Agenda and minutes

Improving Places Select Commission - Tuesday 9 June 2020 1.30 p.m.

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Katherine Harclerode, Governance Advisor  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 5 March 2020 pdf icon PDF 121 KB


To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 5 March 2020 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


The minutes of the meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission on 5 March 2020, were approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Declarations of Interest


To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


As a matter of clarification, Councillor David Sheppard declared a personal interest as someone who lives in one of the newly established selective licensing areas.


Questions from members of the public and the press


To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


There were no questions submitted from members of the public or press.


Exclusion of the Press and Public


To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


There were no items of business for which it was necessary to exclude members of the press or public.




To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.


No communications were presented.


Housing Strategy 2019 - 2022 Progress Update pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider an update in respect of the Housing Strategy 2019 – 2022.


Consideration was given to a report detailing progress against the housing targets and measures for housing strategy and growth. Attention was also given to a presentation on the three-year Housing strategy for years 2019-2021, including creating new homes, strengthening existing homes, improving health and well-being via improving housing, and working collaboratively in partnerships. The presentation noted the challenges in recent months to be able to work with tenants and residents face to face. Details were provided as to how Housing services were responding to an increasing demand for housing solutions that accommodate individuals with specific disabilities or unique needs. Further, an update was provided around several services that were suspended because of COVID-19 that were now being stood back up. The presentation highlighted areas of the Borough where schemes have successfully opened new homes and properties. Aims for recovery following COVID-19 were also addressed, specifically in terms of returning services to full operation, taking into account lessons learned about efficient ways of working under new restrictions. It was noted that almost all rough-sleepers in the Borough were now off the streets, even though homelessness has risen and was expected to rise following the pandemic.


In discussion, Members asked for further information about any plans for modernisation or redesign of council houses. The response emphasised the need to assess the costs, including opportunity cost, associated with remodelling, but affirmed that the homes were kept up to the required standards.


Members also sought clarification as to how many of the homes were occupied and the origin of the target numbers. The response affirmed that every five years an analysis of the housing market was carried out, from which the figures were derived that indicate these anticipated changes in demand for various types of housing. Further, it was noted that the occupation of properties was not tracked, but it was likely that the newly constructed buildings were being sold upon completion. It was also noted that just over 300 sites in the Borough were being considered for developments. Each Ward Member was to receive an information pack about these sites in question. These packs are designed to help capture local knowledge and insight that may be available. It was further noted that within the next two to three weeks, Members were to be emailed these lists of potential future sites and invited to provide feedback.


Further detail was requested as to how the service will respond to increasing demand for social housing following the current and anticipated economic downturn, specifically in terms of strategic acquisitions as a way to replenish housing stocks. In response, officers described a current initiative to buy bungalows by working directly with builders and with organisations such as Red Mile.


Members expressed concern that plans were in place to protect residents at risk of homelessness once the end of the rent embargo arrived. In response, officers explained that this year, the number of such needs had risen from 35 to 89. Hotel accommodation has also been utilised this year,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.


Initial Work Programme 2020-21 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 122 KB


To consider a briefing paper in respect of the Commission’s work programme for the 2020-21 municipal year.


Consideration was given to a report providing a draft of the Improving Places Select Commission Initial Work Programme for the 2020-21 municipal year. The purpose of the report was to invite Members to contribute ideas and suggestions to be incorporated into a final draft of the Work Programme. The report provided a summary of the remit and goals for scrutiny and the various means available to perform scrutiny work in the upcoming year. The report also included guidance for selection and prioritisation of work items to be included the Work Programme.


In discussion, Members raised a few points for further consideration as part of compiling the final draft of the Work Programme.


Members wished to consider how the work programme could be made broader in its effect, so that the work benefits as many people in the Borough as possible.


Members voiced the suggestion that the Major Incident Plan be prioritised in the Work Programme with the threat of future floods in mind.


Members suggested it could be useful to have a COVID-19 impact assessment, to help identify what work could be undertaken and to inform us about the consequences of our efforts for residents while the pandemic is going on. It was noted that Culture, sport and tourism currently appears late on our program and we might somehow bring something forward that will help us to transform our green spaces to design for accessibility during the COVID restrictions.


Members voiced concerns that the Town Centre Master Plan may also need to be considered with a broader remit, such that business continuity in the Town Centre itself might be effectively supported. Members also expressed concern for small shops throughout the Borough not just in the Town Centre.


Members underscored the importance of careful prioritisation of Work Programme items in view of the fact that the magnitude of devastating effects was as yet unable to be foreseen, and that it was of course inadvisable to attempt to achieve everything on the Work Programme within the next three months.


Members also referenced valuable resources in association with Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire scrutiny for informing the response to the emerging needs of businesses, an estimated 40% of which could be struggling after COVID-19. It was noted that not only the larger businesses merited support, rather, grants were to be distributed across all of South Yorkshire.




1. That the Improving Places Select Commission give consideration to an outline work programme using the draft set out in Appendix 1 as a basis for the discussion.


2. That the Chair and Governance Advisor meet with the relevant Cabinet members and link officer for IPSC to receive feedback on these proposed areas of work.


3. A final report proposing the formal work programme for 2020-21 will be submitted to the meeting in July of 2020 in order for Members to agree a clear set of priorities for this municipal year.



Urgent Business


To consider any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


There were no items of urgent business.


Date and time of the next meeting


The next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on Tuesday 14 July 2020 at 1.30pm.


The Chair announced that the next virtual meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will be held on 14 July 2020 at 1.30 pm.