Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking
Contact: David Symonds, Democratic Services Officer, Ground Floor, Barking Town Hall, 1 Town Square, Barking, IG11 7LU
Declaration of Members' Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 were confirmed as correct.
The Leader will present his statement.
The Leader of the Council presented a verbal statement, updating the Assembly on a range of matters since the last meeting including:
· Serious Crime Summit: This was an opportunity to ask the community to work with the Council and its partners. The Council has had a record number of views of its posts on the summit responding very positively on social media. The Summit announced the intention to launch a Commission on Domestic Violence tackling the ‘normalisation’ of DV in the local community.
· Brexit – Consideration of the potential implications for the Council across a range of areas including the local adult care workforce which is made up of 53% British nationals, 13% from within the European Economic Area (EEA) and 34% outside the EEA, those capital schemes in receipt of EU funding, the impacts on business rates, council tax collection, as well as on a number of Council contracts. In that respect initial discussions with service providers in Care and Support have not revealed any significant concerns.
· Wall of Shame introduced in January 2019 was one of the Council’s initiatives to tackle GRIME CRIME.
· The New film studio and Travelodge purchase on the London East site.
· Talks with University College London (UCL) about bringing a science-engineering facility into the borough.
· New homes: 80% of those which are in shared ownership have gone to Barking & Dagenham residents.
· Purchase of Barking Power Station: this has been bought by the Corporation of London and was another step towards the Council’s aspiration of also securing Spitalfields, Smithfield’s and Billingsgate Markets.
· The unveiling of the first modular swimming pool at the Becontree Leisure Centre, which was opened by a past Olympic Champion (Rebecca Adlington).
· Secret Cinema is coming to the borough and has the potential to excite residents and bring a new cultural experience to the borough.
· Video footages of young people committing anti-social behaviour outside subways in the Heathway, Dagenham recently. The Council were meeting local Headteachers to identify those who were present and took part although they did not represent the vast majority of law-abiding young people in the borough.
With the permission of the Chair the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration advised that the new Mental Health Charter had been launched immediately prior to the Assembly meeting. She stated that stigma on mental health and the issues involved would not be tolerated. She added that Councillor C Rice, the new Member Champion would be raising awareness of mental health and seeking to include this within training on first aid.
The Labour Group Secretary will announce any nominations to fill vacant positions on Council committees or other bodies.
The Assembly resolved to appoint Councillor C. Rice as a Governor representative on the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), following his recent appointment as the Council’s Member Champion for Mental Health.
The Assembly received the BAD Youth Forum’s Annual report, introduced by the Head of Engagement Opportunity and Wellbeing, who was accompanied by representatives of the Youth Forum.
This report detailed the achievements of the Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum during 2018. Outlining the work of each of the sub-groups, their aims and the impact of the work have completed.
The Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum was now in its 17th year. It existed to provide young people with a formal platform to express their views and be ambassadors for young people locally. The Forum elected 60 young people each year through a democratic election process in each school, supported by Democratic Services. In 2018 ELUTEC opted to become members of the Forum, electing their first ever representatives. Trinity Special School elected new representatives this year, via an internal election process suitable to the needs of students.
The Forum representatives highlighted a number of areas of their work during the year, including:
Community Action Sub-Group: Young people expressed concerns about the quality of education being provided by supply teachers in secondary schools. They also led Drug and Alcohol Awareness Sessions where young people discussed concerns about a lack of awareness of drugs and alcohol and their effects on young people.
Crime Sub-Group: Throughout the year, the Group continued to discuss issues relevant to young people, including crime and in particular knife crime and invited Cabinet Members and the Metropolitan Police to a meeting to discuss their concerns in this matter.
Young Mayor Sub-Group: Events included Women’s Empowerment Month launch and the Youth Parade. The chosen charity during the year was the New Horizon Youth Centre which raised £4770.89 towards their work and this would be used to purchase ID cards for young people who accessed the New Horizon Youth Centre in the form of a passport.
Young Inspectors Sub-Group: Young inspectors were commissioned by Public Health Officers in the borough to quality assure the Come Correct Condom Distribution scheme (C- card scheme) in Barking and Dagenham. They also inspected retail outlets that were selling knives, in some cases to underage children. In answer to a question from Members, representatives of the Sub-Group confirmed they would consider inspecting other areas.
The Chair thanked representatives of the Forum for their excellent presentation and their work during the year. Members welcomed their work in raising civic pride and considered they were a credit to the borough, which included their sterling work on inspections at pharmacies, selling of knives, drug and alcohol and quality of teachers. They also welcomed their attendance at a recent Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting in which they related their experiences going to and from and being at school.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing introduced a report on the Council’s third Local Implementation Plan (LIP3), which set out the Council’s long-term strategy for delivering improvements to the transport network and services in support of the Borough Manifesto ambitions for delivering inclusive, sustainable growth in Barking and Dagenham.
A draft LIP3 was approved by Cabinet on 16 October 2018 (Minute 42 referred) and submitted to Transport for London (TfL) for comment on 2 November. A five-week period of consultation with a range of statutory and local stakeholders then ensued which ended on 7 December. At the same time, consultation was undertaken on a draft Environmental Report, produced as part of a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the LIP. The Cabinet Member advised that some minor changes had been made to the final LIP3 as a result of the feedback received.
The Assembly resolved to:
(i) Note the minor changes to the draft Third Local Implementation Plan (LIP3) following the formal consultation period; and
(ii) Approve the final draft version of the LIP3 for submission to Transport for London and sign-off by the Mayor of London.
The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration. As required by the Health and Care Act 2012, a new Health and Wellbeing Strategy was required for 2019-2023 to follow on from the 2015-2018 strategy. The strategy set a renewed vision for improving the health and wellbeing of residents and reducing inequalities at every stage of people’s lives. The three priority themes for the strategy have been were agreed by Health and Wellbeing board in January 2019 when presented with the 2017 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA):
1) Best Start in Life
2) Early Diagnosis and Intervention
3) Building Resilience
The Cabinet Member advised that there would be zero tolerance for domestic abuse which costs £666m in the UK. She highlighted Outcome 3 (improved multi-agency support for those with adverse childhood experiences).
Members welcomed the Strategy including outcomes, priorities and enablers and considered that early intervention in ensuring health and wellbeing was important. They welcomed the JNSA and priority 3 (building resilience) and empowering residents and considered it also important for improved’ joined up’ services with the NHS and its partners including the Council.
Members welcomed the health checks which were available for residents aged over 50 but take up of these checks was quite low and this needed to be publicised to a greater degree.
In answer to a question about the link to the Council’s Parks Strategy and outcome 5(to improve physical and mental health wellbeing), the Cabinet Member confirmed that whilst there was a link between both Strategies it should be re-emphasised as utilising parks and green spaces played a key role in enhancing and improving health and well-being.
The Assembly resolved to note the content of the Strategy including the 3 priority themes, and the 7 outcomes within the document.
The Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services introduced a report on the local Council Tax Support (CTS) Reduction Scheme for 2019/20.
The Cabinet had considered the report at its meeting on 22 January 2019 and recommended that the fundamentals of the scheme remain unchanged from 2018/19, although some amendments were necessary in order to align with the latest Government welfare reforms, such as Universal Credit.
The Assembly resolved that the Council Tax Support (CTS) Reduction Scheme implemented for 2018/19 be retained for 2019/20, subject to the following minor amendments:
· Treat Universal Credit Award Notifications as an Intention to Claim CTS providing that a valid claim form for CTS is made within a month of the decision to award Universal Credit;
· Adopt a shortened claim form for the purposes of claiming CTS when Universal Credit has been awarded;
· Accept Universal Credit as a “passported” benefit when claiming within a month of a new liability for CTS purposes;
· Amend the capital threshold for CTS purposes to £10,000 for working age persons to align it with Pension Age capital limits; and
· Re-introduce backdate on CTS of up to four weeks, subject to good cause to align it with the Housing Benefit scheme.
Moved by Councillor Ashraf and seconded by Councillor Kangethe:
“This Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using antisemitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.
We therefore welcome the UK Government’s announcement on December 11th 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on antisemitism which define antisemitism thus:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The guidelines highlight manifestations of antisemitism as including:
· Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
· Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
· Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
· Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
· Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
· Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
· Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
· Applying double standards by requiring of it behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
· Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
· Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
· Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
This Council welcomes the cross-party support around the country for combating antisemitism in all its manifestations. This Council hereby adopts the above definition of antisemitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and pledges to combat this pernicious form of racism.”
Members of the Assembly spoke in support of the motion.
The motion was carried unanimously.
Questions With Notice
From Councillor Dulwich
Following the introduction of PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) in parts of Barking & Dagenham, does the relevant Cabinet Member feel that the PSPOs have been a success so far?
Response from the Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety
Public Space Protection Orders (or PSPOs) are a way of tackling anti-social behaviour in public spaces where people should expect to be able to go about their business without fear. They send an important message to the community that we are serious about tackling antisocial behaviour which can so often be a blight on an area’s reputation. By placing conditions or restrictions on an area, PSPOs can then be enforced.
The PSPO in Thames Ward helps tackle the nuisance caused by speeding vehicles and joy riders. in Abbey Green, Barking Park and Mayesbrook Park, these tackle dog fouling and the Heathway and Broad Street (in Dagenham), and Barking Town Centre PSPO help tackle anti-social behaviour. These PSPO’s enable officers to issue fixed penalty notices on the spot to those causing a nuisance, including those drinking alcohol, spitting, urinating or begging in an aggressive way.
The Council have issued 94 fixed penalty notices for offences caused and secured an 82% payment rate for those notices.
The Council’s efforts in cracking down on dog poo through our dog poo DNA initiative have won us plaudits in the UK. The work officers do on Abbey Green and Barking and Mayesbrook Parks has reinforced this work.
The Council need to do more in our PSPOs on the Heathway, Broad Street (in Dagenham), and Barking Town Centre. The key to their success is the support and inclusion of local police teams patrolling alongside enforcement officers. It makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of our officers, including their ability to verify offenders’ details as well as when dealing with people under the influence of drink or drugs, if the police are present. PSPOs are not the only way to tackle crime, but they are an important tool in tackling anti-social behaviour. The Council’s Wall of Shame is another. When the Council last consulted residents, 9 out of 10 were in favour of the PSPOs.
These may be times of austerity and limited public resources, but residents are also living through a time when crime and fear of crime is at a record high. By working together with the police, the Council can use our limited resources more effectively and make the local community a safer place.
From Councillor Khan
What action is being taken by the Council to reduce homelessness in Barking & Dagenham?
Response from the Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Aspiration
The Council have recently published the Draft Homelessness Strategy which sets out its on-going commitment to prevent and alleviate homelessness in the borough and builds on the work undertaken through Community Solutions which over the last two years has led to a 42% reduction in the number of people who are officially homeless and needing to ... view the full minutes text for item 51.