Agenda and draft minutes

Transition (LGR) Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 11th March, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Brierley Room, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AD

Contact: Will Baines, Senior Scrutiny Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Nick Brown (substitute Councillor Tom Jones), Philip Broadbank, Heather Moorhouse, Bob Packham (substitute Councillor Liz Colling) and Stuart Parsons.


Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 December 2023 pdf icon PDF 792 KB


Resolved –


That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2023, having been printed and circulated, be taken as read and confirmed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interests

All Members are invited to declare at this point any interests they have in items appearing on this agenda, including the nature of those interests.


Councillor Kevin Foster declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 (Mayoral Combined Authority Governance).


Public Participation

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice (to include the text of the question/statement) to Will Baines, Senior Scrutiny Officer (contact details below) no later than midday on Wednesday 6 March 2024. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-


·       At this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);


·       When the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.


If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chair who will instruct those taking a recording to cease while you speak.



No public questions or statements were received.


Verbal progress update from Robert Ling, Director of Transformation


Robert Ling, Director of Transformation, attended to update the committee:


·       That the key focus in the short to medium term is to deliver fundamental change for the new authority despite the scarce financial resources available. Services have been undertaking line by line budget reviews.


·       The service convergence process is well underway, with work going on across many areas to develop coherent teams as well as new policies that are clear and consistent.


·       To ensure the performance data and information we gather as a council is robust, to enable real time, evidence based decisions, and to help inform our future approach to customers and the ‘One Front Door’.



·       A new transformation policy is in development, to create the right culture for stronger teams and to set the future direction to run through all of the organisation. Robert admitted there are currently “misaligned gears” in this regard, but the new policy will cover how to address this.


·       Every senior manager is involved in shaping the new organisation, with a range of masterclasses planned to set out the way we will work as a council moving forwards.


·       Adopting a continuous improvement approach will be key to developing long lasting and fundamental service transformation.


·       Linking up service areas as part of wraparound groups, for example with Housing staff working alongside Adult Social Care and Health teams, is already showing signs of the benefits to residents through better joint working.



Questions from committee members included:


·       The need to communicate effectively with staff, for example through use of the Yammer online site.


·       Ways of developing the right culture as part of the new authority.


·       An indication of timescales for the next steps of the future transformation process.


·       The role of elected members in bringing the transformation agenda together.


·       The proposals for a one stop shop for councillors to receive support in carrying out their roles and responsibilities as effectively as possible.



Resolved –


That the update be noted.



Combined Authority Governance pdf icon PDF 346 KB


Considered – Report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal & Democratic Services) and the Interim Deputy Monitoring Officer, York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority to update the committee on the progress of creating a Mayoral Combined Authority and governance issues.


Some of the key points highlighted in the covering report are as summarised below:


·       The preparation of the constitution has been done in two stages. The first was to get to a ‘safe and legal’ position to navigate the initial first few months of the new Combined Authority. It is proposed that a working group of the Audit and Governance Committee consider further, more fundamental changes to the constitution over the next 12 months.


·       On voting arrangements, the Mayor and Combined Authority are the primary decision makers. The Order creating the Combined Authority specifies that certain decisions must be taken by the Elected Mayor and that some decisions rest with the Combined Authority. The Constitution will reflect these legal requirements.


·       Any matters that are to be determined by the Combined Authority are by a simple majority and that majority must include the vote of the Mayor, except as identified within the Order. When approving the Combined Authority’s budget (but not the Mayor’s budget) and setting a levy, the lead Member from each constituent Council must be in the majority vote.


·       The Mayor will provide overall leadership and chair Combined Authority meetings. The Combined Authority’s remit is the strategic economic development, housing, carbon reduction, skills, transport infrastructure and strategic and operational transport functions.



Following this, questions and comments raised by the committee included:


·       Concerns were raised around if a situation arose in the future that the Combined Authority could not function effectively due to political instability. In response, members were reassured that the two Lead Members of the Combined Authority have a veto on any constitutional changes, in order to safeguard any potential issues that may arise.


·       The make up of the Business Committee (Advisory) and the proposed appointment process for the Chair was outlined.


Resolved –


That the proposals in relation to the proposed governance of the Combined Authority be noted and comments made be taken into account.


Harbour Services pdf icon PDF 390 KB


Considered – Report of the Assistant Director – Integrated Passenger Transport, Licensing, Public Rights of Way (PROW) and Harbours to provide an overview of Harbour Services.


