Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Offices, Farnborough

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

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th October, 2021 (copy attached).


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th October, 2021 were AGREED as a correct record.


Rushmoor Housing Limited - Shareholders Report pdf icon PDF 196 KB

Rushmoor Housing Ltd, the Council's wholly owned housing company, is required to submit a six monthly report (copy attached) to the Council's Shareholder representative who is the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive is responsible for considering the report and where appropriate referring it to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee or the Corporate Governance, Audit and Standards Committee. On this occasion, the Chief Executive has referred it to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration. Tim Mills as Chief Operating Officer and Steve Ward as Chief Financial Officer for Rushmoor Housing Ltd. will be in attendance. A presentation on the background and content of the Shareholder report will be made.

Additional documents:


The Committee welcomed Rushmoor Housing Limited’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Mills and Chief Financial Officer, Steve Ward, who were in attendance at the meeting to give a presentation on the background and content of the latest Shareholder Report.


The Committee noted that Rushmoor Housing Limited (RHL) had been set up in April 2020 to provide quality homes for rent in the Borough. The Council was the company’s only shareholder and the Council’s Chief Executive had been appointed as the shareholder representative. Governance arrangements required a shareholders report, which monitored the company’s progress against its business plan, to be submitted to the Chief Executive every six months. The Report could then be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee or the Corporate Governance, Audit and Standards Committee for consideration.


It was noted that between April 2020 – September 2021 a number of milestones had been reached. These included the purchase of RHL’s first property, it’s first tenant taking up residency and it’s first planning permission granted on two properties. In addition, the company had drawn down its first funding tranche to start the important role of income generation. The first audit had also been undertaken, which had established that the company had a reasonable level of assurance. As part of the audit, a number of actions had been identified to further strengthen the company’s position moving forward.


The Committee reviewed the balance sheet and profit and loss account. It was noted that RHL borrowed funds from the Council at a commercial rate of 5.5%, (the Council borrowed at a rate of around 1.5% equalling an average 4% profit) to fund property development and the acquisition programme. It was expected that the company would be in loss whilst undertaking the development and purchase programmes but this loss would, in time, be recovered through rental income. In response to a query regarding future profits, it was noted that, initially, any outstanding debt would be paid off. Any further profit could then be used to either investment in more properties, discount rents and/or make dividend payments to shareholders.


It was noted that professional expertise was in place to support RHL. External architects, solicitors and employment agents had been engaged to support the work and a procurement process was underway to set up a panel of valuation surveyors. It was also noted that a contract was in place with Romans Estate Agents to manage the properties on behalf of RHL. However, as the property portfolio increased consideration could be given to bringing the management in house.


It was reported that the business plan estimated that property delivery would be in the region of 60 properties by 2023/24. However, it was noted that the Council had approached RHL to purchase 80 properties in Union Yard and the revised business plan, to be presented to the Council at its meeting in February, 2022, would reflect this increase. The revised business plan would also reflect revised timings of the programme to take account of a better understanding of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Supporting Communities pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To receive a presentation setting out progress with the Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan and planned work (a copy of the up to date Strategy and Action Plan is attached). The presentation will also include an update on the Community Grub Hub at Windsor Way in Aldershot.

Additional documents:


The Committee welcomed Andrew Colver, Head of Democracy and Community, Emma Lamb, Community and Partnerships Manager and Tony McGovern, Community and Partnerships Officer, who were in attendance to give a presentation setting out the planned work and progress of the Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan. An update was also provided on the newly opened Community Grub Hub based in Aldershot. The Portfolio Holder for Democracy, Strategy and Partnerships was also in attendance.


The Committee noted the objective of the Strategy, which had been “to tackle the effects of poverty and deprivation and to have a positive impact on people’s daily lives”. It was reported that there had been a complex history relating to deprivation in some areas across the borough and the situation had been made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic. Through partnership working with local organisations such as the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Rushmoor Voluntary Services (RVS), Citizens’ Advice (CA) and Hampshire County Council (HCC), amongst others, four priority areas had been identified, these were:


·         Physical and mental health

·         Young people

·         Economic hardship

·         Connecting communities


The way the Council had supported the work with the strategy was explained and the Committee was advised on spend to date, in particular on economic hardship and physical and mental health initiatives, in part due to the impacts of the pandemic. It was also noted that approximately £146,000 of external funding had been secured, partly due to specific funding relating to the pandemic.


The Committee noted areas of work in each of the four themes:


·         Physical and Mental Health – activities included, mindfulness walks, “Talk Mental” a men’s mental health project, health inequalities and mental health support in schools


·         Young People – raising aspirations through mock interviews/support to year 11 students, Kickstart placements, employment support via the North Hampshire Youth Hub, engagement with work on climate change and the potential creation of a Youth Panel


·         Economic Hardship - the focus in this area had been the Grub Hub. Established as a Community Interest Company, the Grub Hub, Windsor Way, Aldershot had opened on 7th December, 2021. In the two days since opening its doors, 20 households had been supported, three volunteers had signed up, financial donations had been received and three requests for support, two for help with fuel bills and one for a fridge, had been dealt with. In addition, other projects to address economic hardship included the COVID Support Helpline, the Virtual Job Club and the community larder at Park Church.


·         Connecting Communities – to tackle the issues around residents who were digitally excluded, this included initiatives such as the Keep Well and Stay Connected digital platform which offered advice, activities and video calling through the television, the Afghanistan resettlement programme and the wellness walks and heritage trails.


It was noted that partnership working had been essential to the projects that had been and would continue to be delivered as part of the Strategy. The relationships fostered with the NHS, local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Rushmoor Voluntary Services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To consider the Work Plan for the 2021/22 Municipal Year (copy attached).


The Committee NOTED the current Work Plan.


It was noted that the meeting on 17th February, 2022 would include items on education and the Primary Care Networks.


Suggestion for future items included:


·         Frimley Park Hospital

·         Disability/Access monitoring within regeneration projects etc.