Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Christine Rothwell  Tel. 01302 735682

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence.

2.

To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

3.

Declarations of Interest, if any.

Minutes:

Councillor Gethin declared an interest during discussion, relating to Treasury Management, as part of the Q1 Finance and Performance report.

4.

Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee held on 25th June, 2020 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 25th June 2020, were agreed as a correct record.

5.

Public Statements.

[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].

 

Minutes:

There were no public statements.

6.

Statement of Licensing Policy 2021 - Licensing Act 2003 pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the proposed Statement of Licensing Policy 2021 report, including responses received during the consultation period, prior to being presented to Full Council.  A number of specific areas were addressed as detailed below.

 

Concern was expressed that there had been a couple of White Collar Boxing events in the Borough but it was confirmed that this type of event was required to follow the rules of the British Board of Boxing Federation Control.  These events were classed as a legal boxing event required the same safety procedures, referees and medical assistance as a professional boxing event and could be held under a temporary event or premises license.

 

In connection with the Licensing Policy being rigorous enough, particularly bearing in mind the alcohol related cardiovascular and liver disease health related concerns for Doncaster, the Committee was assured that the approach proposed in the Policy was satisfactory.  It was explained that the Local Authority was acting under Government guidance in relation to what could and could not be considered under a Licencing policy.  It was recognised that Public Health in Doncaster held good relationships with the Council’s Licensing team and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic improved relationships had been developed with the Borough’s licensees.

 

In response to a Member’s question about professional regional and national public health networks and would they seeking to influence Government, it was explained that Public Health always contributed to reviews through the Association of Directors of Public Health.

 

The Committee was asked to recognise that the drive for a late night levy in the vibrant late night economy areas across the Borough, could be developed, with the resources used towards alcohol services.  However, in the current environment it was not a route that would be explored.

 

In relation to temporary pavement licenses the issues considered when an application was received, included assessing access for people with disabilities and pushchairs and where outdoor tables and chairs would be sited.  Consultation was undertaken with, for example, the Police and Highways to ensure the application would not impede users of the highway.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Licensing Policy 2021, be noted and supported.

 

7.

2020-2021 Quarter 1 Finance and Performance Improvement Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The Chair outlined that whilst giving consideration to the Local Authority’s 2020-21 Quarter 1 Finance and Performance Improvement report, the Committee wished to address how effective services were being delivered within available resources and it’s confidence in the budget bearing in mind the currently complicated picture.  The areas below were therefore addressed in detail.

 

The Director of Corporate Resources outlined that it had been a very difficult  Quarter 1 due to the current Covid–19 environment.  Members noted that a significant amount of resources had been provided to support Covid related activities and with regard to performance the report was variable due to some areas maintaining services and other having to stand down for a short period.

 

Local Authority response to the long term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – Two broad approaches were currently being undertaken, one being specific to the NHS in relation to stopping and starting services, with the requirement to submit a plan to Government about how activity would increase.  In line with this, the NHS had launched additional services for people who were or had suffered with Covid.

 

It was noted that across Team Doncaster assessments had been undertaken for example in relation to environmental and economic impacts with a Recovery Renewal Plan being developed to respond.  The four areas being focused on were Health and Care, Children and Young People and Families, All Age Mental Health and Covid specific control.  To assist, a renewal and recovery Board had been established to agree what actions were required to get the four areas “back on track”.  With regard to Scrutiny’s role, it was noted that officers were addressing how targets could be presented in future quarterly performance reports.

 

Public Health England – Government announcement to discontinue the service – In response to concern expressed about the impact this would have on Local Authority services, it was explained that no Public Health agency had remained unchanged following a pandemic and noted that it was sensible and easier to work with a single body rather than a number of organisations, as was currently the case.

 

The Committee noted that there was currently no detail of what functions would be included in the new National Institute for Health Protection, however, concern was expressed about the broader work currently undertaken by Public Health England, for example, data, health improvement and health inequalities.  It was acknowledged that to deliver on the proposals, the Local Authority would have to undertake additional duties and that would require additional resources.

 

It was noted that the Public Health Grant currently funded Public Health, however, no details were currently available for the 2021/22 period but it would be linked to the comprehensive spending review.

 

The Director of Public Health reminded Members that Doncaster had established a Covid Engagement Board, chaired by the Mayor, to address how Covid control plans were being progressed.

