A report of the Strategic Director of Housing, Planning and Regeneration and Regulatory Services To provide the Commission with more detail on the approach to community recovery was considered (item 6 on the agenda filed with these minutes).
The Strategic Director of Housing, Planning and Regeneration and Regulatory Services attended the meeting, provided a presentation and assisted with the consideration of this item. The Leader of the Council and the following Officers also attended the meeting to assist with the consideration of this item; the Head of Neighbourhoods and Communities, the Head of Leisure and Culture, the Head of Strategic and Private Sector Housing, the Head of Cleansing and Open Spaces, the Head of Landlord Services, the Community Covenant Development Officer, the Communications Manager and the Comminutions Officer. The following summarises the discussion:
i. Councillors acknowledged the extensive, comprehensive and significant work undertaken by Officers in relation to community recovery and thanked them for their efforts. It was recognised that the response and recovery efforts employed had ensured all members of the community had been considered and assisted where required. In addition to this, the Chief Executive put on record his thanks to Officers at all levels and stated that he was proud of the response and the recovery of the Council. He noted the pace, scale and complexity of the issues responded to and assured Members that the Council was able to manage the situation efficiently in a calm and authoritative manner.
ii. The community hub developed to support residents during the pandemic was currently subject to a transitional plan. This would ensure work reflected the needs of the community throughout the stages of recovery. It was acknowledged that some members of the community had become accustomed to the increased support offered and it was highlighted that the response efforts of the Council would not be abruptly removed. The Council had recognised an opportunity to improve best practice as a result of the response to the pandemic and build a lasting legacy. In addition to this, the Council had developed contingency plans to ensure the community response efforts were in a suitable position to restart quickly in the event of a further outbreak.
iii. The Government Next Steps Accommodation Programme provided funding to Councils to assist with the move on of those placed through the Every One in requirement to accommodate rough sleepers and those at imminent risk of rough sleeping. The funding was not allocated and there was a bidding process for two primary sources of funding. Meetings had taken place with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Advisors and Districts and Boroughs across the County to support joint bids. The funding was for short-term accommodation, immediate support and longer term move on accommodation. Bids were to be submitted by 20th August 2020 and funding would be spent by the end of March 2020.
iv. The Council had considered the importance of ensuring much of the good work undertaken during the pandemic would continue as part of a lasting legacy. The Community hub had been fundamental in terms of signposting and assessing individual needs. Partner organisations had discussed plans moving forward and the Council would assist where possible and continue to work closely with partners to ensure the positive work undertaken continued. In addition to this, the Council had reshaped grants to offer more accessible funds to community organisations.
v. The Council had supported community organisations offering befriending schemes to isolated and vulnerable residents in the Borough. It was anticipated that this would encourage the positive work undertaken during the pandemic in preventing loneliness and promoting community engagement.
RESOLVED that the Commission noted the report.
To ensure the Commission was kept informed of the Council’s recovery efforts.
The following Officers left the meeting at approximately 6:45pm; Eileen Mallon, Julie Robinson, Matt Bradford, Peter Oliver, Alison Simmons, Victoria Coomber, Mike Roberts and Stacey Simpson.