SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (COMMUNITY WELLBEING AND SAFETY)
MINUTES of a meeting held on 12th
Present: Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch
(Chairman); Councillor K.R. Stockdale (Vice-Chairman); Councillors
R.J. Bertin, Ms. R.M. Birch, Ms. L. Burnett, Mrs. J.E. Charles, P.
Church, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, H.J.W. James, G.C. Kemp, Mrs. A.J.
Moore, A.G. Powell, B.I. Shaw and J.W. Thomas and Mr. L. Lixton
(Shakespeare Residents Association).
Also present: Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.
791 APOLOGIES FOR
These were received from Councillors Mrs. A.J.
Preston and W.C. Vaughan.
792 MINUTES -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the
meetings held on 9th January and 15th
January, 2007 be approved as a correct record.
OF INTEREST -
No declarations of interest were received.
794 REPORT OF A
MEETING - HOUSING SUB-COMMITTEE: 18TH JANUARY, 2007
The following report of a meeting of the
Housing Sub-Committee held on 18th January, 2007 was
Present:Councillors Mrs. M.E.J.
Birch, Ms. R.M. Birch, Mrs. J.E. Charles, P. Church, K.R. Stockdale
and J.W. Thomas.
Non-Voting Co-opted Members:Mrs.
B. Dyke and Mr. T. Kill (Gibbonsdown Residents Board).
RECOMMENDED - T H A T Councillors K.R.
Stockdale and A.J. Readman be appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman
respectively for the current municipal year.
(b) Apologies for absence
These were received from Councillors R.J.
Bertin, Mrs. A.J. Preston and A.J. Readman.
(c) Minutes -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the
meeting of the Housing Sub-Committee held on 16th
November, 2006 be approved as a correct record.
(d) Declarations of Interest
No declarations were received.
(e) Report of Housing
Sub-Committee - 26th October, 2006: Reference from
Scrutiny Committee (Community Wellbeing and Safety),
27th November, 2006 -
Cabinet had considered the above matter on
13th December, 2006 and referred details of the
recommendations to the Housing Sub-Committee for
“(i) Vale of
Glamorgan Private Sector House Condition Survey
(1) T H A T
Cabinet be requested to support a bid for capital funding to be
submitted in the sum of £80,000 for the 2007 - 2008 financial year
to fund a full Vale of Glamorgan private Sector House Condition
Survey in 2007.
(2) T H A T,
notwithstanding the above recommendation, officers investigate the
possibility of joint working with other local authorities regarding
the production of a private sector house condition survey.
180 Housing Act 1996 Voluntary Sector Funding Proposals
(1) T H A T
Cabinet be requested to agree the following Section 180 funding
· Home Access
Trust - Accommodation Funding and Bond Board Services. Money
to be used to part fund salary of the Bond Officer -
· Llamau Housing
- JIGSO - Advice and assistance to single people aged 16 plus who
are homeless/threatened with homelessness to include bond services,
landlord/tenant support and generalist housing advice -
· Vale Furniture
Grant Project - To provide grants to homeless people who cannot
fund the purchase of furniture - £6,000.
(2) T H A T the Director
of Community Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for
Housing and Community Safety be authorised to reallocate the
balance of £17,000 to fund the Rough Sleeper Count and any balance
of the fund carried forward to 2007/08 unless a suitable project
could be identified in the interim.”
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the information be
(f) Chartered Institute of
Housing Conference and Exhibition 19th - 21st
June, 2007 -
Cabinet on 13th December, 2006,
had considered the appointment of a Member to attend the above and
had referred the matter to the Housing Sub-Committee for
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Chairman of the
Housing Sub-Committee of Scrutiny Committee (Community Wellbeing
and Safety) be nominated to attend the Institute of Housing
Conference and Exhibition to be held on 19th -
21st June, 2007.
(g) Affordable Housing (DCS)
Alun Billinghurst, Acting Head of Housing
and Community Services and Mike Ingram, Acting Operational Manager
of Housing and Community Safety presented a report on Affordable
Housing. Key points raised were that
· New build had
not kept up with the number and type of households that were
· House prices
had risen much faster than average incomes;
· In 2003/04,
Cardiff had exported significant numbers of people to its
· Welsh Assembly
Government statistics showed that between 2003-2006:
- number of households in Wales
would increase by 20%;
- the average household size
was likely to fall from 2.34 to 2.09;
- average single parent households
were likely to increase by 20%.
Contained in the Vale of Glamorgan Unitary
Development Plan 1996-2011, one definition of Affordable Housing
was - “Housing for those whose incomes generally denied them the
opportunity to purchase suitable housing on the open market as a
result of the relationship between income and market price.”
Affordable Housing included low cost market housing and subsidised
housing irrespective of tenure, ownership or financial
arrangements. Forms could include:
· Housing for
· Low cost
housing for private ownership;
· Self build or
Within the Vale of Glamorgan, a few
Affordable Housing schemes had been offered in partnership with
Newydd Housing Association and allocated under the Homes4U
scheme. However, the future opportunity for such schemes was
limited as there was not much land available generally in the Vale
of Glamorgan for Affordable Housing development.
The Welsh Local Government Association had
raised Affordable Housing as a particular issue within an All-Wales
context. Contained in their manifesto 2005-2008 was the
statement that “The provision of good quality affordable housing
across all tenures was the key to building a healthy, just and
sustainable future for all of our communities”.
The Welsh Assembly Government had
indicated that there would be changes to planning policy and
guidance through TAN 1 and 2, an Affordable Housing toolkit, and
guidance on local housing market assessments. Other
initiatives outlined by the Welsh Assembly Government
· Protocol in
respect of disposal of land owned by the Assembly and sponsored
· Package of
support and guidance on the strategic housing function;
· Minister for
SJR to consider the future National Housing Strategy and
integration into other policy agendas.
Affordable Housing was an important
· The Community
· The Corporate
· The Local
· Housing Needs
· Housing Market
· UDP and SPG
Changes were needed to the Supplementary
Planning Guidance (SPG) as developers only had to provide
Affordable Housing on sites in excess of 50 dwellings. Due to
limited land availability development sites were unlikely to exceed
50 dwellings in the future and this could mean that developers did
not have to provide Affordable Housing.
Members indicated that the Planning
Section had been reluctant to accept exception sites in the Rural
Vale as these had to be alongside sustainable communities in the
Local Development Plan. It was thought necessary to make all
communities sustainable instead of identifying some as
non-sustainable. The Acting Head of Housing and Community
Safety indicated that their Division was working closely with the
Planning Section to maximise opportunities for the provision of
Affordable Housing on any new development.
The Social Housing Grant Programme would
· Low cost home
discount and home release schemes
· The Right to Buy and
Right to Acquire
· Housing for
as delivery mechanisms for Affordable
Other sources of subsidy could
· Section 106
· Disposal of land and
property by local authorities
· Forestry Commission
· Welsh Assembly
Government Assembly Sponsored Public Bodies Land
· Housing Association
· Community Land
· The Resale Covenant
The future for Affordable Housing in the
· SHG Bids: Decision
· Local Housing Market
and Housing Needs Study
· Land Availability
· Review of
Supplementary Planning Guidance
· New Local
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Acting Head of
Housing and Community Safety and Acting Operational Manager Housing
and Community Safety, be thanked for their informative and
interesting presentation on Affordable Housing.
ARRANGEMENTS - SOCIAL SERVICES (CX) -
The Chief Executive introduced the newly
appointed Interim Director of Social Services to the Committee Mr.
Mark Wheeler and outlined the report which updated the Committee on
the current arrangements within Social Services following the
decisions that had been made by Cabinet on 17th January,
2007. The report highlighted that for a number of years the
Community Services Directorate had been operating with a
significant overspend which was having an adverse effect on Social
Care Services and other key services of the Council. There
was also an acknowledged need for a clear action plan to address
the issues and a management structure to enable the necessary
changes, development and improvements to be put into effect against
significant financial and time pressures. The decisions made
by the Cabinet on 17th January were as follows:
“(1) T H A T a new
Directorate of Social Services be established.
(2) T H A T
accountabilities for Community Safety, Housing and Catering be
reallocated as detailed in the report.
(3) T H A T the current
Director of Community Services, Heads of Service for Adult and
Children’s Services posts be deleted.
(4) T H A T the Chief
Executive be authorised to implement necessary procedures and
processes and to establish the ERR Committee as necessary.
(5) T H A T the Chief
Executive be given delegated authority, in consultation with the
Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social and Care
Services to appoint an Interim Manager.
(6) T H A T the Chief
Executive be designated as the Statutory Lead Officer for Social
Services until a Director appointment is made.
(7) T H A T the Chief
Executive be authorised to initiate recruitment procedures for a
new Director of Social Services and the necessary Senior Management
Appointments Panel be convened.
(8) T H A T the Chief
Executive report further on progress and on the reallocation of the
non social services functions to other Directorates.”
During consideration of the report, the Chief
Executive advised that he would forward a copy of the current
Change Plan to all Members of the Committee the following
day. The Plan, when finalised, would include budget and
service performance targets for the forthcoming three
Members raised concerns in respect of two
requests for information submitted on call-in pro-formas that they
were aware had been submitted and the Chief Executive advised that
in his opinion, one had been a request for further information and
the other had been a request relating to information to the
Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) which was not the
appropriate Committee. However, he hoped his report and any
questions Members wished to put forward would deal with the
requests for further information in respect of the
A Member of the Committee asked the Chief
Executive if the model being used for the top tier structure of
Community Services was used in other local authorities. The
Chief Executive responded by stating that there were a number of
different organisational models throughout Wales. Mr. Wheeler
confirmed that he was not aware of the position in Wales but that
models with focus on frontline services were currently operating
Members also queried the future plans for the
service area and requested that Mr. Wheeler attend further meetings
to provide an overview of his findings and his proposals for
progress. Mr. Wheeler confirmed that there were clear areas where
performance could be improved but that he was reluctant to make
firm commitments as to delivery at this period in time.
The Chief Executive informed Committee that a
further report in respect of the Housing Service, would be
presented to Cabinet in late February, early March 2007.
Members raised concern in respect of the large number of positions
within the Directorate that had been held vacant and the Chief
Executive assured Members that this was an urgent issue that would
In respect of concerns as to whether services
were currently being affected, the Chief Executive confirmed that
Carys Lord (Head of Strategy, Performance Management and
Commissioning) had been instrumental in dealing with the issues at
hand and he requested that his formal thanks be conveyed to Carys
Lord in the difficult circumstances.
(1) T H A T the
contents of the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the Interim
Manager for Social Services provide a further presentation in due
course to the Scrutiny Committee which would detail progress and
achievements within the service area.
796 OVERARCHING LEADERSHIP
GROUP PREVENTATIVE PROJECT 4 - 11 YEARS (CX) -
The report provided information on the purpose
and progress of the Overarching Leadership Group Preventative
Project 4 - 11 Years People and Places Big Lottery bid.
In 2005, Members of the OLG had identified the
need to target additional dedicated resources for preventative work
with 4 - 11 year olds as it was an age group that had largely been
“missed out” on targeted government funding. The Group had
not only identified as a priority reductions in anti-social
behaviour and crime but also a reduction in the number of
receptions into the looked after system.
