Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: This will be held as a virtual online meeting

Contact: James Kinsella, Governance Manager  Tel: 020 8937 2063; Email: james.kinsella@brent.gov.uk

Note: The press and public are welcome to attend this as an online virtual meeting. The link to view proceedings can be accessed via the Live Streaming section on the Democracy page of the Council's website or through the link on the agenda front sheet. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcoming Statement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to formally opening the meeting, the Mayor took the opportunity to welcome everyone and invited Carolyn Downs, as Chief Executive, to run through the guidance issued in relation to conduct of the online meeting. Having noted the guidance, the Mayor then moved on to the formal agenda for the meeting.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hylton, Mahmood & R.Patel.

 

It was also noted that Councillor Murray had been unable to attend due to illness.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Hylton, Mahmood and Ramesh Patel.  It was noted that Councillor Murray had also been unable to attend due to illness.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the following Council meetings:

 

2.1    Annual Council Meeting held on Monday 14 September 2020

 

2.2    Extraordinary Council Meeting held on Friday 16 October 2020

Additional documents:

Decision:

The minutes of the following Council meetings were approved as a correct record:

 

·                Annual Council meeting on Monday 14 October 2020

 

·                Extraordinary Council meeting on Friday 16 October 2020

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 14 September 2020 and the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 16 October 2020 be approved as a correct record.

4.

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.

Additional documents:

Decision:

No declarations were made at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Mayor's Announcements (including any petitions received)

To receive any announcements from the Mayor.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the announcements from the Mayor in relation to:

·             Brent’s award as LGC Council of the Year

·             Queen’s Birthday Honours List

·             Black History Month

·             Death of former Councillor Jon Mordecai, with tribute paid and a minutes silence observed during the meeting

·             Nigerian Protests

·             Remembrance Sunday

·             LBoC No Bass Like Home event

·             Petitions

Minutes:

The Mayor then moved on to make the following announcements:

 

(i)        LGC Council of the Year 2020

 

The Mayor began by advising it was with pride he was able to announce the Council had been named ‘Council of the Year’ 2020 at the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Awards.  As part of the award the Council had been recognised for embracing its communities in a celebration of diversity with the award seen as recognition for the hard work undertaken by officers and councillors in supporting the residents of the borough.

 

(ii)       Queen’s Birthday Honours List

 

In addition to Councillor Liz Dixon, who had been congratulated at the previous meeting, the Mayor advised that he was delighted to announce that Sarah Smith, Libraries Development Manager, had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award was for services to public libraries and the Mayor, on behalf of the Council, congratulated Sarah on her award.

 

(iii)      Black History Month

 

The Mayor then moved on to offer his thanks and congratulations to all those involved in the successful delivery of the online event to celebrate Black History Month during October. The event’s theme was Black Lives Matter and he was pleased to note how successful it had been.

 

(iv)    Former councillor Jon Mordecai

 

The Mayor announced that it was with sadness he had to inform members about the recent death of former Councillor Jon Mordecai, who had been a councillor in the 1980s and served as Chair of the Housing Committee. On behalf of the Council, the Mayor passed on his condolences to former Councillor Mordecai’s family and loved ones.

 

The Mayor then invited attendees to observe a minute’s silence in tribute and memory of Jon.

 

The online meeting was then paused to observe a minute’s silence.

 

Councillor Nerva was then invited to pay tribute to Jon.  Before also passing on his condolences he highlighted former Councillor Mordecai’s passion for housing and trade union activity and advised how much he would be missed by his friends, former colleagues and family.

 

(v)       Protests against police brutality in Nigeria

 

The Mayor advised that it was with great sadness he had witnessed the recent unrest in Nigeria.  Highlighting the impact which this had had on many residents of Nigerian descent across the borough he expressed his sympathies to the families and friends who had lost loved ones during the recent protests and wished all those injured a quick recovery.

 

(vi)    Remembrance Sunday

 

The Mayor advised members he had been honoured to attend the recent ceremony held to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.  This year’s ceremony had been undertaken as a socially distanced event at the Barham Park Memorial and honoured all those in the borough and beyond who had given their lives whilst serving in the Armed Forces in conflicts throughout the world.  He thanked all those who had attended and been involved in organising the ceremony.

 

(vii)   London Borough of Culture – No Bass like Home

 

The Mayor then moved on the thank and congratulate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

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, Joint Committees, Forums, Panels and Outside Bodies along with the appointments of Chairs/Vice Chairs (if any) in accordance with Standing Order 30(g).

Additional documents:

Decision:

AGREED the following changes in Committee & Outside Body memberships:

 

(1)    Councillor Mahmood to be replaced by Councillor Kennelly as a full member of the Planning Committee.

 

(2)    Councillor Kennelly to be replaced by a vacancy as substitute member of the Planning Committee.

 

(3)    Councillor Denselow to be replaced by Councillor Saqib Butt as the Council’s nominated representative on the i4B & First Wave Housing Ltd Boards

 

(4)    Councillor Lloyd to be replaced by a vacancy as the Council’s nominated representative on Chalkhill Community Centre


    

Minutes:

The Mayor referred members to the list of changes circulated in relation to appointments to Council Committees, Sub Committees and other bodies.

 

It was RESOLVED to approve the following changes in Committee and Outside Body membership:

 

(1)     Councillor Mahmood to be replaced as a full member of the Planning Committee by Councillor Kennelly.

 

(1)      Councillor Kennelly to be replaced by a vacancy as a substitute member of the Planning Committee.

 

(3)     Councillor Denselow to be replaced by Councillor Saqib Butt as the Council’s nominated representative on the i4B & First Wave Housing Ltd Boards.

 

(4)     Councillor Lloyd to be replaced by a vacancy as the Council’s nominated representative on Chalkhill Community Centre.

7.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations for which requests have been approved in accordance with Standing Order 32.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the deputation received from the Chair of Harlesden Area Action seeking an update on specific progress being made towards implementation of a greener parking strategy.  The deputation included specific reference to extension of the diesel surcharge to Pay & Display parking as was the case in Camden, Islington and Westminster; reducing the number of parking permits allowed per household; inclusion of motorcycles/scooters in the Pay & Display and resident permit schemes as in Kensington & Chelsea, Islington and Westminster and ensuring it was cheaper to park a bicycle than car in Brent.

 

In responding to the deputation, Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Lead Member for Environment, highlighted the work being undertaken to develop a new parking strategy in order to reflect the Climate Emergency Strategy and recommendations within the Air Quality Scrutiny Task Group.  In terms of the specific issues highlighted, members were advised of the need to recognise the different circumstances in each of the boroughs referred to as examples and need for consideration to be given to the impact of these proposals taking account of the circumstances in Brent.  As a result, not all of the measures had been identified as appropriate for the borough.  Work was, however, ongoing in relation to the provision of bike hangars with officers already considering how best to minimise costs and encourage greener car ownership and more active modes of travel.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that he had accepted a request for a deputation to be presented at the meeting relating to the progress on implementation of the Scrutiny Air Quality Task Group recommendations and Brent’s Transport Strategy. The deputation had been requested by the Chair of Harlesden Area Action Group.

 

The Mayor advised that unless otherwise indicated by members, he intended to allow the speaker up to five minutes to present the deputation. He would then allow Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Lead Member for Environment, up to two minutes to respond to the deputation.

 

As no objections were raised on the approach outlined, the Mayor welcomed the Chair of Harlesden Area Action Group to the meeting (as a remote attendee).

 

Having noted the recommendations contained within the report from the Council’s Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee in relation to Brent’s Transport Strategy, the Chair of Harlesden Area Action Group advised that she was seeking an update on progress being made towards implementation of the Council’s greener parking strategy.  Specific reference was made to the following areas:

·                The suggestion made that the Council consider extending the surcharge on residential parking permits for diesel vehicles to pay and display parking, as was already the case in Camden, Islington and Westminster;

·                To consider reviewing and potentially reducing the maximum number of parking permits allowed per household;

·                To ensure, as had been recommended by the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 14 July 2020, that any new parking strategy was designed to make it cheaper to park a bike than car in Brent;

·                The suggestion made that residential and pay and display permit schemes should be extended to motorcycles and scooters, as was the case in Kensington & Chelsea, Islington and Westminster.

 

Whilst recognising the impact of the pandemic in delaying progress and supporting the positive steps made with the creation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (including Nicoll Road within the Harlesden Area), Schools Streets and to encourage more active modes of travel the deputation ended with concerns being raised about the need to progress action in order to deliver the improvements and positive action being sought.

 

The Mayor thanked the Chair of Harlesden Area Action Group for the deputation and then invited Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Lead Member for Environment, to respond to the comments made.

 

In responding, Councillor Krupa Sheth advised of the work being undertaken to develop a new Parking Strategy designed to reflect the Climate Emergency Strategy and the Air Quality Task Group’s recommendations.  In terms of the specific issues highlighted, members were advised of the need to recognise the different circumstances in each of the boroughs referred to as examples and need for consideration to be given to the impact of these proposals taking account of the circumstances in Brent. As a result, not all of the measures suggested were regarded as appropriate for the borough, with Councillor Sheth advising she would be happy to share further details of the assessments undertaken, if required.

 

In terms of the position  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Questions from Members of the Public & Brent Youth Parliament pdf icon PDF 99 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 no public questions have been received for response at this meeting.

 

7.2    To receive questions submitted from Brent Youth Parliament to Cabinet Members, in accordance with Standing Order 33 (c).

 

Two questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED

 

1.     That no questions had been submitted for response by members of the public.

 

2.     The written and supplementary verbal response provided by the Lead Member for Education, Employment and Skills to a question submitted from the Brent Youth Parliament on the Council’s commitment to supporting the inclusion of student Associate Governor roles on Secondary School Governing Bodies and to keeping the Youth Parliament updated on progress.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that whilst no questions had been received from members of the public the following questions had been received from representatives of the Brent Youth Parliament:

 

Question 1 from Ben Maher to Councillor Tom Stephens, Lead Member for Schools, Employment & Skills on the potential of secondary schools across the borough including student Associate Governor roles on their Governing Bodies.

