Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities)
Thursday, 9th January, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email: becky.atherton@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

63.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals against refusal.

 

64.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

There was no exempt information.

 

65.

Late Items

 

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no late items.

 

66.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

67.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bentley, Collins, Grahame and Gruen.

 

Councillor Jenkins attended as a substitute for Councillor Collins.

 

68.

Minutes - 3 December 2019 pdf icon PDF 191 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 3rd December 2019, be approved as an accurate record.

 

Matters Arising

 

Minute 59 – Disposal of Green Spaces. Members were informed that an invitation had been sent out to Members of the three Scrutiny Boards (Environment, Housing and Communities, Infrastructure, Investment and Inclusive Growth and Strategy and Resources) in regard to a joint working group to be held 27th January 2020 2-4pm.

 

Minute 60 – Anti-social use of fireworks. Members were informed that a working group had been proposed for the 9th March 2020 10am – 12pm, and invitations would be sent in due course.

 

69.

Financial Inclusion and Universal Credit Update pdf icon PDF 699 KB

To receive an update from the Chief Officer – Customer Access and Welfare with regards to the move to full service digital implementation of Universal Credit a year on from its introduction.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Customer Access and Welfare submitted a report that provided Members with an updated position on the roll out of Universal Credit (UC), a year on from the introduction of full service in Leeds.

 

Appended to the report included:

o  Universal Credit Claimants by Ward and Community Committee

o  Citizen’s Advice Enquiries

o  Welfare Rights UC enquiries by ward

o  Financial Inclusion Update – Executive Board Report 19th September 2019

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Jo Rowlands, Financial Inclusion Manager

o  Mandy Sawyer, Head of Neighbourhood Services

o  Kevin Bruce, Service Manager

o  Lee Hemsworth, Chief Officer Customer Access and Welfare

o  Nick Hart, Deputy Head Customer Contact

o  Simon Betts, DWP

o  Allison France, DWP

o  Nick Morgan, Chapeltown CAB

 

The officers in attendance provided Members with a presentation highlighting some background context of UC, the National Policy Changes in 2019 and Key Statistics in regard to LCC Welfare and Benefits, LCC Housing, DWP and Citizens Advice. Members heard that issues remain outstanding with the Advanced Payments Process, residents receiving incorrect advice to claim for UC and those residents whom remain in vulnerable situations requiring assistance to deal with their claims.

 

Members’ discussed a number of matters including:

·  Out of Hours queries provision. Members were informed that 37 Community Hubs across the city provided free public access to phones with a direct CAB hotline. In regard to the DWP, a service was available until 6.30 p.m.; the service had been considering an online service subject to a need being identified.

·  Pre-existing debt. A Member raised concerns in regard to the UC advanced payments, and whether pre-existing debt had been taken into consideration to alleviate further debt concerns. Members were informed that a comprehensive review is undertaken prior to lending, and subject to the outcome, the resident could be referred to further services around the city.Further to this, the Executive Member for Communities suggested that residents who are being impacted from UC, be provided with the opportunity to attend a future Scrutiny Board meeting.

·  Food poverty. A Member queried the mechanisms in place to help support foodbanks, and whether data could be provided per ward. In responding, the Board heard that due to the various ‘in-formal’ foodbanks (churches, schools and charity organisations), it would be difficult to produce such data. Further to this, the Board were informed a report on Food Insecurity was expected at a future Executive Board meeting.

 

Members of the Board welcomed the collaborative approach taken by partners in the city to support those Leeds residents who have become, or are in the process of becoming, recipients of Universal Credit.

 

The Board recognised the need for continued Scrutiny, and the Chair proposed its successor Board hold a working group, to hear from those Leeds claimants affected by UC, and that this be prioritised by mid-2020. 

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Noted the contents of the report, along  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Locality Working and Priority Neighbourhoods pdf icon PDF 714 KB

To provide an update from the Director of Communities and Environment with regards to the implementation of the locality working approach in our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Director of Communities and Environment provided an update on the progress of key developments in 2019 on the implementation of the locality working approach in our most disadvantaged wards and neighbourhoods.

