Council meetings

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Charlotte Dale (020 8314 8286)  Email:


No. Item


Minutes of the meetings held on 5 March 2020 and 15 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings held on 5 March and 15 July 2020 be agreed as an accurate records of the meetings.


1.1       RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings held on 5 March and 15 July 2020 be agreed as an accurate records of the meetings.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 211 KB


No Declarations of Interest were made.



2.1       No declarations of interest were made.



Responses from Mayor and Cabinet pdf icon PDF 206 KB

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RESOLVED: That the responses to the referrals made by the Committee at its January and March meetings be noted.



3.1       RESOLVED: That the responses to the referrals made by the Committee at its January and March meetings be noted.



Scrutiny update pdf icon PDF 211 KB


RESOLVED: That the updates be noted.



4.1       The Chair invited the Chairs of Select Committees to give a brief oral update on the work of their committees. The Select Committee Chairs advised that:


Children and Young People Select Committee

·      Scrutinising the Children’s Social Care Improvement Plan was a key piece of work for the Committee and Members were keen to ensure that the necessary resources were available to enable the department to meet the standards set by Ofsted and deserved by the borough’s children and young people.

·      Other key areas of work included (a) monitoring the reform of early help services in order to strengthen these services; (b) examining the three year programme to raise the educational attainment levels of pupils of Afro-Caribbean heritage; (c) elective home education which had increased since the pandemic began; and (d) the effects on kids of school closure and reopening.

·      Sir Norman Lamb, Chair of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, had been invited to the next meeting to discuss CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) waiting times.

·      The Chair, as part of his Business Panel role, had also been involved in scrutinising education related contracts including catering in schools.


Safer, Stronger Communities Select Committee

At the next meeting of the Committee on 1 December, Members Plan to consider the following matters:

·      Hearing from the Borough Commander; discussing the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) recommendations on stop and search; and asking questions about the implementation of recommendations arising from the Committee’s review of stop and search.

·      Receiving the mayoral response to the recommendations of the Committee’s review into equalities.

At its January meeting, the Committee plan to look at the Youth Offending Service and Members of the Children and Young People Select Committee would be invited to attend.


Healthier Communities Select Committee

At its next meeting the Committee plan to look at three key topics:

·       Budget cuts

·       Pathology arrangements (including the viability of the new provider)

·       The Birmingham and Lewisham BAME Health Inequalities Review (so the Committee could be involved at the scoping stage).


Public Accounts Select Committee

It had been a difficult year in terms of council finances as a result of the cost of responding to the Covid pandemic and other pressures, on the back of ten years of central government austerity measures. The Committee had:

·       Encouraged the adoption of a more commercial approach across the Council and produced a comprehensive report with recommendations.

·       Agreed to focus its next meeting on the budget, with the Chair of each Select Committee invited to attend to present their committee’s views on the budget proposals falling within their remit. Assessing the impact of each proposal on service users would be important.


Housing Select Committee

The Committee would be focusing on budget proposals relating to housing at its next meeting. Changes to the Council’s housing allocation policies were also a key area of work for the committee.


Sustainable Development Select Committee

The proposed Railway Children Urban National Park was an important area of work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Question and Answer Session with the Mayor pdf icon PDF 232 KB

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RESOLVED: That a referral be made to Mayor and Cabinet requesting further information on the following issues:

·           Street homelessness prevention project – an update on how the funding gap is being managed.

·           The figure for the cost of reconfiguring the Lewisham and Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme.

·           The Council’s BAME career progression programme – further information.



5.1       The Chair welcomed the Mayor to the meeting and reported that written responses to questions submitted by Members in advance of the meeting had been published on a supplementary agenda and circulated.


5.2       The Mayor made the following introductory comments:

·         These were unprecedented times but the Council had responded rapidly to the pandemic.

·         The Council, residents and local businesses had very little warning before life changed overnight, which had been difficult.

·         A new, second national lockdown was now in place until at least 2 December 2020.

·         Locally, the numbers testing positive had been rising but was now stabilising at around 100 per 100000.

·         News of a potential vaccine was encouraging and the Mayor and Chief Executive had met with other London leaders to discuss the potential roll out, as this was likely to be a critical role for the Council.

·         There were many positives in the response to the pandemic, including the role played by Community Connections in getting food and essential supplies to vulnerable residents. The Voluntary and Community Sector had worked closely with the council in a range of different areas to meet challenges and support vulnerable residents.

·         £34k had been raised by the Mayoresses to help provide free school meals over the October half term.

·         The work on Covid and BAME health inequalities being carried out with Birmingham was vital.

·         Covid champions were being recruited.

·         The Budget situation was tough and sobering. It was hoped that the thematic approach being taken this year would be helpful. The focus was on the immediate budget gap for the next financial year of £18m, with further cuts being brought forward in January for Members to consider.

·         The Council would continue to lobby central government for more funds to meet the costs of the pandemic.

·         The Council’s initial Covid 19 recovery plan had been shared with Members.

·         A small number of Councillors were working on developing a race equality commission.


5.3       The following questions and responses were heard:


How has Covid affected housing building programme and how is the funding gap in terms of homelessness following the end of the national ‘Everyone In’ strategy being addressed (i.e. the impact of the government stopping funding the homelessness services that they funded during ‘Everyone In’)?


·      There have been completions on new housing and the Council’s plans remain ambitious. Some projects have been put back by the pandemic and during the first lockdown some planners were redeployed to support critical services. The Government have made some changes to funding arrangements which we need to look into and we will provide feedback on this to Members. Councillor Bell is working on homelessness and will update Members. We are still getting lots of approaches and information will be provided on the funding gap.


The approach to the budget should consider prevention over cure

·      Absolutely, early intervention and support, especially to families is very important.


Who is the Council’s statutory scrutiny officer? Why was the Mayor’s portfolio amended, why was planning allocated to Councillor Bell and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.