· The Plan focused on three areas of importance, which each contained a series of actions as detailed in the report:
o investment into the borough and the importance of growth, with a key test that growth benefitted all residents;
o supporting strong and sustainable communities in the face of reducing government grant and staff cuts; and,
o supporting the most vulnerable residents through reducing inequality, opening up access to opportunities for all. This remained the most complicated and difficult area.
· There were significant challenges around wealth-sharing and transparency, with the onus on the Council to explain policies and why they were needed.
· The Equalities Commission would report to Cabinet on further attempts to reduce the borough’s inequality.
· The Plan necessitated much work with key stakeholders and local community groups for best implementation.
The Chief Executive, Sean Harriss added:
· The Plan was based on much qualitative and quantitative evidence, looking at the borough’s needs, makeup, and performance, including the residents’ survey and other feedback mechanisms.
· There remained much work to do continue engagement with both individuals and groups.
· The Council was part of Lambeth’s infrastructure, with responsibility for a large range of services, but delivered alongside other public service providers (police, businesses, higher education, etc.). The report thus gave guidelines to develop a Plan for Lambeth with input from all organisations and communities rather than from the Council alone.
Councillor Ed Davie, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) and Children’s Social Care Improvement Commission, added the following comments:
· The focus on greater support for the most vulnerable communities was a very welcome inclusion in the Plan
· The Equinox report, among other evidence, showed a disproportionate presence of the black community and disadvantaged groups in key indicators. The Council had made improvements, but members were keen for further progress, which the Equalities Commission would help address.
· OSC were keen to have the voices and concerns of Portuguese and Somali (and other black and minority ethnic (BME)) communities heard in development and in the delivery of the Plan.
· Other vulnerable groups included children, with a third of Lambeth’s children living in poverty and huge pressures on children’s social services. It was important to help early years along the lines identified by the Marmot report and in the Health and Wellbeing OSC.
· Leeds City Council, which had improved its children’s services from inadequate to good, had recognised that children’s social work was not done in a vacuum, but was about context, and had changed their culture by adopting the Unicef child-friendly city model, placing children at the heart of everything the Council did. One example of this was that British Gas engineers were trained to spot signs of abuse or neglect, helping reduce pressure on Council services.
· He would be keen to see a similar unifying approach adopted in Lambeth, which would not only benefit the individuals involved but in lessening the children’s social care case load would reduce the resources that needed to be spent in this area.
The Deputy Leader of the Council (Investment and Partnerships), Councillor Paul McGlone; the Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities (job-share), Councillor Jim Dickson; the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Jackie Meldrum; the Cabinet Member for Families and Young People, Councillor Jane Pickard; the Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, Councillor Jane Edbrooke; the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture, Councillor Jack Hopkins; the Cabinet Member for Healthier and Stronger Communities (job-share), Councillor Mohammed Seedat; and the Lead Member for Community Relations, Donatus Anyanwu, added their comments:
· The delivery of the Plan would only succeed by working with public and private sector partners, and by getting them to sign up to outcomes as well as through investments.
· The predominance of health outcomes was welcomed, as was involving health partners in delivery.
· Tackling inequality was paramount and no other borough faced such life expectancy discrepancies, among other indicators, as in Lambeth. These often involved complex and multiple needs, and asked officers to concentrate on this area, targeting from childhood through to adult inequality.
· It was important to involve disengaged communities and individuals, and that partners understood the need to speak to those communities and to break down barriers to further engagement.
· How the Plan would fit into the health and wellbeing agenda and how partners could play a part was key, although this would be difficult with continuing Council budgetary cuts to council and health budgets.
· Members were pleased to see a strengthening of commitments to reduce inequalities.
· More statistics on housing needs, whilst working closely with health services and the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) was needed to see progress with disability and infirmity issues. This could be by ensuring new builds were designed for those with disabilities, as retrofitting properties was expensive and many Victorian-era examples of housing contributed to excess deaths.
· It was noted that Leeds was also a dementia-friendly city, and lessons could be learnt from their approach in this area as well as with its children’s services.
· Lambeth’s schools and colleges, facing further budgetary cuts, would require this document to guide them through the cuts agenda, to arrive at policies and avoid a salami-slicing approach to cuts.
· The partnership approach proved itself, with more headteachers attending and feeding into the Children and Families Strategic Partnership Board; and it was hoped this emphasis would continue on a strategic level, such as tackling mental health at secondary school.
· A focus on children in poverty was needed if these persons were not to become adults in poverty, whilst the Council was working hard to ensure that job prospects improved for children convicted of criminal offences. It was also noted that partners and local businesses needed to understand their moral obligation to provide jobs to prior children in care to allow them to thrive as community members.
· The focus on stronger communities was welcomed as communities did not respond to council agendas, but in their own idiom, and the Plan detailed that communities needed to help one other; as such there was less focus on specific activities and more on enabling communities to support themselves and each other. Lambeth had mixed communities, and the next steps would be in how to bring these together in a meaningful way, sharing social capital, and how this could be delivered over a wide range of communities.
· The Council, with partners and stakeholders, needed to develop a clearer, nuanced understanding of how the proceeds of growth could be distributed fairly and pragmatically to citizens.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, emphasised the role of partnerships and that the Council would continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders, looking at prevention in health and employment, and tackling violence in society. The Plan provided focus and a mechanism, but there were challenges due to the halving of resources from 2010-levels and the loss of staff. Instead of pessimism, the Council and its strong community connections and partnerships would look to build upon positives to deliver.
1. To approve and adopt Future Lambeth: our borough plan.
2. To agree the equalities objectives set out in this report.
3. That the allocation of resources from council revenue and capital budgets is in line with the borough plan.
4. That subsequent policy and strategy reviews are informed by the borough plan, to create greater alignment across the Council and partnerships.
5. To work collaboratively with our partners and communities to deliver the priorities set out in this report.
6. To agree to the proposals for consultation and engagement on the borough plan and for this consultation to contribute to the delivery plan that will be published later in the year.