Agenda and minutes
Venue: Room 6, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
Contact: Stacey Gilmour
WELCOME & APOLOGIES
The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting. Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Joanne Laban, Tony Murphy and Simon Goulden. It was noted that Councillor Michael Rye was substituting for Councillor Joanne Laban
As it was the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year 2016/17, Councillor Levy thanked all participants of the Committee for their work.
NOTED that Item 6, Adoption Regionalisation, was deferred to a future meeting.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were put forward.
OSC WORKSTREAMS FOR 2017/18
Members to confirm workstreams for the new municipal year.
Following the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) where discussions took place on potential items for the Workstreams for the 2017/18, a list was produced of potential Workstreams for further comment and discussion.
The Chair encouraged Members to come forward with their other ideas and comment on the proposed list.
The following key points were made:
· Councillor Levy felt the most appropriate Workstreams were the Councils relationship with the voluntary sector, Loneliness and isolation human trafficking and increases in fixed term and permanent exclusion rates in primary schools.
· Councillor Smith felt the list produced had several reasonable topics to review. He was most interested in:
a) Human Trafficking, as it was felt this is an under reported topic and the issue could use extra publicity.
b) Trading Companies, as this is a change in direction that many local authorities are facing and the workstream could consider the performance and governance of these companies.
· Councillor Rye raised concerns over picking a broad topic as the recommendations made would be outside of the Councils control. He felt that considering loneliness and isolation was a good topic as it impacts many council services.
· Councillor Keazor suggested the following workstreams:
a) Home to School Transport Services – This is frequently a service with an overspend and could be done as a shorter Task and Finish workstream.
b) Transport Connectivity – This could look at transport links across the borough, including the new Cycle Enfield Lanes and pedestrian travel. As buses are a TFL responsibility an recommendations to do with that would be more of a lobbying exercise than a recommendation.
· Councillor Abdullahi suggested a workstream on the support available to carers. The Carers Act means the Council is obligated to support carers. The Workstream could also look at the work done alongside the voluntary sector.
· Councillor Dogan, who will be a member of the OSC next municipal year, suggested a review of governance procedures within the council and decision making processes within the various departments. He also recommended a workstream on Procurement Capital and Shared Assets to assess where the Council could be more accountable and financially productive for the assets they have.
ACTION: Andy Ellis to produce a summary of the discussion on potential workstreams and circulate this to members prior to the meeting on 25th May 2017 when the Workstreams will be agreed.
INWARD INVESTMENT UPDATE
Councillor Alan Sitkin, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Business Development will provide an update.
Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration & Business Development, Councilor Alan Sitkin, provided the update on the Council’s inward investment. A number of steps taken by the Council to secure new business and industry in the borough were discussed. The prime responsibility of inward investment team was to present Enfield to businesses and bring employers to the borough.
It was highlighted from the discussion that although bringing businesses to Enfield was very successful the same level of success was not being had with retail.
ACTION: Invite Councillor Sitkin to a future meeting to discuss the Enfield Town Master Plan and the issues with failing retail in the borough.
The following questions were taken from members of the Panel:
Q) How is Enfield sold uniquely to companies interested in moving?
A) Many opportunities arise due to the strategic location of the borough which allows companies to serve inner London and outside London although the Council also uses various channel to market the borough, such as networking and discussing opportunities with other boroughs.
Enfield is part of the London Growth Network where business and retail opportunities are logged and referred online. The network hosts over 450 businesses with a focus of moving inward investment to out of London.
Q) What is the department doing for local people in Enfield?
A) Construction in Enfield is booming, but this is also one of the most difficult industries to get into. A ‘Build Enfield’ program is being taken into schools to show Enfield’s young people the future opportunities in construction. It is important to upskill the workforce already in Enfield.
The Chair thanked Councillor Sitkin and his officers for the update.
To receive a report from Bindi Nagra Assistant Director HHASC and Keezia Obi, Head of Service Enfield 2017.
Bindi Nagra, Assistant Director Health Housing and Adult Social Care, and Keezia Obi, Head of Service Enfield 2017 provided a report on the Better Care Fund and Delayed Transfers of Care.
The following key points were highlighted from the report and the discussion:
· At the start of the financial year there was a significant overspend, however, the end of the year will be reached on budget.
· There is a high demand on accident and emergency services and social care services due to the boroughs ageing population and the growth of the population.
· Delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) have seen increases in Enfield. These could be from reasons such as a person’s health delaying them or being unable to find suitable accommodation for a patient. As this is a national issue one of the Better Care Funds conditions for 2017/19 is manging transfers of care which will look at reducing the delays.
· There is an increase in the demand for residential care with more complex care needs but staying for short placement lengths. It is not uncommon for have no vacancies in their residential care providers despite having the second largest number of care homes in London.
· It is expected that the Better Care Fund for 2017/18 will provided at the same level as 2016/17. Additional funding will be received for Adult Social Care.
