Agenda and minutes

Sefton Borough Partnership Operations Board - Tuesday 11th June, 2013 2.30 pm

Venue: Crosby Police Station, Alexandra Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, L22 1RX

Contact: Mike Morris / Paul Fraser  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Dr. J. Atherton (Director of Public Health), Graham Bayliss (Director of Corporate Services), Phil Halewood (Merseytravel) and Angela White (Sefton CVS).

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Minutes attached.

Minutes:

It was agreed that the Minutes of the meeting of the Operations Board held on 19 March 2013 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

3.

Matters Arising

To consider matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

 

4.

Welfare Reform

Minutes:

Peter Morgan referred to the demands arising from the Welfare Reform provisions which had been placed on various organisations.  Following an initial workshop earlier this year, at which members of a Welfare Reform Partners Group were nominated, two further workshops had since been held.  Among topics which had been discussed were potential disorder and low level crime and the ongoing development of the foodbank network.  He indicated that the biggest challenge in relation to the latter would be maintaining the flow of food donations.  He asked colleagues from partner organisations to encourage their staff to contribute regularly, if possible, in order to keep the network sustainable.  A second element which had been addressed was short-term emergency support and he had been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jo Beet on this.  Mainly single men had been applying for this support and the number presenting had increased from 20 to over 100 in a single day.  This would be monitored.  A third strand of the discussions revolved around supporting people who were setting up home.  The Helping Hand organisation had co-operated with One Vision Housing in offering furniture packages, including new electrical goods and pre-owned furniture items.  Once again, single males were predominant among the recipients.  A fourth topic which had been discussed was financial support for people’s ongoing needs.  Part of this involved trying to introduce more flexibililty to credit unions and also working with the banks.  The final topic was supporting people with clothing, especially school uniforms.  The Parenting 2000 organisation had assisted in providing clothing for children.

 

Peter also indicated that the Citizens Advice Bureau had provided training for staff at all levels, but that the Bureau’s resources were clearly limited.  Steph Prewett understood that the Bureau was currently looking at the impact of the Welfare Reform changes in the south of the Borough and that 75 to 100 people each week were being turned away from enquiry offices.  This pressure was also having a knock-on effect on volunteer advisers, some of whom had reduced their previous number of volunteer days from two days a week to one.  Arrangements were being made to train more volunteers, but this would take time.  In addition, a plea had been made to Job Centre Plus not to unnecessarily refer enquiries to the Bureau.  Jo Beet offered to arrange for specific instances of this to be investigated if Steph Prewett supplied her with details.

 

Roy Williams indicated that rent arrears were increasing dramatically and One Vision Housing was struggling to let three bedroom properties in south Sefton.  There was also a shortage of one-bedroom accommodation, particularly in this area.  In some instances, the organisation was holding off some court action and was also looking at the possibility of converting some two-bedroom accommodation to one-bedroom units.  Arrears had risen from £270,000 on 1 April 2013 to £450,000 as at 1 June 2013.  The number of individual arrears cases had risen from 701 to 1,500 during the same period.  Attempts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Gun and Gang Crime

Minutes:

Chief Superintendent Nikki Holland reported that the general situation in relation to gun and gang crime had calmed down a lot.  Intelligence was still being gathered on gang disputes where firearms were involved, but there had been no actual firearm discharges recently.

 

Steph Prewett commented that the MARGG (Multi Agency Response to Gun and Gang Crime) group had been trying to deter individuals on the periphery from joining gangs and to encourage the public to provide information about gang activities.  In addition, 120 personal pledges by individual workshop participants had been made.

 

6.

Sefton Council Priorities pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Report Attached.

Minutes:

The Board considered a report setting out priorities for the Borough’s communities, identified through the Council’s Strategic Leadership Team, namely protecting the most vulnerable; economy; environment; health and wellbeing; and community resilience.  Work was currently being undertaken to define these priorities and outline how the Council proposed to deliver against them.  The report requested partner organisations to (a) consider the priorities with a view to ascertaining whether there may be an opportunity to develop shared priorities where the Council’s priorities align with organisational priorities and (b) where possible, to feed this thinking into their governance structures in order to begin to promote a shared agenda around working with Sefton’s communities.

