Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 13 April 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Room 8, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW. View directions

Contact: David Rose, Democratic Services Officer, Tel: 020 7926 1037 Email: drose@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

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.

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2015 as a correct record of the proceedings.

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 March 2015 2015 be agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings, after changes to page 4, paragraph 4 (“Councillor Jackie Meldrum noted the new properties…”) – deletion of sentence “The Cabinet Member for Children and Adult Social Care then noted…although it was ongoing.”; and, a spelling correction on page 3.

3.

Lambeth Housing Management Services pdf icon PDF 532 KB

    (Report 14/15-175)

     

    All wards

    Key decision

     

    Cabinet Member for Housing

    Strategic Director, Commissioning

     

    Contact: Lynette Peters, Lead Commissioner, Housing; 020 7926 3430; lpeters2@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    (Report 14/15-175) (Key decision)

     

    The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the report:

    ·           The report confirms the decision taken pre-Christmas 2014 and updates residents, following sessions at Tenants and Leaseholders Councils, which both the Cabinet Member and Deputy Member for Housing have attended.

    ·           There were three main areas: resident control, resident engagement (historically with low levels of satisfaction); and, service integration (especially given centrality and overlap with council services).

    ·           Resident control: there were a broad range of responses; with a high level of interest in having a say in future development, procurement, and selection/oversight of contractors.  There was a need for a flexible response to accommodate this range of views over the estates.

    ·           Resident engagement: 1744 responses (representing 6.5% of total), but 70-71% had never heard of Tenants or Leaseholders Council – which was a concerning statistic as that was main area for Lambeth Council to gain views.  There was a need to improve engagement and a more targeted approach, especially with regards postal letters, was needed.

    ·           Service integration: it was fairly clear that health and social care were seen as the most important services and jointly comprised the majority of responses. Community safety and anti-social behaviour, and the environment (bins, recycling, fly tipping, etc.), were also seen as important services.

    ·           It was noted these areas were not for decision tonight, but for when housing management is brought back at the end of June.

     

    Cabinet Members made the following comments:

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Children and Adult Social Care was pleased that the report went some way to quantify views on social/care services; as there was a suspicion that a large number of cases were in council homes.  It was noted that there was still much to do, especially in early intervention; and that recommendation 4 needed to include the social care agenda, which formed an important part of council’s role and momentum would need to be maintained in the jobs agenda and care leavers housing protocol to support this. It was asked whether the table on page 22 represented the percentage of tenants as one vote per household and when a breakdown of the results (especially of persons with disabilities) might be available.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability praised the report for addressing various concerns, noting how property affects health, wellbeing, feelings to neighbours, through to children’s education. She was content that these proposals would improve the way we interact with tenants and reshape how housing works, whilst providing a vehicle to listen to resident’s views.

    ·         The Deputy Leader (Policy) also praised the report, but there was a question of inequalities arising; as well as the limited amount of information to go on; as part of the reintegration this needed to be improved.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said it was a valuable report, and was useful to see residents sharing the council’s priorities.  He noted that social care was key and that prioritising housing management would help assist with mental health residents; allowing the council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Lambeth's Community Plan 2013-16 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

    (Report 14/15-176)

     

    All wards

    Key decision

     

    Leader of the Council

    Strategic Director, Enabling

     

    Contact: Hannah Jameson, Head of Policy and Insight, Cooperative Business Development, 020 7926 6918; hjameson@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (Report 14/15-176) (Key decision)

     

    The Leader of the Council introduced the report:

    ·         Setting out the aims and plans of the Council over the coming year to deliver more jobs, safer and stronger communities, and cleaner streets and greener neighbourhoods; highlighting that the Council want to continue working with communities to deliver on these goals.

