Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions
Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support 01442 228209
To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting
The Chair advised that there were some amendments to the minutes from 13 September 2023 so will be agreed at the next meeting.
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mottershead, Weston and Wilkies.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest
A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -
(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent
and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial
(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.
A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.
Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members
[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]
There were no declarations of interest.
An opportunity for members of the public to make statements or ask questions in accordance with the rules as to public participation
There was no public participation.
Consideration of any matter referred to the committee in relation to call-in
N Beresford introduced the report to members stating that the report was to inform Members of the current position in relation to humanitarian response activity and the Council’s response in relation to resettlement and asylum cohorts.
N Beresford was happy to take questions.
Cllr Banks thanked N Beresford for an interesting insight to the report, she said that she had noticed from the front cover that it said all wards were effected but not all wards have refugee's settlement, could she elaborate on this.
N Beresford said that the reason for it being all wards is that they have three initial asylum contingency hotel sites, and an Arab hotel and they are in different wards of the Borough.
She said that the Asylam dispersal program specifically engages clear springs ready homes, which is the Home Office procurement agency to procure property in all wards in any Borough.
Dacorum has a ward allocation as a Borough of 113 bed spaces, those bed spaces could be procured in any area of Dacorum. Children are accommodated across the hotel sites and they're not necessarily in education placements specifically within the immediate locality of that site. They will be transported to and from school across the Borough.
N Beresford said that the other factor to draw your attention to is the ongoing impacts in relation to Asylums dispersals specifically. There is a direct link and knock onto those households who are occupying temporarily accommodation placement's and potential long impacts in respect or demand to housing register and request for homeless assistance. Generally speaking that would affect the wider Dacorum.
Cllr Adeleke said in addition to Afghanistan and Syria, given the crisis that is prevailing all over the world now, which countries are we actually supporting or planning to support.
N Beresford said that currently across each of the sites we are managing there are anywhere between 12 and 25 different nationalities across those sites.
Cllr Barradell referred to the Syrian VPRP scheme, he notes that the Council have resettled 9 out of 10 households. He asked if there were any plans to resettle a tenth.
M Peters confirmed that there are still plans and they are committed, however events have taken over and the Syrian resettlement programme is practically on hold at the moment.
Cllr Barradell asked if there is any expectation on this sort of service, given recent activities and issues and everything that is going on in Israel and Gaza that could lead to a demand for the service.
N Beresford said that it fluctuates in position and that they meet with the Home Office deluc colleagues both nationally and regionally on a weekly and monthly basis. It is a watching brief and it’s a likeliness.
Cllr Barradell then referred to section 7, your safeguarding work. He wondered what specifically the Council are doing around recognizing potential victims of modern slavery coming through the councils housing programme and what we are doing to recognise victims and then referring them to the LRM ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
S Walton introduced the report. Stating, it was to bring to your attention where we are with the HTIP, what it is, what we're trying to do and where we're at. Its been brought in to transform the housing service in preparation for changes in legislation and regulation, but fundamentally I think we all agree they are worthwhile things to implement anyway to improve the services to residents.
HTIP are consultants who come in to assist our own managers, improve their areas and think that's an important point to make. That's the right way to embed sustainable change because we're learning with them and currently all the areas which they're working on have active action plans which are up to date live documents.
S Walton was happy to take questions.
Cllr Johnson referred to section 3 it talks about applying rent tolerances.
He recalls from an earlier session they had a few years ago this was in terms of social housing, there's a flexibility permitted of between 5 and 10%, but I can't remember the basis on which that can be applied. Could this be clarified?
S Walton said, what we are doing with HTIP is looking ahead, linking improvements with the housing strategy. This means we can position the service with the Councils aspirations, but also recognize that like most other housing organisations, we've got the issue about funding and we will need to balance this off. So it's trying to marry up what we want to do to be a great landlord and where we are now with business planning, and make sure those things dovetail, any option to increase income would be looked at in the round.
The chair said that the report speaks for itself and the committee are happy for them to come back in 6 months with an update.
The report was noted.
M Pinnell gave an overview on the report. Stating that the recommendations of the report are to receive authorization from the committee to set up a task and finish group to support the recommission of the repairs and maintenance contracts. Section one of the report is the introduction and he highlighted to Members that table one, because that's the existing services that are provided under the banner of the total asset management contract, moving forward the total asset management label will be dropped and we'll have the repairs and maintenance reference carried through subsequent and future reports.
Section 2 of the report is the meet and the request, so part of the recommission exercise for the repairs and maintenance contract.
Section 2.3 of the report refers to the Dacorum Constitution and outlines the purpose, the request through this scrutiny group of setting up that report task and finish group. He said that the report states how it should be set up and the proposal.
M Pinnell welcomed questions.
Cllr Pringle arrived at 19:47
Cllr Banks said that on behalf of the conservative Team they welcome the Task and Finish Group.
Cllr Barradell asked if the meeting will be minuted and made public or is it a closed group.
M Pinnell referred to 2.4 of the report and said that it will be minute but not publicly scrutinised.
The Chair added that this report will come to the committee every 6 months.
Cllr Adeleke asked why we are leaving out independent.
M Pinnell said that he had gone through the governance team and Mark Brookes and he has said that we can invite independent people, so they wont be left out. He stated that it would be a minimum of 6 rather than a maximum of 6.
Cllr Adeleke asked if they will be invited or selected.
M Pinnell said that if the committee this evening approves the setting up of the task and finish, we will write out to all group leaders to nominate councillors to be part of the task and finish Group.
The committee agreed the recommendations.
work programme was agreed.