To receive questions from members of the public who may wish to ask a general question of the Mayor, Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.
(1) Miss V.M. asked why had the Stayput Handyman Service which provided vital support to elderly and vulnerable residents of the Borough been stopped without prior notification to residents?
Councillor Roche referred to the Stayput Handyperson Service which was provided by Yorkshire Housing until 30th September 2021.
A review of the service was carried out in 2020/21 which showed that activity had significantly reduced since the service was commissioned in 2016/17. A customer engagement exercise was undertaken with past and present customers who had been in receipt of the service within the previous 12 months. Postal and telephone surveys were provided to these customers and on-line surveys were also made available on social media - to ensure members of the public were aware of the consultation exercise.
The outcome of the engagement exercise revealed that the service was providing some duplicated activity that Council services were already providing and that a high number of customers confirmed that if the service was no longer free of charge - they would be willing to financially contribute to this type of service in the future.
Recommendations from the review concluded that customers would be signposted to the Adult Social Care Customer Contact teams and Housing Contact Centre with a view to ongoing support or support to self-fund this type of provision in the future by 1st October 2021. The contract was subsequently terminated on 30th September, 2021.
There were services that people could access such as Yorkshire Housing’s Handytec Service, First Contact, Community Occupational Therapy Service, Housing Contact Centre and voluntary and community sector services.
In a supplementary question Miss V.M. pointed out that the demand for the service was high and residents were begging for the service to be reinstated as it provided a valuable support for vulnerable people.
Councillor Roche suggested the member of the public contact him and he would investigate her concerns, but it was unlikely the service would be recommissioned.
(2) Mr. B.C. asked what, following on from the last Council Meeting, were the rules, constraints, guidelines on the sound volume at Council Meetings to accommodate the general public.
The Deputy Leader confirmed there were no specific rules, constraints, and guidelines on sound levels at Council meetings. The Council always tried to ensure that its meetings were accessible to all members of the community.
The impacts of the pandemic and the efforts the Council had gone to in ensuring that meetings were safe for the public, Councillors, and officers have sometimes meant that the ability to make adjustments had been constrained. This had especially been the case as the Government had chosen not to put in place the legislation necessary to enable remote meetings to continue as they did during the first part of the pandemic.
The Council would continue to listen to any feedback that it received that would enable it to improve the accessibility of meetings.
In his supplementary question Mr. B.C. referred to disturbances and distractions at the last Council Meeting which made listening to discussion and debate difficult when members of the public were sat at the back of the room.
Councillor Allen accepted what the member of the public reported and future mitigation would be of benefit to the public.
(3)E. was not present so would receive an answer to her question in writing.