The Chair asked if there were any questions on the Department for Work and Pensions Work Programme. Cllr Wittingham said there may be movement on Department of Work and Pensions rules which stated they couldn’t share statistics them externally. Eventually he hoped this would change and the statistics would be made available to councillors. David … Continue reading “Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee 7th November 2011 Part 10 Department for Work and Pensions Work Programme”
The Chair asked if there were any questions on the Department for Work and Pensions Work Programme.
Cllr Wittingham said there may be movement on Department of Work and Pensions rules which stated they couldn’t share statistics them externally. Eventually he hoped this would change and the statistics would be made available to councillors.
David Ball said he was concerned with the work program as they can’t check or understand the effect of interventions on the labour market. There had been discussions that they may release them on a confidential basis, if it was helpful they could be shared with councillors once officers had been informed. He said it was important to understand what was going on and tackle a number of issues on the worklessness agenda.
The Chair said he wanted it minuted and invited any other questions. There were no more so the report was noted.
The Chair asked for questions or concerns on the second quarter performance and financial review.
Cllr Wittingham in reference to the table on page 63, asked if they had enough capacity of smaller homes to meet their social housing target? Ian answered that in terms of numbers, looking at the occupation strategy of existing users, registered social landlords and housing association would work with tenants to find opportunities within the existing housing stock. They would be encouraged to move into smaller accommodation, which was difficult for the elderly and could get emotional if they felt they were being forced out. His view on future supply was that the Welfare Reform Bill would lead to existing tenants moving to smaller properties that would free up units for larger families.
Cllr Steve Niblock said he was curious about the method used. He said the ward he represents was not in there and he wanted a map of all of Wirral made available to councillors.
Jane Morgan said it was in more detail in the needs assessment by super output area. They had drawn out comparison between the ten most and ten least deprived areas to show the disparity and pockets of deprivation.
The Chair, Cllr Johnston said he was happy to move to the recommendations. They would make a note of the report and required regular updates. There were two work streams it related to, working out of poverty & neighbourhood regeneration. He wanted to “keep on top of it”.
The Chair moved the meeting to a report on the European Social Fund. He asked for any questions and asked one of his own. He said if the IT system was found not to be fit for purposes would this put at risk the grants?
David Ball said Hanlon was complicated to use, but was a grant requirement of the funders. It didn’t put the grant at risk because they now understood how to use it and could give the information requested. They were looking at how to uncomplicate it and tackle performance.
The Chair said the performance on the intermediate labour market target was well below what it should be and required remedial work, was there a claw back risk? David Ball responded that clawback could only happen if they had spent the money and not delivered. The intermediate labour market project had had delays since the start however it had been accelerated significantly. There were a hundred to a hundred and twenty posts on offer with thirty-six to be filled over the next few weeks. They were trying to negotiate extensions with the funders which would enable them to meet the targets in a longer amount of time.
The Chair thanked Paula Basnett and said that if councillors had a couple of hours that Invest Wirral was well worth their while visiting.
The Chair, Cllr Johnston said he hoped councillors had read the Child Poverty Strategy and Action Plan Progress Report and that Jane Morgan was here to answer any questions. He asked councillors if they had any questions? They didn’t, Cllr Johnston asked about the timetable for the action plan.
Jane Morgan said in the appendix it was not detailed as there were things to develop further regarding childcare where they wanted to understand the issues. There would be work done on this over the next couple of months, there were already meetings in the diary, it would go back to scrutiny in the New Year and Cabinet which would define what would happen for the next three years.
The Chair said he had attended an event at the Floral Pavillion, but what were they doing regarding engagement.
Jane Morgan explained that following the event people would be invited to targetted workshops involving providers and practitioners. Through the website they were trying to get people to be champions.
Cllr Realey asked if Bidston/Claughton was the worst in Europe for child poverty? Jane replied that it was the highest on Wirral with 72% living in poverty in parts of Bidston & Claughton.
Cllr Realey asked where Prenton was in the statistics. Jane Morgan pointed Cllr Realey to the detailed needs assessment which was a “complex technical document”.
Cllr Mark Johnston (Chair)
Cllr Simon Mountney
Deputy Mayor Cllr Gerry Ellis
Cllr Tony Cox
Cllr Denise Realey
Cllr Pat Hackett
Cllr Stuart Wittingham
Cllr Steve Niblock
The agenda and reports for this meeting can be viewed by clicking on the link.
The Chair, Cllr Johnston started the meeting by telling everyone that Cllr Kelly had to go home as his daughter had banged her head. He asked for declarations of interest. Cllr Hackett declared a personal interest with regards to Reach Out. The minutes of the meeting held on the 5th September 2011 were agreed. Cllr Johnston said he wanted to raise a couple of things from page six, which would lead to the work program being amended.
Cllr George Davies (Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety) arrived.
Cllr Johnston referred committee members to an email from Cllr Phil Davies and Cllr George Davies which he gave councillors a couple of minutes to read.
Once they had read the email, the Chair invited Paula Basnett, Head of Investment in the Department of Regeneration, Housing and Planning to give a presentation to the committee.
Earlier problems with the computer in Committee Room 1 meant a laptop had to be used instead for the Powerpoint presentation. Black and white paper copies of the presentation were handed out to councillors on the committee.
Paula Basnett, wearing something that reminded me of dazzle camouflage on ships, explained what the business support team does and that since September with more funding they had given extra business support they hadn’t previously. At the end of October Business Link North West had gone along with all its business advisers. Business support was given through five relationship managers. These managers had a target of contacting five businesses a week to make businesses aware of what support was available.