Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Open Area, Lampton Park Conference Centre, (Civic Centre), Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Jane Medici Email: Jane.medici1@hounslow.gov.uk 020 8583 2064 

Items
No. Item

36.

6:30 Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

Residents were welcomed to the meeting and Cllr Kaur’s apologies were given.  In Cllr Kaur’s absence the election of Vice-Chair was differed to the next meeting, Cllr Malhotra agreed to chair the meeting.

 

 

37.

6:35 - 6:45 Minutes of the meeting of 4 March 2015 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

The minutes were agreed to be accurate with the following amendment:

 

P1 Membership

 

John Beattie (Independent Activities Project),

 

To change to:

 

John Beattie (Flourish),

38.

6:45 - 7:05 Welfare Reforms and its implications

Colin Morris, Partner Support Manager, Department for Work and Pensions

Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Speaker to be confirmed

 

Minutes:

Colin Morris (Partner Support Manager, Department for Work and Pension) spoke about the changes to the way Disability Living Allowance would be claimed in future.  Colin Morris spoke about the introduction of Personal Independence Payments in July.  A letter has now gone out to anyone claiming Disability Living Allowance to explain the changes.  Colin Morris explained:

 

1.    Anyone who has an indefinite award will need to renew their Personal Independence Payment every ten years.

2.    The change to Personal Independence Payments will be a gradual one, with individuals transferring to the new scheme in a systematic planned process.

3.    New claims will all be processed on time.

4.    There are three assessment centres to which residents will be referred for their assessments, if the assessment centre is not convenient the resident can request a more local centre.  The centres should not have any access issues.

5.    Recent Medical Assessments should be submitted with the application – sometimes this will mean there is no need for an actual assessment.  There is, however, no need to obtain a specific medical assessment if residents do not have a recent one.

6.    The transfer onto Personal Independence Payments cannot begin until the resident makes a phone call to the number provided in the information letter they will receive.  All residents needing to transfer to PIP must make the call themselves although a family member or friend can provide support.  They will not be able to request support to make this call.

7.    Universal Credit is now being rolled out across the country, initially it will only affect newly unemployed people.  It will take 2 or 3 years before the full roll-out is complete.  It is expected that the current Employment Support Allowance will continue to be paid until 2017 for existing claimants.

a.    Universal Credit will mean that the 16hour work rule will change as the claim will be about how much is earned rather than how many hours are worked.

b.    Universal Credit will include any housing benefit which will, in future, be paid directly to the resident who will be responsible for paying their own rent directly to their landlord.

c.    If a resident has difficulty coping with their budgeting and payment of bills they can request support.

d.    Universal Credit will be paid monthly and personal budgeting support will be available to help residents get used to a monthly income rather than a weekly one.

 

Cllr Mukesh Malhotra thanked Colin Morris for his presentation and proposed a separate seminar be convened which would allow residents more time to ask questions and discuss the issues.

 

 

Action:  Celia Golden to convene a separate seminar to allow residents to discuss further the issues surrounding the upcoming change from DLA to PIP and Attendance Allowance.

 

 

Parveen Sohal (Citizen’s Advice Bureau) was welcomed by the Chair.

 

Parveen Sohal gave a presentation on the role of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in providing support to residents with disabilities.  Parveen Sohal introduced the work of the Citizen’s Advice  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

7:05 - 7:30 Questions from the floor

Minutes:

Questions on transferring to PIP:

 

Cllr Collins arrived and was welcomed to the meeting at this point.

 

Cllr Collins responded to the question on whether there was an age limit to transferring to PIP saying he understood that if you were over 65 it was unlikely that individuals would transfer to PIP.

 

Colin Morris responded that if residents were turning 65 after April 2013 and currently claiming DLA that they would be part of the first group to be assessed for PIP.  If residents were over 65 and making a DLA claim they would be make a claim for Attendance Allowance instead.

 

Colin Morris confirmed that anyone claiming DLA now will have to claim PIP and if they were over 65 this would become a claim for Attendance Allowance.

 

A resident asked how, somebody who became easily confused, would understand how to use the allowance.

 

Colin Morris responded that how it was used would be up to the resident, there were leaflets outlining how the allowance should be used.

 

Further questioned were postponed to the proposed follow-up seminar.

 

 

Questions about CAB:

 

A resident questioned whether the roll out of the transfer to PIP was related to the age of the resident.  Colin Morris confirmed that age was an aspect of the change in arrangements.

 

A resident questioned why the telephones never seemed to be answered.  Parveen Sohal responded that there had been a problem with one of the lines but that this had now been fixed. 

