Top

Top

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 22nd May, 2013.

 

Present:  Councillor J.C. Bird (Chairman); Councillors Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. A.J. Moore, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.P. Thomas, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and E. Williams.

 

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

 

Officers in attendance: Ms. H. Selway (Head of Housing and Building Services); Ms. J. Wade (Operational Manager - Property Services) and Messrs. A. Billinghurst, G. Robinson and Mrs. D. Gibbs (Public Protection).

 

 

            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors R.J. Bertin, J. Drysdale and Mrs. V.M. Hartrey.

 

 

            APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson be appointed Vice-Chairman for the current municipal year.

 

 

            MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 17th April, 2013 be approved as a correct record subject to the inclusion of Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson's name being included in the minutes as Also Present.

 

 

            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

            COMMUNITY SAFETY PERFORMANCE MONITORING (DDS) –

 

The Committee was apprised of progress made towards achieving strategic community safety cumulative targets for the third quarter of 2012/13. 

 

The following identified those 2012/13 targets that had been achieved (up to quarter 3):

  • Serious Sexual Offences: Target 47, Actual 62

The Committee had been advised there had been a peak in reporting during October 2012 with 17 occurrences compared to November and December with 8 and 2 reported incidents respectively.  It was thought that this was due to the high profile media coverage involving famous TV presenters in quarter 3 which potentially contributed to an increase of reported historical cases.  In addition, the Home Office teenage rape campaign and the Welsh Government’s domestic violence campaign had been promoted throughout the Safer Vale during the quarter 3 period.

  • Domestic Abuse Repeat Victims: Target 7.2%, Actual 3.2%

It had been indicated that the Safer Vale Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator had re-launched the domestic abuse management group and domestic abuse forum during November 2012.  A work programme had been implemented to identify current status of gaps in services.  This would inform work plans for 10,000 safer lives (a Welsh Government Domestic Abuse programme).  The Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator and the Occupational Health Department of the Council had drafted a work place policy for the Council.  It had been hoped that this would increase awareness of domestic abuse and support services available for all staff within the Council.

  • Criminal Damage: Target 948, Actual 887
  • Anti Social Behaviour: On Target

The undermentioned table provided a breakdown of numbers between the anti social behaviour stages by young people and over 18s which related to quarter 3 cumulative totals:

 

Stage

Under 18s

Over

18s

Total

Stage 1 (first time letters issued)

192

315

507

Stage 2 (visits undertaken)

103

76

179

Stage 3 (ABCs issued)

12

8

20

Stage 4 (ASBO)

1

1

2

 

  • Engagement: the number of Safer Vale messages sent out to the community: Target 30, Actual 83

 

The Committee was informed that the use of social media such as Twitter had been used to promote key messages such as rogue traders, rises in house burglaries in key locations and metal theft.  The use of such social media had led to the total number of messages sent out to the public increasing significantly.  It was thought that the target for this action for next year should be increased accordingly.  It was agreed that Members of the Council be provided information of this community messaging service and how to sign up to the same. 

  • Number of Safer Vale Press Releases: Target 75, Actual 88
  • Priority and Prolific Offenders (PPO) / Integrated Offender Management (IOM)

South Wales Police and Probation Service had implemented an Integrated Offender Management toolkit which had been signed off by the Chief Executive of Wales Probation Trust.  The National Inspectorate had been reviewing all IOM schemes in Wales and had interviewed members over quarter 3 to review the effectiveness of the scheme and their resources.  The Vale of Glamorgan IOM management group would be reviewing the results over quarter 4 and would implement changes as specified in any subsequent recommendations received.  Feedback form any changes and the progress made would be in the Safer Vale end of year annual report.

  • Substance Misuse: (Ongoing)

 

During quarter 3 the APB Substance Misuse Support Team carried out tendering interviews for a new tier 2 Children and Young Persons Service.  The successful tenderers, Barnardos and Inroads, were informed and would commence a three month start up during quarter 4 will a go live date of 1st April 2013.

 

Service reviews were carried out with all SMAF commissioned services across Cardiff and the Vale during quarter 3.  The results of such reviews were collated to inform a five year commissioning strategy which would be subject to consultation during the quarter 4 period.  This service review had highlighted a number of gaps in service provision and these would be addressed by the new five year commissioning strategy, details of which were set out in the report.

 

The Committee raised a number of questions in regard to the quarter 3 performance in relation to the following matters:

 

Question

Response

What steps were being taken to realistically deliver sufficient after care services to enable service users to be discharged post treatment?

 

Agencies were currently developing individual needs support action plans for clients.

Serious sexual offences – were current / historical offences shared with the Police and Children’s Commissioner?

The Police generally shared information in respect of such matters.  However, it was unlikely that such information was shared with the Children’s Commissioner.  The feasibility of doing so could be investigated further.

 

Domestic Abuse Policy – what agencies had been consulted on the proposed draft policy?

