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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer  Email: debbie.pons@rotherham.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

93.

Questions from Members of the Public

Minutes:

(1)  A member of the public asked now the Sites and Policies Consultation had just closed what processes would be put in place to ensure all the representations sent in on paper, via the website or by email would be considered equally, fully and fairly and how this would be demonstrated in due course?

 

The Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services confirmed that a Feedback Report would be produced, which would set out what had been considered, how the representations had been received and which sites were being considered as the final proposed allocations.  The Local Plan Steering Group also had discussions with local Members about specific issues and locations and all representations would be considered.

 

The process would start shortly running into next year.  Further consultation would take place as part of the examination in public of the Sites and Policies Document with an Independent Inspector, where members of the public would have the added opportunity to raise any concerns about other sites, which the Inspector would consider.

 

In a supplementary question, the member of the public suggested that the Feedback Report be included as part of the consultation document that would be published on the website, as on previous occasions it had been omitted.

 

The Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services was in agreement with this process given the importance of local issues and the effect that this may have on people’s lives.

 

(2)  A member of the public referred to the excellent public debate held at the Unity Centre which featured on the radio and asked what action was being taken to ask the victims of child sexual exploitation about the support they required, given that this was central to the content of the Jay Report and the Children’s Commissioner Report.  Victims were still waiting for support and many of the voluntary and community organisations providing support had a six month waiting list or like the N.H.S. were under extreme pressure.

 

Taking this into account reference was also made to the report also on today’s agenda which would consider “Improvements to ICT Use Within Social Care” and some of the terminology used within it and it was suggested that plain English be used in future.  The Cabinet were asked how they could approve the report moving forward when it may not be the system that was inadequate, but the users who were struggling with the functionality and which was resulting in poor quality data being accessible and leading to poor case management.

 

The proposals for consideration as part of this report referred to the system costing around £2.6 million to replace, which was fifteen times more than the financial support being provided for victims.  From experience it was highly likely that the true cost of a system replacement would be over £3 million.  The Council were, therefore, asked to look at alternatives for which the Northgate system could be used for and it was suggested that the Leader of the Council, Chief Executive and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.

94.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest to report.

95.

Scrutiny Review of Standing Orders and Cabinet Response pdf icon PDF 46 KB

-           Director of Legal and Democratic Services to report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 51 of the meeting of the Council held on 10th September, 2014, Councillor Watson, Chairman of the Scrutiny Review Group, introduced a report which set out recommendations of the scrutiny review of Standing Orders, undertaken by the Self Regulation Select Commission.

 

The Review Group met on five separate occasions and examined the Standing Orders in detail; followed by webcasting and petitions. Information was sought from other Councils to examine how they addressed general questions, questions to decision makers and representatives on other bodies and committees and questions from members of the public. The proposed amendments were discussed with the Monitoring Officer and Legal and Democratic Services Officers. The final meeting agreed the report for submission to Cabinet to inform its recommendations to Council.

 

A number of other issues arose during the review relating to the wider Constitution and procedural rules. However, due to the time frame for reporting its findings, the Review Group were not able to give proper consideration to these issues. It was recommended, therefore, that a further review be undertaken to report back to Cabinet early in the new Municipal Year.

 

Taking matters forward the Review Group were suggesting:-

 

 

·           The time limit in which to ask questions that have previously been asked and answered, be reduced from six months to three Council meetings.

 

·            The length of notice required for submission of general questions be extended; in effect all questions must be submitted in writing to the Chief Executive by 10.00 a.m. three working days before the day of the Council meeting (usually the Friday preceding the Council meeting held on a Wednesday).

 

·           If a Member who had submitted a valid question, was unable to attend and had submitted apologies, a written answer be supplied.

 

·           The guillotine on general question be removed.

 

·            If submitted questions were ruled to duplicate other submitted questions and one was excluded; that the Member who submitted the excluded question be allowed to ask a supplementary question on the subject of the excluded matter.

 

·            A new provision to ask ‘urgent’ questions be introduced.

 

·            In line with the amendment to submission of general questions; the length of notice required for questions from members of the public be extended to 10.00 a.m. three working days before the Council meeting (usually the Friday preceding the Council meeting held on a Wednesday).

 

·           That Paragraph 19 of the Council’s Scheme for Handling Petitions be amended to 2,000 signatures to trigger a debate of the Council.

 

·           The current threshold of 750 to ask for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting be maintained and extended to include member(s) of Cabinet.

 

It was suggested that the proposed amendments be reviewed after six months to ascertain if they were fit for purpose.

 

There were no changes proposed to Paragraph 9: Moving the minutes of the Cabinet, Members of the Cabinet and Committees and the Council’s Standards Committee (commonly referred to as questions to the White Book).

 

In terms of the recording of questions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Webcasting RMBC Meetings pdf icon PDF 48 KB

-           Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.

