Top

Top

HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th June, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, Ms. C.A Cave, Ms. A.M. Collins, B.T. Gray, Mrs. S.M. Hanks, Mrs. K.F. McCaffer, M.J.G. Morgan, Mrs. R. Nugent-Finn, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and M.R. Wilson.

 

Also present: Mrs. G. Doyle, Mr. D. Dutch and Mr. A. Raybould (Tenant Working Group/Panel) and Councillors G. John and Dr. I.J. Johnson.

 

 

47            APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN -

 

RESOLVED – T H A T Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson be appointed Chairman for the Municipal Year.

 

 

48            APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN -

 

RESOLVED – T H A T Councillor M.R. Wilson be appointed as Vice-Chairman for the Municipal Year.

 

 

49            APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Mrs. H. Smith (Tenant Working Group/Panel).

 

 

50            MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th March, 2017 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

51            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

52            INTRODUCTION TO THE HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE -

 

The Director of Environment and Housing welcomed the Committee Members and outlined the objectives of the Committee and its outcome within the Corporate Plan.  In partnership with the Scrutiny Support Officer, he delivered a PowerPoint presentation that began with highlighting the remit of the Committee and that the Committee was required to monitor the Corporate Plan Objectives in ensuring that the Council reduced poverty and social exclusion whilst providing decent homes and safe communities.  Committee was advised of the scope and functions within its remit as below: 

  • Public housing;
  • Public housing maintenance;
  • Community safety;
  • Private sector housing and renewal areas;
  • Crime and disorder matters;
  • Families First, Flying Start and Communities First;
  • Public protection including all Shared Regulatory Services functions.

The Scrutiny Support Officer advised that the PowerPoint presentation would be made available, via MemberNet, following the meeting and took the opportunity to raise the following matters: 

  • Points of housekeeping;
  • Meeting protocols;
  • Meeting papers;
  • Co-opted Members;
  • Call-In requests;
  • Requests for Consideration;
  • Public participation;
  • Work programmes;
  • Decision tracking.

The Director of Environment and Housing introduced key members of staff that were contactable to assist Members in supporting officers to meet the Outcome 1; An inclusive and safe Vale, objectives.  He highlighted the main focus and action points that the Council were taking to achieve each of the Corporate Objectives and also advised that the Council were working through a challenging time and summarised the main challenges ahead.

 

In concluding the presentation, the Scrutiny Support Officer shared positive feedback received from the Centre for Public Scrutiny following a recent survey of scrutiny functions in Wales.  Useful information links were also provided to Members for future reading ahead of subsequent Committee meetings.

 

Following the presentation, Members took the opportunity to raise the following questions with the officers present:

 

Member Question

Officer Response

What was the latest progress with regards to the Homes4U scheme and would there be an opportunity for residents to comment?

The Operational Manager for Housing advised that the current policy was under review and a draft was now open for consultation via the Council’s   website.  Responses from Elected Members were also encouraged, as well as residents, as the scheme was likely to be discussed at Committee in the future.  As well as residents, the wider public and members of the public currently on housing waiting lists were also invited to respond.  The Council had written to a wide variety of third party organisations to encourage responses. 

By how much has the Supporting People’s Budget been cut?

The Director of Environment and Housing confirmed that the budget for this financial year had not been decreased.  However, this was likely to be the last year that that was the case.  Efficiency changes had been made in preparation for a future decrease adopting a regional collaborative   approach. 

What improvements had been made under the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS), in particular to caretaking services?

The Operational Manager for Building Services summarised the Environmental Improvements to public amenities in the Buttrills and Gibbonsdown areas. 

 

Buttrills -

  •   landscaping
  •   play equipment
  •   external cladding

Gibbonsdown -

  •   insulation wall works
  •   external paint works.

Work was underway to engage the local community in design changes taking place. 

 

The Operational Manager for Housing suggested that Members have access to the Environment Improvement Strategy that was implemented in 2016 for greater detail and delivery action plans.  One such action had led to the four neighbourhood housing teams being able to   access their own minor budgets to utilise at their own discretion to tackle smaller improvements quickly. 

 

Councillor Wilson asked if the Housing Department would consider the introduction of a   caretaking service.

 

The Operational Manager for Housing indicated that a Warden / caretaking service was a bespoke service to flat style accommodation which would fall under a service charge regime.  A charge would be required to be passed on to the tenants.  The Council would need to implement extensive consultation before implementing any service charge costs for its residents. 

When will improvements within the Buttrills Ward begin?

The Operational Manager for Building Services advised that works concerning the Buttrills Estate had begun and roofing works had recently gone out for tender with the aim of works starting around the end of July 2017. 

 

The Chairman thanked the officer for his input and noted that the Committee would track progress in the future.

What was the Council’s current position on the Syrian refugee re-settlement programme?

