Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board - Tuesday, 29th October, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Contact: Julia Cleary  01902 555046 or Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jacqueline Sweetman. Cllr Martin Waite was in attendance as a substitute.


Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 305 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.]



That the minutes of the previous meeting be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Matters arising


Cllr Bolshaw referred to page 6 of the agenda and the item regarding the Annual Social Care, Public Health and Corporate Complaints Report. Cllr Bolshaw confirmed that he had received feedback from the Customer Engagement Manager regarding the future inclusion of additional contextual information relating to departments and service areas where no complaints had been received.



Call-in: Future Operating Model for Civic Halls pdf icon PDF 134 KB


The Chair of Scrutiny Board stated that he had requested the item considered by Cabinet on 16 October 2019 in relation to the future operating model for the Civic Halls be called-in. This was an important decision for the Council and the City and he considered it important that Scrutiny Board scrutinise the proposed solution and the market intelligence used to inform the decision.


The Board received a presentation from the Director of Finance which provided the background to the decision. The presentation had been prepared by the Council’s advisors, IPW, who were unable to attend the meeting due to previous commitments.



IPW had been appointed to advise on the different management options and to carry out market testing with prospective operators. IPW were leading industry advisors and had undertaken similar work for cities across the country (including 70% of UK arenas). IPW had also taken the lead on the development and operation of mid-scale venues in Hull, Swansea and Bradford.


IPW fed back that the Civic Halls was in a strong location with a strong catchment and a higher capacity than its competitors. The Hall was also known to have a good reputation amongst artists and promoters. The Board agreed that maximising income was critical and that it was vital to get what happened in the building right. Income generation would need to consider areas such as promoter relationships and secondary spends whilst also taking into consideration social value. 


Four primary operating models had been considered:


1.     Self-operation: In house through the Visitor Economy Team

2.     Self-operation: Trust

3.     External operation: Lease arrangement

4.     External operation: Management agreement


Each of the above options had different features in terms of control over the day to day operation, the level of financial exposure, the certainty of financial income (risk), the level of building risk retained by the Council and the level of annual financial return to the Council to contribute to the capital investment.


It was stated that an external operator would normally be expected to generate higher revenue surplus due to expertise, promoter networks and commerciality. Any external operator would also have programming freedom. The Board considered the different operating models and the associated levels of control, risk transfer and cost certainty. It was confirmed that the Council would be able to specify certain contractual requirements such as payment of the living wage.


Market testing had been carried out and discussions held with ten industry operators, with significant interest being shown from eight (very high). Feedback had been positive with operators considering that the venue would generate a profit, that they would be interested in a lease agreement and that there would be a strong guaranteed annual payment to the Council to support repaying the borrowing. Competition, catchment and product were key. It was confirmed that in any scenario, the Council would retain ownership of the building. 


The preferred option (option 3), was to have a lease arrangement with a private sector operator, paying annual rent to the Council. This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Scrutiny Review: Rewriting the Narrative - Youth Violent Crime pdf icon PDF 163 KB

[Report will be sent to follow]

Additional documents:


The Board welcomed Cllr Obaida Ahmed, Chair of the Scrutiny Review, to the meeting. Cllr Ahmed introduced the draft scrutiny review in to youth violent crime and provided an overview of the main points in the report. The review had been cross-party and provided a platform for placing violence prevention at the heart of the Council’s commitment to ensure that everyone in Wolverhampton could live their lives in a safe and supportive environment. Cllr Ahmed thanked everyone who had contributed to the scrutiny review.


The report considered areas of good practice already taking place within the City such as Catch 22, Eyes to Success, the Summer Squad and Believe to Achieve and the good work being carried out by the Council’s own Youth Offending Service and Community Safety Team. Alongside this, the report provided evidence and examples of successful initiatives carried out by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and made a number of recommendations regarding how these initiatives could be fed into the future West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.


The report highlighted the importance of early intervention and the necessity of training for all those who had direct contact with young people in order that they might spot the signs of adverse childhood experiences and be able to take appropriate action.


Cllr Ahmed explained that the review had adopted a public health approach and had initially sought to understand and establish the facts regarding youth violent crime. One very important statistic was that only 8% of violence in the City was committed by young people.


Cllr Ahmed stated that no one is born violent but risk factors from birth can lead a young person to violence and it was the responsibility of everyone to try and bring in as many preventative measures as possible to mitigate the risk factors.  Cllr Ahmed stated that young people suffering from adverse childhood experiences (ACES) could be up to ten times more likely to be involved in violence by the time they were 18. The review highlighted the vital role of the community in supporting young people to overcome ACES and associated risk factors.


