Agenda and minutes

Partnerships and Governance Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 10th October, 2016 14:00

Venue: Committee Rooms 2/3, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

Contact: Mr Mark Anthony Galvin 

Items
No. Item

53.

Apologies for Absence

To receive for apologies for absence from Members.   

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the following Members:

 

Councillor M Jones

Councillor JR McCarthy

Councillor D Patel

Councillor KJ Watts

Councillor C Reeves – Cabinet Member Communities

54.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including Whipping Declarations)

Minutes:

Councillor AD Owen declared a personal interest in agenda item 4 – the Council’s Critical Incident Policy and Procedure as he is employed by the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service which is mentioned briefly in the report.  

55.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To receive for approval, the minutes of a meeting of the Partnerships and Governance Overview and Scrutiny Committee dated 4 July 2016

Minutes:

RESOLVED:            That the minutes of the Partnerships & Governance Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 4 July 2016 be approved as a true and accurate record.   

56.

The Council's Critical Incident Policy and Procedure pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Invitees:

Councillor C Reeves – Cabinet Member Communities

M Shephard – Corporate Director Communities

Z Shell – Head of Neighbourhood Services

G Ennis – Group Manager Business Support

K Mulcahy – Group Manager Highways Services

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer introduced a report on the Council’s Critical incident Policy and Procedure which outlined the current Emergency Planning documents in place which support the planning and response to a major incident, including the Strategic, Tactical and Operational Command structure.  She stated that the report also looked at the collaborative arrangements in place and how the emergency services and other agencies work together.  It also explained how the Council plans for specific events such as inclement weather and biomass fire.

 

The Corporate Director Communities gave an overview of the Council’s responsibilities and the role of Emergency Planning where the Council is prepared to respond to any major emergency it is faced with.  He informed the Committee that the Council has a very strong focus in relation to communications and social care in emergency planning maintaining public services and assisting residents.  He stated that the Council’s role in responding to a major emergency is to support the emergency services and it will later take the lead for restoration and rehabilitation during the “Recovery” stage. 

 

The Committee referred to emergency planning being available on a 24/7 basis and questioned what services are available out of hours to respond to incidents such as flooding and snowfalls and which can be contacted by Members.  The Group Manager Highways informed the Committee that the Council provides out of hours cover, usually with two members of staff on standby.  Generally, the Council would have advance warnings of severe weather conditions and the potential for flooding and in those circumstances the Council would increase the number of staff on standby.  He stated that the Council has gritting teams at its disposal during the winter months.   

 

The Committee questioned the resources available for the delivery of sandbags in the event of flooding at night and weekends.  The Group Manager Highways informed the Committee that the Council would assist households faced with the threat of flooding by dispatching sandbags at short notice and also confirmed that they offer the public the ability to collect sandbags from the Council’s depot.  The Group Manager Business Support informed the Committee of the arrangements it has in place in dealing with major flooding incidents with the fire service and Highways Duty Officer.  If the need arises, the Council would set up a centre where residents could evacuate to and there are support arrangements in place with the WRVS to provide supplies of food and drink.  However, most residents would self-evacuate their homes and stay with relatives and friends. 

 

The Committee questioned the arrangements available for Members to notify of incidents which happen out of hours.  The Corporate Director Communities informed the Committee that Members should make contact with out of hours service at the Bryncethin depot.  He stated that it had been necessary due to budget constraints to rationalise the number of staff on call but the Council continues to have resilience out of hours. 

 

In response to a question from the Committee, the Scrutiny Officer stated that she would contact the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Social Housing - Partnership Working with Residential Social Landlords pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Invitees:

Councillor CE Smith – Cabinet Member Regeneration and Economic Development

PA Jolley – Corporate Director Operational and Partnership Services

A Bowen – Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer introduced a report on Social Housing which gave an overview of how the Council is working in partnership with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), including advising of the Welsh Government’s responsibilities and governance arrangements for RSLs. 

 

The Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration reported on partnership working with RSLs, on an update on the Social Housing Programme and advised how services provided under the Supporting People Programme contribute to homeless prevention and better outcomes for service users and the wider community.

 

The Committee questioned how the Council is notified of V2C dwellings which are vacant.  The Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration informed the Committee that the Council is only notified of vacant dwellings when they are available for possession.  This is to avoid incurring costs of providing temporary housing costs to nominees whilst the accommodation underwent repairs or improvements by V2C.  She stated that RSLs had responsibility for ensuring that Welsh Government targets on void properties are met.

 

In response to a question from the Committee, the Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration confirmed that families who refuse an offer of accommodation must give reasons for doing so.  The Committee questioned the reason why a RSL had recently been granted planning consent without outside amenity space which appeared to be at variance with the Council’s own standards.  The Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration informed the Committee that this would be due to  families with older children not necessarily requiring outdoor amenity space whereas families with younger children would require such amenity space to play.  She stated that increasingly children continued to live at home longer with their parents as opposed to finding their own accommodation.  The social housing scheme being developed in Bridgend town centre would be aimed at being let to adults without young children due to its proximity to night time economy establishments. 

 

The Committee welcomed the change in focus by the Council and its RSL partners in developing smaller units of accommodation as part of the Social Housing Programme.  The Committee referred to a BBC News report of today which reported that 900 families had been made homeless by RSLs in Wales, with 500 of those families having children and questioned the steps being taken by the local authority to reduce these levels.  The Group Manager Housing and Community Regeneration informed the Committee that the authority actively worked with RSLs to reduce the homelessness numbers, particularly since the introduction of Welfare Reform where campaigns had been run.  Work was undertaken with families with children to avoid eviction action being taken.  She stated that some families leave it critically too late in the eviction process before approaching the authority for advice and assistance.  She also informed the Committee that the authority did not place families with children who were homeless into B&B accommodation.  She stated that many families are reluctant to accept the financial hardship they find themselves in and are also often reluctant to declare the extent of their indebtedness with all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Forward Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer presented a report which detailed the items to be considered at the next meeting of the Committee on 21 November 2016 and presented a list of further potential items for prioritisation by the Committee.   

Conclusions                  

 

The Committee noted the items to be considered at its meeting on 21 November 2016 and scheduled the Domestic Abuse Strategy item for the meeting of 6 December 2016 and Community Cohesion – Local Delivery Plan for the meeting of 6 February 2017.  

59.

Urgent Items

To consider any items of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency. 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.