Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Recommendation Monitoring - Guest Houses

Meeting: 27/03/2017 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 106)

106 Recommendation Monitoring - Guest Houses pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee requested a report on progress following the recommendations of the Guest Houses Review Group.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to monitor progress in improving safeguarding arrangements in city guest houses.  The Committee is asked to note and comment on the report.

Who has been invited to comment?

Councillor Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Community Safety, Richard Adams, Community Safety Service Manager and Linda Ludlow, Human Exploitation Co-ordinator will attend to answer the Committee’s questions.


Additional documents:


The Human Exploitation Co-ordinator presented the report, she explained that the Hotel Watch partnership was named by the police. Despite the name, it included guest houses as well as hotels. Oxford City Council wanted to call it Accommodation Watch. 


The Oxford City Hotel Watch working group meets 4 times a year. It is a partnership between different council services – Environmental Health, Licensing and the Police, and Fire and Rescue. It looks at hotels of concerns and enquires about safeguarding procedures.


All establishments are added to the Thames Valley Alert system to receive regular updates on any related crimes.  The Council has 2-3 contacts for each establishment due to the high staff turnover in the hotel industry. We started with 84 guest houses on the list and we now have 105. Establishments are graded high, medium or low risk and monitored accordingly.


The Committee discussed the following:

They questioned whether homeless families were being housed in premises not covered by the voluntary code of conduct. The Community Safety Service Manager said that most homelessness families go to travel lodge which is part of the code of practice. The Human Exploitation Co-ordinator said officers needed to evaluate whether the code of practice was being adequately followed.


They asked why the Council was not monitoring under 16s.  The Human Exploitation Co-ordinator explained that hoteliers were taught to question the adult and to engage the child in conversation to find out if the child was comfortable with the adult.  If they were not happy with the replies they should call the police. Proving the identity of children is a big challenge as children don’t tend to carry ID.


They queried what the Council was doing with secondary schools to raise awareness of internal trafficking. Was there a communication or awareness campaign? The Community Safety Service Manager said the Council was targeting parents in the early intervention sector.


Although the recommendations the panel created were good at the time, some are now outdated and others have been dealt with in different ways.  Cllr Simmons (as a member of the original panel) offered to meet with officers to reshape some of the Panel’s recommendations to make sure they were still fit for purpose.


The Scrutiny Committee requested a progress report in one year.