Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Nikolay Manov, Governance Officer  Tel: 020 8937 1348; Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 64.


The following apologies for absence were received:

·                     Councillor Hoda Benn

·                     Alloysius Frederick (Co-opted Member)

·                     Simon Goulden (Co-opted Member)

·                     Lesley Gouldbourne (Observer).



Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda.


Councillor Ketan Sheth declared that he was a former governor at Woodfield School.


Councillor Colwill declared that he was a governor at St Gregory's Catholic Science College and that his wife was a governor at Brent River College.   


Ms Cooper declared that she worked at The Village School.



Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.


There were no deputations received.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.


Additional documents:



(i)     The minutes of the previous meeting, held on 22 November 2017, be approved as an accurate record; and


(ii)    The minutes of the special meeting, held on 6 December 2017, be approved as an accurate record.



Matters arising (if any)




Order of Business


RESOLVED that the order of business be amended as set up below.



Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.


Councillor Nerva explained that he had asked the Committee to consider the impact of academisation on the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision in the Borough. He referred to the potential conversion of The Village School into an academy and said that it was important to ensure that academisation did not have a negative impact on the delivery of SEND education plans. Jenny Cooper (Brent NEU) clarified that the consultation on the proposed academisation of The Village School would end on 9 February 2018 and governors would vote on the proposal on 28 February 2018. She said that part of the consultation provided information that if the proposal was to be approved, resources such as therapy teams would be joined with Woodfield School as part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). Ms Cooper expressed concern that this would have a negative impact on provision. Furthermore, she said that schools which had converted to academies experienced recruitment and retention problems and noted that The Village School had a good mix of staff with various level of experience. A Member of the Committee commented that The Village School had a support network that had been set up with United Colleges Group (formerly The College of North West London) and said that it could be jeopardised if the school was converted to an academy.


Councillor Mili Patel (Lead Member for Children and Young People) thanked Councillor Nerva for bringing the issue of SEND provision to the attention of the Committee and invited Gail Tolley (the Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People) to comment on the issues raised. Ms Tolley said that there were four special schools in Brent, two of which were academies and two of which were maintained by the local authority. She spoke about Manor School which had become an academy on 1 April 2017 following a consultation which had taken place in the autumn of 2016. Ms Tolley stressed that there had not been a negative impact on SEND provision as a result of this decision and noted that the SEND offer would be developed further as a new special school (The Avenue) opened later in the year led by the Manor School. Addressing Ms Cooper’s point about recruitment and retention, Ms Tolley highlighted that Woodfield School had maintained the terms and conditions and the pay of staff after it had converted to an academy.


Ms Tolley summarised that there had not been any experience to demonstrate that academisation had had a negative impact on the local SEND provision. However, as Members commented that there were concerns which may require further investigation, the Chair recommended that these could be discussed at a separate meeting with Ms Tolley and Councillor Mili Patel.



(i)    The comments made in relation to the impact of academisation on the local SEND provision, be noted;


(ii)    Councillor Nerva and other interested Members of the Committee be encouraged to meet with Councillor Mili Patel and Gail Tolley to identify specific issues that may  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Complaints Annual Report 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

This version of the 2016-2017 Annual Complaints report focuses on complaints performance in the Community Wellbeing (CWB) Department, Adult Social Care (ASC) directorate, Culture service and the Children and Young People (CYP) Department. The report covers the period from April 2016 to March 2017 and comparative data going back to 2013/14 has been provided where available. 


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Councillor Margaret McLennan (Deputy Leader of the Council) introduced the report which provided information about complains performance in the Community and Wellbeing Department, the Adult Social Care Directorate, the Culture Service and the Children and Young People Department. She said that the number of stage 1 complaints had been decreasing and the time it had taken to respond to complains had improved vastly over the last three years. However, more cases had been escalated to stage 2 of the process, but fewer of them had been upheld. Service delay / failure had been the most common cause for complains in 2016-17 (same as in previous years). The Council’s Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet received reports on a quarterly basis and complaints were part of the regular discussions between Cabinet Members and lead officers. Irene Bremang (the Council’s Head of Performance and Improvement) added that although a high number of cases had been escalated to the Ombudsman, almost half of the complaints had been returned back without further consideration – for example, in 2016-2017, only 25 out of 170 cases had been upheld. Councillor McLennan said that responding to complaints had been a key priority for all departments and responses were strictly monitored to ensure the number of cases escalated to stage 2 and the Ombudsman was reduced. She noted that the number of complaints in the areas that fell under the remit of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee had gone down. 


Members of the Committee asked questions that related to the organisation’s attitude towards complains and the key lessons learned. Ms Bremang explained that there could be number of reasons for a complaint to be escalated to stage 2. She said that although a fair decision could have been made, residents had the right to request a review at the second stage and often decisions made at the first stage had been confirmed. Furthermore, some stage 2 complains were related to specific services, such as housing management, and action had been taken to address unsatisfactory performance, e.g. the service had been brought back in house. Ms Bremang added that lessons learned had been identified and included in the Complaints Action Plan, which had been agreed by Cabinet. Monitoring reports presented to CMT contained information about root causes and types of complaints as these could be related to processes, policies or service delivery. This allowed to identify issues to be addressed and enabled services to identify patters. Furthermore, Helen Woodland (the Council’s Operational Director, Social Care) referred to the services Brent had commissioned and said that sometimes complaints were related to providers, and, therefore, information from these was used to improve the commissioning process. 


Ms Bremang explained that sometimes complaints could be a result of a decision that had been made and the way it had been communicated. In response to a request to provide a specific example, Gail Tolley (the Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People) said that a potential source of complaints against the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) Scores 2015-2017 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The report provides an update on scores for Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) at local hospitals.

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Yvonne Smith (Head of Facilities at London North West Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust) introduced herself and provided background information about the Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) (page 79 to the Agenda pack).


Ms Smith said that assessments were carried on an annual basis between February and June. They were unannounced with the Trust, apart from the assessment team members, and were overseen by NHS Digital. It was important to note that each assessment concentrated on the care environment and did not look at staff behaviours or clinical care provision, with decisions being based entirely on the observations made at the actual time of the assessment. The Committee heard that the 2018 process was due to start on 1 February and recruitment of patient assessors was ongoing.


Members referred to section 2 of the report (page 81 to the Agenda pack), which provided an overview of scores in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and asked questions related to the Trust’s attitude towards cleanliness, standards and patient food at hospitals as well as actions taken by its leadership to address issues. Simon Crawford (Director of Strategy at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust) said that the Trust took patient experience very seriously and leadership had been disappointed with the food scoring at Northwick Park Hospital. Mr Crawford said that the low score could be due to the fact that not all patients liked the food choices available on wards and there were issues around meal times which had been addressed by the introduction of a Patient Protected Mealtimes and Beverages Policy, ‘weight-day weekends’ and the standardisation of the nutritional screening tool and food charts. In addition, a Trust Nutrition and Hydration Study Day would be held annually, following a successful pilot in September 2017 and external reviews related to nutrition and hydration had been undertaken by Healthwatch Brent. Ms Smith reassured the Committee that patient concerns had been addressed – in addition to the Patient Protected Mealtimes and Beverages Policy, a letter had gone out to consultant teams to encourage them to organise visits and diagnostic tests outside the protected times and patients who may need additional support would be identified.


The Committee noted that the hospital cleaning service had been outsourced to Compass Group and enquired if the Trust communicated with other hospitals using the same provider. Ms Smith responded that the service provided by Compass Group would be specific to London North West Healthcare NHS Trust as outlined in the contract between the two parties. However, monthly performance meetings took place and these were attended by representatives from Infection Control and Corporate Nursing. In addition, a Director at Compass Group attended a meeting every quarter and the Managing Director for healthcare attended a meeting annually. Ms Smith considered the contract to deliver good value for money and acknowledged that Compass Group had inherited a number of challenges which it had managed to overcome via regular training and support provided to staff. Mr Crawford added that an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Update on the scrutiny work programme (If any) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

The report updates Members on the Committee’s Work Programme for 2017/18 and captures scrutiny activity which has taken place outside of its formal meetings.

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RESOLVED that the contents of the Update on the Committee’s Work Programme 2017-18 report, be noted.