Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Council Under Standing Order No. 8

Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by no later than 10am on Friday 10 March 2023.



In accordance with Standing Order No. 8, the following question was put by Councillor Rees to the Leader


How will you engage with the County Council, to ensure that they understand the impact of the £1.5 million planned cuts to the homeless prevention services, which will have a significant impact on our Council’s ability to achieve its goals in this area? What more can we all do to reverse these planned cuts?


The Leader requested that the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homelessness Prevention respond to the question.




·         the County Council were consulting on the proposed cuts, having already set and approved the budget in February and there was fear amongst the City Council’s partner agencies that there would be a severe impact on the most vulnerable in the city;

·         engagement was being undertaken through a number of channels;

·         direct discussions were being held between Exeter City Council Members and Devon County Council Members regarding potential impact as further pressure on the County Council was necessary;

·         cross-District engagement was being undertaken through the District Housing Partnership who reported to Team Devon (a Districts and County Council Chief Executive Officer meeting) and a comprehensive cross-District impact assessment, was being collated;

·         Exeter-specific feedback and impact assessment was being prepared for a data audit of households being supported under the direct Devon County Council contract as well as sub-contracting arrangements with Exeter City Council. This included support to Exeter City Council temporary accommodation plus the 11-bed hostel for rough sleepers at Howell Road. This included collating cases where there was a discernible impact on individuals with disabilities, health issues and reducing inequalities; issues aligning with Devon County Council statutory responsibilities. The information would be incorporated into the Team Devon report and also considered by Exeter City Council to contribute to and counter the Devon County Council Impact Assessment;

·         Exeter had requested data returns and impact assessments from its three providers delivering the contract in the city and was supporting them to make their respective and collective representations to Devon County Council. Meetings with senior officers were also being scheduled to assess information alongside viability and mitigation options;

·         Devon County Council did not seem to have considered the impact that the cuts would have on Adult Social Services; and

·         Exeter’s homelessness partner agencies met on 13March 2023 to agree a collated response to the consultation with a view to maximise a one-voice feedback from both Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises and statutory partners.


Councillor Rees, asked a supplementary question as to the level of engagement that had occurred with Devon County Council colleagues and how the level of engagement could be increased to reduce the impact of the cuts?


The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Homelessness Prevention advised that a representative of Devon County Council had not been in attendance at the meeting earlier in the day. He referred to the YMCA not having been consulted by the County Council on the proposals and only hearing of the cuts via Devon Live which was indicative of the level of consultation that had occurred. A co-ordinated response by the District Councils and partner agencies was therefore vital.