Agenda for Overview & Scrutiny Committee. on Monday, 27th January, 2014, 2.00pm
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Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber - BTH. View directions
Contact: Giles Rossington Acting Head of Scrutiny
12. Apologies and Declarations of Interest
12.1a Declarations of Substitutes
Councillor Sykes was substituting for Councillor Phillips
Councillor Rufus was substituting for Councillor Kennedy
Councillor Robbins was substituting for Councillor Wilson
12.1b Declarations of Interest
There were none.
12.1.c Declaration of Party Whip
There was none
12.1.6 Exclusion of press and public
In accordance with section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, it was considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of any items contained in the agenda, having regard to the nature of the business to be transacted and the nature of the proceedings and the likelihood as to whether, if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of confidential or exempt information as defined in section 100I (1) of the said Act.
RESOLVED: That the press and public be not excluded from the meeting.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting held on 21 October 2013 (copy attached).
13.1OSC Deputy Chair Councillor Tony Janio stated that a member of the Conservative Group not the Labour Group, should be Chair of OSC.
13.2 The minutes were agreed.
14.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: to receive any petitions presented by members of the public to the full council or at the meeting itself;
(b) Written Questions: to receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 17th January 2014
(c) Deputations: to receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the (17th January 2014
15.1 There were no items.
16.1 There were no items.
Report of the Monitoring Officer presenting the 2014/15 Budget Scrutiny Panel report.
17.1 The Chair informed the Committee that because of the very tight timescales for the Budget Scrutiny Panel, there were some factual inaccuracies in the report that Officers had suggested were amended.
17.2 Giles Rossington, Acting Head of Scrutiny, suggested that a recommendation be added to the covering report to allow any inaccuracies to be corrected after the report had been agreed by OSC. The Head of scrutiny highlighted the key amendments which were:
17.3. The Deputy Chair of OSC, Councillor Tony Janio, stated he was happy for the amendments to be made with the approval of the Chair.
17.4 Councillor Dee Simson, Chair of the Budget Scrutiny Panel, thanked all those involved in the Panel - members, officers and Committee Chairs. The first Panel meeting was with the Leader and the Chief Executive and identified areas to consider. Subsequent meetings looked at CYP, community grants, co-working, adult social care, homelessness, and the HRA.
17.5 Councillor Simson set out three areas of concern: the changing of funding in the HRA; the changing of funding in the DSG; and the retention of in-house services, particularly youth services, without comparable cost information. She hoped the report would be taken on board by Policy & Resources Committee.
17.6 Councillor Sykes (who was a member of the Panel) told OSC members that the Panel had worked well with a good use of time – 3 meetings as opposed to 7 last year. He praised the input of Community Works and the smooth running of the Panel.
17.7 Councillor Mitchell (also a Panel member) told OSC members that the Panel had received very full answers to probing questions and it had been a very thorough process.
17.8 Councillor Brown highlighted and supported the report recommendations on preventative services and the importance of short breaks for disabled children.
17.9 Councillor Janio suggested that the format of this year’s report should be replicated in future years. It was a much more successful format than in previous years, and the report was well-presented and easy to read.
17.10 The Chair noted that the financial implications (as circulated) would be added to the report along with the new recommendation detailed above.
1) That Overview and Scrutiny Committee agree the scrutiny panel report and refer it to Policy & Resources Committee for consideration;
2) That the Head of Scrutiny is authorised, with the approval of the Chair of OSC, to correct any facctual inaccuracies.
Report of the Assistant Chief Executive: Trans Equalities Implementation Report (copy attached)
18.1 Nicky Cambridge, People & Place Co-ordinator, B&HCC introduced the monitoring report. The Trans Equalities report had been a ground-breaking piece of work and the start of a process with both national and local ramifications that have gone beyond what was in the Panel’s report. Learning and awareness events have gone on across Sussex with presentations to other local authorities.
18.2There was only 1 red indicator in the monitoring report and that was a recommendation aimed at the NHS nationally. There are 7 Amber indicators which are all connected with the NHS and national processes. The remaining 29 indicators are green. Even on some of the indicators where progress nationally has been slow, there has been progress locally. For example, 20 GPs have undertaken trans awareness training and the CCG has commissioned trans awareness material. The JSNA is underway, housing officers have received training, and the HR toolkit is being re-launched in April 2014.
18.3 Nicky Cambridge reported that members of the trans community were overwhelmingly positive. Feedback was that the trans exclusive swimming session was a real win, the work with schools and Alsorts providing support was also excellent. The first Trans Pride event ran last year. There is now also a city-wide alliance. The trans community have worked with the council throughout both in governance and implementation and the relationship is very positive. The one area of feedback where more could be done, is whilst staff training is a positive, there could be more training in place. HR’s response is that they have targeted key teams and it is an issue around time and resources.
