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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R M Currans, J A Ozog and R F Storey.

2.

Chairman's Welcome and Introduction

Minutes:

The incoming Chairman welcomed all new and returning Members to the first meeting of the Policy and Overview Committee (POC) in the 2019-20 municipal cycle. He praised the work undertaken by his predecessor over many years, former Councillor Eddy Lampkin, and thanked the Vice-Chairman for agreeing to continue in her role on the Committee, to enable new Members in particular to benefit from her experience on the POC gained over many years.

 

The Chairman noted that in recent years the Committee’s work had had a strong health focus, examining the service provision of the local NHS Trust, Clinical Commissioning Group and Kent County Council for Dartford residents. The preferred format for that work had been to receive substantive and detailed PowerPoint presentations from those health bodies, who were then asked to return and update Members in 6 or 12 months’ time.

 

He believed that the Committee had now covered that work area in great detail [as previous Minutes attested] and that going forward, the Committee should broaden its focus into Council policy areas; to better fulfil its remit to Cabinet, as set out in its Terms of Reference (ToRs) and Protocol documents.

 

He proposed only 1 or 2 substantive items per meeting on the basis of written reports from Council officers [rather than PowerPoint presentations] to better focus Member discussion. He had agreed an item on Flytipping including Council Enforcement Measures, with the Strategic Director (External Services) in principal for the next Committee meeting on 10 September, and would welcome other proposals from Members. He was also due to meet the Leader of the Council in early July with his proposals for the Committee going forward, and would report back to Members on those discussions in September.

 

3.

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:

Councillor Edie advised for the record in relation to Item 8 – Welfare Reform Update that her father was a Housing Manager for the Council.

4.

Confirmation of the minutes of the Policy Overview meeting held on 19 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Policy Overview Committee held on 19 March 2019 be confirmed as accurate by those Members present who attended.

5.

Urgent Items

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

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there were no urgent items for the Committee to consider.

6.

To consider references from other Committees (if any)

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees for Members to consider.

7.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider any issues arising from the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 May 2019 to 30 September 2019.

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 May 2019 to 30 September 2019.

SD (IS)

8.

Action Points Arising from the Policy Overview Committee Meeting held on 19 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To note the list of actions points arising from the Committee meeting held on 19 March 2019 and comment accordingly.

Minutes:

The Chairman explained for new Members, that the report from the Committee Co-ordinator, updated Members on the action taken to date in relation to topics already agreed by Members at previous meetings, as recorded in the relevant Minutes published on the Council website.

 

He advised that Item 1 was for general noting, and Items 4, 6, 7 and 8 for consideration in March 2020. He proposed that item 2 be dropped, given RELATE’s continued resistance to the Committee’s invitation to attend and advise Members on the services they provided to Dartford residents. The Vice-Chairman had been appointed at the Annual Meeting of the Council on 22 May to represent Dartford at RELATE meetings in the ensuing 2019-20 municipal cycle, and could feed-back to Members as appropriate. With regard to Item 3 he asked that Officers make a third (final) approach to the Chairman of KCC’s Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) and if no response was received that item be dropped also.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the action taken in response to the points identified by the Committee on 19 March 2019 as set out in the report, and the proposed action as detailed above.

9.

Welfare Reform Update pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To update Members on the impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service across the Borough.

 

Minutes:

The report from the Benefits Manager (Sevenoaks Joint Service) updated Members on the impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service across the Borough.

 

She highlighted the following salient points in her report for Members:

 

·         Universal Credit (UC) was first introduced in April 2013 and was a means-tested benefit aimed at simplifying the existing welfare system to provide 1 single benefit (for people both in and out of work) and replaced the 6 ‘legacy benefits’ of:

 

(i)            Income Related Employment and Support Allowance

(ii)          Income Based Jobseekers Allowance;

(iii)         Income Support;

(iv)         Housing Benefit (HB);

(v)          Child Tax Credit;

(vi)         Working Tax Credit

 

·         The national roll-out of UC Full Service to all parts of the UK was completed in December 2018, and by March 2019 some 1.8 million individuals were in receipt of UC nationally, of whom just over a third were in work;

·         Transferral from the legacy benefit system to UC is currently undertaken by a process known as Natural Migration i.e. from new claims or a change in circumstances. The UC caseload is expected to reach 6.7 million by 2022-23 according to the Office of Budget Responsibility with the vast majority of that number coming from Natural Migration;

