Agenda and minutes

Social Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday 22nd November 2017 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Campus East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE. View directions

Contact: Gurdip Paddan 01707 357349 Email: democracy@welhat.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

17.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2017 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

18.

ACTIONS STATUS REPORT pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) giving an update on actions from the meeting held on 11 October 2017.

19.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor L. Chesterman declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Member of Hertfordshire County Council.

20.

FINESSE MONITORING REPORT - QUARTER 2 pdf icon PDF 232 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and a presentation which provides the Committee with a report from Finesse Leisure detailing its performance against target for Quarter 2.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which formed part of the current client monitoring framework with Finesse Leisure, together with a presentation, which provided information on the current services and performance at the Hatfield Leisure Centre.

 

Members received the visitor numbers on the managed sites and sought clarification on the changes reported and the lower than expected membership growth at the Hatfield Swim Centre this year following the gym refurbishment. 

 

In terms of the membership at the Panshanger Golf Club, Members enquired whether it would be possible to include additional facilities to host weddings in order to improve numbers. Finesse replied they do work in partnership with the operator of the Fairway Tavern to make use of its facilities but, as this is separately leased on a commercial basis by the Council, it is not in their direct control.

 

King George V (KGV) Playing Fields car park was noted as having a water leak which has been resolved.  However, a request was made to consider a subsequent repair the visitor car park as parts of the tarmac had been damaged in places, which causes a problem for vehicles when entering and leaving it.  It was agreed that this would be referred to the Council’s Corporate Property Team, as this is a landlord responsibility on those sites managed by Finesse, and information would be provided to Members following this.

 

Members asked about what measures were in place to entice old members to return to the 3G pitches at the Hatfield Leisure Centre since the playing surfaces had been refurbished following their relocation from the KGV Playing Fields.  It was noted that previous members were contacted and every effort had been made to encourage people to register, with new teams and hirers coming forward over the past six months since this work was done.

 

Previously there had been concern in respect of some flooding in heavy rain and the condition of the bunkers at the Panshanger Golf Course. Members were advised that two of the former 3G pitches at the KGV Playing Fields were now stored at the golf course, and the artificial surface is being cut up and used to support the tees, bunkers and greens across the course as needed.

 

Members were pleased to learn about the completion of the gym refurbishment project at both the Hatfield Centres, Green Flag Awards for KGV Playing Fields and Stanborough Park and the continuation of the Health Walks in Stanborough Park, as these all contributed to healthy living lifestyle.

 

The Committee raised concerns in respect of the dog mess problems at Moneyhole Lane Park, which had recently been reported in the press.  Anti-social behaviour has also been a recent problem with cars having been reported on the playing pitches on at least one occasion.  Members were advised that CCTV was being considered for the car park area as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour along with a more visible policing presence.

 

The accompanying presentation on the work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR REPORT - QUARTER 2 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and accompanying presentation which provides the Committee with the performance indicator data collected for those services that are within its remit.  It provides Quarter 2 data for 2017-18 along with comparative information where available.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and accompanying presentation provided the Committee with the performance indicator data collected for those services that fell within its remit.  It provided Quarter 2 data for 2017-18 along with comparative information where available.

 

Members were invited to present questions and responses were provided on the data presented:

 

  • PI 29 – Members requested assurance that measures were in place to manage the issues relating to households living in temporary accommodation in the Borough.

 

Officer advised that currently there are around 80 households in temporary accommodation, and there has been some movement of households out of temporary accommodation during the last week, but all vacant units have been allocated to households coming in.  It was noted that October had been the busiest month in terms of homeless applications this year to date.

 

  • PI 30 - With regards to the private sector assessments it was reported that there had been a decrease in the last quarter and this was largely due to the time of year.  There had been staff shortages due to health issues within the Team.  The Team was hopeful that it will make up the difference in completed assessments and meet the target for the year.

 

A question was raised in respect of the service being delivered with the recent staff cuts within the Housing Team.  The Executive Director advised that although the Team will be streamlined and duplication will be eliminated and an approach to more joined up working has been taken.  The programme has been designed around improving services for the Borough, including having a more up to date approach to providing online access to our services.

 

Concern was expressed regarding Universal Credit and the impact on local families following its local implementation in December this year.  Members asked how the Council publicised Universal Credit issues, as there were a number of residents who have been reported as being afraid to come forward for help. The possibility of publishing information in respect of Universal Credit in the Life Magazine was suggested – March 2018 issue.  Members noted that families could obtain advice from the Citizen Advice Bureau.  On a related matter it was noted that the Community Hub in Hatfield would not be closed.

 

  • PI 33 – Members were pleased with the repairs performance and the process implemented.

