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 20 September 2022 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.
1. That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 September 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.
As a license holder, Cllr Tinsley declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 7.
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 confirmed that there were no members of the public or representatives of media organisations present at the meeting, and that no questions in respect of matters on the agenda had been submitted.
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 was no reason to exclude members of the press or public from observing any item of business on the agenda.
To receive an update on works to reduce flood risk and the Council’s Six Priority Flood Alleviation Schemes.
Consideration was given to an update presentation in respect of reducing flood risk and the Council’s six priority Flood Alleviation Schemes (FAS). The presentation was delivered by Regeneration and Environment officers including the Assistant Director of Community Safety and Street Scene and the Head of Highways and Flood Risk. The presentation summarised the background of previous updates to IPSC related to flood alleviation and reducing flood risk, outlining continued progress in line with the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) and described works undertaken since the 2019 floods. The priorities of the LFRMS were:
• Community focus and partnership working
• Risk Based Approach
• Multiple benefits
The presentation included a description of the Connected by Water engagement programme, which facilitated discussions about flood risk across the region to promote strength and resiliency regionally. Connected by Water worked with Parish councils and in other communities, to consider what could be provided to local areas to help them jump start with flood reduction during an event before the drainage teams arrive. A success was described involving the deployment of hydro-sacks to the location with an action plan in place. Connected by Water also shared good practice. Local events in Whiston, together with Environmental Agency (EA) colleagues, an event was hosted around flooding. Information is very important to communities. Ongoing and future needs for works across the Borough were described. Upcoming actions for work to reduce the flood risk across the Borough were planned, including continuing work on communications and engagement, and ongoing delivery of Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFA) works. Further plans to update the Council’s website regarding maintenance works of gullies were also outlined. The practice of the team was to go into areas of the Borough to check gullies ahead of heavy rainfall.
In discussion, Members requested details of how to get in touch with the engineer contact for Yorkshire Water. Details were offered by officers with the invitation that Yorkshire Water is happy to have a conversation with Members.
Members were pleased to see ongoing work on community resilience and the development of collaboration with Parish Councils. Members requested assurances around the frequency of gully clearing, noting that some gullies seem to have the same problem year on year and are reported in between, leading residents to believe that these had been missed. The response from officers noted the possibility of people being able to see when gullies are cleared. Of the roughly 45000 gullies, there was a hierarchy for cleaning, with high priority gullies cleaned four times a year. The Service requested Members to flag any gullies of concern. The Service would provide an indication of when the gullies were last cleaned, and when these would be cleaned again. Mechanical sweepers were regularly deployed. Gullies flagged by councillors were prioritised. Members requested a rolling update of when gullies are being cleaned.
Members expressed interest in the potential to slow the rate of watershed by implementing a tactical scheme of tree planting. The response ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
To consider and endorse an updated outline of proposed scrutiny work for 2022/23.
Consideration was given to an updated work programme including a briefing on the terms of reference for the review of selective licensing which had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting. As part of the 2022/23 programme of scrutiny work, Improving Places Select Commission had resolved to review the impact of selective licensing in autumn 2022. In discussions of 10 April, 7 June, 04 August, 1 September, and 10 October 2022, Members had contributed to development of the scope for consideration and endorsement.
The purpose of the review was to examine how the Council currently uses its various powers to improve living standards in areas of deprivation in the Borough, including but not limited to the use of selective licensing. The review would examine current and recent interdisciplinary work, 2020-2022, to reduce deprivation in selective licensing areas, and the potential to promote greater engagement, awareness and compliance among landlords.
Although the ultimate aim of the review was to maximise the effectiveness of combined efforts to raise residents’ feelings of satisfaction and perceptions of safety in their neighbourhoods, this review was focussed primarily on the behaviour and responsibility of landlords rather than tenants. It was noted that a separate piece of scrutiny work by IPSC will consider antisocial behaviour in 2023/24.
It was noted that raising standards of private rented sector housing in selective licensing areas in Rotherham may involve:
· infusing good practice into operations by applying learning from local stakeholders and from other local authorities;
· eliciting buy-in from multidisciplinary partners and the third sector to enhance the offer delivered up by Council services, community organisations, and institutions;
· working across directorates of the Council to ensure a policy-driven approach to raising standards of living in areas of greatest deprivation;
· getting a baseline from residents by finding out what they would most like to see improve;
· and promoting engagement, education, and compliance of landlords to empower them to self-assess and equip them to work proactively and advantageously with Council services such as the homelessness team.
Members felt that a review of selective licensing would add value because in achieving progress in selective licensing areas cascading positive effects could be felt across the private rented sector and throughout the Borough in the medium term.
Several areas of relevant background knowledge for the review of Selective Licensing were identified. Prior to considering evidence, Members would have a working knowledge of
· background of selective licensing locally;
· evolution of the private rented sector in Rotherham’s housing market;
· proposed social reforms described in the Government White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector, 2022;
· recent proceedings of the National Landlord’s Association, which Rotherham MBC has attended and presented.
· The seven indices of deprivation measured by the Government, which include health but conspicuously do not include housing as a primary element.
The proposed method of the review was to examine evidence in respect of several areas related to Selective Licensing:
· The role of private sector housing in national and in local contexts.
· The Council’s powers to raise standards ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
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 consideration at the meeting.
Date and time of the next meeting
The next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on 13 October, commencing at 1.30 in Rotherham Town Hall.
1. That the next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will be held on 13 December 2022, commencing at 1.30 pm in Rotherham Town Hall.