Agenda and draft 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/29/21-22

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:

There were no declarations of interest

JOSC/30/21-22

Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no substitute members

JOSC/31/21-22

Confirmation of Minutes

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

held on 16 September 2021, copies of which have been previously circulated.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting of the 16 September 2021 be confirmed as the correct record.

JOSC/32/21-22

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 12 October 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/33/21-22

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/34/21-22

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

Minutes:

There had not been any call-ins

JOSC/35/21-22

Interview with Executive Members for Resources pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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

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 7. The report before Members set out background information on the Portfolios of the Adur and Worthing Executive Members for Resources.

 

The Executive Members for Resources for Adur and Worthing were present to answer questions.

 

A Member asked the following question: As the Executive Member for Resources, what do you view as the most significant challenges, both now and in the coming months? The Worthing Executive Member told the Committee that setting a balanced budget was the primary task along with tackling financial uncertainties. For example falling car park income had come about as a result of changing behaviours. Members were also told that it was difficult to make assumptions and predictions as it was unknown if there would be any further periods of lockdown.

 

A Member asked the following question: Property/ asset management: with food/community hubs and groups like Esteem all openly needing storage or working space, why are the Council selling Adur owned assets eg Old School House, Mill Lane, Cemetery House, instead of putting them in the hands of the community? Members were told that as part of the budget strategy, the Council had agreed to dispose of surplus assets to realise capital receipts which can then be used to support the Capital Programme financing requirements. Wherever possible assets were used to support community groups, however some assets were too expensive to maintain and it was not viable for them to be of continued community use.

 

A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 6.3 in the appendix to item 8 states ‘our financial performance has been helped by some impressive redeployment of staff to priority areas and high quality in house digital work’. Can you quantify this increased financial performance for these interventions and explain how they saved/made money? Members were told that throughout the pandemic staff were redeployed to areas of need. The Government provided grants to pay for the administration of these programmes of work, however as this was effectively administered using existing staff and digital utilities, the grants supported the overall financial position at a difficult time. Responding to a supplementary question the Executive Member told the committee that they were not aware of any data compared to other authorities but they would get back to the Committee.

 

A Member asked the following question: Has the Council conducted an audit of all the grants awarded to groups and organisations during the pandemic? If not, when will they do it? Members were told that the business grants were the subject of an extensive assurance programme required by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which the internal audit team had been leading on. In addition the Councils had been providing regular financial information and reconciliation information to BEIS. This was an ongoing process. In addition  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/35/21-22

JOSC/36/21-22

Delivering 'Platforms for our Places: Going Further' - Progress report January to June 2021 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

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

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 signed copy of these minutes as item 8. The report before Members provided the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) with an overview of progress on the delivery of the commitments set out in ‘Platforms for our Places: Going Further over the period January to June 2021.

 

A Member asked the following question: Re Paragraph 7.14 in the Appendix - What has the uptake of the 'Opening Doors' scheme been and what impact has it had on the waiting list for housing? Members were told that Opening Doors now had 66 properties in its portfolio, 22  Adur and 44 Worthing, in addition 21 units were soon to be delivered in Opening Doors first scheme with a small -scale developer plus an additional 3 in the pipeline with individual private landlords. Opening Doors was helping to transform the Councils’ ability to help families most in need by making  homes available in the private sector for homeless families which would ordinarily be ‘out of reach’  for them as landlords consider those homeless and/or  on benefits too high risk to rent to.  Opening Doors built landlord confidence. Whilst the Opening Doors Scheme did not directly take residents off the social housing waiting list, it reduced the number of households on the list who would have become homeless and still be in temporary accommodation because they had not yet been successful bidding for social housing.

 

A Member asked the following question: Agenda Page 22 - Paragraph 7.13 of the appendix - How many of these 1,400 homes are socially rented? The Pathways to Affordable Homes strategy aimed to deliver a combined total of 1,400 affordable homes by 2025, a minimum of 250 of which woould be directly commissioned by the Council. These would include a range of tenures - affordable/social rented, shared ownership and ownership under the new First Homes Scheme. It was not currently possible to provide a definite figure on how many of these will be let as social rent as the Councils would not be delivering all of those units and a number of sites were yet to be approved at planning. A number of schemes being self-delivered in Adur as part of the target would be social rented homes. These included 15 units in Cecil Norris that have recently been completed and allocated to households on the Adur Council’s housing register, 32 units at  Albion Street and a further c.50 homes at the Ashcroft Sheltered housing site.

 

A Member asked the following question: In terms of Paragraph 6.6 of the appendix report, you note our communities are fragile and exhausted from the pandemic. To what degree have we sought to evaluate this pandemic impact on our different communities and what is the strategic plan to intervene on this data? Members were told that the Councils had been gathering data  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/36/21-22

JOSC/37/21-22

Covid-19 response - Economic recovery, support for the vulnerable and health and wellbeing review pdf icon PDF 204 KB

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

Minutes:

Before the Committee was a report by the Director for the Economy and 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 updated the Committee of the support provided to communities and businesses throughout the pandemic, notably from April 2020 to September 2021. The report also provided an overview of how the local economy in Adur and Worthing was ‘bouncing back’ from the pandemic, and highlighted the ongoing areas of work which were supporting the area’s most vulnerable residents and businesses.

The Head of Place and Economy and the Interim Director for Communities were present to introduce the report to members and answer any questions the Committee had.

 

A Member asked the following question: Re Paragraph 4.15 - The COMF award has enabled the council to provide a variety of work and includes Dual Diagnosis support for those with mental health and substance misuse issues. How is this support being delivered and how are outcomes being measured? Members were told that this was being delivered via a Dual Diagnosis Support Worker who is a qualified alcohol federation practitioner, experienced in working with complex mental health and an Expert by Experience. Outcomes being measured were: number of referrals; number supported into mental health and substance misuse support into accommodation. Those who experienced mental health challenges and substance misuse were often ‘multiply excluded’ from support and accommodation due to the ‘challenging behaviours’ associated with substance misuse and untreated mental health conditions. Initially the program was also linked with United Response, this element was paused due to the provider undergoing a Care Quality Commission inspection and the need to focus resources on this and supporting their client group  who have needed additional support as a result of the pandemic.

 

A Member asked the following question: Agenda Page 68 - Paragraph 5.2 - The Youth Employment Hub in Worthing, providing 'invaluable holistic support' for young people would also be an invaluable service in Adur also. Are there any plans for similar activity in Lancing, particularly with the recent loss of our Find It Out Centre? Members were told that the Youth Employment Hub covered recipients in Adur as well as Worthing, the hub had been based in Worthing so young people accessing their Job centre appointments could also access the hub. The authorities were seeing Adur young people engaging with the Hub (29% of young people engaging are from Adur) it was recognised that there was the need for a Lancing base alongside this.  The Councils were in discussions with DWP about this and using the outreach from the Lancing Fabric site which is themed around ‘Good work’.

 

A Member asked the following question: Q1 - Paragraph 3.7 mentions our national data and research. How have we modelled the impact of recent national policy changes (£20 UC uplift removal, eviction ban, end of the furlough scheme) on  ...  view the full minutes text for item JOSC/37/21-22

JOSC/38/21-22

Crime and Disorder Scrutiny - Adur and Worthing Safer Communities Partnership pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To consider a report by the Director 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 provided the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) with information on the work of the Adur & Worthing Safer Communities Partnership (A&WSCP) in order for JOSC to scrutinise the work of the A&WSCP and interview the Executive Members for Health and Wellbeing who represent the Councils on the Partnership.

The Executive Members for wellbeing were present to answer questions.

 

A Member asked the following question: -'Towards a Safer Adur and Worthing' suggests that 26% of Adur have no qualifications. What is the Council doing to improve the opportunities available to those who fall outside the most obvious support categories of young people/job seekers? The Committee was told that the councils had a wide range of offers to people furthest from the job market who may face barriers due to lack of qualifications or other additional needs. There were two members of staff who could support people into education, training and employment, using creative and person centred approaches to explore aspirations and help find pathways to employment. The Councils had built good local partner relations so that referrals could be made from a variety of sources, including the Proactive Project and including homelessness services, social care and Mind. It was also possible to self refer for support. Self help was also available on the Councils website. Skills initiatives were being delivered and were in development to help upskill and reskill people cross Adur & Worthing, including linking up with partners e.g GBMET around their skills open door programme 19+

 

A Member asked the following question: 'Towards a Safer Adur and Worthing' states that crime rate was up 6% in Adur and down by 11% in Worthing. Does the Council have any data based reasons for this disparity and any plans to reduce the increasing crime rate specific to the needs and demographics of Adur?  Members were told that the reduction in Worthing was due to part of the reporting period coinciding with lock down restrictions therefore reflecting the lack of activity in the night time economy, less shops open etc. This would have meant an overall reduction in crimes such as assaults in the night time economy and shoplifting. The increase in Adur had no identified definitive cause. The largest increase was seen in drug trafficking which reflected increased police activity in the Adur area to tackle county lines and other drug supply models.

 

Further questions were asked about Crime Panels, Joint Action groups and the Safer Communities strategy.

JOSC/39/21-22

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 was circulated to all members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as item 11. The report before members 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 also included two Scrutiny requests which JOSC was requested to

consider relating to Southern Water services and the Worthing Business Improvement District (BID) process.

Members discussed the Southern water request and were informed that Southern Water were due to attend the Committee in connection with bathing water quality improvements member agreed to expand the scope of Southern Water’s attendance.

 

Member discussed the request to Scrutinise the Worthing Business Improvement District (BID) process. It was agreed that a working group of members from Worthing be set up to carry out the work. Councillors James, Roser and Cochran were appointed.

 

Resolved: that the work programme be noted and approved as amended