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To approve and sign the minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 11 February 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 11 February 2021 were taken as read, approved as correct, for signing by the Chair at the earliest possible convenience.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item. Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made by Members.
Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support via the email@example.com email by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting any questions must be submitted by 10.00am on Monday 29 March 2021.
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No questions from members of the public were received.
Questions from Members of the Council under Standing Order 20
To receive questions from Members of the Council to the relevant Portfolio Holders for this Scrutiny Committee. The Portfolio Holders are:-
Councillor Harvey - Portfolio Holder for City Management
Councillor Ghusain - Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture
Councillor Williams - Portfolio Holder for Supporting People
Councillor Wright - Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development and Services
In accordance with Standing Order No 20 the following questions, which had been circulated in advance to Members of the Committee, had been submitted by Councillor D. Moore, Councillor Wardle and Councillor M. Mitchell respectively.
Questions from Non Committee Members
Councillor D. Moore - Please can the Portfolio Holder provide an update on the development of a community asset transfer policy and the process that will be followed to do so.
Councillor Ghusain, the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture, gave the following response:-
A draft Community Asset Transfer policy was due to go out to consultation earlier this year. This has been postponed as we did not want to go out to consultation at the same time that the Green Spaces consultation was open as there may be some duplication. We will be taking the feedback from the green spaces consultation with plans to go out to consultation on the Community Asset Transfer in June/July. Reports will go to Executive in October.
Supplementary question and answer.
What will be the process of the consultation and will there be in depth work with community organisations and interested community groups or just an on line consultation?
The policy and questions are being drafted for inclusion via an on line consultation. In depth discussions will be of great value and it is proposed to consult the voluntary and community sector in this way through Exeter Connect.
Councillor D. Moore The High Court recently ruled that during the coronavirus crisis councils can legally provide accommodation to people sleeping rough who aren't usually eligible for accommodation because of their immigration status. Will the Portfolio Holder oversee an urgent review of past applications and current provision, working with other local agencies as required to ensure no-one have fallen through the net?
Councillor Williams, the Portfolio Holder for Supporting People, gave the following response:-
Housing Needs is not aware of a recent High Court ruling involving a specific or general case. If Councillor D. Moore could provide a reference/case info we will of course look into it.
The most recent advice including an amendment to normal homelessness legislative practice relating to homeless people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) came in the form of the attached Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) letter dated 24 June 2020. This notified all local housing authorities of the temporary suspension of derogation relating to European Economic Area (EEA) nationals seeking emergency housing in the UK. It basically stated that EEA NRPF nationals could be temporarily provided with accommodation for a period of up to 12 weeks maximum in any period between 24 June 2020 and 31December 2020. After that date proposed new immigration rules would be implemented. To my knowledge these have not yet materialised.
As it was, this perceived relaxation in the application of eligibility for the NRPF cohort was actually restricted in practice. It prohibited the use of statutory funding or access to welfare benefits. So it actually only meant that the ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Presentation by the Active and Healthy People Programme Lead and the Programme Manager Communities.
The Chair welcomed James Bogue, the Active and Healthy People Programme Lead to the meeting. In a detailed and informative presentation he set out the background to the creation of Wellbeing Exeter Partnership, the initial and expanded funding and involvement of a wide range of partners including national bodies and use of national best practice, the governance structure of the Partnership, the contributions made by key participants, notably 13 delivery partners, 17 GP practices, 26 Community Connectors, 12 Community Builders and 4 Community Physical Activity Organisers, the response to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the current position.
The full presentation has been circulated separately to all Members.
The following details were provided on the current position and to inform Members of a forthcoming review of Wellbeing Exeter:-
· the Exeter Community Wellbeing hotline and partnership remain open as part of business as usual;
· shielding formally ended on 31 March 2021 with planning underway to step up in the event of local outbreaks. Currently systems and data sharing agreements run until March 2022;
· Westbank Community Health and Care had withdrawn from the Partnership and their involvement ended on 31 March 2021;
· due to uncertainty regarding funding from the Devon County Council/Clinical Commissioning Group after March 2021, Age UK Exeter and Estuary League of Friends would no longer be part of the Partnership;
· the programme was being reviewed and redesigned with funders, stakeholders and delivery partners to ensure that within available resource, it could continue supporting individuals and communities to improve their health and wellbeing in the post-Covid landscape, focusing on those who have been most impacted by the pandemic;
· an interim March – June operational plan was in place to manage the exit of the three providers and ensure the continued delivery of the programme. The revised model would be rolled out from July onwards; and
· for the future a strong collaborative partnership was proposed involving nine delivery partners with a range of specialisms and reach across the city continues, including working with young people and families, community building and supporting individuals and communities to be more physically active.
The following questions on Wellbeing Exeter had been received prior to the meeting and these, together with the responses of the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture – Councillor Ghusain, are set out below.
Questions from Non Committee Members
Councillor D. Moore Please can the Portfolio Holder explain why the funding for Community Connectors was cut at short notice, and what relationship with GP’s as part of the Exeter Wellbeing model is expected in future?
Councillor D. Moore thanked the Active and Healthy People Programme Lead for his presentation.
Delivery Contracts were terminated with three months’ notice for Community Connectors as a result of uncertainty around future long term funding, the withdrawal of a key delivery partner (Westbank) and the impact of COVID. These factors led towards a decision made by the Wellbeing Exeter Steering Group to review the programme and develop a three year strategy with funding ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Spotlight Review - Consultation Charter
The Spotlight Review met on 16 March 2021, the group comprising Councillors Atkinson, Buswell, Leadbetter, D. Moore and Wardle with Councillor Atkinson appointed Chair. Councillor Atkinson referred Members to the Guide to Community Engagement report – New Conversations – produced by the LGA.
The Review Group considered the LGA document in detail and agreed that it would be appropriate to amend the draft Charter to incorporate elements from the LGA document. As the Spotlight Review group asked to “sign off” a revised draft, it will be amended for further consideration by the group together with a draft framework for consultation plans for report to the next meeting of this Scrutiny Committee and then to Executive and Council.
The Chair reported that the Spotlight Review had met on 16 March 2021, the group comprising Councillors Atkinson, Buswell, Leadbetter, D. Moore and Wardle with Councillor Atkinson appointed Chair. Councillor Atkinson had referred Members to the Guide to Community Engagement report - New Conversations - produced by the LGA.
The Review Group had considered the LGA document in detail and agreed that it would be appropriate to amend the draft Charter to incorporate elements from the LGA document. As the Spotlight Review group had asked to “sign off” a revised draft, it was being amended for further consideration by the group together with a draft framework for consultation plans for report to the next meeting of this Scrutiny Committee and then to Executive and Council.
The Chair invited Members to advise on line should they have any comments on consultation processes.
The Chair thanked Members for their contribution to the Committee during what had been a very interesting and challenging 12 months.