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Declarations of Pecuniary Interest
Under Cabinet Rule 1.5.2, where any Cabinet Member 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.
There were none.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 February 2021 were approved as a correct record of proceedings.
In introducing the report Councillor Matthew Bennett advised that the Council were investing £375m into the local economy and delivering on promises of better homes, he also highlighted that:
· The number of homes expected to be delivered over the three year business plan period was still forecast to be 349.
· The overall numbers of Council Level Rent homes to be delivered over the three- and five-year period were higher that reported to Cabinet in March 2020.
· It was possible to address housing crisis and tackle climate emergency and the Council were investing all income back into new homes.
· This was a complex joint project but being manged effectively and appreciate some were still opposed.
· Substantial reductions in carbon emissions would be delivered with a commitment from HfL on delivering a 35% reduction but had achieved a reduction in excess of 70% on the Hydethorpe Road, Patmos Lodge, Roman Rise, Fenwick Place and Trinity Rise projects.
· It had been a difficult year for all and the extent of the crisis had ongoing impacts on staff and the ability to continue mobilisation. The risks relating to the pandemic and Brexit continued to be closely monitored.
Gerlinde Gniewosz, Davida Dawkins and James Haddock, Lambeth residents addressed Cabinet and advised that the report focused on assumptions that were out of date. They expressed concerns that the council failed to engage with residents through an initial phase (Roman Rise) and that there had been no resident support and no housing regeneration. Several questions were raised which focused on homelessness, temporary accommodation, and low-income households regarding rent. Furthermore, they commented that, that the joint delivery plan did not address temporary accommodation for residents affected and was therefore another example of a regeneration plan failing to meet objectives.
Councillor Peter Elliott, speaking on behalf of the Green Group, was disappointed that housing problems were not addressed within the joint delivery plan. He made the following points:
In response to some of the questions and comments Caroline Pillay, Chair of HfL assured Cabinet that they were working with Council to ensure effective delivery of news homes. She said they fully understood the complexity of regeneration and that safety and involvement of the residents was a top priority for HfL. She also commented that the HfL Leadership Team were very experienced in housing regeneration and fully committed to Lambeth.
Sara Waller, Strategic Director for Sustainable Growth ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The report was introduced by Councillor Jenny Brathwaite, Deputy Leader Housing and Homelessness who informed Cabinet of the following:
· The report was recommending the award of 10 new housing repair and maintenance contracts, which would significantly improve the quality of repairs for residents while achieving good value for the Council.
· The contracts would deliver responsive repairs, voids, gas servicing, electrical servicing and lift maintenance to the North and South neighbourhoods.
· Contracts would start as soon as was practicable; with full mobilisation by July 2021. The ambition to transform the total repairs service had been the main driver for the procurement which was also linked to a number of other improvement initiatives in Resident Services; notably significant investment in ICT, action to improve the first point of call contact and a more strategic approach to asset management.
· Robust contract management was an essential part of the broader procurement process. Contract and performance management had featured heavily in various officer, resident and member workshops and meetings.
· The council would be accountable to an independent Performance Monitoring Board. The proposed membership will consist of the Director of Housing Services, Cabinet Members, residents and a cost manager, they would meet regularly to review performance.
Duncan Law spoke on behalf of transition town Brixton, building and housing working group. As well as civil society groups that would meet weekly to discuss the climate emergency. Duncan stated that individuals amongst these groups had high expertise in relevant fields and wanted to help the Council to identify solutions. Duncan expressed concerns on Council engagement and highlighted that since January 2020 it had been a challenge to partake in a meeting with the Director of Housing.
Councillor Peter Elliott a visiting member addressed Cabinet and identified that the Council were heading in the right direction. For example, advisory panels had been produced; this was something that residents could be engaged with. Councillor Elliott was pleased that some of the existing contractors were no longer being used by the Council and was looking forward to working with officers to produce an up to date housing strategy.
Cabinet Members commented that they felt the procurement process was robust and strong and delivered for the residents, they also said that:
· There were good initiatives around introduction of technology to further enhance the service to residents.
· The contracts were designed with residents, members and officers and the tender documentation and contracts had been designed to respond to the recommendations of a repairs Task and Finish Group.
· The equality impact assessment (EIA) had been assessed and cleared by the Member-led Corporate EIA Panel. The EIA not only mitigates negative equality issues, but demonstrates that the new contracts will make tangible improvements to social equality in the borough.
Councillor Jenny Brathwaite, Deputy Leader Housing and Homelessness thanked officers for the work in delivering these contracts and asked Cabinet to agree the recommendations.
RESOLVED: To award 10 housing maintenance and repair contracts and two reserve contracts as detailed in Table 1 below, from April 2021 ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Councillor Andy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance gave a short introduction on the report and highlighted that:
· Cabinet had considered in capital investment in the past, and following some additional work, the Digital Strategy was being presented with the full confidence of officers and Cabinet.
· Strategy split in four streams, digital access for all, creating economic advantage, a sustainable digital infrastructure and innovating public services.
· The Digital Strategy would guide the Council to realising the benefits of digital technology for all our citizens.
· The guiding principles of the strategy were to provide high quality public services enabled by digitisation to allow our residents to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
· Several workstreams were established within the strategy to help achieve these ambitions
Councillor Nicole Griffiths, Green Group, appreciated the ambitions of the strategy and capital bid however, voiced the following concerns and questions:
In addition, the customer strategy document showed 95% of Lambeth adults had internet access whereas the digital strategy showed 18% of adults do not have access and a further 72% of adults known to Adults Social Services, do not have access. Therefore, the data does not match and needed to be reviewed.
Councillor Jackie Meldrum, Deputy Cabinet Member for Resident Services, welcomed the multi-level approach and the ability to see all social aspects fully addressed. However, Councillor Meldrum wanted to confirm target broadband speeds and if new providers could prioritise homes with exchange only lines (EOLs) in addition to the costs of broadband that would be difficult for those on universal credit to pay. Councillor Meldrum stated that the BT lines which dated back to several decades and were aged and did not meet the universal speed of 10mbps. A forum was suggested for officers and providers to report back to ward councillors.
1. To approve the Lambeth Digital Strategy
2. To approve the Digital Lambeth Strategic programme and the allocation of the £17m contingency budget from the capital investment programme to fund the programme.
3. To delegate responsibility to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance to approve individual schemes in the programme.
Councillor Andy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance Introduced the and highlighted that this report for quarter three set out the impact on financial and service performance as a result of managing the pandemic. There were some positive uplifts, and the overarching message was once the government fund us to the level estimated we would be in a healthy financial position at the end of the year.
Councillor Scott Ainslie, from the Green Group advised that the interactive dashboard had improved and highlighted some points which included:
· The Housing quality section reporting period which indicated 2019-2020 not 2021.
· He was concerned about the delay to the workplace parking levy.
· He questioned how the masterplan across the regeneration estates was coming along as there was no report that could provide this information.
· Councillor Ainslie requested to see the 30-year business plan.
1. To note the latest performance outturns for the Tier 1 Borough Plan Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the Tier 2 Priority Service KPIs
2. To note the Q3 forecast position and consider the budgetary risks going forward