Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 21st May, 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions

Contact: Charlotte Lynch  Email: charlotte.lynch@manchester.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

22.

Interests

To allow Members an opportunity to [a] declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests they might have in any items which appear on this agenda; and [b] record any items from which they are precluded from voting as a result of Council Tax/Council rent arrears; [c] the existence and nature of party whipping arrangements in respect of any item to be considered at this meeting. Members with a personal interest should declare that at the start of the item under consideration.  If Members also have a prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interest they must withdraw from the meeting during the consideration of the item.

Minutes:

Councillor Dar declared a prejuidical interest in item 5 and left the meeting for the duration of the item.

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 5 March 2024.

Minutes:

Decision: That the minutes of the meeting held on 5March 2024 be approved as a correct record.

24.

Support for People Leaving Prison pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Report of Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods).

 

This report provides an update on the probation reset detailed in the Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament in April.  It also provides an overview of the accommodation and support provided for people who have left prison and links with the homeless service.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) which provided an update on the probation reset detailed in the Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament in April and provided an overview of the accommodation and support provided for people who have left prison and links with the homeless service.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

  • Providing an introduction and background;
  • The probation reset, which was implemented on 29 April 2024 and aimed to prioritise engagement and supervision at points in an individual’s sentence where it has the most impact for those on probation;
  • The work of the Housing Solutions Service in responding to individuals leaving custody with no settled accommodation;
  • Changes made to the Prison Discharge team’s processes to improve the number of individuals who are aware of their accommodation options prior to release;
  • The housing-related support available to those who require it in the short-term to re-establish and maintain independent living;
  • Community Accommodation Service Tier 3 (CAS-3) accommodation;
  • The Accommodation for Ex-Offenders (AfEO) programme; and
  • Support available for care leavers and young people leaving custody.

 

Some of the key points and queries that arose from the committee’s discussion included:

 

  • The policies and risk and qualitative assessments that were undertaken at transitional accommodation for ex-offenders;
  • The impact on the probation and homelessness services as a result of the recent announcement that prisoners would be eligible for release up to 70 days before the end of their sentence;
  • Whether funding for CAS-3 was guaranteed after 2025;
  • How the Accommodation for ex-Offenders (AfEO) programme was funded;
  • If the Council was expecting additional government funding, to address the impact of the probation reset on demand for housing-related support;
  • How long prison leavers stayed in transitional accommodation;
  • How prison leavers were allocated to accommodation;
  • How resistance to a placement from residents was managed;
  • If placements were aligned to employment or education opportunities;
  • If staff in the Homelessness Service, particularly the Prison Discharge team, were trauma-informed;
  • How the Council engaged with prison leavers;
  • What work was undertaken to support young offenders leaving custody;
  • How long ex-offenders received help from the Bail Accommodation Support Service for;
  • What happened to those prison leavers who were referred for private rented sector accommodation; and
  • How many care leavers had been received through the Probation Service in the past 5 years and what priority they were given with regards to accommodation.

 

The Strategic Lead (Community Safety) explained that the report provided detail on housing-related support, community accommodation services which were funded through the Ministry of Justice and private rented accommodation for ex-offenders.

 

Representatives of the Greater Manchester Probation Service were in attendance at the meeting and explained that the probation reset was introduced to alleviate some workload pressures placed on sentence management through prison capacity issues and the measures introduced as a consequence of this, such as changes to end-of-custody supervised licences and a shift toward fixed-term recalls for the majority of offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in custody. It was also stated that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Update on recommendations made by the Crime and Antisocial Behaviour Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods).

 

This report provides an update on progress made with the recommendations of the Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Group on the approach to Anti-Social Behaviour in Manchester.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) which provided an update on progress made with the recommendations of the Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Task and Finish Group on the approach to antisocial Behaviour in Manchester.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

  • Providing an introduction and background to the Task and Finish Group, which met 3 times between September and December 2023;
  • The Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee endorsed the final recommendations of the Task and Finish Group at its meeting on 5 December 2023;
  • Updates on each of the 11 recommendations made by the Task and Finish Group; and
  • The recommendations of the Task and Finish Group would continue to be driven by the Community Safety Partnership.

 

Some of the key points and queries that arose from the committee’s discussion included:

 

  • Welcoming the implementation of some of the recommendations made by the Task and Finish Group;
  • Encouraging Housing Providers to develop and adopt a standardised Antisocial Behaviour policy;
  • Noting the benefits of Out-of-Hours staff wearing body cameras to record footage for evidence-gathering purposes, particularly with regards to noise complaints;
  • How many Out-of-Hours officers attended in response to reports of antisocial behaviour and whether they were accompanied by Greater Manchester Police; and
  • Antisocial behaviour through traffic and vehicle nuisance.

 

The Strategic Lead (Community Safety) introduced the report and explained that it provided a response to each recommendation made by the Crime and Antisocial Behaviour Task and Finish Group, which met 3 times between September and November 2023. She highlighted that some recommendations had been implemented and completed and that some remained in progress. Members were informed that there was ongoing consultation to help develop communications and the content of this had been shared with the committee for feedback. The Strategic Lead (Community Safety) stated that the recommendations made by the Task and Finish Group would continue to be driven through the Community Safety Partnership and the Community Safety workstream of the Manchester Housing Provider Partnership.

 

In response to queries, the Strategic Lead (Community Safety) concurred that the need for a standard antisocial behaviour policy amongst housing providers was a strong theme that arose from the Task and Finish Group’s discussions. She stated that initial conversations had been held to develop this, with work in the early stages and information being collated. It was stated that this could take up to 6 months to be finalised and that the next meeting of the Manchester Housing Provider Partnership would analyse the information collated so far.

 

It was stated that officers had sought and considered legal advice regarding the use of bodycam devices by Out-of-Hours staff, which was recommended by the Task and Finish Group. The Strategic Lead (Community Safety) explained that an officer’s evidence was deemed sufficient enough for the Council to use its tools and powers in tackling antisocial behaviour. With specific regard to noise complaints and issues, the Antisocial Behaviour Lead explained that officers made a professional judgement when assessing noise as a statutory nuisance and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

The monthly report includes the recommendations monitor, relevant key decisions, the Committee’s work programme and any items for information.

Minutes: