This report is a summary of the performance at quarter 4 and end of year 2017/18 for the programmes and measures which fall within the remit of this Committee
Members considered a report which set out a summary of performance at quarter 4 and end of year 2017/18 for the programmes and measures which fell with the Committee’s remit.
Members discussed the following issues
· New duties to prevent homelessness – a Member asked for more information on the new duties on the Council to prevent homelessness under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
· Rough sleeping – in response to a question about progress in developing a wrap around service for rough sleepers, the Head of Strategic Housing advised that the Council’s bid for a £410,000 grant to provide such a service had been successful. This would provide an outreach service, expand Housing First, support people with mental health needs and provide extra resources to co-ordinate support for rough sleepers. In response to a comment that the performance of Turning Point needed to be closely monitored, the Head of Strategic Housing advised they had been seen as the most appropriate provider and there would be robust monitoring through the regular performance reports that the Government required. The Council’s target from the Government was to halve rough sleeping this year.
Members welcomed this funding. A Member made the point that the number of rough sleepers was small in terms of overall homelessness with the “invisible” homeless being a particular concern and a complex area.
· Temporary accommodation – a Member welcomed the reduction in numbers of people in temporary accommodation. An undertaking was given to let Members know how many children were included in the figures.
How the Council had arrived at its waiting list figure of 5,480 was queried when Shelter had stated the figure was in the region of 20,000. The Head of Strategic Housing advised that the Council had proactively tackled homelessness through preventative work. By working with private landlords there had been more success in finding homes for people in the private sector. There had been a rolling review whereby people were asked if they still wished to remain on the register. Counter fraud work had also removed some entries and duplicate entries due to an IT quirk had also been removed. The Head of Strategic Housing confirmed this work had accounted for the 16,000 reduction. A Member asked how many of the 5,480 on the register were classed as Band X and an undertaking was given to provide that figure.
· Libraries and Transformation – a Member asked what support was being given to smaller libraries to ensure they were ready for the transformation agenda. The Assistant Director – Transformation advised that all library staff were being trained in how to provide an assisted digital service.
· Chatham centre public realm improvements - a Member queried how site topography could have been a factor in the delay of the
construction of the new steps at St Johns, adjacent to Wetherspoon’s public house. Officers replied that it was understood to be due to problems which materialized under ground when the original stairs were removed. Reference was also made to the businesses in the area who had been adversely affected for some time as a result of the lengthy improvement works. In response to a question, the Chief Finance Officer stated he had not received any requests from local businesses for financial compensation.
The Committee agreed to:
a) note the quarter 4 and end of year 2017/18 performance of the measures of success used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities, and;
b) request a briefing note on the Homelessness Reduction Act, the number of children in temporary accommodation and the numbers of people on the housing register classified as Band X.