Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 11th April, 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Stacey Gilmour 020 8379 4187  Email: stacey.gilmour@enfield.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

546.

WELCOME & APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Councillor Levy welcomed all attendees to the meeting and extended a special welcome to the Enfield Youth Parliament attendee.

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Nneka Keazor and Tony Murphy, Co-opted Member. It was noted that Councillor Toby Simon was substituting for Councillor Nneka Keazor.

Apologies for lateness had been received from Councillor Michael Rye.

 

As it was the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year 2017/18 and before the Local Election on 3 May 2018, the Chair Councillor Levy thanked all participants of the Committee, past and present, for their hard work and for keeping the committee fully formed over the past four years, three of which had been in his care as Chair.

 

He advised that all reports from the Working Groups were now being concluded and would come forward to a future meeting.

547.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

548.

HOMELESS 16/17 YEAR OLDS pdf icon PDF 464 KB

To receive a report from Paul Sutton, Assistant Director, Youth & Service Development on Homeless 16/17 Year Olds.

Minutes:

RECEIVED a report from Paul Sutton, Assistant Director, Youth & Service Development and Joseph Fitzgerald, Families & Adolescent Support Team Manager.

 

NOTED:

 

i)                 The Family and Adolescent Support Team’s (FAST) primary objective is to promote and safeguard the well-being of the young person and prevent family breakdown and homelessness.

ii)               The service focuses on two main areas of work: Firstly, it aims to provide a rapid family support service to vulnerable young people aged 11 to 15 and their families, where there is a risk of family breakdown. In this aspect of its work the team undertakes intensive work with families for up to 9 months.

iii)              Secondly in regard to 16 and 17 year olds it tries to prevent homelessness through use of mediation etc. and if young people cannot stay at home then support them into independent living.

iv)             The overarching principle of the FAST is that children and young people are best looked after within their families and it endeavours to ensure families stay together and fundamental to that work is building individual and family resilience.

v)               Joseph went on to speak a bit more about the service and advised that the FAST is a small team, made up of three social workers and a triage officer.

vi)             The key to this service is mediation and in view of this case loads are kept low in order to carry our intensive and targeted work.

vii)            The number of referrals into FAST has reduced significantly in the last year. This is firstly as a result of significantly reduced capacity to a change in the way the service is now set up. Secondly there has been a significant decrease in the numbers of young people approaching FAST for accommodation. The reason for this is that FAST has been delivering a consistent message to young people and families; that a full and comprehensive assessment of the young person and family’s needs will be carried out before any decision is made on eligibility for supported accommodation

viii)           The service has got much better at targeting the appropriate young people effectively and is now focusing much more on family work. The team is not turning young people away but is working well to keep more young people at home within the family unit, which is a very positive outcome as evidence shows that young people do much better at home. Where however this is not possible the young people are closely supported into independent living.

ix)             Charts were provided within the report detailing information on the numbers of referrals to the FAST over the past three years, and the resulting outcomes of these referrals as a result of the work undertaken by FAST.

x)               The Adolescent Support Team (AST) is currently looking to create another team to focus solely on the 11 to 15 year olds, leaving Joseph and his small team to concentrate solely on the 16 and 17 year olds.

xi)             16 and 17 year olds who are homeless, or at risk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 548.

549.

ANNUAL CORPORATE COMPLAINTS pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To receive a report from Nicholas Foster, Complaints Manager, HHASC on Update on Complaints Performance.

Minutes:

RECEIVED a report from Nicholas Foster, Complaints Manager HHASC.

 

NOTED:

 

i)                 The report provided an update of complaints handling between October 2016 – December 2017 regarding complaints handled under the Council’s corporate complaints scheme.

ii)               There has been a marked improvement to the service since the last report to OSC in February 2017. There had been some real challenges since the Enfield 2017 online systems were implemented but these had now been addressed and accessible and transparent systems are now in place to listen to customers and residents via the website, phone, email and face to face.

iii)              Enfield Council are now moving to a more resolution driven approach and the process is geared at solving complaints as early as possible and as informally as possible as a result of which formal complaints are decreasing.

iv)             More than 90% of complaints are resolved at First Stage and the numbers of complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman have also reduced.

