Agenda and minutes

Non-statutory meeting, Place Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 23rd June, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Remotely via Teams or CC2, County Hall, Lewes

Contact: Martin Jenks  Senior Democratic Services Adviser


No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 144 KB

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1.1       The Committee RESOLVED to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 17 March 2021 as a correct record.


Apologies for absence

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2.1       There were no apologies for absence received from Committee Members. Apologies were received from Phil Hall, Chief Operating Officer.


Disclosures of interests

Disclosures by all members present of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.


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3.1       There were no disclosures of interests.


Urgent items

Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgent.


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4.1       There were none.


Chair's Announcements

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5.1       The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and those councillors new to the Committee as well as Cllr Stephen Shing who is a returning councillor on the Place Scrutiny Committee. The Chair also thanked the Chair and members of the previous Place Scrutiny Committee for all their work on the Committee.


Scrutiny Review of Road Markings - 6 month update report pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Report of the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport.

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6.1       The Contract Manager, Highway Infrastructure Services introduced the report. He outlined the areas of focus for the review and the work undertaken with the Review Board. The scrutiny review was presented to Cabinet in November 2020 where the action plan, developed in response to the six recommendations of the review, was agreed by Cabinet ahead of approval by Full Council. The action plan, together with an update on the implementation of recommendations of the review, is contained in appendix 1 of the report.


6.2       The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services summarised the work that had been undertaken on the six recommendations:


  • Recommendation 1 was developed in response to the line of enquiry which looked at why some road markings wear out more quickly than others. The Team has explored the use of new materials for road markings and has started trials in a number of parts of the County using MMA which is an enhanced resin material which it is claimed to last up to 3 times longer than standard materials.
  • Recommendation 2 is to ensure Highway Stewards include road markings in their routine safety inspections. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services is able to assure the Committee that this is consistently taking place.
  • Recommendation 3 concerns the work of utility companies and Highways England. The web site has been updated to include information on these organisations which also carry out work on the highway and their responsibilities.
  • Recommendation 4 – allocation of resources to road markings. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services confirmed that the first priority for resources are safety critical road markings such as stop lines, centre line markings and pedestrian crossings. The allocation of funding for an additional road marking gang enabled 2,322 safety defect and road marking renewal jobs to be carried out over the last service year.
  • Recommendation 5. The Parking budget is now recharged with the cost of any significant road marking work carried by the highways team.
  • Recommendation 6. Unfortunately, there has not been any Government funding that could be used for road marking work since the review was completed. However, all safety critical road marking work has been undertaken, line marking refresh work has taken place and some capital works have also been carried out on a machine laid road marking programme. Expenditure on road markings over the last year has included: £165,000 in the core maintenance budget; around £200,000 on the additional road marking gang; and £400,000 on the machine laid capital works programme. It was clarified that a single gang is being used in the current service year and it is estimated that expenditure on road markings will be around £360,000. The implementation of the recommendation to increase the base budget for road markings in the highways contract will be looked at as part of the new highways contract which starts in May 2023.


6.3       The Chair invited Councillor Godfrey Daniel, who was Chair of the Review Board, to speak on this item. Councillor Daniel commented that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 389 KB

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Workstyles Programme - update


7.1       The Committee received a verbal update on the Workstyles programme from the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development and the Assistant Director, Property. As a result of the first national lockdown all staff were asked to work from home where this was possible. The previous Agile flexible working programme meant that staff were able to transition quickly to this way of working as the technology and equipment was already in place. A whole range of support has also been put in place during the pandemic to enable staff to work from home. This has included providing screens and chairs where needed, wellbeing support, and support for managers to manage remote working.


7.2       The Workstyles programme is reviewing how staff and services will work in the future, post pandemic. There has been extensive engagement with staff, teams, and managers to look at the way staff will work in the future. The programme is a collaboration between Human Resources, Property and IT which is looking at a hybrid way of working through a combination of increased working from home and less time in the office.  This way of working has a number of benefits such as a reduction in carbon emissions through less travelling and the reduced need for office space, improvements in work life balance, and increased flexibility to attract staff who may live further way. The Government has recently announced flexible season tickets as a way of facilitating this way of working. The programme is reviewing how a hybrid way of working and the needs of the various council services can be met.


7.3       The Workstyles programme is working through what hybrid working will mean in practice. It is likely this will require an investment in new technology and a reconfiguration of office space. Currently the Council has four main offices which are located at St. Mark’s House and St. Mary’s House, Eastbourne; Ocean House in Hastings; and County Hall in Lewes. Together these offices host around 2,600 staff. Part of the programme will entail the reconfiguration of office space and meeting rooms which is likely to reduce the amount of office space needed. This may produce a surplus of office space which may result in the sharing of offices and the co-location of services with other councils or organisations.


7.4       The Committee asked how much space was likely to be vacated and possibly shared. The Assistant Director, Property outlined that it could be that the Councill will need around 20% less space, but the position will become clearer in late summer when staff start to return to the office. Discussions are currently underway with Lewes District Council about sharing some discrete office space in County Hall for back office functions.


7.5       The current County Council position is that staff will continue to work from home until all adults have been vaccinated and Covid social distancing requirements have been removed. This means staff will continue to work from home until around the end of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.