Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual Microsoft Teams

Contact: Jasmine Kassim 0208 3148577 


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 26 KB

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the last meeting held on 5 May 2020 be confirmed as an accurate record.


Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 224 KB


The meeting noted personal interests declared by Councillor Joan Millbank as follows:

(a)          Item 3 – the Covid-19 report – declared that she is associated with Lewisham local collaborative;

(b)          Item 5 – report on the key decisions – declared that she is a Trustee of the New Crossgate Trust.


Scrutiny of the Council's Covid-19 Response pdf icon PDF 28 KB

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The Panel received a report introduced by the Chief Executive about the Council’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and expressed an appreciation to the workforce and Members for embracing the “One Council” approach adopted by Lewisham.


In response to question during the presentation of the report, the Chief Executive gave an assurance to the Panel that the efforts employed to address the crisis were consistent with aspects of Council’s corporate priorities about the protection of the health and wellbeing of residents, particularly the most vulnerable.  However, the easing of the lockdown could be challenging due to concerns that surges of infections that might occur.  The Chief Executive stated that the scale and pace of the work had been unprecedented but the benefits from lessons learnt in the last few weeks, and those to be developed would be captured to harness and showcase the Council’s resilience in working with its partners to deliver to residents.


The Panel noted the report, and welcomed information that the Council was also contributing to the wider London arrangements by learning and sharing experiences with other local authorities, with a view to enhance its resilience to sustain capacity for timely delivery and response.


The Chair, Councillor Bill Brown, expressed a concern about the lack of clarity of funds to be reimbursed by the government in light of its promise that councils should provide whatever was necessary to support local people during the Covid-19 crisis.  The concern expressed by the Chair was echoed by other Members of the Panel, including Councillor Jim Mallory, Chair of the Public Accounts Select Committee, who stated that he had no question at the present time on the matter due to inadequate information.


Councillor Mallory sated that it was however right to inform the meeting that he had received an assurance from the Acting Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer that the Council would prepare separate budget headings for money spent on Covid-19 related items and other existing service.  Nevertheless, a published communication strategy would have enabled local people to see what would be involved in the process.  Councillor Mallory informed that he would attend Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 10 June 2020 to express his views about the uncertainty and potential gaps in the Council’s finances that could occur if the government’s refunds were insufficient.


The meeting moved into a question and answer session.  The Chief Executive and the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment responded as follows:


1.             The Council’s Recovery Group

It was confirmed that work to implement the Group was underway.  The details would be submitted to Members when completed.  A strand of the work required the Council to provide an interim ‘lessons-learned’ report to inform the London-wide arrangement.  Internally, efforts would focus on improvement opportunities against achievements as a means of identifying what the Council would continue to do going forward.


·            Actions: information about the types of community involvement and consultation processes to be employed should be communicated to the Panel.  The Panel  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Key Decision Plan pdf icon PDF 25 KB

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Councillor Sakina Sheikh enquired whether it was possible for Members of the Panel to receive prior information in relation to “Learning Disability Services - Request for Specific Contract Extensions”.  Councillor Sheikh was of a view that the process would enable pre-scrutiny for comments and suggestions prior to a decision on the proposals.


In response, the Head of Business and Committees stated that things had moved on since the publication of the agenda.  It was stated that the decision would no longer be made at a meeting of the Mayor and Cabinet, but by the Director of Community Services.  Thus, Members of the Overview and Business Panel would be required to undertake post-decision scrutiny of the decision.



Decisions Made by Mayor on 13 May 2020 - open session pdf icon PDF 29 KB

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RESOLVED that decisions by the Mayor and Cabinet on 13 May 2020 be noted.


Decision by the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment on 15 May 2020 pdf icon PDF 29 KB

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The report relating to the implementation of temporary measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the Covid-10 pandemic was introduced to the Panel by the Head of Highways and Transport.


The Panel noted the report and welcomed measures to protect the safety of pedestrians, car users and cyclists on the roads.  It was recognise that there was a need to respond the challenges in order to provide a safe environment for residents


The meeting noted questions and concerns expressed by Members, and responses to those by the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment, the Head of Highways, and the Transport Policy and Development Manager.


The Chair of the Panel reminded the meeting that the consideration was a pre-decision scrutiny of the decision to be taken by the Executive Director of Housing, Regeneration and Environment.


1.             Use of the common-place approach

Councillor John Muldoon asked about the why the Council opted for the common-place approach as a channel when developing the measures, and about its robustness of being able to capture and interpret data.  In response the Officers advised the Panel that a secured procured contract with the provider meant that the approach had been tried and tested.  It was compatible with the Council’s highways databases.  Thus, it was sensible to use it as a platform to promote the urgency of the decision required to implement the temporary measures during the current crisis.


2.             Inadequate Scrutiny of decision to be made

Whist appreciating the urgency of the decision required, Councillor Liam Curran stated that the fact remained that the time was insufficient to undertake effective scrutiny on the decision to be made.  The majority of Members present at the meeting shared a similar view to that of Councillor Curran.  Councillor Luke Sorba added that care should be taken not to set a precedent about lack of adequate consultation in contravention of the Council’s corporate strategy for public involvement in decision-making.  Councillor Joan Millbank was however of a view that the decision to be made was urgent in the usual situation.  Thus, she was satisfied with safeguards in place that the measures were temporary.


Councillor Sophie McGeevor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport echoed the view expressed by Councillor Millbank, clarifying to the Panel that the aim was not to by-pass statutory consultation processes, but that it was important to expedite the decision in order to capture the emergency opportunity posed by the Covid-19 crisis.


In response to questions raised by some Members on the issue, the Chair, Councillor Bill Brown confirmed that it was possible for the Panel to convene in order to undertake post-scrutiny of the temporary measures.  However there would be no adverse effect to the implementation timetable.  Councillor Brown reiterated the decision to be made was a pre-scrutiny submission, and that he was confident that Officers would note comments and suggestions by Members for consideration.


In light a concern, the Officers gave an assurance to the Panel that the data and information  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Exclusion of the press and public pdf icon PDF 144 KB


RESOLVED that members of public and press be excluded from the consideration of remaining items on the agenda.


Decisions Made by the Mayor on 13 May 2020 - closed session


RESOLVED that decisions taken by the Mayor and Cabinet in closed session be noted.