(1) Mr. R. Bartle referred to the last Rotherham South meeting where an Asian gentleman from Eastwood said he wanted to leave Eastwood because he was fed up at the level of eastern European prostitution and general state of the area, his house was worthless and he was trapped and asked what did the Leader have to say.
The Leader explained the Borough was facing big challenges. Colleagues from Streetpride, Community Protection, Children and Young People’s Services and Area Assembly staff were working together with Elected Members and the Clifton Partnership to tackle major issues.
In a supplementary question Mr. Bartle referred to the migration issues in Eastwood, the clean-up operations, the additional waste collections, the increased costs and the criminal activity taking place.
The Leader advised that should Mr. Bartle be aware of any criminal activity taking place this should be reported to the Police. Any other issues identified by Mr. Bartle could be provided to the Leader in writing for him to deal with.
In terms of the migration in Rotherham the Leader had met with many people in the Eastwood community. They had come to this country to work and their contributions supported the local economy.
(2) Mr. M. Eyre referred to the Council’s website where it stated that “to meet the national standard of decent homes” a Council house must be free from damp and asked could the Council tell him if the Council housing in East Dene was free from damp.
Councillor Lelliott, Advisory Cabinet Member for Housing and the Local Economy, confirmed theCouncil’s housing stock exceeded 21,000 homes and it was probable that at any one time a small number may have an issue with damp. The housing in East Dene was traditional brick built and suffered from no more damp problems than average. However, the Council was investing £5.9 million on roofing and insulation in East Dene - £3 million spent to date and £2.9 million planned in 2015-16, which would minimise any problems with condensation.
In a supplementary question Mr. Eyre gave two examples of families with children suffering with damp in East Dene, which were causing health issues. He believed these families were being ignored by the Council and found this situation unacceptable that families were having to live in these conditions and wished to know what action could be taken to prevent further neglect.
Councillor Lelliott, Advisory Cabinet Member for Housing and the Local Economy, asked the member of the public to provide details on these families and she would speak to the relevant people involved to investigate.
(3) Mr. D. McMillan asked, whilst acknowledging the pre-eminence of addressing overall governance and CSE issues, what assurances could all parties give that they would work together with any new Chief Executive and senior departmental management to ensure that concomitant Council responsibilities were not adversely affected.
The Leader thanked the member of the public for his question and confirmed that child sexual exploitation was a top priority for the Council.
The Council’s Improvement Plan detailed a range of measures across the Local Authority to address the issues with governance and leadership which would ensure the delivery of best value and continuous improvement across all services.
In a supplementary question Mr. McMillan referred to child sexual exploitation going on for many years and asked, given the 300 further cases identified since the Commissioners had been appointed, at what stage would the executive powers of the Council transfer from the Commissioners back to staff.
The Leader pointed out the decision to transfer executive powers back to Elected Members would lie with the Secretary of State once good progress had been demonstrated.
An assurance was given that every effort was being made to support services where possible given the budget pressures.