Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 9th December, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote - To be held remotely via Zoom - View directions

Contact: Laura Wilson  Senior Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Councillor AJ Matsiko – unwell

Councillor Carole McColluch – personal


Councillor Georgia Power gave apologies for the fact that her camera was broken, so she was not visible on the livestream, but was in attendance at the meeting.


Declarations of interests


At the time of consideration, Councillor Angharad Roberts, declared an Other Interest in agenda item 5 (minute 36) Scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder for Adult Care and Local Transport, as she is a Council appointed Director of Nottingham City Transport.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2020


The Committee confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2020 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.


Update on the Action Plan in response to the Report in the Public Interest on Nottingham City Council's governance arrangements for Robin Hood Energy

Verbal update


Beth Brown, Head of Legal and Governance, provided the Committee with the following update in relation to the Action Plan in response to the Report in the Public Interest on Nottingham City Council’s governance arrangements for Robin Hood Energy:


(a)  the report in the Public Interest went to Council and the Action Plan was adopted. An amended Action Plan was subsequently approved at Council in November;


(b)  work on the Action Plan is progressing at pace, with a governance improvement programme established to report on updates and ensure that the actions are achieved;


(c)  the Action Plan contains 13 recommendations, which were broken down to in excess of 60 actions;


(d)  as part of the actions, a Nottingham City Governance Improvement Board has been formed and met for the first time this morning;


(e)  there has been no slippage with achieving the actions, but work is being done to prioritise them. Work will be done to ensure that changes are embedded in the organisation, rather than it being a tick box exercise;


(f)  an overarching lessons learnt report will be taken to Council in January;


(g)  this Committee’s Terms of Reference are on this agenda for consideration;


(h)  the training programme is underway.


Councillor Sally Longford, Chair of the Nottingham City Governance Improvement Board, provided the Committee with the following update in relation to the inaugural meeting of the Board which had taken place that morning:


(i)  the Board is politically balanced Committee of the Council and is responsible for overseeing the performance against the Action Plan on a regular basis;


(j)  there are two independent members – Mark Edgell from the Local Government Association and Peter Murphy from Nottingham Trent University who has a long history of working in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and its predecessors;


(k)  the Board went through the progress against the Action Plan thoroughly, and input from the independent members was particularly useful to give a different view on progress and prioritisation;


(l)  the fact that there are so many actions means that work needs to be done to prioritise the most urgent ones, which will be addressed in the next couple of weeks;


(m)  the Board spoke about the role of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Audit Committee, and Companies Governance Sub Committee, and how the governance of Council owned companies can be strengthened alongside strengthening the companies connection with the Council;


(n)  as already stated, a report will be submitted to Council in January to summarise the progress made so far, and includes feedback from the partners and organisations that have been engaged so far.


During the discussion which followed, the following points were raised:


(o)  the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is not involved in the Nottingham City Governance Improvement Board, but there will be further engagement with them in the future;


(p)  an informal officer Programme Improvement Board meets regularly in relation to the Action Plan, and they will look at prioritisation of the actions and submit recommendations to the Nottingham City Governance Improvement Board for approval;


(q)  work is progressing towards the implementation stage, and meetings will take place regularly to ensure that the actions are achieved.



Scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder for Adult Care and Local Transport pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Governance


Councillor Adele Williams, Portfolio Holder for Adult Care and Local Transport, gave a presentation on the current position of her portfolio and performance in relation to her Council Plan priorities in respect of the Local Transport element of her portfolio, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  the Local Transport element of the Portfolio is covered by two Council departments – Commercial and Operations and Development and Growth. Those within Commercial and Operations are:

·  passenger transport;

·  meals at home;

·  fleet;

·  the Workplace Parking Levy.

