Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 27 July 2015 7.00 pm

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

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 pdf icon PDF 200 KB

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 13 July 2015 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings.

3.

Building the Homes we need to house the people of Lambeth pdf icon PDF 320 KB

    Report 52/15-16

     

    Key Decision

    All Wards

     

    Cabinet Member for Housing

    Strategic Director, Delivery

    Contact: Neil Vokes, Head of Performance, Enabling

    Email: nvokes@lambeth.gov.uk Tel: 0207 926 3068

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the report as an update on estate regeneration, started in 2012 alongside the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS – Lambeth’s decent homes programme) and costed at that time.  However, there was now a shortfall of £56 million and the Council was committed to 1,000 extra homes each year. The report contained different plans for each estate, as detailed in the report’s appendices, and sought authorisation on procurement of a development management team and feasibility work, and to commit officers to work with residents.  The Cabinet Member stated there were 21,000 people on the waiting list for a council home; and severe overcrowding, especially for those with children and/or disabilities, remained a poignant issue.

     

    Cabinet heard the following representations from the public:

    ·         Members of the public stated their awareness that housing was an issue that needed a solution, but were concerned about its execution; with no consultation prior to December 2014’s decision, conflicting information, and poor communication by the Council.  The resulting effect was that residents felt excluded from the debate or that it had been manipulated, with trust cited as poor.  Meetings with Council officers were said to have been refused, arranged at short notice or cancelled at extremely short notice; and the treatment of residents were raised as issues.  Overall, it was causing anxiety and confusion amongst residents, especially the elderly; with one representation saying it amounted to a form of anti-social behaviour by the Council.

    ·         Further questions were raised over the maintenance of properties and lack of repairs prior to the consultation, the planned number of houses compared to the disruption that would be caused; which highlighted immorality and a lack of decency from the Council.  Leaseholders’ mortgages, insecurity over tenancies, the special purpose vehicle (SPV), construction, and significant delays were further raised.  There were claims that there had been no independent housing adviser or architect, and a pause and review for full resident involvement was requested.

    ·         The Vice-Chair of Knight’s Walk Group Residents Association commented that they were not opposed to regeneration or extra build on the estates, but did not want to see full demolition. The Chair of Central Hill Estate commented that the Council was selling off assets due to budgetary constraints, however, these were not only properties, but homes and the Council were disrupting communities for insufficient reason and requested that extra council and truly affordable housing be guaranteed.

    ·         Concerns were also raised over the consultation, with representations saying it had been flawed and used leading questions, with answers used to justify demolition. Plans had not been considered fully and tthere had been an overall lack of transparency and meaningful consultation, with many representations questioning the intentions of the Council.  The significance of the estates’ architecture and the communities’ social value were also raised.

     

    The Leader of the Council reiterated that claims of gentrification were unfounded and that there was no point in proceeding with only a marginal increase in council housing, with the Council re-providing for existing tenants  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Financial Planning Report - Allocating Resources to Outcomes pdf icon PDF 559 KB

    Report 58/15-16

     

    Key Decision

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance & Investment)

    Strategic Director, Enabling

    Contact: Frank Higgins, Head of Financial Strategy, Strategic Finance

    Email: fhiggins@lambeth.gov.ukTel: 0207 926 9316

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment) introduced the report as the first post-general election look at finances with austerity set to continue, working age benefits frozen, limits on benefits, and a 1% social housing (year-on-year) reduction; representing an ongoing attack on social housing.  Public sector staff had also received pay freezes, whilst National Living Wage had been increased, but funding had not increased to meet these new demands and this would need to be reviewed after the Autumn/Winter statement.  There was a need for further savings between £49-75 million, with a central estimate of £62.2 million.  The loss of up to £2 million of public health funding and the £25 million housing benefit overpayment remained key risks.  The report represented a stark scenario up to 2019, although it still represented a solid programme.  Councillor McGlone concluded by bringing attention to the Council Tax Support scheme which supported Lambeth’s most vulnerable and was unique in London (pages 64-66, agenda pack).

