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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Civic Suite

Contact: Charlotte Dale (020 8314 8286)  Email: charlotte.dale@lewisham.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 490 KB

Decision:

1.1       RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2018 be agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

Minutes:

1.1       RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2018 be agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Decision:

2.1       During the discussion on item 3, Councillor Hall declared a non-prejudicial interest as the Chair of Unite the union community branch for Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley; and a member of the Lewisham Trade Union Council.

Minutes:

2.1       During the discussion on item 3, Councillor Hall declared two non-prejudicial interests:

·         Chair of Unite the union community branch for Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley

·         Member of the Lewisham Trade Union Council.

3.

Cabinet Member Question and Answer Session pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Decision:

3.1       RESOLVED: That the responses provided be noted.

Minutes:

3.1       Councillor Bonavia gave a short presentation and the following key points were noted:

 

·         The way in which elections were run had improved significantly

·         Ways of further improving electoral registration were being considered

·         The Local Democracy Review would be producing a series of evidence based recommendations shortly, including recommendations for further work

·         The refugee resettlement programme would be expanded as part of establishing Lewisham as a borough of sanctuary; an independent review of the first programme was being carried out; and lots of work was being undertaken with volunteers in preparation. Housing would need to be procured for the new families and a refugee programme manager was being recruited to scale up available support.

·         The Shared Service had achieved significant IT improvements, although there was much more work still to be done to get IT fit for purpose.

 

3.2       In response to questions from Members, the following points were noted:

 

·         In order to reach “hard to reach” groups within the borough it was imperative for councillors to go to residents in the places they frequented as part of their daily lives, rather than expect residents to come to councillors.

·         There had been a number of telephone issues resulting from the switchover to the new phone system and the restacking of Laurence House and these would be investigated. Issues around the use of voicemail would be specifically looked into.

·         The implementation of Brexit held many uncertainties and should the UK leave Europe at a date post the European elections, UK MEPs may have their term of office extended until the date of departure.

·         The Democracy Working Group would be meeting representatives from Kirklees to learn from their experience and processes would be put in place to ensure that any recommendations from the review would be implemented and tracked. The precise details of how implementation would be monitored were still to be agreed.

·         The Local Democracy Review would consider the updated CIPFA guidance (2018) on audit committees and relevant recommendations with a view to assessing whether the best practice for audit committees put forward in the document should be adopted.

·         The Local Democracy Review was concerned with effective decision making and the ability of staff to implement the decisions made by political leaders. Related infrastructure requirements would be considered as part of the drive for better decision making.

·         Local Assemblies were being reviewed, with a view to making them more efficient and able to engage a wider spectrum of residents.

·         The Cabinet Member did not feel that the Head of Corporate Resources being the Section 151 Officer was a conflict of interest, given the additional duties he was undertaking whilst the Executive Director for Resources and Regeneration was acting as the interim Chief Executive.

·         The expansion of the refugee resettlement programme would take place slowly as it was crucial to get it right and learn from the families resettled so far. The first new families were expected to arrive in Spring 2019.

·         The Shared IT Service was shared between Brent, Southwark and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

The Corporate Strategy pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

4.1       RESOLVED: That a referral as follows be made to Mayor and Cabinet:

 

1.    The Committee requests in the strongest possible terms that the wording in the corporate strategy reflects exactly the wording in the Lewisham Labour Party manifesto in relation to the need to divest the pension fund from fossil fuels. Therefore it should read:

 

“We will support moving the Council’s Pension Fund away from fossil fuels linked investments in response to climate change and to protect our investments from volatile energy markets”.

 

We would encourage Mayor and Cabinet to add a line stating that we will do this “in line with our fiduciary duty”, as many other boroughs have, and we expect this to be completed within the next 5 years.

 

2.    The Committee requests that a wider range of diversity strands/the protected characteristics are reflected in the diversity profile in the corporate strategy.

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

4.1       The Mayor introduced the new Corporate Strategy which set out the Council’s future direction. It was noted that the Sustainable Community Strategy had been written in 2007 and published in 2008, so a new up-to-date strategy was very much required. A new performance monitoring tool and a communications strategy would also be developed. Janet Senior highlighted that the new strategy had been written and designed with accessibility in mind and reported that the strategy was due to go to Mayor and Cabinet on 13 February and Council on 27 February. There would be a launch event for senior and middle managers who would then be encouraged to meet with their teams to discuss the strategy and its implications for their work.

 

4.3         The Committee discussed the strategy and Councillor Ingleby proposed additional text to be added to the introductions to chapters 2 and 5 and it was agreed that abridged versions of his suggestions would be added.

 

4.4         There was a lengthy discussion on the importance of taking action in relation to climate change and the wording in the corporate strategy around the need to move the pension fund away from investments linked to fossil fuels. It was noted that other boroughs, including Southwark, had taken similar decisions, in part driven by ethical concerns, but primarily because they felt significant investments in fossil fuels presented a long term financial risk to their fund. It was agreed that a referral to Mayor and Cabinet would be made on this issue.

 

4.5         The following comments were also made or noted:

 

·           Any references to BME in the document would be changed to BAME to ensure consistency.

·           The Council should broaden the focus of the Lewisham Secondary Challenge and Lewisham Learning in light of proposed changes to the criteria upon which schools are judged good or outstanding by Ofsted. A shift towards looking more closely at what is taught and how it is taught (a ‘quality of education’ judgement) and loosening the focus on test and exam outcomes was likely.

·           The demographic section of the strategy should be expanded to reflect a wider range of diversity strands/protected characteristics than currently included.

·           Race should be more explicitly referred to in the document and not just unconscious bias.

·           The wording around the proposed borough wide landlord licensing scheme should be looked at again to make sure it is completely accurate.

·           50% affordable housing in developer-led housing schemes might be the target but it is not necessarily achievable and might raise expectations that cannot be met. However, it was suggested that a stretching target was needed to encourage developers to be more ambitious in their affordable housing projections.

·           The new performance monitoring tool would be a lot more accessible with infographics and diagrams.

 

4.6       RESOLVED: That a referral as follows be made to Mayor and Cabinet:

 

1.    The Committee requests in the strongest possible terms that the wording in the corporate strategy reflects exactly the wording in the Lewisham Labour Party manifesto in relation to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Items to be referred to Mayor & Cabinet

Decision:

5.1       RESOLVED: That a referral be made to Mayor and Cabinet in relation to item 4 (The Corporate Strategy) as outlined.

Minutes:

5.1       RESOLVED: That a referral be made to Mayor and Cabinet in relation to item 4 (The Corporate Strategy) as outlined.