Agenda item

Public Questions & Statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Wednesday 19 October 2022. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:

·           at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·           when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.


If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.



Mr Mark Harrison presented his public statement in relation to Agenda Item 5 - An introductory report on the use of food banks, which read:


‘I am not familiar with the workings of NYCC and apologise if I have overlooked or misunderstood something in this welcome report.


I am speaking as a concerned resident and volunteer for Hambleton FoodShare.  I shall not forget the desperate reaction of a child rushing towards the carrier bags of food during my first delivery.


It is good that NYCC states: “We have four key ambitions for the North Yorkshire of 2021.

1 Every child and young person has the best possible start in life;

2 Every adult has a longer, healthier and independent life;..


It seems obvious, and consistent with these ambitions, that no one should be hungry or malnourished.   However, it is not apparent that this is an agreed Goal of NYCC.  


No statements about such a goal or when it should be achieved are evident.  It is not clear what is deemed to be an acceptable number of hungry or malnourished people.


Over 30 years ago, a transformation of belief took place in leading high-hazard industries.  Companies switched from: “Some accidents will happen” to “All injuries and incidents are preventable.”  Lives and livelihoods were saved by adopting best practices from around the world.


Loss prevention requires effective and constant management of Plans, Organisation, Measurement, Investigation and Auditing.  The report includes useful numbers and descriptions but does not include, or refer to, a description of these elements of strategy which are critical for the elimination of malnourishment.    


It appears from item 4.10 of the report that the main immediate causes of hunger and malnourishment are insufficient money, lack of ability/knowledge and access.   It is not known if there are sufficient Resources within the County to achieve the goal.  No shortfalls are quantified.   It is not known if sufficient action has been taken with local MPs & national government to obtain the required resources.


A chronically malnourished or stressed child may learn that their welfare and development is not valued sufficiently.  This is the wrong sort of investment in the future.

“The Child who is not embraced by the Village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” (African proverb)


This entirely preventable, severe and chronic suffering must be averted.  It appears that a radical change is required.’


In response, Marie Ann Jackson, Head of Stronger Communities confirmed the report to be considered at Agenda item 5 related specifically to an issue raised about the usage of food banks and other food support services across the county and whether the issue of increasing dependency should be considered further.  She noted the report was there to help inform a decision on whether a more in depth scrutiny review should be undertaken, by highlighting information gathered from a range of food support organisations across the county over the past two years. She also noted that some of the organisations operated in the traditional food bank model, whilst others were relatively new, set up as a response to food insecurity – as distinct from food poverty – during the pandemic. 


She went on to confirm the Stronger Communities team were carrying out some more detailed research regarding the efficacy of the range of food support offers available in the county - both with the organisations themselves and with the users of the services.


In regard to the two ambitions in the current Council Plan – “Every child and young person has the best possible start in life”; and “Every adult has a longer, healthier and independent life Marie Ann Jackson  noted they were underpinned by priorities for action, for example:

·         A commitment to continue to focus on closing the disadvantage gap, particularly for children eligible for Free School Meals and Service Children; and

·         Working with our partners to reduce disadvantage in the County; improve people’s physical health and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.  We will build on existing sources of support around jobs, income and education so that people have the same opportunities whatever their circumstances or where they live.


She acknowledged that food insecurity could manifest in a number of ways. For some it was driven by insufficient income to meet their basic needs, for others it was driven by access to affordable and healthy food, and for some their personal capacity to prepare food.


She drew attention to a government Food Strategy published in June 2022 and the ongoing work by NYCC’s Public Health team to develop a North Yorkshire – whole system – plan. The plan would look at the issues of food security and sustainable production, healthier eating and nutrition and creating healthier food environments. She confirmed it was intended to involve a range of partners from public, business, health, education and community sectors, and noted that in recognition that work on those issues was an area that required additional resource, the new plan was being developed by a newly established team - Healthier Lives, Community and Economy unit, in Public Health.


She also drew attention to the Council’s continued investment in a number of programmes and services that would contribute to the themes of the plan, which included:

·         The Healthy Child Programme

·         Healthy Schools initiative including healthy school zones

·         Working with planners and advertisers in relation to healthy food options

·         Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives - which reports annual progress

·         The Director of Public Health Annual Report


She noted there was also a range of practical support available for people experiencing food or fuel insecurity through services such as:

·         Free school meals – over 10,000 children currently

·         Household Support Grants

·         North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund

·         The Holiday Activity and Food programme for children who are eligible for free school meals

·         Grant support for food banks and other local voluntary sector food support initiatives

·         The Warm and Well service that offer support and help in relation to fuel and energy costs


Finally, she confirmed the whole system plan currently being developed would be a means to bring a range of programmes and activities together under a strategic overview, with prioritised action plans, which in turn would help clarify the roles and contributions needed throughout the whole system in relation to both prevention activities and response services.


The Chairman thanked Mr Harrison for his contribution to the meeting and confirmed the issues would be further discussed as part of agenda item 5.