Agenda and minutes

Deaf Community Forum
Tuesday, 5th September, 2017 7.15 pm

Venue: Community House, 311 Fore Street, Edmonton, N9 0PZ. View directions

Contact: Stacey Gilmour 020 8379 4187  Email:

No. Item



To elect the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Deaf Community Forum for the municipal year 2017/18.


The Forum was advised that the previous Chair, Councillor Achilleas Georgiou had now stepped down as a member of the Deaf Community Forum and as such a new Chair would need to be elected at tonight’s meeting.


Councillor Georgiou had been replaced on the committee by Councillor Abdul Abdullahi and he was welcomed to his first meeting of the Forum.


Cllr Doris Jiagge was appointed Chair for the Municipal Year 2017-18. 
Cllr Anne-Marie Pearce was appointed Vice-Chair for the Municipal Year 2017-18.




The Chair welcomed all attendees and speakers to the meeting. The BSL Interpreters, Hands on Signer and Electronic Note Taker were introduced.


Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Alessandro Georgiou.


Apologies for absence were received from Julie Pocock, Online Services manager, who had been due to attend the meeting to provide a verbal update on Agenda Item 4: Update on BSL Interpreting Services. Julie had however provided a short written update for the Chair to read to the audience.



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 received.



To receive an update from Julie Pocock, Online Services Manager, Customer Gateway,  on the BSL Video Interpreting Service


In the absence of Julie Pocock, Online Services Manager the following written update had been provided regarding the BSL Interpreting Service:


‘A New BSL signer, called Ezi Ani is now working at the Civic at the monthly drop in service and this is working well

Customers are still using the video link service on a Monday and we haven’t received any complaints’


The audience reacted strongly to this update as it was felt that the service was not running well and this had been said time and time and time again at previous meetings of the Deaf Community Forum (see minutes from previous meetings). They were extremely upset and angry that their frustrations and concerns were not being listened to by Enfield Council. To clarify the issues raised relating to the service were as follows:

·       The Video Link Service is extremely hard to set up, there is not enough space or privacy, there is often a long wait to use the service, the link continually ‘buffers’, the remote interpreter is unable to clearly see letter and documentation that is being discussed.

·       Deaf People do not feel comfortable using this service; they would much prefer a more personal, face to face service which would be easier for them to access.

·       Deaf People do not feel comfortable going to the Civic Centre to use this service. The reception staff do not appear to be Deaf Aware trained which causes all sorts of initial problems. The Video Link Service is extremely impersonal and they would much prefer a ‘live’ one to one service such as the Deaf Project offers.

·       The Civic Centre BSL Interpreter is only available on the first Friday of the month. This is just not enough and needs to be more frequent. Deaf People live with their disability 24/7 yet Enfield Council are only giving us one day a month to address our issues face to face with a BSL Interpreter. This is discriminating against us as a community and is stressing us out.

·       The Video Link Service needs to be scrapped as it is of no use to the Deaf Community and the money saved can then be put towards funding the Deaf Project.

·       The Deaf Project is invaluable to members of the Deaf Project.  Hearing People value their services, that is how we all feel about the Deaf Project.

·       The advocacy element of the work of the Deaf Project is priceless. BSL is a very specialised language. If the Deaf Project fails to exist come the 30th November it will cause chaos for Enfield Council.

·       The council should look at Mary’s figures on how many people attend the Deaf Project each quarter, and look at how much money has been brought into the borough as a result of the Deaf Project.

·       Mary White, Deaf Project advised that she had provided these figures to Councillor Achilleas Georgiou (the former Chair of the Deaf Community Forum) at a meeting she had with him but no feedback had been received.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To receive an update from Jayne Fitzgerald, Head of Strategic Finance, on the financial pressures faced by Enfield Council


RECEIVED an update from Jayne Fitzgerald, Head of Strategic Finance.




·       Jayne’s team has the job of setting a balanced budget which has become increasing difficult over the past few years for a number of reasons including;

·       Funding from Central Government to Local Authorities – since austerity measures had been brought in Enfield had seen a cut in core funding since 2010 of £80 million. This would rise to £118 Million by 2020.

·       This is one side of the picture. The other is increasing demand. There are new and additional pressures on all our services due to changes in the borough’s demographic population. The ageing population in Enfield has increased, resulting in a higher demand on Adult Social Services. There is also an increasing demand on Children’s Services, including schools etc.

·        Enfield is the twelfth most deprived borough in London. Almost 30% of children in Enfield are ranked in low income families. Housing is also another pressure. As at December 2016 Enfield had 3217 families placed in Temporary Accommodation (TA), the second highest in the country.

·       In order to combat these increasing pressures and balance the book savings have had to be made every year and this will continue to happen for the foreseeable future. By the end of 2017 savings of £131 million will have been made and over the next three years it is estimate a further £30 million will need to be cut as funding reduces.

·       Unfortunately there are no easy to savings to make any more. At the moment we are looking at the budget for next year and looking at ways to generate new income. Lots of back office savings have been made in order to protect front line services wherever possible, for example, projects such as the Deaf Project. However this is no easy task and some very difficult and sensitive decisions have had to be made in order to make the necessary savings.


The following questions and issues were raised:


Q.      When you talk about the council funding it is very confusing. For example look at the money that is being spent on Meridian Waters, Surely you could give some of this to the Deaf Project? I understand that you have to be careful about how you spend your money but look at the Enfield Magazine for example. People just throw it in the bin. There are many lovely new council buildings around the borough. Other people don’t suffer from communication issues like us. You ignore our needs. The Deaf Project was fantastic. The little bit of money that Enfield council were giving to fund this project changes people lives. It is amazing but now it is being taken away from us.

A.       I don’t make decisions on how the money is spent, but to clarify, Meridian Waters is not council funded. The way we fund projects like that is different to how we fund day to day services.


Q.      The numbers are confusing. What proportion of council budget has been cut  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 4 April 2017.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 April 2017 were AGREED.


Matters Arising from Minutes


Page 3 Bullet Point: 6


‘All staff that work in the Civic Centre reception area have been briefed

regarding the video link service and all new staff receive deaf

awareness training. In addition to this we will continue to work with

representatives of this forum and our own trainers to ensure our

awareness training is fit for purpose’


Clarification was sought as to whether this training was now taking place, how many staff had undertaken Deaf Awareness Training, how was it delivered and was it an ongoing training programme?


AGREED that this information would be requested from Julie Pocock, Online Services Manager and an update provided at the next meeting.

Action: Stacey Gilmour/Julie Pocock



To receive feedback and suggestions for discussion at future meetings.


Suggestions for future meetings would be discussed at the additional meeting of the Forum to be held in October 2017.



To note the dates of future meetings as follows:


5 December 2017

6 March 2018


Due to the urgent nature of tonight’s discussions regarding the cessation of the Deaf Project and based on the current information that, if the situation remained unchanged,  the Deaf Project would cease to function as of the 30 November 2017, it was agreed to hold an additional urgent meeting of the Deaf Community Forum sometime in October.


Councillors agreed to stay behind at the end of the meeting to discuss and agree a suitable date for this meeting to take place. The Deaf Community Forum would be notified of the date accordingly.


It was also noted that future meetings dates for the Deaf Community Forum fell on a Tuesday. These clash with the meetings of the only Deaf Club in the Borough which also fall on a Tuesday evening.


AGREED to look at the Council Calendar to see if the meetings of the Deaf Community Forum could be rescheduled to an alternative day of the week.

Action: Stacey Gilmour