Agenda and minutes

Environment, Communities and Fire Select Committee
Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: County Hall, Chichester

Contact: Sally Manning on 033 022 23883  Email:

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it.  If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Additional documents:


104.1 None declared


Urgent Matters

Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances, including cases where the Committee needs to be informed of budgetary or performance issues affecting matters within its terms of reference, which have emerged since the publication of the agenda.

Additional documents:


105.1 None


Responses to Recommendations pdf icon PDF 119 KB

The Committee is asked to note the responses to recommendations made at the 13 March 2019 meeting from:


Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure

Additional documents:


106.1The Committee noted the Cabinet Member’s Response to the Committee’s Recommendations on the Guidance on Parking at New Developments.


Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services' Inspection Report and the Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report by Chief Fire Officer (Acting)


The Committee is asked to scrutinise the Inspection Report, and the Improvement Plan to address the findings.


The Chairman has allotted 20 minutes to receive verbal evidence from representatives of four invited unions – The Fire Brigades Union, the Fire and Rescue Services Association, the Fire Officers’ Association and UNISON.


The Chairman further wishes to invite any member of the County Council in attendance to pose questions after the Committee members have completed their questioning.

Additional documents:


107.1Before the report by the Chief Fire Officer (Acting) was considered by the Committee, Dr Walsh and Mr Purchese raised a Point of Order regarding the lateness of receipt of the email from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services which was dated 18 June 2019.


         The Chairman agreed that this should have been sent to all members of the Committee on 9 July and asked that the Chief Fire Officer (Acting) investigate and reports back on why this was the case.


107.2The Committee considered a report by the Chief Fire Officer (Acting) (copy appended to the signed minutes).


107.3Neil Stocker, Chief Fire Officer (Acting) introduced the report with a presentation (copy of slides appended to the signed minutes), which set the context for the Inspection Report and the proposed Improvement Plan and highlighted some of the issues that had arisen and the areas for improvement. The last full inspection took place in 1998 although a number of peer reviews have taken place during the intervening years.


107.4The Chairman invited verbal evidence from representatives of the four unions and this invitation was accepted by Antony Walker on behalf of the Fire Brigades Union and Dan Sartin on behalf of Unison. Apologies were received from the Fire Officer Association and the Fire and Rescue Services Association. 


107.5The Fire Brigades Union representative expressed concern that a culture of budget cuts had affected the service and that the move to closer integration with the County Council had caused a loss of identity for Fire and Rescue Service staff who do not “buy into” the West Sussex County Council values. He also asked about why there is no one from the staff representative bodies on the Improvement Board. He thought that the Integrated Risk Management Plan was under-resourced and felt that all decisions should be risk based and risk led.


107.6The UNISON representative thanked the Committee for the opportunity to speak and also cited budget cuts and poor staff morale as issues. There is a disconnect between Fire and Rescue staff and the West Sussex County Council values which has caused an erosion of trust. These are not just confined to the Fire and Rescue Service but are seen more widely in the organisation. Equalities issues had not been properly considered since the abolition of the Staff Joint Committee. He had no evidence of bullying at junior grades, although it had handled five complaints at a senior level. Then went on to highlight particularly the lack of engagement with staff representative bodies in production of the Improvement Plan as a concern and asked whether the Committee were happy about this lack of engagement with the unions.


107.7The Chief Executive responded by saying that it is essential that we worked together with staff representative bodies, and that the values were a core set which took on an actual meaning dependent upon which specific area of the Council staff worked within. He also spoke of the importance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.


Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 1 July 2019 – attached.


Anextract fromanyForwardPlan publishedbetween the date of despatchof the agenda and the date of the meetingwill be tabled at the meeting.


The Committee is asked to consider whetheritwishes to enquireinto any of the forthcoming decisions withinits portfolio.

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108.1The Committee considered the Forward Plan dated 5 July 2019 (copy appended to the signed minutes).


108.2Resolved – That the Forward Plan be noted and that there are currently no further items to be added to the agenda for the next meeting.


Possible Items for Future Scrutiny

Members to mention any items which they believe to be of relevance to the business of the Select Committee, and suitable for scrutiny, e.g. raised with them by constituents arising from central government initiatives etc.


If any member puts forward such an item, the Committee’s role at this meeting is just to assess, briefly, whether to refer the matter to its Business Planning Group (BPG) to consider in detail.

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109.1Items for further scrutiny were discussed at the meeting on 20 June 2019 and no further items to be discussed was raised.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 20 September 2019 at 10.30 am at County Hall, Chichester.  Probable agenda items include:


·         Fire Rescue Service – Review of Integrated Risk Management Plan Action Plans to include the People and Culture Strategy

·         Road Safety – Safer Sussex Roads Partnership

·         Findings of the Executive Task and Finish Group on Bus Subsidies 

·         Business Planning Group Report

·         Review of Major Projects Cost Estimating

·         Savings Proposals



Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 11 September.

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The Committee noted that its next scheduled meeting will take place on 20 September 2019 at 10.30am at County Hall, Chichester.