Venue: Council Chamber - Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S60 2TH. View directions
Contact: Katherine Harclerode, Governance Advisor The webcast can be viewed online: http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv
To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26 July 2022 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.
1. That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26 July 2022 be 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.
Cllr Bennett-Sylvester declared a personal interest as a tenant of the Council.
Cllr McNeely declared a personal interest as a tenant of the Council.
Cllr Wyatt declared a personal interest as a tenant of a Council garage.
Cllr Ellis declared a personal interest as a Parish Councillor.
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.
The Chair advised that there were no members of the public or representatives of media organisations present at the meeting and there were no questions in respect of matters on the agenda.
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.
The Chair advised that there were no items of business on the agenda that would require the exclusion of the press or public from the meeting.
To consider an annual report in respect of the delivery of the Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy and the Neighbourhood Working model.
Consideration was given to an annual report in respect of progress on the delivery of the Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy and the neighbourhood working model. The Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy aims to put communities at the heart of the Council’s work and to make people healthier, happier, safer and proud by:
· Working with communities on the things that matter to them
· Listening and working together to make a difference
· Supporting people from different backgrounds to get on well together
The period covered by the report was clarified, as this is the fifth annual report on the Strategy to be considered for scrutiny. The timleines were also clarified in terms of the member development programme, which began with the last all-member election. Headlines from the report were highlighted. It was emphasised that the pritorities highlighted by Members within their wards have been considered in policy development, strategy development and funding allocation. Neighbourhood working allows Members to deliver priorities using ward budgets. The presentation provided a summary of use of e-bulletins as well as community meetings that have taken place face to face. More focused work in wards with local people with protected characteristics was identified as an area for development. It was noted that quarterly data will be received at CAPS from October.
Risks and Challenges were also summarised in the presentation. The Cabinet Member noted the potential for scrutiny to help minimise risks. Members were invited to consider various work programme items in terms of their relationship to neighbourhoods and ward priorities. The service also was seeking the potential expansion of participation by parish councillors, and Members were encouraged to feed in needs for Member Development.
In discussion, members raised questions in regard to the presentation of data from relevant partners whose work is of interest to the CAP meetings, such as the police. Police representation had not always been knowledgeable and could not always answer questions. Therefore, it was posited that councillors be given the opportunity to become custodians of data so that attendance could be improved. Officers agreed that the strategy could go further, and it was desired that, in partnership with Members, the quarterly information would be distributed to CAPs. System issues with police data being organised by the updated ward boundaries remains a challenge that had been excalated for action and resolution. The request had been made for representation to be at the meetings to interpret the data in the reports. Escalations from CAPS that go on to a tasking procedure will have progress fed back in a sensitive way that preserves confidentiality where data protection is required.
Members requested clarification around the availability of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money as it related to parish councils. It was clarified that the money not allocated to parish councils comes into ward budgets. It was noted that no CIL money devolved to wards in this way had been spent by wards. The current balances since the devolution in April were offered following the meeting. Members had been advised about these ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
To consider a draft in respect of the Housing Tenant Engagement Framework.
Consideration was given to a Draft Tenant Engagement Framework. The Cabinet Member noted that the development of the Tenant Engagement Framework is a refresh of the previous framework to reflect recent housing legislation, Council priorities, learning from residents, as well as a desire to involve Members in the development of the refreshed framework at an early stage. The service were seeking to create a thoroughly practicable, usable framework as the finished result. During the presentation, key achievements of the Tenant Engagement Team were summarised, with acknowledgement of the contributions of Members in accomplishing the engagement agenda. Diverse approaches to meetings were described with a view to greater inclusion. Links into new local strategies were also described as they would come to bear on the draft framework.Five new proposed outcomes of the tenant engagement framework were also listed, along with an action plan for delivery of key outcomes.
In discussion, the Chair noted the value of the work of the tenant engagement panels and thanked the panels for providing their insights.
Clarification was requested around the proliferation of neighbourhood centres and whether these could be circulated to Members by Ward. It was noted that RotherFed would pass along the details in respect of specific wards. RotherFed were thanked for coming along to support when asked.
Members noted that consultations could be better publicised and circulated to Members. The response from officers noted the tenant meetings and estate walkabouts are not the only priorities, as it had been found that residents often do not desire a formalised role or contribution. The feedback from residents within wards suggested that residents want more flexibility to participate in the ways that suit them bet. The service noted that conversation with residents when there is a proposal ensures that the resident voice is heard. It was clarified that multiple Tenant and Resident Associations (TARAs) and Community Groups are supported within each ward. Nevertheless, the point was taken that the range of participation was wide.
Members raised concerns that residents could sometimes wait 10 months for an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment appointment. The response from the service noted that recruitment and national shortage of skills had been a seriously limiting factor. The service had therefore sought to diversify the jobs that could be performed by an apprentice or by workers with special training, for handrails for example. It was noted that small jobs do not need an OT. The Cabinet Member concurred that a robust plan to improve the wait times for appointments was in place, and that these had begun to reduce.
Members welcomed the opportunity presented by the framework to be creative in targeting under-participating areas and residents who may be harder to reach. Regarding the Ward Housing Hubs, the flexibility has resulted in a responsive model. The call-back time had been observed to have been greatly reduced, which was seen as a significant improvement. The framework diversified the ways to get feedback from people which added value.
1. That the draft framework ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
To receive an update report and action plan in respect of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2022.
Consideration was given to an update presentation in respect of progress against the Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy 2019-2022. The presentation illustrated the local picture in terms of prevention and crisis intervention. The demand had remained high; people are presenting in crisis when they have lost their accommodation. This created pressure on temporary accommodations. Although numbers have reduced, caseloads have increased. A breakdown of open homelessness cases was presented. The team had implemented a growing emphasis on prevention, proactively working to encourage people to access other options such as going on the housing registry. A breakdown of themes was also provided. Links with other strategies such as the domestic abuse strategy were also noted in the description of the service’s focus on prevention. It was noted that stays in hotels for families was a last resort for temporary housing accommodation. An update on the move-on pathway was also provided. The presentation also included a description of challenges and projected future demands. It was noted that the housing review responded to recommendations issued by past scrutiny, leading to several temporary contracts having been made permanent. The aim of the service to refresh the strategy and the live consultation survey were noted. Further key aims of the strategy and related actions were illustrated. These aims were:
· Aim 1 - Support people with Complex Needs
· Aim 2 – To prevent homelessness and offer rapid housing solution to get people in urgent need rehoused quicker.
· Aim 3 – To increase support for young people to prevent homelessness
· Aim 4 – End Rough sleeping and begging
· Aim 5 – To improve access to tenancy support, employment, and health support services.
· Aim 6 – A range of options of decent emergency accommodation.
In discussion, Members requested additional information around how people access private housing properties, noting the seriously complex cases. It was clarified that, when it comes to evictions due to private landlords wanting to sell the property, if possible and appropriate, the council does attempt to acquire the property.
Members expressed interest in knowing more about how the service assists families with children of school age who need clean clothing on a regular basis. The response from officers noted that, in temporary accommodation, the service tried to keep laundry processing to a minimum, but in moved-on accommodation, people have their own washing facilities.
Members lauded the service as gold standard, and the work with Shiloh was praised. Clarification was requested around action taken to encourage more options for those who are seeking a private route to tenancy. A detailed answer emphasised signposting to the available services and provision rather than giving funds, and it was noted that lessons learned would be considered in the strategy refresh. It was noted that, when the service receives calls, the response is prompt. The street kitchen workers were also effective in the outreach efforts and worked closely with the rough sleeper team. Prevention funds were available to help ensure there were no blocks to helping people access help.
Members ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To consider and approve an updated outline schedule of scrutiny work.
1. That the report and proposed schedule of work be noted.
2. That authority be delegated to the Governance Advisor in consultation with the Chair and Vice-chair to make changes to the schedule of work as appropriate between meetings, reporting any changes back to the next meeting for endorsement.
To consider any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.
The Chair advised that there were no urgent items of business requiring the Commission’s consideration.
Date and time of the next meeting
The next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on 25 October 2022, commencing at 1.30 pm in Rotherham Town Hall.
1. That the next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on 25 October 2022, commencing at 1.30 at Rotherham Town Hall.