     

    The Leader of the Council praised the clarity of the report, commenting that it represented depressing news, and invited attendees to give views:

    ·         The Strategic Director of Enabling observed that the £62.2 million remaining deficit was broken down over each of the next three years: balanced in 2016-17, and shortfalls of £35.2m in 2017-18 and £27.0m in 2018-19; and was yet to be built into the process.  Consultation for Council Tax Support in summer would be fed into the February 2016 new Community Plan, setting out the Council’s strategy and finances for 2016-20.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth commented that the report was distressing and would have been ideal to frame the estate regeneration item.  He commended the work, especially around social value, with the Council providing more for nothing.  It would need private sector help to deliver and represented a squeeze for residents as would be residents who suffered the most.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care commended the Council Tax Support scheme, noting that social care was a demand-led service for which it was not possible to state financing needs in advance.  There was a link between capital projects and financing, with carers and vulnerable persons in need of housing, which could only be met with expensive packages, and needed to be integrated with housing.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing agreed that social care was a high cost area and with related central government developments had seen people’s finances devastated, forcing relocation; he concluded by asking if communication with Whitehall regarding care costs had been initiated.

    ·         The Leader of the Council commented that these were toxic combinations with further social policy changes from local government including selling off void council homes and right to buy flexibility, and would see a move from a £18 million servicing gap to £62.2 million.

    ·         The Strategic Director of Enabling informed attendees that there had not yet been communication with central government and no detail of proposals had been seen, so the Council was not in a position to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Quarterly Performance Report Update pdf icon PDF 513 KB

    Report 49/15-16

     

    Non-key Decision

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance & Investment)

    Chief Executive

    Contact: Tim Weetman, Head of Performance, Enabling

    Email: tweetman@lambeth.gov.uk Tel: 0207 926 6438

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader (Finance and Investment) introduced the report as a review of fourth quarter performance against the 13 community outcomes, with commentary and management actions.  It showed good progress overall, but there were still some causes for concern, as detailed in the report.

     

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care noted that the Council relied on this key tool and commended the report for highlighting underachievement in the report.  However, improvements needed to be made, especially in relation to corporate health.

    ·         The Strategic Director for Enabling commented that there had been a month-on-month improvement for corporate health, which had slipped below the 90% target due to poor Q4 results after significant improvements.  The Strategic Director for Commissioning added that she had been talking to Clinical Commissioning Group colleagues and would report back on progress.

     

    The Leader of the Council asked for reassurance on dates regarding corporate health.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.    To note the contents of the report.

     

    2.    To Comment on and challenge performance against the indicators set out in the report.

     

6.

Pupil Place Planning and Capital Projects pdf icon PDF 973 KB

    Report 50/15-16

     

    Key Decision

    All Wards

     

    Deputy Leader of the Council (Policy)

    Strategic Director,Delivery

    Contact: Maggie Harriott, Education and Strategy Manager

    Email: mharriott@lambeth.gov.uk Tel: 0207 926 2108

     

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader (Policy) introduced the report as a regular update which showed pressure on primary school placesprimarily in the south of the borough and in those areas experiencing development, which would soon need increased secondary school places.  There would be a balancing act to find places and respond to changing circumstances, and noted that the pressure never dissipated. 

     

    Cabinet Members raised the following points:

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability enquired about Wandsworth’s surplus of secondary Year 7 places (page 178, agenda pack) and whether any free schools were planned to alleviate secondary school pressure in Lambeth.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care noted the pressure on secondary schools (paragraphs 2.15-2.21) was alarming especially with a cross-borough effect taken into account, and asked officers to outline approaches to extra schools, and what assistance central government might provide.

     

    Officers made the following comments:

    ·         Primary school places needed to be matched up with areas planned for housing development, whilst secondary schools treated the borough as a whole, due to their students’ increased mobility.  It was noted that every child had to be offered a place, and 97% of primary school pupils received their first or second place. Tables for bulge classes and entry expansions were listed in the agenda pack (page 171-2) and showed a greater demand for places in the south of the borough.  This had been met with a comprehensive building and expansion programme, whilst maintaining quality. 

    ·         It was noted that Wandsworth had a large number of free schools and a resultant surplus until 2021, whilst adjacent boroughs were nearing capacity and would reach 100% in 2017/18, for which they were being monitored.  Lambeth’s Oasis Southbank and Trinity free schools were now active and would begin taking the surge next year, with a further free school under consideration, but by 2022 it would be difficult to find sites or expand existing facilities even with planned schools proceeding.

     

    The Leader of the Council thanked officers for the report and highlighted the significant improvement over the last decade with increasing quantities of school places, whilst quality was also improving.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.    To note the projections of demand for places and the priority for creating additional secondary school places.

     

    2.    To agree the approach to prioritisation of secondary school places as shown in appendix B, based on the previously agreed criteria for primary places.

     

    3.    To agree to the proposed programme of work set out in paragraphs 2.29 to 2.36 of this report, subject to appropriate statutory consents.

     

7.

Public Spaces Protection Order for Legal Highs pdf icon PDF 229 KB

    Report 60/15-16

     

    Key Decision

    All Wards

     

    Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods

    Strategic Director, Commissioning and Delivery

    Contact: Kristian Aspinall, Community Safeguarding, Commissioning

    Email: kaspinall@lambeth.gov.uk Tel: 0207 926 2429

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods introduced the report by commenting on the recent legal highs-related death in Bexley and the overall health implications of legal highs use, highlighting the effects that N2O (nitrous oxide/laughing gas) had on health.  The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was based on the Anti-social Behaviour [ASB], Crime and Policing Act 2014 to tackle issues that had a detrimental effect on the quality of life on those in the locality.  This was exampled by the high number of N2O canisters littering the streets.

     

    ·         Officers added that there were two legal requirements for PSPO – a detrimental effect on an area and a persistent problem; and the response to the consultation made a very strong case for its use.  The Home Office had been informed in March 2015 of the need to use ASB powers to tackle the issue in a letter to the Secretary of State, and Lambeth was the first borough targeting N2O misuse in this way.

    ·         Inspector Neil Cochlin, Metropolitan Police (MET), praised the cooperation between the MET and Lambeth, remarking that the term ‘legal high’ seemed to absolve responsibility. The issue involved quality of life issues, ensuing ASB, and impact on residents and businesses – marking an often unusual agreement between residents and businesses, with 63% overall in favour of implementation.  The issue was often underreported, but intelligence and crime reports highlighted it as a significant issue with the Home Office taking a close interest, and success possibly to extend the policy across other local authorities.  The Inspector concluded by saying that it had the MET’s strong support.

     

    Cabinet Members made the following comments:

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing supported the proposals, but remarked that the health arguments needed strengthening, and questioned how enforcement would work.  The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth commented that this was a significant issue for him as a Vauxhall Councillor and that residents were pleased with the proposals; however, both the Department of Health and Licensing needed involvement.

    ·         The Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability enquired about the promotion of the order, the feasibility of enforcement, reporting of incidents, and if the areas listed in the report (page 195, agenda pack) related to pubs and clubs. The Cabinet Member for Housing agreed with the proposals, but remarked that many users would be younger and first-time users who needed help and not necessarily punishment.

     

    In answer to questions:

    ·         Officers confirmed that proposals had been discussed with the Department of Health who supported the proposals and that this correspondence would be circulated to Cabinet Members.  The PSPO would be advertised with Home Office-agreed text on temporary and then permanent signs across the borough.  The information would also be available on Lambeth’s website and in the media.  The PSPO would be across the entire borough to stop displacement to other wards and would not just focus on the night-time economy.  Working with young people through core social services was key to success,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.