Venue: The Gallery Bar, Watton Sports Centre, Watton
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 865870
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2008.
1) GP Led Health Centres in Rural Areas (Polyclinics) (Minute No. 34/08)
The Chairman asked how the subject of GP led Health Centres in rural areas would still be pursued now that the Panels were coming to an end. In response, the Member Development Officer advised that this matter could be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s Work Programme.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr P Balaam, Mrs D Irving and Mr J Labouchere.
Report by Morag McGillivray, Civil Contingencies Officer.
The Civil Contingencies Officer presented the report which provided Members with the background, processes and responsibilities involved in managing an outbreak of Avian Flu in the District of Breckland.
Breckland Council worked in partnership with Norfolk County Council Trading Standards which was the local lead for avian influenza outbreaks, which in turn reported to the national lead, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and the State Veterinary Service (SVS).
The severity of the disease depended upon the strain of the virus and the type of bird infected. Although the United Kingdom had become free from Avian Influenza (an official announcement had been made on 23 November 2008) bird keepers were still encouraged to be vigilant and follow the guidelines on the DEFRA website.
A Member asked whether there was capacity to house all outdoor poultry if there was another outbreak. In response, it was noted that DEFRA had produced guidance for bringing birds indoors in the event of the disease being confirmed.
A question was asked whether there was any register held for people who kept poultry on allotments. Members were informed that anyone who kept birds should register with NCC Trading Standards. The Panel was not convinced that everyone would be aware of this and suggested that a link be added to the Council’s website to inform the public about this regulation which could then be linked to DEFRAs website. A further suggestion was to include an article in the next edition of Breckland Voice. A Member pointed out that residents from the Dereham area had to get special permission from the Town Council if they wanted to keep birds on allotments. The Civil Contingencies Officer explained that the Licensing Team had a list of registered keepers and this was how the information was fed in to Trading Standards.
A Member asked if he could borrow the copy of the NCC Avian Influenza Contingency Plan, which was agreed.
The Officer was thanked for her report.
Presentation by Darryl Smith, Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling).
The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) and the Housing Officer (Development and Strategy) were in attendance for this item.
A presentation on the Financial Inclusion Strategy for Breckland was provided in paper form and was circulated.
The aim of the Strategy was to create effective services and tools for Breckland residents to reduce financial exclusion, lower the number of homelessness applications through rent and mortgage arrears and lift households out of fuel poverty.
Financial inclusion was made up of two elements:
Ø financial exclusion – which described an individual’s ability to access appropriate financial products and services; and
Ø financial capability – this encompassed the skills that people had to budget and plan for the future and their attitude to money and financial institutions.
Financially excluded and/or those not financially capable could be affected in the following ways:
Ø Bank accounts
Ø Personal credit
Ø Tenancy/Mortgage sustainability
Ø Home ownership
Ø Fuel poverty
70% of people not having a bank account were social housing tenants and it was likely that 74% of those would be subject to doorstep lenders (loan sharks). Most of these lenders charged extortionate APR and it had been found that some people were paying in the region of 1000%. Most people were afraid of opening an account because of reading and writing problems.
The impact on a person if they did not have a bank account was that it often cost more for utility bills if paid by cash rather than by direct debit. Without an account, vulnerable individuals found it difficult to obtain affordable personal credit and therefore could not obtain a credit rating.
Vulnerable individuals had difficulties accessing affordable insurance products, particularly home contents insurance. When an incident occurred, it could lead to increased credit commitments to compensate, making cut backs, or simply having to cope with the situation they had been left in.
As fuel prices increased, more and more families had found that they needed to obtain credit to buy sufficient fuel for winter. Problems arose when customers could not get access to short term credit at affordable interest. Further to this, most households were not aware of Government schemes that would contribute to the cost of better insulation for their homes.
It had been found that most people with financial problems tended to bury their heads in the sand rather then seeking help.
Breckland Council believed that financial inclusion needed to be tackled through an effective and coherent promotional strategy. This would make a substantial contribution to reducing poverty. The key to effective action had to be a collaboration and coordination of activities between stakeholders at a local level. This would include Credit Unions, Citizens Advice Bureaux, voluntary organisations, financial service advisers, banks and building societies, insurers, registered social landlords, Warmfront, the Rural Community Council and any other organisation that could contribute towards greater financial inclusion. Breckland Council had a key role in managing this process and its Financial Inclusion Strategy was the ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
Final Meeting (Agenda item 8)
This meeting is the last Policy Development and Review Panel 3 for 2008 and the last one of its kind before being replaced by dedicated Task & Finish Groups.
This was the last meeting of the Policy Development and Review Panel 3.
It was likely that Task and Finish Groups would take up some of the work currently covered by the three Panels.