Agenda and minutes
Venue: Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington
Contact: Fiona Goodfellow Housing and Regeneration (01254 380 195)
Welcome and Introductions
2:00pm – Fiona Goodfellow Hyndburn BC
FG opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. Those present introduced themselves and the organisations they represented.
Minutes from the July 2017 meeting and matters arising
2:05pm – Minutes from July 2017 and matters arising
Since the last meeting, the Council has now received approval from the DCLG for a new selective licensing scheme to take effect from the 5th March 2018 which will run for a period of 5 years. This is an expanded area from the original designation, the additional area primarily takes in Accrington town centre where there are a lot of flats over shops and businesses owned by private landlords, these were not included previously.
Applications for the new scheme are now being received. Early applications will receive a discount.
B-With-Us Allocations Policy
This is still being reviewed and due to various factors it is likely to be April 2019 before the amended policy comes into effect.
2:15pm - Fiona Goodfellow & Denis Aldridge
FG explained that since the last meeting a lot more information had become available on how the Act would operate and FG wanted to give an update on the current position with implementation and how agencies could help.
FG and DA then gave a presentation which is available with these minutes for your information.
The Act comes into effect on the 3rd April and there was still a lot work to do in preparation for this.
Guidance - The Government provides a Code of Guidance to help local authorities interpret the legislation and we are currently working with the consultation version. We are assured that the Government will be issuing a final version before the Act comes into force on the 3rd April but this has yet to be received.
Data Recording - There will be a significant change to data recording which the Council has to adhere to. Traditionally we have reported quarterly to Central Government on a P1E form. The new Act will require local authorities to gather a lot more information than we do currently and we will need to determine the best way to do this.
IT Software - The Council will need to purchase a new IT system to record information. A lot of providers are promoting their software but we need a system which will assist us as much as possible and make the implementation of the Act as easy as possible. We are currently viewing a couple of options.
Staffing – We have expanded the Housing Advice Team by taking on an additional member of staff. There is going to be a lot more work involved in assessing each individual case. Interviews instead of taking 30 minutes for an initial assessment are likely to take 90 minutes.
Training – This is ongoing and most of the team have now received training from the National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS). Further training will take place on the 6th March by the National Homeless Advice Service (NHAS).
Awareness raising for partners – this will be ongoing through the Forum and individual briefing sessions with partners.
Currently local authorities are required to determine if someone presenting themselves as homeless is under threat of homelessness within 28 days. If this is the case, Housing Advice then look at what preventative work can be done to assist the individual to remain in their own home or look at alternative options for them. Currently this is fairly limited compared with what the new Act will require.
If the applicant is in priority need and is homeless the Council have a duty to provide temporary accommodation. The Council need to determine whether the individual has made themselves homeless intentionally or unintentionally. The main duty, if owed, would be for the Council to rehouse them into some form of suitable accommodation be it in the private sector or through the B-with-Us Choice Based Lettings Scheme.
From 3rd April the Homelessness ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
DCLG Trailblazer Project
3:00pm – Fiona Goodfellow, Hyndburn BC
Louise Proctor, Lancashire County Council
Sharon Burch, YNOT
FG then introduced Sharon Burch, YNOT Aspire, who had come along to the meeting to provide an update on the DCLG Trailblazer Project.
FG explained that the project came about by funding following a successful bid to DCLG some time ago. The Trailblazer Project was to focus on tackling youth homelessness for young people between the ages of 14 to 25 which extends the age range rather than the traditional 16 – 25. It is a partnership between all the local authorities in East Lancashire plus Lancashire County Council.
There are 5 elements to the project including:
· Rapid response early intervention conciliation and mediation service – to be delivered by YNOT
· To develop an interactive website focusing specifically on young people – being led by Lancashire County Council who have just employed a project co-ordinator to take this role forward
· Provision of an independent training unit – Stepping Stones are delivering this which will be through a flat in Padiham and the idea behind this is to use it as a training flat to help young people become familiar with the key aspects of independent living.
· Developing respite services or respite beds to provide accommodation for young people – provider has yet to be determined. This is to offer a short break for 1 – 3 nights for young people who perhaps need a break from a crisis situation.
· Multi-agency training – the project hopes to delivery multi-agency training for practitioners around tools and interventions to help prevent youth homelessness.
SB then explained that over the past four years YNOT Aspire had provided a single point of contact for any young person presenting themselves as homeless in the Borough.
YNOT Aspire will be providing the ‘rapid response early intervention and conciliation and mediation service’ for this project on behalf of Hyndburn and Ribble Valley and have been operating this service since November 2017.
In January 2018 YNOT Aspire took on a new Support Worker, Shannon Gregory.
YNOT Aspire are currently receiving a high number of referrals and some of these are coming through at earlier stages allowing the service to look at mediation and conciliation before crisis point arises.
