Agenda item

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 items of urgent business. However, the Chair wished to discuss Councillor Halden’s email response to the Committee on the Head Start Housing policy for Care Leavers Plan.


During the Minutes agenda item, Councillor Spillman stated that he did not feel the minutes for the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 12 December 2017 were a true reflection of the meeting. This was particularly in regards to the report on ‘Pilot Development of Head Start Housing for Care Leavers and Vulnerable Young People’. He went on to point out Councillor Halden’s response email, provided to the Committee, had not provided a satisfactory response to what the Committee had asked for.


Councillor Spillman highlighted that he still wished to explore a broad range of options to be presented to the Committee with an explanation of how these were picked out to be the best options. With the discretionary exemption of council tax from 21 years old, he felt there needed to be an explanation on what the discretionary included. These options had not been provided in the last report which was why the Committee had asked for the paper to be brought back. The Chair asked if Officers could provide some information on the matter. The Interim Assistant Director for Learning, Inclusion and Skills (IADLIS), Michele Lucas, understood what the Committee was asking for and would look into the Committee’s comments.


Councillor Collins questioned if there was a decision model that the Council used. The IADLIS answered that the service had carried out a fair amount of work on the paper. As she had not been at the last Committee meeting, she had not heard the debate so did not want to comment on the levels of detail. She did not want to mislead the Committee which she felt would not be helpful at that stage. It would be for the Committee to make a decision but said the Committee would already be aware that 18 – 21 year olds would have full exemption from council tax and acknowledged that a certain percentage would benefit from that.


In response, Councillor Collins sought clarification on there being no decision model to decide which care leavers got the council tax exemption. Adding to this, Councillor Spillman felt other factors had contributed to the council tax exemption for 21 – 25 year olds which explained why no set or basic criterias could be provided to be discussed. Councillor Collins agreed and also stated that having a decision model in place would have enabled the Committee to scrutinise it and why there was a need to have a discretionary exemption up to the age of 25. He felt it would be helpful if the Committee put together what discretionary exemptions could be included to provide a more structured discussion if the paper was brought back to the Committee.


The Chair stated that the decision made by Cabinet on the Head Start Housing Policy for Care Leavers Plan should be called in. The Vice-Chair supported this view. Councillor Redsell added that the Committee had to be sure that the paper was looked at properly and dissected.