Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre Folkestone. View directions
Contact: Kate Clark
Declarations of Interest
Members of the committee should declare any interests which fall under the following categories:
a) disclosable pecuniary interests (DPI);
b) other significant interests (OSI);
c) voluntary announcements of other interests.
Councillors Rolfe, Gane and Mullard declared DPIs as they are directors of Oportunitas Ltd. Dispensations have been applied.
Councillor Rolfe voluntarily declared that she is a member of New Romney Town Council.
Councillor Rebecca Shoob declared an interest as she is a director of Otterpool LLP.
These declarations were made with regard to the Budget 2022/23 item, all members remained in the meeting and took part in discussions.
To consider and approve, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021.
The minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.
Refresh of the Council's Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy
Report OS/21/08 - The Council is part of the statutory safeguarding role within the wider public sector, with responsibilities to children, young people and vulnerable adults. The children, young people and vulnerable adults safeguarding policy of the Council has been updated and is attached at Appendix A. The Overview & Scrutiny Committee are advised that the safeguarding policy is refreshed every two years and that the changes made to the 2019 policy include new legislation and changes to practice that are incorporated in the 2021 policy.
The Council is part of the statutory safeguarding role within the wider public sector, with responsibilities to children, young people and vulnerable adults. The children, young people and vulnerable adults safeguarding policy of the Council had been updated. The Overview & Scrutiny Committee were advised that the safeguarding policy is refreshed every two years and that the changes made to the 2019 policy included new legislation and changes to practice that were incorporated in the 2021 policy.
As Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee, Cabinet Member for Communities, Lifeline, Area Officers and Street Homeless, was unable to attend this meeting, Ms Jyotsna Leney, Health Wellbeing and Partnerships Senior Specialist, read out a statement on her behalf.
Ms Leney then presented the report drawing members’ attention to the changes within the policy. She also highlighted the Safeguarding page on the Council’s intranet and in summing up, advised that this refreshed policy is due to be presented to Cabinet on 24 November.
Members comments included:
· Staff resources – Designated officers (DOs) are the main points of contact for any safeguarding concerns. DOs rota means that there are two officers available each day. Out of hours service is covered by Lifeline. It is hoped that a new Senior DO role will be developed which would co-ordinate DOs. It was noticed that the list of Designated officers in the policy are all female.
· A possible increase in mental health issues since Covid-19 which could mean more pressure in services. Young people and children could be affected especially when looking at returning to school. Safe Haven was mentioned which offers out of hours crisis management.
· Training – important to all and a request that members receive training also. Mandatory E-Learning for all staff with DOs receiving a higher level of training.
· Within the policy, point 6.8 Health – could this be retitled as ‘Health Services’?
· Referrals and process – suggestion for a more specific process or flowchart showing how a referral is made from the process start to solution.
· When referring, can information be shared with other LAs and agencies? Where possible consent to share information is sought. Exchange of information is paramount.
· Although safeguarding concerns from the housing prevention team are not included within this policy, information on these referrals can be provided by the Housing Options team.
· Impact of the DA act on housing can be addressed by the housing team.
· County lines – wording to be added into the policy.
Members felt this was a very detailed report and policy refresh and thanked the team for bringing this to the committee.
Proposed by Councillor Peter Gane
Seconded by Michelle Keutenius
That report OS/21/08 and refreshed policy are received and noted.
(Voting: For 8; Against 0; Abstentions 0)
A presentation will be provided to the group outlining the key steps of the budget setting process, opportunities for Members to consider proposals and to input into the process as well as a discussion on public consultation.
A presentation was provided to the group outlining the key steps of the budget setting process. It provided members with opportunities to consider proposals and input into the process as well as discussion on the public consultation. The presentation is attached to these minutes.
The Director of Corporate Services, Mrs Charlotte Spendley, confirmed that the Budget Strategy will be considered at the next meeting of this committee and the detailed budget will be presented for consideration at the sub-committee in January.
Members made the following comments:
· Full cost recovery is essential, however maybe look at some services that are deemed for the ‘public good’ which are not charged at full cost.
· Share good practice with other local authorities regarding income growth over cutting services.
· Noted that main income generators are Otterpool Park; Oportunitas; and Connect 38.
Members asked for more information on the consultation process as there is a very low level of interest. How can the consultation be further promoted?
The consultation consists of four open questions and is publicised on the Council website and social media. It was suggested that further promotion could be made at libraries, doctor surgeries and parish councils. However, members understood that this subject can be difficult to interpret and appetite for response of budget consultations is low. Further ideas suggested:
· Look at other LAs for promotion comparisons.
· Councillor engagement
· Utilise Zoom for resident engagement and education.
· Possible production of short videos explaining certain aspects of the budget.
· Timing of consultation, avoid Christmas and New Year.
The Chairman thanked officers for the informative presentation.