·         Managed Migration – the transfer of existing claimants whose circumstances have not changed from legacy benefit(s) to UC, is planned to start in July 2019 and end in March 2023. An initial pilot scheme will be run in Harrogate for 10,000 claimants for 6 months from July 2019, to start the Managed Migration process. The outcome of the 6 month pilot will be presented to  Parliament for a vote, prior to the commencement of the full programme nationwide, which will retain the March 2023 completion date;

·         The Government had introduced a number of changes to UC in response to concerns from MPs, Social Landlords and Child Poverty Action Groups, key changes were:

 

(i)            Housing Benefit would continue for a 2 further weeks from the date of the first UC claim, so that for the first 2 weeks of UC payment, the claimant would continue to receive Housing Benefit;

 

(ii)          7 day waiting period for UC scrapped [February 2018] so payment of UC would commence from date of claim, reducing the waiting time for claimants of that 1st UC payment from 6 down to 5 weeks;

 

(iii)         From April 2018 where a customer has been placed in Temporary Accommodation under the Homeless Act 1996, they still have to claim HB for their housing costs, in addition to claiming UC for their living costs;

 

(iv)         From May 2019 mixed age couples [where 1 is of pensionable age and the other is not] who need to top up their income, were no longer able to claim Pension Credit & Housing Benefit but must claim UC instead.

 

·         There was still work to do in the national roll-out of UC Full Service, with some categories of applicant still suffering hardship in the change from legacy benefits to UC.

 

UC – Local Position

 

·         The Borough  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Corporate Plan - Key Actions and Performance Indicators Monitoring Report, Quarter 4 of the 2018/19 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 55 KB

This report updates Members on the progress made with meeting the key actions and performance indicators for the Corporate Plan in the fourth quarter of the 2018/19 municipal cycle, as set out in Appendices A and B to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the report.

11.

Policy Overview Committee Annual Report for the 2018/19 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 31 KB

This Item is marked as ‘To-Follow’.

 

Minutes:

The covering report from the Committee Co-ordinator attached as Appendix A, the draft Policy Overview Committee Annual Report 2018-19 which summarised the work undertaken by the Committee during the preceding municipal year.

 

Members were asked to comment on the draft 2018-19 Annual Report prior to submission to the Cabinet, as required by the Committee’s Protocol.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the Committee’s Annual Report for 2018-19 as submitted, for presentation to Cabinet;

2.    That Members thank the Committee Co-ordinator for his report and general support of the Committee during the period under review.

 

 

 

 

12.

Policy Overview Committee Protocol pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To note the Committee’s Protocol attached at Appendix A to the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The covering report from the Committee Co-ordinator asked Members to note the Protocol for the Policy Overview Committee (attached as Appendix A) which set out the procedures that the Committee should follow to operate effectively.

 

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the Committee’s Protocol attached as Appendix A to the report.

13.

Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To note the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government guidance attached at Appendix A to the covering report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This report asked Members to note the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities (attached as Appendix A to the report).

 

Members were advised [on behalf of the Head of Legal Services], that the Committee’s Protocol considered elsewhere in the agenda [Min. No. 12 refers], conformed to the strictures laid down in the Ministry’s statutory guidance document attached as Appendix A to the report.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Statutory Guidance document on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities, attached as Appendix A to the report.

14.

Committee Rolling Work Plan for 2019/20 and Beyond pdf icon PDF 54 KB

The review the draft rolling Work Plan for the Committee for the ensuing 2019/20 municipal year and beyond and comment accordingly.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report from the Committee Co-ordinator attached for Members consideration and comment (Appendix A to the report) a draft rolling Work Plan for the 2019-20 municipal cycle and beyond.

 

Members noted the inclusion of the Chairman’s proposal for a report from Council Officers on Flytipping including Enforcement for September 2019, and welcomed the inclusion of the 2019 Annual Status Report on Air Quality [in Dartford] at the same meeting.

 

Members also proposed a presentation on Mental Health from the appropriate team in the CCG/Dartford NHS Trust, including a presentation from the CAMHS team.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the Committee’s rolling Work Plan for 2019-20 and beyond as set out in Appendix A to the report;

2.    That the additional topics recommended by Members as detailed above, be included in the Work Plan for future meetings in the current 2019-20 municipal cycle.