Agenda and minutes

Highways and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee. - Thursday, 18 January 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield. View directions

Contact: Mr A. Sarang (0116) 305 8644  Email:

No. Item


Minutes. pdf icon PDF 131 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2023 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.


Question Time.


The Chief Executive reported that no questions had been received under Standing Order 35.


Questions asked by members under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5).


The Chief Executive reported that no questions had been received under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5).


Urgent Items.


There were no urgent items for consideration.


Declarations of interest.


The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to declare any interest in respect of items on the agenda for the meeting.


Mr. L Phillimore CC declared a Non-Registrable Interest in agenda item 8:  Special Educational Needs School Transport Service – Update as his wife was employed by the County Council in Special Educational Needs. This item did not directly relate to or affect the financial or other wellbeing of Mr. Phillimore to an extent that this prevented Mr. Phillimore from participating in the meeting.


Declarations of the Party Whip in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 16.


There were no declarations of the party whip.


Presentation of Petitions under Standing Order 35.


The Chief Executive reported that no petitions had been received under Standing Order 35.


Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024/25 - 2027/28. pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Environment and Transport and the Director of Corporate Resources which provided information on the proposed 2024/25 to 2027/28 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as it related to the Highways and Transport side of the Environment and Transport department. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item ‘8’ is filed with these minutes.

The Chairman welcomed Mr. O. O’Shea CC, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways and Transport, to the meeting for this item.

Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:


(i)           The financial position of the Council was both complex and sensitive. A Member commented that the growth forecasted in the report was ‘frightening’ and currently provided for no growth for areas such as highway maintenance in 2026/27 and 2027/28; growth being dominated by increased demand for SEN Transport.

G17 - SEN Transport

(ii)     There was substantial growth in the demand for SEN Transport, but this did not appear to be reflected in the demand for Adult Social Care Transport. Members queried whether a delayed increase in number of users for Adults Social Care Transport was being forecast. The Director confirmed that the trend for SEN transport demand was not directly translating into increased transport requirements for adults. The statutory responsibility to provide SEN Transport for children to attend school did not apply to adults and given that the eligibility criteria for adult transport services was different, this was not expected. Members noted, however, that work was taking place between departments to create a better understanding on where there could be knock on effects.

(iii)    A Member commented that to reduce the cost of SEN Transport, a key factor would be to understand where the demand for transport came from and where this was going (i.e. to which school). It was suggested that delays in the Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) process prevented transport needs being met as efficiently as might otherwise be possible. Some children were not able to attend the school located closest to their home and this resulted in increased transport costs. Making late arrangements for transport also added to cost and demand pressures as it was not possible to forward plan and potentially co-ordinate journeys. The Director highlighted that the Children and Families Service had been working hard to reduce the time it took to undertake an EHCP through its Transforming SEND in Leicestershire Programme, and the situation was improving but would continue to be monitored. Members noted the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considering at its next meeting progress in delivering the TSIL programme.

(vi)    The Council operated an in-house transport service which was beneficial and reduced reliance on the private market.  It operated a minibus fleet and deployed that as efficiently as possible.  A key risk for operating an in-house service was the ability to recruit drivers. When there were a significant number of vacancies, this affected service levels and therefore having a mixed in-house and outsourced operation helped to balance and manage that risk. The position was, however, kept under constant review.


(iv)    The current outdated IT system used by passenger transport services was being replaced. Whilst this would be a big programme of work that would take time to bed in, in the longer term this would help make the service more efficient. The new system had in built route optimisation software that would enable officers to plan journeys more easily and efficiently.


(v)    The Director confirmed that the pressures regarding SEN and SEN Transport was a national issue. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Third Party Funded Schemes in the Public Highway. pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which advised the Committee of the process for approval of third-party funded schemes within the public highway. This follows a request by the Scrutiny Commission made at its meeting in June 2023. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 9’, is filed with these minutes.

