Agenda and minutes

Contact: Lynn Cain  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 169 KB



that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 10 December 2020, be

received and approved as a correct record.


NHS and Kings Mill Hospital Covid Response

(Richard Mitchell, Chief Executive of the Sherwood Forest Hospitals and NHS Foundation Trust will be in attendance at the meeting for this item to give a brief overview of the Trust’s Covid response to date and take part in any ensuing discussion)  


The Chairman and Director of Place and Communities warmly welcomed Richard Mitchell, the Chief Executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to the meeting and thanked him for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak to the Committee.


Through the Scrutiny Panel, it was important that the Council conveyed its eternal gratitude to the NHS and the staff at Kings Mill Hospital for their unrelenting care and support of local residents throughout the pandemic.  The recent extension of vaccine provision to the Council’s front-line staff from the Hospital Trust also required the Council’s gratitude and would go a long way towards protecting employees who were committed to delivering services to the people of Ashfield on a daily basis.


Richard Mitchell, Chief Executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust


Having thanked the Chairman for his opening words, Richard Mitchell briefly spoke about his role as Chief Executive at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which covered Kings Mill Hospital, Newark and Mansfield Community Hospitals.  He was also Executive Lead for the Mid Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership whose overarching remit was to improve the integration of care and facilities within local communities.


In relation to the Trust’s response to the pandemic, overall the care service provided had been immense and staff had worked tirelessly to provide care to its patients.  However, the last 12 months had taken its toll and staff were exhausted and in many cases, emotionally spent.  The Council had been a great support to Kings Mill Hospital during the pandemic and the relationships that had been cemented would endure and be invaluable going forward. 


The Trust had provided safe care for all its patients over the last 12 months with some cancer and diagnostic care continuing wherever possible.  As Chief Executive, Richard was aware that the care needed to be for patients and staff alike and it had been a tough task for staff having to work in this challenging environment and wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout.  The pandemic had also had an impact of NHS staff working at home and it had been paramount that they all continued to share experiences and have access to welfare support as required.


From any angle, the Trust could be immensely proud of what it had achieved over the last year; their PPE plan especially had been effective from the start and all staff had been able to access full PPE equipment as needed.  The excellent PPE provision had also enabled the Trust’s many partners including care homes and funeral suppliers to have access to equipment and supplies as required.


The Trust were the first to offer 24/7 vaccine provision and this was continuing, placing them in the top 5 for vaccine provision and roll out of the programme.  It was also noted, with relief, that the Trust had not lost any health care workers to Covid-19 to date and this was hopefully in small part due to the continuous supply of PPE and the support  ...  view the full minutes text for item CP.22


Guidance and Restrictions Update pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:


The Vice Chairman gave an update to Members in relation to the latest position and Government’s need to look at further options to tighten regulations if required.  Some of the options to be considered:


·       introducing a 3-metre rule

·       wearing masks outside in busy areas

·       scrapping support bubbles

·       scrapping childcare bubbles

·       restricting school access to children of 'critical workers'

·       banning people from meeting to exercise

·       limiting exercise to one hour a day

·       increasing fines handed out for rule breaches

·       shutting nurseries for non-key workers

·       closing playgrounds

·       shutting car parks at country parks.


The excellent work of the Finance Team was highlighted with the current processing position being that 1,697 businesses have been paid a total of £7.666m to date with the following split:


·       Businesses with a Rateable Value: 1,332 paid to a value of £7.098 million

·       Businesses without a Rateable Value: 365 paid to a value of £568 thousand.


The Discretionary Grant Scheme closed at midnight on Sunday and the Council’s website had been updated to reflect this There had been a last minute surge over the weekend of around 70 applications taking the outstanding discretionary applications that morning to 246. Processing was expected to take up to 3 weeks.  Delivery of the scheme had been an enormous amount of work for staff and on behalf of the Panel, thanks were afforded to the Corporate Finance Manger (and Section 151 Officer) and the Chief Accountant for their diligence and professionalism throughout.


