Agenda and minutes

Venue: Board Room 3 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Lisa Weaver, Democratic Services Officer  020 8937 1358, Email:

No. Item


Declarations of personal and prejudicial interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting any relevant financial or other interest in the items on the agenda.


None declared.


Minutes of the last meeting held on 29 May 2013 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

The minutes are attached.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 29 May 2013 be approved as a correct record of proceedings.


Matters arising




Brent Borough Plan 2013/14 and the Administration's Priorities pdf icon PDF 51 KB

The One Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee has invited the Leader of the Council to attend its meeting on 10th July to outline the administration’s priorities for the coming year. In recent years it has become custom and practice to do this at one of the committee’s first meetings of the municipal year. 

Additional documents:


Christine Gilbert, Interim Chief Executive introduced the refresh of the Borough Plan.  The document had been updated to reflect the changing environment and emerging challenges that the council and the borough was facing.  The plan incorporated current policies and plans across the Council and consultation with partners across the borough on the shared objectives to achieve improved outcomes locally.  The Plan had six strategic priorities underpinned by specific targets and outcomes to be delivered up to December 2014. The Borough Plan will define the more detailed Council corporate plan which will set out key service targets and directorate responsibility for delivery. Performance against the Corporate Plan would be monitored by Department Management Teams, the Corporate Management Team and reported on a regular basis to Members.


Members were informed that information on lead officers and responsibility for the action would be included in the detailed partner plans rather than the high level Borough Plan.   Monitoring of the plan would be carried out though the delivery plans that support the Borough Plan such as the corporate plan, service plans and team work programmes.  All employees should be able to see how their role contributes to achievement of the council’s priorities and would be monitored through regular supervision and the council’s performance appraisal arrangements.  Members asked whether the impact of the welfare reform had been reflected in the Borough Plan priorities, as well as the proposed action of creating jobs at the retail park and whether this was a satisfactory aspiration of employment for the residents of Brent. The Interim Chief Executive stressed the need for ambition in terms of employment. It was clarified that there was a detailed welfare reform plan in place which had monthly steering meetings chaired by the Interim Chief Executive.  This level of detail was not appropriate for the Borough Plan but one of the six priorities focused on creating jobs and growth in the borough and incorporated the council’s response to the impact of welfare reform.  Members requested clarification on which definition of affordable housing was used in the Borough plan and it was agreed that clarification would be sought.


Members asked the basis on which the targets within the Borough Plan had been defined and there was particular concern about those from Environment and Neighbourhoods.  The Interim Chief Executive informed the Committee that targets had been set on the basis of being challenging but also recognising the realities of the financial position of the council.  This took into account comparative data where it was available and a number of targets that were considered to be unambitious had been revised upwards.   Targets had been set taking into account the need not to create additional spending requirements.  Christine Gilbert confirmed that there were funds available for staff training where additional needs were identified although these were more limited than previously, given the financial constraints.  . 


Members highlighted a number of local issues which they felt were particular priorities including affordable housing, local employment opportunities, fuel poverty and enforcement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Council Senior Management Recruitment

The Chief Executive and Leader of the Council will be at the meeting to answer members questions on this issue, following a request made at the committee meeting in May 2013.


At the previous One Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee members requested further information regarding the Senior Management restructure particularly in terms of the political vision and the practical arrangements of the restructure.  Christine Gilbert, Interim Chief Executive, informed the Committee that the political vision of the restructure was set out in the report of the General Purposes Committee and highlighted the need to have a slimmer, more strategic and focused senior management which would also save costs.  The Interim Chief Executive continued to highlight the need to work in partnership and more directly with local people to address what was important to the residents of Brent.  To enable this, the new posts would have a greater strategic role and allow the Council to work collaboratively by having a more outward facing role.  It is intended that the Strategic Director posts should operate in a strategic framework that was flexible and robust with a greater role in community engagement to meet the changing needs of local government.  Following queries, it was clarified that the Strategic Directors may not have specific expertise in all the areas they would be responsible for although it was stressed that operational directors would still have service specific knowledge and expertise.  It was clarified that each role would be required to have greater communication and community engagement responsibilities and the new structure would enable this to take place. 


Members requested information on the timeline for new appointments.  Christine Gilbert informed the Committee that the Council would be making appointments where possible before the August recess.  Posts had been advertised and interviews for some of the posts had taken place. She informed the Committee that in an effort to make appointments before the end of July, about 4 weeks had been shaved off the recruitment consultants’ usual timetable for appointing to such posts. She highlighted that the strategic director post with the responsibility of health, education and social care was proving difficult to recruit to.  It was reported that there had been a large proportion of applications for the post of Assistant Chief Executive.  The Interim Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Council aimed to have the majority of posts filled by the end of October following the completion of interviews and the successful applicants serving their notice.


Members asked if the difficulties of recruiting to the Strategic Director for Health, Education and Social Care could have been anticipated. The Chief Executive clarified that the post of Director of Children’s Services (DCS) was universally difficult because of the level of risk involved. The specific post was therefore anticipated as being difficult to appoint but the addition of Health might attract existing DCS and therefore some flexibility on the appropriate salary level was required as had been agreed by GPS. It was confirmed that the restructure was currently on schedule with a cost neutral effect during the current year as a result of redundancy costs and the target of £2m savings likely to be achieved the following financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Update on the Working with Families Programme pdf icon PDF 109 KB

This report provides an update on the Working with Families (WwF) One Council Programme.


Susan Gates, Head of Early Years and Support, gave an overview to the working with troubled families programme that was introduced in 2012 which changed the way families were worked with to break the cycle on intergenerational issues.  810 families had been identified for the three year programme with a dedicated officer coordinating the needs of a family, with an early help team established and trained.  It was highlighted that Brent previously had limited early help available which had been a challenge. 


Susan Gates informed the Committee of the multi agency hub that would be located at the civic centre acting as a central point for all services to RAG rate all referrals and identify the support required quickly.  The multi agency hub went live on the 1 July 2013 although the Police cabling had difficulties function but had subsequently been resolved.  It was explained that work with young children and adolescents was taking place to divert them away from the care system and save money on costly services in the future.  The aligned services strategy enabled the team to meet the needs of the entire family through accessing a variety of services including the support of staff from other agencies and it was hoped a family nurse would soon join the team to work with young parents.  It was explained that 303 families had been identified for the first year and the Council was now able to demonstrate that they were working with all 303 families and would be able to receive the funding with 75 families being turned around and funding expected to be received in October following the submission of data.  Susan Gates informed the committee that the programme had been extended for a further two years and would focus on public health.    


During discussion it was clarified that the programme was funded by NHS England  with compliments being received on the model adopted and the approach of the Council, although there were concerns regarding the capacity of the team.  It was explained that there were some issues surrounding data sharing with schools but progress was being made and schools were keen to engage with the team as the programmes reputation grew.  It was noted that many of the families were affected by the welfare changes and work was being undertaken with families to address long term unemployment where appropriate and to help them access benefits and education where necessary.  It was explained that there was not a standard approach as each family had different needs.  It was hoped that the scheme would become sustainable in the future and be funded by the savings made on not accessing social services further down the line. 




Members noted the report


One Council Overview and Scrutiny work programme pdf icon PDF 50 KB

The work programme is attached.


The Chair informed the Committee that projects previously requested would be added to the work programme.  During discussion it was requested that the integration of public health be added to the work programme. The Chair advised that this may be addressed through the Health Partnership Overview and Scrutiny Committee but  if it was a One Council project the Committee felt strongly about it could be added to the work programme.




That the work programme be noted.


Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the One Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee is scheduled for 9 October 2013.


It was noted that the next meeting of the One Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee was scheduled to take place on 9 October 2013.


Any other urgent business

Notice of items raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Democratic Services Manager or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 64.