Scrutiny work back underway at Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Released on 12 June 2020 Press Release


Scrutiny work got back underway at Stratford-on-Avon District Council this week as a key committee held its first virtual meeting. The cross-party Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) met to discuss topics including the Council's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change policies and plans for scrutiny activities in 2020/21.

Councillors agreed that over the coming months, the OSC will be seeking suggestions from residents on the topics and issues they want scrutiny to focus on. All public suggestions will be considered by the Committee as part of its rolling work programme. Over the summer, there will also be engagement with parish councils and local groups.

The OSC examines overall performance at the Council, the work of the Council Leader and Cabinet Members, and puts forward suggestions to improve council services. Scrutiny can look into all council activities with only a few exceptions such as planning or licensing decisions. It can also examine the work of external organisations providing local services such as Orbit Housing and the NHS.

This week's meeting, which saw councillors logging-in virtually, also looked back at the achievements of OSC in 2019/20. These have included work on transport, rural broadband and the council's budget. In January, the Committee published its report on how the District can respond to the Climate Emergency. As part of this, the policy ideas put forward on subjects such as recycling and energy policy will now help to direct how the Council tackles climate change.

Councillor Peter Richards, Chair of the OSC, commented: "The Scrutiny Team can look at anything which affects the quality of life of local residents. Building on the positive work over the last 12 months, we want to hear residents' thoughts to make sure that we are looking at the issues that matter most to people across the District.

"If residents would like to suggest a topic for consideration during this year then they can email scrutiny@stratford-dc.gov.uk. The topics chosen will then be considered at either the monthly OSC meeting or through a dedicated 'Task & Finish' Group."

During this week's meeting, David Buckland, Chief Executive of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, also provided an update on the Council's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following this, councillors praised the work of council staff and passed a formal vote of thanks to all those involved.

A summary of some of the activity includes:

  • Paying £30.19m (Business Rates Grant scheme) to support 2,453 businesses across the District.
  • Developing a Discretionary Business Rates Grant scheme - aimed at businesses that may not previously have been eligible for support, such as bed and breakfasts which pay council tax, regular market traders with fixed building costs and charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief.
  • Providing emergency accommodation and support for the homeless.
  • Establishing a food delivery hub at Stratford Leisure Centre providing food deliveries to the most vulnerable across the District.
  • Being a first point of contact for residents, businesses and the local community.
  • Providing individual support to residents struggling to pay Council Tax.
  • Making parking free in SDC car parks for NHS staff and Registered Volunteers.
  • Making constitutional changes to the running of the Council to maintain the decision making capability of the Council.
  • Maximising homeworking capacity of Council staff and supporting over 250 home workers.
  • Ensuring that, other than those services impacted by social distancing rules, all District Council services have continued to be delivered.
  • Maintaining our refuse, recycling and green waste collection service as normal.
  • Setting up a dedicated COVID-19 information section on the SDC website for Council information, plus community and business support.

Cllr Richards, added: "It was right that OSC formally recognised the outstanding work that the Council has done over the last couple of months to help our District deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff have shown tremendous professionalism and determination to help some of the most vulnerable in our District, and I know that councillors appreciate all these efforts."

A recording of the OSC meeting is available here: https://www.stratford.gov.uk/webcasts

 


Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 12/06/2020

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