The group had visited the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) and the experience from this had helped to form the core of the review.  The SVRU had been on a long journey but what shone through was the passion the team had and this was vital to its success and needed to be replicated in the new West Midlands VRU. The SVRU had also highlighted the importance of involving people with real, lived experiences of trauma who could offer empathy rather than just sympathy to those in need of help and support.


Cllr Ahmed praised the wonderful work that had been carried out over the summer holidays by the Summer Squad which had resulted in a 48% reduction in violence. This was a perfect example of what could be achieved, and it was important that schemes such as this continued.


The Board praised the work done and the report; and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Annual Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 300 KB

Additional documents:


The Board considered the Annual Scrutiny Review. The Review highlighted some of the key achievements of the Scrutiny function over the 2018-2019 municipal year including details of the progress and outcomes from a selection of Panel meetings and Reviews.


The report also highlighted upcoming items and developments in the scrutiny function and calendar.


Resolved:     That the report be noted.


Quarter 1 Social Care, Public Health and Corporate Complaints Report pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:


The Board considered the Quarter 1 Social Care, Public Health and Corporate Complaints Report for 2019.  The Council’s Customer Feedback Team handled complaints, compliments and service enquiries from members of the public.  Those relating to social care and public health matters fell under a statutory framework, while the remainder were handled under the council’s policy. The report provided an overview of the contacts received during the first quarter of 2019/20.


Resolved: (1) That Scrutiny Board note:


  1. The Statutory Complaints Activity for Children’s Services, Adult Services and Public Health, as listed in section 1 of the report. 
  2. All the other complaints activity governed by the Corporate Complaints Procedures as listed in section 2 of the report.
  3. The new layout and structure of quarter one complaints report.








Updates from the chairs of the scrutiny panels

[To receive updates from the chairs of the Scrutiny Panels:

·       Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel

·       Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel

·       Health Scrutiny Panel

·       Our Council Scrutiny Panel

·       Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel

·       Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel



The Board considered the updates from the Scrutiny Panel chairs.


1.     Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel


The Scrutiny Officer read out the update from Cllr Sweetman in her absence.


At the meeting on the 16 July the Panel had considered an item tilted Public Realm, Transport and Linking the City. Members of the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel had been invited to attend for this item and many of them did so. The Panel made a number of recommendations including that Cllr Martin Waite be invited to sit as a Member on the newly formed informal Member Reference Group on the Public Realm / Westside Link and that he report back into the Scrutiny process and that the Stronger City Economy Panel receive more information at their next meeting in September 2019 on the marketing plans for the Public Realm / Westside Link project. 


The Panel at their meeting in July considered the Digital Infrastructure Strategy as a pre-decision item.  The Panel resolved, that officers co-ordinate with the Council’s Communication team on an effective communication and engagement plan promoting the benefits that the successful implementation of the Digital Infrastructure Strategy will bring to the City.  Concerns raised at this meeting regarding the Westside Link / Public Realm were re-visited at the September meeting. Members continued to raise a number of serious concerns about the project and agreed that answers be pursued.  This will in part be through the new Member Reference Group, which the Portfolio Holder had established. 


The Panel also considered the City Identity and Marketing for the City of Wolverhampton.  It was clear that good work was ongoing in this area.


2.     Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel


Cllr Singh stated that the Panel had considered burial places and capacity at Bushbury Crematorium and that this was the 16th busiest crematorium out of 219 in the UK. Cllr Singh stated that Cllr Leach and her team had been working hard over the past year to provide new burial spaces and that it was an example of good cross panel working that had been praised by the equalities team. The Panel had specifically requested that the bereavements team make sure that the service met with people’s expectations and ensured that all religious matters and faith matters were taken into consideration.


The Housing Strategy had been considered as an item of pre decision scrutiny and Cllr Singh stated that a number of good suggestions made by the Panel were noted.


The Panel had also considered Keep the Street Neat which included the issue of fly tipping and had a night visit to the casino and a number of night time economy retail establishments.


The Board praised the work of the Trading Standards and Enforcement Team and stated that it had been wonderful to see how they worked with the Police and the sniffer dog.


3.     Health Scrutiny Panel


Cllr Page stated that the Health Scrutiny had held a very good public meeting at Linden House  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 593 KB

[To consider the Board’s work programme for future meetings.]


Resolved:     That the work programme be agreed.


Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 668 KB

[To consider if there are any items on the forward plan for pre-decision scrutiny.]


The Board considered the Forward Plan and a request was made to add housing allocations to the Work Plan. It was however noted that this had already been considered by the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel when a number of related issues and also been discussed. The Housing Allocation Policy was also due to come back to the Panel January 2020.


It was agreed to invite the Director of Assets and City Housing to a future meeting of Scrutiny Board to provide the presentation that had previously been considered by the Panel.


Resolved:     That the Director of Assets and City Housing attend a future meeting of Scrutiny Board to provide a presentation on housing allocation.