Agenda and minutes

Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 17th February, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Comments from Members of the Public

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    To receive comments or views from members of the public at the Committee’s discretion.


    There were none.


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Rosemary Kaberry – Brown, Councillor Annie Mason and Councillor Robert Reid.


Disclosure of Interest

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    Members are asked to disclose any interest in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    The Chairman and Vice-Chairman declared that they were Members of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, which would be discussed on item 9 of the agenda.


Action Notes from the meeting held on 8 December 2021 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

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    Members considered the Action notes of the meeting held on 8 December 2021. It was proposed, seconded and AGREED that the action notes were a true and accurate record.


Updates from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 88 KB

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    To receive updates on actions agreed at the previous meeting.


    One Member elevated concern of questions raised in July 2021 that had not been answered, however, the questions were no longer relevant following a restructure of staffing in the Housing Department.


    The Director for Housing and Property provided the Committee with an update on the action relating to waiting times of rehoming a homeless individual. The waiting time for the Council accepting full duty to a homeless individual or household, to the duty of being discharged once rehomed was 70 days on average.






Regulatory Compliance pdf icon PDF 222 KB

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    Additional documents:


    The Director for Housing and Property presented the report and highlighted key points on the latest information of the Council’s compliance:


    ·       The Council had a positive working relationship with the regulator.

    ·       The fifth update report had been provided to Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

    ·       A positive ‘direction of travel’ from the Council had been demonstrated.

    ·       The all-Member briefing on compliance was to be rescheduled, due to the by-election.

    ·       The full tenant consultation (“The Big Listen”) had begun at the beginning of the calendar year and was still undergoing at the time of this meeting.

    ·       The Stock Condition Survey was still being ‘rolled out’ across the District.

    ·       Regulator meetings were taking place monthly.

    ·       The results to landlord health and safety compliance were the purpose of the regulator becoming involved. 

    ·       Strong performance in relation to asbestos, fire risk assessments, water hygiene, lift inspections, improvements on electrical testing and ongoing works on gas safety.

    ·       Strategic compliance meetings with the Leader of the Council, Portfolio Holder and Chief Executive had been taking place to provide high levels of supervision of action plans.



    ACTION: The Director of Housing to send a link to members on the questions being asked to residents by the regulator.


    Further information was sought on the achievements, installation and costings of Propeller. 


    The Director of Housing confirmed that Propeller was software and used to collate compliance and health and safety data on a dashboard. The software could be used to run reports, global figures, certificates and queries around individual properties. The Council would be obliged to pay a license fee of £30,000 per year for the software. It was highlighted that registered social landlords (housing associations) used this software as a ‘market leader’.


    ACTION: For the Director of Housing to provide Committee Members with screenshots of the Propeller dashboard information.


    A query was raised on the current installation of the software, whether it was fully or partly installed at the present time. A further query was raised on the timeframe of completion on installation of the software.


    It was confirmed that the software was currently still being rolled out, with other aspects being added to the action of managing compliance requirements e.g. lifts, fire assets, asbestos module. The Director of Housing assured the Committee that good progress was being made, however, caution was being taken before communicating with the regulator. The Council aimed to be satisfied with demonstrating compliance across the board. It was reported that by the end of March 2022, a robust set of performance figures should be available to benchmark against the sector.


    One Member raised a concern on the impact of staffing pressures within the Housing team and whether new staff were being recruited.


    The Director for Housing reported that interim appointments had been made to cover key roles on the technical services sector of Housing. It was emphasised that figures report in the following months would be positive.


    The Chairman queried the problem encountered with inspections of properties. 


    It was reported that access  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Covid-19 Update

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    The Assistant Director for Operations and Public Protection provided the Committee with a Covid -19 Update on behalf of the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities.


    The latest case rates for South Kesteven were:


    ·       Case rates since the start of the pandemic were at 36,595.

    ·       Current case rates for South Kesteven were 615 per hundred thousand people.

    ·       Case rates on average in England were 594 per hundred thousand people.


    The statistics had shown that the figures of infections had fallen slightly, however there was still a high prevalence of virus across the whole country.


    The Chairman noted that South Kesteven District had a high rate of infection in comparison to other districts.


    It was reported that infection rates had been related to school-aged children and South Kesteven had a high proportion of school-aged children compared to neighbouring districts.


    A query was raised on the number of infected people being hospitalised.




Council House New Builds pdf icon PDF 214 KB

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    This report seeks to provide Committee with an update on the current new build programme, an overview of recent delivery, and invites Committee’s input and views to the future direction of the Council’s HRA New Build Programme.