Those within Development and Growth are:

·  public transport, including NET;

·  active travel;


(b)  there are 7 Council Plan commitments for the Local Transport element of the portfolio. 3 have an expected outcome of Red, 2 have an expected outcome of Amber, and 2 have an expected outcome of Green:

·  those with an expected outcome of Green are:

o  further develop Nottingham’s cycle network by upgrading existing cycle routes to encourage more leisure and commuter cycling;

o  introduce contactless payments for bus and tram fares and city centre parking;

·  those with an expected outcome of Amber are:

o  campaign for the same transport discounts for 16-21s as those provided for students;

o  introduce a cheap peak travel offer for people who have concessionary bus passes;

·  those with an expected outcome of Red are:

o  help Nottingham people access jobs by promoting and building tram extensions (south of Clifton, Chilwell/Toton) and explore the feasibility of further major tram extensions (Netherfield, Gedling Colliery, Gamston, Kimberley);

o  increase the frequency of NCT weekend night bus services from hourly to half hourly at peak times;


(c)  performance highlights include:

·  despite delays caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, cycle schemes in the city continue to progress;

·  despite the Covid-19 restrictions, design work has started on the Transforming Cities Fund second phase of funding for cycling and walking schemes in Nottingham;

·  progress continues on contactless payments for bus and tram fares and city centre parking;

·  winning bids to support the Council’s ambitions for the city;


(d)  challenges and opportunities going forward include:

·  the Covid-19 pandemic, including the national lockdown, local restrictions and social distancing, has had a severe impact on public transport networks across the country, which will affect several of the Council’s transport aims;

·  the Council is working with the Department for Transport on revised operating models to ensure that Nottingham continues to have an outstanding public transport network;


(e)  funding received includes:

·  the Transforming Cities Fund - £161m from tranche 2 of the programme to support improving connections between major employment sites and promoting active travel and public transport;

·  the Future Transport Zone - £16.7m to improve the integration of existing transport services, whilst also trialling new and innovative transport services;

·  the Emergency Active Travel Fund and Active Travel Funding - £2.5m;


(f)  other highlights include:

·  30% of the Council’s fleet is now electric;

·  the Nottingham Electrical Vehicle Services is helping the city convert and achieve the Carbon Neutral 2028 aims;

·  the Workplace Parking Levy continues to support the integrated transport offer in the city;

·  the meals at home service is cost neutral;

·  passenger transport services are continuing to support citizens and families;

·  the Workplace Parking Levy consultancy services and passenger transport colleagues have both receive The Association for Public Service Excellence nominations.


During the discussion which followed, the following points were made:


(g)  the electric scooters have been trialling for 4 weeks, and there have been some issues but, as it’s a trial, there is scope for changes or to stop. 30,000 have registered to use the scooters, and 19,000 rides have been made so far. There is a key worker loan scheme proposal, which 150 key workers have registered interest in. The parking zones for the scooters are viewable in the app, but plans are in place to physically mark some bays. There will be charges for illegal parking and pavement riding will be penalised. Any pavement riding should be reported as the user can be tracked through the app. Helmets must be worn when riding, but some have gone missing, so further work is being done;


(h)  consultation was limited on introducing the current trials in the city, because of time pressures. There will be further consultation once the trials are coming to an end to ascertain whether they are wanted or needed on a permanent basis;


(i)  the introduction of some new one way systems may increase some peoples travel time, but the views of the residents living on the streets impacted by drivers using them as cut-throughs need to be taken into account;


(j)  there is a new camera system used to monitor cycle lane usage. All of the cycle lanes and how they interact with road junctions are audited for road safety, but concerns with particular junctions can be revisited;


(k)  cyclists, pedestrians and motorists would prefer segregated areas, but it isn’t always possible, and road space has to be allocated so that all users can use them;


(l)  funding has been secured for additional park and ride spaces at Wilford Lane, and work will be done to establish when these will be completed;


(m)  cyclists riding on pavements is a national issue, so work will be done to establish whether there is good practice in any other area that can be adopted in Nottingham.