The Director of Environment and Housing advised the Committee that a regional approach had been taken between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Cardiff Council resulting in 10 family groups being housed successfully.  4 out of the 10 groups were housed within the Vale of Glamorgan.  To respect the privacy of those individuals this matter was not highly publicised. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan was the host council for the regional Co-ordinator post and a Member of the Cabinet would be invited to attend as the Council’s representative in the near future.

There were vacancies on the Committee for Shelter Cymru and the Vale Housing and   Homelessness Forum, why was this?

A request had been sent to the organisations, however, a representative had not been put forward to date.

 

A further request would be made, via the Scrutiny Support Officer, before the next Committee meeting.

What was happening with land at Holm View?

The Operational Manager for Building Services advised that the planning   application for the new Council homes to be built at Holm View was lodged   with the Planning team in March 2017.    A request for further information in relation to the highway had been   received, with an appropriate response being supplied.  It was understood this was now scheduled   for a decision at Planning Committee in July 2017.

What was happening with Brecon Court?

Clarification was sought on the demolition of Brecon Court when work at the building would   recommence.  After delay in the demolition work at this property because of further asbestos being identified, work recommenced on Monday, 12th June, 2017.  Work has now started to demolish the main building structure and it was planned all work at the site would be completed   by the end of July to enable site survey work to commence in preparation for   the new Council homes which are proposed for this site. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the officers be thanked for a comprehensive presentation and the presentation be noted and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of the information provided.

 

 

53            4TH QUARTER DECISION TRACKING AND WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18 (MD) -

 

The Scrutiny Support Officer advised Members that the purpose of the report was to advise the Committee of progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and to confirm the Work Programme schedule for 2017/18.  She informed Members that the tracking documents informed the Forward Work Programme and were closely monitored so that desired actions were carried out and where necessary reported back. 

 

The officer highlighted the only two items that were still labelled as ongoing and provided the Committee with an update on the items:

 

Item

Update

3rd Quarter - 12th October, 2016, Min. No. 447

THAT a site visit be arranged to the new service at Longmeadow when the facility   was up and running.

The Operational Manager for Housing confirmed that the facility would be appropriate for visitors shortly and an invite would be extended to Members in the near future.

4th Quarter - 15th February, 2017, Min. No. 813

THAT the Ministry of Justice be informed of the Committee’s concerns in relation to the recommendation that responsibility for the Youth Justice System be devolved to Local Authorities, particularly in light of the reduction of grants; and that the content of the letter be approved by the Chairman of the Committee.

A letter was sent on 4th April, 2017 but there was no response   received to date. 

 

The Committee agreed that a response was still required and requested that a response be sought ahead of the next Committee meeting.

 

The Committee was advised that items labelled as completed, within the tracking tables, were either finalised or progressed to the Forward Work Programme document at Appendix C of the report.

 

Once approved by the Committee, the Forward Work Programme would be made available to members of the public via the Vale of Glamorgan Council webpages.  Items contained within the table were scheduled for subsequent meetings with the reports listed below still to be assigned to a particular meeting.

 

The Director of Environment and Housing requested that the six monthly report on Community Safety have the Traffic Management TFG label removed to align more appropriately with the remit of the Committee.  The Committee agreed.

 

Having fully considered the reports, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the recommendations deemed as completed as outlined below be accepted:

 

15th   February, 2017

Min. No. 814 – 3rd   Quarter Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Updated Work Programme   Schedule 2016/17 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the following reports be prioritised   with the view to arranging a meeting of the Committee in April 2017:

  •   Environment and Neighbourhood Strategy
  •   Lettings Strategies
  •   Report on CCTV Operations
  •   Vale Community Alarm System Update Report.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(3)   That the updated Work Programme Schedule   be uploaded to the Council’s website.

Uploaded to the Council’s website.

Completed

15 March 2017

Min. No. 928 –   Environment and Neighbourhood Strategy (Housing) (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the Homes and Safe Communities   Scrutiny Committee receives six monthly reports in relation to the operational delivery plans for Environment and Neighbourhood Strategies.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 929 –   Traffic Management Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee - Update   on Actions Undertaken (REF) – Recommended

That the Committee receive a report on Community Safety every six monthly reports   and a Police Officer be requested to attend once a year to present to the Committee in regard to this area.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 933 –   Service Plans 2017-21: Regeneration and Planning, Housing and Building   Services, Performance and Development and Children and Young People Services   (DEH) –   Recommended

(2)   That the Committee receive the sickness   absence statistics, split out into both long and short term sickness absence, on a quarterly basis.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(3)   That the Committee receive a report on   digital inclusion and Creative Rural Communities.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(4)   That the Accommodation with Care for Older   Peoples Strategy be brought to a future meeting of the Committee.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 936 – Vale   of Glamorgan Wellbeing Objectives and Improvement Plan Part 1 (Improvement   Objectives 2017/18) (DEH) – Recommended

(1)   That Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny   Committee endorsed the proposed approach to discharging the Council's duties to publish Well-being and Improvement Objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act   2015.

