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(i) The minutes of the last meeting held on Monday 7 December 2020 were agreed as a correct record.
Report of the Strategic Director of Communities and Environment
The Committee received a report and presentation providing an overview of how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted Gateshead; the Committee also received subsequent updates on the impact on crime, disorder and community safety.
The Committee received an update on support for business, employers and the self-employed. It was highlighted in the report that a business support hub and helpline had been established to support businesses; it was also noted that 1-2-1 advice had been provided to over 2,250 businesses.
It was reported that during the first lockdown, nearly £40 million had been provided to 3,600 businesses in grants. The Committee were also advised that during the second and third lockdowns over £19.3 million had been paid to businesses that were forced to close.
The Committee noted that additional support for business had been provided via local enhancements of government funding which supported tenants of Gateshead Estates and the Council’s Business Centres. It was further noted that Council services were contributing on a weekly basis to regional business and economic intelligence reports sent to government.
From the presentation, the Committee were also provided with an overview of the impact on employment due to the pandemic. It was highlighted that there had been a 67% increase in Gateshead’s Universal Credit claimant count from March to August 2020.
It was noted that a self-service employment and skills information hub had been established in April 2020 with telephone employment advice and guidance being provided to residents from May 2020. The Committee were advised that employment support had been universal but proportionate to the need of residents, it was also highlighted that officers had worked flexibly to respond to service demands with a focus on finding the right job for residents, not just any job.
The Committee received an update on private sector housing and business compliance/enforcement. From the update it was noted that a business compliance team was set up at the beginning of the pandemic made up of officers across environmental health, trading standards, enforcement and private sector housing. It was also noted that the team have been supported more recently by 13 redeployed Covid Support Officers.
It was highlighted that the team have followed up on over 2800 complaints and requests for advice from the public and business; it was also noted that the team have been working closely with Northumbria Police. From the presentation, the Committee were advised that 22 prohibition notices, 9 fixed penalty notices and 12 voluntary closures had been issued.
It was reported that compliance across Gateshead was generally good. Officers also advised that working across services the teams can provide the right mixture of advice, support and regulation. It was noted that support to private tenants is continuing but that workloads had increased in all areas, particularly with regard to the response to anti-social behaviour.
The Committee were also advised that enforcement complaints have increased, particularly those for fly-tipping and planning. It was reported that planning applications for householder applications have more than doubled during the pandemic ... view the full minutes text for item CPL79
Report of the Strategic Director of Resources and Digital
The Committee received a report and presentation setting out the proposed approach to performance management and improvement following engagement.
It was reported that the Council’s current performance framework has been in place for several years and has evolved over time. It was noted that there is a need to develop a new framework that better reflects the priorities of the Council whilst demonstrating delivery against Thrive priorities.
From the presentation, the Committee were provided with an overview of guiding principles for the framework; it was highlighted that this is to be shaped by elected members enabling them to scrutinise performance. It was also reported that the framework is to be owned by all services and led by senior officers.
From the report it was noted that the new framework needed to respond to the impacts of Covid-19 and the future role and shape of the Council. An update on engagement was also provided which noted that members had been engaged via OSC, portfolio and Corporate Advisory Groups. It was further reported that officers had been engaged via Corporate Management Team, officer workshops, focus groups and via trade unions.
The Committee were advised that further engagement on the framework is to take place with partners via the Health & Wellbeing Board, Health & Care Systems Board and voluntary sector organisations. It was highlighted that the framework will be structured around the six policy objectives of the Health & Wellbeing Strategy.
From the presentation, the Committee were provided with an overview of the various policy objectives and analysis. The Committee noted their support to the development of the new framework.
(i) The Committee noted the contents of the report and presentation.
(ii) The Committee agreed to receive a further update at a future meeting.
Joint report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received the Work Programme report setting out the current work programme for the year 2020/21 and the current position/next steps in the development of the work programme for the year 2021/22.
(i) The Committee noted the work programme report.