Agenda and minutes

Policy Overview Committee
Tuesday 13 December 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: B12

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

28.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors B Garden, B K Kaini, Mrs J A Ozog and R J Wells.

 

An apology for lateness was received from Councillor D Page.

29.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

30.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Policy Overview meeting held on 20 September 2016 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 20 September 2016 be confirmed.

31.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

32.

To consider references from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

33.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To consider any issues arising from the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 7 November 2016 to 31 March 2017.

Minutes:

That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice, for the period 7 November 2016 to 31 March 2017, be noted.

SD (IS)

34.

Action Points Arising from the Policy Overview Committee Meeting held on 20 September 2016 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To note the list of action points arising from the Policy Overview Committee meeting held on 20 September 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report asked Members to note the list of action points arising from the Policy Overview Committee meeting held on 20 September 2016.

 

Members expressed disappointment that there continued to be no response to the issues that had been raised in a letter that had been sent to the Chief Executive of NHS England and agreed that a letter be written to the MP for Dartford asking him to chase NHS England for a response. Members also asked that this letter be copied to the Secretary of State for Health.

 

Members noted the ministerial response that had been received relating to the funding of pharmacies and referred to the arrangements that were now being put in place, which included measures to help protect rural pharmacies. Members were interested in the impact that the funding changes would have on pharmacies in Dartford. The Director of Public Health, who was present at the meeting, said that he would provide an update for Members during consideration of his item, which was next on the agenda.

 

Members referred to their requested review of affordable housing related policies and asked whether the Local Plan Members’ Working Group had met since the issue had been raised.

 

In relation to the impact that the Housing and Planning Act 2016 may have on the Council’s ability to meet housing need the Chairman advised that the Government was continuing to develop the associated detail and guidance and that it was hoped that it would be possible to present an associated report to Cabinet early in the new year. He also said that, in the absence of a report going to Cabinet, he had asked that an update report be prepared for consideration by the Policy Overview Committee in March 2017.

 

Members were advised that Cabinet had agreed to the addition of a performance indicator to track the percentage of Dartford waste that is sent to landfill and that it would be included as part of the 2017/18 performance reporting cycle.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the list of action points arising from the Committee meetings held on 20 September 2016 be noted.

 

2.         That a letter be written to the MP for Dartford, and also copied to the Secretary of State for Health, asking him to chase NHS England for a response to the issues raised in a letter that had been sent to them in May 2016.

 

3.         That information relating to recent and future planned meetings of the Local Plan Members’ Working Group be distributed to Members.

SD (IS)

35.

Kent Public Health Service pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To update the Committee on the services being provided by the Kent Public Health Service.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Andrew Scott-Clark, Director of Public Health, to the meeting. Mr Scott-Clark was present to provide an update on the services being provided by the Kent Public Health Service.

 

The Director of Public Health began by referring to the concerns that had been raised in relation to pharmacy funding cuts and advised that the proposed cuts had been implemented on 1 December 2016 and that the Local Pharmaceutical Committee had estimated that this would result in a 12% reduction in funding. He then noted that additional funding had been made available to reduce the impact that this would have on rural pharmacies by a half and said that a list on the Department of Health website showed that approximately 50 pharmacies in Kent were due to receive this payment. He noted how the risk was greater for independent rural pharmacies because they were less busy than those located in town centres and said that an appeals process had been put in place for those pharmacies that felt that they had been unduly prejudiced. Members noted the impact that potential pharmacy closures could have on people’s ability to access services that are currently provided by pharmacies, such as those related to sexual health. The Director of Public Health said that Kent Public Health commission a range of pharmacy services and that pharmacies may also be eligible for the Quality Payment Scheme which is designed to reward pharmacies for achieving outcomes.

 

The Director of Public Health then referred to adult health improvement and described how the existing model, which required people to negotiate multiple services, was being transformed into a model that treated people as a whole. He then referred to evidence which showed how the length of a person’s life can be shortened by lifestyle risk factors (smoking, alcohol/drugs, diet and lack of exercise) and that the greater the number of risk factors the shorter a life can be. He then noted how it is more effective to address these areas as a whole and work towards changing a person’s lifestyle through primary and community care rather than tackling each area individually.

 

The Director of Public Health then highlighted the key outcomes relating to smoking, diet, exercise and alcohol/substance abuse and said that they would be areas of focus for the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). He then referred to the phases included in the plan for the previous year and said that in order that the changes associated with STP may be implemented, and the plans realigned, a 6 month extension had been put in place for all existing contracts, allowing time for new contracts to be created which would address health from a lifestyle perspective. He said that the new procurement process would take a holistic approach to health in order to meet the requirements of the STP.

 

The Director of Public Health then referred to the Healthy Child Programme and described how school nursing and the Healthy Schools programme would be used for primary and secondary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

SD (IS)

36.

Dartford Preventative Health Projects - Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To update the Committee on the progress on the Dartford Preventative Health Projects, against the priorities identified in the Health Inequalities Action Plan, for the financial year 2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report updated the Committee on the outcomes of various Dartford Preventative Health Projects for the financial year 2015/16 and the progress being made relating to the Dartford Health Inequalities Action Plan 2016 - 2018.

 

The Chairman welcomed Kashmir Power, Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator, to the meeting.

