Agenda item

Covid-19 response - Economic recovery, support for the vulnerable and health and wellbeing review

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


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 our residents and council support services in the coming 12 months? The Committee was told that the Councils were still developing data and modelling. A data platform called LIFT was being used to identify those at risk and proactively reach out to them.


A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 5 - 'Looking forward'

There are no immediate strategies listed which mention the physical health challenges being faced by residents. Should strategies be considered now before the full impact of winter is felt  especially as covid infection rates are rising and this will be the first winter that covid and flu will be circulating, posing risks to vulnerable residents? The Committee was told that this was the focus of the three year wellbeing programme which included a weight management and smoking cessation aspects. The Authority was working with NHS partners to promote key prevention messages including vaccination programmes and other public health information. In addition the rollout of Covid booster vaccines and Flu jabs had begun focusing on high risk groups.


A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 4.1 notes 5 priorities. We mention some strong successes. Can you also mention some challenges we foresee in meeting these priorities going forward in the next 12 months? It was explained to the Committee that there had been a risk of a new health crises which was brought about by a number of factors including Long Covid, an increase in alcohol consumption and increased inequalities around smoking and obesity. There were wide range impacts around emotional wellbeing and mental health. Business stabilisation was an issue as well as financial resilience, Food Security, Housing and employment.


A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 5.2 - Are temporary agency staff still being employed to support the Proactive initiative? If so, how long are they expected to be employed for? Members were told that no temporary agency staff had been employed to date to support the initiative. The authority were advertising for a specialist agency temp with DWP benefits knowledge for when the authority needed specialist knowledge.


A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 4.40 mentions major developments. Please can we have a detailed update on both Union Place and Teville Gate, their ‘mixed use’ and when the public will see something tangible on these sites? The Committee was told that the Council’s development approach on Union Place was to complete site assembly and masterplan a comprehensive development in line with the Core Strategy and then seek a development partner who would build out the scheme over two phases. Marketing the site commenced in Summer 2021 and bids were received in September. At present the Council was reviewing all of the bids to assess the bidders experience, capability and financial offer with a view to selecting the preferred bidder by December. With regards to Teville Gate the first phase to complete the HMRC building had been completed and now is home to 900 staff and presenting an improved outlook to Railway Approach. The Council resolved in July to intervene in the continued market failure on the site to prevent it from being traded on between developers. Following extensive negotiations the Authority completed the purchase in September 2021. It was felt that the scheme proposed by Mosaic was not the best option for the site as the mix of uses, appearance of the scheme and public realm could all be improved significantly.

To make sure there is a noticeable difference on the ground in the short term the Councils would renew the hoardings and had commissioned work to open up the north-south route across the site. There were plans to advertise for meanwhile uses similar to the Level 1 project on the Grafton site. A development strategy for the site would be brought forward to the Joint Strategic Committee in December for agreement.


A Member asked if priorities were of a static or dynamic nature and was told that priorities were dynamic with an emphasis on practical measures.



Supporting documents: