Agenda, decisions and minutes
Venue: Conference Hall - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ
Contact: Thomas Cattermole, Head of Executive and Member Services 020 8937 5446, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor's Statement - Order of Business
Before consideration of the formal agenda, the Mayor informed members of a change to the order of business set out on the original summons. As there were a number of requests to speak from the public, the Mayor advised he was intending, in accordance with Standing Order 30, to move the relevant items forward on the agenda for consideration following the Mayor’s Announcements.
It was therefore RESOLVED that:
(1) The business to be considered at the meeting be re-arranged in the following order:
· Agenda Item 5 – Deputations
· Agenda Item 6 – Questions from Members of the Public
(2) The remaining items of business follow in the same order as listed on the agenda
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence from Members of the Council.
Apologies received from Councillors Abdi, Dixon, Mashari, R.Patel and Pavey.
The Mayor advised that direct apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Abdirazak, Dixon, Mashari, R.Patel and Pavey.
An apology for lateness was also received from Councillor Colacicco.
To confirm as a correct record, the attached minutes of the previous meeting of the Council held on Monday 9 July 2018.
Minutes of the Council meeting held on 9 July 2018 agreed as a correct record, subject to the spelling of Councillor Muhammed Butt’s name being corrected on page 18.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 9 July 2018 be approved as a correct record, subject to the spelling of Councillor Muhammed Butt’s name being corrected under Minute 15 (iv) (Questions from Opposition and Non-Cabinet Members).
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
No interests declared.
There were no interests declared by Members at the meeting.
Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)
To receive any announcements from the Mayor.
NOTED the announcements from the Mayor in relation to:
· Mayors Civic Service
· Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
· Flag Raising Ceremonies
· Tokyo Metropolitan Government visit
· Srebrenica Memorial Ceremony
· Civic Centre Floor Walking
· London Remembers WW1 commemorative event
· Borough Remembrance Sunday
· Mayors Fundraising Gala Dinner
The Mayor made the following announcements:
(i) Civic Service
The Mayor thanked all colleagues, guests, friends and visiting Mayors from across London for attending his Civic Service on the 30th July which had been held to celebrate his year in office and promote his two chosen charities, SUFRA and the READ Foundation.
He advised this had been the first time the event had been held in the Civic Centre, which he thanked the Chief Executive for hosting.
(ii) Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
The Mayor took the opportunity to wish everyone who celebrated Rosh Hashanah a Happy New Year. He also reminded members that this week marked Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish calendar and therefore wished all those celebrating a happy Yom Kippur.
(iii) Flag Raising Ceremonies
The Mayor was pleased to advise Members that two successful Flag raising events had been held since the last Council meeting. The first to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day on 14 August, and second India’s Independence Day on 15 August, with both being well attended.
He also informed Members they would be welcome to attend a Nigerian flag raising ceremony taking place at noon on Monday 1 October in the Paul Daisley Garden.
(iv) Tokyo Metropolitan Visit
The Mayor informed Members that the Council had hosted a visit from representatives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on 21 August. As he had unfortunately been unable to attend, he thanked the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ezeajughi for hosting the event.
The delegation had come to Brent to understand and learn about the Council’s flexible working policy and how elected members functioned in a modern council with the visit including a tour of the Civic Centre. The delegation had been impressed by what was being achieved in Brent with diminishing funding.
(v) Srebrenica Memorial Event
The Mayor advised he had also recently been humbled to attend a Srebrenica Memorial Day event at the Civic Centre. The event, which was held all over Europe, had been held to commemorate the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide during the Bosnian War in July 1995.
(vi) Civic Centre Floor walking
The Mayor informed Members that he, along with the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council and Deputy Leader, had over the summer, undertaken a series of floor walks across the Civic Centre in order to meet Brent’s staff.
He had thoroughly enjoyed meeting and spending time with staff members, which had also provided a great opportunity to understand what happens in each department on a daily basis, along with a chance for staff to ask questions.
Further floor walks were planned over the coming weeks, which he felt provided a useful reminder of the great workforce in Brent and hard work being undertaken on a daily basis for residents.
(vii) London Remembers WWI Commemorative event
The Mayor advised Members that he had been honoured to represent the Borough at the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London commemorative Drumhead Service at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 1 ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 32.
NOTED the deputation received from pupils of Newman Catholic College School requesting the installation of public lighting in Roundwood Park and response provided by the Cabinet Member for Environment. Whilst no budget was maintained by the Council for the installation of new lighting the Cabinet Member for Environment advised she would be willing to explore (in conjunction with the Leader and Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) what other funding sources may be available and also to work with the school in developing a programme of advice for pupils around staying safe in the park.
The Mayor advised that, in accordance with Standing Order 32, he had received a request for one deputation at the meeting, which had been submitted by Mr Tahmid Islam (representing Newman Catholic College Community School) and related to the installation of public lighting in Roundwood Park. The Mayor welcomed Mr Islam along with the pupils attending from Newman Catholic College Community School and then invited Councillor Kelcher (as one of the local ward councillors in Kensal Green where the school was located) to introduce the deputation.
Councillor Kelcher introduced the deputation, advising that the speakers would be pupils from Newman Catholic College Community School who had been working with Citizens UK on various initiatives designed to improve the safety of citizens in the Harlesden area. These initiatives had included the creation of a safe space scheme involving local shops in Park Parade and Harlesden High Street as well as various other outreach work in which a number of local councillors had been engaged. He was therefore pleased to be able to welcome and introduce the pupils to the meeting.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Kelcher for his introduction and invited the pupils to address the meeting. As part of the deputation Members were advised that pupils at the school had been working closely with Citizens UK on various projects which had included the Safe Spaces community safety scheme, one of the largest in London for which the school had won an award. In addition, the pupils advised they were also campaigning for the installation of public lighting in the vicinity of the skate park within Roundwood Park as a means of preventing crime and improving safety in that area. As part of this process Councillor Muhammed Butt (as Leader of the Council) had attended an election assembly at the school in March. The Leader of the Council had advised that whilst keen to light up the park, funding constraints would make this difficult with the cost of the additional lighting being sought for the Park estimated at between £55-60k. As part of their research for the deputation, the pupils had identified the potential use of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as an alternative funding source, with the estimated cost representing approx 8% of the current Neighbourhood CIL reserve. The pupils were therefore keen to explore with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways & Planning the basis for allocation of Neighbourhood CIL funding in support of community led initiatives for the local area in which the school was based, highlighting that the proposals were also backed by a 150 signature local petition, and to receive an update from the Leader of the Council on potential alternative means of funding the lighting proposals.
The Mayor thanked the pupils from Newman Catholic College Community School for their comments and then invited Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Cabinet Member for Environment, to respond to the deputation. Councillor Krupa Sheth thanked the pupils for attending and congratulated them for all their efforts and work being undertaken, recognising its ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
For members of the public to ask questions to members of the Cabinet, in accordance with Standing Order 33.
Two questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.
1. The written response provided by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform on a question submitted from a member of the public relating to Housing Association Right to Buy and housing transfers. No supplementary question was asked.
2. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Deputy Leader of the Council on a question submitted from a member of the public on protection of Metropolitan open land and space at Northwick Park under the One Public Estate initiative and expressing concern about information provided for a Developers Forum regarding the initiative not having been shared with residents.
The Mayor advised that, in accordance with Standing Order 33, two questions had been received from the following members of the public:
Question 1 from Mrs Kalavatiben Patel to Councillor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform relating to Housing Association Right to Buy and housing transfers.
Question 2 from Ms Gaynor Lloyd to Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader, seeking assurances on the protection of Metropolitan open land and space at Northwick Park under the One Public Estate initiative.
Members noted the written response to the questions, circulated with the agenda. The Mayor advised that both members of the public had been invited to attend the meeting in order to ask a supplementary question. Whilst Mrs Patel had advised she would not be attending the Mayor welcomed Gaynor Lloyd to the meeting and invited her to put her supplementary question to the Deputy Leader, for which he advised she would have one minute.
Supplementary Question from Gaynor Lloyd to Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader
Gaynor Lloyd began by expressing concern at the time limit placed on her supplementary question, which was a restriction she felt had not been made clear in advance of the meeting. In response, the Chief Executive clarified that the purpose of this session of the meeting was to deal with supplementary questions rather than consider any wider contributions on the issues raised.
Highlighting the response received to a recent Freedom of Information request, Gaynor Lloyd began by highlighting comments made in relation to the content of a press release prepared to accompany the One Public Estate report to Cabinet in February 2018 on green space plans. She also advised that she had been made aware of the employment by the four current partners involved in the Northwick Park One Public Estate initiative of GVA consultants in order to prepare professional representations for the first Local Plan public consultation and options paper which residents had not been advised of in relation to concerns over the access road and One Public Estate proposals.
In view of the earlier clarification provided, the Mayor advised Gaynor Lloyd that she would need to move on to her supplementary question. As a result the Deputy Leader was asked to confirm why facts shared with a Developer Forum as part of the first Local Plan consultation about the possibility of Northwick Park involving a high density development had not been shared with local residents and also why the professional representations produced by GVA for the public consultation had also not been shared with local residents.
