Agenda item

Pre-Decision Scrutiny

To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)


The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet Board items:

Three Yearly Grit Bin Policy Review

Members were provided with the review of the Council’s grit bin policy.

Officers explained that the grit bin policy was set in 2012, and had been presented to the Committee on a three yearly review basis since then; there had been no changes to the policy since it was set in 2012. It was highlighted that due to previous difficult decisions regarding the budget including cuts to the Neighbourhood Services, there was currently not a lot of monies available for extra activity within the service.

Members were informed that the grit bins were purchased in batches and were replaced when necessary, along with refills which could be purchased in line with the policy; last year, three grit bins were reported as damaged and nine grit bins were absent from their usual location. 

It was noted that the grit bin maintenance generates a significant amount of work and service demand for the Neighbourhood Team; in addition to the regular refills that were usually carried out, there were 100 requests for additional refills last year. Officers highlighted that there was a finite level of resource which was required to balance across a range of activities that the Neighbourhood Team carry out; due to the fact that the budget position hadn’t improved, the recommendation was to maintain the policy for a further three years. Officers added that if Members wanted to review the detail of the policy, it would be important to consider the entirety of requests for grit bins from all Elected Members and ensure that whatever changes were made, fitted in line with the budget so that they could be funded and maintained.

Members expressed their concerns in regards to the current grit bin policy and highlighted the difficulties that were experienced during the winter months; particularly in areas where there weren’t many git bins or any at all. Members had hoped that more grit bins would be available, especially in areas where there were hills; it was asked if a mapping exercise had been completed to identify where the various grit bins were located and if the equability of them could be looked into.

Officers confirmed that the Council’s geographical information system had a layer which covered where all of the grit bins were located across the County Borough. It was mentioned that the grit bin policy had an eligibility criteria which covered the necessary qualities and conditions of obtaining a grit bin for various areas; there were some areas within the County Borough which had more hills than others, therefore they would be a priority in obtaining a bin. Members were informed that because of this, the distribution will not be equal. It was added that under the current policy, Members were permitted to move a grit bin to another location within their Ward if required; however if the Ward did not have a grit bin to move, then this would not be able to happen.

A discussion took place in regards to the current guidelines contained within the policy. Members made various suggestions relating to what could be added to the policy and reviewed in order for improvements to be made; for example, taking age and vulnerability for residents into account, identifying if particular areas were prone to icing up during the winter period and providing Officers with discretion if there was a solid case for an area to obtain a grit bin.

Following the discussions and concerns raised by Members, a formal amendment to the recommendation contained within the circulated report was proposed and seconded:

‘That the current Grit Bin Policy be continued pending a review of the policy by the Streetscene and Engineering Scrutiny Committee and a report be brought back for consideration to a future meeting of the Streetscene and Engineering Cabinet Board’

It was determined that the Committee were in support of the amendment to be considered by Cabinet Board.

Key Performance Indicators 2021/2022 - Quarter 1 (1 April 2021 - 30 June 2021)

Officers reported quarter 1 performance management data for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Members made reference to the performance indicator relating to the percentage of waste, reused, recycled or composted; and highlighted that the target figures were increasing. Officers confirmed that the current target for this performance indicator was 64%, which would increase to 70% for the civic year 2024/25.

Following scrutiny, the report was noted.