Agenda item

Questions With Notice



Question 1


From Councillor Martins


Can the Cabinet Member for Finance explain what impact the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Budget Announcement will have on residents in Barking and Dagenham?




The Government’s Budget did provide some good news for Local Authorities including Barking and Dagenham. For example, capital funding has been made available to improve roads (£0.42m for this borough in 2018/19) and additional funding has been promised to support Social Care for both Adults and Children’s social care in 2019/20 which will allow the Councilto support the most vulnerable in our community, although it will not be sufficient to compensate for many years of austerity and cuts to Local Government budgets, particularly social care.  In addition, the social care funding is one off and the Government have not provided any long-term solutions to the growing issues in Social Care.


The Government has removed the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account which allows Local Authorities to build some additional housing, however, it does not in itself create any new funding for Local Authorities or Housing Associations. 


The Government budget made no long-term announcements about Schools funding.  Although there is a small one-off capital payment for all schools (£10,000 to £50,000 per school, there is no new permanent investment in either Schools or High Needs with a likelihood of very small sub-inflation increases in funding. 


The Government is still committed to the implementation of Universal Credit although they have introduced a number of measures have been introduced to mitigate the impact on individual claimants including those in Barking and Dagenham. 


Question 2


From Councillor Perry


After 8 years of Tory austerity, coupled with continued increases in the cost of living in London, can the relevant Cabinet Member explain what the Council is doing to ensure that key public sector workers are not priced out of Barking & Dagenham?




Whilst Barking and Dagenham is one of London’s most affordable boroughs, it is still very difficult for many residents to buy or rent homes on the market. Our residents and the jobs they do are vital to the London economy.


When housebuilders stopped building during the credit crunch, the Council created its own housing company, Reside, to deliver genuinely affordable homes for local people. There are now 810 households living in affordable Reside homes and we have ambitious plans to triple this to 2,529 by 2022/23. In addition, we are building an additional 397 homes for sale and 290 homes for students.


In addition to the new affordable housing being developed for Reside, the Council has also recently completed 34 new shared ownership homes at the Leys, via the HRA and 32 of those recently released have been snapped up by Barking and Dagenham residents. Rents on Reside homes will vary from 50%-80% of a market rent and we will build shared ownership homes too. The Reside and HRA homes will be affordable to those people whose households are on the London Living Wage.


Such an ambitious home building programme is only possible because the Council has set up its own regeneration company, Be First, which has the expertise and capacity to deliver these new homes for Reside by 2023 and in the process ensure that financial returns are reinvested into vital local services.


The Council are also working hard with other developers to ensure their developments provide genuinely affordable homes. We have recently approved 12,000 new homes at Barking Riverside and Beam Park half of which are affordable including homes at London Affordable Rent and London Living Rents and Shared Ownership homes. 


The Council are also working with Pocket Living who are building 78 new homes, for which key workers are prioritised (incl. teachers and social workers), in Barking Town Centre (to be completed in 2019)


Question 3


From Councillor Haroon


Has the Council’s recruitment drive for its refuse and waste services been successful?




The introduction of new service improvements is nearing completion and seen the recruitment of 62 posts in waste and street cleansing service. This is being conducted in 3 main phases, with new starters from October- December 2018.


The Council aimed to recruit 30 post in Street Cleansing, and 32 posts in Refuse. Currently these posts are being covered by agency staff, which is expensive and unstable.  Initially the first wave of recruitment saw 798 applications, for 11 job roles. With most refuse posts now filled, there have been significant improvements in missed collection rates, and reduction of complaints for refuse, with a collection rate of October 2018 of 99.89%.


There is a “New Cleansing” model for town centres now in place, with coverage from 5:30 to 10:30 pm over 4 shifts. Better supervision and more mechanized sweeping is at weekends, together with quicker response times for removal of fly tips and sweeper bags. Currently 80% of town centre team are new starters from the on-going recruitment drive.


Question 4


From Councillor Saleem


What is being done to deal with problem of fly tipping in the Borough and the perpetrators of this crime?




Fly-tipping is a priority for the Council. We undertake a number of functions that address fly-tipping. These include:


Wall of Shame – The Council has a dedicated section on the Council’s website that provides images and videos of people who have been caught on camera fly-tipping. We identified 6 perpetrators since July 2018 and issued 12 Fixed Penalty Notices. 


CCTV cameras – The council has a number of CCTV cameras, intel is regularly passed to our enforcement team who deal with fly tipping to follow up actions on anyone observed fly tipping on camera.  There have been in excess 20  Fly tipping Fixed Penalty Notices being issued in recent months to residents/business of Sunningdale for fly tipping at the end of the road. 


Environmental Enforcement Cameras – The council currently has 16 enviro cameras deployed, the images from the cameras are regularly reviewed and action taken.


Working in Partnership with managing agents – The council has been approached by private housing estates and managing agents who are very interested in our wall of shame and innovative ways of enforcing to tackle fly tipping and other enviro crime.


Fixed Penalty Notice’s = The council’s enforcement team have issued 137 fixed penalty notices for fly tipping since April 2018. 


Prosecutions = Street Enforcement Team have had 16 successful prosecutions in 2018 directly related to fly tipping and waste offences with a further 5 awaiting summons. Fines in the region of £8,700 have been issued to fly tipping criminals.


Grime Crime Stickers - The council launched Grime Crime Stickers campaign in October 2018. These notify the public that cases of fly tipping are being investigated and the council is taking action. 


Leaflet drops - The council has started a programme, leafleting local residents in enviro-crime hotspots to identify local culprits. Over 200 Leaflets have been distributed in hotspot areas.


Littering patrols - Week commencing 19/11/18 for 7 days, we have early and late littering patrols in Barking and Heathway. Street Enforcement officers primarily will be dealing with littering outside the stations, however will also undertake to issue penalties to anyone in the location obviously in breach of the PSPO.


Question 5


From Councillor Oluwole


Following the fire at Roding Primary School in Mayesbrook Ward, can the Cabinet Member outline what steps have been taken to minimise the disruption for children at the school?




We thank the London Fire Brigade for their speedy actions which limited the extent of the damage at Roding Primary School on 4 September, the day before the start of the Autumn Term. The Council immediately put into place their recovery procedures to ensure that the school could become operational as soon as possible. The school worked closely with parents and carers and provided regular progress updates through their website and social media.


Through the strong partnership working AIG plans were put in motion which were supported by the Council’s term contractors and the specialist provided by AIG.  The team worked hard during the week and over the weekend to ensure that the school opened its doors less than a week after the incident. Eight temporary classrooms were craned into place over the two following weekends which was a major logistics achievement itself for which we thank local residents for their co-operation and Be First are rebuilding these classrooms scheduled by early summer 2019.


Supplementary Question


Councillor Oluwole enquired what steps were being taken to try and ensure that the fires may not happen again at this and other school sites. The Cabinet Member responded that schools were taking all appropriate measures.


Question 6


From Councillor Akwaboah


Can the relevant Cabinet Member outline what efforts the Council is making to promote vocational training for local people in the borough?




The majority of the Borough’s secondary schools purchase an independent career advice and guidance and work experience service from Barking and Dagenham School Improvement Partnership.


Work experience is provided to 2,000 young people annually through schools, as well as an extensive range of careers and work-related learning events and 1-2-1 guidance that highlight and promote vocational pathways.


The numbers of young people stating they intend to embark on apprenticeships at post-16 is increasing year on year, with 6.7% of last year’s Year 11 pupils stating they wished to pursue an apprenticeship at post-16, compared to 5.1% in the previous year. The proportion of young people going on to participate in apprenticeships is steadily increasing year on year, although there was a dip last year in line with national as the apprenticeship levy was rolled out.


The council’s adult college and job shop provide:


A closer relationship with the onsite Job Shop enables learners to enjoy the benefits of the on-site Job Brokerage service.  They also provide other initiatives including the


Talk English Project, which specifically targets Muslim women with little or no English skills, has encouraged participants to become more involved in the community as well as improving English language skills. 


In-house innovative tutor development programme ‘Grow Our Own’ develops opportunities for those who are non, part or fully qualified and looking to enter or return to education, either in a supportive or teaching role.


Volunteering and training outcomes under the Work & Health programme as part of the Contractual Customer Service Standards.


Construction team are target work experience. This allows an introduction with young people into the Construction sector and supports S106 obligations with Contractors.