18.4 Councillor Mitchell expressed her admiration for all the work that is underway.
18.5 Following a question about the red and amber indicators, Nicky Cambridge explained that most of these are concerning GPs who are independent. 2 were in housing and the review of the LGBT housing service was delayed because of the review of homelessness. 1 was a recommendation aimed at banks which is difficult to make progress on.
18.6 A question was asked about the areas where more could be done. Nicky Cambridge explained that some of this was about managing expectations and explaining the issues around working with a large resource driven organisation like a local authority. The biggest gap highlighted by the trans community was the training of staff. The frontline teams have had training and there have been pilots in adult social care, housing, and leisure. HR were of the opinion that the costs are prohibitive for more generic training but there will be an trans module in the equalities training.
18.7 Some of the problems around implementing the health recommendations were concerned with the changes and new commissioning structures in the NHS. The specialist trans services are held nationally and commissioned nationally so it is difficult to make changes.
18.8 The partnership work with the Police has led to improved relationships between the Police and the trans community. Staff training and changes to reporting mechanisms are important. Trans hate crime is now separately reported. The Universities are also working on furthering trans awareness and other local authorities are looking to Brighton & Hove for best practice.
18.9 It was suggested if there was any way that HWOS could become involved and this will be considered.
18.10 The Chair thanked Nicky Cambridge and all involved in the work.
1) That Overview and Scrutiny Members consider and comment on the contents of this report and its appendix.
2) That there is a further monitoring report in 12 months time.
Report of the Executive Director of Environment, Development & Housing: Implementation of the Traveller Strategy scrutiny report (copy attached)
19.1 Andy Staniford, Housing Strategy Manager introduced the report. The Scrutiny Panel had shadowed the development of the Traveller Commissioning Strategy which was approved in 2012. The strategy brought housing and health together and the CCG has undertaken a health needs assessment on Travellers. A lot of education work has been undertaken around the Horsdean site and there was a very good partnership with the Police. The Scrutiny Panel was very innovative and won an award in 2012.
19.2 19 of the 23 recommendations have green indicators, 2 are amber and 2 will follow on from the permanent site which has been delayed through planning. They are waiting to hear from the South Downs National Park (in April 2014).
19.3 Inspector Paul Ransome is the new Police link on work with Travellers. His remit is to ensure that the Police work well with the Traveller Liaison team to manage unauthorised encampments.
19.4 Further information was requested on the transit site, the role of officers, and the van dwellers protocol. Rachel Chasseaud, Head of Tenancy Services, explained that there was a problem with the drainage at the Horsdean site and there was an interim drainage system in place. The team have worked with the Environment Agency to keep the site open but there are only 10 pitches available. The solution is to go into the main drainage but this will be done as part of the permanent site. If planning is not given, there will need to be another solution.
19.5 Following a question about timescales, the team are looking at interim options to increase capacity. There were less unauthorised sites last year, so there is no clear cut link with the lower capacity at the transit site. The team are aware of 18 Irish Traveller families in the city who are going onto unauthorised sites.
19.6 Rachel Chasseaud is now Head of Service and the restructuring is still underway. The first draft of the Van Dwellers Protocol has been drafted.
19.7 Questions were asked about the ramifications of the permanent site, and lists of sensitive sites. Andy Staniford told the Panel that when the permanent site is agreed they will work to engage the children who attend the local nurseries – some of this already happened at the transit site – and further links will be made in the community. Rachel Chasseaud noted that the permanent site would be very significant. It would meet some of the needs of the Irish Travellers in the city and there will be more new households. The team works closely with the Police and has a list of sensitive sites and the level of impact. Each site is separately assessed – there is no blanket approach.
19.8 The comment was made that it was very important to have pitches open on the transit site. Rachel Chasseaud reassured the Committee that they were doing all they can to get sites open without breaching Environment Agency guidelines.
19.9 An update on progress on positive media reporting was requested, and information on further integrating Travellers. Rachel Chasseaud explained media work was underway but it was still a challenge. Andy Staniford reported that there was a Travellers History month each year and talks in Jubilee Library. The team worked with the community safety team to increase community cohesion and the permanent site will increase this.
19.10 The Chair thanked the team for the comprehensive update.
(1) That Overview and Scrutiny Committee members consider and comment on the contents of this report and its appendix.
(2) That there will be a report back to OSC in 6 months focusing on the key issues of the permanent site, the transit site, and the drainage issues.
Update on O&S scrutiny panel programme (copy attached)
20.1 Giles Rossington, Interim Head of Scrutiny introduced the report. There was a lot happening and a large number of Panels underway. Following a question on Adult Care Future Service Delivery Models, the Chair explained that this had been a Panel looking at one very specific service, not the whole of adult social care services.
20.2 The comment was made that it was important for Members to be involved in discussions of service models. The suggestion was made that consideration was given to how to look at future adult social care service provision delivery models.