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Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Debbie Pons  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

23.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest made at the meeting.

24.

Questions from members of the public and the press

Minutes:

There were no members of the public or press present at the meeting.

25.

Communications

Minutes:

(1)  The Chair reported that there would be a visit to the proposed Rother Valley caravan park at 11.00 a.m. on 7th November, 2018.  Please contact Christine Bradley if interested in attending.

 

(2)  Councillor Sheppard reported that a number of information hoardings had now been erected in the vicinity of the former Magistrates Court building giving details of the proposed Forge Island development.

 

(3)  Councillor Vjestica reported himself and Councillors Reeder and Sheppard had met with Polly Hamilton and Elenore Fisher to further discuss/provide input/share views on the development of the Cultural Strategy.  A further meeting was to be held which would be reported to the Select Commission in due course.

26.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 20th September, 2018 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20th September, 2018.

 

Arising from Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods), it was noted that there was a clerical correction which should read “ ….. prominent in the south there were very few in north” not south as stated.

 

Arising from Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods), it was noted that there was a clerical correction which should read “…. reasons for the money not being spent in Wards could” and not should.

 

Arising from Minute No. 17 (visit to the Crematorium) Councillor Atkin reported that he had attended the visit and seen the changes that had been made to improve the facilities.  Another visit was planned for 19th November at 5.30 p.m. and would urge any Members who had been unable to attend.

 

Arising from Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods – training on the Strategy), it was reported that training had been provided to Members in relation to the Neighbourhood Working Strategy.  The first meeting had taken place between the Member Development Panel and Members of the Neighbourhood Working Group to identify the training needs as the initiative moved forward.

 

Councillor Jones expressed concern with regard to the training that had taken place.  It has been titled “understanding your community” whereas the event itself had focussed on the Equalities Act which, whilst important, had not coincided with his understanding of what it was supposed to be.

 

Councillor Jones’ comments would be fed back to the respective officer(s).

 

Arising from Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods recommendation (3), an update was requested as to whether the required training had been arranged.

 

Resolved:- (1)  That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission held on 20th July, September, subject to the above clerical corrections, be approved as a correct record.

 

(2)  That the required training for Members and officers in relation to the working of Thriving Neighbourhoods be convened as a matter of urgency together with an invitation to the Police to attend.

 

(3)  That a written answer be provided to Mrs. Birch, Co-opted Member, with regard to the disused land and the land ownership map.

27.

Home to School Transport Policy Implementation Update pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tom Smith, Assistant Director, Community Safety and Street Scene, presented an update on the implementation of the new Home to School Transport Policy together with Martin Raper, Head of Service, Street Scene, and Fiona Featherstone, 14-19 SEN Adviser.

 

The revised Home to School Transport Policy was approved by the Cabinet and Commissioners’ Decision Making Meeting on the 16th April 2018 (Minute No. 134 refers). The changes included:

 

·           Publication of the Home to School Transport Policy 2018-19;

·           Introduction of the Home to School Transport Assessment Matrix;

·           The introduction of a formal annual review of transport provision which included engagement with families;

 

·           That an assessment of existing Service users be conducted to review their circumstances to enable participation on a voluntary basis ahead of the introduction of the formal annual review;

 

·           The introduction of a personal travel budget scheme to provide transport support to families of children with special educational needs and disabilities;

 

·           That post-16 transport travel arrangements be revised to replace direct transport as a first option with personal travel budgets for those students with special educational needs and disabilities;

 

·           The consideration of alternative methods of support for particular groups or individuals such as walking bus, cycle or moped schemes when appropriate;

 

·           The introduction of independent travel training as a central resource in Rotherham to support arrangements currently delivered by Special Schools for children from the age of 14+ to enable independence. That travel training be commenced from June 2018 for appropriate young people;

 

·           The personal travel budgets for all students making new applications for post-16 travel be instigated from 1st July 2018, and existing users of the post-16 service permitted to apply on a voluntary basis from 1st May;

 

·           That a transition period to validate the Transport Assessment Matrix would begin from 1st May 2018, with the full implementation of the Policy for all new applicants with effect from 1st July 2018;

 

·           That children and young people in need of home to school transport, and including transport operators, be engaged as part of the transition and implementation process;

 

·           Any decisions to amend the Transport Assessment Matrix, resulting from the transition period, to be delegated to the Assistant Director, Community Safety and Street Scene.

 

Following approval of the new Home to School Transport policy, the Transport Team had commenced completing the transport matrix for each new transport applicant.  This had been further developed following work with Children and Young Peoples Service’s (CYPS) Education Health Care Team. Following approval of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) the Team would provide a completed Matrix to support the initial transport request.  Further work was programmed with special schools to enable completion in the future for those who were already being provided with transport.

 

The annual transport review process was to be undertaken at the same time as EHCP reviews and would assess the suitability of existing transport, and the ability to partake in Independent Travel Training. It was not normal practice for a CYPS or Transport Service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Homelessness Strategy 2019-2022 pdf icon PDF 509 KB

Minutes:

Sandra Tolley (Head of Housing Options), Jill Jones (Homelessness Manager) and Sandra Wardle (Housing Advice and Assessment Manager) gave the following powerpoint presentation:-

 

The Homelessness Reduction Act

Moves local authority approach to homelessness from less crisis intervention to more prevention ensuring more people were entitled to help.

 

Background

-          Housing Act 1996 Part 7 remains the primary legislation

-          Prior to April 2018 the principal duty was to secure accommodation for applicants who were eligible, homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days and who had a ‘priority need’ for housing and were homeless unintentionally

-          Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 amended the 1996 Act, introducing new statutory duties to act to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible applicants who were homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days

 

Before 3rd April, 2018

-          Single people with no clear priority need were entitled to ‘advice and assistance’ but their needs were often not assessed

-          Prevention activity was ‘good practice’ but not compulsory – crisis response at the point of homelessness was commonplace

-          The process involved an application, officers undertaking inquiries, assessing an applicant against the statutory tests and making a decision without needing to involve the applicant in finding possible solutions

 

Now

-          All eligible applicants have a full assessment of their housing and support needs

-          Local connection, intentionality and priority need were not a barrier to accessing support

-          Applicants and authorities work together to prevent or relieve homelessness

 

The Homelessness Reduction Act

The Act placed a number of new duties on local housing authorities

-          Expanded advice and information duty – available to all residents regardless of eligibility.  Advice must be designed to meet the needs of particular groups; care leavers, former members of the armed forces, people leaving custody, victims of domestic abuse, people leaving hospital and people with mental health issues

-          Prevention duty – owed to all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days irrespective of ‘local connection’, ‘priority need’ or ‘intentional homelessness’.  Includes tenants served with a valid Section 21 notice (no fault eviction) which expired within 56 days

-          Relief duty – owed to people who were actually homeless and lasted for 56 days irrespective of ‘priority need’ or ‘intentional homelessness’.  The local authority may refer to another authority if the applicant had no local connection to their authority

 

Duty to Refer (from October, 2018)

This duty applied to:

-          Prisons and youth offender institutions

-          Secure training centres and secure colleges

-          Youth offending teams

-          Probation Services (including community rehabilitation companies)

-          Jobcentre Plus

-          Social Service authorities

-          Emergency departments and urgent treatment centres

-          Hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care

-          Secretary of State for defence in relation to members of the armed forces

 

Preparation for the Act

-          Structure changes

-          Allocation Policy Review

-          Personal Housing Plans developed

-          Upgraded ICT Systems

-          New Homelessness Contact Card

-          Extensive training

-          Implemented the Homelessness Code of Guidance

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Amendments to the Housing Allocation Policy - January 2019 pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Minutes:

Sandra Tolley (Head of Housing Options), Jill Jones (Homelessness Manager) and Sandra Wardle (Housing Advice and Assessment Manager) gave the following powerpoint presentation:-

 

Overview of the Housing Register

-          Band 1                            246

-          Band 2                            1,668

-          Band 3                            1,783 

-          Band 4                            1,755

-          Transfers                                    1,336

-          Total                                6,788

 

Overview of the Housing Register

Band 2 Reason

Number of applications

 

Statutory Homeless (pre April Legislation)

19

Medical priority (reviewed 980)

1,280

Statutory overcrowded

19

Not ready for independent living held in suspension

 

147

Leaning supported housing ready to live independently

 

67

Requiring extra care housing

5

Offender not a high risk to the community

 

4

Applicants living in private rented who cannot afford the rent but are employed

 

24

Victim of domestic violence

96

Looked after child ready to live independently

7

Total

1,668

 

Recommendation 1

The current banding related to homelessness households be enhanced to award a higher banding following a full homeless assessment

Rationale

-          Legislative changes which aim to prevent homelessness earlier

-          The Allocation Policy must adhere to a legal framework outlined in Part VI and Part VII of the 1996 Housing Act

-          Meeting demand

 

The Demand

 

 

 

Homelessness Category

 

 

Total number of applications in each Band

 

 

Number of homelessness applications

% of homelessness applications as a % of the total in that Band

Band 1

Homeless households who are both homeless and also have a medical need

 

 

 

246

 

 

 

61

 

 

 

24.80%

Band 2

Unintentionally homeless households who are in priority need

 

 

1,688

 

 

19

 

 

1.14%

Band 3

Unintentionally homeless but not in priority need

 

 

1,783

 

 

280

 

 

15.70%

Band 4

Threatened with homelessness awaiting assessment

 

 

1,755

 

 

217

 

 

12.36%

Total

5,452

577

10.58%

 

Proposed Policy

-          Applicants in priority need who actually become homeless and a relief duty is owed or when a full housing duty is owned are placed into Band 1

-          Applicants in priority need who are faced with homelessness and a prevention duty is owed are placed into Band 2

-          Non-priority homeless applicants, who are owned a prevention or relief duty, be placed into Band 3

-          Applicants awaiting a homelessness assessment are placed into Band 3

 

Recommendation 2

Review the downsizing policy to award Band 2 status to Council or Housing Association tenants who are under occupying their home to move to a property with at least 1 less bedroom, a flat or a bungalow (a medical assessment will be required for bungalows)

Rationale

-          Current Policy confusing

-          Impacts on waiting time for applicants who have been assessed for a bungalow

 

Current Policy

-          Tenants under occupying a 4 bedroom house can move to a 2 bedroom house

-          Tenants who are affected by the Bedroom Tax can move to any type of property with 1 less bedroom

-          Tenants who are not affected financially can only move to a flat or a bungalow

 

New Proposed Policy

Review the downsizing policy to award Band 2 status to Council or Housing Association tenants who are under occupying their home to move to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Date and time of the next meeting

Minutes:

Resolved:-  That a further meeting be held on Thursday, 20th December, 2018, commencing at 1.30 p.m.