Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 22 March 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room THB-06, Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW

Contact: Jacqueline Pennycook, Tel: 020 7926 2167, Email: 

No. Item


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.




    Councillor Ed Davie, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) welcomed everyone to the meeting.


    There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.




Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 128 KB

    • View the background to item 2.

    To agree the minutes of the meeting of 1 February 2018 as an accurate record of the meeting.



    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2018 be approved and signed as an accurate record of the proceedings.


Burst Water Mains pdf icon PDF 232 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    (All Wards)



    Cabinet Member for Housing & Environment: Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite

    Cabinet Member for Healthier & Stronger Communities (inc Emergency Planning): Councillor Mohammed Seedat


    Contact for Information: Gary O’Key, Lead Scrutiny Officer; 020 7926 2183;


    Additional documents:


    (All Wards)


    The Chair stated that:

    ·         This was a late item added to the agenda in response to the water main bursts following the recent bad weather in early March which resulted in some residents being without water for up to five days.

    ·         The Committee had established a pan-London Scrutiny Commission in 2017, led by Councillor Andrew Wilson and Councillor Jack Holborn on behalf of Lambeth, as a result of a series of major bursts that occurred across the capital in 2016.  Therefore, he felt it would be beneficial to invite representatives from Thames Water to acquire an update on the recommendations of that Commission which also involved the Greater London Authority (GLA) and other boroughs who also contribution on the Commission.  He also requested an update pertaining to developments in Streatham as a result of the recent leaks, inadequacies to responses, lessons to be learnt both in terms of how burst water mains could be avoided in the future and how responses to residents could be improved.


    The Chair then explained the format for the meeting and invited representatives from Thames Water to address the meeting.


    Sarah Hurcomb, Head of Water Network Operations (South London), Thames Water and Mark Mathews, Local and Regional Government Liaison Manager, Thames Water, informed the Committee that:

    ·         They apologised on behalf of Thames Water (TW) to customers, councillors and businesses regarding the loss/outage of water over the five day period and acknowledged that lessons needed to be learnt.

    ·         TW realised the significant impact the loss of water had on customers and businesses in Streatham as a result of the snowfall in February and prolonged bad weather.

    ·         If the temperature dropped below 5ºC the pipes within the water network tended to contract and trigger bursts as a result of the cold weather.  However, staff resources were usually available to cope with any issues.  In this instance, the water pressure dropped below 5ºC and suddenly surged to 12ºC that affected the network and resulted in air pockets in the water mains. 

    ·         Staff worked very quickly to prioritise failures but as a result of air locks in the water mains and the prolonged outage of water, the work took a significant time to be rectified.

    ·         Water was brought in from other areas to assist pushing out the air locks in the pipes to restore the water.

    ·         Staff leave was cancelled and water stations were set up. 20 ambassadors looked after the water stations. However, it was recognised that the water stations were not positioned in the right place. 

    ·         TW realised that 20,000 customers had no water.

    ·         In terms of key learning, there was a need by TW to:

    o   communicate better with customers;

    o   improve collaboration with local authorities, NHS, public health and media;

    o   identify problems as TW failed to recognise that customers had difficulty obtaining water that was provided and was waiting to be notified by residents, which was not acceptable.

    ·         An independent Forensic Review of the burst  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Update on Organisational Redesign - Targets and Savings Proposal pdf icon PDF 536 KB

    (All Wards)


    Portfolio: Deputy Leader (Policy): Councillor Imogen Walker


    Report Authorised by: Jackie Belton: Strategic Director for Corporate Resources 


    Contact for Information: Andy Ralphs, Interim Director IT & Customer Services,




    (All Wards)


    Jackie Belton, Strategic Director for Corporate Resources, provided an overview of the report as outlined in the papers.


    In response to questions from the Committee, Jackie Belton, Strategic Director for Corporate Resources, confirmed that:

    ·         The figures in the ‘delivered’ column at Table 1, were rounded.  £4.7m of savings had been delivered.

    ·         The budget overspend in adult social care would be offset by the Government grant for 2017/18. Children’s Social Care and Special Education Needs had the highest overspends but the opportunity existed to use the Council’s one-off reserves.  Also, as underspends across the Council had been identified, it was hoped that that overspend would be reduced.

    ·         The new SEN travel assistance contract was now in place and savings would be delivered.  Further work had also been done with the Schools Forum to increase the high needs block, though it was noted that this was only a small increase and high demand was a national issue

    ·         The Organisational Redesign targets and savings were scrutinised by Cabinet, discussed by internal bodies and at Cabinet Member briefings within the Council. Each directorate had responsibility in deciding how staffing budget savings would be achieved. 

