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Denbighshire North Wales Politics

Assessment report reveals Denbighshire’s poor performance in homelessness

DENBIGHSHIERE Council must improve its performance in dealing with homelessness and its housing list, a quarterly report has highlighted.

The report was presented to Denbighshire’s performance and scrutiny committee for debate at a meeting at Ruthin’s County Hall.

The report marked performance as either green (excellent), yellow (good), orange (acceptable), or red (priority to improve).

Denbighshire scored red in many areas – and notably in categories in which homelessness was measured in percentages, in terms of prevention and people being discharged from the service.

The percentages gave little context, though, and Cllr Hugh Irving criticized the report for giving some information in figures, as opposed to percentages that he said didn’t provide proper context.

But the report acknowledged: “We are aware and already responding to address weaknesses in our performance, especially in relation to homelessness where outcomes for our communities are not as positive as we want and aspire them to be.”

The chamber also heard how Denbighshire had 2,093 people on its housing list (single route to housing list).

Another area marked for improvement was improving homes with a disabled facilities grant, as this number fell to 66 in 2022/2023 from 106 the previous year.

The percentage of ‘stakeholders’ who agreed that there is sufficient, good-quality housing in the county was also marked red, as were many others.

But the council’s head of strategy and performance defended the council being marked red in numerous categories.

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Officer Nicola Kneale said the council was working within a five-year plan and that measurements used to gauge the council’s performance called KPIs (key performance indicators) were misleading.

“We are conscious that in appendix two there are a large number of KPIs that have a red status at the moment, which means ‘prioritising for improvement’,” she said.

“Just as a bit of a caveat there, we are in year one of a five-year (corporate) plan, and therefore it might not be too alarming that we are in that position.”

Nicola Kneale then explained to the chamber that she expected to see improvements as the council went forward.

Denbighshire was, though, marked green for excellent in other areas, including its work securing housing for disabled people and ensuring care leavers didn’t become homeless.

The report accompanies the council’s performance self-assessment for 2022 to 2023, providing end-of-year analysis of progress.

The committee backed the report, which is set to return for debate in July.