In response, Councillor McLennan, thanked Gaynor Lloyd for her question and highlighted that the written response provided to her initial question had included an update on where things currently stood in relation to the Northwick Park One Public Estate initiative, including the status of the site. She confirmed that no final decisions had yet been made and that the final proposals would be subject to public consultation. Councillor McLennan advised that she was not aware of the concerns raised ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To agree any appointments to Committees, Joint Committees, Forums, Panels and Outside Bodies (if any); and the appointments of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) in accordance with Standing Order 30 (g).
AGREED the appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies, as detailed in the supplementary paper.
The Mayor referred Members to the supplementary pack circulated in advance of the meeting, which contained a list of changes to appointments on Council Committees, Sub Committees and other bodies.
It was RESOLVED that the following be approved:
(1) To continue the Council’s membership of the North West London Joint Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) until 31 December 2018 to enable a review to be undertaken, with Councillor Ketan Sheth remaining as the Council’s appointed representative and Councillor Nerva as substitute member.
(2) To confirm the appointment of William Goh as an Independent Person under the Council’s Standards Framework for a two year term of office.
To receive the report from the Leader and Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 31 setting out any key or significant issues arising from matters within their portfolios.
Members are asked to note that this session will include an opportunity (within the time available) for non-Cabinet members to ask questions of relevant Cabinet Members.
NOTED the report and accompanying updates provided by the Leader of the Council in relation to Council priorities and Cabinet Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure in relation to progress on the London Borough of Culture and Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment & Skills in relation to development of the Skills for Life, Sure Start, Brent Works, Living Room and West London Health programmes along with current performance across the boroughs schools.
Responses were also provided by the relevant Cabinet Members on the following questions raised during the open session of this part of the meeting:
· Councillor Donnelly-Jackson seeking details on plans to make the Borough of Culture programme as inclusive and accessible as possible.
· Councillor Kansagra seeking an update on the removal of culturally sensitive advertisements from public toilets and thanking the Leader of the Council for his apology to community representatives on the matter.
· Councillor Nerva on the steps being taken by the Council in order to identify the potential risks and mitigate the potential impact from the outcome of any “hard” Brexit.
As part of the response on this question, Members noted that a further report on the impact of Brexit would be provided for the next Council meeting.
· Councillor Choudhary regarding measures being taken to provide adequate funding for schools in order to maintain performance.
· Councillor Chan congratulating the Council on the successful prosecution of the former headteacher along with other former staff and governors at Copeland School and asking the Council to acknowledge the contribution made by Hank Roberts in raising the initial “whistleblowing” concerns, which was AGREED by the Mayor.
· Councillor Colwill regarding the impact of the financial operating loss at Bridge Park Community Centre.
The Mayor referred Members to the written report which had been circulated with the agenda providing updates from the Leader and Cabinet Members in relation to their portfolios. He then invited the Leader and other Cabinet Members to provide updates on any significant issues to be highlighted. Once these updates had been provided, he reminded Members that the remaining time available would be opened up for any non-Cabinet members to question (without the need for advance notice) Cabinet Members on matters relating to their portfolios.
The following updates were provided by the Leader and Cabinet Members:
(a) Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council
Councillor Muhammed Butt took the opportunity to update Members on work being undertaken to review the priorities within London Councils in order to ensure they were aligned with those of the constituent boroughs. Key priorities for focus had been identified as housing, employment and skills alongside managing the impact arising from implementation of the Government’s programme of welfare reforms.
In accordance with Standing Order 14 (f) Councillor Butt also reported use of the Key Decision and Forward Plan urgency procedure in relation to the following decisions:
(a) Cabinet (16 July 2018): Harlesden Neighbourhood Plan; and
(b) Strategic Director Community Wellbeing (18 July 2018): Extra Care Schemes – Beechwood Court, Harrod Court and Tulsi House.
Having completed his update the Leader then invited Councillors Krupesh Hirani (Cabinet Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure) and Amer Agha (Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment and Skills) to present additional updates in relation to their portfolios.
(b) Councillor Hirani (Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure & Culture)
Councillor Hirani took the opportunity to update Members on progress with preparations for the Borough of Culture highlighting the success of two recent summits held in order to seek views and further develop proposals. He reminded Members of the aim to place young people at the heart of the programme which was already being used as an opportunity to secure and focus investment in the arts, culture and young people across the borough. This had resulted in a number of positive changes across the borough supported by establishment of the “Love Where you Live” grant programme, which he was keen to encourage all Members to support working with their local communities. In addition he advised Members of the successful launch, following the recent summits, of the “Youth Stories of Brent” documentary produced by young film makers within the borough and of the opportunities being developed to link with the UEFA European Football Championship also taking place in 2020.
(c) Councillor Agha (Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment and Skills)
Councillor Agha took the opportunity to update Members on the progress and achievements being led by the Council’s Employment and Skills service. The service was involved in supporting the delivery of a number of key initiatives and he highlighted, as examples, the achievements in relation to the following schemes:
· Brent Start in supporting residents develop skills for life and employment;
· Brent Works in supporting residents seeking ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Annual Report from the Leader
To receive an annual report on the work of the Council from the Leader of the Council, in accordance with Standing Order 38.
Noted the annual report provided by the Leader of the Council on the work of the Council.
The Mayor invited Councillor Butt, Leader of the Council, to present (in accordance with Standing Order 38) his annual report on the work of the Council and state of the borough.
By way of introduction, Councillor Butt reminded Members that as part of his last annual report he had referred to the various challenges as well as opportunities faced by the Council. Despite the significant pressures and challenges still faced by the Council, he felt it was important to focus on the key priorities set in relation to Housing, adult social care, education, safeguarding of children and keeping residents safe from harm.
In relation to housing the current Administration were committed to creating a fairer future for Brent’s residents. In the absence of a lead from the Government, the Council was now taking steps to regulate the private rental market, take action against rogue landlords as well as being directly involved in providing good quality, genuinely affordable, and ethically managed homes with long term tenancies. As a council he was proud that this work had enabled the delivery of 49% more new build affordable housing than the London average.
In terms of Adult Social Care and ensuring dignity for elderly residents, whilst progress was being made in relation to the provision of higher quality, lower cost, independent living arrangements, payment of the living wage for carers and in attempting to relieve pressure on primary health services these efforts and innovations could only go so far. The fundamental issue remained the need for adequate government intervention as without proper regulation and sufficient funding, he felt the support being provided was at risk of being compromised.
In terms of education, whilst Brent’s schools were amongst the best in London he felt there were still too many young people struggling and at the risk of being left behind. Whilst working to addressing these issues this was being made more difficult by the Government’s ongoing financial restrictions.
In relation to safeguarding, Councillor Muhammed Butt was pleased to be able to report on the progress being made in meeting the challenge identified with the results of the recent Ofsted Inspection rating the levels of care provided to be nothing short of outstanding. He felt this represented an even greater achievement when taking account of the ongoing financial pressure on the Council and was testament to the hard work and dedication of staff tasked with safeguarding young lives in Brent which deserved to be celebrated.
Turning to the financial pressures on the Council created by the Governments ongoing programme of austerity, he highlighted the extent of the difficult choices and decisions still needing to be made, which he felt would only be made worse by Brexit.
Concluding his annual report and commenting on the state of the borough, Councillor Butt felt it was possible to highlight a huge amount as being achieved but also much more to do based on an ambitious, but at the same time pragmatic set of priorities and commitments with an enormous ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Petitions (if any)
For Members to refer to petitions received and debate any petition with more than 200 signatures, where such a request has been submitted in accordance with the Council’s petition rules and Standing Order 66.
No petitions requested for debate.
The Mayor informed Members that there were no petitions to be debated in accordance with the Council’s petition procedure and Standing Order 66.
To enable non Cabinet Members to debate an issue of relevance to Brent for which notice has been provided in accordance with Standing Order 34 and to receive reports from Cabinet members on issues previously raised.
The following motion was agreed as an outcome of the non-cabinet member debate:
The Government has now recognised the contribution of the Windrush generation and has established a national Windrush day for 22nd June in Britain’s calendar. This means that there will be a lasting memory of the Windrush Generation in perpetuity.
Brent is one of Europe’s most diverse communities and home to many BAME people. It celebrates all cultures equally. Significant talented individuals from families of the Windrush generation have grown up in Brent. They have excelled in their respective fields of sport, health, politics, the arts, science and technology and much much more. I believe that we should be celebrating the fact Brent is well known for its cultural diversity. We have an opportunity to put on an exciting event in 2020 as we celebrate being the Borough of Culture.
But the Council should not just stop at the 2020 celebration. It should be celebrating the pioneers from the Windrush generation every year to make sure that it has a lasting legacy. This is to make sure that we remember the contribution of their efforts to rebuild Britain after the Second World War and the fact that the Windrush generation has fully contributed to all aspect of British life.
As a result Brent Council agrees the proposal to recognise the contribution of the Windrush generation by:
(1) holding an annual Windrush event on 22nd June every year; and
(2) Proactively supporting communities across Brent to access Government funding to celebrate Windrush annually.
In accordance with Standing Order 34 the Mayor advised that the subject chosen for the Non Cabinet Member debate was on the Windrush generation.
Members were advised that the motion submitted as the basis for the debate had been circulated with the supplementary agenda for the meeting and that the time available for the debate was 30 minutes, with any Member wanting to contribute having up to two minutes to speak. The Mayor then invited Councillor Johnson to introduce the motion, who opened the debate by providing a brief history on the Windrush generation whose contribution, he was pleased to report, had now been formally recognised by the Government in the form of an annual celebration day on 22 June.
Whilst recognising the inhumane treatment of many members of the Windrush generation, Councillor Johnson advised he also supported the need to celebrate and recognise the contribution of what he regarded as the pioneers from this generation and wider Caribbean community. He felt that Brent, as one of the most diverse boroughs and home to many Black and Minority Ethnic communities could be regarded as a benchmark for community cohesion and cultural diversity and was therefore ideally placed to lead on the creation of a lasting legacy focussed not only around the Borough of Culture but also by agreeing to hold its own annual Windrush event to coincide with the national day of celebration on 22 June.
In addition, he advised he was also keen as part of a wider approach towards recognising the contribution of that generation and celebrating the boroughs cultural diversity, to proactively support communities from across the borough in seeking to access Government funding to establish their own neighbourhood celebrations. He therefore urged all members to support the motion put forward for debate.
The Mayor then opened up the debate to other Members, with the following comments made during the discussion that followed.
Councillor McLennan spoke in support of the motion highlighting her family history and links to the Windrush generation. Whilst the Government’s recent position had, she felt, been shameful she also agreed with the importance of recognising the significant contribution made by the Windrush generation and wider Caribbean community to all aspects of British Life.
Councillor Maurice spoke to highlight the Conservative Group’s support for the motion, recognising what he felt had been the enormous contribution made by the Caribbean community to the country. He also felt it was important for the Council to ensure that those individuals who continued to affected by the recent problems were referred to the Home Office Compensation Scheme for support.
Councillor Patterson, in highlighting his family’s connection to the Windrush generation advised he had been shocked when learning about how members of that original community had been treated. In supporting the motion, he hoped that the Government would take opportunity to learn from its mistakes in relation to how members of the community had been treated.
Councillor Mitchell Murray also took the opportunity to highlight her personal family history ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
For questions to be put to members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 35.
Details of the four questions received have been attached along with the written responses provided.
Members are asked to note that this session will also include an opportunity at the meeting (within the time available) for non-Cabinet members to ask questions of Cabinet.
1. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform in relation to a question submitted by Councillor Nerva on Blue Badge Fraud. As part of the response the Cabinet Member advised they would be willing to look at what further measures were in place or could be developed at a strategic level with other local authorities to co-ordinate action in relation to blue badge fraud and on which she would provide an update after the meeting.
2. The written response provided by the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning in relation to a question submitted by Councillor Colacicco on the Cricklewood Waste Depot. No supplementary question was asked.
3. The written response provided by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform to a question submitted by Councillor Donnelly-Jackson on the prevalence of out-of-borough placements within Brent. No supplementary question was asked.
4. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Cabinet Member for Environment to a question submitted by Councillor Maurice regarding the policy on introduction of Pay & Display as opposed to free parking and how this had been applied to parking schemes in Preston Road & Bridge Road compared to Wembley Park Drive.
Responses were also provided by the relevant Cabinet Members on the following additional questions raised during the open session of this part of the meeting:
· Councillor Shahzad on the action being taken to deal with the current backlog and delays in processing blue badge applications.
· Councillor Gill on the Council’s investment strategy in relation to fossil fuel companies given the increasing concerns relating to climate change.
· Councillor Choudhary on the measures in place to address concerns around cyber security and ensure the Council’s IT systems and data were secure.
· Councillor Long on the potential to offer the sale of individual visitor parking permits.
· Councillor Ahmed on the approach towards clearing of fly-tipping by the Council’s contractors with the Cabinet Member for Environment advising that she would provide the member with an update on the outcome of a recent related trial undertaken in Willesden, once the results had been analysised.
· Councillor Kansagra expressing concern about the proposed introduction of a diesel surcharge for car owners in the borough and what measures were being considered to mitigate the impact on those residents on low income likely to be affected.
· Councillor Kelcher on potential ways in which the Council may be able to open up and improve how residents are able to influence decisions regarding the provision of street furniture, which the Cabinet Member for Environment advised she would be willing to take back and consider in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning.
· Councillor Long on the billing for and use of allotments, which the Cabinet Member for Environment advised she would follow up with the Parks Service.
· Councillor Choudhary seeking details on the safeguards in place to ensure the Council avoided working with rogue bailiffs in pursing debts.
· Councillor Chan on action ... view the full decision text for item 13.
Before moving on to consider the questions submitted by non-Cabinet members, the Mayor reminded Members that a total of 30 minutes had been set aside to deal with this item which would begin with consideration of the written questions submitted in advance of the meeting along with any supplementary question. Once these had been dealt with, the remaining time available would then be opened up for any other non-Cabinet members to question Cabinet Members (without the need for advance notice) on matters relating to their portfolio.
The Mayor advised that four written questions had been submitted in advance for response by the relevant Cabinet Member. The written responses supplied had been circulated with the Council agenda. The Mayor then invited supplementary questions from the Members who had submitted the written questions.
13.1 Cllr Nerva thanked Councillor McLennan for the update provided on the action being taken to tackle Blue Badge fraud and as a supplementary asked:
· what consideration had been given about the further measures, if any, that could help to remind those applying that blue badges were for personal use; and
· what further action could be taken at a strategic level, working with other local authorities, to better co-ordinate enforcement activity and address concerns regarding improper use.
The supplementary question was responded to by Councillor Southwood (Cabinet Member for Housing & Welfare Reform) who, recognised the importance of the scheme, and advised she was therefore keen to ensure that all necessary action was taken to prevent and tackle fraudulent and improper use. This would include looking to ensure as clear a message as possible was provided to those applying regarding permitted use of the permits and also at what further measures were in place or could be developed at a strategic level with other local authorities to co-ordinate action in relation to blue badge fraud and on which she would provide an update after the meeting.
13.2 No supplementary question was asked by Councillor Colacicco in relation to the response provided by Councillor Tatler (as Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) on the Cricklewood Waste Depot.
13.3 No supplementary question was asked by Councillor Donnelly-Jackson in relation to the response provided by Councillor Southwood (Cabinet Member for Housing & Welfare Reform) on out-of-borough placements within Brent.
13.4 Councillor Maurice, as a supplementary question to Councillor Krupa Sheth (Cabinet Member for Environment) queried the consistency of the approach taken towards the introduction of 2 hour free parking provision along Wembley Park Drive when compared to the Pay and Display scheme which had been introduced in Preston Road and Bridge Road. On the basis of the response provided to the original question, he asked the Cabinet Member if she would be willing to consider removing the Pay & Display scheme in Preston Road and Bridge Road should residents (as part of a subsequent consultation or ballot) indicate they were not supportive.
In response Councillor Krupa Sheth (Cabinet Member for Environment) felt it was important to recognise that the decision not to proceed with ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
To receive reports from the Chairs of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees in accordance with Standing Order 46. The reports have been attached as follows:
13.1 Housing Scrutiny Committee
13.2 Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee
13.3 Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee
Members are asked to note that this session will include an opportunity (within the time available) for non-Cabinet members to ask questions of relevant Scrutiny Chair’s in relation to the remits of their Committees.
NOTED the update reports provided by the Chairs of the Housing, Resources & Public Realm and Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committees along with the responses provided by:
· Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning in relation to an issue raised under the Resources & Public Realm update on the phasing out of self-monitoring contracts;
· Deputy Leader in relation to an issue raised under the Resources & Public Realm update on improving access to Council services for those unable to interact on-line.
· Cabinet Member for Environment in relation to an issue raised under the Resources & Public Realm update on training and engagement of Neighbourhood Managers.
· Lead Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure in relation to an issue raised under the Community & Wellbeing update regarding the maintenance of support for diabetes prevention work
· Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care in relation to an issue raised under the Community & Wellbeing update on the action planned by Cabinet to address the issues highlighted under the Care Quality Commission Inspection report for hospitals in North West London; and
· Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment & Skills in relation to an issue raised under the Community & Wellbeing update on action being taken to address concerns around the underachievement of certain groups of pupils in schools, including black and Afro-Caribbean boys.
Responses were also provided by the relevant Scrutiny Chairs on the following additional questions raised during the open session for this part of the meeting:
· Councillor Choudhary seeking an update on progress with the Resources and Public Realm asset and property review.
· Councillor Daly regarding the potential follow up action being planned by the Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee in relation to the outcome of the Care Quality Commission report relating to hospitals across North West London given the ratings and concerns identified.
· Councillor Choudry on the involvement of Housing Scrutiny in seeking to promote and encourage the private sector to work more closely with the Council and other Registered Providers in terms of improving access to the housing sector.
Before being presented with the updates from each Scrutiny Chair, the Mayor reminded Members that the time set aside for this item was now 20 minutes, with each Chair having up to three minutes in which to highlight any significant issues arising from the work of their Committees on which they would like the relevant Cabinet Member to respond. Once these updates had been provided, the remaining time available would then be opened up for any other non-Cabinet members to question (without the need for advance notice) the Scrutiny Chairs on matters relating to the work of their Committees.
The following updates were provided by each of the Scrutiny Chairs:
14.1 Housing Scrutiny Committee
Councillor Long (Chair of the Committee) introduced the report and advised that issues considered at the most recent meeting (not included within the report) had been as follows:
· Consultation on the Council’s Allocation Policy, including retention of the choice based lettings system and proposals to place residents in private sector rather than temporary accommodation;
· Performance on the Estate Grounds Maintenance Contract, with members highlighting concerns regarding the contrast in service between certain estates and also in relation to detail available on the website. Members had also requested further detail on the possible use of Neighbourhood CIL on estate improvements;
· Impact of the extension of the Private Sector Landlord Licensing Scheme and action being taken to address the backlog of licensing applications, improve the availability of information for tenants and also in relation to enforcement activity on issues such as dumping of rubbish linked to licensed properties.
14.2 Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee
Councillor Kelcher (Chair of the Committee) introduced the report with the following issues identified for response by the relevant Cabinet Members:
· As part of the Committee’s review on the Highways Contract Performance concerns had been highlighted in relation to the self-monitoring nature of performance against the contract. The Committee had therefore been keen to seek an assurance from the Cabinet Member regarding plans to phase out the use of these type of contracts in future.
Responding to the issue raised, Councillor Tatler (Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) took the opportunity to thank the Committee for their work in this area and advised she was pleased to be able to report the signing of a Deed of Variation on the Highways Contract effective from 1 October designed to address the concerns identified in terms of managing and monitoring performance.
· As part of the Committee’s review of progress on the Digital Strategy and outcomes for vulnerable people, Members were keen to seek further details on the work being undertaken to target more vulnerable residents excluded or unable to access online services; encourage and incentivise residents to set up a My Brent Account and monitor how and where residents were accessing on-line services.
In response, Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader) advised that the need to ensure access to services was maintained for more vulnerable residents had already been recognised within the strategy including action to ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
To receive a report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee in accordance with Standing Order 37.
NOTED the update report provided by the Vice Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee.
The Mayor invited Councillor Choudry (as Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee) to introduce his report updating members on the work of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee.
As part of the report, Councillor Choudry referred to the update which had been provided on counter fraud and reference to an ongoing police investigation which he advised Members it would not be possible for him to comment on in any more detail pending the outcome of that process. Whilst pointing out that it was not unusual for organisations as large and complex as the Council to experience various types of fraud and not being complacent, he was keen to reassure Members about the robust nature of the Council’s anti-fraud and corruption strategy and work being undertaken by the Internal Audit function to combat fraud and ensure the necessary controls were in place.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Choudry for his update and it was RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.
Before moving on to deal with the next item, the Mayor advised Members that he had been handed a letter submitted by a member of the public during the meeting relating to specific housing matters. He confirmed that he had received the letter and would arrange for it to be passed on to the Cabinet Member for Housing & Welfare Reform for response outside of the meeting.
To receive a report from the Strategic Director of Regeneration & Environment seeking approval, following its consideration by Cabinet on 13 August 2018, of the Community Safety Strategy 2018-2021 and Action Plans.
(1) The detailed Community Safety Strategy 2018-2021 and Action Plans, as approved by Cabinet in August 2018.
(2) To note that the information provided within the report will be considered as part of planning of the Council’s wider operational development.
Councillor Tom Miller (Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities) introduced the report from the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment seeking approval of the Safer Brent Community Safety Strategy for 2018-2021.
In introducing the report he highlighted the positive steps made in relation to the CCTV upgrade, funding of additional police officers, stricter licensing policies, improved partnership working and tasking of resources with the strategy designed to guide the future direction of partnership working. Whilst the priorities within the strategy were not exhaustive development of the strategy had provided an opportunity to review progress and assess what more needed to be achieved as a partnership including as more long term strategic aims a move towards a more public health based approach in relation to prevention and less fragmentation of services.
Councillor Miller felt it was important to recognise the challenges still needing to be addressed within Brent and across London as a whole based on the resource restrictions imposed by central Government and also the impact arising from longer terms issues of social deprivation but felt that the focus on the key priorities within the strategy relating to violent crime; prevention and tasking of resources would provide a realistic outcome based approach towards tackling these issues under the Safer Brent Partnership.
As there were no other members who indicated they wanted to speak on the report, the Mayor then put the recommendations to the vote by a show of hands and they were unanimously CARRIED.
It was therefore RESOLVED:
(1) To approve the detailed Community Safety Strategy 2018-2021 and Action Plans, as agreed by Cabinet in August 2018.
(2) To note that the information provided within the report would also be considered as part of planning of the Council’s wider operational development.
This report updates Members on Treasury Management activity and confirms that the Council has complied with its Prudential Indicators for 2017/18. The report is due to be considered by Cabinet on 12 September 2018 and has been forwarded to Council, in compliance with CIPFAs Code of Practice on Treasury Management.
AGREED to consider and note the 2017-18 Treasury Management outturn report, in compliance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management.
