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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 20th May, 2015.

 

Present: Councillor C.J. Williams (Chairman); Councillors: A.G. Bennett, J.C. Bird, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, J. Drysdale, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Ms. R.F. Probert and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

Also present: Mr. B. Fisher (Tenant Working Group).

 

In attendance: Mr. S. Doyle (Tenant Working Group).

 

 

42            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor R.P. Thomas and Mr. G. Amos (Tenant Working Group).

 

 

43            APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN –

 

Councillor J. Drysdale was duly elected Vice-Chairman for the current Municipal year.

 

 

44            MINUTES – 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 11th March, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

45            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

46            DISABLED FACILITIES GRANTS PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR END OF YEAR 2014-15 (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 11th May 2015, was apprised of the Council's performance delivering Disabled Facilities Grants during the financial year 2014-15.

 

The Council had a statutory duty to consider and approve applications for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) where there was an identified need and the property could be reasonably adapted.  DFGs funded the adaptation of privately owned homes to allow residents to live as independently as possible in their own home for as long as possible.

 

The time to deliver DFGs was a national performance indicator. The Council had previously acknowledged its performance in delivering DFGs had to be improved. A significant improvement was achieved in 2013/14 (284 days) and a further significant improvement had been achieved during 2014/15 which had seen the time taken to deliver DFGs reduced to 199.  A detailed breakdown of the DFG service performance at the end of the 2014/15 year was included in the DFG Performance Review attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The improvement was in part due to the introduction of a framework contract during the Autumn 2014.  In addition to introducing the framework contract for builders, during 2014-15 the DFG service undertook a consultation event with clients, which took place on 3rd March, 2015.  Through this event it was noted that the service was valued by customers, and adaptations installed had made a difference to their day-to-day life.  During Quarter 4, the Business Improvement Team concluded work with the DFG service using the Business Improvement Toolkit to identify improvements in the service.  The actions that were agreed and the ideas to be introduced where workable were included in Appendix 2 as attached to the report.

 

After presenting this item, the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety commented that she was pleased significant improvements had been made, and she looked forward to further decreases in the delivery time of DFGs.  The Leader agreed that the improvement was very good news and that the department had received good feedback, with clients especially valuing the face-to-face service.

 

Cabinet had

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       That the report on performance for delivering Disabled Facilities Grants during 2014-15 be noted.

 

(2)       That the progress made on process changes to improve the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants be noted.

 

(3)       That the report be forwarded to Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection, Social Care and Health and Corporate Resources) for information.

 

Having considered the decisions of Cabinet, Scrutiny Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the decision of Cabinet be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the staff involved in the delivery of Disabled Facility Grants be congratulated for their efforts.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Having regard to the decisions of Cabinet.

 

(2)       To place on record the Committee’s appreciation of the work of the officers.

 

 

47            DELIVERING THE YOUTH JUSTICE PLAN 2014/15 (DSS) –

 

Committee received an update regarding the progress made in delivering the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2014/15. 

 

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Section 39(1), placed a duty on each Local Authority, acting with its statutory partners (Police, Probation and Health), to establish Youth Offending Teams in their local area. 

 

Section 40 of the 1998 Act placed a duty on the Local Authority to produce an Annual Youth Justice Plan. 

 

The updated Vale of Glamorgan Youth Justice Plan 2014/15 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

The majority of actions were on track for completion.  However, because of delayed rollout by the Youth Justice Board, some delays were being experienced in implementing Asset Plus and the practice changes required for the new assessment framework in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Early practice change tools were currently being piloted and training was being arranged for staff regarding the new assessment framework, intervention planning and sequencing, and the impact that difficulties with speech, language and communication could have on young people’s behaviour.  Workshops had taken place regarding breach, compliance, induction and the expectations of Court Orders.  Recommendations from these workshops, plus the audit of custody cases and the completed re-offending analysis, would feed into actions to be carried forward into the 2015/16 Youth Justice Plan.

 

At a strategic level, the Youth Offending Service continued to engage very actively with partners to highlight the need for continuous commitment to providing an appropriate level of resources and to assist work being done to help young people get access to mainstream services that could prevent and / or reduce their offending.

 

Committee was aware that it was not possible to guarantee sufficient contributions to the Youth Offending Service budget in the long term because it relied on contributions from partner organisations and annual grants from various sources.  The Managing Director had written to the statutory partners in October 2014 seeking continued commitment of resources to the Youth Offending Service.  The Youth Offending Service Manager was able to confirm that all statutory partners had confirmed their contributions to the Youth Offending Service for 2015/16 and that funding had been secured from Welsh Government, South wales Police and Crime Commissioner.  The only reduction in grant funding was from the Youth Justice Board, 7.6% for 2015/16.

