Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Peter Goss, Democratic Services Manager  020 8937 1353, Email: peter.goss@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:-

 

that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 September 2013 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

2.

Declarations of personal and prejudicial interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant financial or other interest in the items on this agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Cheese declared a non pecuniary interest as a member of the Kilburn Advisory Board.

3.

Procedural motions

Minutes:

The Chief Whip moved two procedural motions.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)         That in respect of Summons item 7, 1st Reading Debate – 2014/15 Budget:

 

-       the Leader be permitted up to 10 minutes in which to present the report,

           

-       the Leaders of the Liberal Democrat Group and the Conservative Group be permitted up to 10 minutes each to debate the item,

 

-       a general debate to follow in accordance with Standing Order 44(b).

 

(ii)        that in respect of the Labour Group motion to be moved under Summons item 15:

 

-       one speaker from the Labour Group be permitted to move the motion for debate within the 3 minutes allowed and take the time allowed for the two additional 2 minute contributions, the rights of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups to their normal allocation of two speakers each taking up to 2 minutes each being unaffected.

4.

Mayor's announcements (including any petitions received)

Minutes:

The Mayor announced with sadness that Len Snow had passed away on 1 November 2014.  Len had represented for Tokyngton ward in 1963 which saw the beginning of 27 years of service in local government.   He was elected Mayor of Brent in 1976 and remained a school governor, being particularly linked with Copland School, where he was Chair for over 20 years until 1998.  The Mayor expressed the Council’s condolences to his widow Joan, who was in hospital herself and wished her a speedy recovery, daughter Sue Dorman, son Ralph Snow and two grandsons.

 

Members stood for a minute’s silence in memory of Len Snow.

 

The Mayor pointed out that the meeting was being webcast live for the first time and the Council was the first in London to integrate Twitter and webcasts for meetings in this way.  It was hoped this would encourage residents to get involved and contribute to the debate.  The Mayor also pointed out that the TV cameras were filming for the Panorama programme.

 

The Mayor referred to the official opening of the Civic Centre that took place on Sunday 6 October and stated that feedback had been extremely positive, with an estimated 5,000 people attending the event of which 96% rated the venue and facilities as good or very good.                   

 

The Mayor announced that on 28 October 2014 he and the Leader of the Council, high ranking military personnel and voluntary organisations had signed a pledge of support for the military.  The Armed Forces Covenant was a mutual pledge that the civilian population and its local armed forces community made to work better together to support veterans and help them and their families integrate into civilian life.

 

The Mayor thanked Europa services for the outstanding service they had provided during a recent Mayoral event at the Civic Centre.

 

The Mayor announced that he would be hosting his Christmas Ball in the Grand Hall, Civic Centre on Friday 13 December.  Tickets were available from his office and he hoped it would be well supported.

 

The Mayor drew attention to the list of current petitions showing progress on dealing with them which had been circulated around the chamber.

 

The Mayor referred to one of the motions to be discussed later in the meeting and reminded all councillors to attend a member development event on Thursday 21 November from 6pm on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls in Brent.  He added that the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (White Ribbon Day) was on Monday 25 November.

 

The Mayor welcomed to the meeting senior officers attending for the first time.

 

Members paid tribute to Len Snow, remembering his long association with the borough, his love of the history of the borough and writing about it and that he had been married to his wife Joan for 70 years.

5.

Appointments to committees and outside bodies and appointment of chairs/vice chairs (if any)

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

that Miranda Wixon (Healthwatch chair) and Daksha Keys (a Healthwatch Brent CIC director) be appointed as first and second alternates respectively to Ann O’Neill on the Health and Wellbeing Board.

6.

Report from the Leader or members of the Executive pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To receive reports from the Leader or members of the Executive in accordance with Standing Order 42.

Minutes:

Councillor Butt welcomed Conrad Hall, Chief Finance Officer and Ben Spinks, Assistant Chief Executive to their first meeting of Full Council.  Councillor Butt commented on the opening of the London Design Outlet which he felt would be good for Brent and was an example of the continued regeneration of the borough providing more employment opportunities.  He also reported on the accreditation of the Council by the London Living Wage Foundation and how the Council was working with business partners to encourage them to pay people a living wage.

