Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Suite. View directions

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Conrad Broadley, Cllr Emma Elliott and Cllr Steve Thompson. Cllr Ejaz Aslam and Cllr Les Hoskins substituted.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 80 KB


The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2019 were signed by the Chair.



Declaration of Interest


No declarations of interest were made.   



Abandoned Vehicles Process pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee was provided with the process officers followed when dealing with vehicles which might be classified as abandoned. Attached at appendix two was a flowchart that would help Members to understand the stages the abandoned vehicle process had to work through before a car could be removed. 


The Assistant Director (Operations) guided Members through the report outlining the key points of the process at Section Two:


  • For a car to be classified as abandoned, a vehicle must meet three of the Council’s abandonment criteria which is taken from government guidance on abandoned vehicles; the criteria is listed at 2.4 of the report
  • The car has to meet three of the criteria to ensure the Council’s confidence that the car has been abandoned and hasn’t just been parked while the owner is away on holiday or part of a neighbourly dispute etc
  • If it meets the criteria, then an abandonment notice will be affixed to the vehicle and the keeper details requested from the DVLA; the three types of notices are listed at 2.6 of the report
  • Once the notice has expired, if the vehicle has not been removed and/or the owner has not claimed the vehicle, then removal of the vehicle will be arranged. The removal of abandoned vehicles is arranged under a contract procured by Kent County Council as it is their legal duty to dispose of abandoned vehicles
  • If the vehicle did not have a valid road tax or was SORN and was parked on the public highway then it would be reported to the DVLA who have the responsibility to remove untaxed vehicles
  • If the vehicle in question was parked dangerously then it would be reported to Police as they have the powers for immediate removal


The Assistant Director (Operations) fielded questions from the Committee:


  • No complaints had been received recently about the car business in Higham parking their vehicles on the grass verges however it was hard to deal with the problem as the owner usually removed the cars before the notice had expired. Unless a witness can link the parked cars to the business then there isn’t much that can be done as bollards could be installed but that would be detriment to the residents who also park their cars there
  • The Council manage the day to day administration of creating and distributing the notices; once the notice has expired and a further visit conducted then  the removal contractor have five working days to remove the vehicle
  • Within Kent, there are only two contractors that are used to remove abandoned vehicles but GBC have built a strong relationship with the contractors that KCC utilises
  • A vehicle not having a valid MOT certificate was not one of the classifications of the abandonment criteria
  • Typically the longstanding 21 days’ criteria  will only be used if the vehicle doesn’t tick three boxes of the abandonment criteria however if someone can prove that the vehicle has been there for at least 21 days via dated photos or CCTV  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Street Cleansing Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Assistant Director (Operations) ran through the report giving Members an update on the following successful initiatives, listed in detail on pages 14-17, carried out by the Waste Management Team to improve the cleanliness of the Borough:


  • Reducing fly-tipping in St Marks Avenue
  • Deep clean of Pier Road river viewing platform
  • Removal of tree guards in Wellington Street area
  • Reduction in fly-tipping at Cascades and Morrison’s recycling sites
  • Issuing of fixed penalty notices in Snelling Avenue and Gwynn Road


The Assistant Director (Operations) fielded questions from the Committee:


  • The probation service has been used several times before for clearance jobs that the Council wouldn’t usually carry out themselves such as clearing rubbish from private access ways. The probation team have also been utilised by the Housing Service carrying out a variety of different work projects; working with the probation service allows their workforce to be upskilled and provided opportunities for development
  • Fly-tipping on private land was a problem and a difficult situation for the Council as the responsibility for clearing the rubbish lies with the owner of the land. However, the Council will always attempt to work with land owners to remove small amounts of rubbish such as a fridge or a few bin bags. But if the amount of rubbish dumped was  too large then the Council couldn’t justify spending a significant amount of money to clear waste from private land
  • Mobile CCTV cameras were not used much in Gravesham as to deploy covert CCTV a RIPA has to be issued by a judge.. However, if signage was erected in hotspots then cameras could easily be set up as  people had been informed of their presence
  • Certainly in some cases with the biggest amounts of fly-tipping the cameras had caught licence plates of the offending vehicles and following a number plate check it had been revealed that the plate had been cloned and no action could be taken
  • As part of a County Project, GBC identified hotspots around the Borough from reports, information from Parish Councils and patrol data from PCSOs. Later this month warning signage, stating ‘CCTV in Operation’, will be erected in those hotspots to see if it makes any difference to the high levels of fly-tipping


The Chair stated that he had seen the probation team in action at St Andrews Gardens and was very impressed with the work they had done and hoped that their services would continue to be enlisted in the future in both the Housing and Operations teams.