 

Margaret Carney asked colleagues to feed back any thoughts on this issue in due course.  She also referred to the fact that the Council would shortly be embarking on a period of consultation on its proposed Local Plan.  She urged partner colleagues to read at least the executive summary of the Plan.  Roy Williams queried the balance of resources between strategic housing providers in the area.  Margaret Carney accepted that it would be important to investigate this and she said that all evidence about housing need requirements would be welcomed.

 

7.

Community Resilience pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Report Attached.

Minutes:

The Board considered a report on a set of key principles which had been developed to shape the work being undertaken within the Council; a number of which would involve working in partnership to deliver sustainable solutions to developing resilience among our residents and communities.

 

Christina Jones indicated that this initiative picked up on some of the work being undertaken by Hugh Baird College and sought to address questions such as “What can we do to avoid the occurrence of crisis points?”  “What can we learn from strong communities?” and “How can we harness successful responses to crises for the benefit of others?”  Chief Superintendant Holland commented that the Police were having to re-assure a lot of isolated, fearful people.  Rob Pritchard added that there were a lot of areas where neighbouring residents did not know each other.

 

Margaret Carney asked if there were any instances of resilience which colleagues could relate.  Rob Pritchard referred to recent flooding incidents in Maghull and Bootle where local people sought very little help from outside agencies.

 

Jo Beet referred to the significant resources which had been diverted to Linacre Ward, which suffered from very high levels of deprivation, over the last 20 years.  Despite everything which had been done, nothing had really changed and a situation of generational worklessness had developed.  She felt that individuals need either to have the ability to cope with adversity or the willingness to ask for help, if needed.  It was agreed that being better informed helped the resilience of a community.  Margaret Carney referred to the possibility of some measures in deprived areas improving the situation of some residents who may then decide to leave the area.   Christina Jones stated that some studies showed that people moved around within their own neighbourhood when their situation improved.

 

Peter Morgan referred to a housing estate in Lancashire which was known nationally as being poor, but was nevertheless extremely resilient.  Rob Pritchard indicated that he was aware of information from Knowsley that people were very happy even in very deprived areas.

 

Roy Williams felt that resilience suggested the ability to survive adversity and queried whether we need to define the level at which intervention would be expected.  Margaret Carney made the point that pensions had so far not been affected by welfare reform measures and that some of the least resilient people were the most affluent.  Christina Jones remarked that some families may perceive themselves to be so resilient that they neglect to apply for assistance to which they are entitled.   Roy Williams wondered whether available resources should be targeted at those who were least resilient.   Margaret Carney queried whether affected communities were subsequently more resilient following recent gun-related incidents.  Christina Jones believed that the fear of criminal elements could sometimes outweigh trust in official organisations.

 

Margaret Carney believed that one of the outcomes of increased resilience would be a reduced reliance on public services, but also an increased ability to cope with changes and reform.  There would be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Dates, Times and Venues of Future Meetings

The following programme of meetings for the remainder of 2013/14 (all starting at 2.30 p.m.) is proposed:-

 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at One Vision Housing Offices

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at a venue to be determined

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 at a venue to be determined.

Minutes:

Details of the following programme of meetings for the remainder of 2013/14 (all starting at 2.30 p.m.) were submitted:-

 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at One Vision Housing Offices

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at a venue to be determined

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 at a venue to be determined

 

(The venues for the meetings on 10 December 2013 and 18 March 2014 have since been arranged for the SCVS offices in Waterloo and Bootle Town Hall, respectively).

 

Board members were requested to enter details of the remaining programme in their diaries.

 

9.

Jo Beet

Minutes:

Jo indicated that she had been appointed to a post with the Council and this would be the last meeting she attended as a Board member.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Board’s appreciation of Jo’s contribution to the work of the Board be recorded and she be wished the best of luck in her new role.