Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Housing & Community Safety Select Committee (ceased to operate 03/06/2015) Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 26th February, 2015
Time:
2.30pm
Place:
Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central Library, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1TU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Derrick Brown (In the Chair), Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Phillip Dennis, Cllr Robert Gibson
Officers:
Ms V.Hatton, Ms J.Higgins (DNS); N.Hart, P.Mennear (LD).
In Attendance:
M.Anderson (Cleveland Police); Mike Robinson (Stockton District Advice and Information Service).
Apologies for absence:
submitted on behalf of Cllrs Cherrett, Javed, Large and Wilburn.
Item Description Decision
Public
HCS
55/14
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
HCS
56/14
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
HCS
57/14
MINUTES FOR SIGNATURE - 15TH JANUARY 2015
AGREED that the minutes be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
HCS
58/14
DRAFT MINUTES - 5TH FEBRUARY 2015
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
HCS
59/14
SCRUTINY REVIEW OF NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING
AGREED that the draft final report be approved, as amended, and be referred to Cabinet for consideration.
HCS
60/14
WELFARE REFORM UPDATE
AGREED that:-

1. The content of the report and information provided, be noted.

2. The Quarter 3 performance monitoring outcomes and observations be noted.
HCS
61/14
WORK PROGRAMME
AGREED that the information be noted.
HCS
62/14
CHAIR'S UPDATE
 
2.30pm-3.45pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
HCS
55/14
The evacuation procedure was noted.
HCS
56/14
There were no Declarations of Interest declared.
HCS
57/14
The minutes of the meeting held on 15th January 2015 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
HCS
58/14
Consideration was given to the draft minutes of the meeting held on 5th February 2015.
HCS
59/14
Consideration was given to the Committee's draft final report in respect of the Scrutiny Review of Neighbourhood Policing.

M.Anderson (Cleveland Police) updated the Committee with the latest crime statistics which revealed that:-

-there was a forecasted crime increase in the Borough of 1.8% at the year end;
-this increase compared favourably elsewhere in the sub region with all authorities showing an increase of 4.2% or higher;
-there was a predicted 5% reduction at year end in the number of ASB incidents in the Borough;
-ASB incidents had increased in a small number of Wards, most notably Stockton Town Centre, Norton North and therefore additional Police resources had been deployed in these areas to address the problems.

An update on the statistics would be included within the draft report.

Members noted:-

-the number of Police officers in the force had reduced from over 1,700 to around 1,333 officers in recent times;
-the priority being given to attendance management to support staff, including return to work interviews;
-the occasional requirement to request officers to work a rest day at times of peak demand on the basis that this rest day would be reimbursed;
-the structure of Stockton's Integrated Neighbourhood Team and how these resources were split between the main town centre areas and neighbouring communities depending upon where there was demand for the service.

The Committee also referred to the draft recommendations and requested that these be amended to value the work of the Safer Stockton Partnership, and the importance of maintaining representation on the Partnership from all appropriate bodies.

HCS
60/14
Members were presented with an update report in respect of its oversight of the Welfare Reform agenda; which included the latest Quarter 3 monitoring of the outcomes/impact.

Members noted that:-

-further analysis was to be undertaken and would be shared with members;
-dialogue had commenced recently with DWP regards sanctions and Universal Credit;
-recent trends indicated a reduction in the number of sanction enquiries received by SDAIS since Summer 2014, although enquiries were still regularly being received regarding rights of appeal and access to hardship payments;
-there were 'pockets' in the Borough with higher number of sanctions than others and officers intended to seek the help of the Institute of Local Government to examine these numbers, and the reasons for them, in more detail in order to find an explanation;
-SDAIS would assist the DWP in their efforts to identify vulnerable people; eg recognising the signs of Learning Disability, mental health awareness etc;
-it was thought that DWP needed to get better at this, and when assisting claimants with non-traditional qualifications;
-sample sizes were requested regards the pie chart information presented;
-over 60% of clients, in the study by SDAIS, had advised that they had either not been informed of the intention to sanction them; or had found the information provided to be unclear;
-some amendments had since been made to the information provided, however, the impact of these changes was awaited;
-as of 23rd February 2015, existing Disability Living Allowance claimants could elect to claim Personal Independence Payments and be entitled to claim if their condition had worsened however they may not be better off;
-officers would monitor and report to members on the progress of the Universal Credit that was being rolled out in Hartlepool for single claimants with no dependents. Stockton would follow in a later tranche of implementation in December 2015 and SBC was arranging further discussions with DWP;
-It was noted that there was no TUPE arrangements in place for the current Housing Benefit staff and the administration grant the Council received would be reduced over time.

The Committee endorsed the need for further updates on Welfare Reform post elections; and it was noted that the topic had been approved for inclusion on the Scrutiny Work Programme for 15/16 and on-going monitoring.

The SDAIS representative commented that he found the on-going engagement with the Committee to be helpful.


HCS
61/14
This meeting was the final meeting of the agreed Work Programme for the Committee.
HCS
62/14
The Chair thanked members of the Committee for their contribution to the business considered by the Committee during the year; and in particular for their assistance during his time as acting Chair to the Committee.

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