Top

Top

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 7th November, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis (Vice-Chairman); Councillors: J. Drysdale, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A.J. Moore, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.P. Thomas and A.C. Williams.

 

Also present: Messrs. G. Amos, J. Farrington and B. Fisher (Tenant Working Group).

 

 

510     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors R.J. Bertin and E. Williams.

 

 

511     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 10th October, 2012 approved as a correct record.

 

 

512     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

513     SECTION 180 VOLUNTARY SECTOR FUNDING PROPOSALS 2012 / 2013 FOR THE HOMELSSNESS SERVICE (DVSH) –

 

Since 2005/2006 the Council had provided Section 180 funding for three voluntary sector organisations, namely the Tabernacle Home Access Project for accommodation finding and bond services, £5,000; Llamau – JIGSO project – advice and assistance to single people aged 16 or over who were homeless / threatened with homelessness including a bond service, landlord and tenant support and general housing advice, £12,000; and Llamau – Furniture grants to homeless people who could not fund the purchase of furniture, £6,000.  These organisations, including the Council, provided advice and services to homeless people within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

Officers were currently assessing the various options to increase the Council’s homelessness prevention focus, aimed at reducing the numbers of clients facing homelessness, reducing the use of inappropriate temporary accommodation and increasing the supply of good quality temporary accommodation.  As part of the assessment of options, included looking at whether services currently being outsourced (such as the ones currently provided by the above organisations) could be brought back in-house with no adverse affect on the service combined with a cost saving to the Council. 

 

It was also noted that a previous report to Cabinet on 18th November 2009 (Min. No. C685 refers) introduced the need for a review of the current funding arrangements and advised of a plan to carry out this as a matter of urgency.  This review however was delayed to allow a reconfiguration of Children’s Services and to allow joint working between the various teams to be implemented, the reconfiguration had now been completed and joint working was underway via the One Stop Shop approach based in Llamau’s offices in Holton Road, Barry.  This service provided support to young people assessed as being “in need”, provided better joint working between the teams and ensured that the Council met its statutory duties under both Leaving Care and Homelessness legislation in light of recent case law updates. 

 

It was also further noted that any allocation of the funds would reflect the objectives identified in the Council’s Housing Strategy Action Plan under Strategic Aim 3: “To eradicate homelessness and ensure the public have accessible, high quality advice and information on housing matters”.

 

Accordingly, and in light of the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to approve and authorise the Director of Visible Services and Housing to pay the Section 180 funding allocation to the following organisations:

  • Tabernacle Home Access in the amount of £5,000
  • Llamau’s JIGSO project in the amount of £12,000
  • Llamau’s furniture project in the amount of £6,000.

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In acknowledgement of action taken to date by officers.

 

(2)       To seek Cabinet’s approval and enable the funding allocations to be made available to develop key services to assist the Council in complying with its statutory homelessness duty.

 

 

514     SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME (DR) –

 

All Scrutiny Committees in the current cycle of meetings were being requested to reaffirm their work programmes for the remainder of 2012/13 having regard to the Local Government elections which had been held in May 2012. 

 

Each Scrutiny Committee had established its own work programme which contained details of items which were scheduled for submission to the Committee for consideration and included matters such as financial monitoring reports, performance monitoring reports, pre-Cabinet decision scrutiny reports (as identified within the Cabinet Forward Work Programme), together with reports on matters requested for consideration by the Scrutiny Committee itself.  Details of the current work programme were set out at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

All the Council’s Scrutiny Committee work programmes were publicised on the Council’s website in order to advise elected Members, public and other interested bodies / individuals of future items that would be under discussion by the Committees.  In addition to these arrangements, the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 also required the forward work programmes of all the Scrutiny Committees to be made available in advance of the exercise of functions. 

 

In order to meet the requirements of the above Measure and the principles of delivering wider public / partner engagement and indeed greater Member involvement in the embryonic stages of work programme development, officers in the near future would be given consideration to developing an appropriate engagement / communication strategy that addressed such issues.  The Scrutiny Committee was made aware that the development of future forward work programmes would need to demonstrate and evidence effective arrangements that would allow the shaping of work programmes on the basis of greater inclusion.

 

In addition to the above matters the Scrutiny Committee was also made aware that the Council was currently engaged in a Wales Audit Office (WAO) Scrutiny Improvement Study and the issues alluded to above had been identified in the scoping and question framework (Phase 1) which underpinned the Study.  As part of the above Study a self evaluation process led by the Head of Democratic Services in liaison with the Managing Director of the Council was currently underway and formed Phase 2 of the Study, would need to give careful consideration to how these matters would be addressed in terms of the Council’s overall capacity and ability to improve in these and other areas identified as part of the original scoping exercise overseen by the WAO.  In the meantime, officers would be looking at existing arrangements with a view to working towards meeting the requirements of the Measure e.g. improve prominence of Scrutiny work programmes etc. on the Council’s website and other areas including:

  • the Council’s scrutiny function
  • means of directing the public and other stakeholders to the ways in which they could engage in developing scrutiny work programmes and
  • identifying opportunities to work with the press, local radio and networking sites to improve wider engagement in the Council’s scrutiny function.

