Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 2 February 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room B-06, Lambeth Town Hall, London SW2 1RW

Contact: Maria Burton, Democratic Services  020 7926 8703, Email: mburton2@lambeth.gov.uk

Note: Information on how to access the meeting is set out in 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/3FOvLnE 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:

    With regard to the Skills and Employment Strategy, Councillor Mary Atkins declared that she was a member of the Strategic Skills Board, but that this did not amount to a pecuniary interest.

     

    Councillor Joshua Lindsey declared in relation to the Skills and Employment Strategy that his employer, Transport for London, had a skills academy in the borough.

     

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 197 KB

    • View the background to item 2.

    To agree the minutes of the meeting of 10 January 2022 as an accurate record of the meeting.

     

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2022 be approved as a correct record of proceedings.

3.

Events Scrutiny Commission Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 347 KB

    Contact for information: Kevin Crook, Assistant Director Neighbourhoods (Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries),0207 926 8973, kcrook@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Mary Atkins, Chair of the Commission and Vice-Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, introduced the report, stating that the Commission had concluded two years earlier and this was the final update.  The recommendations had a significant impact on officers, Councillors and residents, including Friends’ Groups, in terms of the way parks were used and how groups related to each other.  She thanked officers for their positive reception to the Commission and its recommendations.

     

    The Committee then heard from witnesses.

     

    The Chair read a statement from Councillor Nigel Haselden, Commission Member, raising the following points:

    ·         One of the key aims of the Commission was to strengthen existing practices and policies, and many of the recommendations had been accepted.  The action plan set a framework for maximising the benefits from events.

    ·         A major part of the evidence base for the Commission was the day-long stakeholders’ summit, which brought different groups together to discuss their concerns around the use of parks for events in a constructive manner.

    ·         Parks for London had recently judged Lambeth to have the best green spaces of all 32 London boroughs, and this was a credit to the work of the Commission and officers.

    Councillor Linda Bray then addressed the Committee, stating the following:

    ·         Many residents near Clapham Common had concerns about the damage to the Common caused by events and the potential enclosure of the events site for weeks at a time.

    ·         She questioned how much local businesses benefited from events.

    ·         There were concerns that the use of Clapham Common for events could be contrary to legislation.

     

    Officers then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:

    ·         The action plan formed the framework for events in parks and would be used as events returned to normal in 2022.  Some recommendations, such as those around disability access, applied to parks generally and were not specific to events.

    ·         There was an ongoing process regarding the need for Secretary of State approval for Temporary Event structures on Clapham and Streatham Commons.  Officers had a good relationship with the Planning Inspectorate, with a planning consultant on board to support the 2022 application. The Planning inspectorate had indicated that if consent was granted for 2022, it could be possible to submit multiple-year applications for 2023 onwards.

    ·         While park usage remained high in 2021, it had decreased from the significantly higher levels seen during the lockdowns of 2020, and there was no evidence of a long-term change in the way residents used parks.

    ·         2022 would be the first year of using the framework and audit process, and officers would work with event organisers on-site to monitor adherence to the framework.  Outcomes would be monitored after events, and if there were failings, officers would explore the most effective ways of ensuring targets would be met in future years.

    ·         The safety of park users was not part of the Commission’s focus, but was included in the Events Strategy. As part of a wider area of work on safer spaces, officers had undertaken a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 290 KB

    • View the background to item 4.

    Contact for Information: Maria Burton, Senior Democratic Services Officer, 020 7926 8703, mburton2@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members suggested the following areas for potential future scrutiny:

    ·         A holistic item on the Council’s work in addressing the cost of living crisis, particularly for the borough’s most vulnerable residents, including fuel poverty, fare rises, National Insurance increases and evictions.  This should also include the work between the Council and other bodies such as credit unions, private sector landlords, central government (particularly the DWP).

    ·         A review/update of the waste and leisure contracts after they had been in place for one year.

    ·         Registrars, following reports of people being unable to book ceremonies.

     

    Members requested data on evictions in order to assess the effectiveness of the Council’s policies and strategies.

     

    RESOLVED: That, subject to the comments above, the work programme and action log (Appendix 1) be noted.

     

5.

Skills and Employment Strategy - One Year On pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    Contact for information: Alison May, Assistant Director of Skills and Employment, amay@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair expressed concern at the absence of Cllr Jacqui Dyer, the Cabinet member responsible for employment and skills, and in her absence that neither of the co-Directors for Sustainable Growth & Opportunity were present

     

    Alison May, Assistant Director, Skills and Employment, introduced the report, stating that:

    ·         The Strategy was published in November 2020, formed part of the Economic Resilience Strategy, and aimed to address both the impact of Covid-19 and the long-term economic challenges facing the borough.

    ·         There were multiple sources of funding for Skills and Employment, with significant amounts of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) being used this year.

    ·         The long-term challenges of the Strategy included maximising opportunities and addressing inequalities in the labour market.

     

    The Committee then heard from witnesses.

     

    Grace English, co-CEO, High Trees, addressed the Committee, raising the following points:

    ·         High Trees was a Community Development Trust based in Tulse Hill which provided a range of integrated services across welfare, children and young people, and employment and training. It had a contract with the Council worth approximately £300,000 per year to provide employment and skills support for 500 learners.

    ·         A range of accredited and non-accredited courses were provided, including ESOL, basic IT courses and courses to support people into work. 

    ·         These courses formed a key part of engagement with residents, as people often attended a course and then accessed further support from High Trees.  It would be significantly more difficult to provide such a wide range of support without the adult education offer.

    ·         High Trees worked with other services across the community to ensure residents could access the most appropriate support.

     

    Giovanni Dyke, who had participated in an employment programme run by Lambeth Made, then addressed the Committee, stating that:

    ·         He had attended a summer course on e-commerce, where he created a website to sell clothes and accessories.  It had taught him how to establish and run a business, which had helped him to get a job as a content creator.

    ·         During the programme he found a part-time job, and Lambeth Made had been flexible to ensure he could fit his studies around work.

    ·         Giovanni had found out about the programme through the Lambeth Made Instagram account.

    ·         After the course finished, Lambeth Made continued to support him, such as by having a post-programme interview.  He would recommend the programme as it had helped him progress in his desired career.

     

    Officers and witnesses then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:

    ·         Training providers were assessed and evaluated at least three times per year.  KPIs, and data such as attendance and learner outcomes were used to ensure value for money was achieved.  As well as a self-assessment from the provider, learners were also asked for feedback.  The quality of teaching and learning was assessed both formally and informally, and CPD was provided for tutors and support staff.

    ·         The main benchmark for skills and employment programmes was the number of learners entering work, although different courses had different target cohorts, and therefore different expectations of outcomes.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.