Councillor McLennan introduced the report from the Chief Finance Officer which provided an update on Treasury Management activity and confirmed that the Council had complied with its Prudential Indicators for 2017/18. Members noted that the report had been approved and referred on to Council for consideration by Cabinet on 12 September 2018 in compliance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management.
As there were no other members who indicted they wanted to speak on the report, the Mayor put the recommendations to the vote by a show of hands and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.
It was therefore RESOLVED that Council note the 2017/18 Treasury Management Outturn Report in compliance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management.
To debate the motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 41.
Members are asked to note that the motions submitted will be circulated as a supplementary paper in advance of the meeting, in accordance with Standing Order 41(c).
17.1 The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:
“This council recognises that:
The Irish Troubles were an horrific conflict which, in just three short decades, costs the lives of over 3,500 people and injured 47,000 morethe vast majority of these victims were innocent civilians.
The Troubles claimed victims all across these islands, including in our city of London which in particular saw the Docklands attack, the most financially costly terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.
This council notes with pleasure that this seemingly intractable conflict was ended twenty years ago this year with the signing of the Belfast Agreement (aka Good Friday Agreement), and; that this milestone agreement has undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives and directly benefitted the many thousands of families with Irish heritage in Brent.
This council endorses the principles of the Agreement which include:
· self determination;
· abandonment of violence;
· recognition of both identities in Northern Ireland;
· power sharing;
This council notes with concern that in its twentieth year the Belfast Agreement has never been as threatened as it is today by the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland imposed by Britain’s exit from the European Union, which would undermine the ideas of inter-island cooperation, recognition of dual identities and self-determination in the Agreement.
This council resolves to:
· celebrate the Belfast Agreement as an historic achievement in all of its cultural work in Brent;
· register its opposition, on behalf of the Irish community in Brent, to a hard border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in writing to the relevant Secretary of State;
· continue to promote the values of consent, harmony and cooperation in its community work in the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.”
17.2 The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:
“As a major employer, and investor in local, regional, and national supply chains, this council recognises that, far too often, exploitative, unscrupulous, and abusive employment practices exist. This council condemns those practices and is committed to rooting them out
As part of its determination to tackle modern day slavery, this council adopts the following cooperative charter which sets out strategies for more rigorous supply chain management and reporting processes.
Whilst recognising the action already being taken, Brent Council will:
· Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.
· Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for noncompliance.
· Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.
· Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.
· Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
· Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy ... view the full decision text for item 18.
18.1 Motion from the Labour Group – Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement
The Mayor invited Councillor Kelcher to move the motion he had submitted on behalf of from the Labour Group who began by highlighting the importance of the Good Friday Agreement in marking the end of the conflict in Northern Ireland and outlining why he felt, given its significant impact, this deserved to be properly commemorated and celebrated. Having noted the positive impact which the Agreement had had in the region and on the Irish community in Brent, Councillor Kelcher advised he was concerned at the threat which he felt was now posed arising from the prospect of a “hard Brexit” and potential for a hard border. The motion, he pointed out, was therefore seeking support not only in recognising and celebrating the historic impact of the Agreement but also in terms of looking to maintain and defend its key principles, especially in relation to the potential outcome of the Brexit process.
The Mayor then invited up to two other contributions from the Labour Group, with the following members speaking in support of the motion:
Councillor Conneely highlighted the importance of the Agreement for the Irish community in Brent. Having recognised the bravery of those involved in securing the Agreement she was concerned at what she felt to be its consistent undermining by successive Conservative Governments since 2010 and advised that she was therefore proud to be supporting the motion in seeking a shared future of peace.
Councillor Gill felt it was important to recognise the impact of the conflict which had been ended by the Agreement and need to ensure that, as a result, the peace created over the last 20 years was protected. He therefore urged all Members to support the motion.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Colwill to respond to the motion on behalf of the Conservative Group who confirmed his Group would also be supporting the motion in recognition of the historic impact and importance of the Good Friday Agreement. Whilst supportive of the motion he felt that an option in relation to addressing the concerns raised about the potential impact of any hard border from the Brexit negotiations, would be for the Council to consider supporting the border solution put forward by the European Reform Group.
In exercising his right of reply, Councillor Kelcher thanked members for their support and in recognising the impact and importance of the Agreement.
The Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was unanimously declared CARRIED:
“This council recognises that:
The Irish Troubles were an horrific conflict which, in just three short decades, costs the lives of over 3,500 people and injured 47,000 morethe vast majority of these victims were innocent civilians.
The Troubles claimed victims all across these islands, including in our city of London which in particular saw the Docklands attack, the most financially costly terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.
At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business, in accordance with Standing Order 30 (r).
The Mayor advised Members there were no urgent items of business for consideration.
The meeting was therefore declared closed at 8:25pm.