Agenda and minutes

Council
Monday 10 July 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Hall - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Thomas Cattermole, Head of Executive and Member Services  020 8937 5446, Email: thomas.cattermole@brent.gov.uk

Note: It is anticipated that the agenda for this meeting will be re-arranged at the Mayor's discretion, and that the Fire Safety in Tower Blocks (item 15) will be taken after Deputations. 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined that direct apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Aslam Choudry, Daly, Pavey and Khan.

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the attached minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 17 May 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited Councillor Warren to move his amendments to the minutes of the previous meeting which had been tabled. These included additional detail for the minute content of agenda item six, Changes to the Constitution, and agenda item nine, Calendar of Meetings for 2017/2018.

 

Councillor Warren said he accepted that minutes were not intended to reflect verbatim what Members said but that his amendments reflected some additional key points that he had raised at the meeting itself.

 

Councillor Warren’s first amendment was tabled as follows:

 

  • Agenda Item 6 – Changes to the Constitution

 

Add at end of second paragraph…..Cllr. Warren recognised that the “Buttistas” on the Council believed it was heresy to challenge this Standing Order

 

The first amendment was put to a vote by a show of hands and was declared LOST.

 

Councillor Warren’s second amendment was tabled as follows:

 

  • Agenda Item 9 – Calendar of Meetings for 2017/2018

 

Add new paragraph after “residents in attendance

 

In response, Cllr. Warren stated that he and Cllr. Shaw would not apologise for doing their job and continuing to challenge the Labour administration, unlike Cllr. Colwill who was a Labour apologist.”

 

The second amendment was put to a vote by a show of hands and was declared LOST. 

 

The Mayor asked Members to approve the minutes as included in the original summons through a vote by show of hands. The vote was declared CARRIED and it was therefore RESOLVED that the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council be approved as an accurate record. Councillors Warren and Ms Shaw recorded their dissent on the result of the vote.

3.

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests, and the nature of these, in any matter to be considered at this meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited Members to make any declaration of personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests in relation to any matter due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

(i)         Councillor Harrison declared a personal interest in respect to agenda item number seven of the agenda, Fire Safety in High Rise Tower Blocks, in that she was a current member of the Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) Member and Resident Panel Board;

 

(ii)        Councillor Long declared a personal interest in respect to agenda item number seven of the agenda, Fire Safety in High Rise Tower Blocks, in that she had a sister who lived in high rise tower block; and

 

(iii)       Councillor Duffy declared a personal interest in respect to agenda item number seven of the agenda, Fire Safety in High Rise Tower Blocks, in that he had a cousin who lived in a high rise tower block.

 

Councillor Collier raised a point of order on whether it was a reasonable request for Members to declare whether or not they were landlords. Looqman Desai (the Council’s Senior Solicitor, Governance) explained that this agenda item had given Members the opportunity to declare any interest they deemed relevant to any item on the agenda and it was not for anyone present at the meeting to demand any further disclosure of interests by Members.

4.

Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)

To receive any announcements from the Mayor.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that he was honoured to be in the chair for his first Full Council meeting as Mayor of Brent and stated that he would always do his best to promote the extremely good work of the Council with integrity and pride.

 

He referenced the tragedies that had occurred since the Annual Meeting of the Council, in particular the Grenfell Tower Fire, and placed on record his personal thanks to the staff at Brent Council who had been part of the Grenfell Tower Response Centre.

 

He continued that the thoughts of everyone at the Council had been with those whose lives had been affected by the Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park terrorist attacks.

 

He asked everyone present to observe a two minutes silence for the victims of all of these tragedies. 

 

A two minutes silence was observed.

 

The Mayor offered his congratulations to the three Members of Parliament within the borough for their recent respective general election victories. He also thanked the Council’s Returning Officer, Carolyn Downs, and her team who had ensured that the election had been successfully organised at short notice.

 

He also paid tribute to the UK Armed Forces in their role defending the UK and its interests and noted that UK Armed Forces Day had been observed on 25 June 2017. He also encouraged Members to attend an event at the Civic Centre to remember the victims of the Srbrenica atrosity and make a collective pledge to Live the Lessons of Srbrenica.

 

The Mayor invited Members to support the first fundraising event of his Mayoral year in support of his chosen charities which would take place on 1 September 2017.

 

He concluded by wishing everyone a happy Pride Festival 2017 and mentioned that Brent and Harrow Council staff had joined the march in Central London as part of the festival.

5.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies and Appointment of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To agree any appointments to Committees, in accordance with Standing Order 37 (g).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor referred Members to the second supplementary pack which contained a list of appointments and resignations from some of the Council’s Committees, Sub-Committees and other bodies.

 

It was RESOLVED that the following appointment be approved:

 

(i)         Appointment of David Ewart as Co-Opted Member and Chair of the Council’s Audit Advisory Committee;

 

(ii)        Appointment of David Ewart as Independent Member and Chair of the Council’s Pension Board; 
 

(iii)       Resignation of Sarah Mansuralli (Chief Operating Officer, Brent Commissioning Group) as a full voting Member of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Sheikh Auladin (Deputy Chief Operation Officer, Brent Commissioning Group) is nominated to take her place, as a full voting Member;
 

(iv)       Appointment of Keir Hopley as Independent Person to the Council’s Standards Committee;  
 

(v)        Appointment of Nigel Shock as Independent Person to the Council’s Standards Committee;  
 

(vi)       Resignation of Councillor Claudia Hector as full Member of the Council’s Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Main Committee, Councillor Sabina Khan is nominated to take her place, as full Member; and  
 

(vii)      Resignation of Councillor Rita Conneely as full Member from the Council’s Teachers’ Joint Consultative Committee. 


    

6.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 39.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined that the Council had received a formal deputation on the Council’s Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) from Willesden Green resident, Ms Sophie Simmons. Councillor Tom Miller (Willesden Green ward) introduced Ms Simmons.

 

Sophie Simmons began by stating that she was a resident of Whitby Apartments on Robson Avenue in Willesden Green. She explained that Robson Avenue was a largely residential area in close proximity to the Burnley Medical Practice. She said that the parking provision in the area had not matched the population growth and that parking on Robson Avenue was very limited. She said that the problems had been exacerbated by Robson Avenue not being covered by a CPZ when other surrounding roads had been. She outlined that this meant that the majority of residents were not able to park on the road and were forced to drive to an area outside of the CPZ to park, often over a mile away from their houses. She concluded that the simplest and most cost effective solution for the Council would be to include Robson Avenue within the neighbouring CPZs (Zones GS and HW). She said she would be willing to meet and work with the Council in order to address these concerns.  

 

Councillor Southwood (Lead Member for Environment) responded and thanked Ms Simmons for having raised these issues. She noted that that were approximately 33,000 parking spaces in Brent to accommodate 56,000 households, which inevitably led to parking challenges in the borough. She said that the Labour Administration wanted to make it as easy as possible to travel by sustainable transport but also wanted CPZs to be effective so that those who needed to drive and park were able to. She explained that a review of the CPZs in Brent was due to be discussed at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on the 24 July 2017 and that Robson Avenue was included as part of the review. She also explained that any proposed changes would mean that the Council would have to start a statutory public consultation process with residents in the area, but specified that changes were likely to be supported by the Council if there was a clear desire from the majority of local residents for inclusion within a CPZ. 

 

The Mayor also outlined to Members that another request to speak had been received late, but that he proposed that Standing Order 39(c) be suspended to allow the resident to address the Council. He specified that the Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform would respond to the remarks during the course of the full debate on high rise safety in tower blocks.

 

It was RESOLVED that Standing Order 39(c) be suspended to allow Mr Pete Firmin to speak on high rise safety in tower blocks.

