Agenda and minutes

Social Care, Housing and Public Health Policy Overview Committee
Thursday, 6th February, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Anisha Teji  01895 277655

Link: Watch the LIVE or archived broadcast of this meeting here

Items
No. Item

63.

Apologies for Absence and to report the presence of any substitute Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Janet Gardner.

64.

Declarations of Interest in matters coming before this meeting

Minutes:

None.

65.

Minutes of Previous Meetings on 15 January 2020 and 16 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes from the meetings on 15 and 16 January 2020 be approved as accurate records.

66.

To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in Public and that the items marked as Part II will be considered in Private

Minutes:

It was confirmed that there were no Part II items and that all business would therefore be conducted in public.

 

Following a query raised by a Member, it was agreed that agenda item 9 - Corporate Parenting Panel Minutes from 17 December 2019 would be discussed in Part II.

67.

Public Health verbal update

Minutes:

The Director of Public Health provided a verbal update on Coronavirus.

 

The Committee was informed that Coronavirus had a relatively low infectivity rate and the ways it could be transmitted was explained. The case fatality rate had been fairly stable at around 2.1% however it was highlighted that it was only people who were ill that were being tested. Out of 568 fatalities, only five were not suffering from significant frailty.

 

Although there were 24 countries with confirmed cases of Coronavirus, it had been well contained. In the UK, a number of people had been tested and three cases had been confirmed. British citizens were being quarantined and would be there for two weeks until the incubation period had passed.

 

The preparations to manage Coronavirus at Heathrow Airport were explained to the Committee. There was a concern for residents and staff at the airport as Hillingdon was a port authority. However, it was confirmed that temperature screening at Heathrow was unhelpful because the virus could spread before any symptoms such as fever had even developed. It was emphasised that information sharing on how to act if symptoms of the virus developed was crucial to avoid any spreading and more beneficial.

 

It was confirmed that the Council had prepared for the worst to protect residents and staff at the airport. The Committee was assured that the Council had engaged with Heathrow Airport and the NHS regarding Coronavirus.

 

RESOLVED: That the update on Public Health be noted.

68.

Housing Briefing pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Housing Briefing report that detailed key facts and figures about the social housing tenancy management and landlord function provided by the Council. The Deputy Director of Corporate Finance, Service Manager – Tenancy Services and Housing Manager were in attendance.

 

The report detailed seven general areas around supply and demand, information on stock numbers, profiles repairs and maintenance, rent setting, support for vulnerable tenants, empty property management and finances. 

 

A location density map indicating the areas in the Borough where there was a high density of council and social housing property was requested by the Committee. It was agreed that this would be provided for Members.

 

It was noted that the strategic housing market assessment (SHMA) detailing the different size mixes for affordable housing was forward looking focussing on  future demand. The Council’s existing housing stock was a historic reflection of demand. Further information regarding affordable housing delivery pipeline and how it reflected on the SHMA profile would be provided for Members.

 

It was confirmed that the issues and implications around efficiency rates in housing stocks would be considered by the Committee at a later stage once officers had had an opportunity to reflect on this. 

 

It was recognised that the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation fell from 681 at the end of 2017 to 538 at the end of 2018. The number had subsequently reduced further to 414 at 30 January 2020. It was explained that the Council had been successful with placements within the private sector and officer work with local landlords encouraged good working relationships. These factors had contributed to the reductions in homeless households in temporary accommodation and this was commended by the Committee.

 

Although challenges were anticipated with the migration to Universal Credit, it was considered that this challenges had been tackled directly. The debt arrears of 1300 live claims was high with £760, 000 however this was not due to Universal Credit as these claimants were originally in arrears before migrating. The average uplift in debt was £83 which was less than one week’s rent.

 

It was noted that the rate of service charge was decided by collective Members, photography evidence was obtained during inspections of empty properties and Internal Audit would be considering housing voids schemes in due course. The target time for working towards voids management was 35 days, which had not yet been achieved due to a backlog.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the good and concise briefing report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the information presented in the briefing note and the additional information requested by circulated to Members.

69.

Semi Independent Living pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Provider Services and Commissioned Care was in attendance to present the Semi Independent Living (SIL) report. The report provided an overview of SIL arrangements for young people aged 16 – 25 years commissioned by the London Borough of Hillingdon, Children and Young People’s Social Care.

 

It was highlighted that there were 156 young people in Semi Independent accommodation both in and out of the Borough.  The constraints around regulation on reporting and parenting did not always sit well with 16-25, who need to have more support around learning skills for adulthood in a less restrictive environment, as you would expect for a young person of this age and SIL was provided for these purposes. It helped young people to learn how to manage money, manage a property, budget rent and manage a bank account. Concerns across the sector had been raised about the management of SIL in all local authorities in the past year. In Hillingdon, accommodation was reviewed during 2019 and a decision was made to reduce the larger establishments such as Ventura House so that smaller units could be used. A draft set of standards would be completed by 31 March 2020 which closely aligned to care registered for SIL. These standards provided care, support and a holistic view overall.

 

It was reported that the standards were an accreditation that the Council was aspired to and the aim was to include the standards as part of contracts. In the future, the intention was to only use providers that would be able to oblige with the standards.

 

It was noted Olympic and Ventura House would not be used going forward for people that required care and support. Ventura House would only be used for housing related support. The primary focus was to keep young people in education and the promotion of how to be a healthy happy adult. The Committee considered it was progress to move away from Olympic House. Details were provided about how the young people affected reacted to the changes and the different support offered.

 

Context was provided around out of Borough placements and it was explained that in some circumstances young people in the Borough were not able to be placed locally due to reasons such as criminal activities or vulnerabilities. It was confirmed that this was not a resourcing issue.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the report and commended the proactive approach from the Young Inspectors programme.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report on Semi Independent Living.

 

70.

Autism review - 'Making the Council more autism friendly' pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that a Member site visit would take place on 25 February 2020 to two libraries in the Borough to review the types of services available for people with autism.

 

The scoping report was also updated to read the following:

 

The aim of this review is to consider how the Council can improve its customer service and key services to support its local residents with autism.

 

The purpose for removing “and key services” was to enable the Committee to focus its review on autism, specifically on the interaction between services and the user.

 

RESOLVED: That the scoping report be updated.

71.

Corporate Parenting Panel Minutes from 17 December 2019 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

The Committee discussed the status of the Corporate Parenting Panel minutes.

 

This item was discussed as a Part II item without the press or public present as the information under discussion contained confidential or exempt information as defined by law in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985. This was because it discussed ‘information that is likely to reveal the identity of an individual’ (paragraph 2 of the schedule to the Act).

 

RESOLVED: That the Corporate Parenting Panel minutes from 17 December 2019 be noted.

 

72.

Corporate Parenting Panel Membership pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee:

 

1.    Agreed to amend the Terms of Reference of the Corporate Parenting Panel to allow for 3 named substitutes to attend in the absence of appointed Members of the Panel and that they be from any of the three Policy Overview Committees based on political balance (2 Con:1 Lab)

2.    Agreed that Councillors Nicola Brightman, Alan Deville, Janet Gardner be appointed a Substitute Members.

 

73.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the work programme be noted.

 

74.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that Internal Audit were reviewing housing voids and Home Care Outreach, Extra Care and Specialist Support Services for Adults had been deferred to the Cabinet meeting in March 2020.

 

RESOLVED: That the forward plan be noted.