Borough Services Policy and Review Panel
Monday, 14th September, 2015 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Concorde Room, Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Panel Administrator: Adele Taylor  Email:  adele.taylor@rushmoor.gov.uk Tel:01252 398831

Items
No. Item

8.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 94 KB

            To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 15th June, 2015 (copy attached).

 

Minutes:

            The Minutes of the Meeting held on 15th June, 2015 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

9.

Food Banks

To receive an overview from Mr. Jamie Beaton, Community Development Worker, on the Bill Sergeant Trust Report on food banks and to receive updates from representatives from local food bank facilities within the Borough.

Minutes:

The Panel welcomed Mr. Jamie Beaton, Community Development Worker, Mrs. Jane Newton, The Larder, Holy Trinity Church, Aldershot and Mr. Mike Shea, Farnborough Foodbank, who had all been invited to attend the meeting to give an update on Foodbanks at a county and local level.

 

Mr. Beaton commenced by giving an overview of the report commissioned by the Bill Sargent Trust on the work of foodbanks in Hampshire. A seminar had been held in Winchester in July, 2015 which had been attended by representatives from foodbanks, housing associations, voluntary organisations and Officers and Members for local councils and the County Council. It was advised that, whilst Hampshire contained some of the most affluent areas in the United Kingdom, it had also experienced a remarkable rise in foodbank provision and use. It was reported that there were at least 20 foodbanks or similar projects in Hampshire, including some in a number of the wealthiest areas. The research in the report contained information from eleven foodbanks in the County from which workers, users and volunteers had been interviewed; therefore, it was a small scale study and the findings should be considered in that context. Users interviewed were of mixed gender and reflected users presenting with complex issues such as mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical health issues, and substance abuse.

 

It was noted that most users hit crisis point before asking for assistance, triggers included benefit delays, changes to benefits, jobcentre sanctions, reductions in working hours and prolonged periods of illness. Most people would cope, until that final crisis trigger pushed them to ask for extra help, but users generally felt ashamed and embarrassed at having to ask. It was noted that budgeting was rarely considered an issue; most users, volunteers and workers had reported that, despite careful budgeting and frugal living, most users incomes, be it wages or benefits, had not provided enough to meet their basic needs

 

The Panel noted that benefits sanctions emerged strongly as a theme, within the report, as a tipping point for crisis. Stories, from users, suggested that individuals were ending up in crisis after being sanctioned as a result of unavoidable circumstances, such as prolonged periods of illness and hospitalisation. In addition to sanctions, some individuals were slipping through the safety net of support altogether due to the rigid rules and procedures of support agencies and a lack of flexibility or tailoring of support to individual circumstances. As a result, people could fall deeper into arrears, with rent and bills creating more debt. A lack of knowledge of entitlements might also be causing issues.

 

Foodbanks had a practical impact on users, often providing food packages to individuals who had gone for some time with very little or inadequate food. Users often suffered from low self-esteem, anger, frustration and a sense of helplessness, not knowing where they would find the money to feed their families. In some cases, individuals had no other support network than the foodbank and felt isolated and lonely.

 

The Panel was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Borough Services Budget Portfolio pdf icon PDF 212 KB

            To review the Panel’s portfolio of budgets (papers attached) to assist in identifying future items for the work programme.

Minutes:

The Panel welcomed Ms. Amanda Fahey, Head of Finance, who attended the meeting to report on the Budgets within the Panels portfolio to assist in identifying future items for the work programme.

 

The Panel noted the statutory and discretionary budgets and were also advised on regulatory services which were picked up elsewhere by other Panels or Committees, such as Hackney Carriages. After some discussion, the Panel identified the following items as potential items for future agendas:

 

·         Pollution and Environmental Control – in particular around pollution and the impacts on the Community

·         Integrated CCTV – update since the integration with Hart District Council and any impacts/effects caused by the merger

·         Troubled Families – update on the current situation

·         Grants – in particular Farnborough and Cove War Memorial Hospital Trust – a visit may be made to the facility

·         Community Patrol Team – a background note would be given at the mid cycle meeting

·         Meals on Wheels – an update would be given at the mid cycle meeting

 

Further discussion on the identified items would be held at the next mid cycle meeting.

 

11.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 99 KB

            To note the Panel’s work programme (copy attached).

 

Minutes:

            The Panel noted the current work programme.