Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lilian Baylis Technology School, 323 Kennington Lane, SE11 5QY

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:

The Leader of the Council opened the meeting and noted that there were no declarations of pecuniary interest. 

 

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 112 KB

That the minutes of the previous meeting be signed and approved as a correct record of proceedings.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minute of the previous meeting held on 07 December 2015 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings. 

 

3.

HRA Rent and Budget Setting 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 287 KB

    Report 15-16/154

     

    Key Decision

     

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment): Councillor Paul McGlone

    Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth: Sue Foster

     

    Contact: Andrew Ramsden, Head of Finance, Neighbourhoods and Growth,  0207 926 9946, ARamsden@Lambeth.gov.uk

    Minutes:

    Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the item and noted:

    ·           the reduction in rents (1%, the first of four years to be offset by Pay to Stay), common service charges (0.5%), and specific service charges (excepting concierge costs);

    ·           small heating and hot water increases to be cancelled out by rent reductions;

    ·           the HRA budget was balanced but was difficult to manage with reducing HRA income (by £28m) following rent reductions, putting pressure on repairs and meeting the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS);

    ·           the risks of the Housing and Planning Bill 2015 with the Right to Buy scheme and High Value Voids Sales needed to be offset by selling existing council homes, exacerbating the housing crisis and further reducing HRA income;

    ·           the LHS (£56m underfunded before the £30m funding decrease) and other repairs would be reviewed in February’s Cabinet;

    ·           the decision to bring Lambeth Living (LL) back into the Council allowed Lambeth the advantages of a single back office to weather difficulties.

     

    Councillor Bernard Gentry welcomed the 1% rent reduction and raised the following:

    ·           leaseholders were concerned by service charge protection and asked for more measures to ensure the accuracy of S20 notices (primarily to ensure affordability);

    ·           there had been a lack of response from officers on this policy;

    ·           what was the amount of rent arrears, service charge debt, Pay to Stay starting level, and borrowing through the HRA to pay HRA debt;

    ·           why falling commodity and oil prices were not reflected in increasing heating costs;

    ·           why the promised savings of the reintegration of LL were not apparent as the HRA budget’s management costs increased by £300,000 for a reduced service;

    ·           where in the HRA budget the £1.2m estate regeneration overrun costs were and why the HRA was being used to build homes for the Special Purpose Vehicle;

    ·           what was the impact of the removal of council homes and their rental income; and,

    ·           why HRA debt levels were not presented in the paper.

     

    Christina Thompson, Director of Finance, noted the following:

    ·           that S20 notices were being reviewed;

    ·           statistics and future actions for rent arrears and level of debt on service charges would be provided in a statement;

    ·           the Pay to Stay starting level had been set out by Government (£40,000 for London) but the Council was waiting for finalisation to see how this was to be worked out in practice;

    ·           the increasing costs of service charges and heating costs reflected the actuals of the previous years; and,

    ·           the reintegration of LL had looked at savings, but would await the Council’s organisational redesign to feed into a review of housing management budgets during 2016/17 after the Housing and Planning Bill became Act. 

     

    The Cabinet Member for Housing commented that it was not clear whether Pay to Stay would include earned or benefited income, the latter could see benefits pushing those on minimum wage into this bracket, and residents could face an unaffordable bill to stay in their homes.  The agenda pack (page 106) detailed in-year rent collection levels.

     

    The Leader of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Financial Resilience Strategy pdf icon PDF 239 KB

    Report 15-16/152

     

    Key Decision

     

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment): Councillor Paul McGlone

    Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth: Sue Foster

     

    Contact: Ameeta Rowland, Senior Commissioning Officer, Neighbourhoods and Growth,  0207 926 2943, ARowland@Lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment), introduced the item and offered thanks to involved parties for the consultation and shaping the strategy, noting:

    ·           that the refreshed strategy used the Council’s limited resources to focus help for those in transition to work, on low pay, or out of work – mitigating Government’s unfair welfare reform;

    ·           it emphasised prevention and early intervention, providing financial resilience, sustaining tenancies, and avoiding homelessness; but people needed to find their own solutions;

    ·           there would be a one-council approach across service delivery, commissioned through the third sector where possible, whilst sharing data across Council and agencies; and,

    ·           the strategy had decreased from 7-8 priorities to 2 broad themes, under which outcomes would be agreed and commissioning strategies tested. 

     

    Cabinet raised the following points:

    ·           the vital work in boosting incomes, access to support and joined-up services were commended, with special mention of linking health/social care and financial support, as those with long-term physical and/or mental health issues often saw incomes suffer;

    ·           that the Council’s care contracts now received London Living Wage (LLW) resulting in 479 people moving out of in-work poverty;

    ·           Councillors regularly dealt with family evictions with children travelling vast distances to school from temporary accommodation, which earlier intervention could prevent;

    ·           ensuring contractors paid LLW was commended, but it was enquired as to the proportion of contracts under £100,000 which were not;

    ·           part-time workers in receipt of benefits often got into financial difficulties due to weekly income changes and not working was often more beneficial, it was asked what improvements in administering benefits could alleviate this issue; and,

    ·           comprehendible writing was needed so people understood what the strategy was trying to achieve and how it affected them.

     

    Ameeta Rowland, Senior Commissioning Officer; Adrian Smith, Director for Strategy and Commissioning; and, Helen Payne, Associate Director, responded:

    ·           that the procurement register would be analysed to answer how many contracts under £100,000 paid the LLW;

    ·           the imminent introduction of Universal Credit should simplify the administration of benefit and negate issues around changing weekly benefits;

    ·           there were leaflets targeting different groups available through the benefit services, and Lambeth’s advice services and customer centre, whilst using better communications to more effectively target priority groups had been highlighted in the strategy; and,

    ·           there had been a high level of co-production and support resulting in 30,000 residents helped (including 129 persons affected by the benefit cap getting back into employment; 10,000 residents advised by the Lambeth Advice Network; and securing £4.2m of benefits for 1,100 residents in 2014/15) since the first strategy’s adoption.