Highways England – Clifton Bridge pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Governance


Additional documents:


Catherine Brookes, Midlands Regional Director, and Dave Cartwright, Head of Scheme Delivery, East Midlands, both from Highways England, gave a presentation on the work underway to repair Clifton Bridge, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  the planned repairs that started taking pace in February 2020, were identified during a routine inspection in 2019. While work was taking place, the need for further repairs was uncovered;

(b)  there are steel cables encased in concrete inside boxes under the bridge. There are three concrete boxes under the bridge, all of which have narrow access points. This is where the additional repairs are taking place;


(c)  the further repairs were due to water damage to the structure. A programme of investigation was instigated to ascertain the extent of the damage and the nature of the repairs required;


(d)  a dedicated team was formed of technical experts, design service contractors, traffic officers, and various departments within Highways England to take immediate action and work with partners in the city;


(e)  a communications plan was implemented to inform customers via partnerships including QMC, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and local businesses;


(f)  the structural capacity of the bridge was assessed in its damaged state, and closure of the bridge out of Nottingham was necessary;


(g)  significant work was needed to open a lane to traffic, which was achieved six days after the original issue was identified;


(h)  electronic message signs were installed around the city to help customers plan their journeys. The in-house communications team produced materials to update stakeholders across a variety of channels;


(i)  to keep motorists and residents informed, a scheme website was created which is kept under review. Real-time closure and roadwork information is posted on the Twitter account, and regular newsletters and infographics are produced about work on the bridge;


(j)  a dedicated Public Liaison Officer helps communicate the works to customers, stakeholders and local businesses. A bi-weekly Local Resilience Forum meeting is attended to update on work to the bridge, and regular media briefings are held. There are also regular meetings with local MPs and Nottingham City Council;


(k)  a world-class specialist contractor was appointed in March 2020 to complete the design and permanent repair;


(l)  construction work for the permanent repair started in May 2020, with scaffolding erected on the flood plain to enable work to commence underneath the bridge;


(m)  in June 2020 a traffic management system was installed on Clifton Lane to enable work to take place under the bridge, and Clifton Lane was reduced to two lanes to enable work to take place safely over the road;


(n)  work has continued through the pandemic, with no pause in activity;


(o)  the new strengthening system was installed to the southern half of the bridge through the summer and autumn, and the specialist contractor is working around the clock to carry out the work;


(p)  a second lane over the bridge was opened on 8 November, and the additional capacity has helped to improve journey times for motorists;


(q)  a further detailed inspection and analysis using an underbridge unit sourced from Germany has identified the need for additional work to be carried out, therefore work is likely to continue on the bridge into autumn. The works are essential and everything possible is being done to do it as quickly and as safely as possible;


(r)  the new steel cables being installed on the outside of the bridge are visible and easily accessible for any future maintenance that may be required. Doing the work will strengthen the structure and allow for easier maintenance of the bridge in the future and will not need to be done again;


(s)  Highways England appreciate that the works are disruptive and understand the impact they are having on motorists coming in and out of Nottingham;


(t)  other structures on the network have been looked at, both with the same and similar design to Clifton Bridge. There are none in Nottingham;


(u)  conversations have been had with other operators of complex structures to learn about the technology that they use.


During the discussion which followed, the following points were made:


(v)  work was originally scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2020, but with the additional work that’s been discovered, this has been extended to enable the work to be carried out while the contractors are already on site, rather than causing further disruption at a later date;


(w)  the inspection regime involves looking at every structure every two years, with a detailed inspection every six years;


(x)  Clifton Bridge is a unique structure and is difficult to expect due to the cables being encased in concrete. The inspections of the bridge involved checking the concrete for any damage, which is why the damage to the cables wasn’t identified until some of the concrete had been removed as part of the scheduled repairs;


(y)  the closure and repairs have caused chaos and had a significant impact on the city and local residents, so it is important that the new timescale for completion is met;


(z)  the disruption is being balanced with safety to ensure that the bridge isn’t overloaded in its current state. The project is complex, but there are lots of resources in place and work is ongoing 6 days a week to ensure that it is completed as quickly as possible;


