Agenda and minutes

Corporate Committee - Thursday 22 July 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room (B6) - Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London, SW2 1RW*

Contact: Chloe Morris, Democratic Services,  020 7926 1065, Email: cmorris2@lambeth.gov.uk

Note: Information on how to access the meeting is set out on the agenda. However, if you just want to watch the live broadcast you can copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://bit.ly/3re6bms The video will remain available to view for 180 days. 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

 

 

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 168 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 20 May 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: The minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 May 2021 be approved unanimously as a correct record of proceedings.

3.

Work Programme and Action Monitoring pdf icon PDF 137 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Chloe Morris, Democratic Services, 020 7926 1065, cmorris2@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Chloe Morris, Democratic Services Officer, provided a brief update, which included the outstanding actions on page 17 of the agenda and that the administration of funds held in trust in connection with THET (Central Hill Estate) would attend the 25 November 2021 meeting. Furthermore, that the Independent Member job advert was live on the council website. It was requested that the link for the job advert was circulated to Committee Members.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To note the Corporate Committee’s work programme for 2021-22

    2.    To note the Corporate Committee’s actions monitoring log.

     

4.

Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Annual Report 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 280 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Justin Martin, Chief Audit Executive, 07881 802336

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Justin Martin, Chief Audit Executive, Yousra Abdelmoneim, Internal Audit Manager and Michael O’Reilly, Counter Fraud Manager presented the report.

     

    Internal Audit responded to questions and highlighted that:

    ·         Cyber risk continuously evolves, and that this area would therefore remain at a medium – high risk.

    ·         The accounts payable had declined as Internal Audit were unable to test one of the key controls and could not test one of the new implemented systems.

    ·         Lambeth’s implementation on recommendations rate was 98% and this was outstanding.

     

    Christina Thompson, Director of Finance and Property explained:

    ·         The council had engaged with NCC to do the southern maturity assessment, which would identify gaps and would aid Council improvements.

    ·         Cyber strategy work had commenced, and the ICT department had a recent restructure and increased capacity in order to meet the council’s needs.

    ·         Suggested that cyber security should be reviewed on a regular basis

    ·         The council had a record of equipment which staff held however, needed to ensure that this equipment was received.

    ·         Subject access requests (SARs) had attended Corporate Committee before and that this specific report was for the previous year, 2020-2021 and therefore issues would have improved since then.

    ·         Housing provided training for Tenant Management Organisation (TMOs).

    ·         Counter Fraud was involved in the process of COVID grants to ensure that they were valid organisations and checks on individual grants were reviewed across council records.

     

    Christina Thompson assured the committee that she would engage with ICT to request an update on their current position on recording equipment that staff held and would circulate the timetable on this which, was in the audit report. In addition, she would identify whether the security policy dated 2017 would be updated as no officers from the service was present at the meeting.

     

    Justin Martin suggested that questions were submitted to ensure that each one was responded to and that the response would be circulated to all members of the Committee.

     

    In a further discussion, Committee Members suggested a meeting with the Education and School’s department to discuss contract management. It was noted that Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee would arrange a disrepair’s session with Housing, and they would invite Corporate Committee members to this. Michael O’Reilly, Counter Fraud Manager, would circulate a briefing to demonstrate work that had been done with revenues in relation to business rates grants paid as a result of the pandemic, what issues Counter Fraud had identified and the number of cases that had be progressed to recovery and those to be progressed through the courts.

     

    The Chair reassured Councillor Ainslie that a recommendation submitted after the 20 May 2021 committee meeting in regard to Internal Audit would have a comprehensive response to conclude the matter.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To receive and approve the draft Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Annual Report for 2020/21

5.

Annual Governance Statement 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 381 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: James Rimmington, Risk Manager, Finance and Investment, 020 7926 3013, jrimmington@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    James Rimmington, Risk Manager presented the report and highlighted that the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) complimented the Annual Audit Opinion and was structured around the seven governance principals set out on appendix A. It was explained that there was a “”no assurance” rating for SARs and that TMOs were not reported in the AGS.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To note the Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 (appendix A) and Local Code of Corporate Governance 2020/21 (appendix B)

    2.    To note the significant governance issue for 2020/21 and updates on previous year’s issues (page 13 of AGS)

6.

