Ad Hoc Sub Committee Welfare Reform Minutes

Date:
Friday 6 September 2013
Time:
2:00pm
Place:
Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries

Attendance Details

Members:
Brian Collins (Chairman)-Castle Douglas and Glenkens
Alistair Geddes-Mid Galloway
Ivor A Hyslop-Lochar
Jane S Maitland-Dee
Colin Smyth-Nith
Officials:
John Lynch - Head of Strategic Housing, Welfare Reform and Revenues and Benefits
Derek Crichton - Governance Officer
Lorna Campbell - Service Manager Revenues and Benefits
Colin Holmes - Service Manager Resource Planning
In attendance:
Derek Cox - Director of Public Health, NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Jayne Moore - DGHP
Rob Stephenson - Loreburn Housing Association
Apologies:
Ian Carruthers - Annandale South
Ronnie E Ogilvie - Annandale South
Item Number Item/Description Action
PUBLIC
1 SEDERUNT AND APOLOGIES

4 Members present, 2 apologies

 
2 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Ivor A Hyslop declared an interest in item 5 (The Impacts of Welfare Reform on Health and Wellbeing) by virtue of his being a Director of NHS Dumfries and Galloway and left the meeting during consideration of this item.

 

The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, highlighted and acknowledged the achievement of the Revenues and Benefits Team, led by Lorna Campbell, Service Manager, in gaining a Scottish Local Authorities Excellence Award at the recent IRRV Awards in recognition of excellence and service delivery.  The Leader and other Members congratulated Lorna and her team on their achievement.

 

MEMBER - Colin Smyth entered the meeting - 5 Members present

 
3 MINUTE OF MEETING OF 1 JULY 2013

Decision

 

NOTED.

 
4 WELFARE REFORM IMPACTS - PRESENTATION BY REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS

Members received a presentation from Jayne Moore, DGHP and Rob Stephenson, Loreburn Housing Association on their experiences so far, particularly focusing on under-occupation and maximisation of income through Discretionary Housing Payments; how RSLs were working together to address the wider impact of Welfare Reform by encouraging retention of tenancies and management of rent arrears and promoting joint initiatives such as money advice services, furniture projects and employment of a credit union development worker; and what the future held in terms of reviewing staffing structures to maximise front line and support services.

 

Decision

 

4.1     THANKED Ms Moore and Mr Stephenson for their presentation and responding to Members' questions;

 

4.2      NOTED the assurance from both RSLs that eviction would be an action of last resort; and

 

4.3      RE-ITERATED the Council's previous decision on lobbying for a change in legislation in relation to the repeal of Section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 as proposed by the Govan Law Centre; and

 

4.4      AGREED to reaffirm the Council’s position to the Scottish Government.

 

MEMBER - Ivor A Hyslop, having declared an interest in the following item, left the meeting - 4 Members present

Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits

5 THE IMPACTS OF WELFARE REFORM ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

5.1      NOTED the intervention projects as presented and that the funding required in order to deliver these interventions be considered by Members as part of the Council’s budget development process for financial year 2014/15 and beyond, including appropriate officer scrutiny; and

 

5.2      AGREED that NHS Dumfries and Galloway be requested to also give due consideration to these projects as part of their budget process.

 

MEMBER - Ivor A Hyslop re-entered the meeting - 5 Members present

Head of Improvement Engagement and Community Services

6 GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL PAYDAY LENDING SOUNDING BOARD FINDINGS - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED that the findings of Glasgow City Council’s report and AGREED to remit to Officers to incorporate the views of Members into a report detailing the policy implications for Dumfries and Galloway Council for consideration by the Policy and Resources Committee.

Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits

7 SUB COMMITTEE MEETING WITH PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY FOR STATE FOR SCOTLAND 13 MAY 2013 - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED the letter from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office.

Service Manager Revenues and benefits

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

Decision

 

NOTED

 

8.1      the latest position regarding the impact of Social Sector Size criteria restrictions;

 

8.2      the additional Discretionary Housing Payment funds awarded by Department of Work and Pensions;

 

8.3      the current position with the Scottish Welfare Fund; and

 

8.4      AGREED to receive updated information on the level of spend and potential impacts on budget(s) at the next meeting of the Committee.

Service Manager Revenues and benefits

9 ADVICE AND INFORMATION SERVICES COMMISSION: PERFORMANCE REPORT - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED Members' comments on the performance information relative to the Advice and Information Services contract; and AGREED to remit to Officers to liaise with political groups in advance of the report being considered by the Policy and Resources Committee.

Service Manager Resource Planning
10 COMMISSION OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION SERVICES FROM APRIL 2014 - REPORT BY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICES

Decision

 

NOTED Members' comments on the draft Advice and Information Services’ service specification and AGREED to remit to Officers to liaise with political groups in advance of the report being considered by the Policy and Resources Committee.

Service Manager Resource Planning
11 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 Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits - Completed.
5 Action by Head of Improvement Engagement and Community Services - Completed.
6 Action by Head of Strategic Housing & Welfare Reform & Revenue & Benefits - Completed - report on the agenda for the January 2014 Policy and Resources Committee meeting.
7 Action by Service Manager Revenues and benefits - Completed
8 Action by Service Manager Revenues and benefits - Completed - update due at the next Welfare Reform Sub on 9th Dec