 

Question 2 from Bashra Mahamed to Councillor Southwood, Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform on the Council’s plans to address the rising poverty rates in Brent and to provide families with support.

 

Members noted the written response provided on each of the questions with the Mayor advising that both representatives from the Youth Parliament had been invited to attend the meeting in order to ask a supplementary question.  Whilst Bashra Mahamed had been unable to attend, the Mayor advised that Ben Maher had joined the meeting in order to ask a supplementary question. The Mayor welcomed Ben to the meeting (as a remote attendee) and invited him to put his supplementary question to Councillor Stephens, as Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills.

 

Supplementary Question from Ben Maher to Councillor Stephens, Lead Member for Schools, Employment & Skills.

 

Having thanked Councillor Stephens for the written response provided, Ben Maher asked what impact was expected as a result of the contact with secondary schools in order to encourage them to consider student Associate Governor roles on their Governing Bodies and how he would keep Brent Youth Parliament updated on progress.

 

In response, Councillor Stephens began by recognising and commending the work undertaken by Brent Youth Parliament in championing the voice of young people and confirmed his commitment to continue liaising with schools regarding the benefits of student Associate Governor roles on Governing Bodies.  In terms of monitoring progress he would ensure that regular updates continued to be provided for Brent Youth Parliament.

 

Having noted the response provided, the Mayor thanked Ben Maher for his question and for joining the meeting. As there were no further questions the Mayor concluded the public question session.

9.

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.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the petition presented at the meeting by Tariq Abdul, objecting to the proposed redevelopment plans for St Raphael’s Estate and supporting, as an alternative to redevelopment, a scheme involving refurbishment and infill with limited new build.

 

In response to the petition, Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing & Welfare Reform outlined the consultation process the Council had undertaken with local residents and community organisations to date and reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to community-led development.  Given the technical difficulties experienced by the petitioner being able to connect to the meeting an offer was made to liaise further regarding the response provided following the meeting.

Minutes:

Following on from his announcements, the Mayor referred members to the list of petitions which had been tabled at the meeting.  The list included details of a petition relating to the regeneration of St. Raphael’s Estate which due to the number of signatures the Mayor advised he had agreed, in accordance with the Council’s Petition Scheme, to be presented at the meeting.

 

The Mayor advised that unless otherwise indicated by members, he intended to allow the representative nominated by the lead petitioner up to five minutes to present the petition.  He would then allow Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, up to two minutes to respond to the petition.

 

The Mayor then welcomed Tariq Abdul to the meeting, as representative of the lead petitioner, and invited him to present the petition.

 

Due to technical difficulties experienced by Mr Abdul in being able to connect to the meeting remotely he was unable to fully present the petition.  Members were able to note, however, that the petition was objecting to the proposed redevelopment plans for St Raphael’s Estate and supporting, as an alternative to redevelopment, a scheme involving refurbishment and infill with limited new build.  Given that no written statement had been provided by the lead petitioner for reference in case of technical difficulties and the petition had been referred to the Lead Member for Housing & Welfare Reform and Strategic Director of Community Wellbeing the Mayor (having provided an opportunity for the connection to be re-established) advised that he would need to proceed, given the remaining business on the agenda.

 

On the above basis the Mayor, having noted receipt of the petition, advised that he would be willing to provide Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, with the opportunity to respond to the petition for the benefit of any residents following the meeting via the webcast.

 

In responding to the petition, Councillor Southwood advised that the Council had first been made aware of the petition prior to work on the master planning process with the local community having begun.  The process since then had involved a series of resident events and workshops through which the redevelopment plans had been developed in consultation with the local community.  Members were also advised of the work undertaken to support this process with the Resident Board in order to secure resident input at each stage of the process.  The master plan process had therefore evolved through resident input and with each stage subject to detailed local communication.

 

Whilst building affordable housing was a key objective for the Council, Councillor Southwood reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to community-led development and was also keen to point out that this provision needed to be in the interests of both current and future residents and members of the local community.  In concluding her response, Councillor Southwood highlighted that it would ultimately be the residents of St Raphael’s estate who had the opportunity to decide whether and how any scheme was progressed in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Annual Report from the Leader of the Council

To receive an annual report on the work of the Council from the Leader of the Council, in accordance with Standing Order 38.

 

Members are asked to note that the Leader of the Council will have up to 5 minutes to present his annual report with a period of up to 20 minutes then provided for debate.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the annual report provided by the Leader of the Council on the work of the Council.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised members that the Leader’s Annual Report would be provided verbally. He then invited Councillor Muhammed Butt, as Leader of the Council, to present his Annual Report on the work of the Council and the state of the borough.

