Agenda item

Scrutiny Committees Portfolio Holders Year End update 2015/16 and priorities for 2016/17

Councillors Owen (Portfolio Holder for the Housing Revenue Account), Bull (Portfolio Holder for Communities and Neighbourhood), Councillor Morse (Portfolio Holder for Customer Access) and Councillor Bialyk (Portfolio Holder for Sport and Physical Activity and Health and Wellbeing) to present year end update for 2015/16 and priorities for 2016/17. (2016/17 priorities to be tabled).



The Chair reported that should Members have any queries on Portfolio Holder updates on the priorities for 2015/16 these should be put in writing. The reports set out targets and milestones showing the aims of the Council during the year and what had been achieved by May 2016. 


The Portfolio Holder for Customer Access highlighted the following achievements for 2015/16:-

  • development of the Homelessness Strategy in conjunction with Teignbridge District Councils and other agencies, thanking officers for their hard work on developing the draft Strategy;
  • completion of the Hub at Wat Tyler House; and
  • introduction of a “One View of Debt2 approach now renamed the Payments and Collection Team.

The Portfolio Holders for the Housing Revenue Account (Councillor Owen), Communities and Neighbourhoods (Councillor Bull) and Sport and Physical Activity and Health and Wellbeing (Councillor Bialyk) presented their priorities for 2016/17. These would be published in the Council’s Corporate Plan 2016/17. 





The Portfolio Holder for the Housing Revenue Account highlighted the following areas:-


·         set up a HRA Management Board

·         maximise value from contractors

·         ensure that the efficiency and effectiveness of the housing function matches, or aims to match that of best-in-class providers

·         propose and consult on a new model for supporting residents of our older persons’ accommodation

·         undertake a comprehensive survey of the social housing stock in order to understand future investment requirements and inform budget


He announced that the City Council’s Housing Team had been shortlisted in the Municipal Journal’s Annual Local Government’s awards under in the category of Best Council Service Team. Out of other South West local authorities, the Council led in providing new Council Homes. With the loss of £8million from the imposed rent cuts, new build would no longer be possible within the HRA, but the Assistant Director Housing advised that other mechanisms would be examined such as a housing development company which would sit outside the HRA.


The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Neighbourhoods highlighted the following areas:-

  • further development of the Exeter Community Forum in conjunction with ICE and Exeter City Futures with the Grants Panel to be operational by Autumn. The City Council Executive maintained ultimate authority on awarding grants;
  • exploration of how Asset Based Community Development could be introduced across the Council following on from seminars for Senior Councillors and Officers and partners facilitated by Cormac Russell;
  • implementation of the Council’s Equality and Diversity policy
  • renewal of Exeter’s Fairtrade City Status
  • increasing profile for dementia awareness



He also advised that the first meeting on developing Youth Strategy for Exeter had been held in response to an Exeter Board’s recommendation and that he would meet with the Portfolio Holder for Customer Access to agree on further progressing the ICE project.


The Portfolio Holder for Sport and Physical Activity and the Health and Wellbeing highlighted the following:-

  • take forward the St Sidwell’s Point and bus station developments, including procurement of operators
  • improve cycle routes and provide more cycle parking
  • sign off and help implement the City Sports Strategy and Playing Pitch Strategy;
  • continue working with partners to make Exeter the most active city in the South West by 2018; and
  • he would become a Member of the Exeter Health and Wellbeing Board to build on the good work of his predecessor


He emphasised the importance of, and his commitment to, consultation in bringing forward the Leisure Complex and Bus Station development and referred to the groups he would shortly be meeting. Such meetings would help inform the detail of reserved matters to be put to the Planning Committee. The choice of operator was a key consideration and it would be important to ensure a strong commitment to ethical issues, including staffing matters. Further, added value would be sought in terms of the operation of the other City Council maintained leisure centres in the City. He would also consult with the various interested bodies in respect of the Exeter Canal and waterways.


People Scrutiny Committee noted the reports of the Portfolio Holders.


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