Agenda and minutes

Virtual, Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 25th June 2020 5.30 pm

Venue: Legislation has been passed that allows Council's to conduct Committee meetings remotely

Contact: Howard Bassett, Democratic Services Officer  Telephone 01392 265107 or email

No. Item




These were received from Councillors Begley and Pattison.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 180 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 6 February 2020.



The minutes of the meeting of the Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee held on 6 February 2020 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.




Questions from the Public Under Standing Order No. 19

For a period of six months, all questions submitted to Scrutiny must only relate to Covid-19 matters.


For details about how to speak at Committee, please click the following link -


Questions must be submitted by 10am three working days before the meeting.  For example, if the meeting is being held on a Thursday, questions must be submitted by 10am on the Monday before the meeting, in this case 22 June 2020.


No questions from members of the public were received.



Presentation on Covid-19 by Portfolio Holders and Questions from Members and Answers pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Portfolio Holder briefing note attached.


Portfolio Holder for Supporting People – Councillor Morse

Portfolio Holder for Council Development and Services – Councillor Wright


Details of questions from Members relating to the two Portfolios above on Covid-19 issues only should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am the Monday before the meeting – 22 June 2020.


Additional documents:


The Chair invited the two Portfolio Holders to present their respective briefing notes.


The schedule of questions from Members submitted in advance of the meeting, together with the answers provided at the meeting are set out in the appendix to these minutes. The supplementary questions and answers given at the meeting are set out below for each Portfolio.


Portfolio Holder for Supporting People - Councillor Morse - in presenting her briefing note referred to the necessary closure of the Customer First area and the on-going support for vulnerable people made possible by the continuing commitment and hard work of Customer First, Housing, Public Health and HMO Licensing staff.


Responses to supplementary questions arising from the original questions from the Committee Members indicated.


1              Councillor K. Mitchell - Are there any additional initiatives planned in respect of rough sleeping due to the Covid-19 outbreak?


Is the funding anticipated from the Government ring fenced?

·                     Regular contact is made with the Homelessness Advisory Support Team tor updates on when the additional funding recently announced, as well as the previous funding for the Rough Sleeper initiatives, can be expected, details of which will be circulated when known. Both funds are ring fenced.


     2     Councillor K. Mitchell - What initiatives are to be taken with regard to rough sleepers particularly in the City Centre and will other Members be involved?

            Is priority given to rough sleepers from the Exeter area?


·                     although every effort was made to house rough sleepers at the Great Western Hotel, not all agreed to be housed and some who were accommodated did not remain. Robust outreach work with this cohort continues to offer alternative accommodation and all Members will be appraised of progress;

·                     contact is made with the respective local authorities and their local agencies regarding those sleeping rough in Exeter who are not from this area in order to seek their return to their local connection. Regard is had to avoid unnecessary travel during the crisis and to help disease control;

·                     highly experienced staff work with the homeless, often with a detailed knowledge of an individual’s particular circumstances, including potential risks to those cases of domestic abuse. In these circumstances, contact is made with the relevant agencies to ensure the safe return of the individuals when the time is appropriate;

·                     figures will be provided on homeless numbers; and

·                     it would have been helpful for the Government to have followed its announcement on the availability of extra funding with detailed information on the scheme including the timing of the release of funds.


3          Councillor K. Mitchell and Councillor M. Mitchell - Should any future guidance to private sector landlords come from the City Council rather than a range of other agencies who also offer guidelines in respect of this sector?


Given the existence of some particularly poorly managed properties will discussions, including a roadshow, be held with the University prior to its re-opening later this year for lessons to be learnt and good practise reinforced?


·                     the City Council is not in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.