 

Appended to the report included the Locality Working Strategic Framework; Community Engagement Approaches; Community Committee Activity; and the Draft Priority Area Annual Report 2019.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Shaid Mahmood, Chief Officer Communities

o  Elizabeth Jarmin, Head of Stronger Communities

o  Martin Dean, Area Leader

o  Alison Szustakowski, Localities Programme Manager

o  Andrew Birkbeck, Localities Programme Manager

o  Jane Pattison, Localities Programme Manager

 

The Chief Officer Communities provided Members with a presentation highlighting:

·  The progress of work in priority neighbourhoods and target wards and the themes that have emerged;

·  The application of the principles of locality working using examples from work programmes to articulate good practice;

·  Ongoing challenges and the ‘Big Asks’ that have been made to the council’s directorates through the Neighbourhood Improvement Board (NIB);

·  The emerging performance management framework for locality working;

·  Key achievements 2018/19.

 

In addition, officers in attendance briefly provided the Board with an update of the work undertaken in 2019, highlighting:

·  Partnership work with Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT)

·  New Community Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)Leeds Neighbourhood Approach (LNA)

·  The plans for demolishing the former Gate pub and establishing an ambitious plan for the site

 

Members expressed their appreciation for the work undertaken by the Localities Team, in making a difference to those areas of deprivation in Leeds.

 

Key issues raised in discussions, were as follows:

·  The Board discussed CCTV service charges, and the on-going work being undertaken in order to transform the service digitally.

·  A Member sought clarity on the long term comprehensive solution to the challenge of Kingsdale Court. The Board were informed work is undergoing to look at different approaches for the site, and proposals would be brought back to the Scrutiny Board at a later date.

·  The Board discussed the Councils engagement with local and national businesses, and the work on-going cross directorate and with the Leeds Business Innovation District (BID).

·  Members were informed that detailed guidance could be provided in regard to the Rethink Formulation – Leeds Model. Members were keen to understand how the formulation provided a consistent and clear model for developing a shared understanding of a family and their presenting issues.

  • Particular reference was made to the lack of involvement GP’s had at the Neighbourhood Improvement Boards (NIBs). Members heard that discussions had taken place, for GP’s to attend the Holbeck NIB, and an update would be provided at the 6 NIBs. Furthermore, the Executive Board Member for Communities suggested that the report be presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board to consider involvement, in tackling health inequalities in the most deprived areas of Leeds.
  • Members discussed the changes in the Indices of Deprivation for Leeds, and queried the timeliness of expanding the remit of work into other priority  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Referral to Scrutiny: River Cleanliness pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To consider a Referral to Scrutiny in the names of Cllr Harrington and Cllr Lamb regarding pollution of the River Wharfe.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that presented a referral for Scrutiny, alongside some background information to help inform the Board’s consideration.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Lamb, referrer

o  Jonathan Moxon, Floor Risk Manager

o  Councillor Rafique, Executive Board Member for Environment and Communities

 

The referral for Scrutiny was submitted as follows:

 

To consider an inquiry to look at how plastic pollution can be reduced in the River Wharfe, how relevant agencies such as the Council, Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water can co-ordinate their efforts more effectively, whether the local treatment plant upgrade is operating effectively to deal with sewage, how effective storm collecting tanks are and how the public and businesses can be encouraged to reduce plastic waste getting into the river network.

 

Councillor Lamb presented the request for Scrutiny to the Board, and expressed his concern in regard to the large amounts of plastics and raw sewage being deposited into the waterways; and the negative impact this had on eco-systems. Councillor Lamb further explained difficulties of meeting with third sector organisations, such as Yorkshire Water, and asked the Scrutiny Board to further this investigation. Members heard that a deputation came to Full Council on 13th November 2019, raising concerns about plastics, raw sewage and wider pollution in the River Wharf; a response had yet to be provided.

