Agenda and minutes

Venue: Boardrooms 3-5 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Bryony Gibbs, Governance Officer  Tel: 020 8937 1355; Email:  bryony.gibbs@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Stopp and McLennan (Deputy Leader). Councillor Long was present as a substitute member of the committee in place of Councillor Stopp.

2.

Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Deputations (if any)

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

Minutes:

None.

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

5.

Matters arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

6.

Order of Business

Minutes:

That the order of business be amended as set out below.

7.

Supporting Business Growth in Brent pdf icon PDF 176 KB

The report outlines the actions taken to respond to the recommendations from the April 2017 Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee Task Group Report, as well as the wider programme of activity developed across the Council to support the business growth and enterprise agenda.

 

Minutes:

The Chair advised that the committee had requested an update from the Lead Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills on both the actions taken to respond to the recommendations set out in the April 2017 Task Group Report on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME), and the wider programme of activity developed across the Council to support the business growth and enterprise agenda.

 

Councillor Tatler (Lead Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills) drew the committee’s attention to the update report and highlighted that members had received a first look at the Brent Business Portal. Comments and questions from the committee were welcomed.

 

The Chair questioned the response taken to the task group recommendation regarding the appointment of a business champion for SME. Councillor Tatler explained that the view had been taken that the Business Board had the expertise and resourcing to fulfil the role of champion for SME to a greater degree than a single officer of the council. The Chair advised that for any future update reports it would be helpful to provide an explanation of the reasons for alternative courses of action being taken, where these diverged significantly from the recommendations made.

 

The committee sought further information on the transparency of the Business Board and queries were raised regarding the integration of the Board with the council and the availability of the minutes of the Board’s meetings for members to view. The committee questioned how the council could further develop their employment support offer and proposed that members be apprised of the resources available to enable them to better signpost residents.

 

Councillor Tatler advised that currently the Business Board was in its infancy but would be led by the businesses represented. Members’ comments regarding Board minutes and transparency would be discussed with the Board. Responding to members’ queries regarding employment support, Councillor Tatler spoke on the opportunities provided by supporting smaller supply chains to meet bigger contracts and advised that a regional job show event would be held in Wembley in October. The West London Alliance would be represented at the job show along with the business sector. Matthew Dibben (Head of Employment Skills and Enterprise) thanked the committee for the feedback provided, highlighted the support for residents provided via the Harlesden Hub and Brent Works and welcomed any support from members in engaging members of the community.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)     That the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment and the Lead Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills explore with the Brent Business Board measures to promote transparency of practice and integration with the council, including making minutes of meetings available to Members and Officers.

 

ii)    That the Head of Employment, Skills and Enterprise write to Members to outline the support and opportunities available to Brent residents seeking employment.

8.

Annual Safer Brent Partnership Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The report provides a detailed overview and review of performance in relation to the activities of the Safer Brent Partnership and priorities for 2017-2018. The paper contains a brief summary of key partnership activities and progress, whilst highlighting the local challenges we continue to face across Brent.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

As Chair of the Safer Brent Partnership, Carolyn Downs (Chief Executive, Brent Council) introduced the Annual Safer Brent Partnership report for 2017/2018 to the committee, explaining that the report provided a review of performance for the past year. The Partnership was a statutory community safety partnership, required under Section 5 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The Act conferred a legal responsibility on the agencies in the partnership to consider the impact on crime and disorder of everything that they do, and to jointly create a strategy to reduce crime, disorder, substance misuse and reoffending in Brent. The responsible authorities that were required to take part in the Safer Brent Partnership included the council, the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade, the National Probation Service, the Community Rehabilitation Company and the NHS Brent Clinical Commissioning Group. In addition, the community and voluntary sector was represented in the partnership, alongside Victim support and the Chairs of the Adult’s and Children’s Safeguarding Boards. Members’ attention was drawn to section 2.1 of the annual, which provided an overview of performance against the Partnership’s priorities for 2017/18.

 

Carolyn Downs introduced Acting Detective Superintendent Owain Richards (Deputy Borough Commander) to the committee, noting the revised structure of the Metropolitan Police that was shortly due to be implemented. Under the new structure a Basic Command Unit (BCU) led by one Borough Commander would cover the boroughs of Brent, Harrow and Barnet. Owain Richards was representing that BCU and would help to address members queries on the annual report. Davina Smith (Community Safety Manager) and Councillor Miller (Lead Member for Stronger Communities) were also present to address members’ queries.

 

The Chair thanked Carolyn Downs for her introduction and welcomed Owain Richards, Davina Smith and Councillor Miller to the meeting.

 

In the subsequent discussion, the committee queried the impact of reduced resources on community policing and sought particular comment intelligence gathering and relationships with key communities. It was noted that street grooming did not appear in the report, despite a growing national awareness that this issue had been greatly underestimated, and it was queried what Brent was doing to address this issue. Further assurance was sought that street grooming was not taking place on an organised and significant scale in Brent and it was queried what online policing presence there was for Brent in addressing child sexual exploitation (CSE).

 

Questions were raised regarding the displacement of criminal activity in circumstances where groups of individuals congregating in public places were asked to disperse by police and cross-borough working. Members further queried whether particular measures were being taken in preparation for the Euro 2020 tournament to address prostitution, as had been the case for the 2012 London Olympics, and details were sought on whether intelligence was actively gathered on where brothels were being established. 

 

With reference to the table at section 2.1 of the annual report, members noted that the first priority regarding gangs stated that data was not currently available and sought further details of what was outstanding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Engagement and Consultation Review

The Committee will receive a presentation on the findings from the Engagement and Consultation review.

Minutes:

The committee received a presentation from Genevie George (Partnership and Engagement Manager) on the community engagement review. It was emphasised that the review, currently underway, would be a thorough, root and branch review, supporting the development of a new vision for community engagement and achieving improved outcomes through stronger resident engagement and a focus on two way dialogue. This new vision would, in turn, be reflected in an expanded provision, responding to feedback on existing engagement channels and drawing on the council’s Digital Strategy to maximise online modes of engagement. The new vision would also reflect an enhanced alignment with the stronger communities agenda, working the voluntary sector to support community cohesion.   

 

Genevie George introduced the committee to the role of the Partnerships and Engagement team and provided a detailed overview of the current provision and resources for engaging and consulting with residents. The committee heard that the review was currently moving into Phase 2, which, following the feedback from Phase 1 would encompass the development of an action plan to expand the review. Sharing the highlights from Phase 1 of the review, Genevie George advised that the outcomes had included the need to avoid duplication, the development of an online tool kit, better use of social medial, increasing the number of residents shaping services and enabling residents to be involved to achieve improved outcomes. It was envisaged that consultation on the Phase 2 action plan would be undertaken during May to July and, following that a report would be submitted to Cabinet later in the year, presenting a new Strategy for consideration and approval.

 

The Chair thanked Genevie George for her presentation and expressed that disappointment that the Lead Member was unable to attend the meeting to take part in the discussion.

 

Members expressed enthusiasm for a collaborative approach to engagement, in contrast to traditional consultation models and questioned how residents would be encouraged to participate in this approach. Members subsequently queried whether any external organisations with expertise in consultation would be engaged as part of the review. Further queries were raised regarding existing stakeholder management practice and how this interacted with the consultation strategy. The committee sought further detail about the funds available to support residents to engage with the council and community activities. It was queried how the council’s presence on social media was monitored. Queries were raised about how the council could encourage new people to attend meetings such as Brent Connects and how the invitation distribution lists for such meetings were managed. Further details were sought about the model used for the Voluntary Sector Liaison Forum.

 

In response to the queries raised Genevie George spoke on the benefits of a pre-consultation stage which followed a design process and allowed residents and stakeholders to discuss views and ideas without the constraints of an existing vision or set of ideas. This was a more vigorous and inclusive approach to consultation and had been utilised as part of a recent review of voluntary sector needs. Another important part  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

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.

Minutes:

None.