Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Nikoleta Nikolova, Governance Officer  Email: nikoleta.nikolova@brent.gov.uk, tel. 0208 937 1587

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors  Aden, S Butt (substituted by Councillor Stepens) and Johnson.

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:

No declarations of interests were made.

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 135 KB

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 April 2019 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:

The following matters arising were raised in relation to the minutes of the last meeting:

 

Item 7 – Economic Impact of Wembley Stadium

 

Responding to members’ concerns about providing feedback on the recommendations made at the previous meeting and ensuring continuity of agreed actions, Amar Dave (Strategic Director Regeneration and Environment, Brent Council) stated that officers from the Regeneration and Environment Department would be meeting with Wembley Stadium and Quintain representatives to discuss a number of key areas stemming from the report, including future regeneration of Wembley Park area, utilisation of resources and ways of working beyond Euro 2020. He assured the Committee that the matters raised in the minutes of the previous would also form a part in the discussion. With regards to members’ comments on ensuring that information/insights provided in the report be taken into account and monitored going forward, it was explained that such reports were commissioned at the end of an entity’s period of economic development in order to provide an extensive, in-depth analysis on lessons learned and inform future projects. Due to the significant time and cost involved in commissioning such pieces of work, however, it was unlikely that further research would be commissioned by the Football Association in the near future.  Nevertheless, Members were assured that any actions requested by the Committee were taken into account and discussed by the Council’s Chief Executive and Senior Officers at their weekly meetings to ensure actions were followed through.

 

The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee requested that, following the joint meeting between the Council, Wembley Stadium and Quintain representatives:

 

              i.        An update on the outcome of the above meeting and specific feedback on the actions agreed at the previous Committee meeting be shared with Members, and that

            ii.        A follow up meeting between committee members and council officers to discuss the committee’s priorities and agree on timelines for obtaining further information on the agreed actions be organised.

 

Following this item, the order of the agenda was amended as follows below:

 

6.

Air Quality Scrutiny Task Group pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To establish a Scrutiny Task Group to consider the issue of air quality in Brent.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item, proposing that Councillor Thomas Stephens be appointed to lead on this investigation. Councillor Stephens provided a brief outline of the report which detailed proposals for the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee to establish a Task Group on Air Quality. Referencing the broad remit of the task group’s terms of reference, Councillor Stephens proposed that the group would focus on five strategic areas, encompassing both Brent as a whole but also other communities and neighbourhoods concerned about air quality. Adopting an evidence based approach, the group would seek to review examples of best practice, engage with a range of stakeholders and carry out analysis on the level of air quality in the borough. The group would have a wide membership, consisting of elected and co-opted members (including individuals from the wider Brent community) to ensure adequate representation and sharing of expertise on air quality.  In particular, the group would be seeking to engage with young people and schools to ensure that their concerns were given sufficient prominence and acted upon.

 

Members unanimously welcomed the establishment of the air quality task group and pledged offers of support and contributions to the work of the task group by sharing information, providing evidence and facilitating visits in their respective wards.  In the ensued discussion, they emphasised the overarching role of regeneration plans in this project, alongside strong leadership and accountability in order to ensure there was adequate structure in place to spearhead the implementation of any subsequent actions/recommendations to the Council. Members commended the idea for a wider membership composition and in particular the proposals to include the voice of residents on air quality, as set out in the task groups’ terms of reference.

 

The Committee was particularly mindful of the fact that whilst overall air quality was improving, issues remained about the pace of change, inequality and compliance around where improvements were taking place. In noting the important function task groups performed in general, the Committee expressed the view that, given the likely cross-cutting approach required covering areas beyond just environment, the work of the Air Quality Task Group in particular be prioritised from an early stage and an agreement for cooperation from the Local Authority be sought. Despite assurance given by officers that the project had already been discussed with the leadership team and some work had been done on exploring ways for embedding it within the relevant strategies, Members reiterated that significant consideration should be given on how wider Council plans such as the Council’s Air Quality Plan 2017-2022, fit within the work of the task group to ensure that impact of the task group’s work was maximised and that any actions resulting from the report were implemented in a timely manner.

 

RESOLVED:

 

      i.        That an Air Quality Task Group be established in accordance with the terms of reference set out in the report and the following membership:

·         Cllr Thomas Stephens (Chair)

·         Cllr Elliot Chappell

·         Cllr Lia Colaccio

·         Cllr Janice Long

·         Cllr Michael Maurice

·         Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

The Safer Brent Partnership and Annual Report pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider the Safer Brent Partnership and annual report2018-2019.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Tom Miller (Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement) introduced the item, which included the annual Safer Brent Partnership Report for 2018/19. The Annual Report provided the priorities of the Safer Brent Partnership 2018/21 and included a number of key priorities such as reducing domestic abuse, knife crime, vulnerability, number of offenders, anti-social behaviour and increasing safeguarding. The overall performance for the past year had been good, due to liaison and support between the Police, Local authority and community partners, with Brent’s crime rate remaining below the London average of 94 crimes per 1000.

 

Karina Wane (Head of Community Protection, Brent Council) highlighted that amongst the main achievements for 2018/19 outlined in the report had been the decrease in domestic abuse offences with injury by 8%, the overall reduction in knife crime offences by 13% and a reduced risk of Community MARAC referrals by 53%. However, areas for further development remained and included early intervention of domestic abuse, reducing the impact of gangs/knives, more partnership working, more intervention for individuals exploited/ at risk of county lines and addressing issues of repeat ASC callers by utilising existing powers further and working proactively with neighbourhood managers.

