Agenda and minutes

Council
Monday 22 January 2018 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Thomas Cattermole, Head of Executive and Member Services  020 8937 5446, Email: thomas.cattermole@brent.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Mayors Statement - Order of Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Before consideration of the formal agenda, the Mayor informed members of a change to the order of business set out on the original summons.  The Mayor advised that as members of the public were present to make a deputation and in support of the Non-Cabinet member debate he intended, in accordance with Standing Order 30, to move these items forward on the agenda for consideration in advance of Agenda Item 5 (Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies).

 

As a result it was 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 – Non-Cabinet Member Debate

 

(2)     The remaining items of business follow in the same order as listed on the agenda

 

(Please note the minutes reflect the order in which the items were considered at the meeting).

 

Prior to considering the first item listed on the agenda, Councillor Duffy advised the Mayor that he would, with immediate effect, be resigning as a member of the Labour Group.  His resignation was due to concerns over how his request for an independent review into the way reports of asbestos contamination in soil at Paddington Old Cemetery had been dealt with.

 

As a result of Councillor Duffy’s resignation, Councillor Warren moved a procedural motion that the Council seating plan be amended with Councillor Duffy being seated between Councillor Carr and Councillor Kansagra.

 

It was RESOLVED that the change in seating plan be agreed.  Councillor Duffy immediately re-located to his new position.

 

Councillor Duffy then advised the Mayor that he wished to raise an item of urgent business, under Standing Order 30 (r) requesting that in view of the concerns raised regarding Paddington Old Cemetery, an independent review be set up in order to provide the necessary reassurance for staff, local residents and those families from the adjacent school and with graves on site.  He advised that his request was also supported by Baroness Jones and the Friends of Paddington Cemetery.

 

In response, the Mayor felt it was important for members to be aware that the issue had been independently investigated by Internal Audit and the Audit Advisory Committee, which was chaired by an Independent Member.  After careful consideration, the Audit Advisory Committee had not thought there was anything further to investigate and on this basis the Mayor advised he did not think there was any justification for the matter being considered as an urgent item at the meeting. He therefore ruled that the meeting should proceed to the first item of business.

 

The comments made by the Mayor were supported by Councillor Choudry, as Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee who confirmed that the investigation undertaken by Internal Audit had been considered at length by the Committee, including the independent members appointed to serve on that body.  He was also therefore satisfied with the outcome of the process.

 

Councillor Warren, in support of the matter being considered as an urgent item, sought clarification on the ruling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that direct apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Aden, Allie, Chan, Davidson, Hoda-Ben, Marquis, Moher, Perrin, Pitruzella and Shaw.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the attached minutes from the following meetings of Council held on:

 

(a)       Monday 18 September 2017; and

 

(b)       Monday 6 November 2017 (Extraordinary Council meeting)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the following Council meetings be approved as an accurate record of the meeting:

 

(1)     Monday 18 September 2017; and

 

(2)     Monday 6 November 2017 (Extraordinary Council Meeting)

4.

Declarations of Interest

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor invited Members to declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests in relation the matters due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the Members Code of Conduct.

 

(a)       Councillor Butt declared a personal interest in respect of agenda item 5 (as amended) - Deputation on Evelyn Avenue as family members lived in the street.

 

(b)     Councillor Mashari declared a personal interest in respect of agenda items 5 & 6 (as amended) – Deputation and Non Cabinet Member debate on food banks as she advised she volunteered at the Sufra food bank.

 

(c)     Councillor Daly declared a personal interest in respect of agenda items 5 & 6 (as amended) – Deputation and Non Cabinet Member debate on food banks as she advised she volunteered at the Sufra food bank.

5.

Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)

To receive any announcements from the Mayor.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

(i)      Councillor Shaw

 

The Mayor was sorry to have to inform Members that Councillor Carol Shaw had recently be taken unwell whilst on holiday.  He advised that she was, however, now back in the country in order to rest and recuperate.  He had already conveyed best wishes to her for a speedy recoveryand he was sure all Members would join him in sending Councillor Shaw their thoughts and best wishes.

 

(ii)     People of Indian Origin Parliamentary Conference

 

The Mayor advised Members that he had recently visited New Delhi, in order to participate in the People of Indian Origin Parliamentary Conference hosted by the Prime Minister of India.  He had been proud to share how so many cultures were supported and embraced in Brent and to demonstrate how much this diversity enriched the work undertaken to help improve families’ quality of life and how residents were being engaged through the community hubs.

