Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting via Zoom

Contact: Chris Cadman-Dando
Democratic Services Officer
01903 221364  Email: chris.cadman-dando@adur-worthing.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

JOSC/40/21-22

Declaration of Interests

Members and officers must declare any disclosable pecuniary interests in relation to

any business on the agenda. Declarations should also be made at any stage such

an interest becomes apparent during the meeting.

 

If in doubt contact the Legal or Democratic Services representative for this meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Sally Smith Declared an interest as an employee of the Health Central Surgery

 

Councilor Louise Murphy declared an interest as the advisor to the Executive Member for Customer Services

 

 

JOSC/41/21-22

Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no substitute Members

JOSC/42/21-22

Confirmation of Minutes

To approve the minutes of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of

held on 14 October 2021, copies of which have been previously circulated.

Minutes:

Resolved: that the minutes of the 14 October 2021 be approved as the correct record

 

JOSC/43/21-22

Public Question Time

So as to provide the best opportunity for the Committee to provide the public with the fullest answer, questions from the public should be submitted by 12.00pm Tuesday 23 November 2021

 

Where relevant notice of a question has not been given, the person presiding may either choose to give a response at the meeting or respond by undertaking to provide a written response within three working days.

 

Questions should be submitted to Democratic Services democratic.services@adur-worthing.gov.uk

 

(Note: Public Question Time will operate for a maximum of 30 minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no questions from the public

JOSC/44/21-22

Items Raised Under Urgency Provisions

To consider any items the Chairman of the meeting considers to be urgent

Minutes:

There were no urgent items

JOSC/45/21-22

Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to a call-in of a decision

Minutes:

There were no call-ins

JOSC/46/21-22

Referral of Motion without Notice from Worthing Borough Council pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 7

Minutes:

The Committee had before it a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, a copy of which had been sent to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 7. The report before members set out a Motion (attached as Appendix A) referred from the meeting of Worthing Borough Council on 19 October 2021.

 

The motion had arisen from a public question. The member of the public concerned had provided a statement which was read out by the Chairman. In summary the statement told the committee that the question had arisen due to concerns that appropriate questions had not been asked of a previous Conservative Councillor allowing a person with extremist hard right views to become elected. It was proffered that there should be an outside, independent investigation into the Conservative candidate selection processes,

 

The Chairman made a statement to the Committee in which the committee was informed of the Joint Governance Committee’s decision to form a working group to inform the terms of reference of the proposed Community Cohesion Committee. With that in mind it was proposed that the subject matter of the question be referred to the Working Group for immediate consideration and that reference to ‘Worthing Conservative Members’ be amended to include ‘all Elected Members’ as the proposed new committee is a Joint Committee and to incorporate the legal advice from the Monitoring Officer. Members debated the matter and on a vote the motions were unanimously approved.

 

Resolved:

 

1)     To refer the subject matter of the question to the Working Group for immediate consideration and

 

2)   That reference to ‘Worthing Conservative Members’ be amended to include ‘all Elected Members’ as the proposed new committee is a Joint Committee and to incorporate the legal advice from the Monitoring Officer.

 

JOSC/47/21-22

Interview with Executive Members for Customer Services pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 8

Minutes:

Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, a copy of which had been circulated to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 8. The report before members set out background information on the Portfolios of the Adur and Worthing Executive Members for Customer Services to enable the Committee to consider and question the Executive Members on issues within their portfolios and any other issues which the Executive Members are involved in connected with the work of the Councils and the Adur and Worthing communities.

 

The Executive Members for Customer Services were present to answer questions.

 

A Member asked the following question The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in extraordinary demands being made on Council staff. What impact has the pandemic had on the Customer Services team and how well are they placed for a potentially challenging winter ahead? Members were told that in terms of the volume of work that the team has to deal with, reactive demand for both telephone and face to face advice has dropped since pre-pandemic.  The team was dealing with about 80-85% of pre-covid volumes, and that had freed up its capacity to shift to a more proactive, preventative model (as reported to JSC in July 2021).  In terms of the type of work that the team encountered, the level of need, and the complexity of residents’ circumstances had increased. The team had formal training on recognising vulnerability, and on maintaining personal resilience whilst providing that type of support. It also received management and peer support – there were daily all-team meetings, regular 121 and coaching sessions and “debriefings” after particularly difficult calls.  In line with other teams also had access to mental health first aiders and to the councils’ Employee Assistance Programme. The team was well placed for the winter ahead.  The main risk to its ability to support residents would be if covid or non-covid sickness levels had a significant impact. The team had recently recruited short term temporary staff specifically to mitigate the risk of increased demand in the winter months.

 

A Member asked the following question: The short stay 37 bed accommodation unit for homeless people at 22 Lyndhurst Rd is coming towards the end of the free 5 year lease period. What plans are in place to rehouse the residents in line with the Homelessness Reduction Act?  The Committee was told that The Council’s Housing Services had been in conversation with Turning Tides about the closure of Lyndhurst Road since the beginning of the year. Every resident in Lyndhurst road would have a move on plan which will depend on their current support needs. The move- on options are likely to be a move into independent or semi-independent living or move to another supported housing scheme if they still needed support. Residents who move into independent accommodation will continue to receive low level support.

