Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 25th March, 2021 7.00 pm - Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote meting - please find the live link below

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

Link: Click here for live stream

Items
No. Item

29.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 4th February, 2021 (copy attached).

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th February, 2021 were agreed as a correct record

30.

Cabinet Champions

To receive reports from the three Cabinet Champions on their work during the 2020/21 Municipal Year. The Champions are as follows:

 

·         COVID-19 Recovery – Cllr Sue Carter

·         Education and Youth – Cllr Peter Cullum

·         Armed Forces – Cllr Jacqui Vosper

 

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed the three Cabinet Champions, Cllr Sue Carter (COVID-19 Recovery Champion), Cllr Peter Cullum (Education and Skills Champion) and Cllr Jacqui Vosper (Armed Forces Champion) who had been invited to give reports on their work during the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

 

Education and Skills – Cllr Peter Cullum gave an overview of his year as Education and Skills Champion. It was noted that the Council had a limited statutory input in local education and any initiatives had to be carried out with support from the County Council and national educational organisations.

 

Cllr Cullum advised that initially he had met with the County Council Education and Skills Portfolio Holder, Cllr Roz Chadd, to get a general overview of the situation across the County. This had led to meetings with the head teachers at the local secondary schools and colleges, local employment agencies and representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to further discuss education and employment opportunities for young people. During these discussion it was evident that Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths should be encouraged in the local schools due to the aerospace focus within the Borough. As a result, Cllr Cullum advised that he, in consultation with the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), had arranged engagement for the schools with a project called “Cool Aeros”. This initiative invited young people to consider aerospace opportunities.

 

A sense of place had also been raised as an issue for Rushmoor’s young people. Cllr Cullum advised that he was currently in the process of creating an infographic highlighting the major features of the Borough to help young people gain a sense of place.

 

Other initiatives included apprenticeship schemes and work was being undertaken with the Council’s employment support officer and the FSB to establish the benefits of these government schemes.

 

The Committee discussed the report and raised queries around grading and Ofsted reports and mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. It was noted that it was difficult to know at present data was not readily available. However, individual schools would be able to provide information on their particular circumstances, especially around the grading of year 11 pupils.

 

The Chairman thanked Cllr Cullum for his report.

 

Armed Forces – Cllr Jacqui Vosper advised that a number of projects had not been progressed due to the pandemic during 2020/21. However, some activities had continued, inlcluding:

 

·         Covenant Legislation – Cllr Vosper advised that she had led a Housing Sub Group which had been established to look at homelessness and housing allocation for service and ex-service personnel to inform the legislation of the Armed Forces Bill which was currently being considered in Parliament.

 

·         COVID Response - The Council had liaised with the Military on issues relating to the pandemic, in particular, to ensure that messaging had been integrated and consistent.

 

·         Census 2021 – Work had been ongoing regarding the arrangements for Census 2021. Liaison work would continue until late April, 2021.

 

·         Education - The Covenant Partnership has  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Air Pollution

To receive a presentation from the Operational Services Manager, Colin Alborough and Environment and Airport Monitoring Officer, Richard Ward on air pollution issues across the Borough.

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed Operational Services Manager, Colin Alborough, and Environment and Airport Monitoring Officer, Richard Ward, who were in attendance to give a presentation on air pollution issues across the Borough.

 

Mr. Ward, gave an overview of the team that sat within Operational Services. The Environmental Control and Pollution Team covered several other areas in addition to air quality management these included, statutory nuisance, noise nuisance and animal licensing. It was noted that Mr. Ward was the lead officer for local air quality management and also had responsibility for air quality issues relating to commercial and domestic bonfires, planning consultations and policy and was the regulator for 27 permitted installations across the borough for the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC) process.

 

Air pollution was very varied and complex, with a  large number of contributors. Pollutants could have both short and longer term effect on the health of the population and had the most effect on the most vulnerable.

 

The team worked within the remit of frameworks set out by the Environment Act and the National Air Quality Strategy. It was noted that monitoring in Rushmoor was primarily based around nitrogen dioxide, for which there were currently 20 monitoring sites across the Borough. Reports on the data from this monitoring, which showed a gradual reduction over time across all sites, were submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on an annual basis.