 

(iii)    Cyrille Regis

 

It was with sadness that the Mayor referred to the recent and sudden passing of Cyrille Regis, who he pointed out had not only been a fantastic talent, but a pioneer in helping football tackle the racial abuse of its players.

 

The Mayor reminded Members that he had originated from Stonebridge and had then returned to Brent to lift the FA Cup at Wembley and represent England, later collecting an MBE for services to charity and football.  Paying tribute, the Mayor advised that his passing at the age of 59 was both a huge shock and a very sad loss and that the Council’s thoughts and prayers were with his family.

 

(iv)    Fundraising Update

 

The Mayor was pleased to announce that he had held the second fundraising event of his Mayoral year at Stattavis Patidar Centre on Friday 8 December 2017.  This event had been a success and enjoyed by all and he thanked all those who had been able to support it.

 

(v)     Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Day

 

The Mayor reminded Members that Brent Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day would be taking place on Thursday 25 January 2018 at 7pm in the Conference Hall.  He advised the event would include speakers and communities who had been affected by the Holocaust and other Genocides around the world including Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda. The programme would also include poetry, music, a Holocaustsurvivor speaker, choir and refreshments. All Members were encouraged to attend.

 

(vi)    Brent Teaching Awards

 

The Mayor was pleased to be able to announce that two Brent teachers were celebrating being featured in the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize Competition international list of top 50 teachers around the world.  He asked Members to join him in congratulating Eartha Pound from Crest Academy in Neasden and Andria Zafirakou from Alperton Community School for this achievement

 

(vii)   Brent School Achievements

 

The Mayor advised that he was also delighted to inform members that in addition to the many outstanding schools across the Borough, two schools had recently featured  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 32.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that one deputation had been received within the required timescale under Standing Order 32.  The deputation had been requested by Dr Markandu Alalasundaran representing residents from Evelyn Avenue and related to concerns about the state or repair of the pavement and road surface in their street.

 

In addition a further deputation request had been received in support of the Non-Cabinet Member debate on the use of foodbanks, although the Mayor advised this had been submitted after the formal deadline had expired.  The request had been received from Dee Woods, manager of the Granville Community Kitchen foodbank.  Given that this request had been received after the formal deadline for submission the Mayor advised Members that if they were minded to accept it there would be a need to suspend Standing Order 32 in order to allow it to be heard.

 

Given the subject matter of the additional deputation, Members indicated they would be willing to make an exception in order for it to be heard.  It was therefore RESOLVED that Standing Order 32 be suspended to allow the additional deputation from Dee Woods to proceed.

 

The Mayor then welcomed Dr Markandu Alalasundaran and invited Councillor Kabir, as one of the ward councillors for Queensbury where Evelyn Avenue was located, to introduce the deputation.  Councillor Kabir introduced Dr Alalasundaran, highlighting the time and effort he had spent organising local residents on this issue in an attempt to improve the local environment.  These efforts had been supported by all three local ward councillors, who had been working closely with residents in an effort to prioritise the road for action.

 

Dr Alalasundaran was then invited to address the meeting and he began by highlighting the deterioration of the pavements and road surface in Evelyn Avenue over recent years and the associated safety concerns.  He pointed out these had been compounded by works undertaken by the utilities companies, which had resulted in further damage.  Residents had photographic evidence of the state of the road and pavements in Evelyn Avenue, which had been included in support of a petition they had also submitted.  Residents felt their area was being neglected especially when compared to recent works in other areas, such as Princess Avenue, which had resulted in their pavement and road being resurfaced.

 

Amongst the safety concerns highlighted were the appearance of regular pot holes and trip hazards being caused by tree root uplift and large cracks appearing in the pavement.  Having lived in the area for 30 years, Dr Alalasundarn advised he could not recall the road being resurfaced in that time and felt this had led to the road looking neglected compared to the surrounding area.  Local residents felt that constant re-patching and repair works were no longer acceptable and were therefore asking that the Council consider undertaking urgent works. These included replacing the pavement and resurfacing the road in order to address the concerns regarding safety and improve the overall atheistic look of the area and surrounding environment. He concluded  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Non Cabinet Members' Debate pdf icon PDF 68 KB

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 any issues previously raised.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 34 the Mayor advised that the subject chosen for the Non Cabinet Member debate was the outcome of the scrutiny review into the use of foodbanks in Brent.