The Principal Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer also reminded the Scrutiny Committee that quarterly decision tracking arrangements were in place and any changes to the same were automatically included in an updated work programme and published on the website.  He also referred to the fact that items as contained within the work programme may be subject to change depending on prevailing circumstances and indeed referred to specific areas of slippage within the current work programme.

 

Discussion ensued on the contents of the work programme with brief reference being made to the Welfare Reform Agenda which was subject to a separate Task and Finish exercise under the auspices of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).  Specific points were made in relation to the subject and to the appropriateness of the housing service element of the Action Plan being referred to this Scrutiny Committee for information.  Brief reference was also made as to whether the Task and Finish Group would be giving consideration to the provisions of a benefit outreach advisory service to assist tenants and to the Council’s future allocation policy / procedures to alleviate some of the likely implications the Welfare Reform Agenda would have on housing benefit changes. 

 

Having regard to the above it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the work programme for the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) as set out in Appendix 1 to the report for the period 2012/13 be approved.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To confirm the Scrutiny Committee’s work programme for the remainder of 2012/13.

 

 

515     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) –

 

The report detailed progress in respect of uncompleted recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for the financial year 2010/11 (Appendix A), the financial year 2011/12 (Appendix B) and the second quarter July to September 2012 (Appendix C).

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following actions detailed below be accepted as completed:

 

06 October 2011

Min. No. 493 - Supporting People Operational Plan 2011/12 -2012/13 (REF - Minute No. C1438) – Recommended

(3)   That the Head of Housing be requested to submit update reports on future developments in regard to the Supporting People Operational Plan, in particular implications for the Council’s existing warden service for sheltered housing accommodation.

 

 

 

 

Report submitted to the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 10th October 2012.

Completed

09 February 2012

Min. No. 885 - Welsh Government Consultation - Shared Purpose -Shared Delivery (CX) – Recommended

(2)   That the response of the LSB partners to the above document be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

 

 

 

The LSB’s response was approved by the LSB and Cabinet in March and submitted to WG.  The WG issued final guidance in June 2012 which will now be considered by the LSB.  A copy of the LSB response is attached at Appendix D.

Completed

18 July 2012

Min. No. 179 - Consultation on Proposed Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2012 – 2017 (VSH) – Recommended

(1)   That Cabinet approves the detail of the draft 'Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2012/2017' and associated Action Plan subject to further consideration being given to the inclusion of all appropriate data including targets within the said Action Plan.

 

 

 

 

Matter referred to Cabinet on 30th July 2012.  Cabinet endorsed the Scrutiny Committee recommendations (Min. No. C1791 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 185 - Scrutiny Forward Work Programme 2012/13 (DLPPHS) – Recommended

(2)   That a joint priority topic for review in respect of the Welfare reform Agenda and co-operative solutions for the provision of Council services as referred to above be agreed and forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group for further consideration.

 

 

The Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group met on 19th July 2012 and considered all the priorities for topic reviews.  Having considered representations made by each Scrutiny Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman, the Group determined that the Priority 1 review for the Municipal Year 2012/13 will be the Welfare Reform Agenda.  Priority 2 was agreed as Traffic Management Flows in the Vale including sustainable travel.

Completed

Min. No. 186 - Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report May 2011 – APRIL 2012 (DLPPHS) – Recommended that the draft Annual Report for the period May 2011 to April 2012 be approved and be submitted to the meeting of Council on 26th September, 2012.

 

 

 

The draft Annual Report will be submitted to Full Council on 26th September 2012.

Completed

05 September 2012

Min. No. 296 - 1st Quarter Performance Monitoring Report – Public Housing (DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That the Performance Indicator descriptor for L822Q(HLS014Q) – the average number of calendar days taken to let lettable units of permanent accommodation during the financial year – be amended to reflect the average number of working days.

 

 

 

 

The change in definition will be taken account of and reported in the 2nd quarter performance monitoring report to the Scrutiny Committee.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the outstanding decision in relation to Minute No. 986 – Tenant Participation Strategy 2012//15 of the Committee dated 14th March 2012 be amended to include Member involvement in the review which included further consultation with all relevant stakeholders.  The relevant Member to be consulted on the review being Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Chairman of this Committee).

 

(3)       T H A T Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson be appointed as the Committee’s representative to participate in the review of the Tenant Participation Strategy.

 

(4)       T H A T progress against the remaining recommendations identified as ongoing as detailed in the report be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1&4)  To apprise Members of progress with Scrutiny Committee recommendations.

 

(2&3)  To ensure Elected Member involvement in the review of the draft Strategy including consultation with relevant stakeholders.          

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook