Agenda and minutes

Policy Overview Committee
Tuesday 12 December 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: B12

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

25.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P F Coleman, R M Currans, B Garden, B K Kaini, J A Ozog, D Page and A Sandhu, MBE.

26.

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.

27.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Policy Overview meeting held on 19 September 2017 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 19 September 2017 be confirmed.

28.

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.

29.

To consider references from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

30.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider any issues arising from the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 20 November 2017 to 31 March 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice, for the period 20 November 2017 to 31 March 2018, be noted.

SD (IS)

31.

Action Points Arising from the Policy Overview Committee Meeting held on 19 September 2017 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To note the list of action points arising from the Policy Overview Committee meeting held on 19 September 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report asked Members to note the list of action points arising from the Policy Overview Committee meeting held on 19 September 2017.

 

Health Funding in Dartford

 

Members were advised that a response had yet to be received to the emails that had been sent to the NHS Trust and Dartford Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and agreed that they should be chased for a response.

 

Funding for the Minor Ailments Scheme

 

Members were advised that a response had yet to be received to the letter that had been sent to the Dartford Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and agreed that a chasing letter should be sent.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the list of action points arising from the Committee meetings held on 19 September 2017 be noted.

 

2.         That the NHS Trust and CCG be chased for a response to the letter and emails that have been sent.

SD (IS)

32.

Update on the Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and Welfare Reforms affecting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction pdf icon PDF 96 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 (UC) and Welfare Reforms affecting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits noted how Dartford was currently in the ‘live service’ phase of UC implementation and said that this would be followed by the ‘full service’ phase, and then a migration phase where existing housing benefit claimants would be transferred to UC. He then noted how, following the Government’s 2017 Budget announcements, from 31 December 2017 the ‘live service’ was to be suspended pending the introduction of the ‘full service’ and that new applicants would be assessed for housing benefit in the meantime. He also noted how ‘full service’ commencement for Dartford had been rescheduled from May 2018 to July 2018 and drew Members’ attention to the national status and associated impacts documented in the report.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits then referred to other announcements that had been made during the Government’s 2017 Budget and the intention to ease the financial pressures being placed on new claimants by giving them the ability to receive 1 month’s worth of UC within 5 days of an application, which then has to be repaid over 12 months rather than 6. He also noted the two week overlap of housing benefit and UC payments and the fact that it will be easier for claimants to have the housing element of their UC paid directly to their landlord, which will help Councils with housing stock as it reduces the likelihood of rent arrears.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits then highlighted the issues that had been raised by East Kent Services, where the full UC service had already gone live, and drew Members’ attention to the ‘digital by default’ concerns that had been raised and said that claimants are expected to manage their UC account online and use this interface to report rent increases and other changes which may impact the amount of UC that they are due to receive. He said that this could cause problems for those who have little or no online experience. He also referred to Council Tax Reduction (CTR) claims and the impact that the need for it to be recalculated every time a claimant’s UC entitlement is changed was having on Council Tax recovery. He also noted the other issues that had been listed and said that Dartford was part of a UC Working Group which met regularly to discuss and share concerns and propose solutions.

 

The Chairman was heartened to hear that a Working Group had been established and welcomed the ability for UC claimants to have the housing element of their award paid directly to their landlord, an issue that had previously been raised and pursued by the Committee. He then asked what help was available to those who might find it difficult to manage their claim online. The Head of Revenues and Benefits replied that this service would not be provided by the Revenues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

SD (IS)

33.

Dartford Preventative Health Projects - Annual Report 2016/17 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 2016/17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report updated the Committee on the results being achieved through the running of Preventative Health Projects in the Borough. It also noted how these projects were addressing the priorities identified in the Health Inequalities Action Plan, for the financial year 2016/17.

 

Members referred to the funding risk identified in the report and asked how the delivery of project outcomes was being monitored. The Healthy Living Co-ordinator replied that quarterly reports are submitted to Kent Public Health and that Key Performance Indicators and targets are defined for areas such as family or adult weight management. She then added that current performance monitoring showed that services were meeting the targets that had been set. The Strategic Director (External Services) also noted how project delivery was a collaborative venture and said that any concerns that are identified are discussed together in order that they may be addressed.

 

In response to a further question relating to the budgetary pressures being faced by Kent County Council and the potential for reduced Public Health funding the Strategic Director (External Services) said that the Council had received confirmation that the grant for the Healthy Living Co-ordinator post was to continue at least until 31 March 2019, which was for a longer period of time than had been specified in previous years. She said that it was good to receive this confirmation and would enable existing preventative health related initiatives to continue.

 

The Chairman then referred to the ‘Dartford Today’ notification system and said that he hadn’t received any associated emails recently and noted how useful the service was to those Councillors who like to involve themselves in activities that take place in Dartford. Officers agreed to investigate delivery of the service and report back to Members.

