Agenda item

Recovery Strategy (Planning, Environment & Economy Portfolio)


(a)       That the full set of immediate strategic priorities for recovery of the portfolio as set out in the report be agreed, together with the risk analysis and mitigating actions both live and planned; and


(b)       That a forward work programme for the Committee be rebuilt for the remainder of the 2020/21 Council year with recovery planning at its core.


The Chief Executive presented a report to provide the Committee with oversight of recovery planning for its portfolio areas as part of the strategy for the resumption of full democratic governance.  Feedback from each of the Overview & Scrutiny committees on the risk registers, recovery priorities and revised performance indicator targets for their respective areas would be reported to Cabinet prior to publication of a full Recovery Strategy.


A presentation showing the handover from response to recovery covered the following points:


·         Recommendations from Cabinet

·         Objectives of the Recovery Strategy

·         Response Objectives

·         Examples of local achievements in Response

·         Recovery - handover arrangements

·         Regional and Local Recovery Structures

·         Recovery Objectives - Services

·         Recovery Activities

·         Community Recovery

·         Council Plan and Performance

·         Democratic Governance of Recovery


The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) went through the Community Recovery section of the report, which had been split into two sub-groups Economy and Vulnerability and Poverty.  He gave further background to the Sub-Regional Community Recovery group, which is a joint Public Service Board initiative between Flintshire and Wrexham.  Four recovery themes had been identified for action and he advised that this was Joint Lead for the   Environment and Carbon Reduction workstreams.  He gave two examples of what they proposed to do to help the Environment; Green Spaces which was to improve the quality, provision usage, accessibility to  promote green spaces and secondly Carbon Reduction to address the challenges of climate change at a local level.


The Chief Executive referred to the Council Plan that was refreshed on an annual basis but due to the emergency disruption, which kicked in mid-March, was not presented in April.  He explained that Cabinet had extracted from it and updated the key things that were essential to recovery between now and next Spring when the Council and its Services would hopefully be re-stabilised due to the massive disruption and produced a draft Council Plan attached to the report


Also attached was an updated version of the Key Performance Indicators relating to the two portfolios indicating where changes had to be made to ambition and targeting in year due to the interruption by the emergency or by some of the data that no longer applied.


The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) explained the format of the report which was purely based on the Recovery of Planning, Environment and Economy together with 4 appendices attached.  He made reference to the 14 recovery objectives that were listed which were set in July 2020 some of which had already been addressed.


He reported that the bulk of the portfolio were not identified as critical services, although still working, with the exception of Trading Standards, Licensing, Environmental Health Functions and Food Safety Functions as well as Health and Safety who were assisting the establishment of PPE model which all had to continue.


He pointed out the risks:-

·         20 open risks spilt over Portfolio Management, Workforce, External Regulations, ICT & Systems; Portfolio Service and Performance

·         Specific Recovery risks shown as *

·         Number of red risks reduced by 20% since June

·         40% of risks now decreasing, compared to 25% in June


and focused on 3 of them:-


Workforce - PE07 - Impact on service delivery due to the resilience of staff and succession planning was going down due to the redeployment of staff, external recruitment and engagement of consultants explaining that September was a month for recovery in that area.


External Regulation - PE13 - Another example of a risk reducing was Welsh Government had accepted the revised delivery agreement for the Local Development Plan.


PE-14 - Previously going down but now stabilised at amber due to the recruitment of two temporary Environmental Health Officers to assist with the planned and reactionary programmes of inspections whilst also enforcing national and local Covid 19 restrictions, regulatory activity and TTP work.


In response to a question raised by Councillor Owen Thomas the Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) reported that they were in a better position than a year ago to know what the impact of Ash Dieback was. During lockdown, with the roads being quiet, they had managed to go out doing survey work and early reports show that it hadn’t progressed as quickly this year as they first thought but initial survey work showed extensive areas of Ash Dieback growing close to some major roads eg A5104 leading to Corwen had extensive Ash Trees showing signs of the disease.  The complication was that only 5% were within Flintshire’s land ownership and they would need to track who owned the land to make them aware of the fact that they had these diseased Ash trees on their land.  Now that the survey work has been done they have a much better idea of where the trees were, and what status they were at to inform future planning.


Councillor Chris Dolphin wanted clarification about future lockdowns querying if Officers would being going out on their own to view sites and not necessarily speak to anyone.  The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) clarified that before undertaking any site visit Officers needed to do a thorough risk assessment, which remains a requirement.  The first question asked was it essential to go on visit or can the information be gained in some other way.  If the answer was no then the Officer wouldn’t undertake the site visit.  Throughout lockdown there were two members of staff within the Development Management Service who were identified as critical staff and if any really important cases were flagged up then site visits were undertaken safely and also followed through on enforcement on a number of cases.  Throughout lockdown, the first two quarters of this year, Flintshire served more enforcement notices than last year due to triage visits.  On one particular case drone footage was commissioned which in normal circumstances wouldn’t have been used he also added that Building Control visits had been carried out via video conference.


The recommendations in the report were proposed by Councillor Chris Dolphin and seconded by Cllr Paul Shotton.




(a)       That the full set of immediate strategic priorities for recovery of the portfolio as set out in the report be agreed, together with the risk analysis and mitigating actions both live and planned; and


(b)       That a forward work programme for the Committee be rebuilt for the remainder of the 2020/21 Council year with recovery planning at its core.

Supporting documents: