Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Jasmine Kassim 


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 27 KB

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the last meeting held on 13 October 2020 be confirmed and agreed as an accurate record.


Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 226 KB


The meeting noted personal interests in relation to Item 3 “Scrutiny of the Council’s Covid-19 Response – Update Report” as follows:

·                     Cllr Joan Millbank – declared that she is a member of the Lewisham Local Collaborative.


Scrutiny of the Council's Covid-19 Response - Update Report pdf icon PDF 746 KB


The Chief Executive introduced the report to the Panel, advising that staff were aware that Members had been appreciative of their efforts.  She commended efforts by the Director of Public Service (Director of PS) and the Director of Public Health (Director of PH) for leading the Council’s Covid-19 response arrangements since the first lockdown announcement in March 2020.


The Panel was advised by the Chief Executive that the scale and pace in which the Council should respond had been heightened by the recent Government’s announcements about a second wave of lockdown restrictions, and arrangements that should be in place after the Christmas period.  The Panel noted that as part of the announcements, work was underway to commence local testing, and Council officials had a series of logistical meetings with their colleagues in the National Health Service (NHS) to identify how to proceed with the rollout of the vaccination programme.


The Chief Executive also pointed out to the Panel that officers were aware of the impact on the role of scrutiny in terms of implementing its work programme.  Notwithstanding that, input from scrutiny Members as an ongoing channel for suggestions and feedback would continue to be useful in the process.  Thus, scrutiny remained integral to the Council’s Covid-19 response effort.  It was stated that the combined efforts with scrutiny had enabled officers to balance the requirements of delivering in a transparent and democratic setting, whilst meeting the demands of the unprecedented challenges posed by the crisis.


In concluding her introductory remarks, the Chief Executive stated that the Director of PS would present further updates to the Panel.


The Director of PS stated that since the last report to the Panel, schools and colleges had remained opened.  More shops were allowed to stay open.  There would be no requirement to follow the formal shielding approach during the second wave of the Covid-19 lockdown.  However, the Council would continue to support critical services.  Staff assigned to the Covid-19 Action Team would be delivering non-critical services.  Work was underway to distribute grants to businesses who were experiencing financial problems as a result of the crisis.  There would be ongoing supply of personal protective equipment at a local level.


Commenting on the data-sets in the report, the Director of PS highlighted that the increase in the level of the 7-day infection rates was due to pre-lockdown gatherings into the second wave of the pandemic.  However, infection rates were stabilising nationally.  Although Lewisham had a lower number of infections in comparison to most London boroughs, plans were underway to minimise risks through efforts to set up a local test-booking system.  It was stated that the Council would also follow national guidelines in test and trace applications once it becomes clear about the role of councils in the arrangements.  Meanwhile, the Council would continue working with its NHS partners on how to identify people who had the virus without showing signs of having it.  It was stated that those who show symptoms would be required to self-isolate,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Update on temporary measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the COVID 19 pandemic pdf icon PDF 335 KB


The Panel received and considered an update report presented by the Head of Highways and Transport (Head of H&T) about changes to the Lewisham and Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN), and the overarching measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.  The Panel asked questions about applications of the measures, and noted responses by officers.


1.            Cycling Incentives


In response to questions raised, the Head of H&T advised the Panel that the Council could not deliver its highways and transport programme in the current financial year as it had intended because funding stipulations issued by the Government required councils to focus on delivering measures in response to the pandemic.  In spite of that, the Council remained supportive of active and sustainable modes of transport, and was implementing a bicycle-loan scheme to support key workers.


The Panel was further advised that following recent negotiations between Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport, the Government announced that additional funds could be available to London councils.  The Head of H&T stated that the extra funds could present an opportunity for the Council to re-prioritise its earlier commitments to deliver a balanced highways and transport programme, including further incentives to support cycling initiatives in Lewisham in addition to the loan scheme.


2.                   Air Quality & Traffic: Monitoring Implementation


In light of a concern, the Head of H&T informed the Panel that the Council was undertaking traffic counts, and had installed air quality monitors at specific locations across the wider LTN system.  Furthermore, the Council was utilising Global Positioning System (GPS) data and other highways performance reliable information provided by TfL to monitor and compare its performance with other London councils.  The Panel noted that officers were also engaging with residents on matters relating to the Council’s climate change initiatives.


The Head of H&T stated that key success to monitoring was to gauge how the measures were improving living conditions for residents.  Therefore, although preliminary evidence suggested that air quality in areas where the measures had been implemented was not getting significantly worse, the Council would continue to monitor more closely, with a view to undertake an impact assessment to inform proposals in the final decision report.


3.            Community Engagement & Monitoring


The Panel noted arrangements to support current initiatives relating to low traffic neighbourhoods, pop-up cycling facilities, school streets programmes, and the creation of additional pedestrianised public spaces for people to move about in conveniently.  The Panel expressed a concern that residents’ living arrangements were significantly distorted because of inadequate notice prior to implementing the measures in their neighbourhoods.


Speaking in his capacity as Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability, Councillor Kevin Bonavia stated that the Government required that councils should spend the money in a very short space of time in the middle of a pandemic, in spite of earlier concerns that it could impact adversely on community engagement timeline.  Councillor Bonavia stated that the Government would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Key Decision Plan pdf icon PDF 25 KB

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The report was introduced to the Panel by the Head of Business and Committees.  He requested that Members note and comment on upcoming key decisions.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Decisions Made by Mayor on 11 November 2020 - open session pdf icon PDF 149 KB


RESOLVED that the decisions be noted..


Scrutiny Update Report pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Additional documents:


In regard to the scrutiny of the budget and on engagement, the Head of Scrutiny advised the Panel that in the current cycle of meetings, Select Committees would be scrutinising budget cuts proposals. It was stated that three Select Committees had met so far this cycle, with three still to meet, and they would all be invited to make referrals to the Public Account Select Committee (PAC). It was noted that comments from PAC and referrals from the other committees would be forwarded to the Mayor and Cabinet as single referral from scrutiny. The Panel was advised there would be further scrutiny on the budget proposals in January to address the remaining gap in the Council’s budget.


In terms of engagement, the Panel noted that it had been difficult to undertake work on community engagement because of the restrictions as a result of the pandemic. However remote engagement was possible, and Scrutiny Managers would be consulting with Chairs of Select Committees on options.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.



The meeting closed at 8.59pm.











Exclusion of the press and public pdf icon PDF 45 KB


Decisions Made by Mayor on 11 November 2020 - closed session