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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors D Maycock and J Wadrup. Councillor S Goodall attended the meeting as substitute for Councillor D Maycock.
As the Chair had sent his apologies for this meeting and as there was no Vice-Chair appointed at the opening of the meeting, a motion without notice was moved to elect a chair for this meeting.
RESOLVED that Councillor S Smith was elected to chair this meeting.
(Moved by Councillor S Goodall and seconded by Councillor R Rogers)
Appointment of Vice-Chair
RESOLVED that Councillor S Smith be elected as Vice-Chair of the Committee.
(Moved by Councillor S Goodall and seconded by Councillor J Jones)
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 29 November 2022 were approved as a correct record.
(Moved by Councillor R Claymore and seconded by Councillor C Cooke)
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of Members’ interests (personal and/or personal and prejudicial) in any matters which are to be considered at this meeting.
When Members are declaring a personal interest or personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they have dispensation, they should specify the nature of such interest. Members should leave the room if they have a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they do not have a dispensation.
There were no declarations of interest.
Update from the Chair
There was no update form the chair of the meeting.
Responses to Reports of the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee
(Update on responses to the Reports of the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee)
There had been no recommendations made to Cabinet since the previous meeting of the Committee.
Consideration of matters referred to the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee from Cabinet or Council
There had been no new items referred.
(To receive the Digest from Staffordshire County Council’s Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and an update from County Councillor T Jay)
The chair highlighted that the Staffordshire County Council Digest for its meeting on 28 November 2022 included reference to an item from the Developing Healthier Communities Workshop which had been held in June 2022 and the report considered by County highlighted the importance of embedding health in all policies in Districts and Boroughs.
(Report of the Assistant Director, Assets)
The Report of the Assistant Director, Assets set out the proposals and recommendations for the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) and Disabled Facilities Adaptations (DFA) from 1st April 2023 when the current arrangements with Millbrook under the SILIS partnership arrangement would come to an end, and would be replaced by delivering the service in-house. It was reported that work had progressed on the set up of the service.
The Assistant Director reported that the initial application for a DFG would be made by individuals to the County Council who would make an assessment of need (which was an activity which the County was best placed to undertake in conjunction with considering any necessary care package). If a DFG need were identified by the County, this would be referred to this council and this service would then carry on the process and develop and deliver the adaption required and undertake any necessary means testing.
The Assistant Director reported that the key risks for delivery of this service inhouse were staffing of the service and the amount of grant received from Government. It was expected that there would be a steady launch from 1 April 2023. In the first instance local constituents should be directed to the County Council, which was unchanged from the current process.
The Committee sought and received the following clarifications:
1. The number of adaptions which we processed each year, where it was reported that we processed around 200 per year, although it depended upon the size of the grant awarded.
2. Whether the number of jobs had changed over the years, where it was reported that the number of jobs had increased over the years, however, it was fairly steady. The main adaptions were handrails, ramps, stairlifts and accessible showers.
3. What proportion of applicants made a contribution to the adaption, where the Assistant Director reported that the requirement to contribute was set out in the legislation. However in terms of the proportion contributing this was information which the Assistant Director could circulate following the meeting. It was reported that there was no means testing undertaken where the adaption was required for a child.
4. Whether any hardware installed (eg a stairlift) using DFG could be recycled or reused if no longer required, and where this was possible, this would be looked at. Where any adaption was undertaken in a council owned properties, where possible this would be explored when looking at appropriate housing for new tenants.
RESOLVED that the Report be noted.
(Moved by Councillor M Greatorex and seconded by Councillor R Claymore)
The Committee thanked the Assistant Director Assets for his report.
(Report of the Assistant Director, Neighbourhoods)
It was reported that from the Homelessness and rough sleepy strategy data and analysis the key points were:
· The council used a low number of temporary accommodation compared to England as a whole, reflecting the strategy of early intervention and utilisation of the council’s own housing stock.
· That there were low numbers of repeated homelessness cases, reflecting the impact of the council’s relief arrangements.
· Visits form the Homeless Advisory Support Teams (HAST) noted strengths within the homelessness service around low temporary accommodation numbers
· Low numbers of repeated rough sleepers, demonstrating collaborative work with partners.
· Increasing acceptance rates in line with national rates demonstrating that the council were managing the homelessness crisis adequately.
The Assistant Director reported that the success of the Winter relief programme had been recognised and the plan was to extend the current offer; proposing a Homeless hub offering a year round service which would continue to provide outreach in the community and would further reinforce the current partnership and surgery arrangements. As such the homeless hub would feed into the Housing and Homelessness strategic priorities and lead to a commissioned partner led service with the principles as set out in the report. The Committee was invited to provide any comments. This item was set to be considered by Cabinet on 23 February 2023.
The Committee noted that the strategy started from 2020 and sought data from the pre-2020 period to understand the progress made by the service before and after the start of this strategy. The Assistant Director reported that the Cabinet report would provide analysis of the figures from the start of the strategy, however the focus remained on the housing first principles and how to move that on, given that the homelessness figures even before the strategy were positive.
RESOLVED that the Committee supported the report.
(Moved by Councillor C Cooke and seconded by Councillor M Greatorex)
The Committee thanked the Officers who then left the meeting.
Please see the link to the Forward Plan:
The Committee noted that there was an item on the Recovery and Reset exit strategy, and given that the Levelling Up Funding bid had not been successful further information was requested as to what this could mean for the customer service offer.
Working Group Updates
There were no working group updates provided.
To the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee Work Plan
The Committee considered the work plan and discussed the following additional items:
1. Condition of council housing stock from a health & wellbeing perspective
2. Breast screening mobile unit update
3. Mental health / wellbeing support provision for council staff and councillors