 

Members were advised that the motion submitted as the basis for the debate had been circulated with the first supplementary agenda for the meeting.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Mashari to introduce the motion and open the debate who began by highlighting her support for the comments made by Dee Woods during her deputation.  As a context to the scrutiny review she had chaired members were reminded of the dramatic increase in the use of foodbanks, with the example provided of the Trussell Trust having distributed 1.2million food aid packages over the last year.

 

Concern was expressed that official figures were not capturing the true extent of the issue, as the Government was not gathering data on the use of food banks.  It was pointed out that in Brent alone, over the last year, an estimated 5,636 people were known to have accessed food banks which Councillor Mashari and the Scrutiny Task Group felt were now having to plug the vacuum caused as a direct result of the corrosion of the welfare state.

 

The current lack of understanding, policy and strategy from the government to address the issue of poverty and access to food were felt to present a significant risk to the public sector given that food banks were now playing such a significant role in society.  It was also felt that the scale of the problem was only likely to increase with the roll out of Universal Credit on top of the current problems being experienced with implementation of the governments welfare reform programme.  It was not felt that the usage of food banks should be regarded as the norm or a lifestyle choice with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) maintaining there was no link between problems with implementation of benefits and welfare reform and the increased use of food banks.

 

Councillor Mashari pointed out that the Scrutiny Task Group had produced a number of findings and recommendations including the need for better recording of usage and referrals.  She also welcomed the offer from the Chief Executive to provide training sessions for members and officers on food bank usage and referrals at which the video produced by the Task Group would also be available, as a means of improving understanding and encouraging more joined up working.

 

Given the lack of government involvement and leadership on this issue, she finished by highlighting the need for the Council and local public, voluntary and private organisations to demonstrate leadership and encourage greater collaboration through development of a proactive strategy with more targeted interventions.  Thanks were also extended to all those involved in the Scrutiny Task Group review and for the invaluable work undertaken by those involved in running the food banks.

 

The Mayor then opened up the debate, with the following comments made during the discussion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies and Appointment of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To agree any appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies  in accordance with Standing Order 30(g).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor referred Members to the second supplementary agenda 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 appointments be approved:

 

(1)     To confirm the appointment of  Michele Lonergan (Leaseholder) and Karin Jaeger (Tenant) as co-opted members of the Housing Scrutiny Committee.

 

(2)     Resignation of Councillor Davidson as a full Member and Vice-Chair of the Council’s Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee with Councillor Kansagra nominated to take his place as full Member and Vice-Chair.

 

(3)     Resignation of Councillor Kansagra as full Member of the Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Committee with Councillor Davidson nominated to take his place as full Member.

 

(4)     Councillor Marquis to resume her role as Chair of the Planning Committee, upon her return from maternity leave.  For the avoidance of doubt Councillor Agha will, at the same time, resume his previous substantive role as Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee with the size and composition of the Planning Committee being otherwise unaffected.

9.

Reports from the Leader and Cabinet

To receive reports from the Leader and Cabinet Members in accordance with Standing Order 31.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 31, the Council received reports from the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members as follows:

 

(i)      Councillor Butt (Leader of the Council)

 

In accordance with Standing Order 14 (f) Councillor Butt reported use of the Key Decision and Forward Plan urgency procedure in relation to the following decisions:

 

·                Agreement of Final Terms of Shared ICT Service Inter-Authority Agreement;

·                Award of a contract for CRM Implementation;

·                Authority to Award Works Contract for South Kilburn Enterprise and Community Hub (Phase 1b);

·                Acquisition of land at 136 Honeypot Lane; and

·                Award of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Licences.

 

(ii)     Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader of the Council)

 

Councillor McLennan advised she was pleased to be able to announce the bringing back in house of another service – procurement.  In addition she advised that Brent had been the first London Borough to sign off a Council Tax Protocol which would involve the Council Tax enforcement team and Citizens Advice working together to assist those in Council Tax arrears managing their debt.  She then concluded her update by advising Members of steps being taken to review cleaner environment investments by the Council’s Pension Fund.

 

(iii)    Councillor Tatler (Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills)

 

Councillor Tatler took the opportunity to highlight some of what she felt had been the key achievements within her portfolio remit over the length of the current Administration, which were as follows:

·                More than 6,000 new homes built, with one of the highest levels of affordable housing delivered across London;

·                The delivery of 50% social housing as part of the award winning South Kilburn re development programme;

·                Over £1m of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CiL) funding allocated to projects across the borough;

·                The support being provided for small and medium enterprise, high streets and town centres across the borough through the introduction of Town Centre Managers;

·                The education delivered for over 8,000 learners through the Brent Starts adult education service with a 94% achievement rate and the service being rated a Good by OFSTED;

·                The success of Brent Works in securing employment and apprenticeships for over 400 people; and

·                The securing of over 1,000 sq. ft. of workspace for local businesses;

Thanks were expressed to all officers and members involved for their efforts and support in delivery of the above achievements and ongoing work to support residents and the local economy.

