Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by Members:

 

(a)          Petitions: To receive any petitions referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee;

 

(b)          Written Questions: To consider any written questions;

 

(c)          Letters: To consider any letters;

 

(d)          Notices Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee. (Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Nemeth copy attached)

 

 

Minutes:

 

33a     Petition(s)

 

33.1    There were none.

 

33b     Written Questions

 

33.2    There were none.

 

33c     Letters

 

33.3    There were none.

 

33d     Notices of Motion - Rough Sleeping

 

33.4    The Committee considered the Notice of Motion put forward by the Conservative Group as set out in the circulated papers proposed by Councillor Nemeth and seconded by Councillor Peltzer Dunn which had been amended subsequently. It was noted that a further Notice of Motion had been received from the Green Group proposed by Councillor Gibson and seconded by Councillor Phillips both of which are set out below.

 

33.5    The Conservative Group Notice of Motion as Amended read:

 

            “This Committee:

            1. Recognises:

            i) For many decades rough sleeping and homelessness has increased nationally;

            ii) That national government acknowledges under the current regulatory framework there is “broken housing market” which has failed  to enable sufficient truly affordable housing contributing to homelessness;

            iii) Alongside local rough sleeping strategies, government reforms are urgently needed to address the structural pressures causing homelessness;

 

2. Expresses great concern over the Administration’s handling of Brighton & Hove’s rough-sleeping situation where the number of rough-sleepers has more than doubled in recent years (78 in 2015 to 178 in 2017), which leave Brighton & Hove as the local authority area with the second highest number of rough-sleepers in the country.

 

            3. Calls for an emergency statement to be sent to all Councillors confirming:

            (i) That members of the administration decided to undertake a rough sleeper count this year rather than a more comparable rough sleeper estimate;

            (ii) Details of how much greater in average percentage terms, estimates have been than counts in Brighton & Hove for all the years where both measures were undertaken;

            (iii) What measures are in place to assist rough sleepers in the City over the forthcoming winter;

            (iv) What plans are being drawn up to address dire safety conditions in and a lack of provision of emergency and temporary accommodation; and

            (v) Exactly how all funding streams, including large sums recently announced nationally by HM Government, are being put to best use.

 

4. Calls for an emergency Officer report with options on (i) ways to work to tackle rough-sleeping on a cross-party basis, as happened so well last winter on the Brighton Centre Night Shelter Cross- Party  Working Group; and

(ii) The arrangement of an urgent multi-organisation meeting to bring together as many homelessness groups as possible to ensure that all solutions are being considered;

            5. Requests that the rough-sleeping responsibilities of NICE Committee, Housing and New Homes Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board are urgently brought together under the auspices of a single committee, Housing and New Homes to address concerns over strategy and accountability.”

 

33.6    The Green Group, Notice of Motion stated:

 

           a)That an additional clause 1be added and subsequent clause be re numberedaccordingly

            1.Recognises

            i) For many decades rough sleeping and homelessness has increasednationally

            ii That national government acknowledges under the current regulatoryframework thereis a"broken housingmarket" which has failed to enable sufficient truly affordable housing contributingto homelessness

            iii  Alongside localrough sleepingstrategies, governmentreforms are urgently needed to address the structural pressures causinghomelessness

 

a)            Amend clause 2 as shown by deleting i) and replacing with a new i) and ii) and re number subsequently

 

i) Thatmembers ofthe administrationdecided toundertake arough sleeper countthis yearrather thana morecomparable roughsleeper estimate;

ii) Details of howmuch greaterin average percentageterms estimateshave been than counts in Brighton and Hove for all the years when both measures wereundertaken.”

 

33.7    Councillor Nemeth stated that he had considered it imperative to draw attention to and further highlight this important and severe matter and had therefore felt compelled to submit his Notice of Motion. He wished to emphasise this point in order to underline his concerns that data needed to be recorded in such fashion that meaningful comparisons could be made. Councillor Peltzer Dunn stated that whilst acknowledging the work which had been undertaken to date he was of the view that it was important to carry this work forward in a concerted and co-ordinated fashion.

 

33.8    Councillor Gibson spoke in support of the Green Group Notice of Motion stating that whilst supporting the Notice of Motion as framed they were of the view that it could be refined further. Councillor Phillips concurred in that view.

 

33.9    The Chair, Councillor Daniel, stated that whilst both Notices of Motion would be put to the Committee for consideration in the order in which they had been received, she considered that there were a number of inaccuracies in that put forward by the Green Group and could not therefore support it; the Conservative Group Notice of Motion was also one which she was unable to support overall, although there were elements of it with which she could agree; although in her view neither represented a positive response nor acknowledged that work that had been undertaken to address this problem. Whilst should agree with the content of the Notice of Motion in part she was unable to support it elements of it with which she profoundly disagreed.

 

33.10  Councillor Clare Moonan, the Administration’s spokesperson for rough sleeping stated that the number of rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove had dropped significantly. The official figure verified by the independent organisation Homeless Link was 64. The official figure last November had been 178, so that was a significant drop.

 

33.11  Councillor Moonan concurred with the Chair, stating the Working Party which she Chaired was Cross-Party and had worked collaboratively in order to seek solutions to this growing problem which had in her view been exacerbated by central government policy. Input from fellow Members had always been welcomed and that would continue to be the case. Comparable arrangements were in place to those in previous years and there were also very successful interagency arrangements in place in seeking to address this problem. A very successful meeting had been held with representatives from St Mungo’s recently which would build on previous successful co-agency working.

 

33.12  Councillor A Norman enquired whether details were available regarding the number of ex-service personnel who were rough sleeping as it was acknowledged that those from this group could have particular vulnerabilities. The Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing stated that these figures could be provided to Members outside the meeting. It was hard to ascertain how accurate that figure would be however as records were collated on the basis of information volunteered by any individual. The Executive Director which also, outlined the pathways which were used in order to direct individuals towards the appropriate agencies to assist them.

 

33.13  Councillor Morgan considered that this issue needed to be seen in the context of the national position which was dire. This Council had done a great deal in order to assist individuals in hardship against the backdrop of its own diminishing resources. Councillor Marsh, the Deputy Chair, agreed.

 

33.14  It was noted that if agreed the Notice of Motion could be noted for further future action at this stage.

 

33.15  A vote was taken on the proposed amendments in turn. The Conservative Group amendment, as amended was agreed on a vote of 6 to 4.

 

33.17  A vote further vote was then taken on the Green Group Notice of Motion which was defeated on a vote 6 to 4.

 

33.18  RESOLVED - That the Conservative Group amendment as set out in paragraph 33.5 above be agreed noted and received.

Supporting documents:

 


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