Agenda and minutes

Strategic Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 18th November 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: The Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre Exeter

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

Note: This meeting is open to the public and those addressing the Committee under the public speaking provisions, but because of current social distancing restrictions brought about by the Corona Virus outbreak, any members of the public wishing to attend the meeting should contact the Democratic Services Team in advance, as there is limited capacity for public attendance. Priority will be given to those addressing the Committee under the public speaking provisions If you have an enquiry regarding any items on this agenda, please contact Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer on 01392 265115.  

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 340 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Strategic Scrutiny Committee held on 23 September 2021.




The minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2021 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.



Declaration 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 pecuniary interest were made by Members.



Questions from Members of the Council Under Standing Order 20

To receive questions from Members of the Council to the relevant Portfolio Holders for this Scrutiny Committee. The Portfolio Holders reporting to this Scrutiny Committee are:-


Councillor Bialyk -       Leader

Councillor Sutton -      Portfolio Holder for Net Zero Exeter 2030

Councillor Foale -       Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Environment

Councillor Morse -      Portfolio Holder for City Development

Councillor Wood -       Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Physical Activity


Advance questions from Members relating to the Portfolio Holders above should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support.




In accordance with Standing Order 20, the following questions were submitted by Councillor Sparling:-


Councillor Foale, the Portfolio Holder for Transformation and Environment responded to the following questions as set out below:-


1.      According to Public Health England in the latest Air Quality Annual Status Report, almost 1 in 20 deaths in Exeter in 2017 were attributable to particulate air pollution. Can the Portfolio Holder confirm that the Air Quality Action Plan is sufficient to safeguard the health of Exeter's residents? Additionally, what plans are there to set new air quality targets following the release of the updated World Health Organisation guidelines, which strongly suggest the target for Nitrogen Dioxide should be 75% lower than the current legal limit?


The statistics quoted in the question would benefit from some context.  Public Health England’s Public Health Outcomes Framework tool shows that in Exeter in 2017, the fraction of mortality attributable to particulate air pollution was 4.4%. This is equal to the regional figure for the whole of the South West (4.4%) and below the national level of 5.1%. Exeter therefore has levels of particulate matter which are causing harm, but this problem is less severe than in nearly 75% of the country.


With regard to the second point, the Council has a legal duty to monitor air quality and work to achieve the current national standards for air quality. It would be for Central Government to alter these standards in light of the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report. The Council is working with Devon County Council to reduce air pollution and recognises that even where compliance with the current standards is reached, there may still be harm caused. However, it will continue to prioritise those areas with the highest concentrations (i.e. above the current standards). It was also worth noting that the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Appraisal of our last Annual Status Report was extremely complimentary, commenting on both the structure, the detailed and accurate work and robust quality assurance procedures.  Defra finished off by saying that ‘the Council should continue their good and thorough work’.   


Councillor Sparling asked the following supplementary question as to whether the Transport Working Group could be convened to look into this issue further, especially as the Working Group had been discussed, but had not yet met.


Councillor Foale said he would raise that matter with colleagues.


2.    Can the Portfolio Holder describe the transformation and impact on services that One Exeter will have and how it will create savings?


A report outlining the detail of the work streams of the One Exeter Transformation Programme and its implications for Council services and identified savings requirements from the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan is being prepared for Council in February, to run parallel with the budget-setting process for 2022/23.


Councillor Sparling asked the following supplementary question of the impact the One Exeter Programme was expected to have on improving services?


Councillor Foale responded and stated that this work had to be looked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Commercialisation Work Stream pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Following the Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee on when a number of work streams were discussed as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan.


David Greensmith, the Commercial Manager, Net Zero & Business will attend and make a short presentation on current commercial projects and outline future plans as part of the commercialisation work stream within the One Exeter Programme. Councillors are invited to consider how they can be involved in identifying and developing the Council’s commercial prospects.




Following a reference to the University of Exeter, Councillor Allcock declared an interest that a family member worked for the University.


At the meeting of the recent Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committees, a number of work streams were discussed as part of identifying any savings in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). Councillors were asked to consider how they could be involved in developing and identifying the Council’s commercial prospects. David Greensmith, the Commercial Manager was invited to attend the meeting and he provided an overview of the Council’s commercial projects, including the particular project focus of the Waste Management and Public and Green Spaces services, and outlined the team’s future plans as part of the commercialisation work stream within the One Exeter Programme. (A copy of the presentation was attached to the minutes).


The Commercial Manager referred to the importance of working collaboratively to deliver an improved Waste Management service, to reduce costs as well as working towards a reduction in carbon. The City Council had the advantage of being able to dispose of commercial waste at the Waste to Energy plant on Marsh Barton, which made an important contribution to the Council’s Net Zero ambitions. Other project areas included a waste contract working with the University of Exeter, exploring ways to reduce the transport movements associated with the collection and disposal of residential and commercial clinical waste. Work had taken place around cemeteries and a further pilot involved the Parks and Green Spaces service and roll out of a gardening service for residents and commercial partners in the city.  They were particularly proud of the waste management compliance project, which offered education and advice for hirers using any of the Council’s land or services. A number of options to improve the Home Call Service had also been considered with the Council’s Legal Services which could offer benefits to other Local Authorities and Housing Associations.


The Commercial team were currently working on 33 projects across all service areas, working towards the One Exeter Programme to support the Council’s MTFP.  The Commercial Manager calculated that from changes identified to the services provided, there was a projected minimum income of £1.3million until 2026. Further details would be presented to Members on individual projects as they progressed.


The Commercial Manager responded to Members’ suggestions and comments -


·         the team’s work and any expansion of existing services in the city was driven by the Commercial Strategy, and the incrementalism approach of keeping as local as possible. A project scoring matrix and SWOT analysis were used to ensure that any opportunity explored would offer a viable return, was a good fit for the city and met the Strategy’s criteria.  A copy of the Commercial Strategy was available on the Council’s web site.

·         a greater awareness of the environment and events such as COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference which took place in Glasgow last month was starting to change the emphasis of national contracts impeding local decisions.  There was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Forward Plan of Business

Please see for noting a link to the schedule of future business proposed for the Council which can be viewed on the Council’s web site -



Members noted the Forward Plan.