 

In responding, the Flood Risk Manager informed the Board that the paper in response to the deputation hadn’t been finalised, but confirmed it contained information such as an extension programme, in order to engage local people to coordinate and facilitate activities. It was confirmed that the Council have minimal powers in the action that can be taken; the involvement of third party organisations is critical in securing a response to the challenges identified.

 

Members acknowledged the importance of resolving the problem, further agreeing that deferring the matter for Scrutiny until the Board meeting in March provides the opportunity for the deputation response to be received, and meetings to take place with those third party organisations.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  That the contents of the report, along with Members comments, be noted;

b)  That the matter be deferred for consideration by the Scrutiny Board (EHC), by March 2020.

 

72.

Financial Health Monitoring pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services and, for the areas aligned with the Board’s Terms of Reference, the appended budget report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services, provided Board Members with information with regard to the financial health of those service areas that fall within the remit of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

 

Information for Month 7 of the financial year, was appended to the report.

 

The following were in attendance:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Councillor Lewis, Executive Member for Resources

o  Neil Evans, Director Resources and Housing

o  Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Leeds

o  Michael Everitt, Head of Finance

o  Kevin Mulvaney, Head of Finance

 

RESOLVED - The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) noted the contents of the report and the appended documents.

 

73.

Initial Budget Proposals 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Democratic Services which provides information regarding the outline budget proposals for 2020/21.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services, set out a report for the budget proposals 2020/21.

 

The proposals had been considered at the Executive Board meeting on 7th January 2020, and would be re-submitted to Executive Board, following Scrutiny considerations in line with the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework; for the approval of the budget.

 

The following were in attendance:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Councillor Lewis, Executive Member for Resources

o  Neil Evans, Director Resources and Housing

o  Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Leeds

o  Michael Everitt, Head of Finance

o  Kevin Mulvaney, Head of Finance

 

RESOLVED - The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) noted the contents of the attached Executive Board report.

 

74.

Best Council Plan Performance Report Quarter 2 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 471 KB

To consider the report of the Directors of Resources and Housing and Communities and Environment, which presents a summary of 2019/20 Quarter 2 performance data and provides an update on progress in delivering the relevant priorities in the Best Council Plan 2019/20 to 2020/21.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Director of Resources and Housing and Director of Communities and Environment provided a summary of the Best Council Plan (BCP) performance data for Quarter 2 2019/20.

 

The following were in attendance:

o  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

o  Councillor Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Active Lifestyles

o  James Rogers, Director Communities and Environment

o  Neil Evans, Director Resources and Housing

o  Jill Wildman, Chief Officer, Housing Management

 

RESOLVED - The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) noted the contents of the report and the appended documents.

 

75.

Best Council Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services which provides information for consideration relating to the Best Council Plan refresh.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services, advised Members of an approach to refresh the Best Council Plan for the period 2020/21 to 2024/25.

 

The following were in attendance:

o  Councillor Lewis, Executive Member for Resources

o  Coral Main, Head of Business Planning and Risk

 

RESOLVED - The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) noted the contents of the attached Executive Board report.

 

 

76.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which invited Members to consider the Board’s schedule for the 2019/20 municipal year. Copies of the draft work schedule and the minutes of the Executive Board meeting held Monday, 25th November 2019 were appended to the report.

 

Members discussed the items on the upcoming work schedule, including working groups for:

·  Disposal of Green Spaces 27th January 2-4pm;

·  Car Parking Policy – 17th February 12.30 – 2.30pm;

·  Community Impact of Nuisance Fireworks – 9th March 10am – 12pm.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Noted the matters outlined in the report

b)  Noted the Executive Board minutes

c)  Agreed the overall work schedule

 

77.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place on 6 February at 10.30am (10am pre-meeting for Board members).

Minutes:

RESOLVED – To note the date and time of the next meeting as 6th February 2020 at 10.00 p.m.

 

(The meeting concluded at 13:00)