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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.
There were none.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 July 2020 be approved as a correct record of the proceedings.
Councillor Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, introduced Lambeth’s Events Strategy 2020-2025. Cabinet was informed that this was a revised strategy and was a result of extensive public consultation and recommendations arising from the Events Scrutiny Commission, undertaken during 2019.
The Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture highlighted that Lambeth was a wonderfully diverse borough and stated that cultural events played an important role reflecting this diversity in educating, entertaining and in bringing local communities together. The following points were noted:
- Events provided recreational, employment and educational opportunities that helped to build strong and resilient communities through participation and involvement; as well as increasing health and social benefits.
- The excellent work of the council’s events team, including the facilitation of a diverse programme of events which had helped to make Lambeth one of the best destinations for events in London.
- The overarching values from the 2016-2020 strategy remained but the refreshed strategy would focus on the need for events to be environmentally sustainable, financially transparent, locally led and accountable.
It was explained that the Covid-19 pandemic had changed the way events had been delivered across the country and that the council’s events team would continue to work with colleagues in Public Health and the Safety Advisory Group to ensure any events that were allowed to take place were in line with up to date guidance.
Councillor Becca Thackray, speaking on behalf of the Green Group, welcomed the strategy but highlighted that it was important that the economic and financial benefits arising from events were widely publicised, with greater transparency about how this income would be used to improve parks.
In response to questions, the Assistant Director Neighbourhoods confirmed that the Lambeth Events Strategy 2020-2025 would enable communities to develop and deliver hundreds of community events each year while enabling a smaller number of larger commercial events to take place in a balanced and proportionate way. It was noted that this would allow wider social, economic and cultural benefits across the borough. It was also confirmed that 17 of Lambeth’s parks and green spaces held a Green Flag award and that, overall, the borough had been awarded Gold at the prestigious London in Bloom competition.
RESOLVED that Lambeth’s Events Strategy 2020-2025 be adopted.
Councillor Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, provided an overview of budget and performance issues for quarter 1 2020/21. Councillor Kay explained that the report included a range of information including direction of travel, a summary of key performance indicators by Borough Plan outcomes, as well as key areas of concern. The following points were noted:
- During the Covid-19 lockdown, despite some disruption to services, 100% of essential services had been delivered.
- The Covid-19 dashboard, which highlighted the daily impact of the pandemic for critical areas such as contracts and referrals, social care visits and benefit processing time.
- The efforts of staff and innovative use of technology that had allowed, on the whole, performance to hold up and remain at levels seen prior to lockdown, with particular note to Children’s Services.
- The Council was forecasting a gross overspend against budgets of £42.7m mainly due to Covid-19 related expenses and shortfalls in income.
- The Council was continuing to lobby central government to fund a greater share of the costs associated with Covid-19.
Councillor Kay explained the Council’s response to the pandemic had included setting up a network of food delivery hubs across the borough with local community groups, with over 20,000 food parcels delivered to vulnerable residents. In addition, it was noted that the Council had responded to the crisis by supporting health and care providers to access personal protective equipment, providing three months of rent relief for 318 businesses and voluntary and community sector tenants, providing additional funding of £500,000 for the Emergency Support Scheme and £4.2 million for Lambeth’s Local Economy Hardship Fund which supported businesses and charities most at risk during the pandemic.
It was noted that the largest area of Covid-19 related spend related to Adults and Health, where expenditure had included uplifts to homecare and residential care providers, care package cost inflation, additional capacity staffing costs, shielding and supporting the vulnerable and the cost of personal protective equipment. It was also noted that income losses related to parking charges, three months of free rent provided to commercial property tenants by the council, income losses associated with cancelled events and other losses associated with a general reduction in economic activity since the start of the financial year.
Councillor Becca Thackray, speaking on behalf of the Green Group, thanked officers for taking on board the recommendations and suggestions that had been put forward by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Leader of the Opposition in relation to the additional information that had been provided in the report.
The Leader of the Council, and Members of the Cabinet, thanked Councillor Kay for taking on full responsibility for the Finance and Performance portfolio and for making a significant contribution while Councillor Andy Wilson had been on shared parental leave, for the period 8 June 2020 to 20 September 2020.
In conclusion, the Leader of the Council raised serious concerns about central government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Councillor Hopkins highlighted that the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.