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Agenda and minutes

Improving Lives Select Commission
Wednesday, 6th June, 2012 1.30 p.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, ROTHERHAM. S60 2TH

Contact: Hannah Etheridge, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest to record.  

2.

Questions from members of the public or the press.

Minutes:

There were no members of the public or the press in attendance.  

3.

Communications.

Minutes:

It was noted that Mr. Tony Marvin, Parent Governor Representative to the Improving Lives Select Commission, had resigned due to his other work commitments.  Work would be ongoing to secure another Parent Governor Representative. 

 

Resolved: -  That the Improving Lives Select Commission record their thanks to Mr. Marvin for his contribution to the work of this Select Commission. 

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 12th April, 2012. pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission held on 12th April, 2012, were considered. 

 

Resolved: - That the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed as a correct record for signature by the Vice Chairman. 

5.

REPRESENTATIVES ON PANELS AND WORKING GROUPS.

Minutes:

Resolved: - That the following representatives from the Improving Lives Select Commission be confirmed: -

 

(1)  Health, Welfare and Safety Panel: - Councillor G. A. Russell (Substitute Councillor S. Ali).

 

(2)  Recycling Group: - Councillor T. Sharman.  

6.

Improving Lives Select Commission: - 2012/13 Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 40 KB

 

  • Caroline Webb, Senior Scrutiny Adviser, Resources Directorate, to report. 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report presented by the Vice Chair of the Improving Lives Select Commission, and the Senior Scrutiny Adviser, Legal and Democratic Services, which detailed options for the scrutiny work programme for 2012/13. 

 

The report detailed a number of issues in relation to the Select Commission’s role.  These included: -

 

  • The Every Child Matters agenda (note Health Overview and Scrutiny Select Commission responsibilities);
  • The ‘Think Family’ and early intervention/prevention agendas;
  • Other cross-cutting services provided specifically for children and young people;
  • Employment and skills development;
  • Non-health related adult social care.

 

Consideration was given to the previous year’s work programme, including the reviews undertaken and the consultations responded to.  Looking forward into the 2012/13 work programme the following issues were considered: -

 

  • A retrospective look at what had been achieved during 2011/12 and outstanding issues to be carried forward;
  • Strategic priorities that had been identified by Cabinet, SLT and Scrutiny Chairs;
  • Potential for scrutiny members to feed in issues to the Select Commission;
  • Reduced capacity of the Scrutiny Team compared to previous years.

 

The following strategic priorities had been agreed by Cabinet, SLT and Scrutiny Chairs and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board had referred them to the Improving Lives Select Commission to lead on. 

 

  • Troubled Families.
  • Welfare Reform.
  • Special Educational Needs and announced legislative changes.

 

The outstanding reviews from the previous Municipal Year were considered.  The following reviews would be rolled forward and completed/continued this year: -

 

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder – Health and Improving Lives Select Commissions. 
  • School Governor Review.
  • Issues referred from the Youth Cabinet on how bullying is addressed in schools. 

 

Suggestion was made that the Improving Lives Select Commission regularly review their work programme to ensure issues of greater importance were given higher priority, that changing circumstances were reflected and to ensure that the work programme was manageable and achievable.  It was important to ensure that the work plan was robust enough to ensure scrutiny was targeted, effective and delivered clear outcomes, so adding value to the work of the Council. 

 

Discussion ensued, and the following issues were raised: -

 

Issues to be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board: -

 

  • Customer Contact Centre
  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Safeguarding.

 

Resolved: - (1)  That the report be received and its content noted.

 

(2) That, on the basis of the discussions, a work programme be developed.

7.

Welfare Reform update. pdf icon PDF 45 KB

 

  • Carole Haywood, Rotherham Partnership Manager, Resources Directorate, to report. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report presented by the Rotherham Partnership Manager in relation to the issues within the Welfare Reform Act, 2012.  The report also provided an update to the Council and partner’s response to the Act’s provisions. 

 

The objectives of the Act were considered: -

 

  • Welfare budget savings;
  • Improve work incentives by ‘making work pay’;
  • Reduce welfare dependency;
  • Reduce the complexity of the benefits system by bringing together the majority of benefits in a new “universal credit” for people of working age.

 

The report outlined key changes within the Act. 

 

The local impacts of the provisions were outlined.  Particular emphasis was given to so-called ‘multiplier effects’.  These included: -

 

·         Impact on some of the most vulnerable in the Borough;

·         Insufficient jobs available for people who were successfully “incentivised” back into the labour market;

·         A conservative estimate of the cost to the Rotherham economy in reduced benefit payments was £28m by the end of March 2015.  It was thought likely that this amount would be much higher following  the impact of ‘multiplier effects’;

·         The impact would be greatest on families with children;

·         Would increase the number of children living in poverty;

·         Would have the greatest impact on the most deprived areas.

 

The Rotherham Partnership Board had convened a Task Group to co-ordinate a response to the Act’s provisions.  This would involve the development of an action plan, the identification of a range of activities to mitigate the risk and impact for organisations and the community.  A strategic reference group would oversee this work and to look at the required policy and resource decisions.

 

The submitted appendix began to capture the range of organisational and community impacts, many of which would have associated risks and uncertainties.

 

Initial work within communities had already begun.  This included a community drop-in session on housing benefit changes at Kimberworth Park.  The interest arising from this session had prompted efforts to co-ordinate a communication strategy, develop a training programme for front-line workers and submit a bid to the Department for Work and Pensions. 

 

The presentation generated much discussion between members of the Improving Lives Select Commission, and the following issues were raised: -

 

  • Helping all members of the community to access the benefits they were entitled to.  Work had been undertaken to identify and work with groups that did not access their entitlements.
  • Impact of multiplier effects;
  • Role of the Council in communicating the provisions to the Rotherham community.

 

Resolved: -  (1)  That the report be received and its content noted.

 

(2)  That a publicity campaign and communication plan be produced in relation to the provisions of the Welfare Act, 2012.

 

(3)  That further work is undertaken in relation to ensuring there is sufficient capacity to provide information, advice and guidance to members of the community.

 

(4)  That a further report is presented to a future meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission in relation to the impacts on children and families. 

 

(5)  That proposals for Council Tax and Housing Benefit Schemes be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Date and time of next meeting: -

 

Wednesday 11th July, 2012, to start at 1.30 pm in the Rotherham Town Hall. 

Minutes:

Resolved: -  That the next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission be held on Wednesday 11th July, 2012, commencing at 1.30 pm in the Rotherham Town Hall.