The following comments were raised by members of the Committee:
· Councillor Chibah asked whether problems with care related to agency staff being used rather than the Council having in house carers. Bindi explained that providing the service in house would be more expensive for the Council than using agency staff. There are national issues recruiting people into the care sector as the jobs are often low paid and challenging.
· Councillor Abdullahi queried whether existing care agencies in the borough are sufficient. Bindi informed the Committee that the CQC regulations on the way care homes are regulated have been improved. Looking at local authorities across London, Enfield is doing very well with regards to the level and amount of care available.
· Councillor Smith raised concerns on the publicity that care homes receive on how they are struggling and asked whether care homes are financially viable. It was explained that local authorities have increased the cost of care by 8% to stabilize the market.
The Chair thanked Bindi and Keezia for attending the meeting.
This item has now been deferred.
This item was deferred to a future meeting.
To receive a report from Julie Mimnagh, Head of Human Resources Operations.
Julie Mimnagh, Head of Human Resources Operations, provided an overview on the Councils approach to supporting people with disabilities and mental health issues at work. The following points were made:
· A statement is put on all adverts for all vacancies highlighting Enfield Councils equal opportunities policy.
· Interviews are guaranteed for people with learning difficulties and mental health issues if they meet the criteria for the job they are applying for.
· When a person will a disability starts working at the Council occupational assessments are made to ensure people are supported properly.
· There are many council policies and a range of learning & development opportunities in place for all staff to ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.
· A pilot scheme took place called the career returns programme. This included a six-month paid work placement and was open to people who have taken a carer break due to ill-health. This scheme has seen several professionals return to work.
· Confidential counselling is available to all members of staff. Information on this is available to staff through the internal staff website. Occupational Health also provides support to members of staff on a longer-term basis.
· Absence due to stress and anxiety has increased over the last two years. There is no way to say for certain whether this is due to staff workloads. Work is being done to ensure staff are aware of when they need to reach out for help.
The Chair thanked Julie for attending the Committee.
· Housing Repairs Scrutiny Workstream – Final Report
To receive the final report of the Housing Repairs Scrutiny Workstream from Councillor Katherine Chibah.
· Land Planning at Meridian Water Scrutiny Workstream – Final Report
To receive the final report of the Land Planning at Meridian Water Workstream from Councillor Edward Smith.
Councillor Chibah provided the final report from the Housing Repairs Scrutiny Workstream. The following recommendations were highlighted in the report:
1. The Council ran a campaign using estate based communication to provide details to tenants of their estate managers. This information is also to be provided to Ward Councillors for use in their ward surgeries.
2. Clear communication protocols and procedures between the Council, contractor and tenant should form part of the action plans with each contractor.
3. The Council consider phasing contracts in the future to avoid all contracts starting at the same time.
4. The Council undertake a detailed risk analysis/feasibility study looking at the pros and cons of bringing voids in house including reviewing what other local authorities have done, what has worked and what has improved. Should this show advantages the Council look to see if this could be translated to the repairs contract.
5. The Council run a communication campaign advising residents what to do and what not to do to avoid contributing to condensation problems.
The members of the Committee raised the following points:
· Councillor Rye felt that estate managers should make themselves known to tenants. He also felt that’s voids could be dealt with by Councillors putting pressure on companies.
· Councillor Smith state that there is a Housing Board which Councillors can be involved in. The 4 current repairs and maintenance contractors the Council has are not equipped to deal with the contracts so the Council is struggling to raise performance.
Councillor Levy thanked Councillor Chibah and the other members of the Workstream for their work.
Councillor Smith provided a report on Land Planning at Meridian Water. He felt there were no clear reasons why there had been considerable delays getting the report to the Committee. The following recommendations were highlighted in the report:
1. OSC to receive future updates on Meridian Water, particularly on:
a. The financial viability of the development as it progresses,
b. The realism of the jobs offer
c. Detailed updates on the visual appearance and density, of the development
d. The Local First principal and risk register
2. OSC to receive and comment on the final versions of the Meridian Water Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan including the provision of education and health facilities.
3. OSC to receive updates on the progress towards 4 trains per house, and any additional costs incurred by the Council.
It was felt this is a hugely important issue and needs to be monitored by a variety of officers, committees and the OSC. It was suggested that the monitoring of this workstream could be a single item agenda for the OSC.
Councillor Levy thanked Councillor Smith and the other members of the Workstream for their work.
To confirm the completion of the OSC work programme for 2016/17
Councillor Levy felt that the Workstream for 2016/17 had worked well as well as being flexible to accommodate items which were not planned but important for the Committee to address.
For 2017/18 more meetings for the OSC have been planned.
To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2017.
AGREED the minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2017.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
The dates of future meetings will be agreed at the meeting of Annual Council on 10 May 2017.
The dates of future meetings will be agreed at the meeting of Annual Council on 10 May 2017.
EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS & PUBLIC
To consider, if necessary, passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting for the item of business listed in Part 2 of the agenda on the grounds that it will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs of Part 1 Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006), as are listed on the agenda (Please note there is not a Part 2 agenda)