Minutes:

Councillor Hoddinott, Deputy Leader, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services, which referred to the introduction of webcasting for Council meetings as a permanent arrangement, following an initial trial during late 2014. 

 

The Council trialled the use of this technology to webcast several high-profile meetings which took place following the publication of the Alexis Jay report.  Given the significant public interest in these proceedings the Council wanted to ensure as many people as possible could access the discussion and decision-making process.  The service was provided by an external company, as the technology and resources did not currently exist in-house.

 

The webcasts attracted significant viewing figures and whilst these could not be taken to be representative of what could be expected of other meetings, it demonstrated the ability and appetite that existed to access local government through digital means.

 

 It had been proposed that the meetings of Council, Cabinet, Planning Board and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board be webcast and it was suggested that this also be opened up to other Select Commissions for consideration.

 

This report was to also be considered at the delegated powers meeting of the Deputy Leader on the 2nd December, 2014 where the support issues to webcasting meetings would be considered further.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny welcomed the invitation to webcast Select Commission meetings, which further demonstrated a willingness to be more open and transparent.  This could be a little more problematic when alternative venues were used, but it was noted that the webcasting model was not transferrable from the Town Hall.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the implementation of webcasting selected meetings as part of the Council’s commitment to improving engagement and transparency in local democracy be approved.

 

(2)  That the webcasting contract be awarded to Public-i at an annual cost of £15k per year, initially for a period of two years.

97.

Disposal of Land at Aston Close to Great Places Housing Association to enable Affordable Housing Development (12 units) pdf icon PDF 318 KB

-           Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services to report.

Minutes:

Councillor Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services, which sought approval for the freehold disposal of a Housing Revenue Account site located at Aston Close, Aston to Great Places Housing Association.

 

Subject to approval, the site would be developed by Great Places Housing to provide twelve new affordable homes. Of these, eight units would be two bed houses and four units would be three bed houses. The Council would receive 100% nomination of residents from the Council waiting list, in perpetuity for all the new homes.

 

Great Places Housing Association had secured £176,000 of grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to support the scheme.  They would utilise approximately £624,000 of their in house finance to build the new homes. The estimated total development cost of the twelve units was £800,000.

 

To enable the development to proceed, Great Places Housing required the land to be transferred from the Council at £5,000 per plot – total consideration £60,000.  This was in line with previous land transfers by the Council to Housing Associations and complies with the Homes and Communities Agency requirement that land should be transferred at either NIL value or a nominal value as a condition of the grant funding allocation.  Discounted land was in effect the Council’s contribution to the Affordable Housing scheme.

 

Resolved:-  That the freehold disposal of Housing Revenue Account land at Aston Close, Aston to Great Places Housing Association for a total consideration of £60,000 on the basis that the Council receives all of the benefits detailed in this report be approved.

98.

Crisis Care Concordat pdf icon PDF 46 KB

-           Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services to report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Doyle, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services which sought approval to join partner organisations in South Yorkshire in formally agreeing to the principles in the national Concordat for Mental Health Crisis Care.

 

The Crisis Concordat was a key element of the Better Care Fund (BCF01) workstream, which was working to develop a Mental Health Liaison Service that supported the outcomes of the Better Care Fund and the principle of ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental health care.

 

It was, therefore, proposed that the Council supported the aims of the Concordat formally by becoming signatories to the South Yorkshire Declaration Statement.

 

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

 

(2)  That the commitment of the Local Authority to the Declaration be endorsed and the involvement of Council officers in implementing the recommendations contained in the Concordat within the Better Care Fund Action Plan be approved.

 

(3)  That the onward progress of the report to Health and Wellbeing Board, Children and Young People’s Services Department Leadership Team and Cabinet Member for Children and Education Services for information and support for the Action Plan be approved.

99.

White Ribbon Campaign pdf icon PDF 39 KB

-           Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services to report.

Minutes:

Councillor Doyle, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services which detailed how the White Ribbon Campaign Award was for Towns to demonstrate their commitment to the aims of the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC).

 

To achieve White Ribbon status required a commitment by partners across Rotherham Borough to involving men in sending a clear message that Domestic Abuse against women would not be tolerated.  In particular involving men in preventative activities, addressing and altering social norms that lead to violent behaviour against women, increasing awareness on the issue and providing services aimed at reducing domestic abuse. The White Ribbon Campaign claimed that by mobilising men the anti-violence against women and girls (VAWG) message increased in effectiveness and reach and mobilised the entire local community under the goal of ending violence against women and girls.

 

An action plan, demonstrating the town’s commitment to reducing domestic abuse, had been developed with the Partnership Violent Crime Forum and Domestic Abuse Priority Group (DAPG).

 

On the 30th October, 2014 the plan was approved as ‘Excellent’ by the White Ribbon Campaign Director and Rotherham had been provided ‘White Ribbon Status’.

 

Councillor Doyle, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, also confirmed he was now an Ambassador for the White Ribbon Campaign.

