with government dates and guidance.


At the conclusion of discussion,




To note the update on the council’s ongoing response to Covid-19.



Task Group Updates

To receive updates on Overview and Scrutiny Task Groups.


Supporting documents:


The Committee received a report as detailed in the agenda pack with updates in relation to Task Groups reporting to the Management Committee.


It was reported that the Financial Planning Task Group had requested information in relation to the Stone Circle companies established by the Council, and that the Children’s Select Committee was requesting that should the Commercialism Task Group be re-established after the May 2021 elections, that a representative from the former Traded Services Task Group be appointed to its membership.


It was,




1)    To note the update on Task Group activity provided;


2)    To note that task groups will be reformed, and memberships confirmed, as appropriate by Management Committee at its first meeting following the elections in May.


Review of Overview and Scrutiny 2017-2021

A report will follow in an agenda supplemeny highlighting the key pieces of work undertaken by Overview and Scrutiny for the 2017-21 council term, and recommending topics for suggested inclusion in a new Overview and Scrutiny work programme after the May 2021 elections.

Supporting documents:


The Committee received a report as detailed in Agenda Supplement 1 highlighting the key pieces of work undertaken by Overview an Scrutiny during the council term 2017-2021, recommendations on the approach and effectiveness of the work undertaken, and submissions from each of the Select Committees for topics that it was recommended be included in a future Overview and Scrutiny work programme following the May 2021 elections.


The Chairman, Councillor Graham Wright, thanked all the Select Committees for their work over the last four years and for making recommendations for future work, as well as cooperation of the Executive and council officers, and hoped that the council would be able to build on its strengths to improve its Overview and Scrutiny further.


The Committee discussed the report, welcoming the recommendations which had been made. Further details were sought on the undertaking of a rapid scrutiny exercise in respect of Furlong Close as requested by Full Council at its meeting on 23 February 2021, and further work after the elections.


It was also noted that induction for new Members would seek to highlight the benefits to all non-executive Members to contribute to Overview and Scrutiny including through task groups, and it was hoped those with specific experience or skills could be positively approached  for specific subjects of scrutiny. The Chairman also wished to pay tribute to the work of his Vice-Chairman, Councillor Alan Hill, for managing the Overview and Scrutiny function.


At the conclusion of debate, it was,




1)      To thank all those Members, co-opted members, stakeholders, partner organisations, officers, other witnesses and members of the public who have positively contributed to the work of the select committees and in the effective delivery of the Overview and Scrutiny work programme;


2)      To acknowledge that the content of the report, including the key activities listed at Appendix A, demonstrates the significant contribution that Overview and Scrutiny is making to open and honest decision-making and to the overall good governance of the authority;


3)      To refer the topics listed in Appendix B of the report, and the strengths and development areas listed under paragraphs 12 to 14, for consideration by Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee at its first meeting of the new Council.



Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting as 25 May 2021.


The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 25 May 2021, following the local elections.


Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.




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