     

    Councillor Paul McGlone commented that Government had not thought through the consequences and risks of its policies; but Council would continue to provide the best support it could for residents; whilst further consideration, alongside other budgetary pressures, beyond 2016/17, would form part of the Council’s budget setting process.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.    To approve the Financial Resilience Strategy 2016-19.

    2.    To continue to work collaboratively with our communities and partners in delivering our priorities and ensuring that Lambeth’s residents are financially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Performance Report – Q2 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 376 KB

    Report 15-16/145

     

    Key Decision

     

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment): Councillor Paul McGlone

    Chief Executive: Sean Harriss

     

    Contact: Tim Weetman, Head of Performance, Corporate Resources,  0207 926 6438, TWeetman@Lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Sean Harriss, Chief Executive, introduced the report which highlighted where the Council was performing and achieving, and, more importantly, where it was not, in relation to its performance.  Broadly, performance overall was sound, with considerable progress over the last six months and more positives than not.  The report would continue to develop through the year with medium-term objectives to be integrated with finance and risk to give better assurance.

     

    Tim Weetman, Head of Performance, noted that 11 of 13 outcomes were, or close to, being achieved; and 40.9% of key performance measures (concentrating on Council’s actual performance) were achieving their targets (with 25% almost achieving, and 29.5% significantly off target), which represented a slight decline from Q1.  However, many of the key performance indicators were going in the right direction.  The body of the report detailed further management actions being taken for the indicator significantly off target and highlighted four specific areas to be alert for going into Q3.

     

    Councillor Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment), noted the report pulled no punches and it was important to focus on underperforming areas.  Citing one of the measures that was significantly off target (of members’ enquiries responses) as one example; Mark Hynes, Director of Corporate Affairs, responded that there had been improvements in member enquiries but that further progress was needed.

     

    The Leader of the Council noted that this was a useful tool used regularly by Councillors and for Cabinet Member briefings and thanked officers for their work.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.    Comment on and challenge performance against the outcome indicators and key performance measures set out in this report.

    2.    Endorse the conclusions and recommendations for improvement activity.

     

6.

The Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Area and Neighbourhood Forum Application pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    Report 15-16/146

     

    Key Decision

     

    All wards

     

    Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth, Councillor Jack Hopkins

    Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth: Sue Foster

     

    Contact: Alan Vinall, Delivery Lead, Planning Strategy and Policy, AVinall@Lambeth.gov.uk, 0207 926 1212

     

     

    Note added July 2018

     

    Personal information was originally included in this report.  This was an error.  The information should have been exempt from public disclosure under Section 12A of the Local Government Act para 1. Information relating to any individual, and para 2. Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.

     

    Following a request from the Planning, Development and Transport team the documents were removed and replaced on the 20 July 2018. For queries please contactdemocracy@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth, endorsed bringing communities into decision-making, as shown by this third neighbourhood area and forum application which sat alongside the borough’s Co-operative Local Investment Plans (CLIPs).  The Cabinet Member added his thanks to officers for this proposal which was more complicated than previous plans, and also to the Tulse Hill Forum’s (THF) engagement and added the following points:

    ·                as expected for London, there were contested areas reflecting multi-forum use, but the plans only decided on primary roles and in future would require cross-forum input;

    ·                Brockwell Park was omitted on officer recommendation;

    ·                the Tulse Hill gyratory and station were omitted as an appropriate area for the Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Area as it was predominantly economic or transport related and so more closely fitted with the Norwood area;

    ·                St. Matthews Estate was challenging, but it better matched the character of the THF which also had strong local community links with the estate; 

    ·                the decisions were made taking into account National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG); and,

    ·                the areas and forums were designed so people could shape their own areas outside the Council without binding to another bureaucratic structure.

     

    The Cabinet heard the following representations from Erica Tate (Chair of the THF), Richard Moore (Safer Neighbourhood Panel Chair), and Graham Pycock (Norwood Action Group’s Localism Lead):

    ·           the THF was committed to cooperating with other current and potential neighbourhood forums and had canvassed the local area for a definition of the identity of Tulse Hill;

    ·           the removal of the station or gyratory from THF would seem to be losing identify and sent out the wrong message to collaborators;

    ·           that some boundaries were more workable others (citing the failed attempt to join Thurlow Park and Tulse Hill wards);

    ·           that St. Faith’s Road should be within the Norwood boundaries but since plans had not been well publicised they had not inputted;

    ·           that the gyratory was a minor periphery matter that had been taken out of proportion;

    ·           there were concerns around Norwood’s bid being uneconomic if the gyratory and railway station were included in the THF’s plan;

    ·           that it made sense for a third tier of planning for towns and villages (underneath city and borough planning) to better integrate services and sectors; and,

    ·           it was asked why the incompatible £140,000 Council masterplan had proceeded when the Council was statutorily obliged to support neighbourhood planning, particularly since the latter would provide additional Government funding.

     

    Sandra Roebuck, Programme Director; and, Alan Vinall, Delivery Lead, commented that:

    ·           the Council was obliged to continue other planning and these did not conflict with the neighbourhood forums, whilst they provided an evidence base for further engagement;

    ·           the THF had undertaken an enormous amount of engagement as detailed in the report;

    ·           there had been no representations on St. Faith’s Road;

    ·           it was difficult for the Council to resolve issues and keep community groups satisfied, but that the report provided balanced outcomes; and,

    ·           led by the THF, local groups had compiled a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to alleviate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.