Venue: Surrey Heath House
Contact: Andrew Crawford Democratic Services Officer
The Chairman welcomed Members to the first meeting of the municipal year and in particular, welcomed Councillor Mrs Vivienne Chapman, the Community Portfolio Holder, who had agreed to give a presentation and answer Members’ questions on her portfolio.
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 23 March 2016.
The open and exempt minutes of the meeting held on the 23 March 2016 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.
Councillor Mrs Vivienne Chapman referred Members to the elements of her brief as Community Portfolio Holder. She noted that the Council would continue to face a number of challenges in her areas of responsibility, notably around funding streams, the projected increase in the proportion of the community over 85 and most services being discretionary. She highlighted, in particular, the following:
Community Services – The Council was expanding a successful telecare package, including community alarms, pill dispensers, an extensive range of sensors and detectors including gas, CO2, fall and smoke alarms, plus GPS tracking and care calls for people with dementia. In addition, the Council ran a growing ‘meals at home’ service, 365 days a year and a well-used ‘Dial a Ride’ service, for which there were a number of plans for expansion.
The Windle Valley Day Centre was now providing day care, Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. with a combination of trained carers and volunteers, plus a hairdresser and foot health practitioner. A Saturday Club had now been opened for both people living with dementia and their carers.
Members were advised that, if they were aware of any residents who would benefit from a befriender service, they should contact the Operations Manager for Community Services.
Members highlighted concerns on the impact of future funding cuts. It was, however, noted that the Council was working with other councils and partner organisations to mitigate any impacts. The Executive Head of Community agreed to circulate details of funding streams for the period up to 2020.
Environmental Health – The Council had a team of 7 Environmental Officers covering a range of duties, including food safety, health and safety, air quality monitoring, statutory nuisance investigation and control, dog control and pest control, including an out of hours service. The Home Improvement Agency would be transferring to Regulatory Services, to have all functions under one service.
Recycling and Refuse – In 2014/15, the Council had recycled or composted 63% of municipal waste produced, making the Authority the top performing Council in Surrey and 4th in the UK. In dry recyclables, the Council was the top performing Council in the UK. This area would be the subject of a report later in the agenda.
The Council was participating in a Joint Waste Contract, with Woking, Mole Valley, Elmbridge Borough Councils and Surrey County Council and was in an advanced stage of negotiations with 3 tenderers.
Traveller Sites – The Council currently managed 2 sites on behalf of Surrey County Council (SCC), but SCC would be taking back management in September 2016.
Members queried what contingency plans were in place for illegal incursions. The Executive Head of Community referred Members to the close work in this area between Environmental Heath Officers, the Council’s Legal Services Team and Surrey Police. The Executive Head of Regulatory Services outlined the measures in place for incursions onto Council Land. She emphasised, however, that the Council had no powers over private land.
Councillor Chris Pitt reported on the ... view the full minutes text for item 3/PF
The Committee received a report and presentation on the work and performance of the Housing Services team, including the Housing Services Position Statement and Work Plan for 2016/17.
The Team had sought to develop and deliver a range of housing and housing services that promoted the health and well-being of residents and the wider community through:
1. Providing effective, customer focused housing advice that offers a range of options and prevents homelessness;
2. Working with owners, landlords and tenants to maintain, adapt and improve their homes to meet current and future needs;
3. Joint working with statutory, voluntary and private sector partners to offer residents the right housing and support at the right time to meet their needs;
4. Developing joint strategies designed to promote independence and re-enablement, supporting effective service delivery across a range of partners and reducing pressure on health and social services; and,
5. Promoting and providing evidence to support the delivery of new homes and investment in the current housing stock to meet the Borough’s current and future housing requirements.
The success or otherwise of the above would be reflected in a number of key indicators, namely:
• Increasing the number of households who have their homelessness prevented through advice and assistance year on year;
• Limiting the use of bed and breakfast by not placing households unless in an emergency and with no accepted household being placed in shared facility B&B for longer than 6 weeks;
• Delivering new affordable homes;
• Increasing the number of homes where category 1 and 2 hazards are eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level;
• Ensuring all Housing related complaints are investigated and resolved, using enforcement powers where necessary;
• Delivering a Home Improvement Agency that is responsive, cost effective and maximises the benefit of available grant;
• Increasing the number of households assisted into the private rented sector;
• Meeting the Silver Standard in the delivery of homelessness in 2017; and,
• Achieving 70% positive outcomes for Team Around the Person clients.
The Housing Services Manager highlighted a shortage in the Borough of suitable new rented accommodation, making it a challenge to meet some of the targets set for the Team. Members expressed concern at the low levels of affordable housing both built and planned.
There were currently only 2 households in bed and breakfast accommodation and one of these had alternative accommodation to move to.
As at November 2015, there were 18 rough sleepers in the Borough. Members noted that an all-night café had been opened in Camberley by a charitable organisation, which could be attracting homeless people from further afield. Given that people coming into Camberley from elsewhere would not be entitled to assistance in this area, it would be important to ensure that they were reconnected to their real home areas.
Part of the work of the Housing Team was to mitigate the impact of welfare reforms, particularly for single homeless people. Members were informed that 3 out of every 4 people in ... view the full minutes text for item 4/PF
The Executive Head of Community presented an update on the Surrey Heath Waste Action Plan, which had been agreed by the Executive in November 2015. The report provided audited data for 2014/15 and compared to performance in 2013/14 and against the performance of the other collecting authorities in Surrey.
