Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel – 8 December 2008

PRESENT:  Councillor Davison in the Chair.

Councillors Clark (vice-chair), Cawsey, Ellerby, T Foster, N Sherwood and Smith.

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.





Nature of Interest

Councillor Cawsey 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor Clark 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor Davison 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor Ellerby 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor T Foster 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor N Sherwood 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team
Councillor Smith 126 Member of Neighbourhood Action Team


Mrs Jo Findley, Scrutiny and Regulatory Support Officer in attendance, declared a non-pecuniary interest in Minute 126 as a member and secretary to the Bottesford Neighbourhood Action Team.

No whip was declared.

124  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on  10 November 2008 and the special meetings held on 10 and 19 November 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.

125  PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK There were no requests from members of the public to address the Scrutiny Panel.

126  NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION TEAMS (NATs)Discussion and questions with the Head of Safer Neighbourhoods – Stuart Minto, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods and Bruno Watson, Deputy Head of Safer Neighbourhoods 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.

Stuart Minto explained that the object of the Safer Neighbourhoods Partnership was to provide both strategic and operational support to the community.  Members received an insight into the consultation that had lead to the implementation of the NAT idea, how the NATs were only one part of a much larger structure, how the system was evaluated and how it supported the Police Service.

Discussions continued around the variations found in membership and frequency of meetings, the reluctance of some businesses to get involved within the town wards, inconsistencies in the chairing and administration of the meetings, how the problem solving was not always robust enough and often provided a reactive solution rather than addressing the underlying issues.

The panel was advised that problems differed from area to area, and how the answer to solving the situation in one area may not be effective in another.

Questions were asked about the achievements made by NATs, whether there were any terms of reference for NATs, the information flow through Safer Neighbourhoods, whether the information was getting to the correct person/department, budget allocation for administration purposes and whether the positive impact on reducing crime was recognised by the public.

Resolved – (a) That a meeting of all NAT Chairs be organised to discuss procedures and continuity between all meetings, (b) that a copy of the NATs terms of reference be made available to panel members, and (c) that the Head of Safer Neighbourhoods and Deputy Head of Safer Neighbourhoods be thanked for their attendance at the meeting and also for their valuable input.

127  (12) ACTION PLAN FOR THE REVIEW OF ‘DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – SERVICE PROVISION AND AREAS OF VULNERABILITY’ – The Head of Safer Neighbourhoods welcomed the opportunity to discuss the action plan that had been agreed by the Safer Neighbourhoods Strategy Boar

The panel was advised that some changes had been implemented already.  However, others needed additional resources, which could only be determined after the budget allocation had been approved for forthcoming years.

Discussions ensued over the validity of some recommendations and how they had identified local actions.  It was explained that this was an organic process, and that the action plan was not in its final state.  It was acknowledged that the action plan would go back to Cabinet at a later date, and once again to scrutiny for further consultation.

Resolved – (a) That the action plan be approved, and (b) that Cabinet be asked to approve the action plan, but allow it to be reconsidered by the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel and Cabinet after the Safer Neighbourhoods Strategy Board has had the new resource budget allocation approved and had formulated a response to the outstanding actions within the action plan.

128  JOINT HOUSING STRATEGY – TheChair advised members that she had met with a delegation from North East Lincolnshire Council to discuss their request to undertake a joint review into the Joint Housing Strategy.

The Chair explained that after lengthy discussions, each council agreed that their preferred aspect of the Joint Housing Strategy to scrutinise was ‘fuel poverty’.

The panel was advised that officers from North and North East Lincolnshire Council were currently drafting a scrutiny brief, and also a joint scrutiny protocol to clarify the working procedures for the review.  It was anticipated that this would be available for the next meeting of the panel.

Resolved – That the panel undertake a joint piece of work with North East Lincolnshire Council on fuel poverty in North and North East Lincolnshire.

129  (13)  LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – DECEMBER 2008 TO MARCH 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for December 2008 to March 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 December 2008 to March 2009 be noted.

130  ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.