Agenda item

Review of Rough Sleeping in Scarborough Borough (Overview and Scrutiny Board)

To consider the report of the Director (LD) (reference 18/158) attached.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 18/158) which presented the findings and recommendations of a scrutiny review of rough sleeping in Scarborough Borough.  The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing, Councillor Chatt commended the thoroughness of this review which demonstrated how much Members had understood the challenge of addressing rough sleeping in the Borough.  He expressed his pride at the good work done in the Borough to prevent rough sleeping by the Council and its partners, but acknowledged the threats to this effective partnership working by funding uncertainties and the increased obligations of the Homelessness Reduction Act.  The Portfolio Holder for Transformation, Councillor Phillips, who prior to her appointment to the Cabinet had chaired this review, commented how much she had learned through her participation on this Task Group, about the scrutiny process – how working together across the political divide Members could produce an effective report – and about Homelessness Services – how hard officers worked with partner organisations and with limited resources to help some of the most vulnerable people in the Borough.  She added that the resulting report was very much about raising awareness among Borough and County councillors, and central government in regard to the threats to the future of these excellent support services.  The Chairman wholeheartedly endorsed the report, going further by proposing that the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing invite all MPs with coastal constituencies from Redcar to Hull to a meeting at the Town Hall, so he and Councillor Phillips could share the findings of the scrutiny review and consider the issues facing councils along the coast in respect of rough sleeping, and make representations to central government about the funding predicament.  Councillor Chatt welcomed this proposal and undertook to arrange this meeting with officers.

RESOLVED that:

a.    The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing:

(i)        make representations to North Yorkshire County Council to extend its funding beyond 2019 for the projects that it supports, such as Changing Lives/Horton Housing, and ask NYCC to consider funding in longer cycles in order to retain staff and provide continuity for service users, and to enlist the help of the Council’s dual-hatted members in these representations

(ii)       lobby central government to emphasise what the real issues are regarding problems with rough sleeping in a rural coastal location.  Invite the Borough’s MPs to visit and see the true picture of what is going on, and to challenge them to consider the effectiveness of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 in the light of the overall funding situation. 

b.    The Cabinet:

(i)            instruct officers to:

·         revise the Changing Lives model as identified in this report to deliver better outcomes;

·         work with NYCC to look at options around improving  dual diagnosis;

·         review and re-instigate the ‘No Second Night Out’ protocol;

·         consider ways of raising awareness among the public as to what help can be given to rough sleepers, and who to report identified rough sleepers to; and

·         consider ways of raising awareness of rough sleeping issues amongst Scarborough Borough Councillors e.g. by inviting them to attend tasking groups and homelessness prevention forums. 

Reasons

To protect and improve the existing services which support the prevention of rough sleeping, and to raise awareness of the associated issues.

 

Supporting documents: