Venue: West Norwood Old Library, 14-16 Knight's Hill, London SE27 0HY
Contact: David Rose, Tel: 020 7926 1037, Email: email@example.com
Note: Moved from 22nd March, 2016
To agree the minutes of the meeting of 4 February 2016 as an accurate record of the meeting.
RESOLVED: The minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 February 2016 be approved and signed by the chair as a correct record of the proceedings.
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.
There were none.
Councillor Ed Davie, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) opened the meeting and thanked West Norwood Library for use of their facilities. A public notice question had been received from Mr Vernon De Maynard and a response had been provided in the agenda pack. A further supplementary question enquired ‘what is the strategic plan for the assessment and management of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons?’ to which officers had replied in writing:
Lambeth Council has not developed a specific strategic plan to assess or manage polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Strategic action to improve air quality in the UK is largely driven by European (EU) legislation. EU directives set legally binding limits for concentrations in outdoor air of major air pollutants that impact public health such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has responsibility for air quality within the UK. The Environment Act 1995 places a requirement on the UK Government to produce a national air quality strategy, this was last reviewed and published in 2007. The Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities in the UK to monitor air quality in their areas – the legislative framework does not outline the requirement for Local Authorities to develop specific strategies to tackle PAHs. Lambeth is designated as a Smoke Control Area and Council officers can utilise statutory powers outlined within the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to tackle instances ofstatutory nuisance caused by unreasonable levels of smoke from residential, business and industrial premises. It is however likely that Air Quality Strategy at national and regional level will continue to focuson road traffic related pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) as these pollutants have the most significant impact on Public Health.
A supplementary paper was tabled detailing a breakdown of the data in paragraphs 2.2 to 2.5 of the report by gender, ethnicity and disability; provided as a supplementary item.
The Chair noted the previous poor inspection reports on which OSC was looking for improvements,and asked the following questions:
· There was underspend of roughly £600,000 last year mainly due to lack of staff, which had been subsumed into savings, but with the recruitment drive, it was asked how this underspend had been carried over.
· Why there was a dramatic fall in the number of service users.
· If there was special NHS mental health service provision for the complex cases of youth offenders to bypass the 50 week average waiting time and whether the £179,000 Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provision (agenda pack, paragraph 2.13, page 20) was sufficient.
· There was a similarity with children’s social care, as one of weaknesses identified by the children’s services scrutiny commission was that health needs were not assessed quickly enough, though work was being done to remedy this. It was requested that the independent audit of Looked After Children (LAC) and Council services comes to OSC for review.
· The levels of those not in education, employment or training (NEET) was an issue (agenda pack, paragraph 2.28, page 24), and it was asked how this could be improved, and whether the target could be set higher.
· It was noted that high performers such as Leeds tended to have a wider view with regards to collective ambitions for young people and it was queried how Lambeth could seek to mirror this approach
· What was the expected impact of the Schools Protocol, (agenda pack, page 39) particularly in light of the Government’s policy of academisation, and for this to come back to the Education Scrutiny Commission in May for review.
The Chair invited attendees to raise further questions:
· Councillor Parr noted that nationally 25-50% of children held in young offender institutions were LAC (agenda pack, paragraph 1.12, page 17), which was a significant overrepresentation, and requested Lambeth’s comparable figures. He also asked whether LAC could be an additional standard protected characteristic in equality impact assessments (EIAs).
· Councillor Dyer commented that the Youth Offending Service (YOS) had had an unsatisfactory history since 2005 and that its service users were primarily from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. This represented a failure to meet the needs of these communities and this particular cohort which had multiple protected characteristics (male, predominantly Afro-Caribbean, and with learning difficulties or mental health needs), and asked for assurances that the Council was finding a response. Moreover, this response needed to improve community engagement as many persons from these communities felt disengaged. She asked how this gap was to be bridged, commenting that this needed to be done with communities, not in isolation from them.
· Councillor Dyer also queried what officers meant by quality in relation to improvements to the YOS, as this, greater detail on the disability breakdown, nor an engagement strategy ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Chair introduced the next item by explaining that the Safer Lambeth Partnership (SLP) was a union between the Council and partners, including the police, probation and resident representatives; whose aim was to tackle crime and disorder issues in the borough. The update highlighted youth violence as a serious and growing problem.
The Committee heard from David Strong, Director of the Disability Advice Service Lambeth, and Richard Keagon-Bull, Co-Chair of the Lambeth Learning Disability Assembly:
· Hate crime was invisible in the report and it was broader than just against disabled persons.
· The deletion of the hate crime coordinator post, who undertook vital work in reviewing incidents with the police, was done with no consultation with community partners and was expected to negatively impact on hate crime prevention across the five strands.
· It was queried where disabled hate crime would sit in the new service and how neighbourhood-based teams would provide support for victims of hate crime.
· There was no reference in the agenda pack to hate crime work over the past year.
· It was asked who would have responsibility in the Council for monitoring, engaging with MOPAC or the community, and fulfilling prevention across the hate crime strands.
· The new reporting route, mainly online, might present access issues for disabled persons, whilst many vulnerable adults might not have the confidence to approach the police directly.
· Vulnerable adults found it hard to report crimes when they were victims and were easy to victimise.
The Chair asked that a written response be provided from officers addressing the points raised, to also be copied to OSC members; and asked OSC members for further questions:
· Councillor Parr asked where the responsibility for the abolished post now lay.
· Councillor Briggs commented that it would have been useful to see how hate crime was now being dealt with in the report.
The Chair asked Rachel Sharpe, Director for Strategy & Commissioning, Housing & Communities; and, Kristian Aspinall, Lead Commissioner for Community Safeguarding, to respond:
· The Council were aware of the issues around the hate crime coordinator post and would report back as requested.
· The Council had to find 40% savings in this area and had to look at its priorities and ability to influence outcomes. The plan was to mainstream the response to hate crime via a neighbourhood model.
· The report in the agenda pack was only a highlight report focusing on key areas in relation to their impact and level of crime.
· Like all council services there would be various access points including Mylambeth and the service centre to enable all residents to engage with the council.
The Chair introduced Adela Kacsprzak, National Probation Service representative for the borough (managing high risk offenders), and Cassie Newman, London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) (dealing with lower risk cases), noting that the previous geographical probation model had now been replaced by a London wide cohort based system, and invited the Committee to ask questions:
· Concerns were raised that the cohort-based structure did not reflect the challenges and demographics particular to ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Chair introduced Councillors Jacqui Dyer and Mary Atkins, co-chairs of the commission, to summarise their work and recommendations.
· This report was based on the premise of trying to improve residents’ involvement in social housing decision-making, and making the voices of residents stronger.
· It established a series of principles as set out in the recommendations.
· The recommendations were developed collaboratively with residents, officers and the Cabinet Member for Housing.
The following queries were raised in discussion:
· Councillor Briggs praised the work and honourable intentions, but asked how it would be adopted in practice.
· Ron Hollis, Tenants Council member, commented that the report was largely acceptable, and would be a wonderful piece of work if it were fully implemented. However, it appeared that the gap between residents and the Council was increasing and that the Council did not consider residents important – highlighting the regeneration of Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens estates and asked how the recommendations would be implemented.
· Stephen Gyte, Chair of Leasehold Council stated that he had not been formally notified of this paper and that only four leaseholders had been involved in the public meeting held by the commission. The recommendations were honourable but the commission had been a lost opportunity as it did not solve the underlying problems with engagement, nor did it tackle what was important for either Leaseholders’ or Tenants’ Councils. He had also raised some specific concerns with the Head of Democratic Services and the Chair confirmed that a written response would be provided.
· Claire North, Streatham Hill tenant, noted that Lambeth citizens experienced difficulty engaging with the Council since publicity was poor, they did not receive the necessary information, and what they did receive was often cursory.
It was noted that the report would go to Cabinet on 9 May with a departmental action plan responding to the recommendations within the resources available, and OSC would follow this up to ensure it was enacted.
1. To approve the Resident Involvement in Housing Scrutiny Commission report (attached at Appendix 1) for presentation to Cabinet on 9 May 2016.
Contact for Information: Elaine Carter, Lead Scrutiny Officer, 020 7926 0027 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chair noted the additional recommendations from South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM), safety provisions, and the joint work with other affected boroughs; and members noted the recommendations.
1. That the work programme as drafted and the status of actions be noted (Appendix 1).
2. That the committee notes the service model change proposal submitted by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust for a centralised Place of Safety/Section 136 suite (Appendix 2).
3. That the committee agrees that if a Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee is established to consider the centralised Place of Safety proposal then Lambeth OSC should participate.