The Leader of the Council, Councillor Caliskan will outline the Cabinet priorities for 2021/22.
The Chair invited the Leader of the Council, Cllr Nesil Caliskan to out-line the
Cabinet Priorities for the coming year.
Cllr Caliskan reminded members that the administration’s priorities are set out and detailed in the Corporate Plan. Members can regularly request particular updates if required in the forthcoming year.
Cllr Calliskan highlighted the following:
· The climate has changed dramatically over the last 12 months due to Covid, this had had implications for a number of key areas.
· Progress has been made on a number of key areas in the Corporate Strategy.
· Covid- this remains the number one priority to continue to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. The number one objective is to keep residents safe and healthy, in partnership with stakeholders. The Covid testing sites will be maintained, encouraging uptake. The sites will also be regularly reviewed. The Council will continue to support NHS partners and the third sector in the rollout of the vaccination programme across the borough. Enfield are ahead in terms of vaccinations compared to other boroughs and other parts of the country. However, the majority of residents still need a second vaccine. There are particular challenges with vaccine uptake in Care Homes and in particular BAME communities.
· The second area of focus is economic recovery, not just in response to Covid but also recognising that some of the town centres for example needed support pre Covid. The internal recently established Skills & Employment Board allows the Council to deliver a strategic approach to skills and employment. This sits alongside the Corporate Plan, Economic Development Strategy and the Culture Strategy and a Skills Agenda is underway. There is a focus on delivering the recommendations in the Poverty and Inequality Commission. In the next couple of weeks an update will be published on this. There is a plan to tackle food poverty. The council tax support and debt prevention team has expanded to ensure an office structure and cohort in anticipation of growing demand.
· The next area is Environment and Climate Change, work will continue on the Climate Change Strategy deliverables. There will be a renewed focus on street cleansing and estates.
· Adult Social Care, an area of particular focus is trying to deliver specialised accommodation for older people, to ensure that the older population have a decent place to live that is affordable and sustainable.
· The final thing to highlight is in terms of education, for a long period there have been pressures on special educational needs provision in the borough. Progress has been made on this, but more is needed. There are plans for Salmons Brook, Durants, Oaktree, West Lea and Russet House to increase the provision in the borough. This issue is both a huge cost and is also not right that the most vulnerable children are transported to provision outside of the borough.
The Chair noted that many areas raised by the leader are in relation to the scrutiny panels in place and these will be picked up by the panels. It was confirmed that the minutes of this meeting will be circulated to all of the panel chairs.
Committee Members provided the following comments and questions:
· Are there any areas of pre decision scrutiny that would be beneficial to the Cabinet to be bought to scrutiny over the course of the year? The leader confirmed that she believes there is value to pre decision scrutiny when putting reports together so that the reports are collaborative and to help address any early concerns from members. The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and the Executive Director will be a better position to advise regarding particular reports. Cllr Caliskan commented on strategic pressures over the next 12 months. The Health & Wellbeing Board (HWB) chaired by the leader has a place making strategic oversight view with partners focussing on health in the borough. There are number of recommendations, reports and briefings that come to the HWB, perhaps scrutiny could be involved in some way such as meeting with officers that support HWB to increase the joined-up approach. Reconfiguration of the NHS locally regarding the bid from the Royal Free Trust on North Middlesex University hospital. The HWB over the last 18 months has set out the administration’s view of what is in the pipeline, and clarity has been requested on a number of issues. The third point is around the Clinical Commissioning Group mergers. Members are welcomed through the scrutiny panel to provide some interrogation. This is important as there is a looming crisis on waiting times due to delays caused by Covid and the inequality this will create.
· Following a query, it was confirmed that all sites have been looked and principals for growth in the borough as part of the draft Local Plan. This includes a focus on town centre and transport hubs. The issue of equity was raised regarding skyscrapers, accepting that taller buildings are more appropriate in certain areas and that taller buildings must be equitable across the borough and not concentrated all in one place. The leader agreed that details of policies relating to taller buildings will be circulated to the committee.
· Are there any concerns on community safety following Covid? The Leader confirmed that the joint Crime Prevention plan plays an important part in this and will seek to continue to deliver on this. Violence against women and children has increased during Covid, there have been renewed efforts to highlight this. The levels of Anti-Social Behaviour referred to by the police as low-level crime is a concern.
The Leader was thanked for her attendance and providing a comprehensive overview.