 

(iv)    Councillor Southwood (Cabinet Member for Environment)

 

Councillor Southwood also took the opportunity to highlight some of what she felt had been the key achievements within her portfolio remit over the length the of the current Administration, which were as follows:

·                Performance of the refuge collection service with over 25,000 bins being cleared each day and on average only 12 missed collections;

·                Work being undertaken to prioritise air quality, sustainable transport and a reduction in carbon emissions and footprint;

·                The roll out of LED lighting across the borough with accompanying savings of £850k per year and delivering over a third of the Council’s commitment towards its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To receive questions from members of the public to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33.

 

Two questions have been received from members of the public, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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 Atiya Munir to Councillor Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills relating to the availability of job search and careers guidance support services for young people in Brent.

 

Question 2 from Hiran Patel to Councillor Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills relating to development proposals at 245-253 Ealing Road

 

Members noted the written responses provided to each question, which had been circulated with the agenda.  The Mayor advised that both members of the public had been invited to the meeting but were not able to attend and had advised they did not wish to raise any supplementary question.  He thanked them both for the questions submitted.

11.

Petitions (if any)

For Councillors to refer to petitions received and debate any with more than 200 signatures, where notice has been provided in accordance with the Council’s petition rules and Standing Order 66.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Members that there were no petitions to be debated in accordance with the Council’s petition procedure and Standing Order 66.

12.

Questions from the Opposition and other Non-Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 100 KB

For questions to be put to members of the Cabinet in accordance with Standing Order 35.

 

Details of the seven questions received have been attached along with the written responses provided.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that seven questions had been submitted by Members 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 original questions.

 

12.1  Councillor Ezeajughi thanked Councillor Miller (Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities) for his response and ask firstly for an assurance to be provided on the way crime hot-spots, particularly those within his ward, would benefit from the new CCTV system.  Secondly he asked if it would be possible to ensure the installation of HD cameras on high rise blocks to enhance coverage

 

In response Councillor Miller highlighted what he felt to be the clear message provided for residents about the current Administration’s attitude and priority towards community safety demonstrated as a result of the renewal of the CCTV system.  In terms of specific sites, he pointed out these would need to be assessed against the relevant evidence criteria taking account of the relevant Code of Conduct and RIPA regulations.  The point raised relating to coverage on high rise blocks was recognised as an important issue, with discussions already having commenced with housing regarding the integration of the BHP and Councils CCTV system and on which he would keep members updated on progress.

 

12.2  Councillor Krupa Sheth thanked Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader) for her response and asked for details on what barriers the Conservative Government had put in place to prevent the Council from building more homes and what plans the Council had to tackle these.

 

In response Councillor McLennan advised she was struggling to find any positives regarding the Governments current housing policy.  The Administration was however aware of the housing crisis in Brent, which would require the building (based on targets within the Mayor for London’s Plan) of an additional 3,000 homes per year over the next ten years across the Borough.  Whilst having a strategy in place to deliver the requirement there was also a need to ensure that these developments contained sufficiently affordable social housing.  The Council continued to lobby the Government for lifting of the cap in order to maximise its ability to fund the building programme required.  Other innovations included the setting up of I4B as a means of purchasing properties on behalf of the Council to assist in meeting housing demand and reducing pressure on Temporary Accommodation. Whilst the Council was not therefore standing still she felt much more could be achieved if the Government were to relax the current barriers in place.

 

12.3  Councillor Conneely thanked Councillor Farah (Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform) for his response and raised concerns about the proposed inclusion within current welfare reforms of the requirement for women who had experienced rape to have to prove this to HMRC in order to be able to access benefits.  The proposals had been referred to as “non-consensual conception” and she asked Councillor Farah if he would be prepared to commit the Council to continue campaigning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Report from Chairs of Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To receive reports from the Chairs of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees in accordance with Standing Order 36.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13.1    Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee

 

Councillor Kelcher (as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee) provided Council with the following update on the work of the Scrutiny Committee since the last report to Council on 18 September 2017:

 

·                Members of the Committee had spent a significant amount of time reviewing the Council’s budget consultation proposals with the report produced due to be appended for consideration with the final budget report at the February Council budget setting meeting.

 

·                Outside of the budget scrutiny the Committee had also commenced a review of recycling activity within the borough.  The initial findings had shown that recycling rates across London as a whole were starting to flat-line which Members had felt required consideration of a different approach towards the way in which waste was measured and dealt with in order to reduce the impact on landfill.  The review had included a visit to the Abbey Road Civic Amenity site where Members had examined the relationship between Brent and the West London Waste Authority, witnessed a mattress mountain and also the problems caused in having to deal with unseparated waste.

 

In order to reduce landfill, Members had identified a need for earlier intervention alongside greater education around recycling and re-use and where appropriate the use of more compulsory measures.  The Committee were also keen to look at ways of promoting more use of the existing “Can you recycle me” App.

 

·                The Committee had also undertaken a review of Trading Standards, given the important and valued role of the service in protecting local residents.  Members had met with Trading Standards Officers (which was a shared service operated jointly with the London Borough of Harrow) and amongst the issues considered had been the potential to introduce a spend to save rationale for the service.

 

·                Finally he advised Members that the Committee had also started to look at development of the Council’s Digital Access Strategy with the potential already identified in a number of areas to provide a more cost effective and efficient delivery of services.

 

13.2  Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

 

Councillor Ketan Sheth (as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee) provided Council with the following update on the work of the Scrutiny Committee since his last report to Council on 18 September 2017:

 

·                As part of the scrutiny functions role in reviewing any significant changes proposed to the provision of health services within the borough the Committee had held a special meeting to consider Brent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) planned changes to the GP extended access service.  Whilst recognising the issues with the existing service, a number of concerns had been raised which resulted in a number of recommendations.  These had included the need for consideration to be given to some form of transitional arrangements for unregistered patients; further consideration to be given to transport and disabled access at the proposed hub and also for NHS England to enable the early introduction of an on-line booking system for patients wanting to access the service.  Given the value placed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive a report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee in accordance with Standing Order 37.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Choudry (as Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee) referred Members to the report circulated with the main agenda which had provided a summary of the main activities carried out by the Committee since the last update to Council on the 18 September 2017.

 

He outlined the issues considered by the Committee at their meetings in September and December 2017 (as detailed in section 3 of the report) and advised that an update on the work undertaken by the Committee at their last meeting in January 2018 would be provided as part of the next update to Council.  He advised that the Committee had welcomed the appointment of Grant Thornton as the Council’s new external auditors and were continuing to work well with the existing auditor KPMG.  The Committee had also welcomed the appointment of the Council’s new Head of Internal Audit.

 

In concluding his update, Councillor Choudry advised Members of the work underway to produce a full, risk based annual audit plan for 2018/19, which the Committee were due to consider in March 2018 and Members support was sought in identifying an potential additional risks or items for consideration as part of the plan.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillor Choudry for his update and it was RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

15.

Emergency Preparedness: Task Group Report pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, a joint Task Group was formed between members of the Audit Advisory Committee and each of the Scrutiny Committees, to assess Brent’s emergency preparedness.

 

The attached report sets out the Task Group’s findings and recommendations and has been referred to Council, following consideration by the Audit Advisory Committee on 10 January 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ketan Sheth introduced the report from the Chief Executive which set out the final report produced by a joint Task Group comprised of Members from the Audit Advisory Committee and each Scrutiny Committee to assess Brent’s emergency preparedness.

 

Councillor Sheth outlined the background to the setting up of the Task Group, which had been formed following a number of large scale terrorist events and the Grenfell Tower tragedy, to review and assess the plans in place within Brent to deal with any similar types of large scale emergency incidents.  Whilst many of the terrorist incidents referred to had been managed by the individual Local Authorities concerned, the scale of the Grenfell Tower fire had required a pan-London response which had involved over 100 staff from Brent in range of diverse roles.  Councillor Sheth took the opportunity to thank the Mayor for the event he had hosted to recognise these staff.  In terms of the Task Group’s report this had outlined a number of strengths in terms of Brent’s approach along with nine recommendations, most of which had now been or were in the process of being implemented.  He ended by thanking Members and officers for their support on the review, which had also been considered by the Audit Advisory Committee on 10 January 2018.  Members were advised that the issue had, as a result of the review, now also been added to the annual audit plan for future monitoring.

 

The Mayor then invited comments from other Members.  In response to an unrelated comment from Councillor Duffy both Councillors Ketan Sheth and Nerva felt it important to highlight the serious nature of the review and for Council to remain focussed on the arrangements in place to deal with any incident should the Council be required to respond.

 

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 declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED to approve the final report, findings and recommendations as set out within the Joint Task Group’s report on Emergency Preparedness.

16.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Full Council is asked to agree the changes to the Constitution as set out within the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Butt introduced the report from the Director of Legal and HR Services which proposed a number of changes to the Constitution.  The changes included an update to the financial limits on officers’ delegated powers in respect of procurement decisions; the terms of reference for Planning Committee (and related Standing Orders) along with the Planning Code of Practice; the introduction of a public question time session at alternate Council Meetings for members of the Brent Youth Parliament and various other minor changes.

 

The Mayor then invited comments on the report, with Councillor Warren advising that he felt the changes in relation to planning site visits represented a sensible compromise and his Group would therefore be supporting the recommended changes.

 

As there were no other members who had indicated they wanted to speak on the report, the Mayor put the recommendations to the vote by a show of hands and they were declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED that:

 

(1)     the changes to the Constitution, as detailed within the report and appendices be approved; and

 

(2)     the Director of Legal and HR Services be authorised to amend the Constitution accordingly, including the making of any necessary incidental or consequential changes.

17.

2017/18 Mid Year Treasury Report pdf icon PDF 185 KB

This report provides Members with a mid-year update on Treasury Management activity for 2017/18.

 

The report has been reviewed by Audit Committee and is also due to be considered by Cabinet on 15 January 2018.  Council is being asked to consider the report in accordance with the Treasury Management Strategy and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Code of Practice on Treasury Management.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor McLennan introduced the report from the Chief Finance Officer which provided an update on Treasury Management activity during 2017/18.  Members noted that the report had been approved and referred on to Council for consideration by Cabinet on 15 January 2018 in compliance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management and Council’s Treasury Management Strategy.

 

As there were no other members who indicated they wanted to speak on the report, the Mayor put the recommendations to the vote by a show of hands and they were declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED that Council note the 2017/18 mid-year Treasury Management update Report.

18.

Motions pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To debate the motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 41.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

18.1  Motion from the Labour Group – Forward Together: Brent Council’s record of achievement

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Bradley to move the motion he had submitted on behalf of from the Labour Group. He began by advising of how proud he felt the Council should be of its achievements during the current and previous Labour Administration given the impact of the austerity measures introduced by the Government which had seen Local Authority budgets reduced by almost a half.  Despite increasing demand on services and the significant financial challenges faced, Councillor Bradley felt it was possible to highlight a number of key achievements delivered within Brent designed to support local residents and communities.

 

As examples he referred to the following:

·                The work undertaken in partnership with schools which had led to 97% now being rated as good or outstanding with pupil attainment also at record levels alongside investment in the school improvement programme;

·                Investment of £190m to deliver improvements in roads, parks and libraries;

·                Investment in Adult Social Care and social housing to assist more vulnerable residents and create a sustainable adult social care service;

·                The innovative launch of I4B to manage Council investment in a programme of house purchases to increase the supply of affordable housing;

·                The measures taken to tackle rouge landlords

·                Accreditation of the Council as a London Living Wage employer and to promote wider accreditation through the Council’s procurement and commissioning strategies;

·                Launch of the Cleaner Brent App;

·                The Council’s partnership with Quintain which would deliver over 5000 new homes, 7000 jobs and £140m of CIL investment.

 

Councillor Bradley felt there were many more examples available but finished by advising that although not standing in the May 2018 local elections he would look forward to these achievements being continued by the new Labour Administration in 2018 and urged all Members to support the motion.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Warren, on behalf of the Brent Conservative Group to respond who set out what he felt to be a number of contradictions within the motion.  Starting with Adult Social Care, he highlighted the record number of complaints currently being made to the Local Government Ombudsman alongside the fact that the motion failed to recognise the additional funding provided by the Government in support of Adult Social Care.  In terms of libraries, which were also referred to in the motion, he highlighted the number of closures experienced with the transformation in service coming about as a result of community rather than Council involvement.  In terms of the partnership with schools he again felt credit for any improved performance should rest with the schools themselves rather than the Council.  He also highlighted significant concerns that had been raised regarding the Council’s relationships with local developers and did not support the view that the majority of Labour councillors had played any meaningful role in the decision making process in relation to any of the above examples.  For these reasons he advised that the Brent Conservative Group would not be supporting the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Urgent Business

At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business, in accordance with Standing Order 30(r).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Members there were no urgent items of business for consideration.

 

The meeting was therefore declared closed at 9:16pm.