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Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations of interest.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on 21st January, 7th, 19th, 27th and 28th February, 29th April and 7th May 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
[A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up
to 5 members of the public on matters within the
Committee’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be
considered or contribute towards the future development of
the Committee’s work programme].
There were no public statements made at the meeting.
Andy Hood presented the report to the Committee highlighting there was a statutory requirement to approve and submit the report to the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales annually. It was reported there was some exceptional performance against targets detailed in the plan particularly in relation to reducing the number of young people entering the Youth Justice System for the first time and for the use of custody. Reducing the number of young people entering the formal Youth Justice System has enabled the service to shift some of its resource further “upstream” into Team EPIC (Encouraging Potential Inspiring Change) to work preventatively and creatively with those at risk of entering the system. Early intervention together with a whole family approach was seen as a more effective way of tackling issues early, by diverting young people away from entering the youth justice system by other positive activities.
Following the presentation Members were given the opportunity to ask questions and the following issues were raised:
Members enquired if the statistics detailing youth crime, particularly relating to gangs represented the perception of people living in communities, particularly where there were high rates of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.
It was reported that crime and perception of crime differed across communities within the Borough. In addition, crimes relating to gangs and anti-social behaviour were not always committed by young people even though that was sometimes the perception. Team EPIC and other services, such as Expect Youth had undertaken a significant amount of work in areas where there were known criminal activities involving young people. In terms of the accuracy of the figures in the report, there was a general view that relevant crimes were being reported and a confidence in the robustness of the figures.
Reference was made to the performance of Youth Offending Service in Stockton and Wigan who had been reference within the report as a statistical neighbour. Members asked if best practice had been identified from these or any other local authorities. It was reported that the Youth Offending Team were engaging with East Riding of Yorkshire who had recently been awarded outstanding in all areas of its Youth Justice Plan to identify any areas of best practice.
Members asked for further information on gang affiliation of those entering the criminal justice system. It was reported there was an issue of gang affiliation in the Dearne Valley corridor and this was predominantly male gangs. This had been an area of focus for EPIC and other services in terms of identifying support for individuals and initiatives to reduce this through positive diversionary activity.
Members identified that a significant number of young people entering the Criminal justice system had speech and language issues and asked what measures were in place to support them. It was reported that this was identified early by the Triage Panel which would ensure any issues were reported to the relevant agencies and that relevant support mechanisms were put in place. Members also enquired how the Youth Offending ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Director of Corporate Resources introduced the report informing the Committee it represented a positive year-end with a £2.1m underspend and the majority of Performance Indicators on track. The key areas of success and areas of challenge detailed in the report were also highlighted. The Chair invited Members of the Committee to ask questions on the content of the report.
The Committee enquired about the strategies in place to reduce the number of agency staff employed by the Council for more than 6 months. It was reported that the direction of travel for spend on agency staff was positive and there had been a reduction with overall spend down from £4.68m in 17/18 to £3.19m for 18/19.
The use of agency staff was still necessary in certain areas such as ICT, Adult Social Care and social services where there were skills shortages. Management were aware of the issue and were monitoring carefully and undertaking a range of measures to address this. In Adult Social Care, the use of agency staff was reviewed on a monthly basis by the management team to monitor need and effectiveness. It was recognised that the Council was trying to improve the resilience of its work force to reduce the use of agency staff but struggled to recruit to some specific posts.
It was noted that 61% of the Council’s workforce was over 45 years old and Members queried whether the skills and knowledge of experienced employees were being fully utilised and whether processes were in place to ensure effective workforce management and training and skills assessment. It was reported that the Council would need to be more dynamic moving forward in the management of its work force. Whilst there were positive aspects of having a stable workforce, bringing new people in to the organisation often lead to the introduction of new ideas. This had been noted through the Council’s involvement with the National Graduate Trainee Programme where talented individual’s had been given the opportunity to bring fresh ideas to the Council during their placements.
Members asked how the Council encouraged wider customer interaction in the communities. Reference was made to Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa being used to respond to queries relating to bin collections. This ongoing trial was helpful in identifying the types of questions and queries the public may raise when contacting the Council.
The introduction of digital support in the one stop shop had resulted in an improved customer offer by reducing the wait for face-to-face customer services.
Reference was made to the number of internal Audit recommendations completed within the stated period and asked how these were being effectively reviewed by the Audit Committee. It was reported that this referred to completion within agreed timescales rather than non-completion. The Audit Committee ensured the most significant recommendations were competed on time. Historically there had been a significant number of recommendations outstanding but this had now significantly reduced.
Doncaster Working and Doncaster Living
Peter Dale Director of Regeneration and Environment identified the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Paul Tanney Chief Executive St Leger Homes Doncaster (SLHD) was in attendance to respond to the issues raised by Members.
Members asked about the reasons for the increase in homelessness. It was reported that this was a national issue and there were a range of drivers. One of the key issues was tenants losing their private sector tenancies. A range of initiatives were being adopted and a strategy developed to address this issue and ensure the right type of accommodation was available to meet need. A more joined up approach with partners was required to ensure appropriate alternative accommodation was developed to identify ways of preventing homelessness.
Over the winter period, the severe weather protocol was initiated to ensure there was a bed available for everyone who needed it. Further work was being undertaken with partners looking at different types of accommodation and to meet the current need.
Members received an update on the number of families with children in bed and breakfast accommodation. It was emphasised that this type of accommodation was mainly used as a short term measure whilst a full assessment of the needs of the clients was undertaken.
In terms of workforce management the Committee sought information on the actions being undertaken to reduce staff absence. It was reported that a wide range of initiatives were in place. The main cause of absence was stress, depression and anxiety with 61% being personal stress and 27% being work related. The Health and Well Being Group chaired by the Chief Executive had been initiated and included representatives from each area of the work force including trades staff. A detailed action plan to address workforce absences had been developed. SLHD had signed up to the public health charter and provided 24 hours access to counselling and support for its staff.
The Chair thanked Paul Tanney for his attendance.
RESOLVED That the Committee’s comments in respect of the progress of SLHD performance outcomes and the contribution SLHD makes to supporting DMBC strategic priorities be received and noted.
The Chair informed the meeting that all Panels had recently met and developed draft work programmes. Members were asked to reflect on the quarterly performance report to identify if any additional issues for inclusion within the work plans should be included. In reference to the earlier agenda items the Chair referred to the following items that should be borne in mind by the Panels when reviewing their work programmes:
· Initiatives to reduce exclusions within schools and improve attendance.
· Exclusions being made for relatively low level but persistent poor behaviour rather than more serious acts.
· Early diagnosis of dyslexia and other speech and language issues that contributed to young people entering the YouthJustice system.
· More opportunities to ensure there was a real understanding of the work of the voluntary and community centre and how this could support adult social care.
The Governance and Member Services Manager summarised the current work plans and the issues detailed within the report.
RESOLVED that the Committee:-
(1) Approve the 2019/2020 Overview and Scrutiny work programme – circulated at the meeting (Appendix A.)
(2) Consider the Council’s Forward Plan of key decisions attached at Appendix B;
(3) Ratify the Terms of Reference of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wakefield and Nottinghamshire) in Appendix C; and
(4) Note the appointment of the Council’s representative, Councillor Andrea Robinson on the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wakefield and Nottinghamshire).