Venue: Concorde Room, Council Offices, Farnborough
Contact: Panel Administrator: Adele Taylor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:01252 398831
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8th February, 2016 (copy attached).
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 8th February, 2016 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
Citizens' Advice Rushmoor
To receive a presentation from Ms. Alex Hughes, Chief Officer, on the working arrangements and activities of Citizens’ Advice Rushmoor.
The Panel welcomed Ms. Alex Hughes, Chief Officer at Citizens’ Advice Rushmoor (CAR), who attended the meeting to give an update on activities and working arrangements. A pack was circulated to the Panel which included the Annual Report 2014/15, a copy of the presentation and some general information about Citizens’ Advice. It was advised that the data for 2015/16 were still being pulled together and would be made available to Members as soon as the report was complete.
The Panel was shown the dashboard of data for the local authority area, which was also distributed with a quarterly newsletter to all Members. The dashboard gave a useful source of data for the area/clients, and highlighted emerging and changing issues. The dashboard also provided information on the channel of contact made with CAR; it was hoped that a shift towards electronic communication, such as webchat and email, would be seen in the future.
Ms. Hughes explained that the aim of CAR was to help people find a way forward, by progressing issues and giving advice to educate individuals to prevent similar issues reoccurring. The data gained helped identify the impacts of policy and regulations, allowing campaigns for change to solve collective issues on both a local and national level. In addition, CAR created benefits to society through the way in which services were delivered, the social value of working with over 150 volunteers in the local area and the benefit of being part of a national network. It was advised that, nationally, Citizens’ Advice had recently been rebranded providing a more modern outlook and clean appearance.
The Panel reviewed the statistics relating to issues raised during 2015/16 compared to those for 2014/15, it was noted that CAR had helped with 22,981 different advice issues in 2015/16 compared to 15,855 the previous year. The largest area for concern in 2015/16 had remained issues related to welfare benefits. It was noted that employment issues were generally being dealt with through webchat as this was a more accessible channel for those in work.
Ms. Hughes advised of changes in funding. It was noted that the Council had previously been the largest funder, although Pensionwise, an impartial government service offering advice on pensions, had become the largest funder during 2015/16. Pensionwise was a government initiative of which there were 50 across the country, the branch based locally covered Rushmoor and the surrounding area, including Newbury, Andover, Eastleigh, Guildford and Woking. The core funding from the Council gave the opportunity to be creative with regard to developing staff to meet emerging needs through training and channel shift.
It was noted that, for every £1 invested, CAR generated at least £1.51 in fiscal benefits, reducing the demand on government funds, £8.74 in public value and £10.94 in benefits to individuals.
The Panel reviewed data relating to issues raised by ward across the Borough, the information showed an equal split between Aldershot and Farnborough with Cherrywood and Wellington being the two areas where the most issues ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Supporting Troubled Families
To receive a presentation from Mr Tony McGovern, Extended Services Partnership Manager, on the Supporting Troubled Families initiative.
The Panel welcomed Mr. Tony McGovern, Extended Services Partnership Manager, who attended the meeting to give an update on the Supporting Troubled Families Programme.
Mr. McGovern updated on the national programme, advising that back in 2011 troubled families in Hampshire had been costing the Government in the region of £119 million. A Troubled Families Unit had been established, which took a whole family approach, through information sharing and devising individual family plans. Some funding was available when the process started and the remaining funding was available once a robust support system was in place.
Families had to meet certain criteria to be part of Phase 1 of the Supporting Troubled Families Programme. These included being involved in youth crime and/or anti-social behaviour, having children not in school or an adult in the family that was out of work and on benefits, at least two of these needed to be met to be included in the programme. During Phase 1, all targets had been met allowing all funding to be achieved. As a result, in 2015 Hampshire had been asked to join Phase 2 of the project ahead of most of the country.
It was advised that Rushmoor had joined with Hart in 2014 to establish a local approach to the Programme. A structure had been established, led by Qamer Yasin, Head of Environmental Health and Housing, and Phil Turner, Head of Housing Services at Hart District Council. Quarterly meetings were held of the Local Co-ordination Group, to which all partners were invited. The meetings were held to agree working principles, share information and ensure all partners were responsible for the work being undertaken. In addition, weekly “early help hubs” had been established; these meetings were attended by all partners/agencies and helped to identify families suitable for the programme. Once families had signed up to the programme, monthly case conference meetings were held, when appropriate, to determine the way forward.
Mr. McGovern gave a summary of Phase 1, consisting of 70 families engaged in the Supporting Troubled Families Programme; 53 had shown measurable progress achieving the full £800 funding per family from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Overall, the Council had achieved slightly better results than the county average and continued to make good progress. Benefits included continued savings for Hampshire County Council (HCC), better working practices, increased confidence in whole family working, increased co-operation and co-ordination and a greater range of agencies helping each other and focusing on the same issues.
It was noted that the criteria for Phase 2 had been made broader, allowing more families to become eligible to be part of the Supporting Troubled Families Programme. The new criteria included mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence. As a result, the number of families involved in year one of Phase 2 matched the number in total of Phase 1. It was noted that the co-location of HCC’s Children and Adult Services, and the Police to the Council Offices had been a ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
To note the Panel’s work programme (copy attached).
The Panel noted the current work programme.