 

Cabinet Members welcomed this Campaign and work taking place with partner agencies to take this forward and change attitudes.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the partnership commitment to achieving the aims of the White Ribbon Campaign be endorsed.

 

(2)  That the work be driven by Chief Inspector Ian Womersley in conjunction with the Domestic Abuse Priority Group and Partnership Violent Crime Forum.

 

(3)  That a joint media strategy be developed between the Council, Police and Rotherham United Football Club.

.

(4)  That the Council celebrate the White Ribbon Status with the flying of a White Ribbon flag during the International White Ribbon Campaign period from 25th November to 10th December, 2014.

100.

Improvements to ICT Use Within Social Care pdf icon PDF 94 KB

-           Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.

Minutes:

Councillor Lakin, Leader of the Council, introduced a joint report by the Strategic Directors for Environment and Development Services and Children and young People’s Services, which provided an update on the findings of the recent Ofsted inspections with relation to the use of technology within children’s social care and to outline work being taken to improve the way that social care ICT systems and tools were used within the Children and Young People’s Service.

 

The Ofsted reports have highlighted the need for officers to take some immediate steps to improve the functionality and improve the use of ICT systems within Children and Young People’s Services. In the longer term the Council was to revaluate the social care case management products available on the market with a view to procuring replacement software ahead of the end of the current contract end date in 2018.

 

It was proposed that three distinct workstreams be undertaken to address the issues raised as part of the Ofsted inspection. The workstreams would be run in parallel, overseen by a strategic steering group and in conjunction with the programme of organisational change led by the Director of Safeguarding, Children and Families.

 

The work steam details of what they would primary focus on were set out in detail as part of the report:-

 

·              Workstream 1 – Immediate System and Process Improvements

·              Workstream 2 – Social Care System - Market Testing and Procurement

·              Workstream 3 – Greater use of Mobile Technologies

 

The three workstreams described formed a part of the overall improvement programme which was led by the Director of Safeguarding, Children and Families. It was proposed that a sub-group be formed to manage these ICT projects and that this sub-group report back to Members with updates on a monthly basis.

 

The current Northgate system was in use for both Adult’s and Children’s social care so careful consideration would need to be given to whether any potential system changes were done across the whole of social care or were just limited to Children and Young People’s Services. Neighbourhoods and Adult Services Directorate already used the Northgate system effectively and had no strong desire to change to an alternative product. This was in part motivated by an acknowledgement of the significant resources (human and financial) that Neighbourhoods and Adult Services would need to invest in any migration project.

 

To mitigate this risk it was likely that prospective suppliers would be invited to indicate if they wished to bid for just a Children and Young People’s Services system or for an integrated adult’s/children’s system. Neighbourhoods and Adult Services would be fully engaged in Workstream 2 from the outset.

 

A further risk was that of the likelihood of nugatory investment in the development of the incumbent system between now and going live with any replacement. The Council already had system several development projects underway with Northgate that have been necessitated by the Care Act 2014 and other recent legislation changes. This work (which affected both Children and Young People’s Services and Neighbourhoods  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Rationalisation of the Property Portfolio: 49 - 53 St Ann's Road, Rotherham pdf icon PDF 421 KB

-           Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Beck, Cabinet Member for Business Growth and Regeneration, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services, which sought approval for the disposal of the above-mentioned asset which had been declared surplus to the requirements of the Department of Audit and Asset Management.

 

The asset comprised three former terraced residential properties which were converted in the early 1980’s to form an office which had been used since then as the main Rotherham headquarters for Age UK. The Council owned the unencumbered freehold title to two of the properties, namely Nos. 51 and 53 St Ann’s Road and Age UK owned the effective freehold title to the property known as 49 St Ann’s Road.

 

The premises were now surplus to the requirements of Age UK and they have approached the Council to enter a joint marketing agreement to dispose of the premises on the open market.

 

The Director of Planning, Regeneration and Cultural Services had confirmed that the asset was allocated within a residential area. The continued use of the premises for office use would be acceptable and it was also considered that a change of use for conversion back to residential use would also be an acceptable use.

 

The proposal for the future use of the site was to sell the whole asset as shown edged in red on the Open Market subject to agreeing a bi-partite marketing agreement with Age UK. As the Council owned two of the three properties, a capital split of 2:1 in the Council’s favour had been negotiated. If this recommendation was approved then the asset would be marketed for sale on the open market. This option would produce a receipt for the Capital Receipts Programme. This option represented the best value for money arising from a disposal and was the recommended option to be pursued.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the Director of Audit and Asset Management be approved to negotiate a bi-partite agreement with Age UK in order to dispose of the asset on the basis recommended in Section 7 in the report.

 

(2)  That the Director of Audit and Asset Management negotiates the terms of the disposal of the assets as described in the report.

 

(3)  That the Director of Legal and Democratic Services completes the necessary documentation.