Agenda and minutes

Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Thursday 4th July 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that Councillor L Harsant be elected as Chair of the Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee for the Municipal Year 2019/20.

 

The Chair welcomed the recently elected Councillors, Councillors Cracknell, Heaps, T Lockington, Richardson and Smith to the meeting and also welcomed those Councillors newly appointed or re-appointed to the Committee, Councillors Armitage, Gibbs, Grant and Maguire.

2.

Election of Vice-Chair

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that Councillor S Gage be elected as Vice-Chair of the Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee for the Municipal Year 2019/20.

3.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Maguire. Councillor Connelly attended as substitute for Councillor Maguire.

4.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 28 February 2019 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

4.1         Councillor Allen commented that a question she had asked regarding the outcomes for those people involved in Modern Slavery had not been recorded in sufficient detail.

 

It was RESOLVED:

 

that subject to the addition of ‘Councillor Allen asked whether the Police knew what happened to each of the people who had been found as part of the operation. Supt. Cutler explained that the Police did not know what happened to all of those people’ at the end of minute 58.13 the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July 2019, be signed as a true record.

5.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

6.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED:

 

that the Order of Business be as printed on the agenda.

7.

OS/19/01 Annual Portfolio Holder Update - Housing and Health pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1          Councillor Neil MacDonald explained that his portfolio covered Housing and Health, which referred to Public Health. Councillor MacDonald explained that the Council’s Public Health budget was small and that the service was supported by one officer who spent only part of their time working on the service. Despite these limited resources the Council ran important initiatives especially the campaign to make Ipswich a Dementia Friendly Town. Councillor MacDonald reported that a Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing initiative had been run at Murrayside Primary School which had been very successful.

 

7.2          Councillor MacDonald reported that the Council was trying to develop an Ipswich Lettings Partnership which would allow the Council to signpost households on the housing waiting list to private landlords. Councillor MacDonald noted that there were difficulties with affordability, with average private rents being double Council rents and many landlords averse to taking on tenants from the housing waiting list; the Council would offer letting guarantees and property and tenancy management support to try to overcome the latter issue.

 

7.3          Councillor MacDonald noted that rent arrears in Ipswich were very low at just 1.9% which compared favourably to national statistics. Councillor MacDonald reported that strong financial management allowed for significant investment to have been made in energy saving measures.

 

7.4          Councillor MacDonald explained that there was significant Council house building taking place in Ipswich with developments at Cauldwell Hall Road, the former Tooks Bakery, Grimwade Street, and a number of small, mostly former works and garage sites, across the South of Ipswich. There was also a garage refurbishment and replacement programme which was nearing completion with the final contracts having recently been awarded.

 

7.5          Councillor MacDonald explained that there were 3,000 applicants on the housing waiting list, with 1285 for these being in priority need. During 2018/19 450 Council homes had become available and been allocated to people, and 238 people had been housed in housing association properties. Around 100 people had also moved out of Ipswich through the Gateway to Homechoice scheme, often to parts of the Greater Ipswich area beyond the borough boundary.

 

7.6          Councillor Pope commented that the Council’s record on keeping homeless families out of bed and breakfast accommodation was very good and that the work being done to prevent homelessness was pleasing. Councillor Pope also commended the work done to reduce the number of empty properties in Ipswich.

 

7.7          Councillor Pope queried whether the statistics for the LI496S – Anti Social Behaviour New Cases performance target were for Council Homes or for all of Ipswich. The Head of Housing and Community Services, Ian Blofield, explained that this indicator related only to Council homes.

 

7.8          Councillor Pope asked why the number of court related actions to enforce tenancy conditions was so high. Councillor MacDonald explained that more court actions were needed to help deal with the increase in drug problems which was affecting parts of the town. Mr Blofield added that as a result of multi-agency working it was now easier to get the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

OS/19/02 Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1         The Chair noted that there was only a small amount of business on the agenda for the meeting on 1 August 2019 and proposed that it be cancelled, assuming that no call-in requests were received.

 

8.2         The Chair noted that the meeting on 26 September was scheduled to consider the Annual Report on the Write-Off of Bad Debts 2018/19 but commented that she did not feel that it was necessary for this report to be brought to the committee. Councillor Leeder commented that it might be more appropriate for the Audit and Governance Committee to consider the report. The Clerk agreed to investigate whether it was necessary for the report to be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

8.3         Councillor Gage suggested that Councillor Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs be invited back to the committee to provide an update on planned Suffolk County Council roadworks in Ipswich.

 

8.4         Councillor Gage asked that the report of the Task and Finish Group on GP Hubs be delayed from 24 October as it was unlikely that that group would have finished their work by then. Councillor Handley agreed that this would be helpful and commented that once the group had re-convened a more accurate estimate on timescale might be available.

 

8.5         The Chair invited Councillor Pope to present proposal form 28. Councillor Pope explained that the purpose of the proposal form was to look into food waste recycling options following the alteration to what could be composted through Ipswich Borough Council’s brown bin service. Councillor Pope noted that improving recycling was a topical issue with scope for significant improvements possible nationally.

 

8.6         Councillor Connelly suggested that the Task and Finish Group should also consider kerbside glass recycling. Councillor Pope commented that he had previously been told by the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change that it would cost circa £1 million to introduce kerbside glass recycling and that 75% of glass in Suffolk was already recycled, and this was the reason he had not included it in the proposal form. Councillor Pope confirmed however that he would be happy for the Task and Finish Group to also consider kerbside glass recycling. Councillor Connelly commented that the Suffolk Waste Partnership should be invited to participate in the review.

 

8.7         The Chair invited Councillor Xhaferaj to present proposal form 29. Councillor Xhaferaj explained that residents had raised issues with an increase in waste bags being left outside overnight. Councillor Xhaferaj suggested that the collection times offered by Wastesaver needed to be considered and that street cleaning schedules could also be reviewed. Councillor Xhaferaj also suggested that gull-proof bags and enforcement options also be discussed by the Task and Finish Group.

 

8.8         Councillor Allen noted that a similar issue had been raised as a question at the Council meeting on 28 November 2018 and had been responded to by the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change. Councillor Xhaferaj said that he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.