Agenda, decisions and minutes
Venue: Grand Hall - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions
Contact: James Kinsella, Governance Manager Tel: 020 8937 2063; Email: email@example.com
Note: Due to the current limits on meeting venue capacity at the Civic Centre any press and public wishing to attend this meeting are encouraged to follow proceedings via the live webcast. The link to follow the meeting is available via the Livestreaming page on the Democracy in Brent section of the Council's website or link on the front page of the published meeting agenda.
Mayor's Introductory Statement
The Mayor welcomed all those present to the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Muhammed Butt, Chappell, Choudhary, Choudry, Denselow, Hassan, Hector, Kelcher, Kennelly, Lloyd, Long, Mashari, Ramesh Patel, Perrin, Southwood & Tatler.
The Mayor reported that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Muhammed Butt, Chappell, Choudhary, Choudry, Denselow, Hassan, Hector, Kelcher, Kennelly, Lloyd, Long, Mashari, Ramesh Patel, Perrin, Southwood & Tatler.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting PDF 449 KB
To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the previous meeting of the Council held on Monday 20 September 2021.
The minutes of the previous Full Council meeting held on Monday 20 September 2021 were approved as a correct record.
It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on Monday 20 September 2021 be approved as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.
Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)
To receive any announcements from the Mayor.
Noted the announcements from the Mayor in relation to:
· Holding a minutes silence in memory of Sir David Amess MP and former councillor Mike Grabiner CBE
· Remembrance Sunday
· Visit by Navel Clarke
· 100th birthday celebration – Bertina Brown
· Outline of recent events attended
· Mayor’s Civic Ceremony
· Zadie Smith’s play “The wife of Willesden”
The Mayor made the following announcements:
(i) Minutes silence in memory of Sir David Amess MP and former councillor Mike Grabiner
The Mayor advised that it was with sadness she needed to begin her announcements with reference to the death of Sir David Amess MP who had been attacked and tragically lost his life whilst holding a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on 15 October 2021. The tragic nature of the incident had unfortunately required all councillors to reflect and think carefully about how they would continue to conduct business locally.
At the same time as remembering Sir David Amess, the Mayor announced it was also with regret she had to report the death of Mike Grabiner, a former Councillor for St Raphael’s in Brent who had served on the Council between 1978 and 1982. Members were informed that his death, aged 71, had followed a long illness with him being survived by his wife, four children, two brothers and a sister.
The Mayor, on behalf of the Council, expressed condolences to both Sir David’s and Mike’s family and friends and then invited all members to observe a minutes silence in memory of both Sir David Amess and Mike Grabiner.
At this stage the meeting was paused to observe a minutes silence.
(ii) Remembrance Sunday
The Mayor advised members she had been honoured to attend the recent ceremony held to commemorate Remembrance Sunday and all those who had lost their lives in various conflicts throughout the world.
The ceremony had been held at the Barham Park Memorial with the Mayor thanking everyone who had attended in order to pay tribute.
(iii) Visit by Navel Clarke
The Mayor advised that she, along with the Chief Executive, Leader and Deputy Leader, had been delighted to host a recent visit to Brent by Mr Navel Clarke for Black History Month.
Members were advised that Mr Clarke had been part of the original Committee in 1965 responsible for the merger of the former boroughs of Willesden and Wembley to form Brent and had also, that same year, been appointed the TGWU delegate to the Brent Trade Council. Along with his other achievements the Mayor informed members she had been interested to learn that Mr Clarke had also written a book called Necktie Man.
(iv) 100th Birthday Celebration
The Mayor advised she had been fortunate to join the recent 100th birthdaycelebrations for Mrs Bertina Brown, which had taken place in October 2021. Mrs Brown had left Jamaica in 1954 and settled in Brent with her family who now included six children, 22 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She had also worked for a number of local companies in Brent over the years although her main passion had always remained dressmaking.
(v) Recent Mayoral Events
The Mayor then outlined the range of events she had attended over the previous two months, with specific highlights including:
· A visit to Metroland Studio’s - open-house Day of Visibility;
· A Theatre performance at Willesden ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies and Appointment of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any)
To agree any appointments to Committees, Joint Committees, Forums, Panels and Outside Bodies in accordance with Standing Order 30(g).
