Agenda and minutes

Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 28th April, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Comments from Members of the Public

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    To receive comments or views from members of the public at the Committee’s discretion.


    No comments were received.


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Annie Mason.


Disclosure of Interest

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    Members are asked to disclose any interest in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    There were no interests disclosed.


Action Notes from the meeting held on 17 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 166 KB

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    Members considered the Action Notes of the meeting held on 17 February 2022. It was proposed, seconded and AGREED that the action notes were a true and accurate record on the basis that more information was added to minute 48, Regulatory Compliance.


Updates from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 84 KB

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    To receive updates on actions agreed at the previous meeting.


    The Chairman noted that he would send an electronic copy of the agenda for the meeting of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel being held on 10 June 2022 once it had been published.


Crime Disorder - Neighbourhood Policing and Anti-social Behaviour pdf icon PDF 578 KB

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    The Committee to receive a presentation.


    The Chairman welcomed Phil Vickers, the Chief Inspector for Lincolnshire Police (North and South Kesteven).


    The Chief Inspector for North and South Kesteven Lincolnshire Police updated the Committee on neighbourhood policing issues, PCSOs in South Kesteven and Anti-social behaviour:


    ·       That Lincolnshire was a safe place to live, work and visit.

    ·       The breach of covid lockdown regulations were recorded as an anti-social behaviour incident.

    ·       Over the last 2 years, crime had reduced, however, anti-social behaviour had increased nationally. This was due to public space offences.

    ·       The police had greater enforcement and prevention ability to reduce crime during lockdown.

    ·       Lincolnshire Police had been the lowest funded force in the country for a prolonged period. However, the performance of the force was in the top quartile.

    ·       That the technical ability, infrastructure, and the operators of the CCTV in South Kesteven were the best in the county.

    ·       South Kesteven could consider more proactive use of legal powers.


    The Chairman requested further information in relation to the South of the county (Stamford, Bourne and Deepings area).


    The Chief Inspector highlighted points in relation to specific areas:


    ·       Offenders being enforced against in Stamford were predominantly from Peterborough and surrounding areas. Another crime area of Stamford was links to the A1 and The Meadows.

    ·       That the Peterborough ‘drug-scene’ impacts Bourne and Market Deeping more than Stamford.

    ·       That the police work to identify future offenders and victims of domestic abuse to prevent it happening.

    ·       As of 31 March 2022, there were 1205 full-time police officers working in the force and 80 PCSOs working across the county.

    ·       The Police and Crime Commissioner had committed to delivering neighbourhood policing, roads policing team and rural crime team.


    One Member raised concern over the lack of PCSO presence in Bourne and that this adds to the recent issues relating to break-ins, vandalisms, thefts and commercial burglaries.


    The Chief Inspector highlighted that in 2019, he had lost two inspectors and five sergeants posts which had impacted on the ability to police in South Kesteven. This was necessary as part of the policing budget.


    The Vice- Chairman requested that a representative of the police force attends Parish Council meetings when necessary. It was confirmed that PCSOs could attend meetings where there was a specific issue that needed to be addressed.


    One Member requested more visible police presence in Stamford in order to be more preventative and proactive for people coming into Stamford from Peterborough and surrounding areas to commit crimes.


    A query was raised on whether there had been a domestic uplift in domestic heating oil theft and the recommendations around prevention to minimise the risk.


    It was confirmed that the police had not seen a significant increase in the number of oil theft in Lincolnshire, however, there had been an increase across the broader region. Preventative physical measures that could be followed by rural businesses could be CCTV, lighting, location of tanks and security of access points. There had been a significant increase in the theft of horse boxes and flatbed trailers.


    The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Regulatory compliance pdf icon PDF 369 KB


Tenant Grounds Maintenance consultation, including Assisted Garden Scheme pdf icon PDF 375 KB

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    The report provides clarity to the Committee on the grounds maintenance specification to be delivered to Housing Revenue Account communal areas, and to provide an update on the number of tenants utilising the Assisted Garden Scheme.


    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property presented the information report that provided an insight into the Grounds Maintenance specification for the Housing Revenue Account communal land. It also provided an overview of the number of tenants currently utilising the scheme.


    The report provided a detailed breakdown of the service to be delivered in the financial year of 2022-23. The cost to the Housing Revenue Account of £153,700 was provided.


    Figures set out in the report were provided to the Committee:


    ·       That 501 tenants were currently using the scheme.

    ·       114 tenants were using the service for grass cutting only at a cost of £7.87 per week.

    ·       264 tenants required grass and hedge cutting at a cost of £9.42 per week.

    ·       123 tenants were using the service for hedge cutting only at a cost of £1.55 per week.


    The service was currently being delivered at a flat rate, regardless of the size of garden or hedge. The Council were seeking to address this in the future. 


    It was noted that there was a future option for this service becoming chargeable.


    It was confirmed that the grounds maintenance inspectorate was being improved.


    A query was raised on when the costings for the scheme would be available.


    The Assistant Director for Housing confirmed that the costings per property around the assisted garden scheme were available at present.


    A recharges policy would be coming to the Committee in June/July 2022 which would need to be agreed by Cabinet to enable the levying of charges to tenants on a pro-rata scheme where the charges would be built up over the next two years from a 50% charge up to a 100% charge.


    Additional work had been undertaken to grade the size of the gardens (small, medium and large) so the charges could be more equitable.


    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property confirmed that 41% of tenants utilising the assisted garden scheme had assisted living expenses by benefits.


    One Member reminded Members that the Rural and Communuties Overview and Scrutiny Committee unanimously rejected any charges to be made to tenants. It was suggested that the charges were inappropriate due to the increase of inflation.


    Clarification was sought on the table (1.6) set out in the report and whether they were costs to the tenant or costs to the Council.


    It was confirmed that the table outlined costs to the Council.


    One Member highlighted a previous issue relating to the terminology of overall costs to the Council, due to the services being provided by Environment SK Ltd.


    A query was raised on the average cost of the work that is undertaken per hour and how many hours per cut had been allocated to establish the charge price and what charges were being made for overheads and profit to Environment SK Ltd.


    The Assistant Director for Housing confirmed that work was being undertaken later in 2022 around the grounds maintenance contract and would form part of a specification to tender for works.


    A Member highlighted the inconceivability  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.


Update on Voids pdf icon PDF 373 KB

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    The report updates the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the year end position 2021/22 in relation to void performance, providing an update into the continuous improvement being made, following the adoption of our Void Policy and to also advise of our 2022/23 performance targets.


    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property presented the report that provided assurance that positive progress was being made with the management of void properties within the Housing Revenue Account since the adoption of the Voids Policy.


    In 2021, the Council completed works and re-let 327 Void properties, which was an average of 83.5 days; meaning the team turned around one every day for a whole calendar year, excluding bank holidays.


    It was highlighted that the amount of household goods left behind by tenants had improved.


    The performance targets for 2022/23 were in line with the corporate priorities. A stretch target was set to improve the void turnaround times by over 25%, to 60 days which would place the Council in the top quartile performance bracket utilising 2021/22 Housemark data.


    One Member suggested that the carpet in re-let properties be treated rather than replaced to save time, money and waste in relation to climate change.


    A query was raised on why the Voids had not been broken down into ‘major and minor’ categories as seen in a previous report.


    It was noted that the void rent loss in 2021 had doubled.


    The Assistant Director for Housing clarified points made:


    ·       That exceptions would be made regarding the re-let standard and inspection regime in relation to carpets. They would not be removed if they were in good condition and of neutral colour. The carpets are predominantly removed to inspect the condition of the floor underneath.

    ·       The void rent loss for 2021 was caveated around the Council’s data and that data had historically been excluded.

    ·       That void days were preferred to manage as one holistic number rather than broken down into categories.

    ·       The quality of data would be consistent and transparent moving forward.




    1. Notes the year end void turnaround performance of 83.46 days

    2. Notes the 2022/23 void turnaround performance target of 60 days for 2022/23



Queen's Jubilee pdf icon PDF 251 KB

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    The report provides an overview of activity and events taking place in South Kesteven to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

    Additional documents:


    The Deputy Chief Executive presented the report which outlined a snapshot of events taking place throughout the district to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.


    Communities were encouraged to participate and engage with the Council to publicise events/activities.


    One Member highlighted that the community in Stamford would be ‘planting a tree for the Jubilee’ at the recreational ground on the 2 June 2022, as encouraged by the Royal Family.


    Another Member reminded the Committee of activities taking place in Bourne, co-ordinated by Bourne Town Council. Activities were due to take place at Elsea Park, village of Dyke.


    It was suggested that photos of the public are used within the commemorative version of SK Today, to show the communities celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.


    A query was raised on whether the Grantham Charter Trustee had been contacted regarding activities. 


    The Deputy Chief Executive would check as to whether they had been contacted or not.


    The Chairman noted that there was also a special afternoon tea taking place in Grantham on the 2 June.


    The Deputy Chief Executive reminded the Committee that the report was a snapshot and was not comprehensive.


    One Member expressed disappointment on the table of events set out in the report. It was suggested that an accurate itinerary of events throughout the district could be displayed on the Council’s website.


    The Vice-Chairman highlighted that an event such as the Queen’s Jubilee was an ongoing programme of liaising with Parish Councils and the communities.




    1. Notes the activity and events planned both by South Kesteven District Council and the community to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

    2. Thanks all those involved in organising events to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, embracing national pride and the spirit of South Kesteven communities.




Community Awards 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 321 KB

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    To provide Members with feedback from the working group on 2021 SK Community Award and to share information on the lessons learned and plans for the SK Community Awards 2022.


    Additional documents:


    The Senior Community Development Officer provided the Committee with a presentation that highlighted feedback from a working group that met on the 2 March 2022 to discuss lessons learnt from the Community Awards in 2021.


    The lessons learned from the Community Awards in 2021 were outlined:


    ·       Early planning to ensure smooth process

    ·       Launching in Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June)

    ·       Dedicated web page on SKDC website

    ·       On-line nomination form

    ·       Clear criteria for eligibility of nominees

    ·       Six-week nomination period

    ·       Agreed criteria for judging of nominations received

    ·       Comms interaction with winners and positive PR.


    Further options that were considered as part of the Community Awards 2021:


    ·       All nominees must operate within South Kesteven

    ·       Elected Members could not judge a group they were connected to or have personal interest in

    ·       Nominee must carry out voluntary service that benefits others within the community

    ·       Nominations could not be for individuals, groups or businesses that operate for personal gain

    ·       What made the nominee stand out.


    Nominations were not considered that were:


    ·       Made in support of a lobbying group

    ·       Made in support of a political group/party

    ·       Made in relation to religious activities

    ·       Made relating to individuals or group that did not operate within South Kesteven for the benefit of those within the District.


    Areas for improvement within the 2021 Community Awards related to:


    ·       Non-electronic nomination processes

    ·       Publicity needing to feature individuals nominated rather than representatives of SKDC

    ·       Too many similar categories and categories were chosen to match with Cabinet portfolios

    ·       Early distribution of certificates and publicity photographs of winners led to leaks to press and social media

    ·       More outlets needed for promotion of Awards to include under-reached communities.


    It was confirmed that the public nomination categories had been changed for the 2022 Community Awards:

    ·       Business and the Community

    ·       Inspirational Young Person (nominees up to the age of 25)

    ·       Best School’s Green Project

    ·       Good Neighbour

    ·       Lifetime Community Champion

    ·       Health and Wellbeing

    ·       Neil Smith – Beyond the Call of Duty


    It was confirmed that preparations were undergoing for the Community Awards which would be launched during Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June), with a celebratory event which will take place on the 21 October 2022 to honour the nominees and winners.


    A query was raised on reason that hard-to-reach communities did not come forward for nominations or whether they were unaware of the Community Awards.


    It was highlighted that the Council only work with the nominees that are provided by the public. The information was publicised, but the covid pandemic restricted the Council slightly, however, more work could be done in 2022.


    It was suggested that Members could encourage the public to put forward nominations.


    The Senior Community Development Officer had completed direct work with the Jubilee Church in Grantham due to being the recipients of support from local businesses that could have been nominated.


    One Member suggested on separating one category into two: ‘Best School Project’ and ‘Environmental Project’.


    Clarification was sought over the judging panel for 2022.


    It was suggested that the judging panel would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.


SK Community Fund pdf icon PDF 335 KB

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    To consider proposed changes to determine access to the SK Community Fund: Small Grants Scheme and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on a revised eligibility criteria.


    The Senior Community Development Officer presented the report which requested the Committee to recommend to Cabinet amendments to the criteria of the small grants scheme of the SK Community Fund.


    In SK Community Funding scheme, groups were able to apply for 100% of project funding up to a maximum of £2000.


    The request to change criteria was to prevent groups and organisations who had considerable financial resources from utilising the scheme. Groups that hold financial resources of £10,000 and above would become ineligible to apply to the small grant scheme. These groups would still be eligible to apply for funding to the SK Community Fund for a Community Event or Community Project.


    The other criteria change would be to reduce the minimum grant within the small grant scheme from £500 to £200. The request was in response to the removal of the Ward Member grant scheme in an effect to minimise impact on small groups.


    Members supported the report and the recommendations outlined.


    It was proposed, seconded, and AGREED that the Committee recommends to Cabinet the changes to the eligibility criteria for the Small Grants

    Scheme of the SK Community Fund.






Work Programme 2021 - 2022 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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    To receive the Work Programme for 2021 – 2022


    The Committee noted the Work Programme for 2021-22.


    The Chairman requested Committee Members to recommend items to discuss at future meetings.


Any other business which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, decides is urgent

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    There were none.


Close of meeting

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    The Chairman closed the meeting at 17:10.