Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel – 19 January 2009
PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the Chair.
Councillors Clark (vice-chair), Ali, Armitage, Ellerby, T Foster and N Sherwood.
Councillors Poole and Swift attended the meeting in accordance with Procedure 37 (b).
The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
131 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) –Thefollowing members declared personal interests –
|Member||Minute||Nature of Interest|
|Councillor Ali||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Armitage||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Clark||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Davison||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Ellerby||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor T Foster||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor N Sherwood||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Poole||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
|Councillor Swift||134 & 136 to 140||Member of Neighbourhood Action Team|
Mrs Jo Findley, Scrutiny and Regulatory Support Officer in attendance, declared a non-pecuniary interest in Minute 134 and 136 to 140 as a member and secretary to the Bottesford Neighbourhood Action Team.
No whip was declared.
132 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 8 December 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.
133 PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests from members of the public to address the Scrutiny Panel.
134 NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION TEAMS (NATs) – Discussion and questions with the Service Director Neighbourhood and Environmental Services and Service Director Community Planning and Resources – Keith Ford,Service Director Neighbourhood and Environmental Services and Neil Laminman, Service Director Community Planning and Resources were welcomed to the meeting. The Chair provided an overview of the scrutiny review brief and explained what the panel hoped to achieve from the meeting.
Both Keith Ford and Neil Laminman were asked to provide the panel with an explanation of their role as chair of the Area Action Teams (AATs), why they had been chosen for this position, whether appropriate training had been received and what level of resources were available to the AATs to deploy towards problem solving.
Members were advised that Keith and Neil had both been appointed for their roles as it had been deemed important to appoint officer’s who were ideally placed to deal with more complex issues from the Council’s perspective. The two Service Directors served all five of the AAT’s within North Lincolnshire, and were looking to enlist the assistance from other Service Directors/Chief Executive in the future.
Discussions focused on training provision for members of both the AATs and also the NATs and how more regular events would be beneficial. This would enable teams to focus on the achievements of others, discuss common issues and also discuss effective problem solving.
The panel asked what budget was allocated to assist with addressing problems. It was clarified that the Safer Neighbourhoods had no specific/ringfenced resources available and that teams were very much reliant on the generosity of other partnerships and also certain individuals.
Further discussions focused around the chair’s for each of the NATs and who took the lead within meetings. It was clear that this differed and proceeding were shared between the chair, Police representatives or Safer Neighbourhoods representative.
Conclusions were drawn that the AAT and NAT process was still evolving and that evidence of good practice was emerging from several of the teams.
Resolved – (a) That the Service Director Neighbourhood and Environmental Services and Service Director Community Planning and Resourcesbe thanked for their attendance at the meeting and also for their valuable input, and (b) that specific points relating to training and membership be noted for discussion at the NAT Chairs Forum.
135 ACTION PLAN FOR THE REVIEW OF ‘DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – SERVICE PROVISION AND AREAS OF VULNERABILITY’ – Update from Service Director Community Planning and Resources – The chair asked the Service Director Community Planning and Resources if he would remain at the meeting to advise members on the current situation with the action plan for the recently completed review into domestic violence.
The Chair expressed concerns that North Lincolnshire still did not have a Domestic Violence Coordinator in post, even though it was some months since the previous post holder had vacated the position.
Neil Laminman explained that, filling the vacancy was a priority and that this would be addressed after the Councils budget meeting. Members were advised that the job description had already been approved, however, it needed to be evaluated. The panel was advised that in the interim period, the Police had been dealing with the majority of domestic violence cases.
Members were reassured that domestic violence awareness and training would be resumed and brought to the forefront once the post had been filled.
Resolved – That the position be noted.
NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION TEAMS (NATs) –
(i) Public/Neighbourhood Action Team member consultation exercise – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services advised that two consultation exercises would be run concurrently with an article in the next edition of the councils Direct magazine and also a press release. The articles would ask two questions:
- Do you know what a Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT) is?
- Do you know who to contact if you would like an issue raised at the NAT?
136 Resolved – That the position be noted.
(ii) Town and Parish Council Liaison meeting, 29 January 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services confirmed that he and the Chair would be attending the next meeting of the Town and Parish Council Liaison Committee. The aim of this would be to discuss the review into NATs and obtain feedback from the town and parish councillors.
137 Resolved – That the position be noted.
(iii) Neighbourhood Action Team consultation event – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services advised members that a consultation event had been arranged by Safer Neighbourhoods and opened to all members of the NAT’s teams. The panel was advised that the invitation had also been opened to members of the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel.
The event had been arranged for 24 February 2009, at 6.00pm and would be held at the Scunthorpe Baptist Church.
138 Resolved – That the position be noted.
(iv) Focus Group – Neighbourhood Action Team chairs – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services confirmed that a focus group would be arranged for all Neighbourhood Action Team chairs. Details would be circulated once a suitable time and date had been decided upon.
139 Resolved – That the position be noted.
(v) Next Stages – The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services provided an oral update of the review so far. In previous discussions the panel had been made aware that not all neighbourhood watch groups had representatives attending the NAT meetings. It was questioned as to whether these groups had ever been invited.
140 Resolved – (a) That a letter be sent on behalf of the panel, to all neighbourhood watch coordinators asking for confirmation as to whether they had been invited to join a NAT, and (b) that representatives from Humberside Police be invited to attend a future meeting of the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel.
141 JOINT HOUSING STRATEGY – Thechair advised members that further dialogue had taken place with officers from North East Lincolnshire Council. It was explained that there had been a change in circumstances, and North East Lincolnshire Council had asked that the joint scrutiny review be delayed until a later date.
Resolved – That the position be noted.
142 (14) REMOVAL OF VEGETATION BY NETWORK RAIL ALONG THE EMBANKMENT OF THE MAIN RAILWAY LINE IN SCUNTHORPE – The chair advised members of the panel that further to Mr Julian Corlett’s appearance before the panel, (minute 112 refers), a letter had been sent to Network Rail inviting them to attend a future meeting.
The Service Director Legal and Democratic Services, referred members to the response that had been received, printed and circulated. It was noted that Network Rail had declined the invitation.
Resolved – That the position be noted.
143 LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – JANUARY TO APRIL 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for January to April 2009.
The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis. Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.
Resolved – That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for January to April 2009 be noted.
144 ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.