Since the 1st November 2017, 28 referrals had been received, 7 had been received from the local authority, 18 through other agencies and 3 self-referrals.
Agencies who had referred into the service include:-
First Call Hyndburn
North Lancs Training Group
The Sidings, Clitheroe
The 3 self-referrals had reached the service by searching on the web or been recommended by friends.
In relation to publicising the services a young person’s poster had been produced.
YNOT Aspire were currently looking at organising some prevention and early intervention workshops to be delivered in schools across Hyndburn and Ribble Valley.
Two short DVD’s were put together over the summer last year by young people highlighting what it was like to be young and homeless. These will be used as part of the educational package.
SB was currently working with staff ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Universal Credit Full Service
3:15pm – Cathy Ross, DWP
FG then introduced Cathy Ross, Partnership Manager for DWP / Job Centre Plus who had come along to the meeting to talk about the Universal Credit Full Service which would be rolled out in Hyndburn and Blackburn from Wednesday 14th February 2018.
CR then gave a presentation. Key points as follows:-
CR explained that she covered the Pennine area including Burnley, Hyndburn and Pendle.
At the moment the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were operating 3 different benefit systems:-
Universal Credit is simplifying the welfare system by rolling 6 benefits into one:
Job Seekers Allowance,
Child Tax Credit and
Employment and Support Allowance
Crucially this does not replace Council Tax Support, Personal Independence Payments, Child Benefit etc. which remain outside of Universal Credit.
Someone claiming one of the 6 benefits in future will claim Universal Credit and will deal with one organisation - the DWP delivered through Job Centres based in most towns around the country in conjunction with service centres. In the Job Centre the claimant will be assigned a Work Coach and in the Service Centre a Case Manager.
Universal Credit Full Service is a fully digital service which should reduce the barriers of working and incentivise work by making work pay. Anyone claiming Universal Credit should be better off in work than out of work and claiming benefits. Universal Credit is in place to support those people who cannot work but also to support those people who have a capability to work but require some extra help to move into work.
Universal Credit is designed to mirror the world of work in that it is paid monthly, it is paid directly to one recipient in the household. Each claimant will have a claimant commitment, which is similar to a contract, which is worked up usually with a Work Coach. The claimant commitment will require a lot of input by the claimant themselves to what is reasonable in their circumstances for them to move closer towards work. For example, someone who was fit and active and able to take up full time work, their claimant commitment would be expected to include a lot of things describing how they were going to secure work and apply for jobs. Someone who had a health condition but could still make some steps and progress towards work, their claimant commitment would reflect their circumstances. Someone who was experiencing issues with homelessness or drug addiction their claimant commitment could involve steps to improve their circumstances maybe by accessing other support but with the hope that they were making some steps to try and improve their own personal circumstances.
Universal Credit encourages work and it is an easy transition between Universal Credit and work because the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
3:45pm - All
Rossendale Citizens Advice Bureau
‘Reach IT Projects’ for Rossendale and Hyndburn if anyone requires any further information please contact Tony Shepherd at Rossendale’s Citizens Advice Bureau.
The new build project in Burnley ‘Gateway’ will be completed and ready for occupation in June and will comprise of 30 units for single people. The admittance criteria has changing and Calico will take people with more complex needs. Referrals will be taken from across Lancashire. The age range is 18 – 90 years.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust
The Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) are working together to develop, manage and deliver a project called ‘My Place’ which aims to empower young people, encouraging them to take action in environmental activity that has positive benefits for their own health and mental wellbeing as well as to employability prospects. The project is running in Rossendale and Accrington including Bullough Park and Milnshaw Park. Weekly activities during February will be held on Thursdays between 10am – 2pm.
To be eligible for the project participants must be over 25 years old, unemployed and living in the community.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org on alternatively on 07717 366816
Lancashire Wellbeing Service
The Wellbeing Service has just gone through a rebrand of the service, new website, leaflets etc. For more information please see the website http://www.lancashirewellbeing.co.uk/
Changes have taken place in that the service can now work with people for up to eight sessions instead of 6 over a period of 90 days.
The St James Project in Accrington is for people with complex needs which is supported living accommodation for adults with a history of substance misuse which is being delivered by a new service provider Emerging Futures from the 1st April 2018. Not sure of the model going forward but the commissioners are really keen this has an abstinent focus.
Housing Advice – Rough Sleeper count
Since the last meeting the annual rough sleeper estimate had taken place. The final figure for Hyndburn was 6 people sleeping rough which was an increase on previous years 2016 – 2, 2015 – 4, 2014 – 4 which puts us in the league of Lancashire authorities as third behind Preston with 19 and Blackpool with 13. Our neighbouring authorities Blackburn had 2, Burnley 1, Rossendale 0 and Pendle 0.
Date of Meetings for 2018
All at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington
The next meeting will take place on the Thursday 21st June 2018 commencing at 2pm in the Queen Elizabeth Room, Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington BB5 0PF.