(aa)  the life expectancy of bridges is 120 years, and Clifton Bridge will still have the remainder of its life expectancy once the works are completed;


(bb)  the use of social media by Highways England is being improved to reach more people;


(cc)  no further lanes should need to be closed, but which lanes are closed will need to change depending on where work needs to be carried out. There will also need to be some further overnight and weekend closures to enable the work to be carried out;


(dd)  works to Silverdale roundabout are planned and are being aligned to the work on Clifton Bridge to keep disruption to a minimum;


(ee)  the works have cost families and businesses time and money, and caused issues for public transport, so communication on traffic management measures needs to remain in place;


(ff)  the opening of the slip road is key to improving traffic flow as traffic begins to increase again, particularly for public transport, but it is not safe to open it yet.


Paul Boulton, Head of Traffic, Nottingham City Council informed the Committee that, the Traffic Team is working closely with Highways England to ensure that mitigating measures are put in place and maintained to help manage traffic in the area. The second lane reopening at the beginning of November has had a positive impact on traffic flow, although it continues to be monitored regularly.



Flooding - Mitigation Work in the City pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Governance


Additional documents:


Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Democratic Services, and Mark Jenkins, Service Manager, Asset Management, Nottingham City Council, supported by  Chloe Langley, Flood Mitigation – Senior Officer, Nottingham City Council, Kevin Charnley, Highway Maintenance Manager, Nottingham City Council, Paul Lockhart, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager (Nottingham and the Tidal Trent), Environment Agency, and Tim Smith, Flooding Analyst, Strategic Asset Management, Severn Trent Water, gave a presentation on the work of the Lead Local Flood Authority, the Flood Risk Management Strategy and work undertaken to address flooding in the city, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  the current activities, actions and programmes include creating new green and blue infrastructure projects to help defend properties from local flood events, and work to protect 1,000 more homes from the risk of flooding;


(b)  the key objectives are to:

·  ensure adaptation to climate change has a strong foundation in future policies;

·  reduce the risk of  flooding to properties and infrastructure;

·  ensure all City Council services are adaptable to a changing climate;

·  understand the current and future impacts of extreme weather events and climate change;

·  create resilience in communities and business;


(c)  under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the City Council has a statutory duty as Lead Local Flood Authority. The Act outlines the responsibilities of the organisations involved in flood risk management. In the city this includes Nottingham City Council, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water;


(d)  the authority’s existing Flood Risk Management Strategy was approved by Council in March 2015, and forms an action plan for flood risk management across the city;


(e)  the role of the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority is to facilitate a co-ordinated approach, working with professional partners and the public to reduce the risk and minimise the effects of flooding. In order to carry out this role, the Flood and Water Management Act places a specific number of duties on the Lead Local Flood Authority:

·  responsibility for managing flood risk from ‘local’ sources, which includes surface water, minor (‘ordinary’) watercourses and groundwater;

·  developing, maintaining, applying and monitoring a strategy for local flood risk management;

·  investigating flood incidents to identify the organisation(s) with relevant flood risk management functions, formally known as Section 19 reports;

·  developing and maintaining a register of flood risk management assets and features.

The Council also play an active role with the Environment Agency of the Trent Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, and with Nottinghamshire County Council on the Strategic Flood Risk Management Board;


(f)  maintenance of all flood risk and drainage assets across the authority is crucial for flood risk management. The authority plays a key role in ensuring that key assets are maintained and monitored (such as highway gully cleaning) to ensure operation. The Flood Risk Management Team have identified key flooding hotspots as a priority, and work closely with Highway Services colleagues to target the gullies in these locations;


(g)  the authority is responsible for maintaining a number of ordinary watercourses throughout the city. The Flood Risk Management Team and Highway Services work closely and provide a maintenance regime for the clearance of debris from these watercourses, particularly at the numerous trash screens. Several key asset locations have monitoring equipment with level sensors to enable the authority to respond to any potential extreme changes in water levels, which may indicate potential blockages or flooding conditions;


