Report of the Strategic Director, Housing, Environment and Healthy Communities
The Committee received a report providing an update on the implementation of locality working.
It was reported that since the last meeting of the OSC progress had been made on the methodology, principles and budget for locality work which has been signed off by Cabinet. It was also noted that the south of the borough has been identified as the first implementation area for the scheme with an implementation plan to start in the autumn.
The Committee were advised that a Project Lead had been appointed and that the Locality Strategic Lead had been appointed and would join the Council mid-September. It was also noted that a locality coordinator post is to be advertised.
From the report, the Committee were provided with a summary of community buildings that are expected to be used for locality working; these included Birtley Library, Wrekenton Community Centre and the Birtley Hub. It was also stated that strategic conversations have started with key partners such as the Primary Care Networks and DWP. It was highlighted that advice, information, and guidance resources have been identified to support casework in the South and are in place up until 31 March2023.
The Committee were reminded of the aims of locality working, these were:
a) Support the delivery of the Councils Thriveambitions
b) Reduce inequalities across ourpopulation
c) Improve the standard of places where are residentslive
d) Enable our communities to be moreresilient
e) More effective and efficient ways of working
It was also reported that it is proposed to take a report to CMT with a view to establishing a Programme Board led by CMT in place of the existing Locality Working Group.
The Committee were assured that the scheme commencing in the south of the borough was not a ‘pilot’. It was also noted that locality working will evolve as demands change and arise; the Committee were advised that Gateshead’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy underpins the work being done.
A question was asked as to how the funding works for locality working; officers advised that 12 months of funding is secure for work in the south with the intention of establishing locality work in the west being planned. The Committee questioned how the needs of the public were being considered, particularly in the west of the borough where needs vary greatly between towns. Officers advised that conversations have been taking place with partners in the south to understand the needs of residents; it was also highlighted that a framework is to be developed to maximise existing resources to meet the needs of communities.
The Committee were advised that they would receive regular progress updates on this matter; it was requested that a further update be delivered at the October meeting with further details on the staffing structure for locality working. The Committee also acknowledged there is a need to move away from universal service provision to providing targeted services. A discussion also took place on the potential boundary changes across Gateshead and how this may impact locality working; it was noted that services would need to be adaptable and to work with said changes as required.
(i) The Committee noted the proposal for CMT to discuss the merit of establishing a Programme Board overseen by the Corporate Management Team.
(ii) The Committee requested a further update on the progress of locality work in October with an emphasis on the staffing structure.