Agenda and minutes

Virtual, Strategic Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 24th September 2020 5.30 pm

Venue: Legislation has been passed that allows Council's to conduct Committee meetings remotely.

Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01392 265115 or email

Note: The deadline for questions to be submitted to Strategic Scrutiny Committee is 10am on Monday 21 September 2020 

No. Item




 Apologies were received from Councillors Newby and Pattison.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 293 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 23 July 2020.



The minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 23 July 2020 were taken as read, approved as correct, for signing by the Chair at the earliest possible convenience.


A Member sought to raise a matter in relation to an invitation to Devon County Council to discuss the Transport Strategy before it was considered by them on 11 November and before the next Strategic Scrutiny Committee meeting. The Chair although stating there was only the opportunity to approve the minutes as a correct record or amend, he would, on this occasion, pass on the question to the Portfolio Holder Net Zero Exeter 2030.


Declarations of Interest

Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item.  Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.



No declarations of interest were made by Members.


Questions from Members of the Public Under Standing Order 19

To receive questions from members of the public and responses thereto.


Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting, questions must be submitted by 10am by Monday 21 September 2020.

Further information about speaking at a committee can be found here: Speaking at a Committee




The Chair confirmed that no public questions had been received.



Presentation on Covid-19 by Portfolio Holders and Questions from Members and Answers pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Portfolio Holder briefing notes


Portfolio Holder for City Centre & Corporate Services – Councillor Ollie Pearson


Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Physical Activity – Councillor Duncan Wood


Details of questions from Members relating to the two Portfolios above on Covid-19 issues only should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am the Monday before the meeting – 21 September 2020.


Additional documents:


The Chair referred to the recent change in Portfolio Holders and he introduced Councillor Ollie Pearson as the Portfolio Holder for City Centre and Corporate Services and Councillor Duncan Wood as Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Physical Activity. He invited them to provide a report on their respective area with a focus on the on the Council’s Covid-19 recovery stage.


The Portfolio Holder for City Centre & Corporate Services in presenting his briefing note highlighted the following:-


·         with appreciation to those officers who were facilitating the democratic process to enable the Council to continue to function and engage with the public, as well as the Human Resources team who, alongside their other duties, have been also been tasked with completing the TUPE arrangements to bring the Leisure Services team back in house. The Council’s Legal Team have been particularly busy and along with Internal Audit have provided assistance for Covid related support schemes for various businesses. Strata have continued to support staff remotely and their work will continue to ensure that customers can access the Council’s services seamlessly as well as developing opportunities for  greater access for all, and


·         the efforts made to ensure that the message that the city centre remained open with the help of local businesses, the Business Improvement District (BID), and the City Centre Recovery Group to support businesses and also to help those in the city who face unemployment and other challenges due to the pandemic, which included pulling a number of external services together under the banner of Exeter works.


The Director Corporate Services took the opportunity to reflect on the variety and volume undertaken by her team in the context of the additional challenges brought about, in part by Covid. She also paid tribute to the massive dedication and care by the Guildhall staff who were able to support a socially distanced wedding ceremony which had recently taken place there.


The Portfolio Holder, for City Centre & Corporate Services responded to the following questions from Members submitted in advance of the meeting, together with supplementary questions and responses as set out below:-


Questions from Committee Members


1.   Councillor Keith Owen - The document circulated to members on the City Centre recovery plan refers to restoring confidence for residents to return to the city centre. From my experience on the morning of Thursday 17 September, this has already been a success. The High Street was extremely busy and personally I would not like to have seen it any busier. One area which has not been successful in my view, based on personal experience, has been signs (including stencils and banners) to encourage social distancing and the use of pedestrian one way systems. Both in the High Street and Longbrook Street for example, approximately 50% of pedestrians (if not more) walk in contravention of the one way signs. Please can the Council consider alternative ways of dealing with this particular problem?


Whilst we have adhered closely to the guidance issued by Government for safer high streets, there are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.