Decision on county’s Supported Housing for Young People Project is ‘SHYPP’d back’ to Cabinet by Scrutiny Committee Call-In
The Cabinet’s decision last month to cut funding to the SHYPP service was today sent back to them for a re-think by Herefordshire Council’s Health & Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
At the special meeting today officers admitted that they had failed to follow correct procedure: no reference had been made in their report to Cabinet to the SHYPP team’s own proposals for savings, and these proposals were not even seen by all cabinet members. SHYPP had looked to minimise the impact of the council’s cuts on their countywide housing support project for young people.
Cllr Marcelle Lloyds-Hayes (It’s Our County), one of the signatories to the call-in said “Who better than the service providers themselves to make sympathetic and workable savings suggestions? I want to see officers openly sharing such information with all elected members when the council is facing important choices about service cuts.”
Cllr Carole Gandy (Conservative) remarked that, in her experience elsewhere, she was used to politicians making the decisions about what information was relevant to a decision – not officers: “Let’s face it – this is a political decision, so it should be taken by the politicians. After all, the buck stops with us.”
Cllr Chris Chappell (Independent) was concerned that the cuts proposed would deny young people living outside of Hereford access to the support and advice they would need to get a roof over their heads. He said: “These cuts discriminate against young people in our rural areas and market towns – that can’t be right.”
Cllr Liz Harvey (It’s Our County) summed up, saying: “The council’s homelessness strategy focusses on prevention. And that’s what SHYPP is all about – helping young people, wherever they live, before they fall into homelessness. Cabinet needs to re-think its decision, and give SHYPP the time and resources needed to create a sustainable service, one which in the end will be less reliant on public funding. Cutting too quickly will have knock-on consequences, and will cost us more money.”
Contacts: Cllr Liz Harvey 07909 7532
Alicia Lawrence, SHYPP 07866 705599