Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Jeffrey Room, The Guildhall, St. Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE. View directions

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members to state any interests.


Councillor Bottwood declared an interest as a Board Member of NPH. This declaration was for the life of this Scrutiny Review.


Deputations and Public Addresses

The Chair to note public address requests.


The public can speak on any agenda item for a maximum of three minutes per speaker per item.  You are not required to register your intention to speak in advance but should arrive at the meeting a few minutes early, complete a Public Address Protocol and notify the Scrutiny Officer of your intention to speak


There were none.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 59 KB

The Scrutiny Panel to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2019.


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2019 were signed by the Chair as a true and accurate record.


Witness evidence pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The Scrutiny Panel to receive a response to its core questions from a number of key expert advisors:


Ø    Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, NBC and Head of Housing and Wellbeing, NBC

Ø    Head of Revenues and Benefits, LGSS, and Quality and Training Team Leader, LGSS

Ø    Cabinet Member for Community Safety, NBC, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) and the Community Safety Team


Additional documents:


Councillor Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, and Phil Harris, Head of Housing and Wellbeing provided a verbal response to the core questions of the Scrutiny Panel:


Key points:


·         Hunger in young people can be seen as malnutrition and also slower development. Hunger in schools has an impact on education and concentration.

·         There is a stigma around poverty

·         Poor quality food is also poor value for money

·         Zero hours contract often have an impact on poverty and food poverty

·         There is a good referral system into food banks

·         Help is available regarding budgeting from organisations such as CAB, Housing and Money Advice and Community Law

·         A key role is to raise awareness and understanding around the causes and impact of poverty and food poverty.  Phil Harris advised that the Night Shelter is a good example of the positive impact good quality food can have on people’s health and esteem

·         Initiatives are in place as schools for those children that come in hungry such as free breakfast clubs.  They are therefore provided with both a free breakfast and a free lunch during school days.

·         NPH runs a food bank and also makes referrals. It is a food bank for Council tenants.


Phil Harris confirmed that he would provide a comprehensive written response to the core questions


The Scrutiny Panel made comment, asked questions and heard:


·         There is a need to maximise people’s income

·         It was noted that Northamptonshire Food Poverty had commented that there are just under 12,000 children living in poverty

·         There is a need to de-stigmatise food poverty and provide assistance to the community

·         In response to a query, Phil Harris confirmed that the Child Poverty Action Group had identified that 1:4 children are living in poverty

·         Councillor Roberts confirmed that she would provide details of the research that NTI undertook regarding poverty statistics

·         It was confirmed that the Chief Executive of NPH would be invited to attend a future meeting of the Scrutiny Panel and provide a response to the core questions

·         Paul Foster, Co Optee, provided details of the Holiday Club that he co-runs with Growing Together. It is held at Blackthorn Community Centre and provided activities and lunch over the summer holidays. This club is very well received by the Community.

·         In answer to a question, Phil Harris advised that many homeless people are not receiving any benefits and a lot are suffering from extreme malnutrition

·         Phil Harris confirmed that bed and breakfast accommodation has not been used very much for homeless families over the last 18 months.  35 hours of outreach work is provided on the streets each week.

·         In response to a query, Phil Harris confirmed that should a family present as homeless at the One Stop Shop they wold be provided with food free of charge and officers would then assess their needs.

·         The Scrutiny Panel referred to the “Pop Up” food bank that staff in the One Stop Shop and Customer Services provide by donating food each month. It was queried  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Site Visits pdf icon PDF 598 KB

The Chair to report back on the recent site visits.


The Chair presented the briefing note detailing the findings from the recent site visits highlighting the salient points.


In discussing the findings the Scrutiny Panel commented that around 30% of Council tenants are in receipt of Universal Credit and that is important that the Chief Executive of NPH attends a future meeting of this Scrutiny Panel.


AGREED:      That the conclusions and recommendations detailed in briefing note were accepted for inclusion in the final report.  In addition it was agreed that a further recommendation would be considered for inclusion in the final report “ that the best use of fresh food donations is investigated.”