 

A Member asked the following question: The recent street count  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/47/21-22

JOSC/48/21-22

Progress on the delivery of the Housing Strategy pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Communities, copy attached as item 9

Minutes:

Before the Committee was a report by the Interim Director for Communities, a copy of which had been circulated to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 9. The report before members outlined progress made against the commitments in the Housing Strategy 2020-2023 ‘Enabling communities to thrive in their own home’

 

The Head of Housing was present to answer questions

 

A member asked the following question: Could an update be provided please on the 'Discharge to Assess beds' scheme please and how has this initiative been impacted by the pandemic? Members were told that WSCC held that data, however it could be reported that the move on from the Discharge to Assess Bed scheme had continued with those on the scheme being rehoused in the private sector with the support of the scheme with no one on the Discharge to Assess scheme needing to make a homeless application. ‘The Discharge to Assess’ scheme had faced some challenges with private sector landlord supply, which was an issue across all homelessness services in the South East of England, a steady flow in the scheme had been maintained.  Worthing Borough Council was beginning an In-patient needs trial with WSCC, SPFT, OTs and Psychiatric Clinicians to identify as early as possible those with a housing need to improve discharge planning for this group.

 

A Member asked the following question: Could an update be provided on the development of the accommodation for homeless people at Rowlands Rd and Downview Rd? Members were told that Rowlands Road had recently been handed over from the contractor to enable the fit out programme to begin. Furniture was currently on order and being delivered to be assembled on site. Occupation of the homes was expected in December. The flats at Downview Road were complete with the contractor awaiting final NHBC (insurance) certification before handover could occur. The final inspection was recently undertaken and handover was expected shortly

 

A Member asked the following question: The number of homeless people in temporary accommodation is increasing month on month with increasing numbers presenting multiple needs and action is needed to address the needs of our most vulnerable members of our community and is an area of work that is identified as a need by DLUCH through our Rough Sleeper Initiative work. How much does the Council currently spend on emergency temporary accommodation? The expected net cost of temporary and emergency accommodation for 2021/22  was: Adur - £584,300 (based on accommodation costs of £1,250,480 and rental income of £666,180) Worthing - £1,529,550 (based on accommodation costs of £2,947,240 and rental income of £1,417,580) Overall the service was expected to cost in 2021/22 net of any grants and rental income: Adur - £336,900, Worthing - £1,060,450

 

A Member asked the following question: Re acceptable living conditions and Regulation -.You note that between October 2020 and September 2021, that you have received 323 complaints from tenants about their poor housing conditions in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/48/21-22

JOSC/49/21-22

Towards a sustainable financial position - Budget development update pdf icon PDF 279 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 10

Minutes:

Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 10. The report before Members provided members with a progress report on the delivery of the Authorities financial strategy for 2022/23, along with details of the proposals that would help deliver a balanced budget for the next financial year and beyond

 

The Chief Financial Officer was present to answer questions

 

A Member asked the following question: In relation to the cost associated with temporary and emergency accommodation, how has the closure of the Turning Tides Hostel at 22 Lyndhurst Rd been planned for? The Committee was told that the Council’s Housing Services had been in conversation with Turning Tides about the closure of Lyndhurst Road since the beginning of the year. Every resident in Lyndhurst road would have a move on plan which would depend on their current support needs. The move- on options were likely to be a move into independent or semi-independent living or move to another supported housing scheme if they still needed support. Residents who moved into independent accommodation would continue to receive low level support.

 

A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 6.2 states work is still to be done to identify savings to meet the initial target.  How much is still to be done and what is the risk of a shortfall? Members were told that the budget was balanced for Adur, there was a small issue with Worthing of £54,000. The budgets both still contained allowances for new service investments which could be removed if necessary. Paragraph 6.2 did not refer specifically to identifying additional savings but additional work more generally. This would include: A reassessment of capital financing costs in the light of progress on the capital programme. This was likely to reduce costs based on our current understanding of progress in delivering the projects and, for Worthing, the new approach to calculating the MRP; A reassessment of cost pressures to ensure that we are setting a robust budget; the final assessment of the impact of settlement. Overall it was anticipated that the outcome of this work would be that the Council would be able to set a balanced budget without use of reserves.

 

A Member asked the following question: Adur’s revenue streams are rooted in business rates, parking, commercial, strategic investments & employment. Do we feel we are being innovative enough here or, could we be trading our services with other Councils for example? Last year London Borough of Harrow became one of the first local authorities in the country to sell its own recyclables in an online ‘e-auction.’ The council used an e-bay style system to sell 100 per cent of its dry recyclables to waste management firm Viridor. Could we replicate? Members were told that the Council already sold services to other public sector partners - e.g insurance services,  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/49/21-22

JOSC/50/21-22

Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 11

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Before the Committee was a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, a copy of which had been circulated to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes. The report outlined the progress in implementing the work contained in the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) Work Programme for 2021/22 which was confirmed by the Councils in April 2021. The report recommended that the changes made to the Work Programme since it had been agreed be reported to the next Council meetings in December 2021 for noting.

 

Members discussed the Work Programme and approved its recommendation to the meetings of Council in December

 

Resolved:

 

i)               That JOSC note the progress in delivering the JOSC Work Programme for 2021/22 as set out in the Appendix to the report; 

 

ii)              That the meetings of Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council in December 2021 note the changes made to the JOSC Work Programme since it was agreed by both Councils in April 2021;