Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Scarborough

Contact: Sandip Mahajan 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Members are reminded of the need to consider whether they have a disclosable pecuniary, prejudicial or other (personal) interest to declare in any items on this agenda. Details of any interest must be declared at the start of the meeting or as soon as any interest becomes apparent during the meeting. The attached form must also be completed. Any advice required should ideally be sought before the day of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest were received.

 

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve as a correct record, and sign, the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 6 March 2019. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

3.

Public Questions

To consider any public questions submitted, where due notice has been given, which are relevant to the business of the Overview & Scrutiny Board.

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

 

 

4.

Draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy and Review 2019-2023 pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To seek feedback on the draft Homelessness Strategy and Review for 2019-2023 as part of the wider consultation to help inform the final strategy prior to consideration by Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 19/114) which sought feedback on the draft Homelessness Strategy and Review for 2019-23.  Members were advised that the draft strategy included a review of levels of homelessness within the Borough as well as key actions required over coming months to effectively meet future challenges.  Nationally, levels of homelessness had been increasing in recent years owing to welfare reform, and the impact of austerity and public sector funding cuts.  The number of households deemed to be homeless and owed a rehousing duty rose from 44,000 in 2010/11 to 58,000 in 2017/18.  However, at a local level, the figure reduced from 142 households in 2010/11 to 109 in 2017/18, but numbers overall had been steadily rising since 2014.  The Council’s duties towards homeless people were considerably increased in 2018 through the implementation of the Homeless Reduction Act.  Its measures included an extension of the period during which an authority should treat someone (regardless of priority need) as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days; a new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness (regardless of priority need) and a requirement to provide applicants with housing prevention plans; a new duty to relieve homelessness for all eligible homeless applicants (regardless of priority need) and a requirement to provide applicants with housing relief plans; and a new duty on certain external organisations (including prisons and hospitals) to refer homeless households to the Council.  Overall the Act extended the duties of the Council to a much broader group than it historically had a duty to help. This meant the Council had to redouble its efforts to prevent and relieve homelessness.   In 2018/19 of the 401 households to whom the Council owed a statutory homeless prevention duty, 339 households (84%) had their homelessness prevented by the Council or one its partners, significantly higher than the national average of 53%.  During the same period, of the 328 households to whom the Council owed a statutory homeless relief duty, 241 households (73%) had their homelessness relieved through the offer of accommodation either within social housing or private rented property, again higher than the national average of 56%.  The service’s effectiveness had been recently validated by a very positive external review by the National Practitioner Support Service.  Further challenges identified in the strategy were the increased demand for temporary accommodation and associated cost, the impact of wider public sector funding cuts, in particular the impact of future commissioning decisions by North Yorkshire County Council regarding housing related support services for the homeless and young people, and increased levels of rough sleeping.  To meet these challenges, the Action Plan set out inter alia to sustain key prevention services and bolster local partnership arrangements, increase capacity within the Housing Options team through a restructure, reduce use of B&B and increase the pool of Housing Association owned temporary accommodation through the use of capital funding, and continue to tackle the main causes of homelessness including  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Call-in of a Cabinet Decision: Public Conveniences pdf icon PDF 754 KB

To consider a report of the Director (Nick Edwards) (Ref 19/145) in connection with a decision made on 18 June 2019 by the Cabinet, and to determine whether to recommend that the Cabinet amends the following decision:

 

a)    Approve the installation of a temporary public convenience on Royal Albert Drive for the 2019 summer tourist season (until the end of September 2019 subject to appropriate planning consent).

 

b)    Re-open and refurbish the Holbeck Clock public convenience.

 

c)    Approve £51k of one off costs to deliver the above noting the effect that it will have on the 2019/20 projected outturn position.

 

d)    Note, the potential for budgetary growth in the 2020-2021 Medium Term Financial Strategy should the full budgetary savings from public conveniences not be achieved.    

 

The Cabinet decision has been called in for scrutiny pursuant to Section 4.6 of the Constitution, Additional Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedure

Rules, paragraph 10 (v).

 

The Call-In Form, Cabinet Decision, and the report to Cabinet are attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board reviewed the Cabinet decision dated 18 June 2019 in respect of public conveniences provision on Royal Albert Drive and South Cliff.  The decision had been called in for scrutiny pursuant to Section 4.6 of the Constitution, Additional Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules, paragraph 10 (v).  Members had before them, for reference, the report of the Director (NE) (Reference 19/145), the extract minute, and the call-in form.  The originator of the call-in, Councillor Phillips addressed the meeting in support of the call-in.  She did not object in principle to the return of public conveniences to the Royal Albert Drive but was concerned at the £51k cost of the proposals in the report and the impact on Phase 2 of the wider review, particularly since £58k of savings were still to be realised through this review.  Other councillors spoke in a similar vein.  They contrasted the closure of public toilets in rural areas: did this decision mean that similar facilities located in rural areas would re-open too?  Some parish councils, for example, Fylingdales had taken over public conveniences from the Borough Council and had to raise the parish precept by a significant degree.  By contrast, the re-opening of the facilities in the report would have to be paid for by all areas of the Borough, including rural parishes.  They contended the proposals were ill-thought out and of a piecemeal nature rather than as part of the wider review.  They also criticised the late publication of the report and the lack of notification on the Forward Plan.  In response, the Director, Mr Edwards provided some context to the ongoing review of public conveniences and the decision made by the Cabinet on 18 June.  He reminded the meeting that the provision of public conveniences was a non-statutory function but the Borough Council recognised the importance of good public space management and the benefits that such facilities brought to residents and visitors.  However, this recognition needed to be placed within the context of decreasing budgets and consideration given to alternative methods of service provision.  An extensive consultation exercise including most parish councils had underpinned the previous phase of the review which had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.  Examples of actions resulting from Phase 1 of the review were to transfer most of the public conveniences in Whitby to the Town Council with a dowry.  Both the facilities in Danby and Runswick Bay had been closed because of low usage and the proximity to other public conveniences.  In respect of the toilets in the report, there used to be a facility next to a now derelict café on Royal Albert Drive.  It had been closed and demolished for health and safety reasons in anticipation of a new private development which would incorporate public conveniences.  The new development was taking longer than expected to come to fruition precipitating the Cabinet decision to provide a temporary facility in time for the summer season in recognition of the high public demand.  Similarly,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To ensure that the Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme is ‘fit for purpose’, focused on significant priorities and balanced so that it gets real value.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board considered a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 19/143) in respect of its refreshed work programme for 2019/20.  Members were advised that of the items inherited from 2018/19 were three proposed task and finish reviews on car parking fees and charges, environmental sustainability and strategic partnerships.  All three topics were quite broad and time-limited, so would require careful focus.  The precise scope for each review would need to be confirmed at the first meeting of the Task Group with the methodology and action plan agreed shortly thereafter.  With reference to the draft programme, Members confirmed that they would like a progress report on the implementation of the Scarborough Town Centre Strategy to come to the Board meeting on 30 October 2019.

RESOLVED that the outline work programme for 2019/20 be approved.