 

  • PI 39 – Members were advised of the methodology used for collecting KPIs, which changed in April 2017 and the two changes were made as follows: a) The survey question format was changed. The reason for changing was to allow for benchmarking our results directly with our peers within the sector.  b)  The collation method used also changed. Previously we would randomly select and complete telephone surveys. Now, we select 100% and first try to complete survey over the phone, and if unsuccessful send out a postal survey for completion. Officers advised that these changes provided the Council with a good understanding of what the issues were for customers.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

THE PUBLIC HEALTH PARTNERSHIP FUND UPDATE pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) which provides Members with an update on the progress of the public health “district offer” actions. The district offer has been an exciting and innovative mechanism to deliver public health initiatives between Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Minutes:

The report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), provided Members with an update on the progress of the public health ‘district offer’ actions.  The district offer had been an exciting and innovative mechanism to deliver public health initiatives between Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC).

 

Members noted that funding from HCC was originally proposed at £100,000 per year for three years but due to government reductions in public sector spending this had been reduced to £230,000 and phased over a longer period.

 

The Officer presented the report and the presentation on the projects.  Members were pleased with the Healthfest update which was now an established annual event in Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.  Members acknowledged the need for the public to make lifestyle choices to keep well.

 

The Officer advised that in recent years we have significantly increased our level of air quality monitoring. The new locations have been situated with relevance to the local plan but also in locations where we suspect there could be poor air quality. We have currently got 24 diffusion tube locations which is a significant increase from the 6 locations we had in 2012  The Council undertakes the monitoring of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) using non-continuous methods of measurement. These NO2 diffusion tubes are exposed at 24 locations across the Borough.

 

The Public Health and Protection Team secured funding from Hertfordshire County Council for a new street located continuous air quality monitor. This unit is a BAM 1020 and has the capability to monitor PM10 or PM2.5. (This term relates to the size of particles in the atmosphere) A considerable amount of work was undertaken in order to secure the funding and to set up suitable power connections for the unit. The unit was installed in April 2016.

 

Members discussed the Welwyn Hatfield Hoarding Project and the impact on people who have health and welfare problems.  This project provides multi-agency approach to help with behaviour change.

 

Further discussion ensued on exercise and Health Walks in the County. With the focus now being on treating sickness to actively promoting health and wellbeing it was paramount that health awareness and sports facilities be accessible.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Members note the work carried out to date and future work proposed

23.

REPORT OF HEALTH SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HERTFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL HEALTH SCRUTINY) pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Report of the Hertfordshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee – September 2017.

Minutes:

Members received a report of the Hertfordshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee on Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group’s decisions which continued to dominate the work of the Health Scrutiny Committee.

 

The report was considered and Members discussed the current issues relating to the ambulance service, the inconsistencies between hospitals in the County and Nascot Lawn which provides short breaks for children with complex health needs. Members felt that such service losses will have a disadvantageous effect on people’s wellbeing.

 

The Chairman asked whether the Committee wished to receive these reports in the future and it was agreed that it would be useful to have them at SOSC meetings.

 

RESOLVED:

 

            That the report be noted.

 

24.

SAFEGUARDING - NEW APPROACH

Presentation by the Executive Director (Housing and Communities) on the Council’s new approach to safeguarding.

Minutes:

Members received a presentation from the Executive Director (Housing and Communities) on the Council’s responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

 

Once approved the new Policy for Safeguarding Children and the Policy for Safeguarding Adults at risk and procedure guides will be available on the internet and published in Team Talk.

 

Training on Safeguarding for Members will be provided next year.

 

25.

EQUALITY POLICY pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Report and presentation of the Executive Director (Housing and Communities) proposing a revised Equality Policy for the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report of the Executive Director (Housing and Communities) which proposed a revised Equality Policy for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.  The Policy meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and has been developed by the Council’s New Equality Steering Group, which was set up following the reintegration of the Housing Service back into the Council.

 

Members were advised that once the Policy has been approved it will replace the Council and Housing Trust’s respective Equality and Diversity Policies and reflect the five refreshed equality objectives agreed by the new Equality Steering Group.  A presentation headed ‘Embedding Equality in our Council’ supplemented the report.  It was agreed that the Council needs to be continually improving its approach to equality and diversity.

 

Members were advised that an Equalities Scheme including an action plan will be developed once the Scheme has been approved by Council as per the Constitution and training will be made available for Members.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee endorses the new Equality Policy and recommends its approval to Cabinet.

 

26.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

The pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme has been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place. Items which the Committee agrees it would like to consider will be scheduled into the work programme. 

Minutes:

The Committee received the revised overview work programme for 2017/18 and which suggested that the item ‘Empty Homes update’ be considered at the January meeting. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the work programme be updated and noted.