Agenda item

Report from Chairs of Scrutiny Committees

To receive reports from the Chairs of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees in accordance with Standing Order 36.  The reports have been attached as follows:

 

12.1    Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee

 

12.2    Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

 

Members are asked to note that this session will include an opportunity (within the time available) for non-Cabinet members to ask questions of relevant Scrutiny Chair’s in relation to the remits of their Committees.

Decision:

NOTED the update reports provided by the Chairs of the Resources & Public Realm and Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committees, along with an additional update provided by the Chair of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task and Finish Group.

 

Responses were also provided by the relevant Scrutiny Chairs on the following additional questions raised during the open session of this part of the meeting:

 

·             Councillor Nerva regarding:

Ø   the approach towards scrutiny of the police and Safer Neighbourhood arrangements following introduction of the tri borough command structure;

Ø   the inclusion of the funding position of North West London CCG and impact on patient care and waiting times as part of the work programme for the North West London Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee;

·             Councillor Long:

Ø   regarding scrutiny around the provision of public toilet facilities across the borough; and

Ø   supporting the need identified for further scrutiny in relation to the financial position of the North West London CCG and impact on residents within the borough;

·             Councillor Dar highlighting the ongoing campaign to oppose the closure of the Cricklewood GP Walk-In Centre.

Minutes:

Before inviting the Chairs of each Scrutiny Committee to present their reports, the Mayor reminded Members that as part of the changes to the Constitution agreed in February 2019, a total of 12 minutes had been set aside for this item. He explained that the Chair of each Scrutiny Committee would have up to three minutes to present their report, highlighting any issues felt to be of significance to the Council.  Once the updates had been provided, the remaining time available would then be opened up for any other non-Cabinet Members to question the Scrutiny Chairs on matters relating to the work of their Committees.

 

The following updates were provided by each of the Scrutiny Chairs:

 

Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee

 

Councillor Kelcher introduced the update report from his Committee, highlighting the following issues, with the Mayor advising that he had also agreed for the update to include (within the time available) a report from Councillor Kabir on progress of the Knife Crime Scrutiny Task Group.

 

·                     Councillor Kelcher began his update by highlighting two pre-scrutiny exercises the Committee had recently undertaken, one of which involved consideration of the Draft Statement of Licensing Principles.  Issues identified had included the potential use of unit pricing in driving good behaviour in off licences, and the Purple Flag scheme promoting the night-time economy in local high streets.  The other pre-scrutiny opportunity had involved a review of proposals relating to the Council Tax Support Scheme, which the Committee had supported overall. He concluded by reporting on the progress update received in relation to the Carlton and Granville Centre, following on from a previous call-in, with a particular focus on the housing element and design of the scheme.

 

·                    Councillor Kabir was then invited to provide an update on progress of the Scrutiny Task Group she was chairing on Knife Crime.  Referring to the final report of the Task Group, which she urged Members to read, Councillor Kabir advised that the recommendation was to take the Public Health approach which involved investigation of the causes of knife-crime and developing actions to prevent its increase through collaboration between relevant departments of the Council as well as with the external partners – schools, police, NHS, CCG, faith groups, the justice system, probationary services and the wider community. In conclusion, Councillor Kabir felt that too many lives had been lost or blighted by knife crime and, noting the increasingly young ages of both victims and perpetrators and the effect on families and communities, she asked members for their support in taking urgent action.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillors Kelcher and Kabir for their updates

 

Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

 

Councillor Ketan Sheth was then invited to introduce the update from his Committee:

 

·                     Councillor Ketan Sheth began his report by referring to the proposed closure of the Cricklewood Walk-in Centre brought to Scrutiny’s attention by Councillor Dar, which had been discussed at the last Committee meeting.  He thanked Councillor Colacicco for speaking at the meeting on behalf of her ward residents and reported that while the Brent and Barnet CCGs had made the case for closure, the evidence was that significant numbers of patients were using the Walk-in Centre every year and further investigation was needed regarding the proposal.

 

·                     The Committee had also considered the future recommissioning arrangements for homecare services with Councillor Ketan Sheth grateful to Councillor Farah, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, for answering the questions of the Scrutiny Committee and confirming that the proposed new homecare model would encompass the London Living Wage and the Unison Ethical Care Charter. The Committee had been keen to ensure that the recommissioning arrangements were focussed on meeting the needs of the Borough’s most vulnerable residents.

 

The Mayor thanked each of the Scrutiny Chairs for their updates and it was RESOLVED that the content of each of their reports be noted.

 

Following the updates provided, the Mayor advised that the remainder of the allocated time would be available for questions from non-Cabinet members to the Scrutiny Chairs.  In opening the item, the Mayor reminded Members of the need to ensure that questions were focussed on the work of each Scrutiny Committee.  The following questions were raised and responses provided:

 

(i)           Councillor Nerva highlighted concerns about the approach towards scrutiny of the police and Safer Neighbourhood arrangements following introduction of the tri borough command structure and asked whether it would be possible to examine the potential for introducing some form of joint scrutiny arrangements.

 

He followed this up by highlighting concerns regarding the funding position of North West London CCG and impact on patient care and waiting times, which he felt was an issue that required further scrutiny.

 

(ii)          Referring to forthcoming scrutiny reviews on tourism and parks on the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny work programme, Councillor Long asked if these could also include consideration on the provision of public toilet facilities.

 

She followed this up by also highlighting her support for the need identified to undertake further scrutiny in relation to the financial position of the North West London CCG given the increase in demand for services and impact this was likely to have on residents within the borough.

 

(iii)         Following on from the comments raised, Councillor Dar took the opportunity to highlight the ongoing campaign to oppose the closure of the Cricklewood GP Walk-In Centre.

 

In response to the issues raised relating to the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Work Programme, Councillor Kelcher advised that he was in the process of setting up a meeting in late Autumn to review the Tri-Borough Police Borough Command arrangements and that Councillor Nerva would be welcome to attend.  Regarding Councillor Long’s question on public toilet provision, Councillor Kelcher confirmed that he would ensure this issue was included in the relevant scrutiny reviews.

 

Councillor Ketan Sheth, responding to the issues raised in relation to the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny work programme felt it was important to recognise that a robust scrutiny process had already been undertaken in relation to the proposed closure of the Cricklewood Walk-in Centre.  In terms of the concerns raised regarding the impact of the financial position and recovery plan for the North West London Collaboration of CCGs, Members were advised that this was due to be reviewed at the next meeting of the North West London Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee.  Councillor Sheth advised he would be attending this meeting as Brent’s representative but invited any other Members with an interest to also attend as this would provide an opportunity to question and hold the North West London CCG to account.

 

At this stage in proceedings, the Mayor advised that the time available for questions had now expired and he would therefore be moving on to the next item with all members thanked for their contributions.

Supporting documents: