Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: This will be held as an online virtual 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 frontsheet 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

2.

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.

Decision:

None.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 260 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on Monday 8 February 2021 as a correct record.

Decision:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 February 2021 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 January 2021 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

4.

Matters Arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

5.

Petitions (if any)

To discuss any petitions from members of the public, in accordance with Standing Order 66.

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

6.

Reference of item considered by Scrutiny Committees (if any)

There are no items to be considered at this meeting.  

Decision:

There were no references from Scrutiny submitted for consideration at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

7.

Resident Support Fund pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Since April 2013, Brent has operated a Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWA) to support residents experiencing short-term emergency financial hardship or unexpected expenditure. This fund was complemented in August 2020 by the Resident Support Fund, the initial funding for which was provided to support residents specifically affected by the Covid virus outbreak and subsequent lockdowns.

 

This report outlines a proposal to bring the current LWA scheme to a close, and merge and integrate those parts of the LWA that are not currently offered within the Resident Support Fund.

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To agree to discontinue the current Local Welfare Assistance (LWA) scheme.

 

(2)     To approve the revision of the Resident Support Fund (RSF) to begin 1 April 2021 as set out in section 5 of the report.

 

(3)     To delegate to the Strategic Director for Customer and Digital Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, authority to agree eligibility criteria for the new Resident Support Fund from 1 April 2021 to administer and award grants and loans.

 

(4)     To approve the continuation of an interest free loan arrangement as set out in section 7 of the report.

 

(5)     To approve payment to the Credit Union of such sums remaining in the Council Tax – Covid – 19 Hardship Fund 2020 – 21 and at such frequency as the Director of Finance considers appropriate from which Covid-19 Support Fund Loans will be made and delegate to the Director of Finance in consultation with the Director of Legal, HR, Audit and Investigations authority to finalise the terms of the investment.

 

(6)     To agree to transfer all remaining funds from the existing Local Welfare Scheme to the Resident Support Fund scheme.

Minutes:

Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform introduced a report on the proposal to bring the current Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWA) to an end, and revise the Resident Support Fund to include those parts of LWA that were not currently offered within it.

 

Cabinet noted that the LWA had been designed to support residents experiencing short-term emergency financial hardship or unexpected expenditure.  This had been supplemented in August 2020 by the Resident Support Fund, with funding from this source originally designed to support residents specifically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

 

The proposal to discontinue the LWA and include those elements not already covered within the revised operation of the Resident Support Fund formed part of the development of a more integrated and streamlined approach towards financial inclusion.  This include support for those residents experiencing financial hardship as the focus moved forward from the pandemic.

 

Members noted the outline of support mechanisms that the revised Fund had been designed to provide, as detailed within section 5 of the report.  This included a focus not only on welfare support but also for those experiencing difficulties in relation to rent and mortgage arrears.

 

In summing up, Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council drew members’ attention to the current financial context in which the proposals were being brought forward, as detailed within section 4 of the report, which reflected the significant increase in the amount of households experiencing financial hardship across the borough during the pandemic.

 

Having considered the proposals, Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To agree to discontinue the current Local Welfare Assistance (LWA) scheme.

 

(2)     To approve the revision of the Resident Support Fund (RSF) to begin 1 April 2021 as set out in section 5 of the report.

 

(3)     To delegate to the Strategic Director for Customer and Digital Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, authority to agree eligibility criteria for the new Resident Support Fund from 1 April 2021 to administer and award grants and loans.

 

(4)     To approve the continuation of an interest free loan arrangement as set out in section 7 of the report.

 

(5)     To approve payment to the Credit Union of such sums remaining in the Council Tax – Covid – 19 Hardship Fund 2020 – 21 and at such frequency as the Director of Finance considers appropriate from which Covid-19 Support Fund Loans will be made and delegate to the Director of Finance in consultation with the Director of Legal, HR, Audit and Investigations authority to finalise the terms of the investment.

 

(6)     To agree to transfer all remaining funds from the existing Local Welfare Scheme to the Resident Support Fund scheme.

8.