 

Councillor Mashari was pleased to report on the award of the public realm contract to Veolia.  The contract represented a £1.3m in-year saving, increasing to £1.7m and contained strict financial penalties against any drop in customer satisfaction rates.  It included increased resources for education and resident engagement activities.  Other features of the contract included jet spray cleaning, recycling to flats above shops and a new phone app for reporting fly tipping.  Councillor Mashari stated that the inaugural meeting of the Brent libraries forum would take place on 26 November 2013 in the Civic Centre library.  She also reported that the Civic Centre library had extended its opening hours to 8am to 8pm and visitor numbers to the library were on the increase.  Councillor Mashari added that the Council was prepared for any snow or icy conditions with stocks of grit and grit bins on the streets.  She congratulated the sports service on winning the financial excellence award at the Guardian public service awards ceremony for the contract to run the Vale Farm sports centre.

 

Councillor Pavey reported on the progress being made to deal with the problems at Copeland school by converting it to become an Ark Academy.  He compared a critical OFSTED report on Copeland school to one that praised the Ark Academy and submitted that the partnership between the two schools would provide improved opportunities for local families. 

 

Councillor Hirani reported on the first safeguarding conference to be held in Brent involving the ambulance and police services, the health service and the Council working together to put safeguarding at the centre of everything and he referred to the posters displaying the ‘See it Stop it’ slogan.  He reported on the new meals on wheels service and the decision to replace the block contract with a service delivery arrangement that involved local organisations and the making of direct payments to the clients.  He thanked the local organisations who would be delivering the meals on wheels for their work.  He reported on the success of the Council’s bid to become a pioneer in the delivery of a more integrated health service to residents of the borough and that the Council would be taking part in the Sir John Oldham commission on Whole-Person Care set up by the Labour Party. 

 

Councillor McLennan reported the good news that the asset management strategy had been ratified, meaning for the first time in years there would be stock investment leading to home improvements and plans to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Questions from the Opposition and other Non- Executive Members

Questions will be put to the Executive

Minutes:

Councillor Hunter referred to the Willesden Green week of action which had started that day.  She stated that she had received the final programme of events only that morning.  She expressed her frustration that one of the lessons from the previous Church End week of action had not been learnt which was to keep residents and councillors fully involved during the preparations for such a week.  The week represented a major investment of time and money by the Council and partner agencies and she asked what steps were being taken to evaluate what is achieved during the week so that improvements could be made for future such weeks.  Councillor Denselow replied that the weeks of action were designed to ensure there was a joined up approach to the delivery of services to local areas.  He stated that the Council was getting better at organising them but acknowledged that the points were well made by Councillor Hunter and stated that he was open to ideas on how to improve the initiative, including being able to internally communicate with members better without setting the agenda too rigidly.  Councillor Hunter responded that the true test as to whether the weeks were worthwhile would be to see if they led to long term change in the cleanliness and environment of the local streets.  Despite requesting it she had not seen a detailed evaluation of the Harlesden week.  She reiterated the importance of reviewing the project so that lessons could be learnt and stated that too often the Council failed to provide feedback to the local residents in these situations.  Councillor Hunter acknowledged that not all activities could be measured but a lot could be so that lessons could be learnt.

 

Councillor Daly asked if it was agreed that it was a disgrace that children arrived at school hungry and that as the Government seemed incapable of tackling the cost of living crisis the Council should take the lead by extending eligibility for free school meals.  Councillor Pavey replied that the Government was overseeing a return to Dickensian levels of poverty.  He referred to a 300% increase in food bank usage with one quarter of the cases as a direct result of the Government’s welfare reforms.  He referred to increasing child poverty and children attending school not having eaten breakfast.  He agreed that extending free school meals was an excellent initiative, with the current eligibility being limited.  He confirmed that the Council was actively exploring the feasibility of extending free school meals to every primary school child in Brent.  Implementation would involve support from the schools and public health service and would be staggered over a period of time.  Councillor Daly responded by sharing some of her experiences as a health visitor working with families in recent weeks. She had met 14 year olds who could only have school meals 2 weeks out of 4 because their parents could not afford them and she saw the situation getting worse.  She felt the Council could not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

First reading debate on the 2014/15 - 2017/18 budget pdf icon PDF 136 KB

A report in accordance with the requirement in Standing Order 24(b) as set out in Part 3 of the Constitution to present the financial position of the Council, financial forecasts for the following year and the possible expenditure priorities of the Executive. There shall then be a debate on the issues raised in that report held in accordance with Standing Order 44 hereinafter called a “First Reading Debate”.’   

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Butt opened the debate by referring to difficult times for the Council and residents of Brent.  Next year’s budget required a saving of £18M and for the years after further savings totalling £52M.  This would result in the Council having £100m less to spend on services than it did in 2010.  He outlined the effect that Government policies were having on the residents of Brent.  Councillor Butt explained that the proposed budget had been designed to protect the most vulnerable residents in the borough and make Brent a fairer place to live.  He referred to the move to the civic centre which would save the Council £2m per year and the opening of the new library that had doubled the number of visitors compared to the old Town Hall library.  By 2014 the One Council programme would have achieved savings of £74M; £3m had been saved by halving the top management team of the Council and the new public realm contract would make the borough a cleaner and greener place to live whilst delivering savings of £1.3m per year.  Councillor Butt pointed out that this was the first time that such a list of savings had been presented to members this early in the budget process.  He stated that he wanted to hear the views of members because there would be some difficult decisions to be taken.  Council Tax had been frozen for the last 4 years and would be again next year.  Residents were being helped to save money by taking part in the Big London Energy switching scheme.  The Council now paid the London Living Wage to all its staff and local businesses were being urged to do the same.  Support was being provided to the 2,000 families most affected by the benefit reforms through the innovative Navigator programme.  A priority for the Council was to help local businesses to grow.  Councillor Butt stated that the opening of the London Designer Outlet was a major step forward to make this a reality.  The Council had already cut car parking charges to assist local shops and would soon be launching the Brent small business hub.  Work was being undertaken to implement the Council’s regeneration programme, provide more school places and build more new homes.  New arrangements had been introduced to provide meals on wheels which involved local business outlets providing them.  Councillor Butt thanked residents who had got involved in the budget setting process and submitted the report circulated for debate. 

 

Councillor Lorber referred to the reference to difficult times and reminded the meeting that such times had been identified back in 2008 when the Administration at that time was advised that whatever Government was next elected there would be a substantial reduction in funding for local government.  A programme was therefore embarked upon which included re-organising the Council and making efficiencies.  This was the beginning of the One Council programme referred to by the Leader.  Councillor Lorber referred to the report which stated that regardless of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Reports from the Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To receive reports from the Chairs of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in accordance with Standing Order 41.

Minutes:

Councillor Ashraf referred to the report circulated with the summons.  He explained the report set out the key discussions undertaken within the five main committees and thanked member and officers for their contributions.

10.

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

A report detailing the provision of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 which includes the power to refuse a licence and to revoke licences if the dealer is considered unsuitable.  The Council has powers to exercise the licensing function under the relevant Act. These powers need to be delegated to committee, sub-committee and officer level and fees need to be set.

Minutes:

Members considered the report detailing the provisions of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 which included the power to refuse a licence and to revoke licenses if the dealer was considered unsuitable.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)        that the changes to the legislation and the enactment of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 be noted;

 

(ii)       that the functions of considering and approving non-contentious applications for scrap metal dealer licences, and of processing minor amendments (variations) to such applications be delegated to the Strategic Director for Environment and Neighbourhoods;

 

(iii)      that the function of considering appeals against officer decisions or contentious applications for scrap metal dealer licences be delegated to the General Purposes (Licensing) Sub-Committee;

 

(iv)      that the fees proposed in paragraphs 3.18 and 3.20 of the report circulated be agreed;

 

(v)       that the function of determining fees in future for scrap metal dealers licence applications be delegated to the Executive;

 

(vi)      that the necessary amendments to the Council’s Constitution to bring these changes into effect be approved.