In order to obtain consistency the Welsh Government and Atal y Fro had been consulted.  The new draft policy was likely to be in place during the Autumn of 2013 and training would need to be provided once the policy had been implemented.

 

Barry Island Alcohol Free Zones – was there sufficient signage at Barry Island to ensure the public observed the requirement to adhere to alcohol free zones?

Currently there was appropriate signage placed throughout the Barry Island area warning the public of the existence of the alcohol free zone.  It was indicated that legislation controlled the signage required to be available in public spaces.  However, it was acknowledged that it was difficult to ensure the signs were observed by the public, particularly on the beach area where it was known that youngsters consumed large volumes of alcohol.

 

 

The Head of Public Protection briefly alluded to achievements in the area of anti social behaviour and referred to the problem solving group who had links with Council services such as public housing and separately matters in addressing horse fly grazing. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress in performance to date in regard to quarter 3 for Community Safety targets 2012/13 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To enable the Committee to monitor progress towards the crime and disorder targets.

 

 

            HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME – PROGRESS UPDATE (DVSH) –

 

Members were apprised by the Head of Housing and Building Services and the Operational Manager (Property Services) of arrangements to bring about improvements in contractor performance who were undertaking the housing improvement programmes on behalf of the Council, which also included void properties. 

 

Specific reference was also made to progress made to date to address issues of concern raised at the last meeting by the Committee in relation to e.g. validation surveys, communication arrangements with tenants and target completion periods for each property.

 

Discussion ensued with the Committee seeking clarification in relation to the methodology to be undertaken in regard to future validation surveys including, realistic assessment of time to deliver a programme of work at each property and improved communication arrangements to ensure tenants were provided with, where possible, reliable information.  Reference was also made by the Committee to the officers earlier comments made in regard to “snagging works”, satisfactory signing off of properties as completed and contractor payment arrangements.  The Committee, having regard to the responses made by the officers, considered that future reports contained sufficient information to allow Members to interpret by each contractor how many properties were actually open, number of properties completed, number of properties without standing snagging and properties awaiting final inspection. 

 

At this juncture the Committee’s attention then turned to matters relating to properties being found to contain asbestos related materials.  Officers in response outlined arrangements in regard to how each property would be surveyed / managed and dealt with.  Once an asbestos management plan had been finalised which would be in the very near future, a report on the matter would be submitted to Cabinet for consideration.  The Committee responded by thanking the Housing and Building Services and Property Services Teams for the way in which they responded to the incident.

 

The Chairman referred to the missing information which was absent from each of the contractors’ action plans and requested officers to populate this information and e-mail the same to Members of the Committee as soon as possible.

 

Having regard to the above and related matters, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T a further update / review report be submitted to the Committee for consideration at its meeting in July 2013.

 

(2)       T H A T officers be requested to ensure that a future report to the Committee in regard to contractors’ performance contain all the relevant information by each contractor including, how many properties were actually opened, the number of properties completed, the number of properties without standing snagging and the number of properties awaiting final inspection.

 

(3)       T H A T the complaints management system being maintained by the Council’s Property Section together with relevant contact details be noted.

 

(4)       T H A T the Property Section review the contract management processes that they were currently employing on each of the WHQS contracts be presented to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To allow the Committee to adequately monitor performance of contractors.

 

(3)       In acknowledgement of action taken by officers to provide Members with a single point of contact should they have any concerns regarding WHQS works being undertaken within their Wards.

 

(4)       To allow newly adopted processes to bed in so that the review could assess the effectiveness of these new processes.

 

 

            TASK AND FINISH ACTIVITIES FOR 2013/14 (HDS) –

 

As part of their work programmes all Scrutiny Committees were being requested to endorse the process for topics for review and to make suggestions for reviews which would then be considered by the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen group for the forthcoming municipal year.  The Democratic and Scrutiny Officer advised that the Welfare Reform Task and Finish Group had recently completed its report which had been submitted to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) in April 2013.  However, as the Traffic Management review priority could not be completed in the year it was suggested that this be reconsidered for 2013/14 by the Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Appendix A to the report detailed a list of the priorities for the Council for 2012 which had arisen following public consultation together with actions (appendix B) taken from the Corporate Plan which also reflected issues of concern to residents in the Vale. The Chairman reiterated the view that traffic management and the impact of traffic flows throughout the County, including reference to sustainable travel, was still a priority in her view.  Members in full agreement with the suggestion subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the process for considering reviews in 2013/14 as contained in the report and as previously endorsed by the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group be confirmed.

 

(2)       T H A T the suggested topic for review, to be put forward to the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group be:

 

-           Traffic Management – the impact of traffic flows within the county, including sustainable travel.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the role of Scrutiny and to facilitate Scrutiny Committee work programmes as outlined in the Council’s Constitution.

 

(2)       To determine Task and Finish activities for 2013/14.

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook