Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 8 February 2023 7:00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking

Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer 


No. Item


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.


Community Safety Partnership Plan 2023-26 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:


The Community Safety Partnership Manager (CSPM) delivered a presentation on the Community Safety Partnership Plan 2023-26. This detailed:


  • The requirement of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Board to develop an overarching CSP Plan every three years, which was informed by annual Crime and Disorder Strategic Assessments;
  • Key findings and recommendations from the Crime and Disorder Strategic Assessment 2022;
  • The CSP Board Consultation and feedback around the CSP Plan; and
  • The CSP Plan Development timeline.


The Chair highlighted the importance of communication between all stakeholders and praised the acknowledgement of this in the Plan. She noted the need to listen to residents’ voices through the virtual resident engagement event and encouraged the Committee to promote this event in their communities.


In response to questions from Members, the CSPM stated that:


  • The CSP Board was made up of a number of responsible authorities, including the Metropolitan Police, the Council, Health partners, Housing, Probation and the Voluntary Sector.
  • The Council received extensive data around crimes and offences committed, as well as the patterns behind these. The Council attended meetings hosted by the Police, where it could hear about current crimes, trends and issues. The CSP also had subgroups that reviewed data around specific issues, such as the ‘Ending Gangs and Youth Violence’ sub-group. This data was shared in a confidential manner; whilst some of this was restricted to the responsible authorities, some of the more statistical data was available to the public.
  • The reporting of, and the statistics around crimes could change depending on current events, where issues became more publicly prevalent and people therefore came forward more to report these, and police recording practice, as the way that crimes were recorded was occasionally changed. As such, reporting was not always a true indication of the prevalence of issues. Some issues, such as hate crime and domestic abuse, were also less traditionally reported than others; however, this was not a true indication of their prevalence and it was important to show where reporting had been effective and the actions taken, to encourage further reporting.
  • Women’s safety issues were being more frequently reported and the CSP was working to consider how it could better address these issues.
  • It was not entirely clear why patterns around burglary had not changed, whereas other issues had become more prevalent.
  • The Plan was led by both residents and professional opinion; the first stage involved bringing together agencies to draw a sense of the priorities and the second stage was public engagement. When the CSP Plan had been developed in previous years, the public had been engaged around specific aspects of this; however, the public was now being engaged around all of the priorities. Through the One Borough Voice platform, residents could be kept updated of the latest developments to resolve any community safety issues.


The Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) of the Metropolitan Police stated that a big focus within Barking and Dagenham this year for the Metropolitan Police had been getting out into the communities to engage with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Working with Faith Communities in Barking and Dagenham pdf icon PDF 482 KB

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The Cabinet Member (CM) for Community Leadership and Engagement (CLE) provided an introduction to the report, highlighting the rich diversity of faiths and beliefs in the Borough, engagement and work with faith communities to date, and the issues and challenges behind faith-based work. The Head of Participation and Engagement (HPE) then provided an outline of the Team’s proposed future steps to working alongside faith communities.


In response to questions from Members, the HPE stated that:


  • Where there was a community centre that was leased from the Council to a community organisation for broad use of the whole community, the Council sought to ensure that the organisation made the space available for religious worship where possible on Fridays and Sundays.
  • There were some challenges around Friday prayers and schools; the Team had started to liaise with planners around ensuring that any new schools with community use are designed to have access to space at the front of the building, which could be used for Friday prayers and for additional community space.
  • The Team was working with the Planning team around community spaces; for example, through ensuring that spaces could be used for 20% of the time for religious worship as part of their leases, meaning that the spaces could be used by the whole community for the rest of the time.
  • If a space was built solely for religious worship, then the fee for this would be leased at a commercial rate; however, if there was also community use, then the Council was exploring through its policies, how it could employ a different arrangement as the building would have a broader use.
  • In terms of safeguarding, the Council had arranged workshops in the past for faith leaders of different communities and work was ongoing. If any Member had any concerns, the HPE invited them to discuss these following the meeting.
  • In terms of noise levels as a result of worship after 11pm, any individual with concerns should report this and call the Enforcement team, as this should not happen unless the faith organisation had been given a specific dispensation. The CMCLE also thanked faith organisations for coming forward and asking for dispensations where appropriate, such as during Ramadan. The Council was continuously engaging with different organisations around issues such as parking and noise, to encourage worship that respectfully considered residents that lived around the premises.
  • If a community organisation was leasing a space for a peppercorn rent, the Council would ask them for their annual report and to be invited to their Annual General Meeting (AGM), to better understand who was using the space and how often it was being used. If this was not within the terms of the lease, the Council would have a conversation with the community organisation about how they could diversify the building’s use.
  • It was very important that everybody in the community felt that they were a part of the community, which the Council had worked to encourage through means such as the Citizens’ Alliance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 63 KB

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The Chair informed the Committee of the following changes that had been made to the Work Programme since the last meeting, which were agreed by the Committee:


  • The Care Costings item that had been due to be presented to this meeting has been removed from the agenda, as the new Council duties that had been proposed by the Government, had now been deferred until 2025/26;
  • The Housing Offer for Vulnerable Groups item that was due to be presented to the meeting scheduled for 8 March 2023, was now proposed to be presented at the 7 June 2023 meeting. This was due to staffing changes within the Council, with the additional time proposed to enable the newly appointed Strategic Director Inclusive Growth to work with the Commissioning Director for Care and Support, to compile the necessary information for the report; and
  • The ‘Wholly-Owned Council Companies’ and ‘Update on Reside’ items that were due to be presented to the 7 June meeting, were now to be presented as Members’ Briefings, to enable all 51 Councillors to attend and to comment on these.