02 April 2024

Communities Committee round-up

Committee Chair Cllr Anne Stirling welcomed members to the meeting and began by congratulating the Seafit programme - which improves access to health services for fishermen - winning a silver award at the Health Service Journal's Partnership Awards 2024.

The programme is supported by Live Life Aberdeenshire and is run by the Fishermen’s Mission and Seafarers Hospital Society.

The Chair also congratulated the housing service after winning an award for the 'Best Use of Empty Homes to Meet Social/Affordable Housing Need' with the Old School regeneration project in Ballater.

All the reports can be read by clicking here.

Financial Performance Report as at 31 January 2024 

The committee heard an update on the financial performance of services that fall under the remit of Communities Committee, as of January 31. 

Councillors were told the budget was projecting an overspend of around £1.7 million.

Discussion included talk around risks and pressures on plans, the cost of living, sheltered housing, the reopening of Inverurie pool, LLA membership, and development of the arts.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Aberdeenshire Local Fire and Rescue Plan 2021-2024 

Members of the committee were advised how the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has performed against key performance measures and associated targets, as set out in the Aberdeenshire Fire and Rescue Plan 2021-24.

Group Commander Craig Wallace of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told committee that “services will focus on the outcomes that are right for those communities and those will obviously include safety and prevention and protecting those most at risk”.

Discussion included road safety hotspots and home fire safety visits. The committee then agreed the proposed priorities for the next iteration of the Aberdeenshire Fire and Rescue Plan.

Tackling Poverty and Inequalities - Annual Progress Report

Committee was given an update on outcomes achieved in 2023/24 and approved spend for 2024/25.

Tackling Poverty & Inequalities Strategic Partnership chair Amanda Roe told the committee that over 12,700 households have been supported to reduce household costs, and approaching 23,500 individuals and households have been supported through a range of services, opportunities and projects.

The committee welcomed the report and discussion included childminders, different aspects of society affected by poverty and foodbanks.

Live Life Aberdeenshire Business Plan 2023-2028 

Members of the committee considered a reformatted version of the business plan that came to committee in 2023.

The committee agreed to receive an annual performance and self-evaluation report concerning LLA service delivery 23/24 at the Communities Committee in June.

Housing Finance and Performance Linked Report Q3 2023-24 

The report to committee provided information on the Housing and Building Standards Service’s performance in terms of finance and key performance indicators of service delivery.

Housing & Building Standards Head of Service Alexander Macleod highlighted to the committee that rent arrears remain stable at 3.05%, below the national average of 5.64% and that the number of days to resolve homelessness cases has dropped to 71 days.

There was a wide-ranging discussion around temporary accommodation, improvement and repair grants, homelessness and empty properties, the private sector and home associations and hostels.

Head of Service Business Plan - Housing & Building Standards 

The committee considered the business plan which focuses on the housing and building standards service and covers what the council does as a social landlord alongside its wider role through homelessness, housing options, private sectors, housing strategy and building standards.

Housing and Building Standards manages and maintains 13,240 homes with 152 new council homes anticipated for completion in 2024/25.

Discussion included the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan, the new team which focuses on any incidents of damp, condensation and mould, tenancy services, and apprenticeships.