Ad Hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 11 June 2013
Time:
2:00pm
Place:
Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries

Attendance Details

Members:
Ian Carruthers (Chairman)-Annandale South
Alistair Geddes-Mid Galloway
Jane S Maitland-Dee
Ronnie E Ogilvie-Annandale South
Colin Smyth-Nith
Alistair Witts (Substitute)-Nith
Officials:
Justin Tracy - Director of Community and Customer Services
Lorna Campbell - Service Manager Revenues and Benefits
Claire Caution - Committee Clerk
John Lynch - Head of Strategic Housing, Commissioning and Environmental Standards
Andy Reid - Principal Officer Strategic Planning
Lesley Urquhart - Financial Inclusion and Assessment Team Manager
In attendance:
Dr Derek Cox - Director of Public Health, NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Apologies:
Brian Collins (Chairman) - Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Ivor A Hyslop - Lochar
Item Number Item/Description Action
PUBLIC
1 SEDERUNT AND APOLOGIES

0.1      APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

 

Decision

 

In the absence of the Chairman, AGREED that Ian Carruthers be appointed Chairman for this meeting.

 

PROCEDURE - Ian Carruthers assumed the chair.

 

6 Members present, 2 apologies

 
2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

NONE declared

 
3 MINUTE OF MEETING OF 30 APRIL 2013

Decision

 

NOTED.

 
4 THE IMPACTS OF WELFARE REFORM ON HEALTH AND WELL-BEING - PRESENTATION BY DR DEREK COX, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Decision

 

4.1      THANKED Dr Cox for his extremely informative presentation on the impacts of Welfare Reform on Health and Wellbeing; and

 

4.2      AGREED to recommend that the Policy and Resources Committee give consideration to the following impacts and proposals outlined in the presentation, NOTING that a presentation on mapping of existing services would be made to the next meeting of this Sub-Committee on 1 July 2013:-

 

- proposals for the development of a "time banking" scheme

- the impact of welfare reform on GP workloads

- proposals for data sharing, as part of an annual report, to Council Committees and the NHS Public Health Governance Committee

- mechanisms/structures for development of meaningful partnership working

- areas of intervention which might be explored in the future, should funding be identified

Director Community and Customer Services

5 FINANCIAL INCLUSION STRATEGY - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

COMMENDED the draft Financial Inclusion Strategy and AGREED to recommend that the following points be addressed in the finalised draft Strategy to be considered by Policy and Resources Committee on 16 July 2013:-

 

- benchmarking information with other Scottish local authorities

- clarity on the action plan once the Strategy had been approved

- inclusion of specific measurable KPIs and qualitative information

- that rigorous monitoring arrangements be put in place as part of Community and Customer Services' business plan on a six-monthly basis by the Policy and Resources Committee

Director Community and Customer Services

6 CREDIT UNIONS AND OTHER BANKING OPTIONS - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

6.1      ENDORSED the aims and strategic approach to the development of locally based Credit Unions;

 

6.2      AGREED that in-kind Council resources be provided through a re-prioritisation of existing activities/projects and that, if appropriate, a report be presented to the next Policy and Resources Committee to identify the appropriate funding/resourcing approach required; and

 

6.3      NOTED the other banking options and AGREED that the Grand Central Savings option be explored further.

Director Community and Customer Services

7 WELFARE REFORM AND THE SOCIAL HOUSING SECTOR - REPORT BY DIRECTOR PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED 

 

7.1      the decisions of the Housing Sub Committee on 25 April 2013 in terms of that Sub Committee's remit and correspondence that had been issued expressing support for (1) Registered Social Landlords' concerns in relation to the potential for increased rent arrears with Universal Credit and the effect of this on their business plans and investment programmes; and (2) a petition to repeal section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001;

 

7.2      that following the decision on 25 April 2013 to adopt a new policy approach for the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) projects for the development of 20% of new units to be one bedroom homes, Strategic Housing Services had commenced the process of reviewing existing SHIP projects in consultation with Registered Social Landlords and the Scottish Government, including an option for future conversion to larger units,  and would report to the July 2013 Housing Sub Committee;

 

7.3      that the Housing Sub Committee had considered the following issues and had recommended that this Sub Committee further consider these matters:

 

- more formal links with the Registered Social Landlord sector to take forward issues of common concern around welfare reform;

- transititional arrangements until the Common Housing Register was implemented ;

- the Housing Sub Committee's position of not supporting the Registered Social Landlords' policy of not applying a blanket policy of not pursuing evictions due to welfare reform;

- the formalisation of existing joint working between the Council and Registered Social Landlords, particularly through the Strategic Housing Forum; and

 

7.4      AGREED, in considering the Housing Sub Committee's recommendation, that this Sub Committee seek to establish more formal links with the Registered Social Landlord sector on Welfare Reform matters, that representatives from the four main Registered Social Landlords be invited to make a presentation to a future meeting of this Sub Committee, to advise Members on the operational impact of Welfare Reform on areas such as rent arrears and the demand for smaller housing, and be included within the Welfare Reform Communications Strategy and Action Plan, to be submitted to the next meeting of this Sub Committee on 1 July 2013.

 
8 SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND AND DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENT MONITORING REPORT - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED

 

8.1      the benchmarking information provided in relation to the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payment funds;

 

8.2      the performance information in relation to the administration of the Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments, which should be built into KPIs as part of a monitoring report on the refreshed Community and Customer Services' Business Plan being reported to the Policy and Resources Committee in July 2013; and

 

8.3      AGREED to receive worked examples of criteria assessment and calculation of awards within the monitoring report to a future meeting.

 
9 ANY OTHER BUSINESS DEEMED URGENT BY THE CHAIRMAN DUE TO THE NEED FOR A DECISION

Decision

 

NOTED that there was no business deemed urgent by the Chairman due to the need for a decision.

 

Action Details

ItemDetail
4 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Complete - report will be submitted to the 6 September 2013 Ad Hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform and then the 5 November 2013 Policy and Resources Committee.
5 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Completed - report is going to Policy and Resources Committee on 16 July 2013.
6 Action by Director Community and Customer Services - Completed - report will go to Policy and Resources Committee along with the Welfare Reform Resources report.