The Committee were advised by a Member that if they wanted to increase their community litter picks then they should talk to Tracey Marshall in Housing who could request assistance from the probation service.


The Vice-Chair formally commended the work of the Operations Team and thanked them for taking a different approach to the problems in his ward which ultimately lead to a very successful resolution.


In conclusion, the Chair explained that report was very important and would be a regular report to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Corporate Performance Update – Quarter Three 2019-20 (October - December) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To present the Members of Operational Services Committee with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the council’s Corporate Plan, for Quarter Three 2019-20 (October to December 2019).

Additional documents:


Members were presented with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the Council’s Corporate Plan, for Quarter Three 2019-20 (October to December 2019).


The Assistant Director (Operations) ran through the report page by page so that Members had a chance to comment on the performance of each policy commitment.


Policy Commitment 1 – People


  1. Enforce high regulatory standards:


Members requested clarification on what the lines on the charts within the report represented; the Assistant Director (Operations) agreed to confer with the Corporate Performance Manager and circulate the answer after the meeting.


  1. Improve the local environment:


With regards to PI9 the ‘total volume of residual waste per household’ the Assistant Director (Operations) advised that the cumulative figures for each quarter were added together to achieve the outturn figure for the following quarter.


The recycling process for the Borough Market was queried by a Member.


The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that the recycling processes were being reviewed for all Council owned buildings due to the Councils recent commitment to climate change and become carbon neutral by 2030. In order to educate about climate change and encourage other organisations to take up similar pledges, the Council had to fully lead on all climate change actions.


The Assistant Director (Operations) explained that PI10 the ‘% of household waste sent to landfill’ was an annual indicator which will have full figures reported at the end of quarter four for 2019/20. Gravesham’s total percentage of waste sent to landfill at the end of 2018/19 was 0.9%. 


  1. Create clean, welcoming neighbourhoods and parks, and an attractive town centre:


The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that PI11 ‘Average time taken to remove graffiti identified as GBC responsibility (days)’ was a new indicator; it was only confirmed during Quarter Three that the data would be collected which was why there was no data for Quarters One and Two within the report. Originally, the Council would only report on the removal of offensive graffiti.


Following a question regarding private buildings such as homes, the Assistant Director (Operations) responded that the Council will remove graffiti from private buildings if the Council received indemnity.


P1 12 ‘% of areas with unacceptable levels of littering’ represented a snapshot of every demographic in the Borough from streets in the Town Centre to country lanes  The PI allowed the Council to see how they had performed in maintaining the cleanliness of the Borough however it was recognised that it was only a snapshot.  


Policy Commitment 2 – Place 


  1. Improve resident well-being:


The Committee informed that PI 39 ‘% of Council play sites annually inspected’ was an annual indicator which would have full figures reported at the end of quarter four for 2019/20.


The Chair thanked the Assistant Director (Operations) for an informative performance update.



Corporate Register of Partnerships and Shared Working Arrangements pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:


Members were informed of the Council’s involvement in partnerships that were within the remit of the committee.


The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that the current partnerships that most directly related to the work of the Operational Services Committee were as follows:


  • Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership
  • Kent Resource Partnership


The Service Manager (Property & Regulatory Services) advised that the Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership had a contract in place, which effectively covered all Kent Districts, to monitor air quality arrangements and ensure that data collection was kept consistent across the County.


The Assistant Director (Operations) informed Members that the Kent Resource Partnership was a county wide partnership that aimed to deliver the objectives of the Kent Waste Strategy listed on page 39 of the report.


The partnership is made of all the district councils and Kent County Council to make improvement in waste, recycling and cleanliness across Kent through joint working. The partnership has agreed to look at how its services affect climate change especially the transportation of waste and recycling after it has been collected.


The Assistant Director (Operations) stated that 68% of Gravesham’s waste was dealt with within Kent as opposed to driving it elsewhere in the Country.