Questions from Members of the Public & the Youth Parliament
8.1 To receive questions submitted by the public to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33.
Two questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written response provided.
8.2 To receive questions submitted from members of Brent Youth Parliament to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33(d)
Two questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.
1. The written responses provided by the Lead Member for Environment to a question submitted from a member of the public relating to parking in the Wembley area. No supplementary question was received.
2. The written responses provided by the Lead Member for Environment to a question submitted from a member of the public relating to the policy on removal of textile clothing banks. No supplementary question was received.
3. The written and supplementary verbal response from the Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills in relation to a question submitted from the Brent Youth Parliament regarding the promotion and monitoring of quality work experience opportunities for young people.
4. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Lead Member for Children's Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care in relation to a question submitted from the Brent Youth Parliament regarding the alternative measures being developed to respond to budget reductions in the Youth Service.
The Mayor advised that in accordance with Standing Order 33 two questions had been received from the members of the public:
Question 1 from Mr Jean Bernard to Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment relating parking concerns in the Wembley area.
Question 2 from Mr Jose Baladron to Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment regarding the policy on removal of textile clothing banks.
Members noted the written responses 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 neither were present, the Mayor informed Members that Mr Baladron had confirmed he was satisfied with the written response provided on the basis of further discussions with Members. No supplementary questions were therefore received.
Following on from the public question session the Mayor then moved on to deal with the questions received from representatives of Brent Youth Parliament. He advised that the following two questions had been received from members of the Youth Parliament:
Question 1 to Councillor Agha, Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills, requesting details on action being taken by the Council to provide and promote effective work experience opportunities for young people.
Question 2 to Councillor Mili Patel, Lead Member for Children’s Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care regarding measures being developed to respond to budget reductions in the Youth Service.
Members noted the written responses to the questions, circulated with the agenda and the Mayor advised that he was pleased to welcome Jai Patel and Sara Bokrugji on behalf of the Youth Parliament who were attending in order to ask supplementary questions on both issues.
Supplementary Question 1 from Jai Patel to Councillor Agha, Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills
Jai Patel began by thanking the Mayor for the welcome extended to the Youth Parliament. Having noted that the provision of work related learning had now been decentralised and removed as a statutory role, details were sought on the oversight by the Council in relation to the quality and provision of work related learning across schools and colleges in the borough in order to ensure equality of opportunity in relation to access.
In response, Councillor Agha highlighted that in addition to the action outlined in his written response to support work based learning opportunities and apprenticeships, a range of other activity was being undertaken to extend and promote the range of opportunities available. He advised he would be able to provide a more detailed written response on these following the meeting. As examples, reference was made to the opportunities and support available through Brent Start and to the recent job fair held in Brent which had attracted over 70 employers and been attended by over 1700 local people providing access to a range of opportunities. Although in its early stages, work had also commenced to examine opportunities within the school curriculum to promote local apprenticeships (particularly in the construction industry) with negotiations also underway with small business enterprises and the Local Government Association around the development of an Apprenticeship Fair.
Councillor Agha ended by advising he had also recently attended a Skills Fair in London where the Mayor for London had pledged a £1.3m boost to the London Scheme designed to promote access to apprenticeships for young people in the hospitality and construction sectors. He also felt it was important to note the work being undertaken with the Mayor for London to support use of the Apprenticeship Levy.
Supplementary Question 2 from Sara Bokrugji to Councillor Mili Patel, Lead Member for Children’s Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care
Sara Bokrugji again thanked the Lead Member for her response and having noted the focus of broader youth service provision now coming from within the voluntary sector asked whether this provision was felt to provide similar outcomes to other Council led initiatives and, if so, how these outcomes were measured.
In response, Councillor Mili Patel advised she was pleased to see how engaged young people in Brent were in terms of participation in local democracy. In terms of the specific question raised, whilst aware of the frustration she felt it was important to start by noting the impact of funding reductions imposed on the Council by Government, resulting in an additional £40m of savings needing to be identified over the next four years. Against this background, and recognising the concerns raised around service provision, Councillor Patel felt it was important to highlight the Council’s involvement in the provision of youth services through initiatives such as the Brent Youth Zone and Roundwood Youth Centre. Outcomes being achieved were measured with recent examples including the Ofsted inspection. Councillor Patel finished by highlighting the importance of young people, who were keen to protect and improve services, ensuring they continued to engage in the wider democratic process to ensure their voice was heard in relation to issues such as funding and service priorities.
Having noted the responses to the questions raised, the Mayor again thanked Jai Patel and Sara Bokrugji for attending the meeting and advised that this now concluded the public question session.