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RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2021 be agreed as an accurate record of proceedings.
1.1 RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2021 be agreed as an accurate record of proceedings.
RESOLVED: That a referral be made to Mayor and Cabinet stating that the Committee:
· Endorsed the proposed introduction of a new employment service, Lewisham Works, to support local unemployed residents in to work.
· Welcomed the commitment to an annual headcount and survey of independent and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic owned businesses, and a focus on improving engagement and trust between these businesses and the Council.
The Committee also agreed to ask Mayor and Cabinet to set out a strategy for future economic development in the borough, and agree that delivering this as part of the next Corporate Strategy should be a priority for the Council.
3.1 Councillor Lavery introduced the item and introduced the external speaker, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation. Miatta spoke about the current cost of living crisis, the impact of the pandemic and options for recovery. Key points included:
· People were not feeling the benefits of a growing economy as living standards had not increased since 2008 and the cost of living was now increasing significantly.
· We must recognise the context, including the inequalities across society, the diminution of social protections, the huge cuts to local government and the cost of living (including energy) crisis.
· A green recovery is possible and desirable: there is some consensus.
· Recovery requires the use of local as well as national levers.
3.2 Miatta suggested that the following actions were key to local economic recovery:
· A focus on driving up living standards (not just targeting growth) with the creation of good and secure jobs.
· Giving local people a bigger stake: developing a shared vision with communities as to what “good” should look like, which might include wellbeing as well as financial stability; and thinking about co-operatives.
· Investing in green infrastructure and decarbonising the local economy in ways which create good jobs.
· Building a local supply chain involving education and the NHS. Mapping the local investment potential and the funding that flows through a geographical place across organisational boundaries to pool resources.
· Creating a partnership with local businesses which involves social responsibility.
· Wresting power from Whitehall and pushing devolution.
3.3 In response to questions from the committee, the following was noted:
· The capacity and viability of local community organisations was critical and local authorities should consider the support they could provide in terms of access to council premises; encouraging the community acquisition of assets; and through procurement and commissioning policies.
· Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) could be very useful in terms of local businesses supporting each other and in galvanising support for collective local action. However, in the current economic circumstances, persuading businesses to vote in favour of creating a BID was often difficult due to the mandatory levy.
· Business charters can help in getting businesses to engage; and licensing and procurement can be useful local levers.
· Although GDP had grown, the increase in low pay, low skill jobs had resulted in a productivity challenge.
· The circular economy was a huge opportunity which might enable a degree of self-sufficiency to be delivered in some areas.
· Examples of good practice in the local authority sector included (a) Liverpool Council’s work on energy efficiency and retrofitting, with its living standards perspective and its focus on a local supply chain with skills offer; (b) Manchester’s ‘living wage city’ scheme using procurement as a significant lever; and (c) Hackney’s energy co-operative with profits going to community schemes.
· Creating employment spaces and hubs and using empty shops creatively was one way to make new hybrid working arrangements benefit local areas.
· It was important to link skills training with need in a particular area and create targeted skills academies.
3.4 John ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted, specifically the work undertaken to date and the planned next steps for the Resident Experience programme; and the specific outputs of the member casework design sprints and the next steps for that review.
4.1 Councillor Walsh introduced the item and spoke in particular about the member casework element of the programme, which many Members had been actively involved in. Atika Mohammed introduced the update and explained that the programme was:
· Centred around the needs of all residents
· Challenging assumptions
· Using evidence to make decisions
· Understanding current experience in order to improve it via a discovery phase.
4.2 In terms of casework, prototype solutions were being developed to address the needs of users and the problems identified. A collaborative approach was being taken, with people from a number of different teams involved.
4.3 In response to questions from Members, the following was noted:
· Some casework would need to be dealt with by exception, but finding an improved solution to deal with the majority of cases was important.
· 9 members had been involved in the discovery work undertaken so far.
· The new model would aim to capture the different elements of a resident’s interaction with the council - and identify repeat cases and also connect cases.
· It was recognised that Members needed to know who was dealing with their case and have a named contact.
4.4 RESOLVED: That the report be noted, specifically the work undertaken to date and the planned next steps for the Resident Experience programme; and the specific outputs of the member casework design sprints and the next steps for that review.
RESOLVED: That the contents of the update report be noted.
5.1 It was noted that at the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Members had agreed that:
· Each select committee should appoint a climate change champion
· Planning Members should receive training on the interaction between the climate emergency and the planning process
· There should be an annual all-member briefing on the climate emergency.
5.2 It was reported that:
· Five Climate Change Champions had been appointed by the Select Committees
· Planning Members would receive training on the interaction between the climate emergency and the planning process (provided by the Centre for Sustainable Energy)
· There would be an annual all member briefing on the climate emergency in January of each year.
5.3 RESOLVED: That the contents of the update report be noted.
The Committee expressed its thanks to both the current Chair of Overview and Scrutiny and his predecessor this administration, for their work in support of effective scrutiny. The Chair noted that he had attempted to enable scrutiny to set its own agenda and work in co-operation with the Executive to add value and to benefit local residents. He thanked those present for their support in his endeavour.