Arising from the discussion, the following points made:

(i)               Members were pleased to hear that a review would be undertaken regarding assessments for pedestrian crossings often requested by local communities for safety reasons.  Members commented that current processes seemed outdated and safety thresholds required to be met too high which was frustrating for local residents.

(ii)             A Member commented that it would be useful to understand the thresholds to be met when such requests were made given that so many appeared to be refused.  The Director of Environment and Transport undertook to circulate the criteria currently applied to Members outside the meeting for information.

(iii)            A Member commented that the common, smaller improvement schemes, such as pedestrian crossings, traffic calming and cycle and walking improvements, were the most common enquiries constituents raised with their local members, generating a lot of work.  It was suggested that some simple guidance which Members could refer to and use to communicate to residents when such requests were made would be helpful.



(a)             That the report on the process for approving Third Party Funded Schemes in the Public Highways be noted;

(b)             That the Director of Environment and Transport be requested to circulate to members after the meeting the criteria currently applied to requests for common, smaller improvement schemes.



Storm Henk - Flooding Update. pdf icon PDF 790 KB


The Committee considered a presentation provided by the Director of Environment and Transport which provided the Committee with an update on flooding across the County following the recent Storm Henk.  A copy of the presentation slides, marked ‘Agenda Item 10’, is filed with these minutes.

Arising from the discussion, the following points were made:


i)                 Members noted that there were areas that had flooded which were unexpected and caught residents by surprise, these never having flooded before. Such residents were therefore unaware of what to do, or where to go for help.  It was suggested that the quick dissemination of basic information around what happened now and what would be done next, was necessary.  It was further suggested that communication via leaflet dropping would be helpful, as many homes were without electricity and might not therefore have access to other digital means of communication during this period.  The Council had a good network of people, including elected members which it could utilise, as well as Leicestershire Matters

ii)                A Member commented that flood warning signs that had been installed on Slash Lane in Barrow on Soar, which was notorious for flooding, had helped prevent additional problems. It was suggested that having flood warning information on mobile phone devices could help to divert people away from flooded roads which exacerbated problems and the response resources required to deal with cars getting stuck.

iii)              It was noted that the Department had been receiving valuable information from those that were on the ground during the response period.  Although it would be a long process to determine all the issues as there were many challenges, the expectations of residents would need to be managed and an internal communication group had been set up.

iv)              It was noted that a refreshed Leicestershire Flood Risk Management Strategy had been approved by the Cabinet in December 2023.  This provided a useful opportunity therefore to recommunicate messages regarding the need for residents to prepare.  There was a likelihood of such flooding events becoming more frequent as the last six Decembers had been noted as the wettest on record.

v)                Members questioned if the Rivers and Canals Trust continued to regularly dredge canals and rivers. It was suggested that British Waterways had in the past been proactive in doing this.  A Member commented that if such works were no longer taking place, or were but less frequently, this could be a contributing factor.

vi)              Members queried what the triggers for a Section 19 investigation were and requested that the Director of Environment and Transport circulate these to Members to help them support and guide residents. The Director undertook to circulate a copy of the Council’s Flood Risk Management Strategy which included such information, to the Committee after the meeting.

vii)            It was noted that investigations were lengthy processes and could take years.  For example, investigations were still ongoing for properties that had flooded in 2019. Members noted that resources and capacity would be an issue as the professional expertise needed to complete these would be in demand across a number of authority areas also affected by flooding.  It would be important to manage residents’ expectations in this regard. 

viii)           Members acknowledged that communications to residents would emphasise the need for them to take action and to be more self-resilient to these types of events, as there was much that individuals could do to protect their own properties.  It was noted that this would form part of the lessons learned process, which would consider how residents could take advantage of support available and what improvements could be made as a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Date of next meeting.

The date of the next meeting is scheduled for 7 March 2024, at 2:00pm.





It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Thursday, 7th March 2024 at 10.00 am.