 

Councillor Muhammed Butt opened his annual report by reflecting on the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic had had on the borough, whilst sharing his optimism at the local response provided and progress being made in terms of the vaccine.  He shared his sympathies with those who had lost loved ones; those who had lost their jobs and seen their businesses affected and those who had seen their education put on hold. He also paid tribute to residents for the way that had risen to the challenges created by the pandemic and for the support provided to those within their communities that had needed it the most.

 

Recognising that much of the fallout of the pandemic had not yet been realised, he expressed his concern about the possible impact of further austerity measures on the local economy and labour market.  In terms of the action being taken by the Council, he highlighted the important work undertaken in relation to the Poverty Commission, development and implementation of the Black Community Action Plan and Climate Emergency Strategy all of which would be central to the Council’s ongoing response to the recovery process and overall aim to ensure the best possible outcomes were delivered for residents of the Borough.  Whilst recognising the extent of the work ahead, the Leader was also keen to acknowledge the success of the Council in being awarded LGC Council of the Year and being the Borough of Culture for 2020.

 

In summing up, Councillor Muhammed Butt felt there was a need to recognise the effect that austerity had had on frontline services and reaffirmed the Council’s resolve to fill these gaps and provide the best possible support to the residents of the borough. He then ended by taking the opportunity to pay tribute and offer his condolences (on behalf of the Council) to the family of Jamalie Maleek Deacon Matthew, the teenager recently murdered in Northwick Park, who was described as an ambitious young man with huge potential.

 

The Mayor thanked the Leader for his Annual Report and then advised that he would open up the debate for contributions from other members, starting with a response from the Conservative Group.

 

In response to the Annual Report Councillor Kansagra, as Leader of the Conservative Group, felt it was important to highlight the level of funding received by the Council from the government in support of its work responding to the pandemic, including the funding provided to cover furloughed employees’ wages.  Whilst recognising the efforts of the Council in responding to the pandemic locally, he felt it should not be forgotten this had been with the support of significant funding provided by the government.

 

The Mayor then moved to invite contributions from other members. Councillor Georgiou shared the Leader’s sentiment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Reports from the Leader and Cabinet

To receive a verbal 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.

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the verbal update provided by the Leader of the Council covering the following issues:

·             Brent’s award as LGC Council of the Year, with thanks expressed to all staff and members for their ongoing support, commitment and dedication;

·             the anticipated announcement as part of the Government’s Spending Review of a freeze on public sector pay and concern at the impact on staff, especially those who had led on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic;

·             the success of the LBOC “No Bass Like Home” online festival in highlighting the borough’s cultural diversity and thanks to those members and officers involved in its delivery;

·             the list of urgent Executive decisions taken since the last Council meeting.

Minutes:

The Mayor advised members that the Leader’s report for this meeting would be provided verbally. He then invited Councillor Muhammed Butt, as Leader of the Council, to present his update.

 

Councillor Muhammed Butt began by thanking all Council staff and members for their hard work over the past year, which had been recognised with Brent awarded the title of LGC Council of the Year 2020. This was seen as a particularly significant accomplishment within the context of the response being delivered to the pandemic. He also expressed his concern at the recent announcement by the government of their public sector pay freeze for 2021/22 and impact this would have on staff across the Council, many of whom had been at the heart of delivering the response to the pandemic.  Finally, members were asked to note the list of decisions tabled at the meeting which had been taken under the Council’s urgency procedures and thanks were also extended to all those involved in the London Borough of Culture No Bass like Home event which he was pleased had been such a success in highlighting the borough’s cultural diversity.

 

The Mayor thanked the Leader for his report and it was RESOLVED to formally note the update provided.

12.

Questions from the Opposition and other Non-Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 107 KB

For questions to be put to members of the Cabinet by opposition and non-Cabinet Members in accordance with Standing Order 35.

 

Members are asked to note that four advance notice questions have been received under this item, which have been attached along with the written responses provided.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council noted:

 

1.         The written and supplementary verbal response by the Lead Member for Schools, Employment & Skills to a question submitted by Councillor Sangani regarding the Council’s actions to ensure that no child went hungry over the October half-term, as well as its efforts to lobby central government to take action to avoid holiday hunger over the Christmas period.

 

2.         The written and supplementary verbal response by the Lead Member for Housing & Welfare Reform to a question submitted by Councillor Hassan regarding the Council’s work to enhance fire safety protections in council homes and its support of the ‘End our Cladding Scandal’ ten-step plan.

 

3.         The written and supplementary verbal response by the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to a question submitted by Councillor Long regarding the roll-out of the Healthy Neighbourhoods scheme and the work undertaken to engage residents with the scheme.

 

4.         The written and supplementary verbal response by the Lead Member for Environment to a question submitted by Councillor Maurice regarding the Council’s plans to repair faulty paving along Kingsbury High Road.

 

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 Kelcher regarding the Council’s response to a recent fire and incidence of violent crime in Kensal Green.

·                Councillor Kennelly regarding central government’s recent decision to cut funding to organisations that deal with LGBT bullying in schools and the Council’s commitment to working with schools on anti-bullying measures.

·                Councillor Choudhary regarding the lessons learned by schools during the pandemic, particularly in relation to online learning.

