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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, County Hall, Durham. View directions

Contact: Lucy Gladders  03000 269712

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Batey, Boyes, Hawley, Jopling, Maddison, Simmons, Tinsley, Wilkes, Zair and Mr Patel.

2.

Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no substitute members.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Update on the delivery of the Medium Term Financial Plan 7 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships provided an update on the delivery of the Medium Term Financial Plan 6 (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Head of Communications and Information Management highlighted two significant milestones in that savings by the end of June, delivered from 2011, had reached £203m and the number of employees affected had reached 2500 since 2011.

 

Resolved:

That the report be noted.

5.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 - Quarter 1 Performance pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered a report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services which informed members about the Council’s use of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) during the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 to ensure that the policy remained fit for purpose (for copy see file of Minutes).

 

The Board were advised that activity reported during the quarter were two RIPA directed surveillance authorisations in relation to counterfeit tobacco and underage sales of alcohol.  Surveillance remains ongoing for the counterfeit tobacco and the outcome from the underage sales of alcohol resulted in two prosecutions and a committee review.

 

Resolved:

That the report be received.

6.

Welfare Reform and Poverty Issues pdf icon PDF 254 KB

Minutes:

The Board considered a joint report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships and Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services that provided an update on welfare reform, with a particular focus on the latest developments in relation to Universal Credit and the work the council and its partners were doing in relation to child poverty (for copy see file of minutes).

 

The Head of Communications and Information Management informed Members that a seminar would be taking place on 12 October at 10.30 a.m. to discuss welfare reform in greater detail.  He reported that new proposals and measures included:-

 

(a)                increasing the amount of free childcare for working parents with three and four year olds;

(b)                launching the next phase of the Troubled Families programme with a greater emphasis on helping parents with complex needs into work;

(c)                support for the most disadvantaged families to reduce parental conflict;

(d)                enhancing the role of Jobcentre Plus in working with local partners to identify and help people with complex needs;

(e)                greater support for those with drug and alcohol dependencies;

(f)                 changing the reporting requirements on government in relation to child poverty.

 

The Head of Communications and Information Management advised that the next stage of implementing universal credits would see the roll out of a digital by default service on a phased basis throughout job centres in the County. He added that the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion had taken an active role with this issue and within her portfolio was welfare reform. The Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services chairs the Child Poverty Working Group which encompasses welfare reform.

 

The Chairman thanked the officer for his report that contained a lot of good information.  He said that the evidence so far on universal credits points to a number of problems, and he asked that the roll out was monitored in term of the early impact.  He expressed concerns about IT and the issues with broadband in parts of the County.  He had supported further resources in the community facilities within his ward but did have concerns about accessibility.

 

Mrs Elliott also expressed concerns about those people who were the hardest to reach within a community, such as those who were illiterate.  She said that they would have to be sought out as there was a worry that if people could not access information online and be able to claim money then they could turn to crime.  The Head of Communications and Information Management said that they were trying to make as many people as possible aware of the changes and to offer that support.

 

Following on from the point about access, Councillor Bell asked if this information could be shared at AAPs, and was informed that this would be done.  He also asked if libraries were equipped to help and was informed that staff would receive the appropriate training in order to support people.  He further asked if the new system only applied to new claimants.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

 

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