Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Oculus, Buckinghamshire Council, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury HP19 8FF. View directions

Contact: Leslie Ashton 


Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Chairman's Welcome and Introduction

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The Chairman welcomed all those in attendance and those members of the public watching the webcast. Committee Members and Officers in attendance introduced themselves.


Appointment of Vice-Chairman

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That Councillor A Waite be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Communities and Localism Select Committee for the ensuing year.


Apologies for Absence / Changes in Membership

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Apologies had been received from Councillors S Barrett, P Bass, G Hollis and I Hussain.


Declarations of Interest

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Councillor P Cooper declared an interest in item 6, Priorities for the Year Ahead, due to his role as Chairman of the Queen’s Park Arts Centre on which he planned to ask a question to the Cabinet Member.


Minutes of the Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 438 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Select Committee meetings held on 18 March 2021 and 26 May 2021.

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The minutes of the meetings held on 18 March 2021 and 26 May 2021 were confirmed as an accurate record.


Priorities for the Year Ahead 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The Committee will receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Communities, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure and Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Regulatory Services.



Cllr Steve Bowles, Cabinet Member for Communities

Cllr Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure

Cllr Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Regulatory Services


Claire Hawkes, Service Director Localities and Strategic Partnerships

Sophie Payne, Service Director Culture, Sport and Leisure

Nigel Dicker, Service Director Housing and Regulatory Services

Lindsey Vallis, Transition Head of Licensing, Cemeteries & Crematoria Services


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The Chairman welcomed Councillor Steve Bowles, Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure and Councillor Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness & Regulatory (Regulatory Services functions relevant to this committee) to the meeting to present their priorities and areas of focus for the year ahead. The presentation slides can be seen attached to the agenda pack. Each Cabinet Member presented their priorities in turn with questions raised by the Committee at relevant points.


Councillor Steve Bowles, Cabinet Member for Communities


Councillor Bowles highlighted the below five priorities

  1. Develop the Localism model, at its heart of which is 16 Community Boards that connect the council to partners and its communities to provide tailored local support and solutions to issues.


Councillor Bowles spoke positively of the Community Boards and the difference they have made to local communities. There had been good collaboration across boards and a number of projects funded that had really benefitted local communities. There was now a priority to focus on climate change and economic recovery and significant funding was available for each board to make an impact locally with boards able to tailor action plans to their respective area and significantly benefit communities. Councillor Bowles highlighted the importance of the views of young people and invited the committee’s support and input in relation to encouraging community board involvement from younger residents.


  1. Deliver at pace the local Devolution programme.


Councillor Bowles explained that devolution required close working across the Council, Town and Parish Councils and advised of the significant impact covid had on the service area’s devolution rollout as staff had to prioritise supporting vulnerable residents. The committee was advised that a devolution manager had recently been appointed and there was a focus to progress this at pace and support the council’s partners. The first member devolution board had been arranged and was planned to take place on 14 July 2021.


  1. Work with the Police & Crime Commissioner to help prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime. Support tackling offences like speeding, illegal parking and rural crime.


The Committee was advised that the Council would work closely with partners, including the Thames Valley Police to ensure good outputs related to the priorities highlighted in the Safer Bucks Plan to reduce levels of crime. Councillor Bowles spoke of the flexibility shown by staff, including those who had taken up street warden roles through the pandemic, a role which had received much positive feedback.


  1. Work with local community groups, voluntary groups and town & parish councils to support local communities and build effective relationships.


The importance of working with community and voluntary groups and town and parish councils was spoken of with a number of engagement forums and support mechanisms set up. The VCSE strategic framework was progressing and the target was to launch the Town and Parish Charter in August/September this year.


  1. Collaboratively deliver a community ‘helping hand’ offer for vulnerable residents.


The Helping Hand offer which was introduced as part of the council’s pandemic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Work Programme

An opportunity for Members to discuss possible topics for the future committee work programme.



All Committee Members

Leslie Ashton, Senior Scrutiny Officer

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The Committee was invited to put forward suggestions for the 2021/22 work programme. The Committee was advised that suggestions made would be developed in to a work programme in consultation with the Chairman and Cabinet Members. The work programme would be presented to the Committee at its next meeting for agreement.


Suggestions made by the Committee included:

  • Community Boards: with a view to assessing how they were operating, and to ensure that the momentum from the previous year was being carried forward. There was some concern that three months of the financial year had passed with some boards having used very little of their budgets. The suggestion was also made to increase the level of publicising given to the boards to spread the message wider, in addition, the Committee also sought assurance that the council had a record of all voluntary support groups and provided support to them as required.
  • Community Boards: Encouraging young people to engage with the boards to ensure the board memberships reflected the communities they served.
  • Leisure Facilities Strategy: To review and provide input on the draft strategy.
  • Tourism: To look at ways to promote all Bucks has to offer and help support economic recovery by bringing more residents in to the county to use local businesses.
  • Helping Hands: to review and input on the longer term plans for the service following the additional year the service would be in place.


Other areas suggested that are covered by alternative select committees (these would be passed on to the relevant committee):

  • Recycling: there was significant concern around household waste being burned at the Greatmoor site and a desire to do more locally to sort recycling and manage waste better.
  • Environmental schemes: with view to providing more electric charging points locally; introduce wider 20mph zones; improve/increase number of cycleways and connectivity.
  • Mental health: moving out of lockdown, there was concern that there would be a significant increase in mental health issues, particularly in young people and support should be in place.
  • Affordable housing: to look at ways the Council is planning to ensure good quality affordable housing provision for local people.


Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 7th October 2021 at 10am in The Oculus, Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Aylesbury

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Thursday 7 October 2021 at 10 a.m. The Committee was advised that this date may change due to Cabinet Member availability and confirmation of the re-arranged date would be circulated in due course.