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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room

Contact: Katie Wood - 0208 3149446 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2019 pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Decision:

That the attendance of the meeting on the 26 November 2019 be amended to show that Cllr Dacres, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities was present at the meeting.

Minutes:

1.1       RESOLVED:

 

That the attendance of the meeting on the 26 November 2019 be amended to show that Cllr Dacres, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities was present at the meeting.

2.

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Decision:

Cllr Davis declared an interest in item 4 as she worked for the Behavioural Insight Team; the Metropolitan Police were clients of the organisation.

Minutes:

2.1       Cllr Davis declared an interest in item 4 as she worked for the Behavioural Insight Team; the Metropolitan Police were clients of the organisation.

3.

Response to Referrals from this Committee

There are no responses to referrals to be considered at this meeting.

Decision:

There were no responses to referrals to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

3.1       RESOLVED:

 

There were no responses to referrals to be considered at the meeting.

4.

Update from local Police and Fire Services pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That Simon Dobinson, John Newing and Nathan Hobson be thanked for attending the meeting and for their reports and presentation.

Minutes:

4.1       Chief Superintendent Simon Dobinson, Borough Commander, SE BCU gave a presentation to the Committee, a copy of which will be included in the Committee papers and on the Council’s website.  During the discussion that followed, the following key points were highlighted:

·         A member of the Committee asked about whether the capacity to provide crime prevention advice around burglary had been impacted by reduced numbers of officers. The Borough Commander responded that there was a focus on targeting neighbours and neighbourhoods where there had been burglaries and providing advice and smart water kits etc. This was through the dedicated ward officers and PCSOs.

·         Information on fraud prevention occurred through targeted Police campaigns. The Council’s Crime Reduction Team had also been working on an operation called “Operation Neptune” focussing on scams and fraud. Work was done through trading standards and in partnership with other organisations. There was also a rapid response vehicle. 

·         The Pensioners Forum and other groups had been working with partners on practical examples of helping people be aware of scams and rogue traders.

·         A member of the Committee highlighted that there was a lack of attendance by Police Officers at some of the Council’s Local Assemblies. Written reports had been helpful but attendance would be more useful for the public that attended.  This had been experienced in Lee Green/Blackheath. Members felt that some PCSOs would be able to substitute for officers at assembly meetings on occasions if that was appropriate.

·         A member of the Committee highlighted that the Safer Neighbourhood ward panels had been challenging to work with recently due to high turnover of staff. The generic e-mail address was no longer being responded to. It would be useful to have a clear procedure for contacting the teams.

·         A member of the Committee commented on the emergency response time for incidents following a personal experience where an emergency response took over 25 minutes and where he was informed that the resource was not available to investigate. The Borough Commander would look into this specific incident to understand the details and provide more information.

·         A member of the Committee commented that the 101 number was ineffective as the wait was so long for calls to be picked up that people give up. This was a national system and at a local level there was no control over the speed of answering the call. Online reporting was being encouraged.

·         The figures for crime in Lewisham showed that between May 2018 and April 2019 crimes across London had risen by 8% compared to a 5% rise in Lewisham. Robbery had fallen by 1% across London compared to a 7% increase in Lewisham. Knife crime with injury had decreased by 11% in Lewisham and Gun crime had decreased by 7% in Lewisham compared to an 18% increase across London.

·         Regarding the neighbourhood ward teams, members of the Committee felt it would be useful to find a way to better engage. The Borough Commander would look into the issue of e-mail contact addresses  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

HR Information Update pdf icon PDF 642 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the report be noted.

 

That it be noted that the Committee strongly supported a review of the Council’s Flexible Retirement Policy.

Minutes:

5.1       Adam Bowles, Director of Occupational Development and HR presented his report to the Committee. During the discussion that followed, the following key points were raised:

·         Apologies were received from the representative from Unite who was unable to attend but thanked the Committee for the opportunity to speak.

·         Comments from the Chair, Cllr Campbell, were tabled and a copy would be included in the agenda documentation.

·         The report was a public document and the report had been cleared by the Council’s legal department.

·         There were low numbers of non-voluntary leavers that were dismissal and this figure was lower than most London Councils.

·         It was not possible from the report to know how many of those who had requested flexible retirement were still working for the Council. The Committee were informed that a number had left including the Chief Executive and two Directors.

·         A member of the Committee asked whether a review process was built into a request for flexible retirement and whether the policy was robust to ensure it was not open-ended and how Lewisham compared to other local authorities and to best practice models. The Committee was informed that the normal process was for the applicant to be sponsored by a line manager and for the application to then go to an panel chaired by the Head of Occupational Development and HR. In the case of the Chief Executive, this was the appointments committee and the agreement included a review date. At Lewisham, the policy was to a reduce to a maximum of three working days. Other authorities had different arrangements. The Council policy had not been reviewed since age discrimination legislation came into place and therefore should be reviewed as soon as possible.

·         A member of the Committee raised a concern that requests for flexible retirement did not seem to be considered at the same time as a conscious decision to reduce posts to part-time positions.

·         A review of flexible retirement arrangements in Lewisham would be undertaken in the next municipal year.

 

5.2       RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

That it be noted that the Committee strongly supported a review of the Council’s Flexible Retirement Policy.

6.

Sanctuary Borough Commitment and Strategy pdf icon PDF 269 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the report be noted.

Minutes:

6.1       Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability, introduced the report to the Committee. Natasha Valladares, Projects and New Supply Strategy Manager and Madeleine Jefferies, Assistant Director of Housing Services were also in attendance. Members of the Committee were invited to comment prior to the strategy going to Mayor and Cabinet. Following their presentation the following key points were raised:

 

·         It was highlighted that the lack of data around the characteristics of being a refugee, asylum seeker or migrant was reflected in the report’s Equalities Analysis Assessments. There was a hope that going forward individual services would be more aware of these service users and find out more about the communities.

·         Working in partnership with partners such as the Police and local Health Trusts was important.

·         More information on the LGBTi sanctuary provision would be provided to members of the Committee.

·         A member of the Committee asked how the Council was planning to constructively work with partners such as landlords. The Cabinet Member responded that action plans for all services were being created including guidance and information on communication methods. It would be positive to reach out to community partners to offer them this training as well.

·         A member of the Committee asked how the Council would work to ensure communities in Lewisham continued to integrate and be welcoming. In response, the Executive Member stated that they were working with community groups and using opportunities to foster positive relations such as Refugees Week.

·         Standing orders were suspended at 9.15pm

·         A member of the Committee asked about how the role of churches fitted in with the strategy as in the past they had provided a sanctuary role. The Strategy was the Council’s corporate strategy governing officers’ work so did not include some of the wider work around sanctuary.  There was, however, a lot of on-going work with faith groups and this could be explored further.

·         A member of the committee requested additional information on the Sanctuary Borough wider ambitions and vision as a possible follow up report in the next municipal year.

·         A member of the Committee commented that it was important to be mindful of intersectionalities within migrant communities as heavy dependence on faith groups could alienate and marginalise further some people such as those from LGBT+ groups.

 

6.3       RESOLVED:

 

1)    That the report be noted.

2)    That a report on Lewisham as a Sanctuary Borough be put forward as a suggestion for the work programme for the next municipal year.

7.

Equalities Review - submitted evidence since last meeting pdf icon PDF 300 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the report be noted.

Minutes:

7.1       Katie Wood, Scrutiny Manager introduced the report to the Committee. During the update and in the discussion that followed, the following keys points were raised:

 

·         The handout from the Committee’s workshop on the indices of deprivation was tabled at the meeting, a copy of which will be included in the agenda documentation.

·         It was noted that following the committee’s request at the last meeting for information on the exact thresholds for officers to produce an Equalities Analysis Assessment (EAA), new guidance had been drafted for officers which had been shared with the Committee.

·         A member of the Committee highlighted the evidence provided in Appendix D from the Interfaith Forum and that a possible recommendation from the Committee’s review could be around more work and engagement and dialogue around some of those issues. In particular there could be tensions between different equalities strands and it was important to engage with people on this.

·         A member of the Committee also commented on the evidence from young people about a possible recommendation around improving dialogue and discussion.

·         It was requested that the list of faiths represented by the Interfaith Forum be included in the evidence in the final review the Committee produced.

 

7.2       RESOLVED:

 

That the report and possible recommendations be noted.

8.

Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the following items be deferred from the Committees 2019/20 work programme to the next municipal year:

1)    Stop and Search and Prevent Review  - 6-month update

2)    YOS monitoring and progress against action plan.

 

Minutes:

8.1         Katie Wood, Scrutiny Manager, introduced the report to the Committee. Members of the Committee agreed that there were too many items on the agenda for the next meeting to be able to have productive discussions, and made suggestions for which items could be deferred until a later date.

 

8.2       RESOLVED:

 

That the following items be deferred from the Committee’s 2019/20 work programme to the next municipal year:

 

1)    Stop and Search and Prevent Review  - 6-month update

2)    YOS monitoring and progress against action plan.

 

9.

Items to be referred to Mayor and Cabinet

Decision:

Then were no referrals.

Minutes:

9.1       RESOLVED:

 

There were no referrals to Mayor and Cabinet.