Following the Council’s adoption of the Better Lives for All Strategy in September 2021, the Committee was provided with an update on the Community Wellbeing strand of the Better Lives for All Strategy.
Each project, outlined in Appendix A of the attendant report, was then reviewed in turn:
CW1.1: This item was rated as ‘amber’, ie off track but plan in place. The officer outlined that the rating was due to the project’s initial stage having been very successful as they had sought to engage with a number of potential partners, these included, but was not limited to, Devon County Council, NHS, voluntary sector, and the Police. Other statutory partners had shown a very positive wish to be involved and to ensure a joined up approach to issues of rural poverty. Therefore initial conversations were on-going, hence resulting in the amber rating. It was noted the importance of listening to communities and identifying what support the communities themselves identified.
Following discussions, it was requested that Ward Members were involved at the earliest opportunity. It was noted that this was an ambitious and daunting project, and that the Council would not be able to resolve all issues, but a framework would ultimately be put in place to encourage community/partnership working. This would be run as a pilot project initially.
It was then:
That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee WELCOMED this initiative but NOTED it was ambitious and the importance of local Ward Members being involved at the earliest opportunity was recognised.
CW1.2: Following the update on this action, the Executive Lead Member updated that Dartmouth Town Council was exploring the possibility of building key worker properties on the site of the old hospital to ensure that the new Health Hub had sufficient staffing resources.
It was then:
That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTED this action.
CW1.3: It was confirmed that Members would like to receive qualitative histories of Disabled Facilities Grants at this juncture of future reports. The budget allocation from Devon County Council for 2021/22 was £1,196,498.
It was then:
That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTED this action and thanked the officers for achieving a good performance alongside the astute negotiations, and that the Committee would welcome examples of good practice to be included in subsequent updates.
CW1.4: This item had been covered above (minute O&S.61/21 refers).
CW1.5: Officers wished to clarify what information Members of the Committee would like to receive in future updates. It was reiterated that monies available through Section 106 agreements was reported regularly to the Executive and local Ward Members were reminded to review this to see what monies were available to be used, and consult with the local Parish/Town Council to see where the monies could be best spent. It was reiterated that South Hams District Council were the administrators of the money but Parish and Town Councils were able to pull down the S106 monies.
It was proposed that, in respect of CW1.5, there be a report to the next meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the proposed measures to be taken to bring about a considerable reduction in the Section 106 monies totalling £3,016,285 in respect of the open space, sport, and recreation report, dated 31 December 2021.
This was PROPOSED and SECONDED, but declared LOST when put to the vote, however, it was agreed to consider this as a potential agenda item for the next meeting. The Chair and the Vice Chair would agree the agenda for the next meeting, to be held on 21 April 2022, as there were already many significant items on the proposed agenda.
CW1.6: The officer asked for clarification on what should be reported against this item in subsequent reports. It was noted that there were many good initiatives which could be reported on, including good news stories where initiatives are working well. Ward Members were to be included as early as possible.
It was confirmed that funding had been identified for this year, but it was within the power of Members whether subsequent funding was identified.
It was then:
That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee WELCOMED the progress that had been made and requested examples of the benefits of the scheme, and that there be Ward Member involvement.
One Member highlighted that he felt ‘Better Lives for All’ did not apply consistently across the whole area as smaller communities were often overlooked. He cited an example of applications for the ‘My Place’ campaign, which used funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The supporting documentation for funding applications stated that Towns and Parish Councils should be contacted to see if they wished to apply, but it had only been the main towns in the area which had been approached. The Member felt that the smaller areas were systemically penalised
It was then: