The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder introduced the Council Plan Performance Monitoring report for quarter one of 2019/20 on behalf of the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder. The report highlighted areas of significantly good or poor performance relating to the measures of success set out in the current Council Plan. The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register and benchmarking information using the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Nearest Neighbours Model.
The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder answered questions raised by Members. With regard to a question on the access to housing for those recently released from prison, he informed Members that the Homelessness Reduction Act had placed extra duties on the Authority to help those in circumstances such as these, and that as a result, prisons were sending advanced warning of release so that Local Authorities were able to provide options for those individuals. The Portfolio Holder stated that he was not sure if this was occurring regularly but that he would look into the matter further. He added that the Council represented one link in a complex chain but that efforts should be continued to reduce homelessness in the district.
The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder referred to the Case Management Officer to answer a question on the definition of the term jobs used within the report as well as a request to provide data on the survival rate of start-up businesses in the district.
The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder answered a question on the number of affordable homes to buy in the area and how the Council could be helping local young people to gain access to the housing market. He informed Members that while the work the Council had carried out so far had met the targets set, he felt that more could be done to provide a route to entering the housing market for young people in the district, with modular housing being a viable option for the future.
The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder briefly answered a question on the reputation of Planning and Planning Applications at South Lakeland District Council, before referring to the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources who provided a more detailed answer, referring to the transitional period of the Customer Connect Programme which had had an impact on the Planning Department. Following on from this answer, the Director of Customer and Commercial Services provided a further response with regard to the Locality Team and the potential for collaborative working with the Planning Team.
The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources then answered a question on the relationship between the Planning Department and the public, agreeing that a better explanation of the outcomes was needed in order to provide a higher level of transparency on Planning applications.
Councillor Helen Chaffey then requested an update on Brexit. The Strategy Lead Specialist informed Members that he had recently been appointed as the Council’s Brexit Officer and advised that he would provide Members with updates as new information was received.
Members requested an update to the October 2019 meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the following be noted:-
(a) the Summary of Performance, as detailed within the report;
(b) the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report; and
(c) the benchmarking information within Appendix 2 to the report; and
(2) that an update on Brexit be presented to the October 2019 meeting.