11.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 328 KB

A report proposing changes to the Constitution to reflect the decisions taken by the General Purposes Committee on 28th March 2013 and 7th November 2013 to restructure the senior management of the Council and also recommending other miscellaneous changes required in relation to Contract Standing Orders and other matters. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the report which proposed changes to the Constitution to reflect the decisions taken by the General Purposes Committee on 28 March 2013 and 7 November 2013 to restructure the senior management of the Council and also recommended other miscellaneous changes required in relation to Contract Standing Orders and other matters.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the changes shown as tracked changes in Appendix 1 of the report to reflect the changes to the management structure and the miscellaneous changes to the constitution be agreed.

12.

Health and Wellbeing Board voting membership pdf icon PDF 117 KB

A report setting out the views of the Health and Wellbeing Board on voting proposals, which it discussed at its meeting on the 3rd July 2013 and calling on the Council to make a final decision.

Minutes:

Members considered the report setting out the views of the Health and Wellbeing Board on voting proposals, which the Board discussed at its meeting on 3 July 2013, and called for a final decision to be made.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)         that the response from the Health and Wellbeing Board on the consultation on voting rights be noted;

 

(ii)        that all members of the Health and Wellbeing Board be given voting rights, except council officers;

 

(iii)       that the quorum for the Health and Wellbeing Board be four voting members, with at least two councillors and two other voting members present in order for a meeting to take place.

13.

Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 74 KB

A report proposing that the JHOSC should continue to meet, with an updated remit to scrutinise the actual implementation of the “Shaping a Healthier Future” programme across North West London.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the report that proposed that the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee should continue to meet with an updated remit to scrutinise the actual implementation of the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme across North West London.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)         that a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) with Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and Westminster be appointed in order to monitor the implementation of the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ reconfiguration of health services across North West London;

 

(ii)        that Councillor Daly be appointed as a voting member of the JHOSC and Councillor Ketan Sheth be appointed as Councillor Daly’s alternate, with voting rights;

 

(iii)       that the JHOSC be delegated the scrutiny powers in relation to health services in North West London as set out in the draft terms of reference included as Appendix 1 to the report submitted;

 

(iv)       that none of the functions or powers of the Council either individually or jointly, under Regulation 23 of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013 be delegated to the JHOSC;

 

(v)        that the Council’s membership of the JHOSC be reviewed on an annual basis at its annual meeting at which time it will also agree the Council’s nominated member and alternate member of the JHOSC;

 

(vi)       that the Constitution be amended to reflect the appointment of the JHOSC.

14.

Setting of Council Tax Discretionary Discounts for 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

A report detailing the classes and discounts currently applicable and seeking approval of the discounts and premiums to be applied to these classes for 2014/15, including changes to the discount for properties requiring major repair works or structural alterations to bring them back into a habitable condition.

Minutes:

Members received the report detailing the classes and discounts currently applicable and seeking approval of the discounts and premiums to be applied to these classes for 2014/15, including changes to the discount for properties requiring major repair works or structural alterations to bring them back into a habitable condition.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)         that the discount applicable to former exemption “Class A” properties (Discount Class D) be reduced from 50% to 0% from 1 April 2014;

 

(ii)        that the discounts and premiums applicable to the other classes (Discount Class C, second homes and long term empty properties) remain unchanged for 2014/15 as detailed in paragraph 3.2 of the report submitted.

15.

2013/14 mid year treasury report pdf icon PDF 202 KB

A report updating Members on recent treasury activity which has already been submitted to the Executive and Audit Committee.

Minutes:

Members received the report updating them on recent treasury activity which had already been submitted to the Executive and Audit Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that the 2013/14 mid-year Treasury report as also submitted to the Executive and Audit Committee be noted.

16.