v)               Further information was provided on the complaints procedure. Complaints are handled by the central Complaints and Access to Information Team. The team is also responsible for co-ordinating all members’ enquiries, school appeals and statutory requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act.

vi)             The Council aims to resolve concerns and complaints as soon as possible, therefore contact from customers is initially presented to the team or person responsible for delivering the service where dissatisfaction has arisen, so that the matter can be addressed.

vii)            Where attempts for resolution have been unsuccessful, the complaint will be handled under the two-stages. Information was provided on the First and Final stage of the process.

viii)           The complaints policy promotes early resolution of complaints. This approach ensures that swift action is taken to resolve the matter for complainants with the need to go through the formal complaints procedure. The Council aims to deal with informal complaints within 5 working days.

ix)             Charts were included in the report providing a quarterly breakdown of complaints and concerns that were resolved informally during October 2016 – December 2017.

x)               Information was provided on the Complaint Themes and Causes. These included council tax, housing benefits, waste – missed collections/recycling, highways and housing repairs.

xi)             Further discussions took place in relation to the Local Government Ombudsman. The Complaints and Access to Information Team work in partnership with services to ensure that timely responses are made to Ombudsman’s enquiries and appropriate settlements are negotiated to achieve resolution.

xii)            Positive outcomes within the service have contributed to a decrease in the numbers of complaints escalated to the Ombudsman. During 2016/17 there were 135 complaints dealt with by the Local Government Ombudsman. This compares with 157 in 2015/16 and 154 in 2014/15. The numbers of Ombudsman complaints in Enfield are low when compared with our closest neighbours.

xiii)           It was also noted that in some instances, complainants prematurely contact the Ombudsman without having gone through the Council’s internal processes. In these circumstances the Ombudsman would refer the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 549.

550.

OSC WORKSTREAMS FOR 2018/19

Members to discuss potential workstreams for 2018/19.

Minutes:

Discussions took place regarding the OSC Workstreams for 2018/19 and the following comments were made:

 

i)                 It was felt that the resource is currently insufficient to fully support OSC and the workstreams and this needs to be addressed going forward.

ii)               Members agreed that the level of engagement on both sides had been somewhat indifferent this past year especially with regards to interest in and attendance at workstreams.

iii)              It was also suggested that OSC had been too ambitious this past year, with too many workstreams which had put added pressure on Officers. It was felt that for 2018/19 there should be less workstreams, these should then be advertised so that members could then put their names forward for what they were interested in which would hopefully result in better member engagement.

iv)             The Chair, Councillor Levy said that scrutiny is a very vital part of the process and it would therefore be sad to see ambition relaxed as he felt that this would weaken the process. He agreed that an increase in resource was needed to support OSC and the future workstreams.

v)               Councillor Abdullahi suggested that meeting attendance should be recorded and published on the website.

vi)             All members agreed that the role of scrutiny needs to be flagged up very strongly during the induction process for new Councillors.

vii)            Councillor Smith said that in his opinion, the current Leader of the Council does not view the role of scrutiny highly enough. Services and Officers need to be interrogated continuously to ensure improvements and better services.

viii)           Councillor Rye said that in his twenty years on the council he has never known such a lack of interest and engagement from back benchers. He felt that the groups needed Whip and leadership support from their relevant parties.

551.

WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To confirm completion of the work programme for 2017/18.

Minutes:

Councillor Levy felt that the Work Programme for 2017/18 had worked well and more OSC meetings had taken place during 2017/18 in order to accommodate items which were important for the Committee to address.

552.

MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 22 FEBRUARY 2018 AND 13 MARCH 2018 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To agree the minutes of the meetings held on 22 February 2018 and

13 March 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED the minutes of the meetings held on 22 February 2018 and 13 March 2018.

553.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Provisional Call-In Date:

· 19 April 2018

 

The dates of future business meetings will be agreed at Annual Council on 23 May 2018.

Minutes:

NOTED that the provisional Call-In meeting scheduled to take place on the 19April 2018 had been cancelled.

 

The dates of future meetings will be agreed at the meeting of Annual Council on 23 May 2018.