 

Reference was made to the recorded number of attendances at different events and it was suggested that it would also be useful to know the number of unique attendees, as some people may attend more than once. This would enable the reach of a particular initiative to be gauged more accurately. The Healthy Living Co-ordinator agreed to add this to future Annual Reports. The Chairman also felt that, given the amount of informative information contained in the Annual Report, it should be made available to all Members.

 

Members then asked whether it would be possible to gauge the impact that preventative health work has on health inequality. In response the Strategic Director (External Services) noted how the Council had a Service Level Agreement with Kent Public Health and said that it defined how initiatives were to be delivered and took account of the Health Inequality Action Plan. With respect to monitoring she said that the impact of preventative health work on health inequality would be difficult to measure but said that the annual levels of project engagement, and the results being achieved in areas where health inequality was known to exist, could be used to indicate whether the projects being carried out were likely to address health inequality in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

SD (IS)

34.

Corporate Plan - Key Actions and Performance Indicators Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 53 KB

This report presents a progress update for the latest set of Corporate Plan key actions and performance indicators for quarters 1 and 2 of 2017-18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report described the progress being made with latest set of Corporate Plan key actions and performance indicators for quarters 1 and 2 of 2017-18.

 

The Chairman referred to the food hygiene related indicator and asked how the inspection shortfall was being addressed. The Strategic Director (External Services) replied that duties had been reallocated across the team so that the staff vacancy could be recruited at a lower level. She also noted how the original vacancy had been ‘health and safety’ related and that, as this role is well remunerated in the private sector, it had been difficult to fill. She also advised that, as at the end of November, the inspections due and completed indicator had improved to 92%.

 

Reference was then made to the fly-tipping incident indicator and the Strategic Director (External Services) said that this parameter should not have a related target because the Council has no control over the number of incidents that occur and can only act in a responsive way when required. She also then highlighted an associated pilot project that had been started with Stone Parish Council, who had purchased a CCTV system which enabled them to monitor areas where fly-tipping was known to take place and said that any evidence gathered would be analysed by the Council’s enforcement team who would progress prosecution if the offender could be identified. She also advised that the pilot would run for 6 months and said that, if successful, it would be suggested as a way of discouraging fly-tipping to other Parish Councils.

 

The Chairman noted how two other indicators showing an alert status had also included a statement on the action being taken to address the underlying issues and asked that this practice be extended to all indicators that show an alert.

 

In response to a question on the percentage of repairs completed on time the Strategic Director (External Services) advised that the monitoring of urgent and non-urgent repairs had been combined into a single indicator because they had both previously been monitored against the same target percentage. She also referred to the high number of repairs that were being carried out and said that urgent repairs would always take priority over non-urgent repairs.

 

Members referred to the bid for funding that had been made to the One Public Estates Programme to bring forward plans for a health hub on the former Co-op site and, having noted that a decision was expected in December 2017, asked whether the results of the bid had been announced. The Strategic Director (Internal Services) replied that an announcement was expected soon and agreed to provide the Committee with an update as soon as the information became available.

 

Reference was made to the ‘boy racer’ problems that were being experienced at Crossways Boulevard, Greenhithe and it was suggested that, as similar problems exist along Princes Road, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) should be considered for this area too. The Strategic Director (External Services) agreed to take this forward for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

SD (IS)

35.

Policy Overview Committee Work Plan pdf icon PDF 54 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 the consideration of previous agenda items:

 

  • Welfare Reform Update – June 2018
  • Dartford Preventative Health Projects – Annual Report 2017/18 – December 2018
  • Dartford Health Inequality Review – December 2018

 

The Chairman also noted that Andrew Scott Clark, Director for Public Health, had been scheduled to attend this meeting and asked, with the Committee’s agreement, for his visit to be rescheduled for December 2018 to coincide with the next consideration of the Preventative Health projects that are being carried out in the Borough.

 

It was noted that consideration of the fly-tipping and bulk waste collection services was scheduled for June 2018 and it was suggested that it might be better to consider them earlier given that the scope of the waste collection service after June 2019 was currently being reviewed prior to the formal tendering of the associated contract. The Strategic Director (External Services) said that these services could be considered earlier but advised that these aspects of waste management would not impact the scope of the tender because the bulk waste collection service is paid for by residents, and fly-tip waste removal was a service which sends squads out to deal with each fly-tipping incident, both of which could be operated in the same way irrespective of the contractor that gets chosen.

 

The Chairman noted the number of items already scheduled for the March meeting and said that he would prefer to leave the Work Plan as currently specified and undertake a review if another item needed to be rescheduled.

 

RESOLVED:

 

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