Governance and Standards Scrutiny Panel – 12 July 2018
Chairman: Councillor Robinson
Venue: Function Room 1, Civic Centre, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
Time: 6 p.m.
2. Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and personal or personal and prejudicial interests and declarations of whipping arrangements (if any).
3. To take the minutes of the meeting of the panel held on 21 June 2018 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.
4. Public speaking requests, if any.
4.1 To receive a public speaking request from Mr Corlett on Community and Voluntary Sector funding.
4.2 Next stages, if any.
5. Added Item – Community and Voluntary Sector Funding
5.1 To consider an added item submitted in accordance with the council’s Procedure Rules by Councillor Collinson.
5.2 Next stages, if any.
6. Any other items that the Chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances that must be specified.
PRESENT: – Councillor Robinson in the chair.
Councillors Gosling (Vice-Chair), Clark, Longcake and Kirk.
The panel met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.
71 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – The following members declared personal interests –
|Member||Minute||Nature of Interest|
|Councillor Clark||74||Member of North Lincolnshire Twinning Association|
|Councillor Longcake||74||Chairman of Messingham Playing Fields
Chairman of Messingham, Short Matt Bowls
|Councillor Reed||74||Member of Crowle and Ealand Town Council|
|Councillor Waltham MBE||74||Member of Brigg Town Council|
No whip was declared.
72 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 21 June 2018, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chairman.
73 PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised members of the panel that a request to address the panel had been received from Mr Julian Corlett. Mr Corlett had requested to address the scrutiny panel on the funding of the voluntary and community sector, with particular emphasis on the cessation of Citizens Advice North Lincolnshire’s (CANL) core funding with effect from 31 March 2018.
Mr Corlett was concerned that no public consultation was undertaken regarding CANL’s core funding, despite the fact that so many of its citizens across North Lincolnshire had previously accessed, or were currently accessing debt or generalist advice and ongoing support from them.
Mr Corlett, as a local, full-time official for UNISON, did, on occasion, signpost or formally refer UNISON members to CANL for specialist support or advice about non-employment matters that he was not qualified or expected to provide.
CANL had provided free, confidential and impartial advice from its Scunthorpe office, rural outreaches and over the telephone to the people of North Lincolnshire since its inception in 1974. While it was true that some other organisations offered not dissimilar services, it was, in his opinion, incorrect to suggest that there were many other local agencies and organisations that replicated the service which CANL provided.
Mr Corlett was concerned that in these austere times especially, greater numbers of people than ever before were seeking CANL’s services and the culmination of capacity limitations of fewer agencies and organisations inevitably resulted in protracted delays.
Mr Corlett was concerned that the recent move from Oswald Road to Scunthorpe Central had resulted in many CANL employees losing their jobs and taken with them a wealth of experience, the few remaining had lost a significant number of contracted working hours, access reduced to a 3-day service provision and the scope had been severely curtailed – a service which was quite literally a lifeline for many, many vulnerable people is considerably diminished, as are its prospects of survival beyond.
In addition, Scunthorpe Central’s open-plan layout presented risks that had not, in his opinion, been properly evaluated. A particular concern was the use of physical violence and aggressive behaviour that some service user’s in states of heightened anxiety, distress and despair, with an impaired ability to rationalise and to exercise self-control can and do present.
Resolved – (a) That Mr Corlett be thanked for his attendance and contribution at the meeting, and (b) that the public speaker be invited to contribute to the added item (minute 74 refers)
74 Added Item – Community and Voluntary Sector Funding – The Chairman welcomed Helen Manderson and Lesley Potts to the meeting, the council’s Director: Business Development and Head of Economy and Growth respectively. The Chairman also welcomed Councillors Waltham MBE and Reed to the meeting, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance respectively.
The attendance by the council officers and Cabinet Members was to allow the scrutiny panel to consider an added item submitted by Councillor Collinson on ‘community and voluntary sector funding’. The Chairman invited Councillor Collinson to state the reasons for the added item request, which related to many of the concerns shared previously by Mr Corlett during his public speaking request.
Councillor Reed informed members that the council now supported Citizen Advice North Lincolnshire (CANL) differently. The move to Scunthorpe Central had provided CANL clients with a much easier journey when accessing advice and support.
Councillor Reed added that the council had supported CANL in many ways. CANL now had access to two meeting rooms for client conversations, as well as access to private rooms. Employees of CANL had ten desks to work from, as well as brand new office furniture which the council provided. CANL could access the council’s reception service at Scunthorpe Central, as well as an online booking system. The council had provided clients and employees of CANL access to twelve free car parking spaces. CANL also benefited from free wifi, free telephony service and free utilities.
As a result of the council relocating its employment services, Health services and blue badge services to Scunthorpe Central, it meant that CANL could now refer its clients to these services with immediate access to the service.
CANL was also now able to provide a more accessible service due to the opening hours of Scunthorpe Central, as well as offering drop-in-sessions twice a week.
Councillor Waltham MBE added that all CANL staff had received an induction. A memorandum of understanding had also been agreed between the council and CANL.
The Director: Business Development provided a chronology of the decisions that the council had made with regards to the funding and relocation of CANL.
The Chairman then facilitated a discussion between panel members, councillors and members of the public in attendance with the council officers and Cabinet Members.
Resolved – (a) That the Director: Business Development, Head of Economy and Growth, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance be thanked for their attendance, verbal presentation and for answering scrutiny panel and members of the publics questions, and (b) that Community and Voluntary Sector funding be re-visited by the scrutiny panel at a later date.