Venue: This will be a meeting held in line with The Local Authorities & Police & Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority & Police & Crime Panel Meetings) (England & Wales) Regulations 2020
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Apologies for absence.
Notification had been received that Councillor M Hasan was replacing Councillor D Wilkinson for this meeting only.
Declaration of Interests.
Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the meeting without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.
There were no declarations of interest.
To allow for pre-decision scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder Decision relating to property acquisition to support the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (report of the Executive Manager Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) enclosed)
(Please note that the appendices B and C to this report are not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 3 (Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and are therefore attached to this agenda as item 5).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Manager Governance which presented to the Panel the option for pre-decision scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder Decision relating to property acquisition to support the Next Steps Accommodation Programme.
In accordance with Paragraph 15, Part 4D (Access to Information Procedure Rules) of the Constitution, where any Executive Decision (whether Key Decision or Non-Key Decision) is subject to external (e.g. Government) deadlines such that it is not possible for the decision to be subject to the usual call-in procedure, the proposed decision may instead be subject to a pre-decision scrutiny by the Performance Monitoring Panel, subject to:
· the Leader, Deputy Leader, relevant Portfolio Holder or (where the decision will be taken by an officer) the relevant officer being in attendance at the meeting of the Panel to answer relevant questions;
· the Performance Monitoring Panel being required to set out in writing any concerns about the proposed decision;
· the decision-maker then making the final decision, taking into account any concerns raised by the Panel, and the final decision notice explaining the decision in relation to the concerns raised by the panel;
· the decision taking effect immediately the decision is made
Given the external timeframes that had to be adhered to (acquisition properties had to be within SHDC’s ownership and available for occupation by 31 March), the call-in process would put the grant funding associated with the decision at risk. The pre-decision scrutiny process, as detailed above, was therefore deemed necessary.
The ultimate decision maker, the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Planning, was in attendance at the meeting.
The Strategic Housing Manager provided the Panel with some background to the situation pertaining to the proposed Portfolio Holder Decision:
In July 2020, MHCLG (the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) announced a funding programme called the Next Steps Accommodation Programme with the aim of supporting the Government’s ambition to end rough sleeping. SHDC submitted a bid in August 2020, based on a notional scheme which followed MHCLG guidance. SHDC was offered a capital grant allocation (to purchase accommodation) and revenue grant allocation (to support tenants). The Council agreed to accept the allocation at its meeting in November 2020, and a Leader Decision was made, proposing a project mandate, and this became effective in December 2020.
There had been ongoing engagement between SHDC and MHCLG/Homes England, before the bid was submitted and regularly thereafter.
The project mandate was that the Authority would acquire 3 existing properties, with the intention of potentially converting the properties to provide 9 units of non-self-contained accommodation. A refurbishment programme would ensure that the properties were fully compliant, and that residents had access to their own private bedrooms, with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The accommodation would be managed by SHDC, who were experienced in managing temporary accommodation. SHDC would maintain the outside spaces, and support would be in place to ensure the accommodation was managed to support residents to sustain their tenancies, and to provide effective management. SHDC would use its ... view the full minutes text for item 55.