Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS

Contact: Mary Richards  Email:

No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Mr Topham.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2019.


It was proposed, seconded and –




That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2019 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote: For 1, Abstentions 6)


Matters Arising


Minute 85 – 1610


The Planning and Economy Manager confirmed that Ian Blythe had left the Employ of 1610 Leisure Services.  The position had been filled.


Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions


There was no public participation.


Action List pdf icon PDF 44 KB


The completed actions were noted.


76 c) - That clarification be sought from Suzanne Tracey about clinical and

administrative collaboration


The Lead Member for Health & Wellbeing advised the Committee that he would cover this in his update.


77 – To have an inspection of Torrington pool conducted


The Planning and Economy Manager told the meeting that John Follows had been carrying out checks and had produced a snagging list.  Meetings had also taken place with Ricky Hayes and the CEO of 1610 where frank discussions had been held.  The company had acknowledged that standards of cleanliness were poor and that the presence of managerial staff at sites was inadequate.  A restructure was taking place.


86 - To set up an officer group to consider the findings of the officer Task & Finish Group which had researched TBID


Further to the change of Council in May this could now be set up and a report will be brought back to the next meeting.


Declaration Of Interests

Members with interests should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is considered.



Members were reminded that declarations of interest should be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.



Agreement Of Agenda Items Part I and II


There were no Part II items.


Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair


Clovelly – Charles Kingsley Bicentenary Celebration


The Chair invited Councillor Harding to address the Committee on the forthcoming events at Clovelly.


To commemorate the birth of Charles Kingsley celebrations will be taking place in Clovelly between 12 and 16 June.  Activities include:


·         Gardening Club “The Water Babies” themed exhibits

·         Yarn bombing

·         “Charles Kingsley” will be in the museum to answer questions

·         Book readings and signings – Liz Shakespeare and Janet Few

·         Workshops – Bookbinding, “The Water Babies” Themed Arts and Crafts, Children’s Theatre


The Chair asked that details be published in the Members’ Bulletin.


Northam Burrows – Celebration of D Day


The Chair referred Members to the TDC website for information about the exhibition and D Day history walk (6 June)


TTVS and Great Torrington Community Wellbeing Event


The Chair encouraged Members to support this event being held at The Plough, Great Torrington.  Activities to include stalls, sea shanties, short films and free cream teas.


Emergency Services


The Chair wished to have recorded his praise and thanks to the emergency services in their handling of the fatal accident on the A386 between Landcross and Bideford on 9 May.  They had responded professionally and with great kindness.




The Burton Art Gallery and Museum pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To receive a presentation from Judith Gentry and Stephen Harding.

Additional documents:


The Planning and Economy Manager provided some background information on the reasons why management of the Burton Art Gallery and Museum had been transferred to a third party and the options which had been considered prior to 2016.  A brief overview of the Five Year Service and Funding Agreement was given.


Judith Gentry commenced the Burton at Bideford presentation with an overview of the governance of both the Trust and the trading company.  This was followed by an explanation of the mission statement.


Steve Harding spoke about the permanent collections, some of which were owned by TDC, some by the Trust.  Good relationships with the TATE and the Victoria & Albert Museum enabled The Burton to bring in exhibitions of significance but equally artefacts and artworks of local interest were exhibited.  The permanent collection had been built up over time with over 3000 items in the heritage collection. 


Among the highlights of the last 3 years were:


·         The award of National Portfolio Organisation status and a prestigious grant from the Arts Council England, enabling the Trust to attract exhibitions of huge national significance and to create 2 new part time posts

·         The Peter Rabbit Exhibition, which had exceeded visitor numbers expectations

·         Refurbishment of the craft gallery


There had also been challenges, such as the departure of 2 directors and the difficulty in finding trustees with recent arts related backgrounds and time to commit.  Plans to extend The Burton to accommodate the library had ceased.


Members learnt about the Trust’s engagement with schools and the intentions to bring education to the core of the organisation; artists residence; the forthcoming exhibition programme; and the opportunity to acquire a James Ravilious collection, hitherto unseen.


The Chair opened the floor for questions, and answers were provided as follows:


·         The decrease in visitor numbers had been partly attributed to the excellent summer weather but also the Trust had not been proactive in drawing visitors in.  This was now being addressed.

·         The acquisition of artefacts was governed by a process overseen by the Collections Manager.  Further details will be forwarded. 

·         With regard to reaching out to schools, The Burton did have a travelling ceramics collection.

·         Although the Trust did not run arts clubs, workshops were frequently held.

·         The format of financial reporting had been set out in the funding agreement but this could be reviewed in the future.  However, consideration must be given to commercial sensitivity in relation to the trading arm.  It was noted that the annual accounts are made public.


Further discussions took place on marketing, advertising and social media; and the Artsmark scheme and awards.


It was proposed by Councillor Pennington and seconded by Councillor Harding –




The Lead Member for Community, Culture & Leisure monitor the performance of The Burton and bring it back to committee.


(Vote: For – unanimous)


It was proposed by Councillor Leather and seconded by Councillor Newton -




The Burton take exhibitions out to the wider Torridge area.


(Vote: For – 5, Against -1)


The Chair thanked Judith  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


An Introduction to the Scrutiny Role / New Statutory Guidance on Overview & Scrutiny - Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government pdf icon PDF 347 KB

To receive a briefing from the Head of Paid Service.

Additional documents:


The Head of Paid Service referred Members to the document “Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities”.


The Committee learnt that there was no statutory requirement for Torridge District Council to have a Scrutiny Committee.  The scrutiny role had been brought in for those councils working with an Executive or Cabinet system where committees had decision making powers.  Torridge operated a committee system and decisions were taken within the committee by elected members.   The Head of Paid Service referred to Article 6 of the constitution which set out the terms of reference of the Scrutiny Committee. 


The Scrutiny Committee can look at anything relating to the wellbeing of its residents.  For example, at a recent meeting with Devon County Council, the Head of Paid Service and the Leader of the Council had been informed that DCC will be revising the NHS long term plan and will be consulting with the District Council.  The External Overview & Scrutiny Committee will receive this presentation and discussions have taken place to set up a joint meeting with North Devon Council on the subject.


Whilst the Committee can review a wide range of issues, it did not have the power to force partners to attend meetings.  However, the guidance document provided tips on how to coax partners, using influence, persuasion and goodwill to ensure a productive scrutiny meeting.  Planning a strategy for the meeting was essential.


Financial challenges and the changing landscape of reforms presented the opportunity for both Scrutiny Committees to look at services and how they are delivered.


As the Committee looks at developing its strategic plan, it would be opportune, at some point in the future, to invite the Leader of the Council to come to a meeting to explain how she feels the plans have been developed and delivered.


Key points Members should bear in mind:


·         The scrutiny role is politically unbiased

·         The scrutiny role is a learning experience

·         The scrutiny role is about questioning and listening

·         Members should prepare for the meeting – The Chair of External Overview & Scrutiny recommended Committee Members attend the Community & Resources meeting to get an idea of the debate.




Health, Wellbeing & Social Care (Standing item)


The Lead Member for Health, Wellbeing & Social Care addressed the Committee on the issues of:


·         Closure of hospital beds at Holsworthy

·         rurality, sparsity and economic deprivation in Torridge

·         step up and end of life care

·         Holsworthy Community Involvement Group

·         NHS staff

·         The Complete Devon Trust

·         The reduction in the number of PCSOs


The Head of Paid Service stated that the County Council had a specific responsibility for scrutiny on health and wellbeing and indeed had a dedicated health and wellbeing scrutiny committee.  This should be considered when setting the work programme to avoid duplication. 


The committee discussed the effectiveness of health, wellbeing and social care as a standing item and in the format as presented, particularly in view of the importance and sheer size of the topic.  Members felt it should be broken down into manageable segments to be scrutinised as specific agenda items.  A written briefing by The Lead Member For Health, Wellbeing and Social Care could be appended to the agenda for information.  The Environmental Health & Community Safety Manager added that the Community Safety Partnership also scrutinised many topics which fell under this banner. 


A list of agencies which could be called in for scrutiny was requested with an overview of what was being scrutinised by the County Council.


The Head of Paid Service guided the Committee as follows:


·         It was important to hear what the CSP and the County Council had been doing.  Any issues coming from this could then be added to the Forward Plan.

·         Lead Members will be making regular reports which could be made available to all Members rather just Leadership as is currently the case.


The Lead Member for Health, Wellbeing & Social Care confirmed he was happy to submit a written report in future.  The Chair gave his assurance that should there be any further updates to the report, these could be dealt with under “Urgent Matters Brought Forward With The Permission Of The Chair”.


It was proposed by Councillor Leather, seconded by Councillor Newton and –




That the standing item “Health, Wellbeing & Social Care” be removed from the



(Vote: For 5, Against 1, Abstention 1)


It was proposed by Councillor Cottle-Hunkin and seconded by Councillor Harding –




A list of agencies related to health and wellbeing be made available so that they can be programmed into the Forward Plan.


(Vote: For – unanimous)


A further discussion on the County Council’s responsibility followed.  The Head of Paid Service advised that the Leader of the Council was looking to bring in the County Council representatives regularly.  The Chair told Members about the 2 DCC committees which deal with local issues - HATOC and Locality.


It was proposed by Councillor Langford and seconded by Councillor Pennington –




The External Overview & Scrutiny Committee be more focused in the scrutiny of specific health and wellbeing issues.


(Vote: For unanimous)


The Committee acknowledged the hard work put into the reports by the Lead Member and the Chair extended his thanks.


The Lead Member for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


External Grants Working Group

To receive an update from the Planning & Economy Manager.


The Planning and Economy Manager confirmed that a second meeting of the External Grants Working Group had taken place at which the purpose and depth of review had been scoped.


All of the groups who receive grants have been contacted and asked a series of questions in relation to what they do with the grants and how they would cope with less money.  The feedback will be collated and the brought to the Group.


Work is ongoing from the last group but membership would now need to be revisited due to the change of committee membership.


Play Areas Working Group

To receive an update from the Planning & Economy Manager.


As a result of the previous work of the Play Areas Working Group, a recommendation had been made to the Community & Resources Committee to allocate funds for a Play Areas Strategy to be prepared.  This had been rebuffed by the Community & Resources Committee; had been called in by the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee and was ultimately approved.


A further meeting of the Working Group will be called when there is more information.


It was noted that North Devon Council did not wish enter into a joint play areas strategy.


Consideration Of The Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 59 KB


An observation was made that the Working Groups should be Task & Finish Groups and as such should not be standing items.  The Planning and Economy Manager explained the involvement of the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee - the initial meeting was to start the debate, the next to nominate participants and then to consider the findings of the Working Group and to decide what should be done with that information.  Consequently, a discussion was not required at every External Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting, only when new information was available.  He also confirmed that this was a joint working group with Internal Overview & Scrutiny.


The comment was noted that the group should be a task and finish group with defined timescales.


The following amendments to the Forward Plan were agreed:


·         The Westward Ho! Park call in would be going to the Internal Overview & Scrutiny meeting and therefore could be removed from the External O&S Forward Plan.


·         The Planning and Economy Manager gave a brief overview of the history and remit of the North Devon Marketing Bureau.  It was noted that they were not funded by TDC and agreed they should be invited in when TBID is brought back.


·         Agriculture and the impact of Brexit be added to the Forward Plan for the July meeting.  This would include how the Council might better interact with them.  Also, the supply industry to agriculture.

Councillor Harding to be  involved with the scoping and to work with the Planning and Economy Manager.


·         Addition of Petroc College/working with young people/apprenticeships.


Councillor Pennington declared an interest – his son works at Petroc College.

The  Head of Paid Service declared an interest – she is on the Board of Governors of Petroc.


·         Addition of ambulance response times - August