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Contact: Suzanne Bennett, Governance Services Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Board held a minute silence in respect of the current crisis in Ukraine.
Declarations of Interest
There were no disclosable pecuniary interests.
a) To agree the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 December 2021
b) Matters arising
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 15th December, 2021 were agreed as a true record.
There were no matters arising.
Briefing Note of the Director of Public Health and Wellbeing and the Director of Adult Services and Housing
The Scrutiny Board considered a Briefing Note, together with a presentation at the meeting, which provided an update on the City’s response to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and work on an operational basis around housing and victims of domestic abuse. Councillor P Akhtar was invited to attend in his role as the Chair of the Domestic Abuse Partnership and officers were joined by commissioned service providers from Valley House.
Preventing harm from Domestic Abuse was a priority within Coventry and a key measure within the One Coventry Corporate Plan. Coventry’s Domestic Abuse Strategy 2018 – 2025 outlined the city’s approach to addressing domestic abuse, including honour-based abuse and forced marriage. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. The Act provided for the first time a statutory definition of domestic abuse and delivered a number of significant changes to improve the protection of victims within the community and the criminal justice system. The Act had a number of implications for the local authority, including the requirement of a new statutory board, implementation of a statutory definition of domestic abuse, a duty to produce regular needs assessments and strategies, delivery of specific minimum types of support for victims within safe accommodation, the prioritisation of domestic abuse victims within homelessness applications and a requirement to annually report to the Secretary of State.
The COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on domestic abuse victimisation. Control measures put in place to limit infection had also reduced the time and space for victims to seek help, had been used as a tool for further abusive behaviours and placed a number of additional pressures on families and individuals. Other measures such as legislation to protect people from being evicted from their homes under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and changes to court proceedings, which had lengthened the wait for civil and criminal hearings, had meant that different parts of the local system had experienced differing trends of victimisation and demand. Overall, levels of reported domestic abuse continued to increase since the first lockdown in March 2020 with police reporting a further 22% increase in reported domestic abuse. Commissioned services and Children’s Services all reflect higher levels of demand and an increase in the level of case complexity and risk.
The report and presentation provided further detail on:
· Key aspects of the Act and the impact on the local authority
· Types of Safe Accommodation
· Provision and support for victims
· Prioritisation of victims within homelessness applications
· Next steps
· Impact on the service users and case studies
The Scrutiny Board asked questions and received responses on a number of issues, including:-
· Developing training for perpetrators
· Working with schools
· Support for reducing language barriers
· Staff training
RESOLVED that the Communities and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Board (4) note the update and thank all those involved.
Briefing Note of the Communities and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Board (4) Fly Tipping Task and Finish Group
Further to minute 3/21 the Scrutiny Board considered a Briefing Note of their Fly-tipping Task and Finish Group which provided information and recommendations which if agreed by the Board could be considered by the appropriate Cabinet Member.
At their meeting on 8th July, following a meeting on Fly-Tipping in Coventry, the Board agreed to establish a task and finish group to:
• Explore with officers the reasons why fly-tipping occurs
• Determine what further measures can be taken to improve the situation
The task and finish group met between September 2021 and December 2021, covering issues of Domestic Waste, Commercial Waste, Enforcement & Landownership, and Community & Education. At each meeting Members were provided with information about specific issues and challenges associated with, and causing fly-tipping across the city, and then considered possible solutions to those issues. Officers from Environmental Services, Waste & Fleet Management, ICT & Digital contributed to the presentations and discussions with Members.
Members were provided with a RAG rating for each of the suggested solutions on cost, ease of implementation and impact, to enable them to agree which recommendations they wanted to identify for the Cabinet Members. Some potential solutions were discarded by the task and finish groups as they were considered to be difficult to implement or would have a minimal impact on fly-tipping.
The Task and Finish Group also identified recommendations for items for the scrutiny board’s work programme as well as suggesting that all Members be briefed on the enforcement process to increase understanding of a complex legal process.
Members were briefed on the enforcement powers and limitations to the powers held by Council officers and supported taking a zero-tolerance approach by using all of the powers available, backed up by publicity campaigns to send a clear message that fly-tipping was not acceptable. Members were shown examples of name and shame campaigns run by other local authorities. The task and finish group agreed that information about the use of enforcement would be useful for all Members and recommended an all-members seminar on the subject.
The main source of fly-tipping in the city was from domestic waste. In 2020-21 Household Waste accounted for 93% of all fly-tipping incidents. This included black bags not put in wheelie bins which was referred to as side waste. Side waste accounted for 28% of all fly-tipping. These bags were not collected as part of the refuse collection service. If these bags were taken as part of the refuse collection, it would have a significant positive impact on fly-tipping. The areas in the city where there were higher levels of fly-tipping were also those areas which were more densely populated, had higher levels of disadvantage and lower levels of car ownership. Over half of the fly-tipping incidents in 2020-21 were reported in Foleshill and Hillfields (data was appended to the report). Maintaining a subsidised bulky waste collection and reviewing the pricing structure was supported to try and reduce the incidence of domestic waste being fly-tipped.
Members discussed the lack of knowledge about the ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
Report of the Scrutiny Co-ordinator
The Scrutiny Board noted the Work Programme for 2021/22 including the additional item for consideration on electric vehicle charging which would include on street charging as well as buses and taxis.
Any other items of public business which the Chair decides to take as matters of urgency because of the special circumstances involved
There were no other items of urgent public business.