HC/047/21 Q1 PERFORMANCE REPORT – PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES
L Warden updated Committee on the Quarter 1 Performance Report for People and Communities. L Warden asked if Members had any questions.
Cllr Adeleke queried what Dacorum Live was. L Warden confirmed that this is the new print newsletter that has been developed by Communications and is issued to all residents in the Borough through the post. All residents should have access to it and it will contain an overview of all areas and what’s happening across Dacorum. It will also be available online.
Cllr Adeleke, through the Chairman, commended the efforts of Communications staff during the Covid crisis. L Warden confirmed she would let staff know.
Action: L Warden
Cllr Adeleke mentioned problems with delivery of Digest and that some Councillors had residents advise they had not received them. Cllr Adeleke also asked if Communications could include information on community grants in the Digest. L Warden would speak to Matt Rawdon about delivery and also advised that with community grants it’s important that we get the message out to as many people as possible, so we are highlighting this in Members News and Dacorum Live.
Action: L Warden
Cllr Mahmood mentioned the Old Town Hall and wondered if we are fully functional now. L Warden advised that we have an Autumn programme of events which has been launched and we are trying to make it as successful as we can. We have recruited new members of staff to ensure that we can deliver the programme.
Cllr Mahmood asked if we advertise the community grants locally, for example in Community Centres or leaflets or posters on community notice boards. L Warden replied that we are very aware that we make sure we engage with Community Centres, they are often a hub for the local area and that’s where a lot of these groups meet. It’s very important that we get that communication out there as much as possible and we will make sure that’s something we continue to do.
Cllr Mahmood queried how referrals are made to the Healthy Hub. L Warden advised that there are a few different routes that people can come to the Healthy Hub, they can access it online through our website or the Healthy Hub website, they can request information or a referral with a variety of areas at which point contact will be made and they’ll be put in touch with the relevant agencies to support or help them. Additionally there’s drop in sessions at the South Hill Centre. L Warden confirmed that she would circulate some information for Members which can be shared with as many residents as possible.
Action: L Warden
Cllr Mahmood enquired if Healthy Hub was open to all residents. L Warden advised that it is for anyone who needs it, regardless of tenure.
Cllr Mahmood queried the increase in anti-social behaviour and wondered what we are doing to help, especially for non-council tenants where sanctioning isn’t as easy. L Warden confirmed that there are a number of tools and powers that we have available to us. First we will always try to engage with residents to identify any issues or extra support that’s needed, then we will issue warning letters and this can be quite helpful as we will offer mediation. We might look into serving a Community Protection Warning, which is a tool to help prevent further issues, we also work with the Police on Closure Orders.
Cllr Mahmood asked why didn’t we have something like a ticker tape outside the building, advertising things like the community grants or Healthy Hub, as it would be nice to communicate what we are doing with the wider public. L Warden confirmed that we advertise through a number of channels, for example social media and the big screen in the Marlowes, but she would let Matt know for him to consider the options.
Actions: L Warden
Cllr Hollinghurst mentioned that there are a lot of good things happening with community grants and a lot of effort is being put into this, there was an article in the paper regarding monies spent by County Councillors and wondered if we could include a Borough Councillor. We also used to have a scheme like this for Councillors and they were responsible for a local budget, which helped them become involved in their communities. The newspaper article is transparent, you know what is spent by whom and he thinks that Council’s should be a bit more involved and transparent. L Warden advised that we are looking at how to engage Councillors in grants or improvements in their areas and also how we work with County Councillors.
Cllr Hollinghurst said about giving Members an indicative budget to help them with local issues.
Cllr Griffiths mentioned that we have set up a housing related community grant that is currently in it’s infancy and they are area specific and is meeting independently of the Council, which is Chaired by a tenant, the principal behind that is anything that comes forward the Ward Member will be informed and invited to that meeting to discuss the grant. Cllr Griffiths also advised that the query about Members having an indicative budget will be too cumbersome, take too much staff time to work out and we used to have it previously but can’t see it coming back, due to financial pressures and priorities. It was one of the budget cuts which meant we didn’t have to cut front line services.
Cllr Hollinghurst clarified that previously it was a shared dialogue, a bit more democratic and not dominated by corporate objectives at the expense of local needs. Cllr Griffiths replied that she was sure that Officers had taken on the comments and would look at how Members could be involved in the future.
Cllr Adeleke asked about the Old Town Hall staff discounts that had previously been discussed. Cllr Banks mentioned that we are undertaking a review and she had put forward the request, which is currently being considered by the consultants.
Cllr Ransley queried what plans are in place to provide The Healthy Hub in Tring as there is an area of deprivation there and not all residents have access to a car or to a computer. L Warden advised that the intention was to launch it in Hemel and then to look at other locations, like Tring, but due to the pandemic it all had to go online. We are now looking at how locations, dates and times, also how it might fit with other agencies. L Warden mentioned that as soon as we have more details it will be forwarded to the relevant Members.
Cllr Hollinghurst mentioned that Tring Community Centre which has been very well supported by the Borough and reminded people that we do have this infrastructure in place, they have been shut down due to Covid, but when we are up and running again it’s important to look at getting more out of them for things like community involvement. Cllr Banks confirmed that this was an idea from Public Health and it was very much about using the assets that we have the community, including the community centres networks and church halls. Now we are looking at getting back to near normal the Healthy Hub are looking to see where they could deliver locally.
The Chairman confirmed that the report was noted as per the recommendation.