Council meetings

Agenda item

Q&A session with the Mayor and Cabinet Members for Finance, Skills and Jobs


RESOLVED: That the responses provided be noted.


5.1       The Mayor was invited to give a brief summary of his first six months in office and his priorities for the rest of the municipal year/administration. It was noted that the manifesto upon which the Mayor had been elected contained over 100 policy commitments, all of which were being actively tracked; assigned to a specific Cabinet Member and lead officer; and showing significant progress. The public had been particularly interested in the Greening Fund and the range of projects for which it could be used. Brief information was provided on:


·         the ethical care charter

·         the refugee resettlement programme

·         balloting residents on estate regeneration

·         building 1000 social homes

·         developing a private renters charter

·         launching a borough wide licensing scheme

·         promoting affordable housing

·         improving school results

·         plans for a publically owned homecare service.


It was further noted that there had been a change in delegations to allow collective decision making at Mayor & Cabinet.


5.2       In response to questions from Members of the Committee, the following key points were noted:


·      Affordable housing: Developers were beginning to understand that Lewisham was committed to the goal of 50% affordable housing in all developments and it was becoming unusual for schemes with less than 35% to be submitted. It was important that Planning officers were confident about the Council’s political priorities when speaking to developers and did not recommend schemes with very low levels of affordable housing for approval, notwithstanding the results of financial viability assessments.

·      New Bermondsey: The Mayor was actively seeking a meeting with John Berylson, the Chairman of Millwall Football Club, in relation to plans for the development of the new Bermondsey area; and had already spoken to leading officers at Renewal and the Chief Executive of Millwall FC. The architects appointed by Millwall and Renewal had also held a recent meeting.

·      Communications: This would be a key area of focus for the new Head of Strategy, once appointed. Thought would be given as to whether the Council’s current strapline was still fit for purpose and the Mayor was keen to get across to residents the urgency of breaking down barriers and increasing opportunity for all.


5.3       Councillors De Ryk and Dromey were invitedto give a brief summary of their first six months in office and their priorities for the rest of the municipal year/administration.


5.4       Councillor De Ryk reported that a large proportion of her first six months in office had been spent on the budget but she had also been involved in regular manifesto tracker meetings for the commitments she had been assigned, including reducing the number of agency employees, becoming a timewise accredited employer, tackling modern slavery and making advances in income generation. In terms of priorities, these included reducing the CYP Social Care Budget overspend and ensuring the improvement plan and budget plan were aligned; and building in  more transparency and member involvement into the budget process.


5.5       Councillor Dromey outlined the importance of improving both the quantity and quality of local employment opportunities, doubling the number of London Living Wage employers in the borough, raising the gender pay gap with local employers, ensuring the provision of high quality apprenticeships; and monitoring the impact of the universal credit roll out.


5.6       In response to questions from Members of the Committee, the following key points were noted:


·         The Council had a good relationship with JobCentrePlus but felt that their relative lack of concern about the roll out of universal credit was worrying as it was likely to have a significant negative impact on residents.

·         Wherever possible services were being brought back in-house.

·         Although the council was no longer hosting its own job fairs it was assisting others to do so.


RESOLVED: That the responses provided be noted.

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