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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Jasmine Kassim 

Note: Members of the public are welcome to observe the meeting via Council's website at www.Lewisham.gov.uk 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the last meeting held on 26 May 2020 be confirmed and agreed as an accurate record.

2.

Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Minutes:

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;

·                     Councillor Sakina Sheikh – declared that she is a trustee on the board of the British Sign Language Voluntary Services in Lewisham.

3.

Scrutiny of the Council's Covid-19 Response - Update Report pdf icon PDF 360 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Public Services (Director of PS) introduced the report to the Panel, highlighting updates relating to the Council’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The Panel noted the report and key developments.  It was recognised that there had been further updates since the report was published, and that plans had been adjusted to manage a second wave of the outbreak in the coming months.  The Panel understood that as part of the preparatory work going forward, the Council had revised its strategy to include community cohesion.  It was noted that initiatives in place to keep local schools open were also being reviewed.

 

The Panel was advised by the Director of PS that Lewisham undertook a four-day exercise with its south-east London partners to test its strategic response to the outbreak across borough boundaries.  It was noted that the outcome from that exercise comprised of 15 key learning points, which the Council had built into its preparatory plans.  It was confirmed that testing outbreak plans had been implemented by the Council, and that front-line staff would continue to receive assistance in regard to coaching and first-aid, and support they might require to help manage their mental health and general wellbeing.

 

The Panel asked questions about care homes, and suggested that the data metrics in regards of the impact of Covid-19 should be expanded.  Questions relating to infection rates and deaths, testing, and finances were also raised by the Panel, including concerns about the disproportionate level of impact of the outbreak on the Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) group.  The Panel further enquired about lessons learnt during the first round of the crisis outbreak, as they could be applied in the second wave into the future if considered appropriate.  Officers responded to the issues as follows:

 

1.                   Care Homes

 

The Director of PS gave an assurance to the Panel that the Council was closely monitoring the application of processes and procedures in care homes.  The level of concern specific to the outbreak continue to remain because of complexity in managing within a care home setting.  Notwithstanding that, liaisons between the Council and its partners in hospitals were ongoing, and there were appropriate guidelines for managing discharges relating to Covid-19 patients into care homes.

 

2.                   Data Reporting

 

The Panel noted a suggestion by the Chief Executive that it would be effective for officers to continue presenting data metrics which the Council was already collecting for a consistent approach in monitoring trends relating to the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

3.                   Testing & Infections

 

The Director of PS advised the Panel that capacity in the lab system had improved, and the number of tests performed were increasing.  However, the expectation across London was that infection rates would increase during the second wave of the outbreak, and the trend would be partly the result of increased capacity in the lab system, resulting in more tests being performed than at the start of the outbreak.

 

The Panel was advised by the Director of PS that there had been concerns  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Update on temporary measures to support safer walking and cycling in response to the COVID 19 pandemic pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That this report be deferred for consideration at the next meeting.

5.

Key Decision Plan pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted the report introduced to the Panel by the Head of Business and Committees in relation to upcoming key decisions to be taken.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

6.

Decisions Made by Mayor on 16 September 2020 - open session pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Minutes:

The Chair of the Panel, Councillor Bill Brown, informed the meeting that he had requested for the decision taken by the Mayor and Cabinet on 16 September 2020 relating to the “Review of Statement of Community Involvement during Covid019 Pandemic” to be considered further by Members.  Councillor Brown outlined reasons from statements made in a joint letter submitted by local amenity societies in Lewisham.

 

In response to concerns expressed in the joint letter, the Director of Planning gave an assurance to the Panel that local amenity groups had a vital role in the Council’s democratic decision making process.  However, the current measures were necessary to enable the Council manage the backlog of planning applications due to the temporary postponement of planning committee meetings as a result of the lockdown created by the Covid-19 crisis.  It was stated that the length of time and resource-intensive process in organising and managing virtual planning committee meetings in public, including the uncertainty of risk associated with IT network failure during the proceedings were also considered in the decision making, as there would have been unnecessary delays if the temporary measures were not applied.

 

The Panel also received an assurance that the Council was in no way seeking to organise decision-making on planning applications in “closed” sessions on a permanent basis, as the measures were temporary.  Also, the recommendations supporting the measures provided specificity as to the threshold of objectors for planning applications with significant impact requiring decisions to be made by planning committees, or ones that could be determined by a senior officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation.  It was confirmed that the thresholds recognised that any objection or submission in favour of a planning objection received from amenity societies would automatically result in a Chair’s Review meeting for determination.

 

The Director of Planning continued with her response by acknowledging that not everyone would agree with the temporary measures in place, and that the concerns expressed by the local amenity societies were justifiable, particularly in seeking confirmation that Lewisham’s heritage would not be put as an unnecessary risk.  It was also stated that that concerns relating to Members’ political manifesto commitments were also justifiable in the circumstance.  However, measures would not form a precedent for dealing with planning applications in the future because the approved extended deadline was for another six months period to March 2021.  The Panel also received an assurance from the Director of Planning that the Council’s would continue to support democracy, transparency, and accountability in its decision-making process, in particular that steps had been taken to ensure that Members’ “call-in” procedure remain during implementation of the temporary measures.

 

The Director of Planning’s views, and concerns about the election manifesto were echoed by Councillor Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for housing, and Councillor John Paschoud, Chair of the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee.  Councillor Paschoud added that planning applications had to be determined in accordance with specific guidelines and policies, and the level and nature of public interests.  Thus, it was unlikely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Decision by Executive Director for Community Services on 17 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

8.

Work Programmes: Overview and Scrutiny Select Committees 2020 - 21 pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Head of Scrutiny, recommending to the Panel to endorse the work programmes to be undertaken by the Overview and Scrutiny Select Committees in 2020-21.

 

The Panel noted the report, and that there would be four meetings of each select committee during the current municipal year because of the late start created by the suspension of scrutiny meetings during the initial lockdown period.

 

Councillor Muldoon, Chair of the Healthier Communities Select Committee (HCSC) also commented on the report.  He highlighted topics for consideration at the first meeting of the HCSC that would take place on 11 November 2020 in relation to a joint academic piece of work in relation to the Birmingham and Lewisham African-Caribbean community around inequalities, and a review relating to south-east London pathology service.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

13.

Leisure Management Arrangements - Part 1 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted a report introduced by the Director of Communities, Partnerships and Leisure in regards to leisure management arrangements.  It was recognised that due to a number of factors, including the impact of COVID-19 on the leisure market as a whole, the Council and Fusion had agreed to end the current leisure management arrangements to allow each party to reshape their activities in light of the significant changes needed due to the pandemic.  The Panel understood that the negotiations included all areas of the leisure management arrangements, including debt repayment, service development, building maintenance and contract breakage clauses, with a view to seek best value for the Council across a range of considerations.

 

On the recommendation by the Principal Solicitor Commercial, Education and Employment, that in accordance with Regulation 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information)(England) Regulations 2012 and under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act, and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, the Panel moved to consider details of the negotiations in a “closed session”.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

9.

Exclusion of the press and public pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Minutes:

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

10.

Decisions Made by the Mayor on 16 September 2020 - closed session

11.

Decision made by Executive Director of Corporate Resources & Deputy Section 151 Officer on 17 September 2020

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

12.

Decision made by Executive Director of Regeneration and Public Realm on 4 September 2020

13a

Leisure Management Arrangements - Part 2

14.

Decisions Made by Mayor on 16 September 2020 - open session