 

Pete Firmin stated that he was the Chair of the Alpha, Gorefield Houses and Canterbury Court Tenants Residents Association in South Kilburn. He said that this organisation stood in solidarity with all those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Fire Safety in High Rise Tower Blocks pdf icon PDF 211 KB

This agenda item provides an opportunity for Members to debate fire safety in high rise tower blocks.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined the rules of procedure for the item, and introduced a panel of Officers who would be on hand to respond to any specific questions from members during the course of the debate. The panel included: Phil Porter (the Council’s Stategic Director, Community Wellbeing), Mark Davidson (Borough Commander, London Fire Brigade), Peter Gadsdon (the Council’s Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships), Rohal Bhandari (the Council’s Team Leader of District and Commercial Services) and Alice Lester (the Council’s Head of Planning).

 

Councillor Farah (Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform) introduced the item and stated that the tragedy which occurred at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 had been a wake-up call for all Councils. He said that it remained vitally important to consider what Brent should do next and that the debate would assist in ensuring that all options were explored. He emphasised that he had confidence in how Brent had responded to the tragedy and paid tribute to the support that the Council had provided to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in the aftermath of the fire. He outlined that he was proud that the Council had proposed to go above and beyond what was required on existing fire and safety regulations for its housing stock, to ensure that all residents felt re-assured and safe within the borough. He urged all Members present to contribute and stressed the importance of the debate being carried out in a calm and respectful manner.

 

Mark Davidson (Borough Commander, London Fire Brigade) gave an overview of the action that the London Fire Brigade (LFB) had taken since the fire and offered some specific detail on what LFB’s policies were with regards to tackling fires in high rise tower blocks. Members heard that, post-Grenfell, the Department of Local Government and Communities (DCLG) had asked all local authorities and social housing providers to provide detailed information about their residential tower blocks and to submit any identifiable cladding materials on these blocks for testing. He noted that LFB had established a taskforce for an inspection process of 380 identified high rise buildings London-wide and that any building which failed the Government’s test on cladding samples had been immediately prioritised. With regards to Brent, Members heard that, at the time of the meeting, two high rise buildings (Hornby Court in Willesden and Elizabeth House in Wembley) had failed these tests and had been inspected further by LFB.

 

Mr Davidson explained that LFB inspections of high rise buildings were focused on two key elements of building’s structure, these were: access for the emergency services and common parts (the building’s central shaft; staircase; wet or dry riser main pipe; and the means of escape). He noted that LFB were not involved in fire safety inspections within individual rooms but that they would check that fire risk assessments, a duty of the landlord, had been kept up-to-date. He mentioned that LFB aimed to inspect each high rise building at least once per year. Members also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Reports from the Leader and Cabinet

To receive reports from the Leader and Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 38.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Councillor Shaw left the meeting at 21.41pm)

 

Councillor Butt referred Members to the key decisions taken since the 23 January 2017 meeting of Full Council which had been tabled and circulated around the Council Chamber. He specified that due to the number of agenda items which remained at the meeting, Cabinet members had agreed to waive their reports at this meeting and would provide their reports at the next meeting of Full Council.

 

It was RESOLVED that the reports from the Leader and the Cabinet would be deferred and reported in full at the next meeting of Full Council 18 September 2017.

9.

Questions from Members of the Public

For members of the public to ask questions to members of the Cabinet, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 39A.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined that no questions from Members of the Public had been received for this meeting in accordance with Standing Order 39A.

10.

Petitions

For Councillors to refer to any petitions received and debate a petition with more than 200 signatures in accordance with the Council’s petition rules and Standing Order 68.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that there were no petitions to be debated in accordance with the Council’s petition rules and Standing Order 68.

11.

Non Cabinet Members' Debate

To debate an issue raised in accordance with Standing Order 39B and to receive reports from Cabinet members in issues previously raised.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

As had been mentioned during the Mayor’s statement at the beginning of the meeting, it was explained to Members that the Leaders of the Council’s political groups had agreed to waive the Non-Cabinet Members debate at this meeting in order to allow more time for Members to discuss and debate Fire Safety in High Rise Tower Blocks.

12.

Questions from the Opposition and other Non-Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 317 KB

For questions to be put to members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 40.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited the eight Members who had asked a question to the Cabinet (as detailed within the agenda pack) to ask a supplementary question should they wish.

 

(i)         Councillor Crane thanked Councillor McLennan for her initial answer to his question. As a follow-up, he pointed out that residents in Fryent ward had rejected austerity at the 2017 General Election and questioned what additional steps the Council could take to spend more on residents’ priorities such as roads repairs and infrastructure investment. 

 

            Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader of the Council) stated that the Council had continued to face fierce financial challenges but that the Council had implemented projects which it encouraged residents to access in order to improve the areas that they lived in. She referenced the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy, ‘Love Where You Live’ Grants and Section 106 agreements as the means for funding improvements in local areas. She concluded that it was positive that a recent Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Review had outlined that the Council’s financial approach had been the right one.

 

(ii)        Councillor Colacicco thanked Councillor Southwood for her initial answer to her question. As a follow up, she asked for clarification that the Lead Member was referring to fracking in Brent amid recent rumours of exploratory drilling in the NW10 postcode.

 

            Councillor Southwood confirmed that no licence had been granted within the London Borough of Brent to undertake fracking work. She made clear that Brent’s position from 2013 remained unchanged and that fracking was not welcome anywhere in the local area. She also referenced Councillor Crane’s earlier question on investment in infrastructure and hoped that all Members would support the Cabinet as continued to make the case for greater investment in the Council’s roads and pavements.

 

There were no supplementary questions from Councillors Conneely, McLeish, S Choudhary, Krupa Sheth, Colwill and Ms Shaw.

 

(Councillor Thomas left the meeting at 9.50pm.)

13.

Report from Chairs of Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To receive reports from the Chairs of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees in accordance with Standing Order 41.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Kelcher (Chair of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee) stated that the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee would have its first meeting of the municipal calendar on 11 July 2017 which would introduce the Committee’s annual work plan. 

 

Councillor Long (Chair of the Housing Scrutiny Committee) explained that the new Housing Scrutiny Committee had not yet met but was due to discuss fire safety and the BHP transfer at its inaugural meeting. She said that housing was area which had never been scrutinised too rigorously by the Council. She mentioned that the Traveller Site would be discussed at some point during the year, and that the Committee were also looking for Members and residents to be part of relevant task groups. She hoped that the Committee would help to inform the key decision making process within the borough.    

 

Councillor Ketan Sheth (Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee) directed Members to the content of his report within the published agenda pack for an update on the work of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

 

It was RESOLVED that the content of the reports be noted.

14.

Report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To receive a report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee in accordance with Standing Order 41A.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Nerva (on behalf of Councillor Aslam Choudry, Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee) began by thanking both the Independent Chair and Independent Member of the Audit Advisory Committee for their studious work. He said that the Committee had undertaken some important work recently and urged Members to refer themselves to the Committee’s work on: debt charges on high interest rates; the capital programme; anti-fraud; scrutiny of KPMG’s charges to the Council to investigate residents’ complaints. He stated that the Committee was aimed for best practice in its functioning, rather than solely working in ways to achieve value for money. He explained the Committee had an obligation to advise the Cabinet relevant aspects of its decision making and encouraged all Members to take an interest. He agreed with Councillor Collier’s point on the potential for poor governance in authorities with large majorities which was made during the fire safety debate, and outlined that the Audit Advisory Committee also had a role to ensure that this did not happen in Brent.

 

It was RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

15.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 70 KB

For Full Council to agree the changes to the Constitution as specified within the attached report.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Councillor Jones left the meeting 10.01pm)

 

Councillor Butt introduced the report from the Chief Legal Officer which proposed a number of constitutional changes. He explained that these included a change to clarify the powers of the Chief Executive in order for her to make urgent decisions in the event of an emergency and additional changes to the Council’s partnership arrangements and collaborative procurement. 

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Warren to move his amendments which had been tabled and circulated around the chamber.

 

Councillor Warren outlined that he had no problem with the recommendation within the report itself, but was minded to propose some additional recommendations. He said that he had raised the issue to delete Standing Order 13 in the past and would continue to do so because of the unnecessary constitutional stipulations which needed to be met before a vote could be held. He also called on Members to agree to the deletion of Standing Order 27(d) (Special Meeting) as there was no procedure of how a special meeting would ever be called in place of an extraordinary meeting, and therefore this standing order was unnecessary.

 

Councillor Butt responded and stated that the Local Government Act 2000 stipulated where the Council stood on votes of no confidence. He said that the second amendment was a valid point, however it would need to be looked at more closely in future at the Council’s Constitutional Working Group and that Councillor Warren was welcome to attend to discuss further.

 

Councillor Mashari raised concerns about the number of times that the Constitution had been amended at Full Council meetings in recent years. She requested that Members each be given a hard copy of the Constitution and that the changes over the last five years be detailed and explained to Members. Carolyn Downs explained that there would be a vast expense for the Council if a hard copy was produced for all Members and asked Members to specifically request a copy if they wanted one.

 

Councillor Collier questioned the extent that the Council was covered by the Constitution for shared service agreements between different authorities when there had been a severe service failure by one of the Councils involved.

 

Carolyn Downs responded that this was entry in shared services was a contractual matter that the Audit Committee had looked at in the past and could be looked at again by a future meeting of the Committee. 

 

Councillor Warren’s first amendment was tabled as follows:

 

  • Delete Standing Order 13 (Vote of No Confidence)

 

The first amendment was put to a vote by shows of hands and declared LOST.

 

Councillor Warren’s second amendment was tabled as follows:

 

  • Delete Standing Order 27(d) (Special Meeting)

 

The second amendment was put to a vote by show of hands and declared LOST.

 

The substantive recommendation, as detailed within the report from the Chief Legal Officer, was put to the vote by show of hands and declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED that:

 

(i)         The change to the Constitution be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Motions pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 45.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(i)        Motion from the Labour Group – Government Funding for Fire Safety

 

Councillor Conneely introduced the motion from the Labour Group. She said that she had worked with vulnerable young people and street homeless adults in Kensington and Chelsea for seven years. She said that the ultimate goal had been to move vulnerable individuals into a Council flat, because it was thought to guarantee them safety in every aspect of life. She highlighted that years of deregulation on building control standards and austerity imposed by the Conservative Government had undermined this, and had bred a culture of cost-cutting at the expense of residents’ safety. She referenced the measures that Brent had agreed to take in response to the fire, and added that the Council was under no illusion that these would be easily afforded. She concluded that this formed the basis for the Labour Group’s motion which sought clarity on funding for any post-Grenfell fire safety related works.

 

Councillor Warren said that he was disappointed by the Labour Group’s failure to acknowledge the reasons that austerity measures had been taken. He stated that the last Labour Government had left a massive deficit in the country’s finances which needed to be addressed immediately in 2010. He suggested that local government had its own role into helping to reduce the deficit because of the financial mistakes Labour had made in the past.

 

The motion was put to a vote by show of hands and declared CARRIED.

 

 

 

 

(ii)       Motion from the Conservative Group – Grenfell Tower Tragedy

 

Councillor Davidson introduced the motion from the Conservative Group. He said that he and his Conservative colleagues had been deeply dismayed by the events at Grenfell. He said that hearts remained with the families of the tragedy and also offered his thanks to the emergency services and Brent Officers who assisted with the response effort. He praised Brent’s calm and measured approach in the aftermath and stated that the Government had also approached the issue sensibly. He cited the funding committed by the Government to help to rehouse the victims and the immediate review of high rise buildings across all local authorities, which included testing on any cladded buildings. He stated that the Conservative Group had put forward their motion because it was felt that there was no need to politicise such a terrible tragedy. He said that the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, had inspired hatred with his comments after the disaster and that this did a disservice to the victims. He called for a calm and sober investigation into the causes of fire that mirrored the assured approach Brent had taken.

 

Councillor Butt stated that the Labour Group simply could not support the premise of the motion. He said that the Conservative Government’s cuts to local government finances and subsequent role in the tragedy needed to be accounted for. He criticised the Conservative Group for bringing the motion forward and stated that the Government had caused more confusion and delay in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Urgent Business

At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business, in accordance with Standing Order 37 (r).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that there was no other urgent business to transact.