Agenda item


The Committee gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the Selective Licensing Working Group Terms of Reference and set out proposals for approval relating to the future direction of the work, as RECOMMENDED and supported by the Working Group.


In presenting the report, Officers outlined the background to the report, indicating its content sought to deal with recommendations (c) and (d) arising from the Committee’s meeting on 3 May 2020.


Draft Terms of Reference had been developed and were attached for approval. Sections 3 and 4 of the report dealt with the proposed timescales and the development of and rationale for the future approach, noting both had been fully consulted on with the Working Group which had been established. Notes arising from that meeting had been included for completeness and future dates when engagement would again be sought from the Working Group, were detailed at Section 5.


Finally, Section 6 set out proposed analytical work which could be undertaken in respect of Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) Designation for Selective Licensing.  Re-stressing that the approach proposed in the report did not look specifically at selective licensing, there was an opportunity to immediately deal with one of the main queries relating to the original designations, and to help inform any future approach.


Using the current evidence base, the Council could commission work to help to understand whether a designation done by LSOAs would have an impact on the geography of any future designations, the associated maximum costs were set out in the report for approval.


Debate ensued and in response to a Members’ question, Officers confirmed that the revenue spend could have been dealt with under delegation, but given the subject matter and Members’ previous concerns, had decided Committee approval was most appropriate.   Another Member suggested the figure was considerable for data analysis work, whilst it was stressed this was an absolute maximum estimation, the Member indicated he would welcome further details as to the number of hours or days that equated to.


On the whole Members welcomed the proposed approach, and considered it a much improved position to that of 3 months ago.  The in-depth Member engagement was both welcomed and considered to have been invaluable.   Officers were congratulated on their work to-date and Members indicated they were much more content with the methodology.  It was suggested by a Member that the report still lacked any indication has to how selective licensing would address the anti-social behaviour and further consideration of this in the future would be welcome, and was considered.  Others suggested anti-social behaviour was a wider issue and selective licensing could be tool but not the complete solution.  It was suggested that landlords that would potentially be subject to any licensing scheme had an expectation that anti-social behaviour would be addressed as part of the payable fee and as such concurred with earlier speakers.


The proposed future engagement style was also welcomed but Members sought assurance that ample timing would be allowed for Workshops (beyond 2 hours) and suggested that these should be held face-to-face.


A Member of the Working Group was positive that the additional focus on this area would bring about improved results, it was stressed that no assumptions had been made at this stage.   Work would focus on looking at the issues that needed addressing and then identify the best tools to address those.  This was caveated with being realistic about the tools that were available to deal with the Council’s responsibilities, recognising that no one intervention would fully address all of the issues evidenced.


A number of options like an opt in scheme were loosely suggested during the debate for wider consideration at workshops.  Assurance was sought that the proposed methodology was robust enough and widely supported, given concerns which had been raised previously.  In responding, Officers advised it had been developed in consultation with Members of the Working Group, the Working Group would be integral in designing the workshops, and it would be Member engagement in those sessions which would inform the next report in November.  As such that would provide a collective voice, from across all Members, as to the direction and Members’ aspirations for the Private Rented Sector, which had been supported by a broader Group of Members in its development. It was confirmed delivery style could be adjusted should any Covid resurgence require it, but the aspiration was face-to-face delivery of engagement sessions.


It was unanimously RESOLVED that: -


(a)        the Terms of Reference for the Selective Licensing Working Group as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be approved;


(b)        the proposed timescales put forward by the Selective Licensing Working Group, to deliver a workshop to all Councillors during September/October 2022, in order to inform the Prosperous Communities Report due in November 2022, as set out in section 3 of the report, be approved;


(c)        the proposed approach to consider first; Theme 1 “Overall Approach to the Private Rented Sector” and that this form the basis of the workshops to be held in September/October 2022 be approved; and 


(d)        £7,550 be released from the budget remaining for Selective Licensing, in order to carry out the initial Lower Super Output Area designation analysis.



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