Special Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 7th September, 2023 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 86 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20th July 2023 (copy attached).


The minutes of the meeting held on 20th July, 2023 were agreed as a correct record.



At its meeting on 6th July, the Council resolved to refer a Notice of Motion which highlighted the additional support needs of British Gurkha Veterans living in the Borough to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration.


The Notice of Motion requested that:


  • The Overview and Scrutiny Committee conduct a full assessment of all the ongoing issues, and supports the needs of our local armed forces community, including those relating to our local Gurkha Community and to produce a report; and


  • The Leader of the Council to write to the Government raising these concerns.


Report No. DEM2306 (copy attached) sets out the background to the Armed Forces Covenant, provides background census data, details local, housing, healthcare and welfare support.


Dr Graham Cable, Chairman of South East Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee, will be joining online to provide expert advice and insight.


Councillors Sarki, Thapa and Belbase will be present at the meeting to present on the issues currently facing armed forces and Gurkha veterans arising from cost of living pressures.


Other Officers from relevant Council services will be present to assist the Committee with this enquiry.


At its meeting in July 2023, the Council referred a Notice of Motion to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which highlighted the additional support needs of British Gurkha Veterans. The Committee had been asked to conduct a full assessment of all ongoing issues and support needs of the local Armed Forces Community, including those relating to local Gurkha Veterans.


The Committee welcomed a number of guests to the meeting, as set out below, who were in attendance to provide information and answer Members questions on matters relating to the support available locally, to the local Armed Forces Community and British Gurkha Veterans.


In attendance were: 


·         Dr Graham Cable – Chairman of the South-East Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee

·         Councillor Dhan Sarki – Wellington Ward Member and Proposer of the Notice of Motion

·         Councillor Jib Belbase – Wellington Ward Member

·         Councillor Nem Thapa – Armed Forces Champion

·         Councillor Nadia Martin – Shadow Armed Forces Champion

·         Rachel Barker – Assistant Chief Executive

·         Jill Shuttleworth – Corporate Manager – Democracy

·         Jermaine Pinto – Housing Options Manager

·         Madhu Gurung – Benefits Assessor


The Committee received the Corporate Manager – Democracy’s Report No. DEM2306 which presented a range of information and evidence to assist the committee’s assessment. This included the background to the Armed Forces Covenant and the council’s duties under the Armed Forces Act. The Report also presented information on census data, local organisations and partners that provide local support for Armed Forces personnel and their families, support for housing and healthcare, and the Gurkha pension scheme.


The Committee heard from Dr Graham Cable who advised on the work of the South- East Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee, the aim of which was to raise awareness of the Military Covenant, its aims and objectives and the provisions outlined within, to support all veterans and their families. In response to a question regarding the top three issues veterans experienced, Dr Cable mentioned education (for service children), housing and employment.


The Committee discussed access to help and assistance and the plethora of groups offering advice services and signposting. It was felt that a single point of access for serving military personnel and veterans would benefit those trying to access help.


Following a discussion regarding the Employer Recognition Scheme, for which the Council currently had a Silver Award, the Committee felt that striving for the Gold Award would benefit the local armed forces community even more. It was also suggested that other businesses in the Borough should be encouraged to join the scheme.


Cllrs Sarki, Belbase and Thapa addressed the Committee from the perspective of the Nepali community and on the issues of welfare and pension disparity experienced by former Gurkha Veterans, and provision for veterans. It was noted that the Indices of Multiple Deprivation had showed that a part of the Wellington Ward had the highest proportion of income deprived older people in the county, with a high percentage of those claiming Pension Credit. The 2021 Census data also identified that a high proportion of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To consider the Work Plan for the 2022/23 Municipal Year (copy attached).


The Committee noted the current Work Plan.