Motions

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

16a

Tackling violence against women

Minutes:

Councillor John moved the motion circulated in her name.  She thanked Councillors Harrison, Hunter and Kabir for their work on the task group.  Although the very successful work of the task group was not yet complete, Councillor John stated the matter was being brought to Full Council to engage all members in the issues and get all party agreement to taking the matter forward.  She referred to the Member development session that was taking place on 21 November dealing with the issues concerned with violence against women and urged as many colleagues as possible to attend.   Councillor John referred back 20 years to when the issues had first been raised and stated that not enough progress had been made until more recently.  She felt it was now time to bring the issues up to date again.  She referred to statistics on the practices world-wide and the fact they broke two UN charters.  Despite this the practices were still widespread in some parts of the world and bore a direct relation to gender inequality.  Councillor John referred to a very good House of Lords report which would be available at the development session about the incidence of forced marriages.  She referred to press campaigns and stories highlighting cases of violence against women that had taken place across the world and in the UK.  She called on the Council to support the motion and adopt the 5 year target set by the Government to end all practices which caused physical or emotional distress to women.  In support of this, Councillor John referred to the good work being done on these issues by London Councils and other London Boroughs.  Councillor Hunter supported the motion by calling on all members to think what they could do to prevent violence against women and girls.  She drew attention to White Ribbon day which was started by a man which she felt was significant.  She referred to young people being interviewed on the radio about lowering the age of consent and all of them expressing the view that better sex education in schools and teaching respect for each other would help towards ending these practices, which she supported.  Councillor Kansagra supported the motion by recognising the shameful practise that took place and he added to this the issues of human trafficking, forced prostitution and domestic violence.  He stated that the Government had enabled more prosecutions to take place but more resources were needed to help the victims and punish offenders.  Councillor HB Patel added that everyone needed to speak out against such violence.

 

The motion was put to the vote and declared unanimously CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)         that the work of the members’ task group on Tackling Violence against Women and Girls in Brent be commended; recognising that the task group is committed to ending harmful practices by raising public awareness of issues such as female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages and honour-based violence with these practices, and all instances of violence against women, constituting illegal,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16a

16b

Cleaner streets in Brent

Minutes:

Councillor Lorber moved the motion circulated in his name which sought to call on the Executive to improve the cleanliness of the streets.  He submitted that the condition of the borough’s streets had deteriorated and that the new public realm contract would not deal with the problem.  A new approach was needed with increased enforcement to make examples of those people who polluted the streets.

 

In response, Councillor Mashari stated that flytipping was at a two year low because of the free bulky waste collection.  Extensive enforcement action already took place and the naming and shaming of the culprits was the toughest it had ever been.  Councillor Mashari stated that the new public realm contract would continue with this work.  An alternative view expressed was that the two year low figure referred to indicated it had increased over that period from a lower level when the previous Administration was in control.  It was stated that between 2006 and 2010 the streets were cleaner and that there was now less resident satisfaction with targets for recycling and reducing fly tipping missed.  However it was suggested that the opportunity was being taken to oppose the new public realm contract before it had started because it was clear that in 2014 it would provide a better service as a result of the redesign of the service.  This was disputed and the suggestion was made that a network of street watchers should be established to report on areas needing to be cleaned up.  

 

The motion was put to the vote and declared LOST.

 

16c

Parking

Minutes:

Councillor Kansagra moved the motion circulated in his name which sought to introduce some free parking, restrict the hours of enforcement on Wembley event days and re-introduce parking scratch cards.  He stated that Wembley High Street had been neglected and it suffered as a result of neighbouring shopping areas having cheap parking.  He submitted that if the London Designer Outlet and local businesses were to be successful they needed to be provided with parking.  He added that the existing Wembley event day parking restrictions interfered with local businesses and the social lives of local residents.

 

A comparison of parking charges with Harrow was made which showed charges were higher in Brent.  It was suggested that a working group should be established to consider the operation of the Wembley Event Day parking scheme and the traffic congestion that was caused on event days.  However, it was felt that one hour before an event was not long enough.  Councillor Lorber moved an amendment to the motion seeking to note that high parking charges were harming the local economy, to establish a working Group to review the Wembley Event day scheme and proposing alternative charging arrangements. 

 

Councillor J Moher responded that parking was just one factor that affected town centres and that the major factor harming them was the recession.  Action had been taken to reduce parking charges in the Preston Road area and it was submitted that all was not better in Harrow.  He criticised the motion for failing to identify how much the proposals would cost the Council and how the loss of revenue would be made up.

 

The amendment to the motion was put to the vote and declared LOST

 

The motion was put to the vote and declared LOST.

 

17.

Urgent business

At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business.

Minutes:

None.