Cllr Winship, panel chairman, to give an oral
report from the panel's question and answer session held on 26
March 2012 with the Cabinet Members for Community, and Strategic
Partnerships and Projects.
Cllr Winship, panel chairman, highlighted
points from the notes below from the panel's cabinet member
question and answer session on 26 March 2012. She thought that it
had been useful and informative, although the panel could probably
ask some deeper questions in the future.
In presentation and discussion with Cllr Diana
Edwards the following points were made.
- additional £5 million funding
available allocated to the LAG’s throughout the country with the
highest spend levels. Our rate of spend
described as exemplary, but total spend average and under continual
review, and there may be additional opportunities to secure further
funding in the future.
- LAG was developing a portfolio of
“back-up projects” which could be launched if further funds become
available. Team under pressure from
Defra to spend the majority of the remaining funds in the 2012/2013
financial year, the year the project ends
- Criteria were not very flexible,
however, St Briavels Village Hall accommodated many functions. Bids
being made all the time, and that, bids were initially prioritised
into high and low categories.
- LAG Executive has a minimum of six
members; the Council was one such member and did not have the
- Forest of Dean Partnership meeting
due to be held in Westbury on Severn in May. This reflected a new approach in which
meeting venues would rotate and the host would be the Chair. Note taking would also rotate. The Forest of Dean District Council was
embracing the concept of Asset Basement Community Development
(A,B,C,D). The aim of this was to
identify the strengths in a community and whether to build them or
connect them with other elements of the community. This differs from the current approach in
Local Government which is to focus on what is missing.
- The FODDC was working with the
Barnwood Trust which was part of a growing group of organisations
embracing the same approach (know as a Community Practice) and we
were one of five learning sites within that group.
- the meaning of assets referred to
individuals and groups rather than buildings. The aim was to contact enthusiastic local
people in the community who normally got things done, and offer to
match fund projects that the community judge to be important in an
effort to build stronger communities.
There was a long list of partners, which included, Two
Rivers, Federation of Small Businesses, NHS, Police and Youth
Services The Forest Volunteer Action Forum.
In presentation and discussion with Cllr Hale
the following points were made.
- The Cabinet role covered Health and
Well-being Housing Advice, Private Sector Housing and Leisure. The three Community Engagement Officers were
Lena Maller, Kate Wyatt and Debbie Powell each had their area in
the district to focus on, working together with partnership groups,
organisations and parish councils and other groups to improve
quality of life for local communities.
However, the main aim was to build a bridge between the council and
- Other areas of work that he covered
were with the Housing Team, the Safe at Home Team,and the Street
- Councillor Robinson’s role was for
Strategic Housing linked to his Planning role while Councillor Hale
focused on Housing Advice and Private Sector Housing.
- Since 2002 the Council had published
two homelessness prevention strategies. The Homeless Prevention
Strategy report was withdrawn to allow the Strategic Housing
Manager to re-evaluate and condense it before Cabinet considered
the proposals. He said that adoption of the strategy was not
time-limited and that the Cabinet Housing Support Group would be
involved in the re-evaluation process.
He also confirmed that the report would be on the Cabinet agenda in
- The group then asked if in the
future the two-week diary could cover Working Groups, Portfolio
Support Groups plus any meeting that would be relevant to
Cllr Di Martin, chairman of the Private Sector
Housing Renewal Loans Inquiry, reported that the Strategic Housing
Manager was arranging a date for the panel to receive evidence from
a health professional.