Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722006, 722085 

Items
No. Item

30.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Mackay for Councillor Ditta.

31.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councilors Bisset, Cawthorne, S. Hodgson and Stanley -  Hodgson – item 32 (Public Participation) – as members of Worcester Arts Council.

 

The declarations were made retrospectively after the speaker had addressed the Committee.

32.

Public Participation

To receive details of any Members appointed to attend the meeting instead of a Member of the Committee.

 

Minutes:

George Squires spoke in his capacity as Chairman of Worcester Arts Council relation to item 41 (Quarter 3 Performance Report), and specifically the number of Small Community Grants awarded as shown on page 54 of the agenda. He explained the role of Worcester Arts Council in promoting the arts in Worcester and the many events and projects that it has supported. Its members were able to apply for small grants of up to £500 to deliver projects and events. The City Council had recently changed the way it funds outside organisations via the small community grants scheme. As Worcester Arts Council is not a community group or voluntary sector organisation, and does not deliver projects, it no longer qualifies for a grant. Whilst it enables other organisations to do so. Many of its members no longer qualified for these grants for the same reasons. Furthermore the criteria under the new scheme requires match funding and has to be to deliver for a specific project. As a consequence, there is now a major funding gap in supporting the arts in Worcester. Mr. Squires urged the Committee to look again at what can be done by the Council to support the arts community in Worcester.

 

The Chairman thanked him for his contribution.

 

33.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Of the meeting held on 28th October 2020 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 28th October 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

34.

Annual Update Report - Single and Childless Couples Homelessness Prevention Service (HoPES) Contract pdf icon PDF 355 KB

That the Committee:–

 

1.   note the contents of this report; and

 

2.   note that a further report for decision will be brought to this Committee in March 2021 ahead of the existing contract period coming to an end in September 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on delivery by CCP of the Single and Childless Couples Homelessness Prevention Service (HoPES) across Worcestershire. The Head of Strategic Housing introduced the report and explained the background to the contract, which was awarded in 2019 for 2 years with an option to extend for a further year if mutually agreed by the funding partners and CCP. The 2 year period would come to an end on 30 September 2021.

 

She highlighted that Officers have no issues with the operational performance or achievement of outcomes in respect of this contract. Ahigh level of performance had been achieved by CCP throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. A further report will be brought back to this Committee in March 2021 seeking a decision on whether to extend the contract for a 1 year period or to undertake a different approach.

 

A presentation was made to the Committee by Ross Webber, Service Manager, CCP and Tim Power, Senior Manager, CCP.  The presentation explained  CCP’s ongoing response to The Covid-19 pandemic, highlights from Year 1, barriers for people achieving positive outcomes, primary reasons for homelessness and SWEP usage over Winter 2019/20.

 

In response to questions and comments from Committee Members, Ross Webber confirmed that locally CCP work closely with Worcester CAB/WHABAC.

 

Committee Members thanked the presenters for the work undertaken by CCP and its partner agencies. Tim Power explained that he will be overseeing the Worcestershire contract going forward. Ross is taking up a new role shortly and a successor has been appointed.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee:

 

1.    note the contents of this report; and

 

2.    note that a further report for decision will be brought to this Committee in March 2021 ahead of the existing contract period coming to an end in September 2021.

35.

Setting of the Budget for 2021/22 and MTFP to 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 207 KB

1.   That the Committee note the proposed Budgets for the various services identified for 2021/22;

 

2.   That the Committee consider the priorities within each service and recommends any change for the services’ Budgets including the Income and Efficiency plans;

 

3.   That the Committee consider the services’ Capital Programme and future projects and recommends any changes or additions; and

 

4.   That the Committee reviews any new budget proposals from members and makes recommendations to Policy and Resources Committee as appropriate.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the proposed budgets for Community Services for 2021/22. The Committee reviewed the priorities within each service and the initiatives proposed in the Income and Efficiency plan, and reviewed the City Plan allocations. The Committee also considered the draft Capital Programme to 2024/25. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and Officers responded to questions from Members.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the Committee considered the following proposals from Members for amounts to be made available for new schemes:

 

·         Capital funding of £40k to replace the astroturf at the Play Area in Warndon Villages North. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources advised that capital schemes are added to the capital programme once a detailed business case has been prepared and approved. The Corporate Director – Homes and Communities added that ownership of this site will be picked up as part of a wider piece of work being undertaken by officers on the  adoption of land in the Warndon area. The Committee agreed in principle to proceed with this proposal, subject to a business case being brought to a future meeting of this Committee for approval.

 

·         Child Poverty Task & Finish Group – The work of the Group had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic response. It was proposed that a contingency of £50k be established so that once the final report has been prepared and considered, the key outcomes can be taken forward. There was a debate about the funding source. Officers undertook to explore options prior to the meeting of Policy and Resources Committee on 9 February. There was further debate about whether the sum identified would be sufficient and whether a decision should be delayed until the Group’s findings are published. Following the debate, the proposal was seconded and upon being put to the vote was agreed.

 

·         Ward Councillors Funding for Covid 19 and recovery – It was proposed that budget provision be made for every Member to have a fund of £2k made available to support to support Ward-based responses to the pandemic, utilisation of the monies to be determined by each Ward Member. The total provision would therefore be £70k. It was anticipated that this could be funded from appropriate national grant schemes. Committee Members expressed support for the proposal, subject to Officers drawing up criteria and guidelines for the scheme. The proposal was seconded and upon being put to the vote was agreed.

 

·         Support to Worcester Citizens Advice Bureau – It was proposed to allocate £35k to provide additional capacity to meet the increased demand for the service due to the economic impact of Covid-19, in particular the large increase in benefit claimants. The allocation would be for one year’s support, to be drawn from the Hardship Fund. Committee Members expressed support for the proposal, which was in line with Community Recovery Strategy Action Plan. The proposal was seconded and upon being put to the vote was agreed.

 

The Committee proceeded to consider the proposed budgets for Community Services for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Understanding Our Options for Council Led Housing Development pdf icon PDF 353 KB

Report to follow.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report seeking approval to engage specialist housing advice to undertake a piece of work to help the Council identify how it can best intervene in the provision of social and affordable housing within Worcester, based on housing need, and build on current and previous approaches. The report explained the background to the proposal and the proposed project objectives. It was proposed that an allocation of £30,000 from the Affordable Housing Reserve me made to support the proposal.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         Reference was made to the scope of the project. The view was expressed that it should look beyond the city centre and include urban extensions where appropriate.

 

·         A request was made for Officers to keep Members informed, and to provide an opportunity to contribute at an appropriate stage.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    Note the contents of the report and the identified and unmet housing need for the period 2018-2030 as set out within the South Worcestershire Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2018;

 

2.    Approve the engagement of specialist strategic housing advice to work with the Council in order to identify the most effective role the Council can play in order to respond to local housing need;

 

3. delegate authority to the Corporate Director (Homes and Communities) in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Communities Committee to agree a specification document as part of procuring the support set out in recommendation 1.2 and procure and appoint a suitable contractor to deliver this work; and

 

4.  recommend to Policy & Resources Committee the allocation of up to £30,000 from the Affordable Housing Reserve in order to fund this work.

37.

Review of the Worcester City Council Public Spaces Protection Order (No 2 of 2018) - Alcohol pdf icon PDF 148 KB

That the Committee:-

 

1.   Note the contents of this report and in particular that the ‘Public Spaces Protection Order (No 2 of 2018) Alcohol’ is due to expire on 13th August 2021;

 

2.   Approve the undertaking of a four-week public consultation exercise as part of reviewing the Public Spaces Protection Order; and

 

3.   Note that the results of the public consultation, as part of a full review of the Public Spaces Protection Order will be reported back to this Committee in May 2021 for a decision to be taken on its future.

Minutes:

The ‘Public Spaces Protection Order (No 2 of 2018) Alcohol’ was due to expire on 13th August 2021. The Committee considered a report on a proposal to undertake a public consultation exercise gathering residents’ views on their experience of anti-social behaviour as a result of alcohol consumption in public open spaces. The outcome would be reported to the May 2021 meeting of the Committee.

 

In the ensuing discussion, Members were advised that for this particular PSPO, the Police had indicated that the main objective should be the confiscation of alcohol rather than the issue of fixed penalty notices. Enforcement is undertaken by the Police rather than Civil Enforcement Officers.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.  Note the contents of this report and in particular that the ‘Public Spaces Protection Order (No 2 of 2018) Alcohol’ is due to expire on 13th August 2021;

 

2.  Approve the undertaking of a four-week public consultation exercise as part of reviewing the Public Spaces Protection Order; and

 

3.  Note that the results of the public consultation, as part of a full review of the Public Spaces Protection Order will be reported back to this Committee in May 2021 for a decision to be taken on its future.

38.

Rough Sleeper Services

Report to follow.

Minutes:

The Chairman explained that this item had been withdrawn from the agenda.

39.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government White Paper - 'The Charter For Social Housing Residents' pdf icon PDF 225 KB

That the Committee note the contents of this report and the recommendations set out within the ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’ White Paper.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the key proposals contained in the government White Paper ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents,’ published in November 2020. The report explained that, as the Council does not have its own public housing stock or a public landlord role, many of the proposals within the paper will have a limited direct impact on the operations of the Council. 

 

Officers had discussed the implications of the paper with key Registered Housing Providers in Worcester, who had advised that their organisations will likely be responding to Government on the paper. The Council and Registered Providers already worked closely together to ensure high levels of fire and building safety within social housing in the City. Officers would continue to track the progress of this paper and in addition continue to liaise with colleagues from registered housing providers to ensure that full implications are understood and reported and that opportunities are maximised particularly for social housing tenants across the City.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         The Corporate Director – Homes and Communities stated that Officers will address the request made previously at this Committee to consider whether the Council can adopt private rented standards which are higher than the statutory requirements.

 

·         Officers advised that the proposals will bring the standards for social housing in line with the private rented sector. The Council has no power to enforce standards above the statutory requirements.

 

·         There is no provision for the Council to comment on the proposals.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the contents of this report and the recommendations set out within the ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’ White Paper.

40.

Quarter 3 Performance Report for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 186 KB

That the Communities Committee notes the Council’s Quarter 3 performance for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on Quarter 3 performance for the Communities Committee. Officers responded to questions from Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         Small community grants – Officers advised that, if there is an underspend in the current financial year, any remaining funds can be carried over, this will be a decision for Policy and Resources Committee at the outturn stage.

 

·         Medium Community Grants - Officers agreed to put some narrative into the quarter 4 performance report on how many grants have been allocated and whether this aspect can be picked up in the 2021/22 performance indicators.

 

·         With regard to the increase in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents reported in quarter 4, Members were advised that the vast majority of incidents related to breach of Covid-19 regulations.  

 

·         Members asked if, where appropriate, comparative information in future reports can include corresponding periods for 2019 and 2020 due to impact of Covid-19 over the last 12 months.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the Council’s Quarter 3 performance for 2020/21.

41.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.