Agenda item - Public Involvement

skip navigation and tools

Agenda item

Public Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:


(a)           Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public notified by the due date of 8 March 2023;


(b)           Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 3 March 2023;


(c)           Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 3 March 2023;



56.1 The Chair invited Ruth Farnell to put the question found on page 5 of Addendum 1 to the Committee and gave the following response:


The Voices of Lived experience board now has on average 15 active members of the board who live across Sussex. So far the board operates as a trauma informed, flexible and inclusive forum to enable members to participate in ways that work for them.

Some of the participation work that the Voices of Lived experience board have been involved with across Sussex includes awareness raising campaigns of during National Coproduction week in July 2022 and 16 days of activism in November/December 2022, linking in with other lived experience / expert by experience networks, contributing to the East Sussex Adult Social Care Strategy, Co-facilitating multi-agency Domestic Abuse Training in Adult Social Care and the NHS, Co-facilitating domestic abuse training to Student Social Workers at Sussex University (soon to be included at Brighton University), identifying barriers to reporting for Sussex Police, participating in interview panels for positions pertinent to domestic abuse, coproducing research in Identifying domestic abuse in Telemedicine, and presenting at local and national conferences.

Work planned for this Spring includes development work in schools to improve responses to victims / survivors of abuse, lunchtime learning sessions with members of Sussex Police Force, coproducing the partnership board development day, and development work focusing on the improvements needed for local victim / survivors with physical disabilities. 

Feedback from members of VOLEB

Feedback from the participation work from Voices of Lived Experience Board has been positive. One member of the board said “After years of being in an abusive relationship, I love that I am finally made to feel welcome somewhere. I get to meet people who understand what I have been through, and we all support each other. Most importantly, though, I finally get my voice back. I am no longer silenced”


56.2 The Chair invited Ruth Farnell to ask the following supplementary question:


We are just looking at the new services themselves from the view of the lived experience board. The new service was not particularly visible locally and we thought the board might have picked up on that. If you look on web searches you don't find the new services. The pages are very text heavy and there’s very little information on there. The only languages are English and Welsh with no other language options. There are no illustrations and plenty of abbreviations and quite specific references that a lay person wouldn’t particularly understand. We’ve had no real feedback from the voices of the lived experience board, we were expecting some in September but we didn't get any – we had a short email this week which was positive thank you. But considering that the survivors of domestic abuse are vulnerable and hard to reach, are you satisfied that the website and the communications are actually reaching them?


56.3 The Chair then confirmed that a written response would be sent to Ruth Farnell after the meeting.


56.4 The Chair invited Dani Ahrens to put the question found on page 5 of Addendum 1 to Committee and gave the following response:


Officers have been unable to pull together the information in time for the meeting, but we will be able to share written response with you.


56.5 The Chair invited Dani Ahrens to ask the following supplementary question:


I saw some relevant figures to this on RISE’s website last week there was a blog post by the CEO of RISE – the number of people supported by Victim Support since they took over the contract in 2021 is considerably lower than the numbers supported by RISE in the previous 2 years. In 2021/2022 RISE’s self-funded helpline service handled almost as many referrals as the commission service from Victim Support, resulting in considerably more clients receiving ongoing support from RISE than from Victim Support over the course of the year. The draft community safety strategy on the agenda today states an intention to offer a coordinated and improved service. Will you make a commitment to pursue that aim by returning to an integrated service for women subjected to domestic abuse, provided by trusted specialists such as those provided by RISE up to March 2021?


56.6 The Chair then gave the following response:


Thank you for your question. I don’t think we can commit to anything yet but what we can commit to is some of the work Councillor Powell previously did on the cross party group that was looking at social value in procurement and so we can make sure that the commissioning of that service and the specification for the service is tightened up – so I think we can commit to that process first of all but those decisions are for further down the line. You also mentioned the community safety strategy so we might be able to touch on that if Councillors want to look at that specific reference. We can’t give a clear commitment today but we do acknowledge that there does need to be more integrated services and we will be taking that forward when that decision is made which will be in the next term of the Council.