Latest coronavirus figures for the Ashfield District continued to drop.  As of 31 January, there had been an increase of 83 with 7757 having contracted the virus since the pandemic began. 


The Service Manager, Scrutiny and Democratic Services advised the Panel that the latest picture was ever changing but reiterated that people must not become complacent and continue to strictly follow the Government guidelines.


The Director of Place and Communities asked Members to consider how they might utilise their roles as Councillors to encourage residents to take up the vaccinations and stay safe.  They had influence within their Wards in their community leadership roles and had built up many contacts and networks over their time in office.  The Communications Team were also available to assist them as required and any assistance they could offer would be welcomed.


In relation to the Council’s Communication Team, Members were advised that the Senior Communications Officer currently attended two weekly meetings, one with the Local Resilience Forum in relation to Covid-19 communications across the County and the second, with Nottinghamshire County Council and the CCG regarding the vaccination roll out programme.


The Portfolio Holder for Streets, Parks and Town Centres had joined the meeting and advised that he was currently a Member on the Nottinghamshire County Council Health and Wellbeing Board.


Many older residents were confused as to the correct course of action to access the vaccination following receipt of their letters.  It was suggested that ‘Tech Buddies’ would be a help to residents who were struggling to get online and book their vaccination  ...  view the full minutes text for item CP.23


Corporate Plan Performance Update pdf icon PDF 333 KB


The Assistant Director, Corporate Services and Transformation presented the

Quarter 2 Corporate Scorecard for April to September 2020 to enable Members to review the levels of performance achieved and consider the impact of the pandemic on the Council’s performance.


The Council has worked extremely hard since the pandemic began and were the only local authority in Nottinghamshire that has continued to deliver their Tier 1 and Tier 2 critical services without interruption.  The Council had also delivered a variety of humanitarian services across the District and had continued to facilitate many of their waste collection campaigns.


As at the end of September 2020, 71% of Corporate Scorecard measures were achieving or exceeding target or were within 10% variance of their targets. 61% of measures were also indicating an improved position compared to the same period in the previous year or were within 5% of the previous year’s performance levels.


The key highlights regarding performance were as follows:


Health and Happiness

·       work commenced on the new leisure centre build in Kirkby

·       many voluntary organisations have benefitted from community funding especially through the Council’s ‘Feel Good Food’ project


Homes and Housing

·       service delivery to Council owned stock has been maintained throughout

·       prevention of 35% more households becoming homeless

·       99.6% of properties have received their annual gas and safety checks


 Economic Growth and Place

·       Covid Information Officers have been continuing to support high street businesses

·       Idlewells Shopping Centre retained its occupancy up to September 2020

·       Economic Recovery Plan created to support the Council’s high streets post Covid


Cleaner and Greener

·       increases in incidences of fly tipping (mainly due to closure of local recycling centres)

·       success of the ‘Bag It’ campaign

·       reduction of reported incidences of dog fouling and littering


Safer and Stronger

·       increases in reported incidences of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and nuisance (more prevalent during lockdowns)

·       increases in incidences of domestic violence and the recruitment of a Domestic Violence Support Officer


Innovate and Improve

·       use of digital and online facilities increased, in no small part due to the introduction of the Council’s new website and an easier journey for customers

·       effective administration of the online Business Grants Scheme applications.


The pandemic had unfortunately had a negative impact on some of the Council’s critical functions and these were outlined as follows:


Business Rates Collection

At the end of Quarter 2, business rates collection stood at 46.1% which was considerably lower than the target of 53.8%.


Rent Arrears

There had been a significant increase in rent arrears due to many households experiencing financial difficulties and the timelines for seeking possession being extended from 3 months to 6 months.


Void Property Turnaround

Void property turnaround had slowed down from the target of 21 days due to difficulties accessing building/refurbishment materials during the lockdowns.


Members discussed the Council’s Quarter 2 position in particular the current position with regard to homeless persons in the District and the recent operational difficulties faced by the Housing Team as a result of key officers being in isolation.



that the level  ...  view the full minutes text for item CP.24