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The Chairman will read the following announcement:
“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by such third parties).
Therefore, by entering the Council Chamber and using the seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.”
The Chairman reminded everyone present that this meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.
To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
The Committee noted that there were no substitute members.
Declarations of Interest
To declare interests in any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.
To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 20 September 2022.
That the notes of the previous meeting held on 21 September 2021 were agreed as a correct record subject to the inclusion of apologies for Councillor Lea and Brookes.
(Chairman/Lead Officer) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee have agreed the Terms of Reference and work programme for this Select Committee. Members are invited at each meeting to review both documents.
The Committee noted the Terms of Reference. The Chairman advised the Committee that the items scheduled for the meeting on 17 January 2023 would need to be deferred to the meeting on 21 March 2023. Therefore, the meeting on 17 January 2023 would now be cancelled.
Councillor S Murray advised that he would be asking for the following Cabinet decisions to be scrutinised, which may be referred back to this Committee.
· The adoption of an alternative operating model for Epping Forest District Museum; and
· the performance of housing repairs by Qualis.
The Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing & Community Partnerships advised the Committee that the Cabinet decision had included the requirement to scrutinise the process to achieve an alternative operating model.
The Co-opted Member, W Marshall enquired about the Housing Strategy and when it would be presented to the Committee. He was advised that the Overarching Housing Strategy had been presented to the Committee in July 2022 with no major changes and would be presented to Cabinet in December 2022. Officers advised that there was an ongoing consulting on the Resident Involvement Strategy, and it would be presented to the Committee on 21 March 2023.
To note the progress report of the Museum Collections Project.
The Team Manager for Heritage and Venues presented an update on the Museum Collections Projects and the rationalisation. The details were outlined in the report.
The Committee asked questions and made the following comments.
· Were items loaned out? Yes, items were loaned out, although any items which had been determined not have any significant to the authority through this process were permanent removed.
· What classified as hazard materials? It was noted that some of the items contained asbestos, arsenic and lead.
· What would happen to the project if the funding was reduced? The Team Manager for Heritage and Venues advised that the funding had been secured for the project. Although, officers were always looking out for funding opportunities, and they had a great group of volunteers.
· Would the museum return artifacts to country of origin, if required? Yes.
· How many volunteers assisted the museum? Nineteen.
· Does the museum approach the local community for their knowledge? Yes, the museum hosts a group where members of public can attend and assist the museum with future projects and knowledge of the local area.
That the Committee noted the progress and update on the Museum Collect Project.
To consider the refreshed Epping Forest Health &Wellbeing Strategy 2022-2026 and associated revised partnership delivery structure arrangements.
The Service Manager for Community, Culture & Wellbeing, G Wallis and Public Health Improvement Officer, F Ferrari presented the refreshed Epping Forest Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2022 -2026 and the agreed partnership arrangements for this to be delivered.
The Committee asked a number of questions and made the following comments.
· Had there been any measures put in place for the cost-of-living crisis and potential recession? The Service Manager advised that they had been identified as one of the five strategic priorities. It was noted that the following had been set out in the Strategy in relation to this priority.
- Increasing access to available resources which support residents with the rising cost of fuel and food.
- Working with employers and anchor institutions to enhance employment opportunities for residents.
- Helping residents of all ages access education, training, skills development and volunteering opportunities to enable them to fulfil their potential.
- Increasing knowledge and awareness of financial skills and support amongst children, young people and adults.
· How would the messages be communicated to children? The Service Manager advised that the EF Health & Wellbeing Action Groups included partners such as the Essex Child & Family Wellbeing Service and Active Essex with partner agencies were frequently working and delivering initiatives directly into primary and secondary schools. Partners were also working with the parents, carers, and guardians of children to further disseminate the information.
· What were court and road champions? The Public Health Improvement Officer advised that this was an inclusive term for a type of Community Champion that lived either within courts or on roads in the community.
· That the Strategy confirmed the importance of green spaces in the urban areas of the district.
· What was a financial wellbeing hub? It was a service facilitated on behalf of the EF Health & Wellbeing Board by Epping Forest Citizens Advice to help resident’s maximum their income and other services that could provide residents with support if they were experiencing financial difficulties.
· Were there any plans to deal with the effects of long term Covid? This would be considered by the Clinical Care Action Group action group and driven through the wider strategy.
· That the Committee should receive a report on the projects delivered by the Strategy and compare them against the success criteria.
· Could officers provide the statical information basis on wards mentioned in the Strategy. It was noted that information mentioned for the district could be found at the following link Local Authority Health Profiles - Data - OHID (phe.org.uk)
· Had the Council been part of the Active Essex campaign? It was noted that the Council had obtain funding from Active Essex for projects within the district. They also chaired the Healthy Behaviours Action Group and were one of the partners within the Board.
· How was the success of the Strategy measured? It was noted that each Action Group would develop its own projects and initiatives and at that point, and at that point impact measures would be agreed collectively between the partners. Furthermore, both ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
To consider the Social Housing Annual Lettings Report 2021-2022 attached.
The Interim Housing Strategy Manager presented the Social Housing Annual Lettings Report 2021-22, which had been outlined in the report.
The Committee asked questions and made the following comments.
· Why were the lettings to applicants in Band B higher than lettings to applicant in Band A? The Strategic Director advised that it was due to the fact applicants downsizing were in this category.
· Were officers able to advise whether the difference in ‘affordable’ or ‘social’ rent levels affected applicants’ choices when bidding for a property? Unfortunately, no because the scheme was choice based. Although all affordable houses were bid for and applicants were assessed to ensure they were financial suitability as part of the letting process.
· How could armed forces applicants be given priority in their hometowns, if they were discharged in another area of the country? The Strategic Director advised that there were two approaches, firstly they could apply to be on the housing register, or they could make a homeless application.
· What happens to tenants who were unable to afford private renting? The Strategic Director advised that welfare benefits were there to assist and if a person were in threat of losing their home, they could approach the council for advice.
· What is the process for appealing which band applicants were placed in? The Strategic Director advised that there was a Reviews and Performance Officer who considered appeals and decide, which would then be reviewed by another officer. This process was set out in the Allocation Policy.
That the Committee noted the Social Housing Annual Lettings Report for 2021-22.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
To note that the next meeting of the Select Committee will be held at 7.00pm on 17 January 2023.
The Committee noted that the date of the next meeting would be 2 March 2023.