This report summarises the performance of the Council’s key measures of success for 2016/17, as set out in the Council Plan.
Members considered a report which summarized the performance of the Council’s Key Measures of Success for Quarter 1 2016/17, as set out in the Council Plan 2016/17.
· Project 6.4 - (Encouraging the delivery of homes through investigation of new financial models and release of Council owned sites) - In response to comments from Members about the need for the Council to do more to deliver homes through new models such as a land trust, officers advised that investigations had begun into developing new affordable housing by forming a joint venture, housing company or other vehicle. A report would be submitted to Cabinet on this matter and the Chief Legal Officer undertook to provide a briefing paper on this initiative.
· Project 7.1 (Preventing homelessness) – A Member asked for a breakdown of the 170 households who had been assisted in the first quarter of 2016/17 and what types of intervention had taken place.
Referring to the Key Performance Indicator that showed the demand for temporary accommodation had remained constant, a Member expressed the view that it was preferable for people to be in temporary accommodation rather than living in tents as had recently happened in Gillingham. He asked for details of what support and guidance the Council gave to such vulnerable people. Officers assured Members that the Council had decided to take possession of council land in Gillingham as people were living in an unsafe environment and this had been done in a compassionate way with support offered to the individuals involved.
A Member noted that all of the housing key performance indicators (KPIs) had been met or exceeded and yet it was clear to many people that there was a serious housing crisis in Medway in terms of affordability and the quality of accommodation available. He argued that, in the light of this, the adequacy of the KPIs should be reviewed to make sure they were capturing everything that the Council needed to know. In response, officers commented that the KPIs measured the performance of the housing service and many of the wider economic issues raised were outside the control of the Council. There were however other Council initiatives which the Council was involved in which were aimed at addressing these wider issues. A Member responded that, nevertheless, this should not prevent wider issues being measured. The Assistant Director –Transformation commented that the number of indicators had been reduced to those which the Council had direct influence over. However, there would be a refresh of the Council Plan next year and she undertook to look at how some of the wider issues raised could be reflected.
A Member referred to tenants in the private sector being afraid to raise issues with the council about poor quality accommodation in case they were evicted. Officers advised that the Council worked actively with landlords on standards and would take action where necessary. Legislation to prevent retaliatory evictions existed but perhaps the Council could do more to raise awareness amongst tenants.
· Number of households living in temporary accommodation – A Member asked what the Council was doing differently to achieve such a low level of number of households in B&B type temporary accommodation compared to other councils in the south east. Officers advised that the Council had spent approximately £2m in improving the provision of temporary accommodation. A Member commented that some families living in B&B temporary accommodation did not have access to a fridge or cooker and asked if the new temporary accommodation referred to had suitable facilities. Officer assured Members that the properties purchased were suitable for family living.
· Ways of working 3: Working in partnership where this benefits our residents – a Member noted that volunteers and community wardens from the community had also helped with the community clear up days and expressed concern about the future of the highly valued community wardens, given the budget pressures facing the Council.
With regard to the Dickens 2020 project, a Member asked that the bid include the only property in Medway in which Dickens had lived, which was in Chatham.
In response to a question about why there was no mention of the Fuse Festival, the Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration undertook to provide a response on this.
· Ways of working 2: Digital services so good that everyone who can use them prefer to do so – in response to a request for an update on this initiative, the Assistant Director – Transformation advised that the new online processes for pest control would go live in December and would then be rolled out to other environmental services. The foster carer and bulky waste collection changes were scheduled to go live in the fourth quarter of 2016/17.
The Committee agreed to:
a) Note the report;
b) Note that a briefing will be provided to Members on the investigation of new financial models to encourage the delivery of homes and release of Council owned sites;
c) Note that, in relation to Project 7.1 (Preventing homelessness), a breakdown will be provided of the 170 households who had been assisted in the first quarter of 2016/17 and what types of intervention had taken place;
d) Note that officers will look at how some of the wider social and economic issues raised by Members could be reflected in the KPIs as part of the refresh of the Council Plan in 2017;
e) Note that the Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration will clarify the current position regarding the Fuse Festival.