    ·         £9.2m of the £15.7m savings target had already been identified.

    ·         Detailed business cases relating to proposed changes in posts contained Equalities Impact Assessments around specific workforce proposals, such as for Business Support. 


    During the discussion, OSC members raised the following issues:

    ·         Councillors understood and generally supported the changes to Business Support.  However, Cllr Briggs felt that the proposals still seemed like ‘salami slicing’ and that an opportunity had been missed to be more radical in redesigning a new management and commissioning structure.

    ·         The Organisational Redesign’s impact on services, particularly regarding the ‘middle core’ savings, should be considered at future scrutiny meetings. Robust EIAs were also vital. 


    In response to the points raised, Jackie Belton, Strategic Director for Corporate Resources, confirmed that senior level posts had not been affected by the organisational redesign.  However, a bigger challenge existed regarding middle management staff that had responsibility for particular services.


    RESOLVED: That the saving targets, proposals and progress on the Future Lambeth programme delivering the organisation redesign savings 2016 to 2020 be noted.




Healthier High Streets Scrutiny Commission Report pdf icon PDF 406 KB

    (All Wards)


    Portfolio: Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities: Councillor Mo Seedat


    Report Authorised by: Sue Foster: Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Growth


    Contact for Information: Jamie Akinola, Head of Community Safety, Neighbourhoods & Growth, 0207 926 8976,


    Additional documents:


    (All Wards)


    The Chair explained that this was the second and final action plan update in relation to a Commission established in 2013.


    In response to questions, Doug Perry, Associate Director, Commissioning, Environment, Ruth Hutt, Director of Public Health and Councillor Mohammad Seedat, Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities (job share), confirmed that:

    ·         In relation to recommendation 8, a polite notice would be displayed on the main play area gates requesting users not to smoke.  Park Wardens would be located in the park to show people the signs and encourage them to put out their cigarettes if they were seen smoking. The Chair stressed that the way the notice was phrased could have a big impact on its effectiveness and urged officers to research this carefully.

    ·         A number of other boroughs had already placed signage in their council parks and this would be reviewed by the Council.

    ·         It was important to take a softer approach initially before considering something like a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)

    ·         There was a feeling that smokers using electronic cigarettes should be treated the same as normal cigarettes and should also be discouraged from smoking, particularly in indoor spaces and licensed establishments as its effects were currently unknown, though it was acknowledged that this was a contested area.

    ·         Stringent measures in terms of smoking were welcomed.  However, consideration of the licensing policy should be made to ascertain what conversations the Council had with licensed premises holders regarding serving food in outdoor areas where children were located.  The Council also needed to consider further co-operation with licence holders to prevent smoking outside to encourage the benefits of having smoke-free areas to protect children.

    ·         Mixed views existed as to whether the cumulative impact zone (CIZ) implemented within the borough had been effective. It was acknowledged that the CIZ had introduced an extra hurdle in terms of the licensing process and that there had been a reduction in vertical drinking establishments; furthermore, crime had reduced in the area, though this could also be down to work carried out by the Business Improvement District

    ·         The condition preventing the sale of single cans only applied to brand new licence applications.  More resources would need to be allocated to work proactively with existing off licences to introduce conditions via voluntary measures or seek to review premises which resisted this

    ·         The opening hours of licensed establishments was currently being reviewed as part of the refresh of Lambeth’s Licensing Policy.

    ·         The ‘Healthier Catering Commitments’ initiative that commenced in 2012 was considered to be a good scheme.  However, limited resources within the Council were available to encourage outlets to adopt the scheme.  Public demand existed for further healthy eating which provided an opportunity for busier outlets to promote this and an opportunity also existed for the Council to work with other partners to promote healthy eating but a decision was needed on how to engage with families.

    ·         In addition to healthy eating, the Director of Public Health believed more could be done  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


2017/18 Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 189 KB

    • View the background to item 6.

    (All Wards)


    Portfolio: Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Resources): Councillor Imogen Walker


    Report Authorised by: Jackie Belton: Strategic Director for Corporate Resources


    Contact for Information: Gary O’Key, Lead Scrutiny Officer; 020 7926 2183;


    Additional documents:


    (All Wards)


    RESOLVED: That the work programme as drafted and the status of actions be noted (Appendix 1).


    The Chair thanked the Committee and officers for all their hard work.