     

    Cabinet Members made the following comments:

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods noted that this was a really good document and showed residents the council’s values and how it was achieving its 3 years’ ambitions. These included reductions in crime, the Violence against Women and Girls agenda, and maintaining funding across Lambeth to deal with these and other related issues.  The Councillor mentioned Lambeth’s three brand new leisure centres, which meant that residents can take control of their own wellbeing, as one success of the plan to date.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Children and Adult Social Care asked whether the report should be 2015-17 instead of 2013-16. She also requested the inclusion of disabled people as a separate group for the community outcomes (referencing page 42 of the agenda).  It was also noted that schools need to better link in with life skills, and employers to work closer with schools.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth mentioned that the business community needed to be included within definitions of ‘community’, noting that businesses also get a vote and that the involvement of small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the borough or persons working from home, are needed for the proposals to work; with schools and businesses already working together in the borough.  It was also raised that employment for disabled/older persons benefitted mental health and financial resilience, feeding into healthy outcomes.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability talked about greener neighbourhoods; that for most of us, the condition of streets is as important as the house in which we live. Waste strategy is encouraging people to lead more sustainable lives; a number of these objectives have been met (including 8500 tonnes decrease in waste tonnage and recycling up).

    ·         The Leader of the Council confirmed that it was important that disabled persons were specifically mentioned in the reports, and it was equally valid that the business community was also in the plan.

    ·         The report author confirmed that the dates of the plan were correct, as there were just slight changes to the initial plan as set out in 2013.

     

    RESOLVED:

    That the Community Plan 2013-16 be approved and adopted.

5.

Income and Debt Strategy review pdf icon PDF 1016 KB

    (Report 14/15-177)

     

    All wards

    Key decision

     

    Deputy Leader – Finance and Investment

    Strategic Directors, Commissioning and Enabling

     

    Contact: Lynette Peters, Lead Commissioner, Financial Resilience; 020 7926 6394; mbinfield@lambeth.gov.uk  

     

    Minutes:

    (Report 14/15-177) (Key decision)

     

    The Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Investment) introduced the report:

    ·      The report made the important point that debt/arrears collection is essential to maintaining the services of the council, but balanced to ensure people can pay this debt, whilst helping those who cannot.  It was reiterated that it had been produced cooperatively with input from debtors, debt agencies, council teams and Members.  8 principles drive fairness in all council’s debt collection procedures and that it had been compiled in plain English to allow access to all persons.  The nine actions of Principle 8 (‘identifying and supporting vulnerable debtors’) were highlighted as well argued and tested, so it was the responsibility of officers that these principles were upheld.

     

    Cabinet Members made the following comments:

    ·      The Cabinet Member for Children and Adult Social Care praised the report, asking that the presentation principles used be applied to all bills; and praised the use of texting (SMS) as a useful method of contact.  The Member also raised the issue of vulnerable tenants, who through care bills form a large part of Lambeth’s debt collection, and this process would need to be improved.  She also noted that ideas about home visits were good, but that social care needed to be flagged beforehand and bills dealt with earlier, not just through enforcement letters.  It was noted that for some of the community’s vulnerable persons, these bills can often be the tip over the edge.

    ·      The Cabinet Member for Housing welcomed the report and remarked on the difference between fraud and avoiding payment, and highlighted page 99 of the agenda following the consequences of benefit and taxation changes under the incumbent Government.

    ·      The Leader of the Council drew attention to the initial pilot from last year which worked out this excellent approach.  The report author further noted different colours or fonts used in forms in randomised control trials (RCTs), to see what worked, specifically the placement of the total amount in top right improving payment (up by 8% for payments on time); and the council was now using these combined improvements across council, whilst further RCTs had been continued this year and in other documentation.

    ·      Councillor McGlone observed that the behavioural insights testing was so successful that other councils were copying the approach; initial studies indicated that this alone could increase revenue collection by £1m/year for the council, just through more effective communication.

    ·      The Strategic Director of Commissioning mentioned that for adult social care bills, the way in which this is done is set out in law, but processed by the council with sensitivity and by not engaging debt collection agencies unnecessarily.  It was important that vulnerable people receiving social care are not billed, as this could be the tip over the edge.  The process around people in receipt is done carefully, but to have persons outside social care treated in same way was welcomed.

    ·      The Leader of the Council praised the report’s clarity of thought and presentation; noting that it would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.