There were no appointments to be agreed at the meeting.
The Mayor advised that there were no membership changes to be considered at the meeting so moved straight on to the next item.
Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations requested by members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 32.
No deputations were received at the meeting.
The Mayor advised that no request for any deputations had been received at the meeting.
Questions from Members of the Public & Brent Youth Parliament PDF 439 KB
7.1 To receive questions submitted by the public to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33.
Members are asked to note that four public questions have been receive, which have been attached along with their written response.
7.2 To receive questions submitted from Brent Youth Parliament to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33 (c).
One question has been received under this item, which has been attached along with the written response provided.
1. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Lead Member for Environment to a public question submitted by Martin Francis regarding a review of flood management arrangements within the borough.
2. The written response provided jointly by the Deputy Leader & Lead Members for Environment to a public question submitted by Rimal Shah regarding the impact of Council Tax increase and traffic fines on levels of poverty across the borough. No supplementary question was received.
3. The written response provided by the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to a public question submitted by Julia Lefene regarding the impact of planning developments on infrastructure, sewers and access to housing across the borough. No supplementary question was received.
4. The written response provided by the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to a public question submitted by Philip Grant regarding the level of affordable housing being provided within the development on the former Copland School site on the corner of Cecil Avenue and Wembley High Road. A supplementary question was received regarding use of grant funding to support the provision of affordable housing and justification for the approach adopted in relation to the former Copland School site and elsewhere across the borough. The Mayor advised that a written response would be provided on the supplementary question as the Lead Member had needed to submit her apologies for the meeting.
5. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Lead Member for Children’s Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care to a question submitted by Ben Maher on behalf of Brent Youth Parliament regarding the OFSTED review of sexual harassment in schools and colleges and the approach being adopted in Brent to address the issues identified.
88.1 Questions from the Public
The Mayor advised that the following four questions had been received from members of the public:
Question 1 from Martin Francis to Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, regarding a review of flood management arrangements within the borough.
Question 2 from Rimal Shah addressed jointly to Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, and Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, regarding the impact of Council Tax increase and traffic fines on levels of poverty across the borough.
Question 3 from Julia Lefene to Councillor Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, regarding the impact of planning developments on infrastructure, sewers and access to housing across the borough.
Question 4 from Philip Grant to Councillor Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, regarding the level of affordable housing being provided within the development on the former Copland School site on the corner of Cecil Avenue and Wembley High Road.
Members noted the written responses provided on each of the questions, which had been circulated with the agenda. The Mayor advised that each member of the public had been invited to attend the meeting. Whilst Rimal Shah and Julia Lefene had been unable to attend, members were advised that Martin Francis was present in order to ask a supplementary question on both his question and that submitted by Philip Grant, who had been unable to attend the meeting. The Mayor welcomed Martin Francis to the meeting and the following supplementary questions were asked of the relevant Lead Member(s).
Question 1: Supplementary Question from Martin Francis to Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment
Having noted the written response provided, Martin Francis felt this had not directly covered all points raised in his original question. Referring to a response provided at a scrutiny meeting earlier in November where members had been advised a review of the 2015 Flood Risk Management Strategy was required within the context of climate change (for example the forecast 59% increase in winter rainfall) and necessary local mitigations, he asked the Lead Member for Environment:
· If a timetable could be provided for the review along with details of the partnership members that would be involved; and
· Whether the review, as recommended by the London Flood Risk Management Strategic Partnership, would include an assessment of the accumulativeimpact of developments across the borough on flooding and drainage infrastructure systems.
Given the detailed nature of the issues raised Councillor Krupa Sheth advised that she would arrange for a written response to be provided following the meeting.
Question 4: Supplementary Question presented on behalf of Philip Grant by Martin Francis to Councillor Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning.
Referring to the urgent need for more affordable Council homes in the borough the supplementary question presented by Martin Francis on behalf of Philip Grant began by querying why only 37 of the 250 properties in the plans for the Cecil Avenue site would be for affordable rent whilst 152 ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Petitions (if any)
For Members to consider any petitions with more than 200 signatures on which a debate has been requested, in accordance with the Council’s Petition Rules and Standing Order 66.