 

A resident questioned by there was not a dedicated line for each of the areas in Hounslow.  Cllr Malhotra responded that although there was only one number this number linked to many lines

 

A resident asked whether it was possible to leave a message on the phone.  Parveen Sohal responded that currently this was not possible as they were unable to manage the number of messages.  CAB received calls every day, all day long (24 / 7) and they did not have capacity to pick up messages as well, this would be a full time job.

 

A resident requested that people who come out to provide support do so at specific times rather than arriving unannounced.  Parveen Sohal responded that it was possible to make specific appointments.

 

Cllr Malhotra questioned whether, there was a dedicated number for people with disabilities, as the Council effectively provided a grant for this.  Parveen Sohal responded that this had been done in the past but that it had been overwhelmed as the number had gone into general circulation.

 

A resident asked whether there could now be another number dedicated to people with disabilities.  Cllr Malhotra asked that it now go on record that the meeting had agreed that there should be a dedicated line for disabled people considering the level of funding in place.

 

A resident asked whether CAB would assist with Blue Badge applications.  Parveen Sohal responded that all three sites had dedicated days for form filling and that residents could make appointments by phone – it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

7:45 - 7:55 Council Tax and Housing Benefit - Self-service

Steve Margrett, Service Delivery Manager, Liberata

Harminder Persad, LBH

Minutes:

Steve Margrett, Service Delivery Manager, Liberata was welcomed to the meeting.  Steve Margrett provided a short presentation on the new on-line system for residents to pay Council Tax.  The new system will allow residents to view their bills on-line in future.  Residents would also be able to submit claims and make changes on-line in future  - this would improve the time in which claims were processed with claims being processed on-line within 2 to 3 days.  Paper based claims currently took between 10 and 14 days to process.  It was hoped that the new 24/7 on-line service would improve access and make the process a better experience for all residents.  It was due to launch in October and was currently on track for this.

 

Harminder Persad was welcomed to the meeting.  Harminder Persad encouraged all members to respond to the council tax consultation and said that forms could be posted out to residents.   The implications of changes were to working age residents and not to those already retired.

 

Cllr Malhotra asked whether there would still be a subsidy.  Harminder Persad responded that the Council was consulting on the various options and this would be determined after the consultation feedback was received.

 

Cllr Malhotra asked the residents how many of them had computers at home and could fill forms in on-line.

 

Steve Margrett responded that the on-line service was an additional service, it was hoped that this would free up the customer service team to provide further support to those who need it.

 

A resident encouraged the members to attend courses, widely available, on the use of computers and commented that further training courses as well as equipment were needed.

 

A resident questioned how quickly they would receive a response once a claim had been submitted on-line and whether this was received immediately by customer services team.

 

Steve Margrett responded that this would depend on the complexity of the claim.  At the end of the on-line process the form was accepted and feedback was immediately provided regarding any additional information needed.  He hoped that the process would prove to be a lot quicker in future.

 

Cllr Malhotra shared a question from the floor regarding the suitability of the on-line application forms for people with epilepsy.

 

Steve Margrett confirmed that this had not specifically been assessed but added that the online version would not have any flashing lights or other text movements that might trigger epilepsy.

.

 

 

 

 

41.

7:55 - 8:10 Question Time

42.

8:10 - 8:25 20 mile an hour consultation

Gareth James | Community Engagement   and Transport Initiatives Officer, LBH

Kieran Taylor | Principal Transport Planner, LBH

Minutes:

Gareth James, Community Engagement and Transport Initiatives Officer was welcomed to the meeting.  Gareth James introduced the consultation on the proposed 20 mile / hour speed limit.  The consultation would carry on until September.  Research had shown that a reduction in speed would lead to a reduction in the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.  Road engineering efforts were focused on alternative measures to the use of speed bumps and worked alongside the reduction in the speed limit.  Gareth James encouraged residents to take the time to complete the consultation, he confirmed that their voice was important would be listened to if they completed the consultation.  The consultation could be mailed out or filled in on-line.  In addition, some paper copies would be made available to members through Celia Golden.

 

 

Actions: Gareth James was requested to provide a breakdown of the injuries caused by bus drivers in 20 mile / hour speed zones.

43.

8:25 - 8:45 Questions from the floor

Minutes:

Questions:

 

A resident questioned how many bus drivers, driving at 20 mile an hour, still caused injuries in Hounslow.  Gareth James said he was unsure of this figure.  Cllr Malhotra asked him to let Celia Golden have a response for the members.

 

A resident asked how the police would be able to enforce the 20 mile an hour speed limit when they were already so busy.  Gareth James confirmed that discussion had been held with the police who were aiming to enforce the 20 mile an hour limit in the same way that they managed the current speed limits.

 

A resident asked whether there was some way cyclists could be made more aware of car users and whether cyclists would also be fined if they exceeded the speed limit.  Another resident asked if cyclists using the pavement could be prosecuted.  Gareth James responded that any questions that were not specifically about the introduction of the 20 mile an hour speed limit could be e-mailed direct to himself for a response.  Anyone exceeding the speed limit would be prosecuted although this could be difficult with cyclists.

 

A resident questioned whether something would be done about the pot-holes on the roads in Hounslow.  Cllr Malhotra reported that there was already a programme being rolled out across the borough by Hounslow Highways to address this issue.  He reported that Staines and Bath Road has already been repaired.

 

A resident asked what whether the 20 mile an hour limit would slow down the response time of emergency vehicles.  Gareth James said they would not be affected.  

 

John Beattie asked whether the council were aware of a new system of road surfacing which allowed potholes to repair themselves.  He also asked whether consideration could be given to the removal of the sleeping policemen which caused damage to vehicles, slowed down emergency response vehicles and caused damage to mobility vehicles leading to serious consequences to their ability to live life as they wished.

 

Gareth James responded that the introduction of the 20mile and hour limit did not include the introduction of further traffic calming measures, speed humps were less well used now and were only considered as a last resort.

 

Cllr Mel Collins reported that he had been honoured and privileged to be asked to launch the 20 mile and hour Consultation and asked what consultations had been held with neighbouring boroughs where minor roads crossed borough lines.  Gareth James responded that although initial discussion had been held this was still at an early stage and that the result of the resident’s consultation would be considered before entering into discussions with any neighbouring boroughs.

 

Gareth James confirmed that he would provide further copies of the consultation and the presentation to Celia Golden for distribution and encouraged the DCF members to complete the consultation on-line or in hard copy.

 

 

 

 

44.

Date of Next Meeting - 15 October 2015

Future items for consideration

45.

Any Other Business

Any other business which the Chair agrees to consider on the grounds of urgency.

Minutes:

Sgt Al-Hashimi provided an update on the Safe Place scheme, over 2000 cards had currently been issued.  There were Safe Places at venues in Chiswick, Brentford and Feltham.  Questions had been asked about why there were no safe places in GP surgeries or hospitals, Sgt Al-Hashimi said that these were, by their nature, considered safe places and it was not appropriate to make them designated Safe Places on the scheme.

 

A resident asked whether police were made aware of the particular needs of disabled people and why there were still incidents where police showed insensitivity.  The resident suggested training disabled people to speak to and train the police on the correct way to deal with disabled people.  Sgt Al-Hashimi responded that the police are training, this is an ongoing process.

 

Cllr Malhotra welcomed questions from the floor.

 

A resident questioned whether the law for motorbikes as well and cyclists on speed limited could be enforced to help pedestrians maintain their independence.  Gareth James responded that the law applied to all vehicles.

 

Asif Hanif questioned whether it would be possible to see how far the Borough had progressed in applying the changes to the law on equality for people with disabilities (2010).  Celia Golden responded that Equality had been mainstreamed through a number of key methods, one the council had appointed a lead Cabinet member with a brief to promote Equality. The Chair of DCF was also a lead Cabinet member. These appointments help the Council to ensure Equality informs decision making.   All Policies and Strategies of the Council are also required to be assessed for impact on Equality groups. The Equality team also provided training for all departments of the Council and the Council runs the Disability Community Forum to increase participation and engagement on Council services and policies by disabled people. The Council also runs four Housing disability meetings to help disabled tenants raise issues of concerns.  Celia said she worked closely with departmental staff like Gareth James to provide training on Equality.

 

Disability training for staff took place across the Council with one hundred frontline housing staff also receiving training.  Celia Golden encouraged DCF members to continue to participate, saying that every time they spoke they changed the way things were done for the better for other disabled people.  Although this was a small group it was representative of a far larger group. 

 

Cllr Katherine Dunne introduced herself (Housing and Equalities Portfolio) and asked for the help of DCF members.  There were a number of schemes which had been put in place in response to an identified need among resident which were not being well used, she asked members to contact her and provide feedback on particular concerns or issues around underused schemes.

 

A resident informed the forum that deaf people had received funding for two years assistance and questioned what would happen to these residents at the end of the two years.  She added that an event on 8 August had been planned to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.