Agenda and draft minutes

Joint Meeting of Scrutiny, Overview and Scrutiny Board
Thursday, 24th September, 2020 6.00 pm

Contact: Lori Hughes 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies For Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Taylor.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

3.

Urgent Business

Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business received.

4.

Public Question Time

To receive Questions from the Public, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

There were no public questions received.

5.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 299 KB

The Minutes of the Joint Meeting of Scrutiny on COVID-19 held on 3rd June 2020 are attached for approval.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Joint Scrutiny meeting held on 3rd June 2020 be approved as a correct record.

 

6.

Covid-19 - Scrutiny Briefing - Verbal Update

Minutes:

Councillor Shah, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for the Covid-19 Response opened the meeting.  Members were provided with an update on the impact of the pandemic on the Borough which included impact on communities, the increase in the number of residents claiming Universal Credit,  how employment had been affected and highlighted those aged 18 – 24, schools returning but where bubbles had been forced to isolate. Members were informed of the challenge and failure of mixed messages and with the track and trace system.  Acknowledgement was given to the Chief Executive and the Chief Officers who had provided support through the challenges presented by the pandemic.  This meeting would provide the opportunity for members to scrutinise the approach taken to date and the future.

 

The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Board had raised a number of issues in advance of the meeting which provided the basis for the briefing the Joint Committee received.

 

The following questions and responses were provided at the meeting.

 

Councillor McLaren asked the following question: “Has the Council been able to maintain a coherent message to the wider community despite the mixed messaging and varied advice emerging from Central Government?”  What difficulties has this situation presented?”

 

The Strategic Director for Communities and Reform responded that this had been a challenge on two counts. The difference between national and local restrictions had meant mixed messages were received by local people  More recently, the Council had to work hard to let people know the new ‘rule of six’ did not apply locally due to the Borough’s enhanced restrictions.  Oldham own local restrictions had changed a number of time and although new artwork and messaging was issued each time, old material was still out in the community and there had been enquiries related to the out of date material.  Communicating had been difficult, especially with those residents who didn’t use social and digital media as primary sources of information.  The Council had tried to use an all household leaflet or letter drop for each change of restriction.  However, the lead time for design, print and delivery meant that the leaflets were delivered 10 – 14 day after change of restrictions when the situation could have changed significantly and the example of changes to testing was cited.  Since the national testing was in crisis, the approach locally had to be adapted as a result.  This left the Council looking out of date or if incorrect information was being shared which reduced trust in messaging.

 

Councillor McLaren asked the following question: “Finding temporary accommodation for homeless people had been addressed with considerable success.  Are steps being taken to find permanent accommodation? To what extent is this programme being supported by Central Government?”

 

The Director of Economy responded that there was a dedicated housing options team who worked with customers who found themselves in temporary accommodation.  Anyone who resided in temporary accommodation was provided with a personalised housing plan to help secure longer-term accommodation.  Some examples were via housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.