Some of the key points highlighted in the report are as summarised below:


·       Following fact finding site visits to Scarborough and Whitby Harbours in September 2023, committee members gained an understanding of the significant challenges facing all of the harbours that now fall under the responsibility of North Yorkshire Council following Local Government Reorganisation.



·       The Council has recently committed around £800k investment to develop design and investigation works for shovel ready projects at both Scarborough and Whitby Harbours. It is hoped that this investment will enable fully costed, shovel-ready schemes to be ready to access any further funding opportunities, which usually have a very short window for applications.


·       The North Sea has experienced significant shellfish mortality over recent years, which has had an extensive impact upon the fisheries sector. In terms of the direct impact on the harbour authority itself, the harbour levies landing dues on shellfish landings, which is calculated as a percentage of the gross sales from the landings has shown a reduction in the quantity, and therefore value (£), of the shellfish landings, significantly impacting upon the harbours budget.


·       There is an appetite to investigate the clear commercial opportunities resulting from rapid expansion of the offshore wind industry, particularly in Whitby as it is the closest accessible harbour to the Dogger Bank windfarm site, and for Scarborough to service both the Dogger Bank and Hornsea development areas. Part of this expansion into this commercial sector may include the provision of a large boat lift and associated storage at Scarborough harbour (subject to business case and funding) to provide “out of the water” servicing, maintenance and inspection facilities to commercial vessels. 


·       The exciting development plans for the Scarborough West Pier and the Maritime Training Hub at Endeavour Wharf, Whitby, are progressing and are expected to be formally submitted as planning applications in the near future.


·       Overall, officers are very positive about the future of the harbours, with work to develop a comprehensive new Harbours Strategy underway.



·       Thanks to the Harbours Team for their dedication and commitment to work in all weathers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to ensure the smooth and safe operation of the Council’s harbours and this team will be instrumental in taking the harbours forwards into the future.


Following this, questions and comments raised by the committee included:


·       The proposal of a boat lift and associated storage at Scarborough harbour (subject to business case and funding) was felt to be much needed, to provide the ability to conduct “out of the water” servicing, maintenance and inspection facilities to commercial vessels.


·       More detailed information was sought on the types of commercial opportunities it was felt may be available to service both the Dogger Bank and Hornsea development areas.


·       Given the reference of “risk of collapse” of the harbour infrastructure within the report, what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Bereavement Service pdf icon PDF 428 KB


Considered – Report of the Assistant Director – Regulatory Services, to provide an overview of the Bereavement Service, operating model and proposed future development.


Some of the key points highlighted in the covering point are as summarised below:


·       The primary purpose of the bereavement service is to provide dignified funerals and cremation or burial of the deceased for the people of North Yorkshire. This service was previously carried out by district and borough councils prior to 1 April 2023 and has moved across to the new council.


·       The Bereavement Service operates across the whole Council geography, with circa 25 staff based at four locality crematoria: Skipton, Stonefall Crematorium (Harrogate), Maple Park (Thirsk) and Woodlands (Scarborough)


·       The current level of demand in North Yorkshire is approximately 75% of all deaths within the unitary authority. Further services are provided through opportunities for memorialisation of the deceased at both open and closed cemeteries, purchasing of burial plots and genealogical searches.


·       The work of the Law Commission to review the laws on burial, cremation and funerary methods was highlighted and will be key to shaping the future direction of the service.


·       The capital plans relating to cemetery expansion and a capital cremator replacement programme were outlined.


Following this, questions and comments raised by the committee included:


·       There was a query around the change of operation of the metals recovery and recycling process detailed in the report, to switch from a Dutch to a British based firm, and the impact this could have on the Council’s reduction of emissions through contracted transport activities.


·       The capacity of the bereavement service across the county to cope with demand was asked about and assurances received.


·       The potential business models that may be available for the bereavement service depending on the outcomes of the multiple Law Commission reviews and ultimately the decision of Government.


·       The recent increase in popularity of direct cremations and what options there are to benefit from this?


Resolved – That the report be noted.


Standing items update

To receive any updates on Customer Services and Restructures.


There were no updates to the standing items to report.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Purpose of the report:  To ask Members to consider, amend and add to the Committee’s work programme.


Resolved –


That the Work Programme be noted, pending further discussions on arrangements for future scrutiny.


Any other items

Any other items which the Chair agrees should be considered as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances.



There were no other items of business.