Report from the Leader or members of the Executive
To receive reports from the Leader or members of the Executive in accordance with Standing Order 42.
Councillor Butt welcomed Conrad Hall, Chief Finance Officer and Ben Spinks, Assistant Chief Executive to their first meeting of Full Council. Councillor Butt commented on the opening of the London Design Outlet which he felt would be good for Brent and was an example of the continued regeneration of the borough providing more employment opportunities. He also reported on the accreditation of the Council by the London Living Wage Foundation and how the Council was working with business partners to encourage them to pay people a living wage.
Councillor Mashari was pleased to report on the award of the public realm contract to Veolia. The contract represented a £1.3m in-year saving, increasing to £1.7m and contained strict financial penalties against any drop in customer satisfaction rates. It included increased resources for education and resident engagement activities. Other features of the contract included jet spray cleaning, recycling to flats above shops and a new phone app for reporting fly tipping. Councillor Mashari stated that the inaugural meeting of the Brent libraries forum would take place on 26 November 2013 in the Civic Centre library. She also reported that the Civic Centre library had extended its opening hours to 8am to 8pm and visitor numbers to the library were on the increase. Councillor Mashari added that the Council was prepared for any snow or icy conditions with stocks of grit and grit bins on the streets. She congratulated the sports service on winning the financial excellence award at the Guardian public service awards ceremony for the contract to run the Vale Farm sports centre.
Councillor Pavey reported on the progress being made to deal with the problems at Copeland school by converting it to become an Ark Academy. He compared a critical OFSTED report on Copeland school to one that praised the Ark Academy and submitted that the partnership between the two schools would provide improved opportunities for local families.
Councillor Hirani reported on the first safeguarding conference to be held in Brent involving the ambulance and police services, the health service and the Council working together to put safeguarding at the centre of everything and he referred to the posters displaying the ‘See it Stop it’ slogan. He reported on the new meals on wheels service and the decision to replace the block contract with a service delivery arrangement that involved local organisations and the making of direct payments to the clients. He thanked the local organisations who would be delivering the meals on wheels for their work. He reported on the success of the Council’s bid to become a pioneer in the delivery of a more integrated health service to residents of the borough and that the Council would be taking part in the Sir John Oldham commission on Whole-Person Care set up by the Labour Party.
Councillor McLennan reported the good news that the asset management strategy had been ratified, meaning for the first time in years there would be stock investment leading to home improvements and plans to build new homes, especially larger family homes. Consideration would be given to a rental policy that would allow people to be able to afford to live in Brent. In terms of welfare reform Brent was the most affected borough in the country and she paid tribute to the housing team who were doing their utmost to work with residents who were affected to try to find them employment and keep them in Brent rather than face having to move away.
Councillor Denslow reported on the meeting being live streamed. He referred to the increased use of social media to communicate with local residents and reminded members of the member development session taking place in January on the use of Twitter. He stated that the Communications team were working hard to improve the Council’s digital offer.
Councillor Choudry reported on the appointment of a new head and deputy head of the Community Safety team and on the substantial reduction in the crime figures in Brent. The work on gangs, domestic violence and other crime issues were all contributing to this. He added that the community and stakeholders were all working together in the effort to reduce crime. There had also been a drop in the number of anti-social behaviour cases and he thanked all those involved in helping to reduce the number of cases.