Agenda and minutes

People Select Committee - Monday 13th May, 2024 4.00 pm

Venue: Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central Library, Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1TU

Contact: Scrutiny Support Officer Rachel Harrison 

No. Item


Evacuation Procedure pdf icon PDF 9 KB



Declarations of Interest



Minutes pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 8 April 2024



Action Plan for Agreed Recommendation - Review of Cost of Living Response pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:


The Strategic Lead for A Fairer Stockton-on-Tees presented an action plan setting out how the agreed recommendations from the Scrutiny Review of Cost of Living Response would be implemented and target dates for completion.


The overall aim of the review had been to consider SBC’s response to ensure the Council effectively supported the current and emerging needs of its residents, whilst also informing ongoing and future activity.

Actions were focused on the development of an Anti-Poverty Strategy and Action Plan as well as providing further advice and support to both staff and residents. There was also a separate action plan presented for recommendation 2 – “that the council continues to work with schools and governors to address the issues around the affordability of school uniforms and provide option to expand the provision of pre-loved uniforms are explored”.  Timescales to implement actions ranged from April 2024 to May 2025.

Key issues highlighted and discussed were as follows:


Members questioned whether free school meals had been considered in the development of action plans and the possibility of an “opt out” system to remove the stigma for pupils requiring extra support was discussed.

It was noted that residents were not always aware of the support they are eligible for, and that an important outcome of the review was that services would be reaching out to residents.


The Committee welcomed the action plan for addressing the affordability of school uniforms and expansion of pre-loved uniforms provision.

AGREED that the Action Plans be approved, and a progress update be provided November.



Scrutiny Review of Disabled Facilities Grant pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To receive the draft scope and project plan and a background presentation from the link officer.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the Scope and Project Plan of the Scrutiny Review of Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), a mean tested grant for up to £30,000 for adaptations to homes to make it suitable for an individual’s needs. The overall aim of the review was to consider how the Council could deliver the service in the most effective and efficient way whilst still meeting vulnerable resident’s needs, as well as exploring whether sufficient support was being offered to enable residents to secure a DFG. 


Key contributors identified were Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Officers, Foundations to give information on best practice from other Authorities, and those that had been in receipt of a DFG.


The Committee received a background presentation from the review’s link officer, the Housing Regeneration & Investment Manager. The presentation covered:

·       What is a DFG

·       Funding

·       Eligibility

·       Housing Assistance Policy

·       Process for accessing a DFG

·       Timescales

·       Government Target Timescales

·       Current Pressures


Key issues discussed included:

  • Carrying out adaptations allowed individuals to live independently and stay in their homes for longer, preventing pressures on other council and health services.
  • If the adaptations required exceed £30,000 the extra cost had to be self-funded, to assist with this the Council had a Housing Assistance Policy which provided individuals with various loan options.
  • The waiting list for DFG was discussed, and it was noted that there were 181 on the Housing Regeneration & Investment waiting for approval, which was currently 12 – 24 months. Once approved, and dependent on the type of adaptation, the works would be complete within 6-12 weeks. Officers noted that Building Services Unit had 44 on their waiting list for entry level showers and this would take 4-5 months to complete. 
  • The Council had to report their timescales for delivering a home adaptation on an annual basis and were currently at approximately 150 days. 
  • The budget for DFG was discussed and it was noted that there had to be nil balance at the end of each financial year. Officers explained that due to the nature of the work, some adaptations would require payments across two financial years which proved difficult when balancing the budget and there was a need to have a ‘buffer’ across years. 
  • It was noted by the Committee that forecasting the need for adaptations was important, and officers informed that Foundations should be able to provide further information regarding this.
  • The customer journey was identified as a key focus for the review. It was noted that customer satisfaction surveys were carried out at the end of the process, which tended to be favourable, but not during the process. It was also noted that there were two services sending out separate surveys.
  • There had been a 10% increase in tenants of registered providers requiring a DFG in 2023/24, which was 40% of the overall DFG Budget.
  • Members wished to examine the role of the housing providers when their tenants required adaptations including whether they funded renovations, what happened to the adaptation when the tenant no longer lived in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item PEO/11/24


Chair's Update and Select Committee Work Programme 2024-2025 pdf icon PDF 139 KB


Consideration was given to the Work Programme.


The next meeting would be held on Monday 3 June 2024. The Disabled Facilities Grants policy will be presented to the Committee along with the government’s guidance for Local Authorities issued in 2018.


AGREED that the Work Programme be noted.