Agenda item

Members question time under Council Procedure Rule 12

Members question time will last up to 30 minutes, questions will be taken in order of receipt, in rotation from each political group on the Council. The deadline for submission of questions is Monday 20 February at 12 noon. Questions to be submitted to


Questions received can be asked of the following:


a)    The Chairman

b)    A Member of the Executive

c)    The Chairman of any Committee

d)    The Councils representative on any outside body


Questions cannot be asked on the following


a)    A specific planning or licensing application

b)    A specific staffing appointment, appeal or Standards determination


Rotation One


A Member asked the following question


On a call with councillors last week, the WSCC Manager responsible for EV charge point rollout admitted that Phase 1 rollout was far from perfect. Noting poor communications on the EV point locations and the TRO consultations. Are you working with officers to ensure that the suggested Adur sites are realistic for a large uptake and that we avoid inappropriate sites moving forward with unnecessary TRO’s?


The Cabinet member for the Environment acknowledged that the process had not been perfect. Members were working with officers to ensure the sites for charging points are right, and that the issues raised in the question are accounted for. It was incumbent on all members to assist in providing good locations for sites.


A Member asked the following question


How many families and individuals are currently being housed in temporary accommodation, without cooking or laundry facilities, and what is the average length of stay? Please explain why fridges and small cooking appliances are often not allowed when hotel rooms and/or Air B N Bs, often offer these routinely


The Cabinet Member gave the following figures


Number of single people in temporary accommodation: 48

Number of families in temporary accommodation: 46

Singles without cooking facilities:12

Families without cooking facilities: 3


Families without cooking facilities are when they have to be placed in B&Bs until the Councils could provide self contained accommodation, the majority wouldl be moved to self contained accommodation within 6 weeks with the occasional household over 6 weeks.


The Council did not hold the information for those without laundry facilities.


The Council was unable to advise the  average length of  stay for single people in B&B without cooking facilities as data sets generated are based on their current placement, many would move more than once and some would be in B&B as a result of being evicted previously from placements with cooking facilities and the only options remaining were for B&B type provision. The longest placement for a single person in their current accommodation without facilities is 2 years 11 months.


Hotels did not provide cooking facilities, a small fridge and the means to make a hot drink were the usual standard. The reason for this was based on room space standards i.e. is there enough space to permit cooking safely and is there sufficient detection and compartmentalisation for it to be safe in the event of a fire. Where there wasn’t sufficient space and/or detection and compartmentalisation, then insurance will often not permit the provision of cooking facilities as well as space standards / HMO licensing standards preventing provision to prevent risks associated with cooking and potential fire hazards.


Responding to a supplementary question members were told that information would be circulated in relation to the cost of providing temporary accommodation.


Rotation Two


A Member asked the following question


We have a number of positions missing from teams needed to progress our key programmes. Please can you talk us through the recruitment blockers and whether this council has considered pooling resources from other councils as an option?


The Cabinet Member for Resources told members that the Council was currently in the process of some organisational design work to reflect the new corporate ‘Our Plan’ and so there were a number of planned posts in recruitment at the moment.  In addition, in order to address in-year budget issues the Councils had been holding back some recruitment processes.


The Authority did consider working with other councils (beyond Worthing) and in fact do so successfully with others in a number of areas (eg finance, legal).



Rotation three


A Member asked the following question


Please can you update us on the “one team” of housing repair (rather than disparate trades entering at differing times) and renovate services model we are moving over to and how its progressing and whether this has started to have an impact on housing voids please?


The Cabinet Member stated that in April 2022 the delivery of the voids were outsourced to a contractor due to the number of voids which were outstanding completion and the scale of the work needed to turn these homes around for new tenants. We have had challenges with skills and capacity gaps within the team to address these issues.  Initially officers started with 96 void properties which required significant works to ensure they complied with legal obligations and the lettings standard defined by decent homes.


All 96 properties were reinspected by a qualified surveyor to ensure the scope of the works were properly captured first time 


The contractor currently has 2 crews dedicated to this work. We currently have 107, Due to the extensive backlog, prioritisation of decant properties (Ashcroft, inner rooms project and other issues) coupled with an influx of tenancy terminations during december, and restrictions on the budget (both capital and revenue) we anticipate that the backlog will take around 24 months to clear.


We are currently working with the contractor to increase the crews available to AH to provide a higher turnover rate.


Where voids are identified which require small amounts of work, usually requiring just a clean and compliance checks, these will not operate the deployment of the crew but are likely to just require the adhoc specialisms.


Rotation 4


A Member asked the following question


Please could the Exec Member for Customer Services update us as to the achievements of the Transformation Programme for Adur Homes, what it had achieved in phases 1 and 2, what will happen about work set out in phases 3 and 4? When will we have a report?


The Cabinet Member made the following response


As you are aware this work has been paused to align this work with the organisational redesign.  This doesn’t mean that improvement work has stopped across and since taking over as Director Ms Favier has been focusing on a number of key improvement areas for the housing team, focusing on improving our approach to compliance and safety in our homes, improving our approach to complaints and repairs.  This work will be shared with Members in due course.