(h)  improving understanding of assets is key to flood risk management, therefore the authority have initiated a series of studies of strategic watercourse assets across the city. Starting with trash screens, analysis has been carried out to understand condition and operational performance enabling the authority to quantify the properties at risk should these assets fail. The studies will also identify improvements that can be made to these strategic assets to reduce the associated flood and operational risk. Initial findings have identified 252 properties would be better protected from flooding if the recommended improvements were undertaken;


(i)  the Environment Agency have a responsibility to manage flood risk from main rivers. In Nottingham this includes the River Trent, River Leen, Day Brook, Fairham Brook, and sections of Tottle Brook and Nethergate Stream. They play a significant role in the maintenance and enforcement of these watercourses, as well as undertaking their own capital and maintenance programmes to better protect residents from flooding. They have a strategic overview of all forms of flooding, and provide support to Lead Local Flood Authorities;


(j)  the role of Severn Trent Water is to prevent flooding from public sewers. Under the Flood and Water Management Act, Severn Trent Water have a duty to operate with the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authorities to manage flood risk in a co-ordinated way;


(k)  to facilitate working in partnership and the sharing of best practice, Strategic Flood Risk Management Board meetings are held twice annually to give a high level overview of flood risk management work across Nottinghamshire;


(l)  since flooding was last considered by the Committee in 2016, the Council has completed and continues to progress the following capital investment schemes in support of its Council Plan priority to work with the Environment Agency to protect 1,000 more homes from the risk of flooding:

·  City Wide Property Level Protection Programme Phase 2. This scheme was completed in May 2019, with the installation of resilience measures such as flood doors, smart airbricks and sealing to 70 properties;

·  Daron Gardens and Edern Gardens Property Level Protection Scheme. This was completed in May 2019 with 16 properties fitted with flood resilience measures to improve resilience to properties in the Top Valley area;

·  Woolsington Close Property Level Protection Scheme. Following the completion of a conveyance scheme in April 2016, 14 properties were fitted with additional property level protection measures, packaged with the two schemes above for efficiencies;

·  blue green infrastructure at Day Brook. 160 properties have been better protected through the operational improvements to Jubilee Ponds, in partnership with Severn Trent Water, as well as the installation of property level protection. The Day Brook channel has also been naturalised through Valley Road Park and Jason Spencer Sports Ground, with planting to continue into 2021;


(m)  Severn Trent have completed a £3m projects at Shakespeare Street designed to improve the sewer network and alleviate flooding in the city centre. The project includes an underground storage tank and deep weir chamber opposite the Nottingham Trent University Arkwright Building. The 12.5m diameter x 18m deep tank has now been constructed and will protect the surrounding areas against sewer flooding events. In addition to the storage tank, a 7.5m diameter x 6m deep weir chamber will be constructed on top of the existing sewer in Shakespeare Street;


(n)  the Environment Agency have completed the following projects:

·  an initial assessment study of the Lower Leen in 2019 which focussed on the condition and performance of the lower section of the River Leen;

·  the Day Brook Automatic Debris Screen Project which reduced flood risk to 78 properties;

·  completed surveys of Tottle Brook to enable the hydraulic model to be updated, and further works are planned by Nottingham City Council;

·  the River Leen Catchment Strategy in partnership with Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University;


(o)  ongoing and future flood risk management projects include:

·  detail design and delivery for Tinkers Leen Penstock;

·  detailed feasibility or outline business case development for:

o  Beechdale Surface Water Management Scheme - £200,000 and 40 properties;

o  Stockhill Surface Water Scheme - £345,000 and 50 properties;

o  Broxtowe Capital Park Maintenance – approximately £1m (to be confirmed);

