Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Alexander Murray  Governance Officer

No. Item


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 304 KB

To receive and, if so determined, to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 July 2020.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held 29 July 2020 be agreed as an accurate record.



Members to give notice of any interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.


No additional declarations were made.



A maximum of 15 minutes will be allocated to public questions submitted in writing to Democratic Services ( by 4Pm on the working day prior to the meeting. Questions must be relevant to items appearing on the agenda and will be submitted in the order in which they were received.


No questions had been received.



To receive a briefing from the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration.


The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration introduced the item. The Committee were told that there had been a significant increase in homeless applications since mid-June when the lockdown came to an end. The executive member stressed the need for the Council to lobby government to extend the eviction ban to avoid a homelessness crisis. A bed every night was working well and funding was secured until the end of the year. Through the next steps accommodation fund Trafford was bidding for capital funds to bring an empty property into use to support homeless people with complex needs.


The Corporate Director for Place added that during the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic there had been a reduction in homelessness applications, which then increased when lockdown ended. There was continued concern of a potential backlog of evictions and repossession action. There had been a significant reduction in the turnover of social housing stock, which the council used to house homeless people, and available affordable housing.  Due to the lack turnover it was likely that the Council would see demand increase throughout the year.


Councillor Lamb asked about people being placed at the Amblehurst in sale and the number of people being placed in Trafford from other authorities. The Councillor noted that some people who had been placed at the Amblehurst had taken part in anti-social behaviour. The report stated that the Council did not always receive the section 208 notification from other Councils and the Councillor wanted to know why that was and whether anything could be done about it. The Councillor also asked what Trafford could do to ensure that the people placed in the borough but then took part in antisocial behaviour were addressed by the local authority that placed them in Trafford. The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration responded that Trafford had performed two days of action Sale town centre recently and had found that the majority of those taking part in antisocial behaviour were not from the Amblehurst.


The Executive Member stated that many of the people placed at the Ambelhurst were particularly vulnerable people with drug, alcohol, and mental health issues. The Executive Member noted that Manchester City Council could have performed better when placing the residents in the Ambelhurts and asked the Committee to take into consideration that Manchester was a hub for homelessness and had more homeless people than the rest of the GM authorities. Manchester had some responsibilities for the individuals placed in other areas although anti-social behaviour and similar issues were not part of those duties.   


The Corporate Director of Place added that Trafford were working with GMP, the community strategy Team and the Housing Team to address issues. With regards to section 208 notices work was ongoing across the GM authorities on how to manage placements better. The vast majority of authorities had a poor performance on the completion of 208 notices and authorities could not refuse a person that an authority wanted to place in their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.



To receive a report from the Executive Member for Children’s Services.


The Corporate Director of Children’s services gave a brief introduction to the report that had been circulated with the agenda. The Committee were informed that there were a number of services which provided support for Children and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing and that the report was focused mainly upon the Council’s CAMHS service, which was a commissioned service.  During the Pandemic there had been increased demand for mental health and wellbeing support both among children and young people’s services and adult services.


Following the Corporate Director of Children’s Services introduction the Specialist Commissioner provided a response to the questions that had been received in advance. The Committee were informed that the CAMHS service had been functioning as usual during the pandemic taking new referrals and continuing to meet with children and young people on a face to face basis where clinically necessary. Telephone and video appointments were used where appropriate and the services had linked in with schools to ensure appropriate support was available. Duty workers had contacted all new referrals to ensure that they were going to the most appropriate service.  The Council had seen a reduction in the number of referrals compared to the previous year; this reduction had been seen across all mental health services the council provided. While the number of referrals had decreased the level of activity within the service had increased as staff strove to contact service users to ensure they were coping. Waiting times had reduced from the previous year and as of July no child had waited longer than 5 weeks to receive an appointment. The level of referrals had increased to normal levels in recent weeks and the referrals that were coming through were more complex, which had been seen across all mental health services. 


In relation to recovery and surge planning the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, who provided Trafford’s CAMHS service, had set up two groups. One group was developing the surge plan to cope with the expected increase in referrals as children returned to school after summer. The other group was reviewing the work done throughout the COVID 19 pandemic to see what the service would keep in place as it was unlikely that the service would go back to the way it was before. The service was likely to become a blend of the pre COVID service and the current service with increased provision of telephone and video based support on top of face to face support.  The service had found that there were children and young people who preferred to access the service via telephone and video support and others who preferred to meet face to face with their clinician.


Another piece of work within the service was to employ a five subject matter expert who would be a key link for schools. A specific contact had been created for that worker so schools could go to them directly for advice and sign posting. All mental health services had been involved in the virtual mental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.



To receive a report from the Executive Member for Finance and Investment.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Finance and Investment introduced the budget outrun report that had been circulated to the committee prior to the meeting. The Committee were informed that the projected shortfall for the year was £17.7M which comprised of £23.2M COVID 19 related costs and £5.5M underspend on the delivery of the Council’s Corporate Services.  There was an explanation on pages 16 and 17 within the report of the impact of COVID 19 on the budget. Since that report was written a third tranche of funding had been announced which consisted of £1.8M from central government. It had also been announced that the Council were able to spread the Council Tax and Business rates collection fund deficit over the next three years and support was being provided around lost fees and charges. The exact detail around this support had not been provided but the Council estimated that the Council would receive around an additional £4M. Together with an increase in Council tax collection the Council were looking at an in year gap between £1M and £6.4M. The Executive Member for Finance and Investment stressed that these figures were estimates and could all change during the course of the rest of the year. While the in year deficit had reduced since the last update the Executive Member for Finance and Investment drew the Committee’s attention to the forecasted deficit in 2021/22, which was estimated at around £35M. The Executive were looking at possible plans to address that gap and a report was to go to the Executive in October. The Corporate Director of Finance and Systems added that the figures that had been presented would undoubtedly be wrong due to the early time in the year and the unpredictable nature of the COVID 19 pandemic.


The Chair requested that an update be provided for the Committee which laid out what may happen and what actions the Council were taking so that both Committee Members and the public understand the position. The Executive Member for Finance and Investment agreed with the Chair and assured the Committee that both the Committee and the public would continue to receive updates on the work of the Council going forward. The report going to the Executive meeting in October would lay out the Council’s plans in greater detail.


Councillor Coggins asked for clarification around a number of points raised within the update including the spreading of the deficit across years, what the £4M reduction in the deficit related to, and whether the worst case scenario regarding Manchester Airport had been updated. The Executive Member for Finance responded that around £2M of the current year’s deficit was being spread to next year and that the main increase in the 2021/22 deficit was due to expected recurring COVID 19 pressures. The £4M was an estimate of the support that Trafford would receive from the Government in relation to the loss of income. The Corporate Director of Finance and Systems added that some of the recurrent costs were around  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.



To receive an update from the Director of Public Health.


The Director of Public Health gave a brief update on the position within Trafford. Trafford had seen a sharp rise in cases followed by a drop and now the number of cases was starting to rise again. Trafford had the 22nd highest rates of cases in England with 66 new cases since the 14th August with a rate of 27.9 per 100,000 population. Cases were spread across the borough and there did not appear to be any clustering with cases often being the only one within their household. In Trafford there were more cases among men than women and 18 – 40 year olds were the age group that had the highest number of cases. There had started to be some cases in the over 70 and over 80 population, which were the most at risk age demographics.


The Director of Public Health then answered questions that had been provided in advance. The first question related to the increased lockdown, why this had been done at a GM level rather than locally, and why Trafford had been locked down when the figures were below the 50 cases per 100,000 trigger. The Director of Public Health responded that it had been a national decision by the Government that the lockdown would be across GM and at the time when the lockdown was implemented Trafford had the second highest rates across GM. Germany had a national trigger of 50 cases per 100,000 people for lockdown but England did not have a national trigger level.  The Chair stated that the lockdown had come as a surprise given the information that had been provided at the Committee’s previous meeting and through national communications. The Director of Public Health agreed with the Chair and it had come as a surprise for everyone involved.


The next question was whether the lockdown restrictions would be lifted by local authorities or be done at the GM level. The Director of Public Health responded that it was unlikely that it would be done at a local level especially for an area like Trafford where a large number of residents from other areas came into the borough to work among other dependencies. Given the dependence of each local area upon the other parts of the conurbation it was very likely that a GM wide approach would be taken.


Councillor Lamb asked that if infection was spreading mainly within households would that mean that lockdowns would be lifted locally. The Director of Public Health stated that the pattern in Trafford showed that cases were not being spread among households with around 50% of cases being the sole case in their household. This may change going forward but was not what was currently being seen.


The Director of Public Health then responded to a question about the levels of infection among the BAME community. Within the most recent data there had been 286 positive cases of which 32 did not put their ethnicity. Out of the remaining 254 cases  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.



To suggest and agree items, relating to the COVID 19 Pandemic, to be on the agenda for future meetings of the Committee.


The Chair noted that the Committee only had one more scheduled meeting left and while the Council may decide to continue the arrangements they also may decide to revert to the standard Scrutiny arrangements. The Chair informed the Committee that if anything was not covered within the next meeting it would either be covered in the additional meetings of the Committee or would be passed onto the most relevant Scrutiny Committee.


The Chair proposed that the meeting in September should cover the Council’s finances, schools reopening, active travel, and public health. Committee Members raised possible issues with having a schools update on the 9th September due to the proximity to the schools re-opening and the lack of opportunity to gather meaningful information. Councillor Lloyd suggested that the update on public health should look at winter pressures and Councillor Barclay added that the Committee could ask for the Council’s preparations for flu vaccinations.


The Chair noted the Committee Members comments and stated that the agenda setting panel was meeting on the following day and would consider the points that had been raised.



1)    That the proposals made by the Committee be noted for consideration by the agenda setting panel.