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Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 6 February 2020.
The minutes of the Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on the 6 February 2020 were approved as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no urgent items of business.
Declaration of Interests
No interests were declared.
Gavin Dennett, Strategic Lead Public Protection, provided Members with an oversight of the work the Trading Standards Team undertook on behalf of the Council. This included:
· Trading Standards Team focusing on the protection of residents in regards to consumer protection and provide protection and support for Thurrock’s business community.
· Product safety and counterfeit goods.
· The Trading Standards Team consisted of 11 officers, three of which were newly appointed trainee officers.
· Within the Trading Standards Team there was a Ports Team working on product safety within the ports in Thurrock.
· Delivered Tobacco Control Work that focused on the illegal tobacco trade.
· The Trading Standards Team worked in accordance with the Council’s Corporate Priorities as well as the National Trading Standards Office for Product Safety and Standards, DEFRA and the Food Standards Agency.
· The Trading Standards Team was the busiest in the country in terms of demand placed on Thurrock having three container ports in the borough.
· Two additional officers were recruited following the indication that the EU Exit could increase the part of the team’s workload relating to imports and exports by 189%.
· Undertook routine Inspections and Investigations.
· Providing advice to Thurrock residents and businesses.
Some of the successes of the Team had been:
· Achieved a Proceeds of Crime Award against a counterfeit handbag selling ring of a total of £271,171.47.
· A prolific illicit tobacco seller had been fined £10,000 after seizing 17,000 cigarettes from over a six month period.
· Prevented 50,952 unsafe items and 557,561 non-compliant items from entering into the UK.
· That 1155 food premises were advised on their responsibilities.
· That 53 scam victims visited and advised on their rights on how to avoid falling prey to scammers.
· That 76 retailers of age restricted items visited and advised of their duties.
· The Trading Standards Team delivered on a part worn tyre project.
The Chair thanked the Officer for the report and open the item up for Member questions.
Councillor Lawrence questioned with all the amount of work being undertaken and the Trading Standards Team being so small did the team feel that they were under a lot pressure. Gavin Dennett stated staff numbers had increased with additional staff employed in readiness for the EU Exit and was monitored nationally by the Office for Product Safety and Standards. If a need to increase staff had been identified, additional resources would be bid for. That Thurrock had been able to attract and retain staff and Gavin Dennett confirmed he was happy with the position of the number of staff v. number of residents.
The Chair stated that number should be the number of staff v. workload and asked for reassurance that the Trading Standards Team were set and ready to cover the potential increase of the EU Exit that would increase the team’s workload by 189%. Gavin Dennett stated these were estimates from the National Trading Standards but based on the worse case position of the EU Exit. That additional staff had been recruited to address that and had that capacity ... view the full minutes text for item 60.
Ian Wake, Director of Public Health, stated that it was a statutory duty of the Director of Public Health to prepare an independent report on the health and wellbeing of the local population each year and stated that the 2019/20 report considered the issue of Violence and Vulnerability in young people and how a public health approach could be used to improve outcomes for our residents.
Members were provided with an overview of the report by means of a PowerPoint presentation. This included:
· Public Heath Approach to Tackling Violence
· Trends in Violence
· Trends in Youth Violence and Weapons Offences and by Districts
· Youth Violence by small geographical areas
· Predictors of future violence at ward level
· Risk Factors – Gang Involvement
· Casual Factors – Deprivation and the Crime Paradox
· How the council should respond
· Key Gaps in Service Provision
· Other Key Findings
· Conclusions and Recommendations
The presentation can be found from the following link:
The Chair thanked Ian Wake for the incredibly detailed report and the PowerPoint presentation had been helpful to identify the issue keys of that report.
Councillor Fletcher echoed the Chairs comments and questioned on the data front, how much dependence had there been on Xantura to produce the data tools. Ian Wake stated that Xantura provided the architecture to which the data was fed into and the Public Health team had worked very closely with them to analysis the data and produce the risk base model. This identified the opportunity to bring some of the skills from the organisation to work with Xantura. Ian Wake stated that Police data needed to be included and those conversations had started with Essex Police.
Councillor Fletcher questioned whether there were any barriers between agencies working together to get full cooperation. Ian Wake stated that partnership working in Thurrock worked well. The challenge would be for the enforcement and crime work stream that sat under the Community Safety Partnership and the Health and Wellbeing work stream that sat under the Health and Wellbeing Board to be joined up. A Violence and Vulnerability Board had been created that had representatives from all professionals to bring this work together.
Councillor Fletcher referred to the number of exclusions in primary schools and questioned why Thurrock primary schools were so quick to take this action and what impact would this have on those children. Ian Wake stated that on secondary school exclusions, Thurrock did incredibly well in particularly temporary exclusions with Thurrock being one of the best in the country but with primary schools less well. Ian Wake stated that the report contained a recommendation to explore this further and agreed to take that recommendation forward.
Councillor Lawrence thanked Ian Wake for the report and requested that help and support should be more readily publicised particularly at school events such as at parents evening which would be a good opportunity to speak with children, parents and teachers. Ian Wake stated that plans were put in place to engage with school forums, present at the ... view the full minutes text for item 61.
Michelle Cunningham, Community Safety Partnership Manager, presented the report that outlined how Thurrock’s Community Safety Partnership through their partners, Thurrock Council, Essex Police and Youth Offending Service were addressing the national issue of Gang Related Violence and how this was being dealt with locally in Thurrock. That the report presented many positives but acknowledged there was still much more work to be done to address and remained a concern for Members, communities as well as all partners. Michelle Cunningham thanked Jason Read and DI James Freeman for their contributions to the report.
Michelle Cunningham stated the report clarified some of the national definitions of the terminology and the work undertaken with children’s social care in relation to contextualised safeguarding to identify and respond to some of the external factors where some young people may be vulnerable to exploitation. The first recommendation is in relation to the National Picture and in particular the new duty being placed on public bodies to tackle serious violence with a public health approach and welcomed Ian Wake for his report to help join up with partners and work across prevention and enforcement. That the Crime and Disorder Act would be amended to reflect that serious violence and was an explicit priority for Community Safety Partnerships and Members were reassured that this was already a priority in Thurrock and had been for some time. This was also a priority within the Youth Offending Service annual youth justice plan. That the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner in Essex had prioritised reversing the trends in serious violence by tackling gangs by protecting children and vulnerable people. By doing this he had set up a violence and vulnerability unit who had developed a framework. This would provide consistency across those agencies working across Essex and the coordination of work and have the opportunity to develop best practices. Also access to additional funding opportunities had been made available to Essex through the Home Office. In Thurrock the nominals were managed through monthly partnership meetings to which Jason Read chaired and the report identified that 66 nominals had been managed this year. The report highlighted the 12 month review of the work undertaken by Operator Raptor on gang related violence in localised areas with the use of injunctions against C17. The report highlighted that four county lines had been stopped and taken out with the opportunity to offend in Thurrock reduced. There had been a slight increase in violent crime which could be down to enforcement and the confidence in communities to report incidents. That violent crime in relation to gangs was very much targeted and the wider community would not be at risk from this. The risk management meetings within social care had helped to identify the areas were young people were at risk of exploitation. The additional funding provided to focus on gangs had enabled a senior practitioner to be recruited within the Youth Offending Service. That the intervention work had focused on those most at risk. The Youth ... view the full minutes text for item 62.
Members discussed the work programme to which the Chair agreed that a brief report on the establishment of the Climate Emergency Task Force be added to the 1 October 2020 committee.