Scrutiny Committee’s comments forwarded to IDT for inclusion into a report to Cabinet   on 3rd April, 2017.

Cabinet, on 3rd April, 2017 noted and accepted the comments and recommendations made by each of the Scrutiny Committees as outlined in   paragraphs 21-26 of the report and resolved

[1]   That the Corporate Plan Well-being   Objectives be endorsed as the Council’s Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

[2]   That the Corporate Plan Well-being   Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 be endorsed as the Council’s Improvement Objectives for 2017/18.

(Min. No. C3519 refers)

Completed

(2)   That Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny   Committee endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council's Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

 

(3)   That Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny   Committee endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 as the Council's Improvement Objectives for   2017/18.

 

12 October 2016

Min. No. 448 –   Quarter 1 (2016-17) Performance Report: An Inclusive and Safe Vale (DEH) – Recommended

(1)   That the target set for Performance   Indicator HA/M005 – The average number of days to let an empty property, be amended from 28 days to 33 days and for this to be referred to Cabinet for   its approval.

Cabinet, on 31st October, 2016, resolved that the contents of the report be noted and considered alongside Agenda Item 9, the Quarter 1 (2016-17)   Corporate Plan Performance Report.

(Min.   No. C3340 refers)

Cabinet   resolved

[4]   That recommendation one from the Scrutiny Committee Homes and Safe Communities, as outlined in Appendix 2 to the   report, be agreed and the target set for Performance Indicator HA/M005 – The   average number of days to let an empty property, be amended from 28 days to 33 days.

(Min. No. C3342 refers)

Completed

(3)   That a report on CCTV operations be   presented to Committee at a future meeting.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

9 November 2016

Min. No. 514 –   Housing Compliance Policies (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That a further report be provided to the   Committee in a year’s time in order that the Committee could evaluate the impact of the new policies.

Added to the Committee’s work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 516 – 2nd   Quarter Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Updated Work   Programme Schedule 2016/17 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That a report on the Environment and   Neighbourhood Strategy be prioritised on the Work Programme.

Added   to the Committee’s work programme schedule.

Completed

(3)   That the Cabinet Member for Housing,   Social Care and Health be made aware of the issue in relation to the bin stores in the Buttrills Ward.

An   e-mail was sent on 6th December, 2016 to all Committee Members and the Tenant Working Group / Panel representatives to provide them with an update in relation to this matter.

Completed

(4)   That an urgent update report on the Vale   Community Alarm Service be brought to a future meeting of the Committee.

Added   to the Committee’s work programme schedule.

Completed

(5)   That the Work Programme Schedule attached at Appendix B be amended as above and uploaded to the Council’s website.

Work programme schedule updated and uploaded to the Council’s website.

Completed

7 December, 2016

Min. No. 583–   Customer Service Strategy (Housing) – Draft for Consideration (REF) – Recommended

(1)   That the views of the Homes and Safe   Communities Scrutiny Committee be incorporated within the further report to be considered by Cabinet on the draft Customer Service Strategy (Housing).

The Committee’s comments were included in report to Cabinet on 3rd April, 2017.  Cabinet resolved

[1]   That the comments of the Homes and Safe   Communities Scrutiny Committee and the minor changes to the draft Customer Service Strategy (Housing) attached at Appendix A to the report be noted and   endorsed.

[2]   That the Customer Service Strategy   (Housing) attached at Appendix A to the report be adopted.

[3]   That Cabinet and the Homes and Safe   Communities Scrutiny Committee receive six monthly monitoring reports in relation to the Operational Delivery Plan for the Customer Service Strategy.

(Min.   No. C3528 refers)

Completed

(2)   That the Scrutiny Committee receive six   monthly monitoring reports in relation to the Operational Delivery Plan for the Customer Service Strategy.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 584 –   Draft Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2017-2020 (REF) – Recommended

That the contents of the report be noted and the Scrutiny Committee’s comments be fed into the report which was to be referred back to Cabinet for agreement of the Final Plan.

The Strategy and Supporting People Manager, having reviewed the minutes, was of the view that there was nothing said that could be fed into the report as the questions asked were for clarification purposes only and all were answered at the meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 585 –   Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2017/18 (DEH) – Recommended

(2)   That a wrap up report on Empty Homes be   brought to the Committee in the new year.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

 

Min. No. 588 –   Update on the Housing Improvement Programme (DEH) – Recommended

(2)   That a report be brought to the Scrutiny   Committee following completion of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard works in Summer 2017 in regard to investigating the appropriateness and feasibility of starting a sinking fund for future repairs to leasehold properties.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(3)   That a report on future housing works   contracts be brought to a meeting of the Scrutiny Committee for consideration, which would also include the contract review work being carried out by the Audit service.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the Work Programme Schedule attached at Appendix C of the report be amended as outlined above and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To maintain effective racking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

(2)       Following consideration of the Committee and for information.