Agenda and draft minutes

Highways and Growth Select Committee
Thursday, 6 December 2018 10.00 am

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

Contact: Richard Plummer 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

10.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

11.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 18 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 637 KB

12.

Declarations of Interest

    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

     

    NOTES:

    ·         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); and

    ·         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:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

13.

Questions & Petitions

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (29 November 2018).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (28 November 2018).

     

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

14.

Response from the Cabinet to Issues Referred by the Select Committee pdf icon PDF 58 KB

15.

Affordable Housing - Surrey County Council Asset and Place Strategy pdf icon PDF 75 KB

    Purpose of the Report: To respond to the Select Committee’s request to consider the issues concerning affordable housing in Surrey and to introduce the concept of the Asset and Place Strategy through which the County Council intends to develop this

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    None

    Witnesses:

    Tracie Evans, Executive Director of Economy, Growth and Commercial Director Julian Wain, Programme Director, Economy, Growth and Commercial
    Colin Kemp,
    Lead Cabinet Member for Place

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Members questioned the current Council position on Key Worker housing and asked whether there had been any significant shifts in thinking. Members stressed that they felt the provision of affordable Key Worker Housing was crucial and questioned how this could be adequately delivered as a part of the Asset and Place Strategy. The Cabinet Member for Place explained that there had been a shift in thinking from what had been previously suggested and highlighted that there was an acute need for affordable Key Worker housing and that there was a renewed focus on the delivery of this which would be included as part of the Asset and Place Strategy.

    2. Members questioned the definition of “Truly Affordable Housing,” and what this meant in practice. Officers and the Cabinet Member noted that this was a Surrey County Council definition, rather than a statutory one. However, officers explained that the evidence suggested that “Truly Affordable,” in Surrey would be that rents would be set at Social Rent level.

    3. The Cabinet Member noted that there was a tendency to concentrate on the delivery of raw numbers of housing, rather than delivering “Truly Affordable” housing. The Cabinet Member stressed that he would prefer to ensure that the stock that were built were “Truly Affordable.” It was explained that work needed to be undertaken with District and Borough Authorities to focus more on “Truly Affordable” housing.

    4. Members questioned delivery of “Truly Affordable Housing,” and how this could be undertaken in the current financial climate. The Cabinet Member noted that work must be undertaken with Boroughs and Districts to determine the best way to proceed. It was stressed that there needed to be better communication with Borough and District Planning departments and with Members to encourage utilisation of this.

    5. Members pointed out that there was a disconnect between the need to get maximum return on Surrey assets, both from a statutory requirement and from a financial need for the Council, and the requirement to create “Truly Affordable Housing.” Officers explained that there was a balance to be struck between the need to generate income and the need to create affordable housing. It was also noted that, under statutory guidance, that the Council could sell land at less than market value if the sale was justified in terms of developing it into social housing.

    6. Members and Officers agreed that setting the criteria for the utilisation of Surrey’s assets, including for the provision of affordable housing, was an important aspect to determine as part of the Asset and Place Strategy. It was also noted that determining criteria for delivery specifications of any project was also an important aspect of this design.

    7. Members questioned whether there were assets that had been identified within Surrey’s property portfolio which could potentially be freed up to develop  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Overview of the Highways' Core Maintenance Contract pdf icon PDF 88 KB

    Purpose of the Report: To provide Members with an overview of the performance of the current Core Maintenance contract with Kier Highways, Value for Money assessments of the arrangements and inform the Terms of Reference for a new Task and Finish group that will support and scrutinise the service as it develops a new contract model and specification for 2021 onwards.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    None

    Witnesses:

    Paul Wheadon, Business Improvement & Consultancy Team Manager
    Lucy Monie, Head of Highways and Transport
    Jason Russell, Executive Director of Highways, Transport and Environment

    Colin Kemp, Lead Cabinet Member for Place

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Members and the Cabinet Member for Place updated the Committee regarding communications that are sent from the Highways Authority and the need for clarity of information sent to Members and to the public. It was explained that officers had agreed to review how the service communicates with Members and ensure that the service continue to improve the way that it communicates.

    2. Members questioned street furniture repair and the responsibility for damage caused by accidents, and noted that there were instances of unrepaired street furniture damage. The Cabinet Member noted that responsibility for some repairs were part of the current contract, but stressed that the primary function was to make any furniture damage safe. It was noted that higher priority furniture would be replaced as a higher priority, but stressed that lower priority repairs may take longer. It was noted that recovery of costs for high priority repairs came from the third party insurance and that these costs were returned to the Highways Authority when successfully claimed.

    3. Members commented that evidence provided suggested that the current contract arrangement was, generally good value for money. Members questioned whether there had been any significant changes that would ensure that a future contract with a similar design framework would not be value for money and where improvements could potentially be made. The Cabinet Member noted that there had been significant renegotiations of the contract during its lifetime which had improved its value of the course of its operation. It was noted by officers that there was also additional scope for incremental improvements, but that the design was fundamentally good value for money.

    4. Officers explained that they had been exploring how the contract had been performing. It was highlighted that they had recently been considering activities undertaken with partners to ascertain their effectiveness, and that they had undertaken benchmarking exercises against other authorities’ performance to determine quality and best value for money. Officers noted that the next stage of the process was to determine how the service could achieve greater value for money in any redesign. Officers offered to share outline graphs and benchmarking against other authorities with the Committee.

    5. Members questioned the disconnect between the resident’s survey perception of the performance of the Highways Authority and the Resident Panel, and why there was a difference in the perception of performance between these two groups. Officers noted that customer assessment measurements were wide and that the panel was a smaller group of interested individuals. It was highlighted that customer satisfaction levels were generally low across all benchmarked authorities, but that satisfaction increased with an understanding and improved communication of how and why work was being undertaken.

    6. Members questioned the financial stability of the current contract holder and questioned whether the Highways Authority had confidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Recommendations Tracker and Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 59 KB

18.

Date of the Next Meeting

    The next meeting of the Select Committee will be held 28 February 2019 in the Ashcombe Suite at County Hall.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The date of the next meeting will be on 28 February 2019 at County Hall.

     

    Members noted their thanks to the outgoing Democratic Services Officer for their work on the Select Committee.