The Council was aiming to be the best performing authority in the UK and despite an increasing population, had reduced household waste levels. This had been reflected in the receipt of a Performance Incentive Award from the Surrey Waste Partnership, of £65,000, which was being invested back into recycling initiatives.
Surrey Heath was the top recycling authority in Surrey and was only surpassed nationally by authorities which recycled their garden waste. Whilst having a very successful garden waste club, this Council had been challenging the Environment Agency, through the Surrey Waste Partnership, on the composting of highway leaves, having established that any contamination was within acceptable levels.
The Executive Head of Community reported that the Joint Waste Management Contract processes had reached the stage where final tenders had been submitted by 3 shortlisted companies. These would be assessed on value for money and quality. Following this assessment, there would be meetings of the Executive and Council held on 8 November 2016, when authority would be sought for the inter-authority agreement and the purchase of vehicles.
In response to a Member query, the Executive Head confirmed that whilst fly tipping was lower than in neighbouring Boroughs, Environmental Health officers were working closely with colleagues to both enforce and prosecute fly tippers. It was too early to assess any impact from Surrey County Council’s decision to reduce the hours of the Wilton Road Recycling Centre and it was noted that the number of recycling options at Council ‘Bring’ sites had been reduced due to high levels of contamination. He agreed to circulate fly tipping data electronically.
Resolved, that the Committee notes the performance achieved in meeting the targets and milestones set out in the Surrey Heath Waste Action plan 2016 – 2020.
The Committee had received a report in September 2015 on services provided by the Council to promote independent living. The Executive Head of Community presented an update, focussing on the range of services provided to older and vulnerable people living in the Borough with the aim of allowing those individuals to remain at home independently and safely for as long as possible.
Surrey Heath had an aging population, with people becoming increasingly frail. It was estimated that from 2012 to 2020 there would be an increase of 12% in those suffering from dementia in Surrey. In Surrey Heath, that percentage increase could be as high as 31%.
The vast majority of services in this area were discretionary, with the notable exception of disabled grants. The Council received grant funding from Surrey County Council of approximately £250,000, but Members noted concerns about funding cuts and how these could impact on services such as day care, community alarms, meals at home and community transport.
The Executive Head of Community reported that funding had been secured for this municipal year. The Council worked closely with partner organisations, including the Clinical Commissioning Group, Surrey County Council and voluntary sector organisations such as Age Concern, to meet the challenges of reducing funding and increasing demand. The Council was also working with Runnymede Council to better manage services and drive down costs.
Members were reminded that a befriending pilot had been set up in the Heatherside Ward. The Council was working with Age Concern to find befrienders for people living with dementia and other vulnerable residents. To date, up to 50 residents had benefitted.
There were already further befriender packages available in Surrey and a range of other services for older people, both within and outside the Borough. The Council had been running ‘Making It Real’ events twice a year, seeking to coordinate these disparate groups.
The Council’s Community Actions Coordinator, Nigel Drury, currently issued updates to all networks on developments and he would be asked to include Members in the circulation of these updates.
Whilst the Council was not necessarily a commissioner for all community services needed in the Borough, the Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group was almost coterminous with the Borough boundaries and a joint commissioning group had been established, involving the CCG, Adult Social Services and this Council, with the Executive Head of Community as the Council representative.
Resolved, that the performance and achievements for 2015/2016 and the proposed work plan for 2016/2017 be noted.
The Committee considered an update on air quality data produced in the Borough with comparisons to Government set targets and this Council’s Air Quality Action Plan.
Members noted the current position and sought clarification on what impact the M3 had on the Air Quality Management Area and how this would be affected by changes in speed limit policies for that motorway.
The Executive Head of Community reported that it was planned that the Council would have real time measurements to compare the impact of changes to speed management on the M3.
Resolved, that the Executive be advised that the current air monitoring programme should be maintained and reviewed following the conclusions of future Statutory Air Quality reports submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
To consider the establishment of any task and finish working groups.
The Committee considered a proposal from Councillor Victoria Wheeler to establish a Task and Finish Group to consider the impact on the Borough of the Government’s welfare reform programme.
Councillor Bill Chapman reported that Surrey County Council had already established a Member group to consider impacts of welfare reform and that group had produced a report which could be used as a starting point for any Borough consideration.
The Chairman noted that, were Members inclined to establish such a Group, it would need to seek the Council Leader’s authority, as the proposed work would be outside of the Committee’s remit.
The proposal was put to a vote and lost
It was proposed that officers be asked to circulate a copy of the SCC report to Members prior to the next meeting, to permit informed consideration. In the meantime, the Chairman would discuss the proposal with the Council Leader.
Resolved, that a copy of the report of the Surrey County Council Member Group on the issue of the impacts of welfare reform be circulated to all Members prior to the next meeting.
The Chairman proposed that each meeting should be geared around one portfolio and that the reports going to the meeting should, where possible, be linked to that portfolio holder’s areas of responsibility.
The agenda for the next meeting would include the report on Performance in 2015/16 and the Annual Plan for 2016/17. It was anticipated that the Council Leader and Chief Executive would attend that meeting for consideration of these reports.
It was hoped that, for future meetings, Portfolio Holders would submit a report prior to the meeting on their 4 key priorities. Members would be asked to submit questions in advance where possible, so that more issues could be addressed at the meeting rather than requiring written responses.
A draft Work Programme would be submitted for Members’ consideration at the September 2016 meeting.
Resolved, that the report be noted and that the changes outlined above be agreed.