Children's Social Care - Risk Management pdf icon PDF 783 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Merlin Joseph: Strategic Director for Children’s Services

     

    Contact for enquiries: Alex Kubeyinje, Director Children’s Social Care, akubeyinje@lambeth.gov.uk, 020 7926 0144

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Merlin Joseph, Strategic Director of Children’s Services and Alex Kubeyinje, Director of Children’s Social Care presented the report and in response to questions explained that the peer review visited the council once last year, this was due to the fact that the Council had requested a visit in order to establish gaps which required improvements, similarly with the complex safeguarding visit. It was noted that work was underway to see how London, including Lambeth could retain social workers and support permanent social workers within local authorities and workforce metrics would be circulated to committee members.

     

    In a further discussion, committee members expressed their concerns on youth violence and referred to a prior discussion held at Full Council on the 21 July 2021 where councillors discussed a young Lambeth resident who had been tragically killed. Officers responded to members and highlighted that:

    ·         This was a national issue and not solely Lambeth.

    ·         Lambeth had launched the Lambeth Made Safer (LMS) 10-year Strategy in December 2020 which adopted a public health approach accepting that this was a long-term intrinsically linked to inequality, poverty, unemployment, disproportionality, poor housing, trauma, and health issues.

    ·         Safe spaces were a workstream within the LMS, this would develop an environment where young people could live, play, and work safely.

    ·         The leader of the council would be attending a summit hosted by the Mayor of London to discuss the increasing rise in youth violence, impact and plans to tackle the issues across London.

    ·         In September a meeting with the Director of the Violence Reduction Unit, at the GLA, would take place to discuss Lambeth specifically, as Lambeth had one of the highest London youth violence rates.

    ·         The team were working with the Police, Lambeth Safeguarding Partnership and to ensure that Lambeth continued to embed a partnership approach to address complex safeguarding.

    ·         The council had been accepted onto the UNICEF Child Friendly programme aspiring to be one of the safest boroughs for young people to grow up in.

     

    It was agreed that an update would be circulated on staff turnover and a briefing would be circulated to committee members which captured national and PAN London issues and current activities to tackle youth violence. This would then be circulated to all Lambeth councillors.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To note the content of the report, including trends and proposed actions.

7.

The Annual Workforce and Equality & Diversity Report pdf icon PDF 435 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Fridah Nkaka, Acting Organisational Development Manager, fnkaka@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Dean Shoesmith, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development presented the report and explained that it fulfilled the legal requirement of the Equality Act 2010 for an annual workforce equalities report to be published, as well as providing other key workforce metrics.

     

    Dean Shoesmith noted to the committee that the average age in the council was 45 years old, which demonstrated that younger people were underrepresented. It was explained that surveys undertaken showed younger people were not attracted to working in local government, not matching person specification requirements and were deterred by Lambeth’s complex application process. Therefore, the council had changed the recruitment process (introducing the use of CVs) to improve the application process to attract younger people.

     

    In response to further questions, it was highlighted that:

    ·         The council had undertaken considerable work to build employee confidence across the council, as it was important to know workforce so gaps and issues that the council may have had can be addressed.

    ·         The Staff Satisfaction Survey had a 44% response rate which was statistically valid as a means of providing workforce-wide emergent trends regarding employee engagement.

    ·         Employee engagement had improved in the last two years, with the council achieving an Investors in People silver award. 

    ·         The council had introduced pulse surveys to supplement the wider workforce satisfaction survey and was a further intervention to hear from employees and improve response rates.

    ·         Black workers union were part of the EDI steering group and EDI board, which addressed areas of improvement like microaggressions and to build confidence in the workforce.

    ·         A comprehensive corporate equality and diversity action plan had incorporated Patrick Vernon’s recommendations.

     

    The committee members requested that the results and trends based on the completed well-being pulse survey be circulated to members.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.     To note the contents of the report, including trends and proposed actions.

8.

Rush Common Annual Report pdf icon PDF 438 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Eleanor Purser and Sara Waller: Strategic Director for Sustainable Growth and Opportunity

     

    Contact for enquiries: Robert O’Sullivan, Assistant Director of Development and Enforcement, 020 7926 1427

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Brandan Wilkinson, Principal Planning Officer presented the report which provided an update on cases within Rush Common land which could potentially breach the Rush Common act. It was highlighted that there had been two errors in Appendix 2 as follows:

    a)    That nine enforcement cases had been received. It was three cases which had been received.

    b)    Ten cases were referred to as being approved at delegated level. It was nine approved cases at delegated officer level and one application was approved by Corporate Committee.

