Agenda and minutes

Improving Places Select Commission - Tuesday 24 October 2023 1.30 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S60 2TH. View directions

Contact: Katherine Harclerode  The webcast can be viewed online:

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 457 KB


To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September 2023 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Pursuant to Minute No. 24, the Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion shared an update on events that had taken place over the weekend prior to the meeting. The Cabinet Member expressed profound sympathies for the families in Catcliffe and in other areas of the Borough affected by flooding during the weekend. The Cabinet Member outlined the impact of the floods and the unprecedented levels of the River Rother which had been recorded. The Cabinet Member described the support provided by Council teams throughout the weekend which was ongoing. Reports were also being assembled to capture learning from the events. These reports would be public in the weeks and months ahead.Regarding community working, the Cabinet Member had met with parish councillors just prior to the meeting to ascertain how their response had worked alongside the overarching Place response of the Council and other partners. This discussion provided support to the Parish Councils and gathered insights and learning. This relationship would continue to be nurtured and developed through open communication and mutual support, with a full analysis to follow.


Members noted that scrutiny had reviewed flooding alleviation after the 2007 floods, and again in 2019 to consider learning. Members expressed a desire to receive the forthcoming reports for overview. Members also expressed their gratitude to the volunteers and staff.


Members felt that the briefing for Members had been effective, as this equipped Members to pass on useful information, for example, around road closures. Members sought additional information regarding the decision to take the rail network offline from late Friday morning. The response from the Cabinet Member explained that the call was made by Network Rail to take their signalling and electrical components out of the track. This was believed to be the right call, because the tracks did flood and remained flooded there. In 2019, when the tracks flooded, the station also flooded, resulting in Rotherham being without trains for nine days. The precaution of removing the signalling and electrical components meant that when Network Rail were ready to put the equipment back in place after the water had receded, they could do so right away. This reduced the duration of service disruption.


The Chair noted that Kilnhurst Primary School, which had been vulnerable to floods in the past, had external equipment that had been in the deluge. Following half-term holidays, it was hoped that the children would be able to come back to school, as the interior of the school had not flooded.


The Chair noted that the Commission continued to pursue answers to questions submitted to Yorkshire Water.




That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September, 2023, 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 landlord, Cllr Tinsley declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in respect of Agenda Item 7 – Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy.


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 was no reason to exclude members of the press or public from observing any items on the agenda.



Neighbourhoods Annual Report pdf icon PDF 663 KB

To receive an annual report in respect of the delivery of the Neighbourhood Working Model and the Neighbourhoods Strategy.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to a report presented by the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and the Head of Neighbourhoods. It was noted that the model was described as exemplary following a recent peer review by the LGA. Cabinet had refreshed and updated the Strategy last year, including a delivery plan for the new updated strategy, included in the report. The strategy was based upon the priorities and objectives set out within the Council Plan. The delivery plan was summarised, and also included many priorities reflected within the ward plans. Continuous engagement was ongoing to inform the delivery plan and ward priorities.


Areas of focus included providing more opportunities for people with protected characteristics to participate in and engage with the delivery of the Strategy, and increasing the visibility of ward priorities across the Council. A programme of neighbourhood tours for staff had also been introduced, so that staff have a sense of the neighbourhoods they serve. Community safety issues were also being addressed within the Strategy through partnership working with South Yorkshire Police to improve CAPS and tasking groups. Regarding this, proposals informed by Members would be submitted to the Safer Rotherham Partnership. Integrated locality working was a further area for development.


In discussion, the Chair clarified the term Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was a source of funding from new developments that is used to deliver priorities and projects within the wards.


Members requested further information regarding the development of the website. The response from the Head of Neighbourhoods indicated that regular posts from the Service feed into the website, but previously the messages were routed first through the Council’s corporate news feed. This was being resolved so that the Service could post directly onto the ward webpages.


Members sought more information regarding the work to achieve parity between wards. The response from the Cabinet Member and the Head of Neighbourhoods illustrated a key way the Strategy aimed to achieve parity was in the priority area of perceptions of safety. This was being delivered through improvements to functionality of the CAPS, tackling ASB issues, and submitting a series of proposals to the Safer Rotherham Partnership to this effect.


Members sought further clarification of times and targets for the delivery plan with a view to being able to show impact and value added, noting that much of the work is to support and enable work of other services. The response from the Head of Neighbourhoods explained the absence of times and targets from the report is due to cross referencing strategies from other parts of the Council which are linked into the Neighbourhoods Strategy but have their own impact targets and delivery plans. This was not repeated in this report in the interest of avoiding duplication. Ward plans, however, did have their own impact and were included within the delivery plan. Statistics and ward breakdowns alongside case studies, provided evidence to demonstrate impact. Members noted the desire for time scales and targets to be added, especially to track progress with expanding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy pdf icon PDF 627 KB

To consider an update report on the implementation of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to an update report and presentation by the Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, the Assistant Director of Housing, and the Head of Housing options, who were joined by the CEO of local partner organisation, Shiloh. The presentation summarised progress on the implementation of the refreshed Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy, including context information around the increase in homelessness nationally and regionally, due to factors such as cost of living, cost of housing, and support needs. The response to these challenges experienced by the Service in Rotherham was described, and the results of a public engagement exercise at the Rotherham Show were shared, indicating room for greater awareness among Rotherham residents of the issues around homelessness and the support available.


The refreshed strategy had placed additional Service emphasis on prevention and early intervention. Trauma involved in having to move can actually be avoided with the right support in place. It was noted that some rents were rising, which put pressure on individuals, and there are fewer moving on options for people. All local authorities were seeking to employ homelessness officers, and the Service was now fully staffed. A training programme was being delivered to develop staff, and current case loads were described, including new cases and closed cases. The highest reasons for presentation were family and friends not being able to accommodate, the loss of private rented accommodated, and the sales of the properties.  Families temporarily in hotels were moved into permanent housing or other housing as soon as possible, because it was unlawful to have more than six families in hotels for more than six weeks. The lettings and move on information for households were also provided.


Rough sleeping counts had been reducing steadily since 2018. There were three that had been found in September, who were not engaging with services. The six o’clock walks by officers had been accompanied by councillors. If the offer of support was refused, the Service kept trying, as sometimes it was hard for the person to decide to engage with Services for a range of reasons.


The Chief Executive of Shiloh then summarised the activity and delivery of the Shiloh charity in Rotherham which prioritises services toward those most in need. The Shiloh services were delivered from a neutral venue, primarily set up for rough sleepers to provide a warm welcome, and offer a full change of clothing, laundry, and food. These Monday and Friday drop-in services were delivered specifically for the homeless team for Rotherham Council. This is because rough sleepers struggle to engage with authority. On Wednesdays, a multi-agency drop in was hosted for a two- to three-hour window, providing access to every service within one place, including officers from the Council’s homelessness team, drug and alcohol service, universal credit, citizens advice, Gates surgery and NHS mental health clinician. This helped to stop the entrenchment that made engagement very difficult.


In conclusion, the presentation reaffirmed the six priorities of the Strategy and outlined improvements to the refreshed website for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To consider and endorse an updated outline schedule of scrutiny work.

Additional documents:




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.


Urgent Business


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 12 December 2023, commencing at 1.30pm in Rotherham Town Hall.




That the next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on Tuesday, 12 December 2023, commencing at 1.30pm in Rotherham Town Hall.