Agenda item

Poverty Commission Final Report and Recommendations

This report sets out the final report and recommendations of the Brent Poverty Commission, and seeks agreement that the recommendations be accepted. It further asks that the implementation of the agreed recommendations be considered, taking account of the comments from the Community and Wellbeing, and Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committees.

Decision:

Cabinet NOTED:

 

1.         The comments circulated to members in advance of the meeting from Councillor Ketan Sheth as Chair of the Joint Community & Wellbeing and Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny briefing, held to present the Poverty Commission report to scrutiny members in advance of its consideration by Cabinet.  Scrutiny members had welcomed the Commission’s report and highlighted a number of proposals, which had been detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.  These included (as highlighted in Councillor Sheth’s submission) proposals relating to public health, housing, financial exclusion and local welfare and the need to ensure clear metrics to monitor progress against implementation of the recommendations.

2.         The comments from Councillor Kennelly, who had requested to speak on the item.  In welcoming the Commission’s report and findings, Councillor Kennelly highlighted the need to ensure adequate challenge around inequalities in both public health and the environment, especially in relation to oral and mental health, air quality and regeneration of the boroughs high streets.  Whilst recognising the work undertaken to date, he highlighted a need to ensure the report was subject to full scrutiny in order to enable all stakeholders to engage in the process with a clear set of measureable objectives and targets to be set and presented to Full Council for consideration.

 

Having noted the comments received and report from the Commission, Cabinet RESOLVED to

 

(1)     accept all the recommendations within the Commission’s report and the steps outlined within the report for their implementation.

 

(2)     agree publication of a Council response to the Commission’s report and development of a delivery plan for implementation of the recommendations.

Minutes:

Councillor Butt began by advising members of a written submission received shortly in advance of the meeting from Councillor Ketan Sheth, as Chair of the Joint Community & Wellbeing and Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny briefing, held to present the Poverty Commission report to scrutiny members in advance of its consideration by Cabinet.  Scrutiny members had welcomed the Commission’s report and highlighted a number of proposals, which had been detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.  These included (as highlighted in Councillor Sheth’s submission) proposals relating to public health, housing, financial exclusion and local welfare and the need to ensure clear metrics to monitor progress against implementation of the recommendations.

 

Councillor Butt then welcomed Councillor Kennelly to the meeting who had also requested to speak on the item. In welcoming the Commission’s report and findings, Councillor Kennelly highlighted the need to ensure adequate challenge around inequalities in both public health and the environment, especially in relation to oral and mental health, air quality and regeneration of the boroughs high streets.  Whilst recognising the work undertaken to date, he highlighted a need to ensure the report was subject to full scrutiny in order to enable all stakeholders to engage in the process with a clear set of measureable objectives and targets to be set and presented to Full Council for consideration.

 

Councillor Southwood thanked Councillor Kennelly for his remarks and introduced the item, which set out the final report and findings of the Poverty Commission. In responding to the comments raised Cabinet were assured that the issues raised by Councillor Kennelly along with the comments from the joint scrutiny briefing in relation to the findings would be considered in the response to the commission and as part of the development of the Action Plan, which it was confirmed would be submitted to Council for consideration, prior to Cabinet as requested.

 

In continuing her introduction, Cabinet were informed that an Action Plan would be developed in partnership with voluntary organisations to support the implementation of the recommendations from the Commission. The Plan would include specific performance measures to assess the impact which implementation of the Commission’s recommendations were having across local communities in the borough.

 

Councillor Southwood requested that her thanks be recorded to Lord Best for chairing the Commission and to the community and voluntary partners who had contributed to the findings.

 

In expressing their support for the both the commissioning of the report and the findings produced, Cabinet highlighted the openness of the Council in inviting active scrutiny. In discussing the recommendations Members emphasised:  

 

·                The effect of the pandemic in highlighting the link between poverty and health inequalities.

·                The need to address low quality housing, given the associated health and social impacts arising from residents having to live and increasing work in unsuitable conditions.

·                A desire for consideration to be given to the particular effect of poverty on women. Support was shown for the provision of free sanitary products in civic facilities, with encouragement for partners to do the same.

·                The need to link poverty to the climate emergency, including a recognition of the effects of poor air quality.

·                The welcome focus on the need to address digital exclusion as part of the overall approach along with progress already being made and determination of the Administration to deliver despite the budgetary pressures faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,  

 

In expressing his support for the report, Councillor Neil Nerva took the opportunity to record his thanks to his predecessor for their work on developing the profile of public health in the borough.

 

Having noted the comments received and report from the Commission, Cabinet RESOLVED to:

 

(1)     accept all the recommendations within the Commission’s report and the steps outlined within the report for their implementation.

 

(2)     To agree publication of a Council response to the Commission’s report and development of a delivery plan for implementation of the recommendations.

 

Supporting documents: