Agenda and minutes

Children's Commissioner's Takeover Challenge, Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday 16 March 2022 5.00 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S60 2TH

Contact: Caroline Webb, Senior Governance Adviser Tel: 01709 822765 email:  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Welcome from Councillor Collingham, Vice- Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Management Board


In the absence of Councillor Maggi Clark due to illness, Cllr Tom Collingham welcomed everyone to the special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board in support of the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Challenge. After an absence of two years, the Chair was delighted to welcome members of Rotherham Youth Cabinet (RYC), councillors and officers to the meeting.


Apologies for Absence


To receive the apologies of any Member who is unable to attend the meeting.


Apologies were received from:


The Leader, Councillors Brookes and Cusworth.


Introduction and presentation from Rotherham Youth Cabinet - Climate Change

A presentation to introduce Rotherham Youth Cabinet and set the context for the choice of climate change as the theme for the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Challenge.


Josie Brown from Rotherham Youth Cabinet assumed the Chair for the meeting.


She began by welcoming everyone to the annual takeover meeting and introduced a short film to outline the work of RYC. The Youth Cabinet was made up of young people aged from 11 – 18 years, working together to make a positive difference to young people across Rotherham. It was highlighted that RYC undertook consultation, research and campaigns to improve services for young people.  This included mental health provision in schools, transportation and tackling hate crime.  Amongst its manifesto priorities for the forthcoming year were climate change, mental health and tackling homelessness and poverty.  An overview of RYC’s members’ regional work and in the National Youth Parliament was given, including attendance at the COP 26 conference to give a presentation showcasing the impact of climate change and work with the Department for Education’s sustainability climate board.


Prior to questions being taken, Curtis Yip outlined the rationale behind the choice of climate change as the focus of the meeting and welcomed the opportunity to discuss with Councillors and Officer, the authority’s progress towards achieving net zero.




Question and answer session with officers


The Chair invited questions from RYC members to Cabinet Members, members of the Senior Leadership Team and officers.


1.          What is being done within schools and council buildings to reduce the amount of energy being used? How can this be reduced further? 

The Acting Head of Change and Innovation invited the Assistant Director for Education to respond. It was outlined that the Council worked collaboratively with schools and used its influence as it was key to promote the impacts of climate change whether in terms of curriculum or in the assets they used. Schools were supported to work in a more energy efficient way with all new buildings using technologies or low energy solutions to make sure that they were sustainable and working towards carbon neutrality. Retrospective energy saving solutions were also applied to older buildings.  Asset Management supported schools and academies with whom it has a service level agreement to improve energy efficiency and manage utility contracts. 


Recently the government produced its draft policy in this area, Sustainability & Climate Change: A draft strategy for the education & children’s services systems (, to inform future planning in this area and there was an expectation that both academies/ maintained schools would reduce energy use in the long term to support climate change challenges.


The Head of Asset Management described how energy efficiency had been a priority for the Council for some time, The Council had reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions from operational by 65% from 14,589 tonnes CO2 in 2014/15 to 5,034 tonnes CO2 in 20/21. In 2019 a target was adopted by the Council to reduce carbon emissions from Council controlled assets and services to net zero by 2030.  A heat decarbonisation plan had been developed, that focussed on converting fossil fuel heating systems to low carbon alternatives and at the same time reducing the electricity capacity of building by insulation, improved controls, lighting upgrades (LED) and installing on site renewable energy where feasible (including solar units on roofs).  The Council approved a budget of £6.4m to decarbonise operational buildings.  The budget will be used to secure additional Government funding and integrated with maintenance and capital programme budget to ensure decarbonisation was carried out efficiently and real progress towards net zero could be achieved by 2030.


2.          What is the plan to combat plastic pollution across Rotherham and how is local action promoted?

The Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment noted that the Council should lead by example to minimise single use plastics. To that end, work was underway to establish the extent of single use plastics across the authority so action can be taken to reduce this. As a result of this activity, Council catering facilities were using wooden cutlery, using more glass-based products, encouraging refills and minimising waste packaging. However, it was noted that whilst single-use plastics were a concern, plastic were used in a range of products such as clothing and medicines which added to wider pollution. Consideration needed to be given how  ...  view the full minutes text for item 123.


Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on 23 March, 2022 at 11.00am at Rotherham Town Hall.


Resolved: - That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held at 11am on Wednesday 23 March 2022 at Rotherham Town Hall.