Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston PE21 8QR
Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer Telephone Number 01205 314226. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were tabled for Councillors Tom Ashton and Paul Goodale. No substitute members.
To sign and confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.
With the agreement of the committee the Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.
Councillor Alison Austin declared that she is a Trustee Director of Centrepoint Outreach
To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Thursday 16 March 2023.
A report by the Assistant Director -Strategic Growth and Development
Councillor Brewis Chairman of the Scrutiny Panel presented the report supported by the Assistant Director - Strategic Growth and Development.
A joint Scrutiny Task & Finish Panel had been established between the three authorities to undertake a review of public transport provision in Boston, South Holland, and East Lindsey. The first topic identified had been to focus on Public Transport.
Whilst public transport was not a subject matter that district authorities had any statutory functions for, it was a public service function which acted as a key determinant of outcomes in areas where the three district councils (and its wider partnership) have a direct role to play in influencing change, including;
· Economic growth, access to employment and skills development
· Supporting the social mobility and increasing life opportunities for residents
· Addressing health inequalities
· Access to high streets and town centres, including support for the night-time economy
· Carbon reduction, sustainability, and air quality management
· Encouraging and supporting the visitor economy
However, the wider matter of rural mobility and alternative forms of transportation beyond the car is an area where the SELCP could bring direct intervention and influence.
The group identified the following key areas for scrutiny;
· Developing a more detailed understanding of the policies and approaches that govern the delivery of public transport at a national, regional, and local level
· Gathering qualitative and quantitative evidence concerning the current provision of public transport across the SELCP area
· Understanding the relationships between existing public transport provision and wider agenda of importance to the SELCP area
· Understanding the matter of Public Transport from the perspectives of both operators and commissioners
· Exploring innovation and best practice around public transport, rural mobility and alternative solutions to personal and shared transportation that could inform future strategy for the SELCP area
Wide ranging interviews were held with 13 witnesses from across 12 different organisations and agencies. Written evidence had also been provided by both Suffolk County Council, and Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council. Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) had also been invited to attend a meeting of the committeein their capacity as the Local Transport Authority but had declined any direct involvement with the group, They had however agreed to provide information in writing to the group, and had offered members of the panel the opportunity to attend the county’s Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee.
Committee were referred to Appendix A of the report which provided a detailed account of the review together with the recommendations identified.
In conclusion Councillor Brewis stated that it had been an honour to Chair the review over nearly ten months.
The Assistant Director – Strategic Growth and Development address the meeting at this point and advised that the logic used in approaching the review had been to look at what areas the Councils’ could potentially make a change in, being mindful that they had no direct control on Public Transport.
The recommendations identified for consideration were in two principle areas, the first in how the partnership could seek to influence others people in that ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
A report by the Scrutiny Officer
The Scrutiny Officer presented the report advising members that it was for information only to provide an idea of some potential topics for the new Council. An indicative plan with more detail and scope would be presented once officers received advice from the new Council
Two topics had been carried over as it had been agreed to move slowly through the programme during the first year.
An extra item had been suggested for the programme to be agreed by the new Council which was a review of Environmental Crime.
Committee noted the report.
A report by the Climate Change and Environment Officer.
Boston Borough Council had agreed an ambitious target to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero by 2040, with a minimum reduction of 45% by 2027, in line with the Carbon Reduction Plan and the strategic aim of the Corporate Strategy. This report and accompanying analysis sought to provide an annual update on our progress towards these targets. Climate Change remains one of our greatest challenges, and local authorities have a crucial role to play in driving forward change and leading by example, to do what they can to effectively tackle this challenge and achieve a more sustainable future. As part of Boston Borough Council’s commitment to reducing their carbon emissions, its’ annual Carbon Footprint had been recorded to enable monitoring of emissions and guide the authority as it worked towards its’ net zero ambition.
Key data was referenced which included:
Notification that in FY21/22, Boston Borough Council’s total emissions had decreased by 32% compared to the baseline year (FY2018/19), however they had increased compared to the previous year by 13%, going from 2,382 tCO2e in FY20/21 to 2,688.85 tCO2e in FY21/22.