 

The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officers for the introduction to the report and subsequently invited questions from the Committee:

 

In noting reference in the report to domestic abuse women/men identified as “victims”, Members queried whether they should be portrayed as “survivors” instead, in order to help build their confidence. Referencing information in the report on the delivery of services to Brent’s diverse community, it was further queried whether any consideration for victims of social media abuse had been given. In response, Karina Wane stated that a number of services existed which were trying to reduce levels of victimisation. While acknowledging that subjects to domestic abuse were indeed “survivors”, she explained that from a Council perspective those individuals entered the service as “victims”. In terms of social media and hate crime, she explained that further work was needed in the area. Commissioning services had to adapt around the services provided and social influences had developed. The Council was working with a number of organisations which specialised in domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation.

 

Members further questioned the impact on partnerships, which intervention method had been the most successful and steps undertaken to increase prevention. Karina Wane advised that an annual strategic assessment had been completed, which provided a good way of measuring through an action plan and strategy. Whilst the plans were “top heavy”, the Safer Brent Partnership had a number of operational priorities and was being held to account by the strategic boards under Safer Brent Partnership. Specific training in working with victims and risk-assessing had also been carried out. Non-crimes were also addressed through early intervention and the Council was aiming to identify problems before they escalated. It was noted that the Council was working with nearly 300% more victims which had affected the balance of injury statistics. Nevertheless, Ms Wane confirmed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Police Tri-borough BCU Reconfiguration (presentation) pdf icon PDF 627 KB

To receive a presentation on the Met Police Tri-borough merger and communication of basic command units (BCU).

 

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Louis Smith (Neighbourhood Superintendent, Met Police) to the meeting, noting that the Committee had before them an update on the Police Tri-borough merger and communication of Basic Command Units (BCU) reconfiguration.  Introduced in November 2018, the changes resulted in the Met bringing together policing in Brent with Harrow and Barnet to form the North-West Area and deliver emergency response and safeguarding to residents through the sharing of police staff, buildings and resources across the three boroughs. The Committee subsequently received a short presentation highlighting a number of key points since the merger, namely the impact of the changes and communication with the local authority and the public. 

 

Three main impact areas resulting from the merger were brought to members’ attention:

 

·         Operational: From an operational standpoint, a key problem was bringing together expertise and balancing the workload of BCUs. The introduction of the BCU had led to a number of changes such as decrease in number of police stations, the merging of safeguarding teams, carrying out more efficient investigations and expanding the remit of officers’ responsibilities/areas of expertise. In addition, the post of a “borough commander” had been replaced with that of a single “BCU commander” responsible for all three boroughs and a new post of “inspectors” had been created. Amongst the most significant changes had been in the Central Records Division (CRD) which now included a much bigger safeguarding wing combining a range of difficulties and vulnerabilities response policing was no longer done along borough boundaries, with the A5 road serving as an approximate dividing line.

·         Partnerships: - A further unintended consequence of the merger was liaison with the authorities and other partnerships, which had become more complicated due to the varying needs and lack of a clear linear progression

·         Performance: - Supt Smith advised that there had been a number of structural changes, resulting from a nearly 40% reduction in the overall police budget and the need to reassess how policing was done. However, impact had been minimal and overall performance was stable with a reduction of knife crime between 0.2 and 7.5% compared with 12 months ago.

 

Presentation moved to communication between the Police, councillors and the Local Authority. A key measure in improving communication had also been the establishment of Designated Ward Officers posts (DWOs). Amongst the main responsibilities of DWOs was to act as the default contact for all elected members on all policing related matters in the borough, maintaining regular contact with councillors and providing updates on any issues within their respective wards. In terms of communications with the public, the Committee heard that a decision following local consultation had been made to adopt a soft approach in order not to confuse the public with the move to BCUs, while also considering what should be communicated to the public and how. Finally, members were informed of the Online Watch Link (OWL) initiative, which had proven a popular approach and offered a platform for opportunities important to local residents.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group Interim Report pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To receive an interim report from the Chair of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Kabir introduced the item, which presented an interim report on the knife crime scrutiny task group for adoption by the R&PR Committee. She stated that 14 recommendations were being considered to be made to the Council, the Safer Brent Partnership and the NHS. Amongst some of the common issues raised as part of the research was the need for more collaboration between residents and the police; between community and community organisations. Report findings provided reassurance about the progress made by the Police since work started on the task group but a more safeguarding approach towards knife crime was needed to break down some of the existing barriers.

 

Members and officers welcomed the interim report and its recommendations and provided the following comments.

 

·         Referencing Recommendation 3, Supt Smith stated a safeguarding approach to knife crime was possible only on a case by case basis in order not to lose focus from policing itself. Instead, further work on effective risk management was needed.

·         Referencing Recommendation 7, Supt Smith stated that establishing a single point of contact on knife crime would be challenging to implement, unless it was clear what the intention was and reminded Members that an internal leadership team on knife crime already existed.

 

Cllr Kabir stated that the Task Group would be sharing the draft recommendations with all parties involved and asking for their feedback. She commented on the good level of participation and thanked officers who had been involved in the project.

 

RESOLVED:

 

         i.            That comments/feedback on the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group interim report be sent to the Chair of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group via the Senior Policy and Scrutiny Officer Michael.Carr@brent.gov.uk by 15 August 2019.

 

10.

Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To provide the Annual Scrutiny Report 2018-2019 for information and review.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the contents of the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2018/19 be noted.

 

11.

Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To present the draft Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee Agenda Work Programme 2019-2020 for agreement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the contents of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/20 be noted.

 

 

 

12.

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.