    Additional documents:


    The Assistant Director for Housing and Property presented the report which outlined the current position regarding the Council House new build programme and work undertaken over the previous years. The current works over the past three years included:


    ·       Completion of two sites, completed in May 2020.

    ·       Current works were taking place at Bourne (Meadow Close), Stamford (Trinity Road) and Grantham (Riverside Walk) which would be completed in the coming months.

    ·       Plans to deliver schemes to Stamford (Elizabeth Road), which was seeking planning permissions.


    It was noted that the Climate Action Working Group had analysed issues around planning regulations and what the Council could do. It was highlighted that the costs to the Council of retrofitting when the requirements are enforced, would be far higher than the current costs to the Council.


    It was reported that future Planning Policy around Electric Vehicle charging points required new build homes to have the infrastructure for a charging point to be fitted.


    A concern was raised over the high demand of the electricity grid and the risks of it collapsing.


    A query was raised on the comparison of figures on expected targets of the Council compared to what the Council had achieved.


    The Assistant Director for Housing and Property reported that historically, the regime had been over-ambitious regarding target setting. The Assistant Director for Housing emphasised his confidence in targets for 2022/23 being met.


    The Chairman raised a query on the past aspirations of low-cost housing ‘pods’ to reduce the waiting list for new homes.


    It was reported that the Council’s aspiration was not for people on the waiting list to live in a ‘pod’, it was for them to live in a house. The aspiration to build as many Council house new build’s was emphasised. An opportunity was raised to build module housing to meet housing needs of residents.


    Another query was raised regarding the availability of land to build social housing.


    The Director for Housing and Property confirmed that the Council had a good number and variety of sites available. Further opportunities and work with developers could also assist on the supply of sites.


    One Member raised concern over the number of bungalows being provided for the elderly community.


    It was reported that a review was being undertaken for the allocation policy and would be brought back to the Committee once known. It was highlighted that sites being built at present contained several bungalows with lifetime homes principles meaning further adaptation would not be necessary in the future. A proposed site for the next financial year had been confirmed as sheltered housing for elderly residents.


    A concern was raised on mixed accommodation.


    It was confirmed that the proposed development would be for elderly residents only and would be review within the allocation policy review.


    A query was raised on the allocation of bungalows in Bourne.


    It was reported that the bungalows had not yet been allocated and the allocation process would start shortly.


    Suggestions were put forward on the alternative options  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


Verbal Update on Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel

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    The Committee to receive a verbal update from the Vice – Chairman, Councillor Sarah Trotter.


    The Vice-Chairman provided the Committee with an overview update regarding the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel meetings, which are held four times a year:


    ·       The purpose of the report at the meeting on 22nd February was to provide the Police and Crime Panel with the first update in relation to the delivery of the police and crime plan 2021-25.

    ·       The report updated each of the key principles within the plan, the key principles are:

    -       Community safety and prevention in partnership

    -       Listening, responding, and becoming accountable

    -       Protection and supporting victims and the vulnerable

    -       How policing works


    It was reported that works were being undertaken around community safety and prevention in partnership which is being analysed through reducing offending groups of safe partnership.


    The Vice-Chairman highlighted that most members of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel had policing or local government experience.


    It was noted that a fast-track scheme for detectives would become available due to a shortage in that job role.


    The Vice-Chairman referred the Committee to the website for further information:


    It was reported that Lincolnshire was the lowest funded force in England.




    For the Chairman to send Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel Agenda to Committee Members electronically.


    One Member raised a concern over community policing and neighbourhood watch. It was requested that the matter be discussed at the next Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel meeting on the future plans of neighbourhood watch.


    The Vice-Chairman confirmed that the declining number of PCSO’s had been discussed at the previous Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel meeting.


    It was highlighted that the Head of Community Policing would be attending the next Committee meeting where direct questions could be asked.




    For the Vice – Chairman to query the progress of South Kesteven relating to the Neighbourhood watch scheme.


    A concern was raised over a resident’s comfortableness of contacting the police when necessary.


    It was confirmed that Crime Stoppers is confidential and that the service could be used if a resident felt uncomfortable contacting the police.








Work Programme 2021 - 2022 pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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    To receive the Work Programme for 2021 – 2022


    The Chairman requested that the following item be added to the Work Programme:


    ·       Review of the Housing Allocation Policy


Any other business which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, decides is urgent

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    The Chairman congratulated the Assistant Chief Executive on his service at South Kesteven District Council and wished him all the best for the future.


    The Assistant Director for Operations and Public Protection confirmed that at the time of the meeting, 11 people had been hospitalised with Covid in Lincolnshire.The government website had not differentiated people who went into hospital with Covid or have gone to hospital for a different reason and caught Covid.  


Close of meeting

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    The Chairman closed the meeting at 15:25.