 

Having considered the contents of the Plan, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made in delivering the Youth Justice Plan 2014/15 be noted and that the delay regarding the rollout of the new assessment framework (Asset Plus) by the Youth Justice Board be acknowledged.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To meet the statutory requirements of grant terms and conditions provided by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, to achieve continuing improvements in the performance of the Youth Offending Service and to ensure that Members can exercise oversight of this key area of work for the Council.

 

 

48            PRESENTATIONS – HOUSING AND BUILDING SERVICES SERVICE PLAN 2015-19 –

 

Having received an introduction from the Head of Housing and Building Services, Committee received presentations from Managers within the Housing Directorate on the work of their respective Departments.

 

The presentations were received from:

 

            Ms. P. Toms – Housing Solutions and Supporting People Team Leader

            Mr. R. Thompson – Senior Neighbourhood Manager (Supported Housing)

            Mr. G. Davies – Team Leader, Responsive Repairs

            Ms. S. Alexander – Housing Income Officer

            Mr. P. Elliott – Business Support Officer

 

and each provided an overview of their area of service together with an outline of the services’ achievements and challenges. 

 

Members of the Committee thanked all Officers for their presentations.

 

 

49            REGULATORY AUDIT PLAN 2015 (DVSH) –

 

Committee received the Council’s Regulatory Audit Plan, produced annually by the Wales Audit Office. 

 

The Auditor General Wales was required to carry out an audit which discharged its statutory duties and fulfilled its obligations under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004, the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Local Government Act 1999 and the Code of Audit Practice. 

 

The Regulatory Audit Plan 2015 outlined work to be undertaken in the Council during April 2015 and March 2016 by and on behalf of the Auditor General. 

 

A copy of the Regulatory Audit Plan was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

The draft Plan had been considered by Corporate Management Team and no changes had been made.  The Audit Committee also considered the draft Plan in April 2015 with a referral made to Cabinet for final approval.

 

Having considered the Plan, Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Regulatory Audit Plan 2015 be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T the contents of the Regulatory Audit Plan 2015 be considered when Committee’s annual work programme was being drawn. Up.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To progress the regulatory work programme and to ensure that robust scrutiny of the Regulatory Audit Plan takes place.

 

(2)       To ensure the work programme of the Committee is more closely aligned to the annual regulatory audit and inspection work programme.

 

 

50            SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2015/16 (MD) –

 

Committee was advised of the progress in relation to recommendations that had been made by the Scrutiny Committee for the following periods:

  • April 2011 – March 2012
  • April 2012 – March 2013
  • April 2013 – March 2014
  • April 2014 – March 2015.

With regard to the work programme schedule which was attached at Appendix F to the report, the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer informed Members that the schedule was a proposed list of items for consideration and that the list may be subject to change depending upon the prevailing circumstances.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations be noted and that the following recommendations be agreed as completed: 

 

09 October 2013

Min. No. 484 - Quarter 1 Housing and Building Services Performance Report 2013/14 (DVSH) – Recommended

(1)   That the Head of Housing and Building Services submit a further report to the Scrutiny Committee on progress in respect of the development of a new Local Housing Strategy which would include an Older Persons Accommodation Strategy as soon as practicable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2)   That a further report be presented to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee by the Head of Housing and Building Services in respect of the Council’s Tenant Engagement Strategy.

 

 

 

(1)   The Local Housing Strategy will be drawn together from the evidence presented and workshops carried out as part of the Housing Strategy Development day to be held on 19th February 2014. It is anticipated that the draft strategy be submitted to Committee in April 2014.

 

Cabinet on 26th January, 2015 had considered and agreed to forwarding to Full Council for approval the Local Housing Strategy 2015-2020.

(Min. No. C261 refers)

 

Council, on 4th March 2015, approved the Local Housing Strategy.

(Min. No. 935 refers)

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(2)   A workshop day will be undertaken with engaged tenants in March 2014 to review the current tenant engagement strategy for submission to the Committee in May 2014.

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

07 January 2015

Min. No. 771 – Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule 2014/15 (DR) – Recommended

(2)   That the updated work programme schedule be uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

  

 

Uploaded to Council’s website on 19th January 2015.

Completed

11 March 2015

Min. No. 984 – Service Plan 2015/19: Housing and Building Services (DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That Cabinet be recommended to consider reviewing the style and layout of future Service Plans with a view to making the document more streamlined and user-friendly.

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 13th April 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2730 refers)

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the updated work programme schedule be uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

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

 

(2)       For information.

 

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