·  SR20 funded pre-feasibility investigations for:

o  a pilot city wide retrofit Sustainable Drainage Scheme Programme;

o  Fernwood and Rivergreen Crescent Conveyance Scheme;

o  Heathfield School Playing Field Flood Alleviation Scheme;

o  Nethergate Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme;

o  Stockhill Surface Water Management Scheme;

o  Tinkers Leen Flood Alleviation Scheme;

o  Tottle Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme;

o  Ventnor Rise Flood Alleviation Scheme;


(p)  strategic partnership projects include Mapperley Park Surface Water Management Scheme and the River Leen Catchment Strategy;


(q)  despite the large scale investment, the city and its residents continue to be adversely affected by flooding from the increased frequency and scale of storm events, therefore the focus of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy needs change to support wider objectives related to resilience and adaptation measures. The new flooded locations following recent storm events include:

·  33 different locations affected across winter and summer events ranging from Highways, internal, external and public open spaces;

·  64 properties affected from the summer storm;


(r)  delivery of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy requires adequate funding from both internal and external sources. Recent external funding buds have shown that they require ‘shovel ready’ or ‘off the shelf’ projects to meet the criteria to be successful. To achieve this in the future, Nottingham City Council may have to commit some initial funding to help develop some potential projects further. Asset Management/Operational Maintenance activities are most at risk during the current financial difficulties, but investment in these areas tend to deliver reduced flood risk more effectively and cost efficiently to affected communities/properties;


(s)  Flood Risk Management is a specialised service, with a limited resources pool available locally. A review of the Flood Risk Management Service has recently been completed and two updated posts have been made available for recruitment.


During the discussion which followed, the following points were raised:


(t)  the Flood Management Team is a statutory consultee for planning applications, and always ask for the inclusion of sustainable drainage system to ensure that the system isn’t overloaded. The Environment Agency is a statutory consultee if there is a river nearby;


(u)  a formal Section 19 investigation is underway due to the flooding that occurred in Wollaton in the summer;


(v)  gullies are cleaned frequently to ensure that they don’t get blocked. There are 25 hotspots across the city which are visited more frequently, including by the Streetscene Team for sweeping. Any issues with gullies should be reported so that they can be investigated;


(w)  the Flooding Team is aware of some locations in Clifton suffering with flooding since the extension of the tram network, and Section 19 investigations are underway to establish the cause. Work is also taking place with Severn Trent Water to ensure the capacity of their surface water drainage facility;


(x)  although the Flooding Team has been under-resourced it has met all statutory targets. The current recruitment process should help to alleviate the pressure on the service.



Draft Terms of Reference for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Governance

Additional documents:


Nancy Barnard, Governance and Electoral Services Manager, presented the Committee with proposed amendments to its Terms of Reference, which have been reviewed following the adoption of the Action Plan in response to the Report in the Public Interest on Nottingham City Council’s governance arrangements for Robin Hood Energy, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  the role of the Committee has been clarified as part of the revisions;


(b)  the practice of other Local Authorities was reviewed, as well as the guidance provided by the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny;


(c)  the Local Government Association has reviewed the draft Terms of Reference and provided feedback, which has been incorporated;


(d)  the Audit Committee and Companies Governance Sub Committee Terms of Reference are also being reviewed, and all Terms of Reference will be standardised;


(e)  once the Committee has provided its views, the Terms of Reference will be put forward for approval by Council in January.


During the discussion which followed, the following points were raised:


(f)  the work programme needs to be more focussed to enable topics to be discussed and considered fully;


(g)  the changes proposed are welcome;


(h)  the exemption from call-in process is being looked at, which includes looking at best practice at other authorities. It is important to ensure that any changes do not slow down the decision making process;


(i)  there are no resources available to provide additional support to scrutiny at present, and the two Senior Governance Officers responsible for scrutiny also have other responsibilities.


The Committee confirmed that it was happy for the amended Terms of Reference to be presented at Council in January for approval.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Governance


Additional documents:


The Chair of the Committee advised members to email Laura Wilson, Senior Governance Officer, with any suggestions for the work programme for the remainder of the 2020/21 municipal year.