 

The Committee were also advised of ongoing projects on the M3 and A331. The A331 project had commenced in 2017 and through partnership working with neighbouring authorities, work had been undertake to reduce nitrogen dioxide on the A331. A speed restriction of 50mph had been implemented in June 2019 on a 1.8km stretch of the road to assist in reducing nitrogen dioxide levels.

 

Looking to the future, it was advised that consideration would be given to the content of the Environment Bill due to be signed off later in 2021, this was expected to include longer term targets for air quality measures and an annual mean level for PM2.5 (particulate matter) levels. The Council’s Climate Change Action Plan would also impact on the work of the team.

 

The Committee discussed the presentation and raised a number of queries.

 

In relation to the impact of the pandemic on pollution levels it was noted that it had been too early to determine the long term effects. However after the initial lockdown levels had been slowly creeping back up to normal.

 

With regard to having a local impact on nitrogen dioxide levels, it was noted that objectives in the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan and work carried out by Hampshire County Council with school children to educate and raise awareness on the subject of air pollution would help on a local level to improve air quality.

 

In response to a query regarding wood burners and their impact on air pollution, it was noted that wood burning stoves contributed to a third of PM2.5 in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Housing Options Update

To receive a presentation from the Housing Options Service Manager, Suzannah Hellicar on the work of the Housing Options Team and the impacts of the pandemic.

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed the Housing Options Service Manager, Suzannah Hellicar, to give an update on the work of the Housing Options Team and in particular the impacts of COVID-19.

 

Ms Hellicar, advised that as Service Manager she had responsibility for housing, homelessness, housing options and private sector housing. The move to remote working had meant that home visits and face to face interviews had been restricted but the Team had been able to provide a full service to its customers during the previous twelve months. A challenge for the Team had been keeping in contact with some of their homeless clients and mobile phone had been provided to a number of these individuals which had assisted with this issue. A big positive to come from the pandemic had been the partnership working, organisations and charities had come together to provide for those in need at this difficult time and the Team had adapted amazingly to the challenges faced.

 

In March 2020, the Government instructed local authorities to accommodate all rough sleepers, through the “Everyone In” scheme. Locally 150 vulnerable people had been accommodated and a benefit to come from this had been engagement with some individuals who had previously refused help. Some challenges resulting from the scheme had been anti-social behaviour, costs of accommodation and future accommodation options. It was noted that VIVID Housing Association had provided significant support during this time.

 

The Committee was advised of the outreach work that had taken place. It was noted that some individuals had refused the offer of accommodation and the Team had provided PPE, food parcels, sleeping bags, support and continued offers of accommodation during the height of the pandemic. It was report that  four individuals had remained on the street.

 

It was advised that the eviction ban on private and social tenants was expected to remain in place until May, 2021.The Team had been working with landlords and tenants to resolve issues and were proactively looking to provide alternative accommodation where possible in cases where eviction was pending and matters couldn’t be resolved.

 

Ms Hellicar explained the Housing First project, a scheme being carried out in partnership with Two Saints and VIVID Housing Associations to house the Boroughs most vulnerable residents. In April 2021, five units, provided by VIVID, would be available for use in this project. The Council would identify individuals who would benefit the most from the scheme and Two Saints would deliver the intensive support required to each resident. It was noted that an application had been made for five additional properties through the Rough Sleeper Fund.

 

Moving forward, it was noted that a small team would return to the office in April, 2021 to deal with demand. It was thought that demand would relate to eviction, the rise in unemployment figures and relationship and mental health breakdown. A new customer online portal and software package was also planned to be introduced to assist with demand. In addition, it was noted that the Rough Sleeper  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To review the current Work Plan (copy attached).

Minutes:

The current Work Plan was NOTED and an update was provided as follows:

 

·         It was noted that the annual report would be prepared for the Council meeting on 22nd April

·         A meeting of the Educational Improvement and Highways Agency Task and Finish Groups would be scheduled for early in the new Municipal Year