Agenda item

Programme of portfolio holder attendance

Report of the Democratic Services Manager


Members welcomed Councillor Kathryn Fox, Portfolio Holder for Diverse Communities and Life Chances to the meeting to examine her portfolio. Councillor Fox gave a presentation, providing an update to members on some key happenings in her portfolio.


Questions were received from Members in advance of the meeting so Councillor Fox delivered an update on this and the various areas of responsibility within her portfolio. She gave the following updates:


1)    The Homes for Ukraine Scheme (HFU) launched on 14 March 2022. Nottinghamshire County Council allocated £10,500 per guest, which was then reduced to £5,900 in 2023.Sponsors/Hosts receive £350 per month, increasing to £500 per month after 12 months.


2)    Environmental Health Officers have undertaken a total of 218 visits to matched sponsor/host households in Gedling and keep in touch with sponsors and guests to support re-matching or accommodation moves. It was noted that no Ukrainian Guests have presented as homeless.


3)    As part of a strategic review of leisure and community facilities, a resident’s survey was carried out in December 2022 which received 605 responses, 25% of which had a health condition or disability. The survey suggested that health conditions, disabilities, cost and not enough time are barriers to getting active. This feedback is being used to inform the new strategy.


4)    As part of the Council’s domestic abuse statutory duty, Gedling Borough Council offers a Sanctuary Scheme which enables survivors to remain in their own home safely by providing additional security installations. Funding of £10,000 was received for 2022-2023 to facilitate this.


5)    Various projects/events have been held or are ongoing across the Council’s rural areas, such as community outreach programmes by Customer Services and Citizens Advice, exploring the creation of a parish conference and more. It was noted that support to rural areas is data led to address the needs of the community and the Portfolio Holder for Diverse Communities and Life Chances regularly attends Rural Services Network seminars to learn more about issues affecting rural communities and funding opportunities to address this.


The Chair gave members the opportunity to ask questions of Councillor Fox’s portfolio.


Members asked whether communication channels between the Council and Serco are being looked at for asylum seekers prior to the determination of their asylum status, to allow more time for the Housing Needs team to make preparations.


Councillor Fox agreed that the current system is not ideal and that communication channels could be improved, which have been highlighted by other local authorities as well. It was noted that there is a feedback system in place providing an open dialogue to allow the home office to make efficiencies where possible to alleviate the concerns of both asylum seekers and council officers. The Council also liaises with other authorities, sharing best practices to further improve the service.


Members asked whether the Council receives any financial support with regards to supporting asylum seekers and asked where the asylum seekers are in the chain of priority for housing allocation in the Housing Needs system.


Councillor Fox explained that the Council receives funding from Nottinghamshire County Council. It was noted that Councillor Fox did not have information to hand regarding the chain of priority for housing allocations and will provide this information at a later date.



The Chair thanked Councillor Fox for her presentation and the information provided.

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