Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 Civic Suite, London SE6 4RU

Contact: Clare Weaser 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 25 KB



RESOLVED     that the minutes of the meeting of the Health and Safety Committee, which was open to the press and public, held on 30 October 2017 be confirmed and signed.





Declaration of Interests pdf icon PDF 238 KB




Corporate Health and Safety Team Update pdf icon PDF 599 KB







































































Mr Austin said that the Health and Safety Board met on 26 January 2018: no union members were in attendance. He outlined the main points discussed.


  • Overall the number of H&S incidents reported are down. Officers are looking into the reasons for this. Officers believe that RIDDORs are being reported correctly because the numbers are at a sustained level.
  • Lewisham’s buildings are still being evaluated following the Grenfell Towers tragedy. Investigations are now far advanced. Following this, officers are considering other health and safety risks. Making sure that building managers and premises officers understand where responsibilities lie and that those occupying these buildings understand their responsibility when they are in them and that training is identified if needed. For example, officers are looking at restacking Laurence House as part of smarter more agile ways of working, which gives staff flexibility but breaks some of the assumptions around fire marshals and first aiders. If a member of staff works part time or on different floors, even coverage cannot be assured. Health and Safety officers are working with Regeneration to evaluate what needs to be done as part of the change programme.
  • The Civic Suite lift has been refurbished but a member of staff was trapped in the newly refurbished lift in the Civic Suite for nearly 2 hours. The fault has been rectified but Lewisham intends to discuss the matter seriously with the contractor. There are a few issues outstanding and the remaining balance for the works will not be paid until all issues have been resolved.
  • Most of the inside work of Laurence House is complete. However the materials have not yet arrived to finish the new glass frontage which has been moved away from the bus stops outside.
  • The incident at Wearside where a member of the public was injured has concluded. The Council was found to have been at fault. All recommendations made at the time by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been addressed and the improvement notices lifted. The person who was injured went back to China and is well.


Councillor Handley said that the lift company was originally owned by Temple lifts but it had been bought out by a large Japanese company. He asked whether the conditions agreed with Temple lifts, had been transferred to the new owner. Mr Austin agreed to look in to the matter.


Councillor Britton said that he had witnessed a large crowd of children crossing the road outside Trinity school. There was no supervision. He asked what could be done about this situation. Ms Knappett said that schools try to educate children about crossing the road carefully. Supervising secondary children outside of school hours is difficult, because staff become responsible for those children who do not want to take instruction outside school hours. She gave an example of where a teacher was sued for trying to break up a fight outside school between two pupils. Trinity school has one exit; Forest Hill, where  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.


Universal Credit - Health & safety update January 2018 pdf icon PDF 312 KB




































































Mr Austin presented the report. He drew members’ attention to the fact that some of the difficulties and pressures regarding Universal Credit are slowly alleviating as the government changes its policy. This is in response to some of the debates that took place in the Summer which changed the time allowed between notification and payment which should make matters easier but this is a new policy. The other side is that there is a limited choice in its application. However, officers are used to dealing with customers who are coming in under stress. Staff have been trained to manage this stress and as part of the works being done, officers will make sure that all of the traffic movement of people through the pressure points of the building is revisited.


Mr Austin said there has been a delay in the installation of the front doors but also that each station has a panic button and CCTV installed. Works will continue to be monitored. At the moment the full roll back has slipped until July and could slip again. It is not Lewisham’s benefit, so officers are unable to change how it is administered in terms of a discretionary application.


Councillor Till said that he was concerned to read that the first payment is made 35 days after the claim for Universal Credit is received. He asked how Lewisham could protect employees. Mr Austin said that officers are reviewing the environment, ensuing that there is training and that they have the tools to provide support if necessary. A number of those services have been brought together; housing is now working out of access point so there is a stronger base of support. There is also support available at the one stop shop. Some claimants may not come into Lewisham’s offices, preferring to apply on line. This reduces pressure on front line services but can create frustrations. There have been complaints that applicants could not find the applications.


Mr Austin said that he believes that officers have done all they can to support residents, but there will be clarity when it is rolled out. There will be recipients who will become used to the new Universal Credit, but others could find it incredibly difficult and may need additional support. Officers are sensitive and alert to this and that is why monitoring will continue. One of the housing strategies is to try to identify situations early to prevent the eviction process which takes longer for a resident to recover from as opposed to a short term cash flow problem.


Councillor Handley asked whether the Council would guarantee the rent to the Landlord. Mr Austin said that Lewisham has discretion to make certain interventions.


Councillor Britton asked what options are available to people during the 35 day period between application and decision. Mr Austin said that the period had reduced because of lobbying. He said that transition should bridge the gap but he was not sure how  ...  view the full minutes text for item 81.