Executive Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 23rd February, 2017
Time:
6.00 pm
Place:
New Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reigate
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillors M.A. Brunt, J. Durrant, E. Humphreys, Dr L.R. Hack, Mrs R. Renton, T. Schofield and Mrs R. Turner.

Note: In the absence of Councillor Broad, Councillor Dr. Hack took the Chair for the meeting.
Also Present:
Councillors Mrs R. Absalom, M. Blacker, J.C.S. Essex, N.D. Harrison, A.C.J. Horwood, D. Jackson, S.A. Kulka and C.T.H. Whinney
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
81 MINUTES

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 26 January 2017 be approved as a correct record and signed.

82 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Executive Members: Councillors V.W. Broad (Leader of the Council), Mrs N. Bramhall and Mrs R. Mill.


Non-Executive Member: Councillor R.C. Newstead.
 

83 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

None.

84 HOMELESSNESS REVIEW AND STRATEGY 2017-21

The Executive Member for Community Support, Councillor Mrs R. Renton, introduced the report indicating that the Homelessness Review and Strategy 2017-2021 set out the Council’s ambitions to prevent and manage the social and financial impacts of homelessness in the borough. The Executive Member noted that the Strategy was reviewed every five years and that it would be the Council’s third Strategy on Homelessness.

 

The strategy was a two-part document with the Review providing an overview of homelessness in the borough over the last five years. It compiled data on many aspects of housing over that period including new affordable housing delivery, homelessness decisions taken, number of preventions, housing register information and details of the tools used to prevent homelessness.


The Review and consultation process had informed the development of the following four strategy objectives:

 

• Preventing homelessness and sustaining tenancies by intervening at the earliest opportunity.
• Increase the supply of affordable private rented accommodation to households at risk of homelessness.
• Minimising the impact of welfare reform on residents and improving access to employment.
• Reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.

 

Councillor Mrs Renton confirmed that during the first year of the strategy it was most likely that the Homeless Reduction Bill would receive Royal Assent as it had gained significant cross party support. It was noted that it would be the most significant change to homeless legislation in the last 20 plus years creating duties on local authorities to keep up to date written housing plans for all applicants; accommodate more households at an earlier stage and for longer; provide applicants with double the statutory review opportunities and removing the local connection requirement.

 

The challenge that this new responsibility would have on the Council was noted together with changes to the Benefits system that were being managed. The Executive noted the important challenge that faced the Council in seeking to provide the right balance of housing accommodation that met demand. The issues associated with this had been outlined in a statement on Affordable Housing by the Leader of the Council at the Full Council meeting on 9 February 2017.

 

RESOLVED that:


(i) the Homelessness Review and Strategy 2017-21, as set out at Annexes 1 and 2 of the report, be adopted; and

 

(ii) the Head of People & Welfare be authorised, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Homelessness, to make minor amendments to the Review and Strategy document prior to its publication.


Reasons for decision:

To affirm the council’s commitment to preventing homelessness in the borough through the provision of timely advice, assistance and support for households at risk as well as the exercise of the council’s duties towards homeless households.
To ensure homeless application decisions taken by officers were set within a legally compliant housing policy framework and avoid legal challenge.


Alternative options:

To not agree the Homelessness Review and Strategy 2017-21 for publication.
 

85 STATEMENTS

None.

86 ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

None.

The meeting closed at 6.34 pm.