Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 11th January, 2021 6.00 pm, NEW

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Items
No. Item

64.

Apologies pdf icon PDF 4 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

65.

Appointment of Substitute Members pdf icon PDF 4 KB

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager advised that no notice had been received for the appointment of substitute members.

66.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members.

67.

Review of Food Poverty in the Dover District

To receive evidence from invited groups in respect of the Review of Food Poverty in the Dover District.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the invited attendees to the meeting and thanked them for attending to answer the Committee’s questions in respect of the levels of Food Poverty in the Dover District.

 

Kent County Council (Cllr S S Chandler, Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services)

 

Councillor S S Chandler advised that in addition to her own Cabinet Portfolio she was representing Councillor R Long, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.

 

Kent County Council (KCC) provided a range of support for families, including assistance for families with managing everyday life and ensuring that children attended schools and had access to free school meals where eligible. There were also a number of projects such as proper nutrition and helping families budget for food that KCC supported.

 

Since the start of lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, KCC had continued to provide school places for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, including the provision of free school meals. It was recognised that not all families that would be eligible for free school meals were registered and schools were encouraging eligible families to do so.

 

During the October 2020 half term, KCC had distributed 20,000 supermarket vouchers worth £15 per child to those families who were eligible for free school meals. For the Christmas holidays, 31,984 supermarket vouchers worth £30 per child had been distributed to those eligible for free school meals. The vouchers were predominantly through ASDA or Tesco, although schools had local flexibility to vary this where these stores were not available such as in Sandwich where Co-Op vouchers had been provided. In contrast with the October 2020 vouchers, the vouchers at Christmas were automatically sent directly to eligible families and did not need to be applied for.  Arrangements were also being put in place for the February 2021 half-term. The Government had made funding available for free school meals to be provided for the Easter 2021 holiday and KCC was waiting on further details. The success of the voucher schemes had seen an increase in take up for free school meals.

 

It was recognised that early assistance was very important for long term outcomes and KCC supported groups such as Home-Start to assist with this. The early help support provided by KCC was not based solely on income but on a range of factors. 

 

Members enquired as to the level of take up for free school meals and were advised that schools had an important role in identifying potentially eligible children. At schools, steps were taken to ensure that children in receipt of free school meals could not be identified as such.

 

 

Dover, Deal and District Citizens Advice Bureau (Jan Stewart, Chief Officer)

 

Although Dover, Deal and District Citizens Advice Bureau had not been able to see people face-to-face during the pandemic, they had worked to ensure that everyone could be seen by alternative methods such as by telephone or online. The Dover, Deal and District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) had dealt with 4,804 people (87% of which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.