Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Room 116, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Contact: Lyndsey Roberts, Scrutiny Officer 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Presented By: Chair


Apologies for absence was received from Councillor Lisa Trickett (Birmingham).


Declarations of Interests

Members are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable prejudicial interests they have in any item being discussed during the course of the meeting. In addition, the receipt of any gift or hospitality should be declared where the value of it was thought to have exceeded £25 (gifts) or £40 (hospitality).

Presented By: Chair


Chair's Remarks

Presented By: Chair


The Chair welcomed Philp Plowden from the Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Councillor Ian Courts, Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy & HS2.



Minutes - 8 November and 15 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Presented By: Chair

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 8 November and 15 December were agreed as a correct record.


Matters Arising

Presented By: Chair


(a)  Response from Interim Chief Executive to the Recommendations Arising from the ‘Economic Needs of the Black Country’ Scrutiny Review (minute no. 25)

The Chair was in dialogue with the Vice-Chair to explore the possibility of revisiting and updating the deep dive undertaken on the delivery of local skills.  The committee would be updated accordingly.


(b)  Governance Review - Progress Update (minute no. 26)

At its last meeting, the committee was advised that a report seeking the approval to establish an Independent Remuneration Panel to review the WMCA’s Members Allowances Scheme would be submitted to the WMCA Board in January 2022.  However, the matter had not progressed to the timescale that was originally reported to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee in November, and the Director of Law & Governance had agreed to speak to the Chair prior to the WMCA Board meeting on 18 January to provide a further update.


(c)  WMCA’s Aims and Objectives (minute no. 28 refers)

In relation to the One Public Estate Programme, the Chair reported that she had received a copy of the Public Land Charter and enquired as to whether public consultation had been undertaken to help shape the document.  The Housing & Land Scrutiny Champion added that the charter did not consider the differing needs of the different public bodies and there was no commitment in terms of what the developer would be required to deliver.  He undertook to raise these concerns at the next meeting of the Housing & Land Delivery Board and report back to the Chair accordingly.



Mayoral Question Time: Policy - Response from the Mayor to Recommendations Presented to the WMCA Board on 19 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Presented By: Chair


The committee noted the response received from the Mayor in respect of the observations it had identified following the Policy Q&A session on 14 October 2021.




The report be noted.


WMCA Air Quality Options pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Presented By: Jackie Homan

Additional documents:


The committee considered a report of the Head of Environment that outlined two different approaches that were likely to be available to the WMCA and its constituent local authorities to improve air quality across the West Midlands Combined Authority area.  This was important given the recent Environment Act and the anticipated additional targets on addressing particulates. 


The Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy &HS2 added that the Environment Act had an increased focus on air pollution caused by particulates that were emitted from non-tail pipe emissions from vehicles, including tyre and break wear, domestic and industrial combustion sources.  The Act also introduced new powers, including the ability for local authorities to co-opt air quality partners. 


The Air Quality Options Paper outlined some of the work that had already been delivered across the region, including the activity that constituent local authorities were taking through their own air quality action plans.  The Head of Environment added that the West Midlands Air Quality Framework should be considered as an enabler which would not have a negative impact the ambitions of local authorities.


Members discussed and shared comments on the Air Quality Framework and costings, the lack of and the importance of air quality data that was needed to identify hotspot areas and to quantify the impact of air quality measures within the region, officer engagement with constituent authorities and the need for better engagement with non-constituent authorities on the air quality agenda.  To avoid displacement activity, the committee emphasised and supported a combined approach to address air quality and supported the development of an area-wide strategy to tackle the problem of air pollution in many areas.


In addition, members welcomed the design guide that had been developed by the University of Birmingham that provided information for planners on air quality.  Members also shared their concerns on the effects of wood burners, and would welcome a combined approach to a behaviour change campaign.


With regards to working with non-constituent authorities, the WMCA had engaged on the natural environment and would welcome dialogue with non-constituent colleagues on the air quality agenda.  In addition, it would also be important to understand which interventions lent themselves to working across which geographies.


In terms of monitoring hotspots, it was reported that a common approach to measuring particulates in different local authorities was important but also to have a collective approach to using the new low-cost sensors that private sectors were developing and promoting to individual local authorities. 









(1)          A more proactive working arrangement with local authorities in developing air quality plans within a wider West Midlands Air Quality Framework, which clarified roles for different parties and identified a number of shared working practices, be supported.


(2)          The WMCA to oversee the collation of air quality data, storage and its availability be supported.


(3)          A shared approach to the use of low-cost sensors by local authorities be supported.


(4)          Consistent messaging relating to behavioural change factors necessary to improve area quality standards be supported.


(5)          The important role on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Grant Register pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Presented By: Kate Taylor

Additional documents:


The committee considered a report of the Director of Finance that provided an update on the grant register which contained all current ‘live’ grants where the WMCA was the

accountable body and captured a comprehensive total of grants, awarding body, time

period for delivery and a description of what the grant delivered.


The Community Renewal Fund of £5.2m was a new grant that had been added to the register since the last meeting of the committee. The Chair enquired as to whether there was any further detail available on the eight successful bids for this fund. The Head of Finance Business Partnering agreed to share a list on those projects and lead bidder.




The report and comments be noted.



Scrutiny Champions: Progress Updates

(a)      Housing & Land - Councillor Simon Peaple

(b)      Environment & Energy - Councillor Peter Fowler

Presented By: Chair


The committee noted the updates received from the Housing & Land and Environment & Energy Scrutiny Champions on the latest activities being undertaken within their respective areas.




The update be noted.



Minutes: Transport Scrutiny Sub-Committee - 24 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Presented By: Councillor Liz Clements


The committee received the minutes of the Transport Scrutiny Sub-Committee meeting

on 24 November 2021.         




The minutes of 24 November 2021 be agreed.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 91 KB

(a)      Overview & Scrutiny Committee

(b)      WMCA Board Forward Plan

Presented By: Chair

Additional documents:


The committee noted a work programme of items that were to be reported to future meetings of the committee and WMCA Board.


Date of Next Meeting

Presented By: Chair


The next meeting of the committee would be held on Monday 7 March 2022 at 10.00am.