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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Delyn Committee Room, County Hall, Mold CH7 6NA

Contact: Sharon Thomas 01352 702324  Email: sharon.b.thomas@flintshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

27.

Declarations of Interest (including Whipping Declarations)

To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

Decision:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

Minutes:

            No declarations of interest were made.

 

28.

Consideration of a matter referred to the Committee pursuant to the Call In Arrangements pdf icon PDF 77 KB

A decision of the Cabinet meeting on 25 September relating to the Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) has been called in.  Attached is a copy of the procedure for dealing with a called in item.

Decision:

The Democratic Services Manager advised that, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, he had accepted reasons 1 and 3, as set out in the Call in Notice, but had advised the signatories of the Call In that reasons 2 and 4 were requests for information rather than a challenge to the Cabinet decision.  A report on rent arrears was due to be submitted to the Community & Enterprise Overview & Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7th November, 2018.

Minutes:

            The Democratic Services Manager gave an overview of the procedure for the call in of a Cabinet Decision as detailed in the supporting document.  The Cabinet had considered a report on the Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) at its meeting on 25th September 2018.  The decision (Record of Decision 3560) had been called in by Councillors Haydn Bateman, Helen Brown, Patrick Heesom and Tony Sharps.   Copies of the Cabinet report, the Record of Decision and Call in Notice, which identified four reasons for the call in, were included with the agenda papers for the meeting.

 

            The Democratic Services Manager advised that, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, he had accepted reasons 1 and 3, as set out in the Call in Notice, but had advised the signatories of the Call In that reasons 2 and 4 were requests for information rather than a challenge to the Cabinet decision.  A report on rent arrears was due to be submitted to the Community & Enterprise Overview & Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7th November, 2018.

29.

Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Report of Chief Officer (Housing and Assets).  Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing.

 

To assist Members, the following documents are attached:-

 

·         Copy of the report of the Chief Officer (Housing and Assets) - Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH)

·         Copy of the Record of Decision

·         Copy of the Call In Notice

Additional documents:

Decision:

That having considered the explanations which it has received, the Committee is satisfied and the decision to continue to support the management of the Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) policy and to support the revised and updated policy document may now be implemented.

Minutes:

As initiators of the Call in, Councillors Haydn Bateman, Helen Brown, Patrick Heesom and Tony Sharps were invited to address the Committee first.

 

Councillor Helen Brown outlined a number of concerns around the bedroom requirements by household type, as detailed within the SARTH Policy.  She felt that this section of the Policy was inconsistent and outlined an instance where a pregnant woman could be placed in a 1 bedroom property, only for this person to be moved following the birth of a child, which in turn placed an unnecessary cost to the tenant and the Council.  She commented on the high number of instances where a 2 bedroom property would be offered to an applicant but raised concern that there were not enough 2 bedroom properties across Flintshire to support this.  She opined that Cabinet should reconsider the Policy, in particular the sections relating to bedroom size and household type.

 

Councillor Patrick Heesom said that, whilst he recognised the pressure placed on the Council due to the continued increase in social housing demand, there was a need for Cabinet to reconsider the banding system as detailed within the SARTH Policy.  He commented on the budget pressures incurred by the Council through the use of temporary/alternative accommodation due to the lack of suitable housing available across Flintshire and said that the Policy did not alleviate this pressure.  He also raised concerns around the urgent actions which had been identified as part of an audit of the SARTH which he felt showed a need to revise the Policy, and around the Local Lettings Policy.

 

Councillor Haydn Bateman commented on the stress put on applicants who were housed away from family and friends and questioned how this was in line with the Future Well-Being and Generations Act.   Wellbeing of Future Generations Act

 

            Councillor Tony Sharps concurred with the comments made by Councillor Heesom around localism and spoke in support of referring the SARTH Policy back to Cabinet to reconsider as he felt that it was difficult to understand and explain to applicants. 

 

Responses from the decision makers

 

            The Cabinet Member for Housing explained that he had been Cabinet Member since May 2017.  He said that Councillor Brown had held this role prior to this and had introduced the SARTH Policy which he had continued to support.

                                                            

            In response to the detailed comments and questions raised by the initiators of the Call in, the Customer Support Manager explained that a review of the SARTH Policy, carried out in 2017, had identified that the Policy required updating to ensure compliance with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.  The current Policy gave a high priority to applicants with a local connection to an area and performance and management information for the register was monitored.  The most recent statistics found the following average wait times:-

 

·         1 bedroom properties – 16 ½ months waiting time;

·         2 bedroom properties – 15 months waiting time; and

·         3 bedroom properties – 13 months waiting time.

 

The data on general waiting times had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Members of the Press and Public in attendance

Minutes:

There was two members of the public and one member of the press in attendance.

 

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