In the FY20/21 Carbon Footprint significant reductions had been made to emissions, largely as a result of impacts of the COVID pandemic such as reduced occupancy of buildings and agile working. Whilst the Council hoped to maintain these gains as far as possible, re-opening of leisure facilities and offices had resulted in an increase in electricity and in particular gas emissions this year.
In FY21/22, electricity emissions of 339.8 tCO2e had been recorded and represented a 25% increase from the previous year. These increases arose primarily from the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre (GMLC), Municipal Buildings and Crematorium. Gas emissions of 698.1 tCO2e were recorded and represent an 87% increase from the previous year. This has largely been caused by emissions from GMLC.
Gains have been retained however, and the behavioural shift towards online meetings and working from home has led to a further 10.5% reduction in emissions from business travel which were recorded as 5.1 tCO2e, and a further 21% reduction in emissions from Commuter Travel which were recorded as 95.4 tCO2e. This is a positive indicator that a long-term change to working behaviours has been achieved and should continue to be encouraged and supported through communications and training opportunities.
Water emissions for FY21/22 had been recorded as 5.3 tCO2e which representeda 60% reduction.
Committee comment followed which included:
Referencing the GMLP, discussion noted the project to redevelop the site and officers confirmed they were in negotiation with the project team to ensure a good understanding of what was needed. Voicing concerns in respect of the problems with the Biomass a member questioned what was happening as when it had been installed, it had been done so on the understanding that it would reduce emissions with the Biomass itself being sourced from a local supplier to reduce the is travel footprint. In response to a question about the maintenance contract officers advised they would feed the ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
HOMELESSNESS IN BOSTON
A presentation by the Service Manager – Housing and Support Solutions.
The Safeguarding Service Manager tabled a presentation offering an update on the position of Boston Borough and East Lindsey Rough Sleeper Service 2022-25. Members were advised that the current service was funded until 31st March 2025. The team compiled of the Manager, Team Leader, Senior Officer and 4 Tenancy Support and resettlement Officer along with a Life Skills Officer working across both BBC ad ELDC.
The funding could be used for Tenancy Support and Resettlement; Flexible Prevention Budget; Mental Health Support; Non UK National Support; PRS Access Scheme and Resettlement, Life Skills and Support along with Short term emergency access accommodation alongside Supported Leased Accommodation
Referencing the Rough Sleepers for 2022, the Manager advised that annual counts took place every year with the last on in Lincolnshire being on the 4th November 2022. People sleeping rough were defined as those sleeping or about to bed down in open air locations and other places including tents and make shift shelters. The snapshot can take place on a single date chosen by the local authority between 1 October to 30 November. The snapshot recorded only those people seen, or thought to be sleeping rough on a single night.
For Boston and East Lindsey an evidence-based estimate with a spotlight count had been carried out. Accurately estimating the number of people sleeping rough was difficult given the hidden nature of rough sleeping. The figures were independently verified by Homeless Link and Members and organisations from within the borough were welcome to assist on annual counts and outreach sessions.
The latest figures from the 2022 count showed a 26% increase since 2021 with a 74% increase against the figures for 2010.
Advising on the Outreach Session, members were advised they were usually carried out twice a week checking hotspots and the area of any specific reports. Recent outreach numbers had identified that on the 21st March 25 had been checked for with 7 found, on the 7th March 24 were checked for with 7 found and on the 22nd February 20 had been checked for with 8 being found.
A lot of people who have said they are rough sleeping are never found. They are asked to provide an exact location and officers will check those locations. Sometimes the location provided is vague such as the river Witham or Witham Country Park. If not found, the rough sleeper will be contacted by phone where possible and encouraged to come into Centrepoint or the Council offices.
Support was offered by a number of agencies and services:
Centrepoint- anyone approaching Centrepoint directly who stated they were rough sleeping were referred into the Council service and would then be seen by our team.
We are with You – there will soon be new substance misuse posts to work directly with the Rough Sleeper service and local hostels
Neighbourhoods MDT – rough sleepers can be referred into the weekly health related meetings
Housing and Homelessness – joint work happens on a daily ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
To note/discuss the work programme for the year and the items to be carried over onto the work programme for the year 2023/24
Members noted the work programme over the previous year and the items carried forward to the next scheduled meeting.