Committee was advised that the added value of
a joint bid would be shared learning and practice development,
supported by robust systems of monitoring and evaluation with
dedicated resources to provide training and disseminate information
and practice guidelines on effective practice. The Flying
Start initiative supported the development of a bid which provided
a continuum of preventative services in the most deprived areas for
0 - 11 year olds and the work of the South Wales OLG had received
support from WAG and the WLGA as an example of collaborative
working between agencies to meet the needs of vulnerable
The bids for the multi-agency project had been
prepared in partnership with the following Local Authorities:
· Merthyr Tydfil
· Neath Port Talbot
· Rhondda Cynon Taf
· Vale of Glamorgan.
The proposal which had been agreed by the Big
Lottery, was to develop four bids, two initially for service
provision starting in 2007 (A and B), and two smaller bids a year
later (C and D). Each bid would last for three years and
there was also an option of further bids for the continuation of
bids A and B for a further two years. Bid A was in respect of
Parenting Support / Home Visiting and Bid B Strengthening Home
School Links. The bids had been submitted in early December
2006 and a decision was expected from the Big Lottery in the near
future. The Chief Executive confirmed that he was liaising
with other members of the Overarching Leadership Group with regard
to the ongoing support for the project and he confirmed that his
intention would be to ensure that the project meets the Vale’s
local priorities and needs. There was also a need for a
member of the OLG to take the lead role in respect of the project
and he would be discussing the matter with the partnership
colleagues in due course.
Members of the Committee recorded their
approval of the bid and that it was a “good news story for the Vale
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Chief Executive be
thanked for presenting and advising the Committee in respect of the
797 REVENUE AND CAPITAL
MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2006 TO
31ST DECEMBER, 2006 (DIRECTORATE OF COMMUNITY
The report highlighted the current position in
respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period
1st April, 2006 to 31st December, 2006.
The projected outturn for 2006/07 for the
Revenue Budget was shown in comparison with the amended Annual
Budget at Appendix 1 to the report. It was noted that the
current forecast for the Directorate was for a surplus of £50,000
on the Housing Revenue Account Budget and a deficit of £4,634,000
on General Fund Services. The report highlighted that the
deficit would have to be met from the un-earmarking of specific
The following was also reported:
· Public Sector Housing -
The Housing Revenue Account was anticipated to outturn with a
surplus of £57,000 which had been largely due to staff vacancies
and additional rental income;
· Private Sector Housing -
Estimated that the service would underspend by £200,000 which had
been mainly due to staff vacancies;
· Children’s Services - A
current projected deficit of £1,481,000 was shown in respect of
· Community Care and
Health - A deficit of £2,558,000;
· Catering - A deficit of
£130,000 due to losses which had been incurred by the Trading
Appendix 2 to the report detailed the
financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st
December, 2006 and Appendix 3 provided non-financial information on
A supplementary information report was tabled
at the meeting in respect of security and other costs associated
with the Penarth Heights development. The information was in
response to a request by the Scrutiny Committee for a breakdown of
the costs associated with the retention of the dwellings at Harbour
View and Royal Close pending the redevelopment of the site at
As a result of consideration of the report it
was concluded that matters of an exempt nature would be discussed
and it was therefore felt appropriate that the item be further
considered later in the meeting following exclusion of the press
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Revenue and Capital
Monitoring report be noted.
798 SOUTH EAST WALES
CONSORTIUM PROGRESS REPORT (DIRECTORATE OF COMMUNITY SERVICES)
The report identified the current position and
achievements that had been made to date in respect of the South
East Wales Consortium. Members were aware that the South East
Wales Consortium comprised the following Local Authorities:
· Rhondda Cynon Taf
· Vale of Glamorgan.
The aims of the Consortium included:
To deliver a collaborative outcome for all
members of the Consortium and to specifically provide enablers for
the delivery of the Unified Assessment Process (UAP) and Integrated
Children’s System (ICS) across the Consortium. The team is hosted
by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
The project was funded from the Performance
Management Development Fund i.e. Special Grant Report for Social
Services Performance Management Development Fund No. 3, Guidance
Circular NAFWC and Performance Management Development Fund
Additional Component Grant.
The Consortium had to date, been successful in
managing the items within its own control but had been let down by
the failure of its software supplier to deliver products on time or
of sufficient quality to allow work to progress to the pilot stage
of the project. The Management Board itself had taken all the
steps considered appropriate to mitigate the effects of the
software delay and had increasingly pressed the supplier to
progress delivery. The Consortium was also currently taking
external advice to review and ratify the approach to the supplier
and as such, had withheld payment of grant monies in order to
ensure the dissatisfaction with the matter was clear. The
report highlighted that the Consortium were working towards
achieving the full project benefits of the UAP and ICS during
2007/08 and 2008/09. The Consortium was also working on one
common process which it believed would enable future changes to
services to be made quicker, consistent and more cost
effective. The work on the business process would harmonise
methods of working across the Consortium and improve the levels of
service delivery. It was envisaged that the following
benefits would be achieved:
· greater standardisation
of business processes across the Consortium;
· better compliance to
policies and procedures;
· increased visibility and
audit ability of business and process performance;
· flexibility for
processes to evolve as needs changed;
help to optimise the Consortium investment in technology;
· prepare the ground to
make data sharing a reality for the Consortium.
Having considered the report, the Scrutiny
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Directorate be
thanked for providing the information which identified the benefits
of working together and that the current position in relation to
the Consortium be noted.
799 SECTION 180 HOUSING ACT
1996 VOLUNTARY SECTOR FUNDING PROPOSALS (REF) -
The Scrutiny Committee had an undertaken a
review of homelessness within the Vale of Glamorgan during 2006 and
the final review had been reported to Cabinet on 29th
November, 2006. A number of recommendations had been made in
respect of the review, which were accepted by the Cabinet.
However, in respect of the recommendation that the remainder of
Section 180 monies (£17,000) be utilised to undertake an audit of
homelessness / rough sleeping in the Vale of Glamorgan by March
2007 as required by the Welsh Assembly Government, Cabinet had
resolved that the monies had already been proposed to be utilised
to undertake an audit of homelessness / rough sleeping in the Vale
of Glamorgan. However, this was not in fact the case.
The Section 180 monies spend for 2006/07 had not been approved for
release to the organisations. A further report had therefore
been presented to Cabinet on 17th January, 2007 seeking
approval to allocate £23,000 for 2006/07 Section 180 funding to
voluntary bodies and to utilise the remaining £17,000 to undertake
an audit of homelessness / rough sleeping in the Vale of Glamorgan
by March 2007 as required by the Welsh Assembly Government and to
establish a system for proactive monitoring of homelessness within
the County. As a result, the Cabinet on 17th
January, 2007, made the following resolutions:
“(1) T H A T the following
Section 180 Funding allocations be made:
Home Access Trust - Accommodation Funding and
Bond Board Services. Money to be used to part fund salary of
the Bond Officer - £5,000.
Llamau Housing - JIGSO - Advice and assistance
to single people aged 16+ who were homeless / threatened with
homelessness. Includes Bond Service, landlord / tenant
support and generalist housing advice - £12,000.
Vale Furniture Grant Project - To provide
grants to homeless people who cannot fund the purchase of furniture
Audit of homelessness / rough sleeping in the
Vale of Glamorgan by March 2007 as required by the Welsh Assembly
Government and to establish a system for proactive monitoring of
homelessness within the County - £17,000.
(2) T H A T the report
be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Community Wellbeing and Safety)
The Reference was therefore before the
Scrutiny Committee for information.
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the resolutions of
Cabinet be noted.
800 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -
RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of
the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded
from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds
that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as
defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the
relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets
after the minute heading.
801 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
IN RESPECT OF PENARTH HEIGHTS (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH
The report detailed costs in association with
the Penarth Heights Development and Members expressed concern in
respect of the loss of income and questioned how long the Council
was prepared to hold Council properties for tenants of Penarth
RECOMMENDED - T H A T on approval of planning
permission at the site, Cabinet be requested to take urgent steps
to recover the remaining properties.