Special Needs Transport Managed Service - Contract Renewal pdf icon PDF 395 KB

This report presents the outcome and cost options from a commissioning exercise undertaken on behalf of Brent by Harrow Council. These outcomes relate to a re-procurement of the managed personnel contract that provides drivers and assistants for the shared Special Needs Transport (SNT) service.  The report seeks a specific decision in relation to the payment of London Living Wage (LLW) to staff employed through the contract.

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED to approve an uplift in payment in line with LLW which draws from the Council’s reserves in 2021/22, but which would be included in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy from 2022/23 onwards.

Minutes:

Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Lead Member for Environment introduced a report detailing the outcome and cost options relating to the re-procurement of the managed personnel contract that provided drivers and assistants for the shared Special Needs Transport (SNT) service, and the proposal to pay the London Living Wage (LLW) to staff employed through the contract.

 

Members noted that the recommissioning exercise had been a process led by the London Borough of Harrow, on behalf of Brent. Confirmation was provided that the associated costs would be funded through corporate reserves in 2021/22 and then built into the Medium Term Financial Strategy from 2022/23 onwards.

 

Councillor M Butt, Leader of the Council reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to ensuring that the LLW was pursued as standard across Council contracts, in view of the wider benefits provided.

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet to approve an uplift in payment in line with LLW  which draws from the Council’s reserves in 2021/22, but which would be included in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy from 2022/23 onwards.

9.

Purchase of 83 Wembley Park Drive for rough sleepers accommodation pdf icon PDF 402 KB

This report sets out the details of the freehold purchase of 83 Wembley Park Drive from the market through the Housing General Fund to increase the supply of supported housing for people who have been sleeping rough and to help reduce the use and cost of temporary accommodation.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To approve the purchase of the freehold of 83 Wembley Park Drive, London HA9 8HE with vacant possession to meet the needs of people who have been sleeping rough and rehoused through the Government’s rough sleeping move-on initiatives.

 

(2)     To delegate authority to the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment, in consultation with the Strategic Director of Community Well Being, to agree the terms of the purchase and acquire the property subject to financial and legal due diligence, vacant possession and to contract.

 

(3)     To note that completion of the property needs to take place by March 2021 in order to secure the funding arrangements and an extension was not guaranteed.

Minutes:

Councillor Southwood, as Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform introduced a report detailing the freehold purchase of 83 Wembley Park Drive through the Housing General Fund, in order to increase the supply of supported housing for people sleeping rough and to help reduce the use and cost of temporary accommodation.

 

As part of a joint introduction, Councillor Tatler, as Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning also took the opportunity to thank the Property and Housing teams for their hard work in securing the purchase of the freehold.

 

Members noted that the proposal would generate a significant reduction in the reliance and costs relating to provision of temporary accommodation as well as providing more stable and higher quality accommodation for those in need and some of the most vulnerable residents in the borough.

 

In considering the recommendations, Cabinet noted the information provided within the exempt appendix accompanying the report.

 

Having noted the comments provided, Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1)      To approve the purchase of the freehold of 83 Wembley Park Drive, London HA9 8HE with vacant possession to meet the needs of people who have been sleeping rough and rehoused through the Government’s rough sleeping move-on initiatives.

 

(2)     To delegate authority to the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment, in consultation with the Strategic Director of Community Well Being, to agree the terms of the purchase and acquire the property subject to financial and legal due diligence, vacant possession and to contract.

 

(3)     To note that completion of the property needs to take place by March 2021 in order to secure the funding arrangements and an extension was not guaranteed.

10.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following item is not for publication as it relates to the following category of exempt information as specified under paragraph 3, Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, namely: “Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)"

 

Item 9:       Purchase of 83 Wembley Park Drive for rough sleeper accommodation - Appendix 1 (Valuation)

Decision:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press or public.

Minutes:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press and public.

11.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting. Any decisions taken urgently under this heading must comply with the provisions outlined in paragraph’s 12 and 39 of the Council’s Access to Information Rules (Part 2 of the Constitution).

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.