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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee rooms C, D & E - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors; Mary Curtin and Laxmi Attawar and co-opted member Hayley James.




Declarations of pecuniary interest


Councillor Michael Ball declared that he is a trustee at Faith in Action(FIA) ; Councillor Russell Makin declared that he is a Credit Union Representative.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 46 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.


The Impact of Welfare Reform on Vulnerable Groups pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed members of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel to the meeting.



Andy Fairbairn, Drop-in Managerfrom Faith in Action (FIA)  gave an overview of his report stating that they provide a twice a week drop-in session for the homeless. Attendees are given lunch and help to write C,V’s and complete job applications.  The aim is to  people to secure employment, which is the best route out of homelessness.  One of the big challenges for the future is that universal credit will be paid into a bank account and homeless people cannot open an account without a permanent address.


The chair invited Andrew Wakefield to provide an update on the progress Croydon Credit Union has made in seeking to tackle this issue.  Mr Wakefield stated that they are looking into opportunities for the credit union to offer bank accounts to the homeless., which local authorities are not able to do. This work is still in the early stages and will report back in due course.


A panel member asked FIA if they co-ordinate with other charities who provide similar services. Mr Fairbairn reported that they have links with other drop in services.


A panel member asked how many people use the service and if more could be provided for with adequate resources. FIA responded that they support sixty people per day. The size of the venue is limited so people may have wait before they are served.


Councillor Bull as Trustee highlighted that FIA can face difficulties in attracting  funding for running costs, as donors often like to fund new projects.

A panel member asked if the financial value of FIA has been quantified. FIA said it can be difficult to quantify the impact they are having because if a client gets job as a result of the support they received they no longer require the service and they are unlikely to hear from them again.


The Head of Revenues and Benefits said there is a small resource within his team that helps to mitigate the impact of welfare reform. They help people to apply for benefits therefore in the first five months of this year the council has saved £140,000 in savings as a result of helping people to claim the benefits they are entitled to. Merton and Lambeth Citizens Advice who has a larger team were able to make savings of £312,000.


The Head of Operations at Citizens Advice and the Head of Revenues and Benefits agreed to support FIA in calculating the added value of their work, to look at possible venues for the drop in sessions and look at the feasibility of sending benefits advisors to FIA drop in sessions.


A panel member suggested that there needs to be help with publicity, co-ordination and a celebration of their work.


The Housing Needs Manager highlighted the social value of organisations such as FIA as they are reducing rough sleeping, anti-social behaviour and criminality. Also,  once people are employed it helps tackle the other issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Sustainability and Transformation Plan pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:


Dr Andrew Murray gave an overview of the presentation highlighting that the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will focus on prevention and out of hospital care. The current health system is unsustainable in its current form. It is hoped that the NHS will have a balanced budget by 2020. Dr Murray stated that the final Sustainability Transformation Plans for all London areas remain confidential at this stage. Dr Murray reported that in regards to the future configuration of health services in South West London, it is likely that there will be four acute hospital sites although this has not been finalised nor confirmed at this stage.


A panel member asked why the report is confidential; Dr Murray reported that NHS England has asked for it to remain confidential as it is still being developed. The draft will be submitted on the 21st October, there will be an assurance process, this will be followed by feedback and final amendments, then the report will be published.


Both the Chair and Vice Chair, who are members of the South West London Joint Health Scrutiny Committee expressed concern that the Panel had not been given the opportunity to comment on the draft STP. It was highlighted JHOSC members were also only given 24 hours to respond to the very large document.


The Cabinet Member of Adult Social Care and Health said there has been lots of frustration at the process and many would like the draft STP to be a public document. However good work is taking place within the health sector, including plans to integrate health and social care. The STP will make significant improvements in out of hospital care, so it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.


A panel member expressed concern that the current plans are very similar to those given fifteen years ago under Better Healthcare Closer to Home proposals and that local councillors have not been involved in the process.

A panel member said demand for health services is increasing yet supply in being decreased. As the world’s fifth largest economy we not have to resign ourselves to the fact we cannot afford five hospitals in south west London. There will be a significant impact on older and vulnerable residents if they have to travel to St George’s or Mayday hospital’s.


Dr Murray said supply is not being reduced but rather provided in a different way. There are no proposals to close services but re-profiling what is provided in hospitals. Many people present to Accident and Emergency departments but it is not the best place for them.



The Chair thanked the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group  for attending the meeting.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 81 KB


The work programme was noted.