 

Members referred to the use of data and asked whether resources were being targeted to deliver positive outcomes for those in the bottom quintile, and also whether data was being collected so that the health benefits of attending a sports club may be assessed. The Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator replied that their focus was prevention and that the programmes that were being run were targeted at the whole population. She then referred to the involvement of children and said that it was sometimes difficult to get families to engage with the various programmes that are available. The Director of Public Health confirmed that programmes were aimed at the whole population but said that it was also useful to proportionately target those considered to be at most risk, although he also noted that this should not be at the expense of the rest of the population. The Strategic Director (External Services) referred to those programmes which involve schools and said that they attempt to target schools in areas where health related issues are more prevalent.

 

In response to a question relating to the schools that have been targeted for the ‘Don’t Sit Get Fit’ programme the Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator replied that they use data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) when deciding which schools should be targeted. She said that engagement with the children themselves had been good but noted that additional work was required to encourage more parents to become involved in the process.

 

Members referred to pre-school aged children and asked whether anything could be done to address obesity at an earlier stage. The Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator advised that most of the work that they carried out was targeted at primary schools but said that Sure Start Children’s Centres were encouraged to identify and refer issues on. She also noted how the Summer Sizzlers programme provided activities for pre-school aged children. The Strategic Director (External Services) described how the service being provided by the Council had been commissioned by Kent Public Health and said that, whilst there was some flexibility, the Council was not commissioned to deliver programmes to pre-school children. The Director of Public Health added that Kent County Council also provided money to Children’s Centres, the Troubled Families programme and GPs to enable them to contribute towards the aim of reducing child obesity. He also noted the involvement of health visitors whose work helped to ensure that those aged between 0 and 5 are monitored.

 

Members referred to recent criticism of the Troubled Families programme but the Director of Public Health said that he was unable to comment because he had not read the associated report.

 

The Director of Public Health then referred to the need to make every contact count  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

SD (IS)

37.

Update on the Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and Welfare Reforms Affecting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To provide Members with an update on the Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and Welfare Reforms affecting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Minutes:

This report provided Members with an update on the Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and Welfare Reforms affecting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

 

The Chairman welcomed Nick Scott, Head of Revenues and Benefits, to the meeting.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits began by highlighting his involvement with the Kent Intelligence Network and described how anonymised revenues and benefits based data is combined with the health related data sets referred to by the Director of Public Health and contributes towards the conclusions that can be generated from the database.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits then referred to the estimated figures contained in the report for the number of families who would be impacted by the 7 November 2016 Benefit Cap reduction and said that fewer were being affected than predicted. He then provided additional detail and said that 106 families were being affected in total, 101 by the £20,000 cap and 5 by the £13,400 cap. He also described how the Housing team and support network had been made aware of those affected so that they may monitor whether they apply for Discretionary Housing Payments and ensure that those who do not apply are able to manage.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits then advised that, currently, there were 400,000 nationally claiming Universal Credit and that the date for its full implementation in Dartford was May 2018, at which point all claimants, and not just those who are single, would be assessed to receive Universal Credit. He then noted how Housing Benefit would then be paid through Universal Credit and raised concern at the 8 to 14 week delay that can occur as claims are processed and the fact that payments intended to meet a claimant’s house rental commitments may not always be passed on to the landlord. He then drew Members’ attention to the other associated legislation outlined in the report and described how it would also apply to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme if agreed by the General Assembly of the Council on 12 December 2016.

 

In response to a question relating to the assessment delays the Head of Revenues and Benefits replied that an additional 10,000 assessors were being employed nationally and that efforts to address associated IT issues were ongoing. He then referred to the training of assessors and questioned whether they were receiving enough training given the number of factors that have to be taken into consideration when assessing the Housing Benefit element of any claim.

 

Members noted that they had raised Housing Benefit related concerns from day 1 and asked whether the associated risks for landlords should be raised again with the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Head of Revenues and Benefits advised that these concerns had already been raised by the Great Yarmouth pilot site but said that any additional pressure that could be placed on Government would be helpful. Members then discussed the best approach to take and the majority agreed that the Committee should send a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

SD (IS)

38.

Corporate Plan - Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 45 KB

This report provides the latest set of Corporate Plan performance indicators for quarter 2 of 2016 – 17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report provided the latest set of Corporate Plan performance indicators for quarter 2 of 2016-17.

 

The Chairman noted that the report had already been considered by the Cabinet Advisory Panel and Cabinet and advised that no specific issues had been raised in advance of the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Performance Indicators Monitoring Report, attached at Appendix A to the report, be noted.

SD (IS)

39.

Policy Overview Committee Work Plan pdf icon PDF 44 KB

This report sets out the Policy Overview Committee’s work plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report set out the Policy Overview Committee’s Work Plan.

 

The Chairman confirmed the following additions, which had been agreed during discussion of previous agenda items:

 

  • Kent Public Health Service – December 2017
  • Dartford Preventative Health Projects - Annual Report 2016/17 and Health Inequalities Action Plan – December 2017
  • Welfare Reform Update – December 2017

 

The Chairman also noted that the Head of Revenues and Benefits had advised that he would also be willing to provide an earlier update on welfare reform if he felt that there was anything significant to report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Work Plan, together with the amendments minuted above, be noted.