·                Councillor Azfal regarding central government’s response to the pandemic.

·                Councillor Gbajumo regarding the Council’s plans to tackle gender poverty, particularly period poverty.

·                Councillor Daly regarding the Council’s Public Health department’s efforts to protect residents during the pandemic.

Minutes:

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 invited supplementary questions from the Members who had submitted the written questions.

 

11.1    Councillor Sangani thanked Councillor Stephens, as Lead Member for Schools, Skills and Employment, for his written response in relation the Council’s actions to ensure that no child went hungry over the October half-term.  Councillor Sangani then asked a supplementary question regarding the level of government funding being provided to support the actions taken by the Council and in order to address the longstanding inequalities identified.

 

In response, Councillor Stephens advised that since the original written response had been provided the government had reversed its position and announced a set of measures to tackle school child hunger over the Christmas school holiday break.  The Council had, however, needed to fund its own response during the October half-term and it looked unlikely these costs would be met.

 

11.2  Councillor Hassan thanked Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, for her written response in relation to the Council’s work to enhance fire safety protection in council homes. Councillor Hassan in recognising the work undertaken to date, asked a supplementary question regarding the steps the Council would take to work with Housing Associations and other providers to enhance fire safety protections residents and support the ‘End our Cladding Scandal’ ten-step plan.

 

In response, Councillor Southwood outlined the work that the Council had already undertaken as a landlord and its responsibilities in relation to privately owned properties to enhance fire safety protections.  As part of this process the Council continued to support residents in liaising with private landlords and Housing Associations and, where required, with the Social Housing Regulator.  The issues highlighted in relation to cladding and approach taken over general fire safety protections continued to be raised regularly with the borough’s housing associations. Efforts were also being made to encourage the government to ensure that Housing Associations and other providers had access to the necessary funding available to support this response.

 

11.3   Councillor Long thanked Councillor Tatler, as Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning, for her written response in relation to the rollout of the Healthy Neighbourhoods scheme. Councillor Long then asked a supplementary question regarding the Council’s plans to improve traffic flows along main routes across the borough.

 

In response, Councillor Tatler advised that the Council was looking to update its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Report from Chairs of Scrutiny Committees pdf icon PDF 82 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:

 

12.1    Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

 

12.2    Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the update reports provided by the Chairs of the Community & Wellbeing and Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committees.

 

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

 

·                Councillor Long regarding plans to scrutinise the work of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust within the borough.

·                Councillors Kennelly & Maurice regarding the potential closure of Wembley Ambulance Service Station and its wider impact within the borough.

·                Councillor Choudhary regarding the status of those health services within the borough that had been or continued to be restricted due to the pandemic.

Minutes:

Before being presented with the updates from each Scrutiny Committee Chair, 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 & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, with the following issues highlighted:

 

·                The work due to be undertaken by the Committee at their next meeting, which would include scrutinising the impact of Covid-19 on Education and Children’s Services, progress against the Action Plan for raising attainment of boys of Black Caribbean heritage and the Brent Youth Offending Service post-inspection Action Plan;

·                Although the review of specialist services at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, had been paused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans were being made for this to recommence.  Once completed proposed options from the review were expected to be published next year for public consultation;

·                Following concerns expressed about the proposed closure of Wembley Ambulance Station, the Committee had invited representatives from the London Ambulance Service to attend their next meeting, in order to clarify the current position.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillor Ketan Sheth for his update.

 

Councillor Mashari was then invited to introduce the update report on the work being undertaken by the Resources and Public Realm Committee, with the following issues highlighted:

 

·                The strong focus within the Committee’s Work Plan for 2020-21 on the Council’s strategic and policy framework, with a particular emphasis on how the Council had responded to the pandemic, revival of the local economy and employment and its response to the Black Community Action Plan and Poverty Commission;

·                The establishment of the annual Task Group to scrutinise the Council’s budget performance and draft budget proposals, which would include as a specific focus progress against delivery of the Borough Plan and key services along with the financial impact of Covid-19;

·                The proposed changes to the operation of the Committee aimed at improving its responsiveness, accountability and accessibility including the introduction of community witnesses and a review of the existing work programme to provide capacity for the inclusion of current issues at shorter notice;

·                The Committee would be considering a range of issues at its next meeting, including the Council’s proposals to tackle the climate emergency and the impact of Covid-19 on unemployment in Brent.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillor Mashari for her update and it was RESOLVED that the contents of both update reports be noted.

 

Following the updates provided, the Mayor advised that the remainder of time available would be open for questions from non-cabinet members to the Scrutiny Chairs. The Mayor reminded members of the need to ensure that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Report from the Vice-Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

NOTED the update report provided by the Vice Chair of the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee.

Minutes:

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, with the following issues highlighted:

 

·                During its last meeting, the Committee had discussed a range of topics including the annual review of the Members’ Code of Conduct complaints procedure, gifts and hospitality registered by members and the attendance record for members in relation to mandatory training sessions, the i4B and First Wave Housing Ltd Company accounts and audits, the Council’s annual statement of accounts and progress update from the Council’s external auditors;

·                As part of the review of the Statement of Accounts the Committee had recognised the efforts made by the Council to ensure it maintained a strong balance sheet and reserves as it looked to recover from the costs of the pandemic;

·                The Committee had been invited to participate in the Budget Scrutiny Task Group to enhance the level of co-operation and co-ordination between the Scrutiny and Audit & Standards Advisory Committees.  This proposal had been welcomed by the Committee;

·                The Committee intended to discuss a range of topics at its next meeting, including internal audit and counter fraud progress, external audit progress, Treasury Management and the performance and management of i4B and First Wave Housing Ltd.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillor Lo for the update provided and it was RESOLVED that the report be noted.

15.

Non Cabinet Members' Debate pdf icon PDF 81 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 any reports from Cabinet Members, as required, on issues previously raised.

 

Members are asked to note that the subject identified for debate is as follows:

 

Forward Together: Brent’s commitment to tackle racial inequalities

 

The motion put forward as the basis of this debate has been attached.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The following motion was agreed as an outcome of the non-cabinet member debate:

 

Forward Together: Brent’s commitment to tackle racial inequalities

 

The Council Notes:

 

§    Brent is the most diverse borough in London, with a long and proud tradition of celebrating diversity and welcoming people from all backgrounds and communities to live, learn and work here.

§    Brent has the seventh highest Black community in London by numbers; with generations of unique stories of trial and unsung achievements.

§    The murder of George Floyd in the United States of America has justifiably triggered global protests against institutional racism faced by Black people, including here in the United Kingdom.

§    That alongside this monstrous act of police brutality, the world is looking on with growing alarm at the ongoing situation in Nigeria, in which peaceful protestors, campaigning for change – are being killed by security forces.

§    That these global protests have come alongside all the inequalities faced by Black people, in the wake of the devastatingly disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities in Britain and other parts of the world.

§    That it is clear that this impact has been made far worse by the structural inequalities Black people face when it comes to health, education and housing.

§    The welcome commitment to embed equality and diversity in all the activities the council undertakes through the ten point Brent Black Community Action Plan.

 

This Council believes:

 

§    That Black Lives Matter.

§    That George Floyd’s murder must be a catalyst for permanent change both at home and overseas.

§    That no institution can absolve itself of the responsibility to do more to tackle racial inequalities.

§    That there is no place for racism, anti-Semitism, islamophobia or any form of xenophobia or bigotry anywhere in our democracy.

§    That language is a powerful tool for inspiration and change, as well as oppression and ignorance and must be used wisely and respectfully.

§    That it is vital all efforts are taken to understand the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities in Brent and that we should work with all relevant stakeholders to mitigate the impact now and into the future.

 

This Council Resolves:

 

§    To show continued leadership in the campaign to rid our city and world of racism.

§    To continue working to achieve the ten point Brent Black Community Action Plan, which includes tackling health inequalities, developing community spaces that will be run and managed by members of the community and an internal review of processes in the council.

§    That the work of elected representatives in this chamber, must play a substantive and public role in ensuring racism and discrimination are challenged and eradicated at all levels.

§    To continually seek the views of our diverse communities across Brent on the issues arising from the Black Lives Matter protests.

§    To call on the government to fully uphold the protections contained in the Equality Act of 2010 and to implement the recommendations contained in the:

 

(i)         Public Health  ...  view the full decision text for item 15.

Minutes:

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 Brent’s commitment to tackling racial inequalities.

 

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 Shahzad to introduce the motion. As context for the debate, Councillor Shahzad highlighted the efforts of people around the world to bring attention to racial injustice through the Black Lives Matter movement, beginning with condemnation of the murder of George Floyd.  It was recognised that the inequalities faced by Black people had been further highlighted by the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities across the world, as a result of the structural inequalities faced in relation to health, education and housing.  He therefore urged all members to support the motion put forward for debate regarding the Council’s commitment to tackling racial inequalities.

 

The Mayor then opened up the debate to other members, with the following comments made during the discussion that followed:

 

Councillor Ethapemi, speaking in support of the motion, highlighted the inhumanity of the murder of George Floyd and need to ensure that enforcement agents, such as the police were not regarded as being above the law.  He hoped that those impacted by such events received justice, with the unrest recently witnessed in Nigeria provided as a further example and governments encouraged to condemn such acts of violence.

 

Councillor Maurice also expressed his support for the motion and pointed to the structural inequalities faced by Black people in Britain. He stressed the need to stamp out all forms of racism and ensure equality for all those living in the country.

 

In supporting the motion, Councillor Johnson highlighted the borough’s history in welcoming diverse cultures as celebrated through the London Borough of Culture programme.  From his perspective, the approach to tackling deprivation, opportunity for education, employment, housing and wellbeing had been hampered by the treatment of Black and minority ethnic communities whether through institutional or individual racism. He expressed his pride in the Council for its steps to tackle racial inequality in the borough and to level the playing field for future generations.

 

Councillor Kansagra also expressed his support for the motion, whilst highlighting the need to recognise how tolerant and welcoming Britain was as a place to live when compared to many other counties across the world with justice usually served in cases of violence or discrimination.

 

Councillor Afzal took the opportunity to recognise and highlight the benefits arising from the level of the diversity across the borough.  In outlining the responsibility to seek to reverse historical injustices he also highlighted and supported the Council’s commitment to tackling racial inequalities in health, housing, employment and education as well as individual racism.

 

Councillor Hassan recognised that the inequalities faced by Black people in Britain had been further  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

A Fairer Future Ending Poverty in Brent - Delivery Plans pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive the report from the Assistant Chief Executive presenting the delivery plans which have been developed to take forward implementation of the Brent Poverty Commission recommendations.

 

Members are asked to note that the Poverty Commission’s final report and recommendations was presented to Cabinet on 7 September 2020, with the delivery plans due to be submitted to Cabinet for formal approval on 7 December 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED:

 

(1)    To note and endorse the delivery plans relating to implementation of the recommendations from Brent’s Poverty Commission, attached as Appendices 1 – 4 of the report.

 

(2)    To refer the delivery plans in (1) above to Cabinet for formal approval.

Minutes:

The Mayor then moved on to invite Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, to present the report on the delivery plans to take forward implementation of the Poverty Commission’s recommendations.

 

In introducing the report, Councillor Southwood advised members that whilst the Poverty Commission had not been established in response to the pandemic, that had served to highlighted many of the existing systemic inequalities the Commission had been set up to challenge and address.  In outlining some of the work already underway to implement the Commission’s recommendations, Councillor Southwood highlighted the Council’s work to conduct a whole market review of the private rented sector with a focus on tenants’ perspectives and its continued commitment to its house-building programme.  Support was also being stepped up with a focus on tackling food and fuel poverty, as well as in the provision of debt advice. The introduction of the Resident Support Fund, which included the availability of grants and interest free loans (managed through a credit union), was also highlighted as an important element in the Council’s response to the immediate financial impact of the pandemic.

 

The Mayor thanked Councillor Southwood for her introduction. As no other members indicated that they wished to speak, Councillor Southwood ended by taking the opportunity to reaffirm the Administration’s commitment to delivery of the recommendations from the Poverty Commission, including the issue highlighted earlier during the meeting in relation to gender and period poverty.

 

The Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To note and endorse the delivery plans outlined in the report.

 

(2)     To refer the delivery plans to Cabinet for approval.

17.

Treasury Management 2019/20 Outturn Report pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The report updates members on Treasury Management activity and confirms that the Council has complied with its Prudential Indicators for 2019/20.

 

Members are asked to note that this report was received and noted by the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee on 29 July 2020 and Cabinet on 7 September 2020.  It has been forwarded to Council in compliance with CIPFAs Code of Practice on Treasury Management.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED:

 

(1)        To note, following its consideration by Audit & Standards Advisory Committee on 29 July 2020 and Cabinet on 7 September 2020 the 2019/20 Treasury Management outturn report, in compliance with CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (the Code).

 

(2)        To note that for 2019/20 the Council had complied with its Prudential Indicators (approved by Full Council on 25 February 2019) as part of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Capital Strategy Statement.

Minutes:

The Mayor then moved on to invite Councillor McLennan, as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, to present the report on Treasury Management activity and the Council’s compliance with its Prudential Indicators for 2019/20. Councillor McLennan in introducing the item advised members that the report was being presented for information following its consideration by the Audit & Standards Advisory Committee on 29 July 2020 and Cabinet on 7 September 2020.

 

The Mayor then opened the debate inviting other members to speak on the report.

 

Referring to section 3 in the report, Councillor Crane sought further details on the Council’s approach towards borrowing. In response, Councillor McLennan advised that the Council had considered all possibilities when considering its borrowing requirements and commitments, including UK Municipal Bonds.

 

Councillor Choudhary highlighted the financial situation at Croydon Council and its subsidiary housing company and sought assurances around the performance of the Council’s own housing company i4B Ltd. In response, Councillor McLennan assured members that i4B was performing well and was subject to extensive financial scrutiny. She explained that the company was created to provide permanent, high quality housing and investment to deliver regeneration and financial benefits for the Council (as its sole shareholder).

 

As no further issues were raised, the Mayor then put the recommendations in the report to the vote and they were unanimously declared CARRIED.

 

It was therefore RESOLVED:

 

(1)     To note the 2019/20 Treasury Management outturn report in compliance with CIPFA’s Code of Practice on Treasury Management (the Code).

 

(2)     To note that for 2019/20 the Council had complied with its Prudential Indicators which were approved by Full Council on 25 February 2019 as part of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Capital Strategy Statement.

18.

Motions pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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

 

Members are asked to note that in accordance with Standing Order 41(c), the motions submitted have now been attached as part of the agenda along with any amendments for which notice has been received.

 

NB: Meeting agenda republished on 23 November 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)      The following motion submitted by the Conservative Group was rejected:

 

Management of Transport for London (TfL) funding

 

This Council is seriously concerned about the massive waste of Brent and Londoners’ hard earned money by TfL and Sadiq Khan and therefore calls for his resignation.

 

Through mismanagement and incompetence, TfL is virtually bankrupt. Twice Sadiq Khan has gone to the Government cap in hand begging for bailouts, and the UK taxpayer has already given him £3.3bn in bailouts this year so far.

 

Since Sadiq Khan won the Mayoralty in 2016, TfL’s debts have gone from bad to worse, rising to £11.7bn, and this was pre-covid!

 

These include:

 

·                £640m to subsidise tourist travel;

 

·                £1.59Bn debt interest;

 

·                £5.25Bn due to Crossrail delays;

 

·                £45m spent on service contracts including £24m to provide taxis for TFL staff.  I thought the mayor was encouraging people to walk, cycle or take buses and trains;

 

·                £828m spent on pension overpayments;

 

·                Over 100 extra staff being paid over £100,000 per annum.

 

In order to attempt to recoup this wasted money, Sadiq Khan has increased the Congestion Charge to £15 per day every day until 10pm, hitting thousands of people and businesses, including those in Brent, very hard.

 

Sadiq Khan tells us that he’s managed to resist the Government’s demands to extend the Congestion Charge to the North and South Circular Roads, but fails to tell people that the Government never made those demands in the first place.

 

Of course he does not want an extension to the Congestion Charge.  There is an election next year.

But make no mistake; if Sadiq Khan is re-elected, then it is very likely that he WILL extend the Congestion Charge.  He needs the money to fund his incompetence and his main source of income is milking the poor hapless motorist.

 

Sadiq Khan blames Covid for the loss of revenue but conveniently fails to inform people that the Government would cover that loss.  What the Government will not cover is money lost through waste and incompetence.

 

This Council therefore believes that Sadiq Khan is not a fit and proper person to be in charge of London’s Transport network and calls on him not only to resign but also to stop using motorists, including those from within Brent, to fund TfL.

 

Councillors Colwill, Kansagra and Maurice voted in favour of the above motion.

 

Councillor Georgiou abstained and all other members present at the meeting voted against the above motion.

 

(2)      Having rejected an amendment moved by the Conservative Group at the meeting, the following Motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:

 

Green Economic Recovery

 

The Council Notes:

 

·                That in Brentwe face a looming jobs and climate emergency.

 

·                That unemployment in Brent has increased by at least 3,000 people in the period between June 2019 and 2020.

 

·                Nationally there has been over a million jobs lost due to Covid-19; with the Bank of England estimating this will rise to 2.6 million people out of work.

 

·                Earlier this year in Brent Central, nearly  ...  view the full decision text for item 18.

Minutes:

Before moving on to consider the motions listed on the summons, the Mayor reminded members that a total of 30 minutes would be set aside for the consideration of all 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 he advised that the remaining time available would be split between the remaining motions on a rolling basis.

 

18.1    1st Motion (Conservative Group) – Management of Transport for London (TfL) funding

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Maurice to move the first motion which had been submitted on behalf of the Conservative Group.  Councillor Maurice in moving the motion began by highlighting the financial situation currently faced by Transport for London (TfL) despite the recent additional government funding it had received.  He felt it important to note the impact of the increase in the congestion charge and its potential extension to the North and South Circular Road, given the effect this would have on Brent residents. The motion, he felt, highlighted the mismanagement of TfL by the Mayor for London and on that basis he commended the motion to members.

 

The Mayor then invited other members to speak on the motion, with the following contributions received.

 

Councillor Hirani, speaking against the motion, outlined and challenged what he felt to be the misinformed basis of the motion. He stated that 72% of TfL funding came through fares and that, prior to the pandemic, its finances were in a good position as verified by independent auditors.  There was also a need to recognise that at the peak of the pandemic passenger income was down by 90% compared to the previous year.  He also emphasised that the current TfL management had sought to reduce the operating deficit (left by the former Conservative Mayor for London) by 71% prior to the pandemic.  Councillor Hirani also felt it was important to note that the proposals to extend the congestion charge to the North and South Circular roads, as highlighted in the motion, had been raised as options by the government rather than TfL itself.  Having challenged the basis of the motion, he therefore urged all members to reject and vote against it.

 

As no further members had indicated that they wished to speak the Mayor invited Councillor Maurice to exercise his right of reply.

 

In summing up, Councillor Maurice reemphasised his belief that the current financial situation at TfL had been caused by mismanagement rather than the pandemic and that the basis of his motion therefore remained valid.

 

The Mayor then put the motion, as set out below, to a vote by show of hands which was declared LOST.

 

“This Council is seriously concerned about the massive waste of Brent and Londoners’ hard earned money by TfL and Sadiq Khan and therefore calls for his resignation.

 

Through mismanagement and incompetence, TfL is virtually bankrupt. Twice Sadiq Khan has gone to the Government cap in hand begging for  ...  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(s).

Additional documents:

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.