 

Risks of the current position – the Committee sought assurance in relation of how these were being managed, particularly the delivery of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

St Leger Homes of Doncaster Ltd Performance and Delivery Update: 2020/21 Quarter One pdf icon PDF 871 KB

Minutes:

The Chair, prior to discussion on this item, announced that Paul Tanney, Chief Executive of St Leger Homes of Doncaster was due to retire, and on behalf of the Committee wished him all the best for the future.

 

In response to the Committees concerns relating to a number of the key performance indicators moving from green to red on the traffic light system, the Chief Executive provided an overview of the report, including:

 

Rent Arrears – Following an increase in April when lockdown commenced, following the work undertaken by the Tenancy Sustainment Team, who had proactively contacted over 600 tenants with the offer of financial management support, arrears had started to reduce.

 

Void Properties – Following Government guidance that properties could not be relet during the lockdown period, it was noted that the target to turn around void properties would not be met this year.  The company had introduced a Covid safe working system ensuring maximum staff safety when renovating properties.  Members acknowledged that there had also been problems obtaining certain materials, for example, high demand products including plaster and kitchen units.

 

It was also noted that other capital improvement works to properties had been reassessed during lockdown, with more exterior renovations being undertaken.   For example, guttering and facia replacement, leaving the more intrusive internal works for when the pandemic started to ease.  This has ensured the workforce has remained busy.

 

It was noted that victims of domestic abuse had continued to be rehoused throughout the lockdown period.

 

Housing Options and Complex lives Team – It was reported that every homeless person had been offered accommodation during the lockdown period with 415 people being rehomed since 1st April.  Despite the work undertaken by the team, there were still a couple of people that refused to accept accommodation.  At the time of this meeting, 56 people had been placed in bed and breakfast, 89 in temporary accommodation and 12 homeless.   Personal development and housing plans had been set for each person affected.

 

The Committee was informed that a bid, in partnership with the local authority, had been made to the Next Steps Fund to assist with creating housing capacity within the private sector.  For example, to support landlords the creation of a private landlord insurance scheme providing additional security against any damaged caused by Council tenants.

 

Gas Servicing – It was recognised that tenants were anxious about letting workmen into their properties to undertake required gas servicing, however it was hoped that the 200 outstanding service certificates, which had reduced to 50 at the time of this meeting, would be completed by the end of September, 2020.

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

1.     The private landlord insurance system details be forwarded to the Committee;  and

2.     The report, be noted.

 

9.

Performance Challenge of Doncaster Children's Services Trust: Quarter 1 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 786 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report setting out the Children’s Trust quarterly performance and addressed the following issues:-

 

Out of Authority Challenge – In response to concern relating to risks, it was explained that unfortunately during the Covid lockdown period some out of authority placements had to be used.  It was noted that work was continually undertaken to return children to Doncaster, where it was safe to do so.  It was also noted that it could be very difficult to return a child to Doncaster when they were very settled and doing well in their existing placement.

 

Future Placements Strategy – the Committee was informed that development had been delayed during the lockdown period because property viewings were prohibited.  Viewings had now recommenced and when suitable properties were found, they would require refurbishment works, staffing and registration prior to use.

 

It was noted that the work planned to acquire an additional two x two bedroomed properties planned for early 2021 would be brought forward.

 

Safeguarding – in response to concerns raised, following children returning to school and maybe being identified as requiring support, it was explained that additional resources had been identified enabling the Trust to respond effectively.  Members noted that the Children’s Trust was working very closely with all schools and health partners to respond to a possible spike in September and October.

 

Partnership working – Members noted that Team Doncaster had excelled with the new way of working and taking on a shared responsibility for all children.  It was noted that it had been a very difficult but innovative time.  Members recognised that some Children’s Trust staff had to shield and throughout the organisation officers had been assigned to different roles including delivery of food parcels or undertaking welfare telephone calls to children when it would usually be a personal visit.  The Director explained that working in new ways had assisted development of the new locality model.

 

RESOLVED:-  That the report, be noted.

 

10.

Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan and Council's Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 341 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Governance Officer presented the Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan report for the 2020/2021 municipal year.

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

1.          The Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan for 2020/2021be approved;  and

2.         The Council’s Forward Plan of Key Decisions, be noted.