Agenda and draft minutes

Communities Select Committee
Tuesday, 7 November 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Andy Baird, Democratic Services Officer - Email: 

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item




MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 7 September 2017 pdf icon PDF 126 KB



    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:

          I.        Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

        II.        Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting



    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

    Additional documents:


    There were none.



    To receive any questions or petitions.


    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (1 November 2017).


    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(31 October 2017)


    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Additional documents:


    A public question was submitted by Mr Roger Miller, a response to this question was tabled at the meeting and is attached to these minutes as Annex 1.


    Mr Miller indicated that he would like to ask a supplementary question and the Chairman informed him that as the question related to the Surrey Performing Arts Library, this would be taken at the beginning of item 6.


Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) Update 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 230 KB

    Purpose of report: Scrutiny Performance Management


    To review the County Council’s use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and to outline proposed updates to the existing corporate RIPA policy. The proposed updates include a section on social media and the use of online selling platforms as well as a change to Surrey County Council’s Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for RIPA.


    Additional documents:


    Declarations of interests






    Steve Ruddy, Head of Buckinghamshire County Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service


    Key points raised during the discussion


    1.     The report was introduced by officers who highlighted that responsibility for scrutinising Surrey County Councils (SCC) use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was delegated to the Communities Select Committee as outlined in the Councils Corporate Policy. Members were advised that RIPA did not grant SCC any additional powers when conducting surveillance but rather was designed to regulate those powers which already existed to ensure that they were only used when necessary and were exercised in a proportionate manner. The Select Committee was informed that Trading Standards investigated a variety of activity that was either criminal or considered not to be consistent with ethical practice. Officers only sought authorisation under RIPA to conduct surveillance of suspects when other options for investigation had been exhausted.


    2.     Attention was drawn to some amendments that were proposed to SCCs Corporate Policy on the use of RIPA. Officers highlighted that social media was an increasingly popular marketplace for buying and selling a wide range of goods which meant that it was important to have clear guidelines when conducting surveillance on suspectssocial media accounts. SCCs Corporate Policy had therefore been updated to incorporate the use of surveillance on social media accounts to ensure that RIPA authorisation was sought when necessary. The Committee was further advised that the role of Senior Responsible Officer for RIPA had been transferred to the Strategic Director for Environment & Infrastructure which had also been reflected in the updated Corporate Policy due to be signed off by Cabinet.


    3.     Members welcomed the report and highlighted the importance of RIPA as a precaution in ensuring that individualsright to privacy was not infringed. The Committee gave its support to the Corporate Policy stressing that it was clear and easy to read.




    The Communities Select Committee:


    i.       considered the use of RIPA by Surrey County Council during 2016/17; and


    ii.      supported the proposed additions to the Corporate Policy




Surrey Performing Arts Library - Options for the Future pdf icon PDF 171 KB

    Purpose of the report:


    To provide the Communities Select Committee with a briefing on Surrey Performing Arts Library; the context of Medium Term Financial Plan savings; and options being considered for the future operation of the Library.


    Additional documents:


    Declarations of interests






    Kathryn Adamson, International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML)

    Barbara Eifler, Executive Director, Making Music

    Peter Milton, Head of Cultural Services, Surrey County Council

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities, Surrey County Council

    Mark Welling, Chair, Friends of Surrey Performing Arts Library (FOSPAL)

    Rose Wilson, Lead Manager Surrey Library Service, Surrey County Council


    Key points raised during the discussion


    1.     The item was introduced by the Chairman of the Communities Select Committee who highlighted that the future of Surrey Performing Arts Library (SPAL) had garnered significant public interest and stated that residents had been vocal in their support of SPAL. She emphasised that Select Committee Members were not being asked to consider the closure of SPAL but rather options for how it could operate in the future. Members were further advised that they were not being asked to comment on the consultation regarding the future of SPAL conducted by SCC and requested that the substance of discussions therefore remain focused on the proposed options contained within the paper and other opportunities for reducing costs and generating revenue.


    2.     A public question was submitted by Mr Roger Miller to which a response was tabled at the meeting. Mr Miller asked a supplementary question requesting further information on plans to move the SPAL collection from where it was housed to other libraries in Surrey should that be option decided on by the Council. He stressed that a number of performing arts groups were relying on borrowing materials from SPAL for pre-arranged performances and so it was vital that any disruption was kept to a minimum. The Chairman advised Mr Miller that this would be explored in detail with officers during the course of the discussions on the item.


    3.     An introduction to the report was provided by officers from SCC who outlined the reasons why it was necessary to reconfigure SPAL. They highlighted that SCC was committed to continuing the service provided by SPAL but stressed that it could not be sustained in its existing format due to the significant financial pressures facing the Council and that £180,000 had to be achieved by 1 April 2018. The Committee was informed that the Councils preferred option was that SPAL continued as a single collection transferred to the management of a charitable trust but emphasised that the Council would need to satisfy itself that any trust which did come forward had the finances to support the collection. Officers further indicated that splitting music and drama into two collections and placing them in existing libraries was the most realistic option and that it had the added the benefit of making SPALs collection accessible to a more diverse range of groups at a time when the number of visitors to the library was dropping. The majority of those who responded to the user survey conducted by SCC regarding the future of SPAL had also indicated that they would continue to borrow items if the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.



    The Committee is asked to review and approve the Forward Work Programme and Recommendations Tracker and provide comment as required.

    Additional documents:


    Declarations of Interest: Declarations of Interest:









    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.     The Committee noted that an item on the future of Surrey Performing Arts Library would be added to the Communities Select Committee meeting on 8 February 2018.


    2.     Members discussed the item on the Armed Forces Covenant which was being scoped by officers. The Committee felt that scrutiny would not add value to the Covenant and it was agreed that this item should be removed from the Committees Forward Work Programme.