56.7 The Chair noted that Leon Golstein wasn’t present at the meeting, and so read out the following responses to the questions found on page 5 of Addendum 1:


In order to be included in the council’s Local List of Heritage Assets a building must be considered to meet the criteria set out in the council’s Planning Advice Note on Local Listing, which was approved at committee in 2015 following public consultation. St Catherine’s Lodge comprises four large semi-detached houses dating from c1854 that were conjoined in c1927, with a new central link addition, to form a single hotel.  The building is considered by heritage officers to meet the approved criteria, despite some later unsympathetic alterations. This is due to its overall architectural, townscape and historic interest and because the style of the original houses is unusual in this area, which forms part of the Cliftonville conservation area. There is no known public record of, or evidence for, the previous existence of a much older house on this site and this part of Hove is not known to have been developed until the 19th century.


A commemorative plaque, as mentioned in the question, can add to public understanding and appreciation of a historic building or site, but is a separate form of recognition that may supplement local listing rather than replacing it.


56.8 The Chair then read out the response to the supplementary question submitted by Leon Golstein:


Any future planning proposals for the building on the site would be subject to public consultation and consideration of the benefits of any scheme. The council cannot pre-judge the outcome of any future public consultation.


56.9 The Chair invited Nicola Benge to put the question found on page 5 of Addendum 1 to Committee and gave the following response:


Both Victim Support and Stonewater developed a range of publicity materials to let residents and potential service users know about their services. Pamphlets for both services are available and have been distributed across services and community spaces in Brighton and Hove.


In addition, the websites of both services include details of the services delivered in Brighton and Hove. Victim Support promoted their Live Time HelpLine and confirm that many survivors seek support out of hours via this method. 


Stonewater also regularly use Twitter to share local updates.


A large number of events have been attended which have all helped to publicise the service. However, during the first two years of the contract, the realities of COVID and mobilisation meant that awareness was prioritised by:


1)         Working with partners to raise our profile with victims - especially those who specialise in protected characteristics, and


2)       Publicity via both the local VS website and the SaferSussex website. This led to significant numbers of self-referrals both via the form on our website and through survivors accessing our 24/7web chat and 24/7 contact line at our National Contact Centre.  


With the increasing range of specialist IDVAs coming on line there is now capacity to publicise across a wider range of community locations including Hospitals, GP Surgeries, Children and Young Persons facilities.


56.10 The Chair then invited Nicola Benge to ask the supplementary question found on page 5 of Addendum 1 and gave the following response:


A wide range of engagement has taken place since 2021. This included working with B&H Victim Hub, the LGBTQ+ Switchboard, Fulfilling Lives, the High Harm Perpetrator Program, trans pride, providing training and consultation and speaking on a large range of podcasts and events.


There is a full list of events and activities that they have been doing over the past few years and officers will send details over to you afterwards. Officers are also happy to discuss how these can be better promoted in the future.


56.11 The Chair invited Dave Boyle to present the deputation found on page 7 of Addendum 1, and gave the following response:


The cross-party Members Advisory Group on Grants (MAG) meeting of 13th December 2021 considered a second report from officers. At that meeting, a compromise position was agreed and the wording of that decision was that that all Community Benefit Societies which can or do pay interest on share investments would be excluded from the Communities Fund. There is an element of individual personal gain and as such does not fit with the core purpose of the Communities Fund.


Members were very clear in their view that the potential to pay interest to the individual members of CBS ran against the core principles of the Communities Fund. However, to be clear, the decision means that a Community Benefit Society which does not have the means to pay interest to its members, by virtue of the Constitution of that Society, would be eligible to apply for funding from the Communities Fund. So, the advice is to ensure that there is something included in the Constitution of the CBS that explicitly states that interest payments will not be taken by the members.


Some added context: the Communities Fund is massively oversubscribed and for 2023/24 we received 122 applications requesting £752,807. The total available funding is £397,000; more than 50% of requested funding had to be rejected. This may mean that CBS applications are still rejected.


56.12 The Committee then noted the deputation.






Supporting documents:


Brighton & Hove City Council | Hove Town Hall | Hove | BN3 3BQ | Tel: (01273) 290000 | Mail: | how to find us | comments & complaints