     

    The committee thanked officers on the detailed report and in response to questions explained that Rush Common was submitted to Corporate Committee as it was the committee’s responsibility to do so as set out in the rush common act. Furthermore, the guidance would be updated by the deadline of March 2022.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    That the update on the Action Plan (Appendix 1) be noted.

    2.    That the Rush Common Report 2019-2021 (Appendix 2) be noted.

     

9.

Risk Management Assurance for the HFL regeneration Programme pdf icon PDF 345 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Eleanor Purser and Sara Waller: Strategic Director for Sustainable Growth and Opportunity

     

    Contact for enquiries: Joanna Moriarty, Assistant Director Housing Delivery, JMoriarty@lambeth.gov.uk

    Minutes:

    The guillotine fell at 7.58pm.

     

    It was MOVED by the Chair, and, RESOLVED: unanimously, that in accordance with Standing Orders 9.5-9.7, the meeting continue for a further period of up to 30 minutes.

     

    The Chair of the Committee explained that since 2018 he had been a member of the Homes for Lambeth (HfL) board as well as a member of the HfL build until October 2021. This was disclosed in his register of interest but was not a declaration of pecuniary interest.

     

    Tom Branton, Director of Regeneration and Housing Growth presented the report and clarified that the report did not outline the risk rating as this was outlined in the council’s key risk register where the scoring was rated however for reference the scoring for the failure to deliver was 24. In addition, that:

    ·         Control measure ten was in the previous risk register which ensured that there was a robust busines plan, it was removed as control measure five had captured this therefore a duplication.

    ·         The Joint Delivery Plan (JDP) assessment of risk was in the cabinet report and included a risk around a loss of community support.

    ·         Progress delivery was reported in the JDP which was published in March 2021.

    ·         The GLA funding query was requested to be raised as a member enquiry (ME) as it required a broader discussion with Finance colleagues.

     

    Christina Thompson, Director of Finance and Property reiterated that this report was specifically focused on key control measures based on the strategic risk which was, failure to deliver the estate regeneration programme with a risk rating of 24, however the threshold was 16 and that the use of the term treat, was the mitigations and control measures set out in table 1.

     

    One member queried that in the Housing Scrutiny meeting HfL might change to a charitable status. It was requested that the member circulated this paper in order for this to be investigated.

     

    Committee Members wanted to see an amended report which included key risk data, in order for members to review the format. This would be circulated to committee members to ensure that a suitable format would be presented the next time this item attended the committee.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To note the actions described for each of the control measures which are mitigating the risk to successfully delivering the housing regeneration programme that is being delivered through Homes for Lambeth

     

    2.    To put forward any observations and recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes.

     

    3.      To adopt the process of risk identification and implementation of control measures as set out in the paper.

10.

Children's Social Care - Complaints pdf icon PDF 364 KB

    (All Wards)

     

     

    Report Authorised by: Merlin Joseph: Strategic Director for Children’s Services

     

    Contact for enquiries: Ferisha Royal, Complaints Manager, Quality Assurance

    Children’s Social Care, 020 7926 9777, froyal@lambeth.gov.uk

     

     

    ­­

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Alex Kubeyinje, Director of Children’s Social Care, Ferisha Royal, Complaints Manager for Children’s Social Care and Naeema Sarkar, Assistant Director for Quality Assurance, Children’s Social Care answered questions that:

    ·         Recruitment of two complaints officers was underway.

    ·         18 young people were placed in civil apprenticeships and the council were working with young people to get them into training and employment.

     

    In addition, care leavers were being encouraged to open bank accounts and a payments team had been developed to ensure care leavers would be paid on time. Other options had been explored like prepaid cards and petty cash for managers to deliver money to young people where necessary and to ensure there was no delay.

     

    The committee thanked officers for the in-depth report and were pleased to see that lessons learned had been incorporate. It was noted that the complaints manager would circulate bench marking figures once Lambeths statistical neighbours had received their data.

     

    The Director of Children’s Social Care would identify what NHS body would represent Lambeth in the integrated care system and whether Lambeth had assessed the impact of the NHS discharge to assess model. This would be shared with members.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1.    To note attached report.