No petitions were presented at the meeting.
The Mayor advised that no requests for debates on any petitions had been received for consideration at the meeting.
Reports from the Leader and Cabinet PDF 17 KB
To receive a report from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Standing Order 31 providing an update on any key or significant issues arising from any matter within the responsibility of the Cabinet.
NOTED the report and update provided at the meeting by Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader, highlighting the ongoing work being undertaken across each Cabinet portfolio in order to provide ongoing support and services to residents across the borough. As part of the update the Lead Member for Public Health, Leisure & Culture provided an update on the progress being made with the roll out of the covid and winter flu vaccination programmes across the borough including use of the vaccine bus and drop in vaccination clinics being used to support the programme. Members also noted the list of urgent Executive decisions taken since the last Council meeting.
As a result of Councillor Muhammed Butt (Leader of the Council) having had to submit his apologies for absence, the Mayor invited Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader, to introduce the report updating members on the work being undertaken across each Cabinet portfolio. As part of the update, Councillor Nerva, as Lead Member for Public Health, Leisure & Culture, provided an update on the progress being made with the roll out of the covid and winter flu vaccination programmes across the borough, including use of the vaccine bus and drop in vaccination clinics being used to support the programme. In recognising the achievements which had been made, all staff and partners involved in delivery of the programme were thanked for their efforts.
In ending the update, members were also asked to note the list of Executive decisions tabled at the meeting which had been taken under the Council’s urgency procedures.
The Mayor thanked the Deputy Leader for the report and it was RESOLVED to formally note the update provided.
Questions from the Opposition and other Non-Cabinet Members PDF 426 KB
For questions to be put to members of the Cabinet by Opposition and Non-Cabinet Members in accordance with Standing Order 35.
Four advance notice questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.
Members are asked to note that this session will also include an opportunity (within the time available) for other Non-Cabinet members and the Opposition to ask questions of Cabinet Members.
1. The joint written response provided by the Lead Members for Community Safety & Engagement and Regeneration, Property & Planning to a question submitted by Councillor Kelcher regarding the action being taken to prevent the proliferation of Adult Gaming Centres across the borough. As Councillor Kelcher had submitted his apologies for absence no supplementary question was raised.
2. The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources to a question submitted by Councillor Johnson in relation to the social value commitments being generated through the Council’s Procurement Strategy and way in which the Strategy was being used to support the response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency in conjunction with other London Boroughs.
3. The written and supplementary response provided by the Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills to a question submitted by Councillor Sangani regarding measures being undertaken by the Council to expand SEND school places and provision across the borough and to lobby the Government to ensure the necessary level of funding was provided to support this process.
4. The written response provided by the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to a question submitted by Councillor Maurice regarding the planning consent and development work on the Preston Library site. In response to a supplementary question the Director of Legal, HR, Audit & Investigation clarified the position in relation to the outcome of the legal challenges regarding the granting of planning consent for the development.
Responses were also provided by the relevant Lead Members on the following additional questions raised during the open session of this part of the meeting:
· Councillor Mahmood regarding the Council’s response to the Nationality and Border Bill currently being considered by Parliament.
· Councillor Agha regarding problems being experienced with delays in the notification of covid test results and difficulties in being able to clarify these by phone.
· Councillor Chan regarding the support available from the Council in seeking to address, with TfL, concerns raised following a local campaign by residents in Kensal Green and parents of children who attend Kenmont Primary School about the crossing and traffic related issues at the Harrow Road junction with Wrottesley Road.
· Councillor Georgiou regarding the Council’s policy on development of tall buildings, with specific concerns identified in relation to Alperton, how the policy impacted on the measures being taken to address the Climate and Ecological Emergency and response to the GLA Planning & Regeneration Committee’s review in relation to the impact of Tall buildings.
· Councillor Miller regarding the steps being taken to address the issues highlighted in the findings of a recent Ombudsman complaint regarding a case involving disabled accessibility within temporary accommodation. The Mayor advised that as the Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform had needed to submit her apologies for the meeting a written response would be provided.
· Councillor Chan regarding the process undertaken in developing the Council’s tree felling and replanting programme.
· Councillor Kansagra seeking further clarification on the outcome of the legal challenges in relation to the ... view the full decision text for item 11.
Before moving on to consider the questions submitted by non-Cabinet members, the Mayor reminded Members that a total of 30 minutes had been set aside for this item, which would begin with consideration of the written questions submitted in advance of the meeting along with any supplementary questions. Once these had been dealt with, the remaining time available would then be opened up for any other non-Cabinet members to question Lead Members (without the need for advance notice) on matters relating to their portfolio.
The Mayor advised that four written questions had been submitted in advance for response by the relevant Lead Member. The written responses supplied had been circulated within the agenda. The Mayor then invited supplementary questions on the responses which had been provided:
11.1 As Councillor Kelcher had submitted his apologies for absence no supplementary question was raised on the joint written response provided by the Lead Members for Community Safety & Engagement and Regeneration, Property & Planning to his question regarding the action being taken to prevent the proliferation of Adult Gaming Centres across the borough.
11.2 Councillor Johnson thanked Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, for the written response in relation to his question on the social value commitments being generated through the Council’s Procurement Strategy and way in which the Strategy was being used to support the response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. In welcoming the way in which the Procurement Strategy was being used to support social value and community wealth building, Councillor Johnson, as a supplementary question, asked for further details on the work being undertaken to develop this approach in conjunction with other London Boroughs.
In response, Councillor McLennan advised of the success of the Strategy in using the Council’s purchasing power to ensure suppliers were aligned with the Council’s aims and objectives. In terms of the focus on the climate and emergency strategy and work with other London Boroughs she highlighted the activity being undertaken through the West London Alliance (involving Brent and the other Local Authorities covering West London) to deliver a Carbon Reduction Charter in order to achieve the ambition of net zero. The Charter included a number of innovative initiatives such as working with suppliers to encourage the use of lower carbon sources of power; to improve the energy efficiency of their equipment; to delivery digital social value and provide clearer data on levels of greenhouse gas emissions all designed to support the move towards carbon net zero. Under the Charter, suppliers would also be asked to provide details on their carbon reduction strategies meaning that once in place, this would provide an opportunity to ensure work being undertaken across the Alliance towards sustainability and securing carbon net zero was also being supported by suppliers across West London.
11.3 Councillor Sangani thanked Councillor Stephens, as Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills, for the written response to her question regarding measures being undertaken by the Council to expand SEND school places and provision across ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Report from Chairs of Scrutiny Committees PDF 395 KB
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:
11.1 Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee
11.2 Community & 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 remit of their Committees.
NOTED the update reports provided by the Chairs of the Community and Wellbeing and Resources & Public Realm and Scrutiny Committees.
No additional questions were raised during the open session of this part of the meeting.
Before being presented with the updates from each Scrutiny Committee, the Mayor reminded members the time set aside for this item was 12 minutes, with each Chair having up to three minutes in which to highlight any significant issues arising from the work of their Committees. Once these updates had been provided, the remaining time available would then be opened up for any other non-Cabinet members to question (without the need for advance notice) the Scrutiny Committee Chairs on matters relating to the work of their Committee.
Councillor Ketan Sheth was then invited to introduce the update report on the work being undertaken by the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, with the following issues highlighted:
· The ongoing work being undertaken by the Scrutiny Committee focussed around the health and wellbeing of residents across Brent. As part of a busy work programme the Committee had met in September 2021 to review the support and services being delivered for families in the borough who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. At that same meeting the operational performance of Brent Housing Management had also been subject to detailed review, including the framework for resident engagement. The final recommendations had also been confirmed from the extraordinary meeting of the Committee held in August in response to the CQC inspection of Maternity Services at Northwick Park Hospital.
· The Committee had held a further extraordinary meeting in October 2021 in order to undertake pre decision scrutiny and review the implications for Brent Housing Management and the Housing Revenue Account in relation to the proposals for ownership and refurbishment of the Granville New Homes Blocks, prior to their consideration by Cabinet. A number of recommendations were made by the Committee focussed around ensuring the necessary due diligence had been undertaken in terms of the assessment of options and in procuring and monitoring the design and build quality of any similar types of construction work in the future, which Cabinet had agreed to take forward, as appropriate, with the relevant services across the Council.
· The Committee had also meet in November 2021 to review the Brent Safeguarding Adults Annual Report 2020-21 and focus on multi-agency partnership arrangements, the interim report from their GP Access Task Group and to agree the scope and terms of reference for an upcoming Transitional Safeguarding Task Group.
· The ongoing engagement of the scrutiny function in the North West London Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee with the next meeting due to be hosted by Harrow in December 2021 including consideration of the transitional arrangements for introduction of the Integrated Care System.
· As a final comment Councillor Sheth also welcomed (given the remit of the Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee) the commitment highlighted earlier in the meeting by Brent Youth Parliament in seeking to engage with the Council to tackle issues relating to safeguarding and sexual harassment within schools.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Ketan Sheth for his update and advised that as Councillor Mashari had given her apologies the report on the activity of ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee PDF 210 KB
To receive a report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee, in accordance with Standing Order 37.
NOTED the update report provided by the Vice Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee.
The Mayor invited Councillor Lo, as Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee, to introduce the report updating members on the work of the Committee.
In terms of issues highlighted, Councillor Lo drew members attention to the work undertaken by the Committee since the previous update in September 2021 which had included a focus on finalising the Councils Statement of Accounts and Audit Findings as well as on performance of i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd, Counter Fraud and Internal Audit activity and Member complaints and conduct.
The opportunity was taken to thank all those involved in submission of the Council’s Statement of Accounts for their efforts in ensuring Brent was one of the first local authorities to have completed the process within the required deadline. Members were also advised that the focus at the Committee’s next meeting would be on cyber security and the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Lo for the update provided and it was RESOLVED that the report be noted.
Non Cabinet Members' Debate PDF 218 KB
To enable Non Cabinet Members to raise an issue of relevance to Brent for debate on which notice has been provided in accordance with Standing Order 34 and to receive reports from Cabinet members, as required, on any issues previously raised.
Members are asked to note that the subject identified for debate at this meeting is as follows:
Tackling violence against women and girls in Brent
The motion put forward as the basis for this debate has been attached.
The following motion was unanimously AGREED as the outcome of the non-cabinet member debate:
Tackling violence against Women and Girls in Brent
“This Council notes:
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is an unacceptable and preventable issue which needlessly blights millions of lives. Crimes of violence against women and girls are many and varied. They include rape, sexual assault, stalking, domestic abuse, ‘honour based’ abuse (including female genital mutilation and forced marriage and ‘honour’ killings), ‘revenge porn’ and ‘upskirting’, as well as many other heinous acts. While different types of violence against women and girls have their own distinct causes and impacts on victims and survivors, what these crimes share in common is the way that they cut across society regardless of background or circumstance.
The crimes committed in Fryent Park are appalling beyond comprehension. We send our thoughts, prayers and solidarity to Mina Smallman. We will keep Bibaa and Nicole at the forefront of all our work to redress the injustices this tragedy has cruelly exposed.
VAWG must be an urgent priority for this government and institutions of all kind.
To this end, Brent Council believes in meeting words, with action.
· Incorporated the VAWG strategy into the safer Brent Community Safety Partnership Strategy. This strategy (for all agencies in Brent) will focus on tackling all forms of violence and abuse that disproportionally affect women in Brent.
· Signed the Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter, and continue to work alongside local night-time economy venues to improve the safety of female customers and staff within their premises. We are developing and commissioning bespoke vulnerability training for businesses in Brent to help identify and support women as a result.
· Developed and continue to develop various services and projects to support victims of VAWG and their families. These include the Brent Chrysalis Centre, Advance, NIA, Global thinking and the Brent domestic abuse housing team.
· Coordinated the IRIS project – which offers direct support to GPs for identification and referral of patients who may be victims of abuse and trafficking. In consultation with specialist support organisations, Brent Council has developed guidance on appropriate VAWG language, encouraging its use whenever there are discussions or communications regarding those impacted by VAWG.
· Provided additional funding and investment into independent domestic violence advisor (IDVA) services and the Brent perpetrator program in partnership with Barnet and Enfield. The Council is liaising with the Home Office to increase local support to address gaps in culturally appropriate services for perpetrators of domestic abuse in minorities and/or marginalised groups.
· Commissioned three Women’s Refuges of 19 units, with work underway to procure further spaces as soon as possible.
In light of the deeply disturbing figures showing that in 2020, only 1.5% of all rape cases led to charge or summons this Council believes that much more urgent work is needed to eradicate violence against women in all its forms.
With this in mind, the Council pledges to:
· Make the safety and support of victims of any form of gender-based violence ... view the full decision text for item 14.
In accordance with Standing Order 34, the Mayor advised that the next item on the agenda was the non-cabinet member debate, with the subject chosen for consideration being Brent’s pledge to tackling Violence against Women and Girls in Brent.
Members were advised that the motion submitted as the basis for debate had been circulated with the agenda and that the time available for the debate was 25 minutes.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Thakkar to introduce the motion. As context for the debate, Councillor Thakkar highlighted the unacceptable nature of violence against women and girls (VAWG) given the suffering caused in what was felt to be a hidden element of the pandemic. In highlighting the different forms of violence and abuse, Councillor Thakkar outlined how whilst they would all have their own distinct causes and impact on victims and survivors the common theme remained how they cut across society regardless of background or circumstance, with many victims often not heard. In seeking to highlight the issue as an urgent priority, Councillor Thakkar advised that the motion put forward for debate also sought to outline the work already being undertaken by the Council in tackling violence against women and girls and empowering victims of abuse. These initiatives included Brent having incorporated the VAWG strategy in to the Safer Brent Community Partnership strategy; signing the Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter; developing services and projects to support victims of VAWG and their families; coordinating the IRIS project; providing additional funding and investment for independent domestic violence advisor services and the Brent perpetrator programme and commissioning three Women’s Refuges.
It was, however, pointed out that more work was needed in order to eradicate violence against women and girls in all its forms, with Councillor Thakkar commending the motion to Council by re-iterating that although Brent had committed to tackling violence against women and girls, there could be no complacency. The need was identified to continue raising awareness in order for government and other institutions of all kind to address the issues highlighted as a priority.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Thakkar for her powerful message in introducing the motion and opened up the debate to other members, with the following comments made during the discussion that followed.
Councillor Kabir, in supporting the motion, agreed that violence against women and girls was an issue that could not be tolerated and highlighted a need to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem, with religion and culture being used too often as ways to excuse acts of violence against females.
Councillor Colwill also advised that he fully supported the motion.
Councillor Dixon highlighted both the damaging psychological and potentially fatal impact of violence against women and girls and emphasised the increased risk women faced when they were pregnant or trying to leave a violent relationship. Councillor Dixon felt that by supporting the empowerment of women, the borough would be able to prosper even further and expressed her full support for the motion.
Councillor Donnelly-Jackson also welcomed ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
Brent Black Community Action Plan - Annual Report PDF 290 KB
To receive a report from the Assistant Chief Executive providing an update on the Brent Black Community Action Plan (BCAP), including activity undertaken during 2021/22 to deliver the priority themes. The report also outlines the challenges identified in delivering the BCAP during its first year along with the approach to overcome these in year two.
(1) To note the progress against the Black Community Action Plan delivery plans 2021/22.
(2) To note the identified challenges and action planned to overcome them.
(3) To note the emerging areas of focus for the Black Community Action Plan in 2022/23.
The Mayor then invited Councillor McLennan, Deputy Leader, to introduce a report from the Assistant Chief Executive providing an update on the progress being made against the Brent Black Community Action Plan (BCAP). In introducing the report the Deputy Leader highlighted the key activities undertaken during 2021/22 to deliver the priority themes within the Action Plan along with key successes. These had included development of the Harlesden Curriculum, the introduction of a Youth Advisory Group, delivery of an Insight Day and work to establish a Black Business Network and Excellence Quality Mark.
The report also highlighted the challenges which had been identified to date in delivering the BCAP along with the approaches being developed to overcome these as delivery continued to be progressed during 2022/23. The measures included activity designed to deliver systemic change e.g. establishing a senior officers delivery group, further investment in community facilities, introduction of a programme of Civic Life opportunities and development of a new Brent Council Black Graduate Scheme; the introduction of a number of roles across the community to amplify BCAP work and development of an enhanced communications strategy. In commending the report to Council the Deputy Leader thanked all members, officers and key stakeholders within the local community for their ongoing support in delivery of the Action Plan.
Whilst no members indicated they wished to speak on the report, Councillor McLennan in exercising her right of reply once again thanked everyone involved for their engagement and efforts in development and delivery of the Action Plan. The Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.
Council therefore RESOLVED:
(1) To note the progress against the Black Community Action Plan delivery plans 2021/22.
(2) To note the identified challenges and action planned to overcome them.
(3) To note the emerging areas of focus for the Black Community Action Plan in 2022/23.
Proposed renewal of the Council's Current Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles (Policy Statement) PDF 407 KB
To receive a report from the Strategic Director, Regeneration & Environment seeking approval to renew the council’s existing Gambling Policy in its current form for a maximum of a further 24 months until 31st January 2024.
Council RESOLVED to approve the renewal of the current Gambling Policy and Statement of Principles for a maximum period of 2 years until 31st January 2024, as recommended by Cabinet.
The Mayor invited Councillor Knight, Lead Member for Community Safety & Engagement, to introduce a report from the Strategic Director, Regeneration & Environment, seeking approval to renew the Council’s existing Gambling Policy in its current form for a maximum period of a further 24 months until 31st January 2024.
In introducing the report, Councillor Knight advised members of the requirement under the Gambling Act 2005 for the Council to publish a statement of principles (policy statement) to be applied in exercising its functions under the Act. In December 2020 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had launched a major and wide ranging review of the Act to consider the increase in online gambling along with advertising, marketing rules and the powers of the Gambling Commission and to ensure the necessary protections were available within the regulatory framework in order to protect children and vulnerable people, prevent gambling related crime and keep gambling fair in the digital age. The Council had made representations in response to the consultation seeking to secure more control over the number of Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) able to be established within the borough given the detrimental impact they were felt to have on local communities, particularly in areas of deprivation. Given the need for the Council to review and prepare a new or revised gambling policy and statement of principles that would align with any new legislation framework introduced as a result of the review, it had been recommended that the current policy be renewed for up to a further two year period in order to allow this process to be undertaken. Confirmation was provided that the current policy had been reviewed and remained fit. An assurance was also provided regarding the robust and hostile stance being maintained by the Council against the establishment of AGCs in Brent given the detrimental impact they were felt to have on town centres, local communities and in targeting the most vulnerable and deprived neighbourhoods, particularly within the south of the borough.
As no members indicated they wished to speak and Councillor Knight had confirmed she did not need to exercise her right of reply the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.
Council therefore RESOLVED to approve the renewal of the current Gambling Policy and Statement of Principles for a maximum period of 2 years until 31st January 2024, as had been recommended by Cabinet on 8 November 2021.
To debate the motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 41.
Members are asked to note that the motions submitted have now been republished with the agenda.
(Agenda republished to include motions on 17 November 2021)
(1) The following motion submitted by the Conservative Group was declared lost:
Granville New Homes Independent Inquiry
“This Council notes with grave concern the issues raised by the Ridge Report on the Granville New Homes build by Brent Council.
This matter was briefly discussed at the Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Standards Advisory Committee. Because of time constraints, the matter has not been fully aired. There still remains very large and serious questions the Administration needs to answer, for example:
· When and who commissioned the Ridge Report?
· When did the serious defects in the structure of the construction come to light?
· What was the Building Contractors and Councils Building Control Department’s involvement during construction and issue of Completion Certificate?
There are various estimates circulating as to the amount of money required to remedy the defects. One source reports that £18.4 million will be required. This amount is larger than the Council potentially lost by investment in Icelandic Banks.
This Council therefore agrees to request that the Cabinet commissions an independent inquiry into the matter.”
Councillors Colwill, Kansagra and Maurice voted in favour of the above motion.
All other members present at the meeting voted against the above motion.
(2) The following Motion submitted by the Labour Group was AGREED:
The Big Issue Campaign – Stop mass homelessness
“This Council notes:
Thatthousands offamilies arefacing evictionsand repossessionsas measuresto protectresidents put in place during Covid-19, end; Universal Credit is reduced; the furlough scheme ends; and electricity, gasand the cost of living rises at pace.
This Council believes that:
Now is not the time to unravel the interventions that the government has introduced to protectpeople during this unprecedented period.
Unless urgent action is taken by this government, the UK will face a homelessness crisisthis winter, on ashameful scale.
Over the last year, nearly 6,000 residents approached Brent Council because they feared being made homeless. While our officer’s work tirelessly to offer assistance to as many residents as possible, the sheer scale of demand sadly outstrips supply. The pandemic has shown that mass homelessness is a political choice – the government averted it once with the Everybody In initiative and they can do so again; simply by making additional funding available to this Council.
This Councilresolves to:
1. Support the Big Issue’s plan to Stop Mass Homelessness and call on the Lead Member for Housing & Welfare Reform to write to the relevant Secretaries of State asking them to keep people in their homes and in sustainable jobs. They could do this by committing to pay off £360m in rent arrears; suspend no fault evictions until a Renters’ Reform Act is passed; make permanent the £20 Universal Credit uplift; improve access to Discretionary Housing Payment; unfreeze Local Housing Allowance; improve support for financial literacy education and invest to create new green jobs.
2. Express its support for a Wellbeing of Future Generations Act requiring public bodies to consider how decisions made ... view the full decision text for item 17.
Before moving on to consider the motions listed on the summons, the Mayor advised members that a total of 30 minutes had been set aside for the consideration of the three motions submitted for debate, based on an initial allocation of 10 minutes per motion. Should the time taken to consider the first motion be less than 10 minutes she advised that the remaining time available would be rolled forward for consideration of the remaining motion.
17.11st Motion (Conservative Group) – Granville New Homes Independent Inquiry
The Mayor invited Councillor Kansagra to move the first motion which had been submitted on behalf of the Conservative Group. Councillor Kansagra, in moving the motion, highlighted the Conservative Groups concern regarding the issues outlined within the Ridge Report on the Granville New Homes Block development. Referring to the potential cost in addressing the issues and defects identified he also highlighted the wider inconvenience caused by the delays in undertaking these works for residents living in the blocks. Whilst recognising the issues had been subject to consideration at the Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Standards Advisory Committee it was not felt this had provided sufficient opportunity to fully explore the matters needing to be considered with a number of concerns still to be addressed. Concerns were also expressed at the delay in members being advised of the report and issues in relation to the blocks, with the Conservative Group therefore calling on the Council to request that Cabinet commission an independent inquiry into the matter.
The Mayor then invited other members to speak on the motion, with the following contribution received.
Councillor McLennan, in responding to the motion, began by recognising the impact on residents within the blocks and highlighting the Council’s commitment towards addressing the issues and works identified in order to ensure the provision of a building that was safe, secure and fit for purpose. In outlining the background and history to the construction and ownership of the blocks, she highlighted that approval of the original development had been subject to planning permission granted by Planning Committee in 2008 when Councillor Kansagra had been chair. Commenting on the background to the Ridge Report, Councillor McLennan advised this had been commissioned once the extent of the works required to rectify the original construction defects had become clear in order to enable a full assessment of the options and costs of the works required. Confirmation was provided regarding the consultation and engagement with those residents affected, who members were advised had been fully supportive of the approach now agreed by Cabinet to rectify the defects and undertake the works required.
As no further members had indicated that they wished to speak the Mayor invited Councillor Kansagra to exercise his right of reply.
In summing up, Councillor Kansagra felt it was important to clarify that as Chair of the Planning Committee his remit had been to consider the planning application rather than assess the construction of the blocks. He therefore ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
At the discretion of the Mayor to consider any urgent business, in accordance with Standing Order 37 (r).
No urgent items of business were raised at the meeting.
There were no urgent items of business raised at the meeting so the Mayor, in closing the meeting, thanked all members for their co-operation and support and advised that she looked forward to seeing everyone again in person at the next Full Council which would be the Budget Setting meeting on Thursday 24 February 2022.