Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Tracy Scollin Tel 020 8359 2315 Email: tracy.scollin@barnet.gov.uk 

Link: Click here for the meeting

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 264 KB

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 5th March 2020 were approved as an accurate record.

2.

Chairman's Introduction

    Minutes:

    The Chairman welcomed all to the first virtual meeting of the Community Leadership and Libraries Committee (CLLC).

     

    The Chairman noted with deep sadness the recent passing of Cllr Brian Gordon, who had made an enormous contribution to the London Borough of Barnet as a Councillor for many years, and would be greatly missed.

3.

Absence of Members (If any)

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Cllr Charlie O-Macauley, who was substituted by Cllr Nagus Narenthira.

4.

Declaration of Members' Disclosable Pecuniary interests and Non Pecuniary interests (If any)

    Minutes:

    None.

5.

Report of the Monitoring Officer (If any)

    Minutes:

    None.

6.

Public Comments and Questions (If any)

    Minutes:

    None.

7.

Members' Items (If any)

    Minutes:

    None.

8.

Recovery Plan Report pdf icon PDF 447 KB

    Minutes:

    The Chairman introduced the report.

     

    Cllr Rich asked a question regarding point 1.12: how had the figures for burglary in the Hendon Park area been arrived at, as many people don’t have insurance and don’t report burglaries so the most disadvantaged in the community may not have reported burglaries?

     

    The Community Safety Manager responded that the figures are based on Metropolitan Police reported crime figures and that unfortunately for the bid it had not been possible to take underreported crime into account.

     

    Cllr Patel asked about civil society organisations and non-profit organisations (NGOs) in Barnet - how had Covid-19 affected their sustainability, and what is the Council doing to provide support for them?

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement responded that the Council has provided £50,000 for organisations to bid for, and continues to review the sector to see where support is needed. Cllr Patel enquired whether information on this piece of work would be shared in the near future; many of these partner organisations are best placed to respond to the crisis, especially regarding domestic violence and mental health issues. The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement reported that he hoped to bring details to CLLC towards the end of this year.

     

    The Chairman introduced the following six amendments to the report that had been proposed by Cllr Conway:

     

    3a  The Way We Work - Community Engagement:

     

    ‘That the Committee works in partnership with the Housing & Growth Committee to supplement its Community Engagement stream with a specific cross-cutting engagement programme for housing estates; proposals to be brought back to both Committees for discussion and agreement.’

     

    The Chairman noted that a piece of work had recently been undertaken by the Housing and Growth Committee (H&GC), where an agreement had been made on this. H&GC would be better equipped to deal with such issues and given that Cllr Conway is a Member of H&GC he recommended that she bring specific issues of concern to CLLC for consideration. Cllr Conway agreed. 

     

     

    3b. The Way We Work - Community Engagement:

     

    ‘That the Committee works with the Safer Communities Partnership Board to improve information flow between the two bodies, and suggest a strategy for prioritising issues from ward councillors on urgent community safety matters; proposals to be brought back to both bodies for discussion and agreement.’

     

    Cllr Conway expressed concern that the SCPB had not met for some time and that there is a lack of communication between the Board, CLLC and Members. She requested that this matter be discussed at SCPB. The Chairman of SCPB, Cllr Weeden-Sanz, reported that committees without extremely urgent business had been cancelled but that the meeting on 23 October 2020 would go ahead. The Chairman suggested that this be discussed at that meeting.

     

    3b The Way We Work - Community Engagement:

     

    That the Committee includes in this stream a revised food security strategy, which the Council is already working on with the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS). The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Armed Forces Covenant Update pdf icon PDF 181 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman introduced the item. He recommended the Armed Forces Covenant online training which he had found helpful. Cllr Rich also highly commended the training.

     

    The Mayoral Services and Civic Events Manager and Armed Forces Champion for Barnet presented her report. In 2019 Barnet Council agreed to renew the Covenant and since that time a series of stakeholder meetings and training of staff including senior management had been undertaken. Currently Barnet is ‘Bronze’ in the Employer Recognition Scheme and on re-signing will attain Silver accreditation. Due to the coronavirus lockdown this had been delayed but it was hoped that this would happen in November 2020.

     

    The E-learning package for Barnet Council staff had been launched and sent to over 1200 staff to complete, as well as elected Members, the LBB Gurkha community and Barnet Homes. Recently two veterans in need of housing had been provided with permanent accommodation. The E-learning would also be rolled out to Middlesex University and the RAF Museum.

     

    The Mayoral Services and Civic Events Manager and Armed Forces Champion reported that London Councils is due to publish a best practice guide with recommendations in two weeks’ time. Barnet Council had already undertaken most of these recommendations. It was important to map out armed forces statistics working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs, and for all areas of the Council to ask the question ‘have you served in the armed forces?’ so that this is not missed when engaging with residents. 

     

    RESOLVED that the Committee agreed:

     

    1.    To note the revised Armed Forces Covenant has not yet been signed due to the Coronavirus lockdown

     

    2.    That Officers be instructed to continue to implement the Barnet Council Action Plan.

     

10.

Equalities Policy Draft Consultation pdf icon PDF 511 KB

    To follow

    Minutes:

    The Chairman introduced the report on the draft consultation. He reported that the Committee would be asked to note the report only – the equalities policy draft consultation had been moved to CLLC’s Terms of Reference, from Policy and Resources Committee but this had not been formally agreed due to the postponement of Constitution and General Purposes Committee. CLLC would therefore be due to consider the final policy at a later date.

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement reported that the last update on the equalities policy in Barnet had been in 2014. The approach is to have equalities running through the Corporate Barnet Plan. The Council Management Team has nominated people within the service areas to manage workstreams.

     

    Cllr Rich asked how Barnet compared on life expectancy to national figures (paragraph 2.2). The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement noted that this and greater detail would be added prior to publishing the consultation with more evidence behind the policy.

     

    Cllr Patel enquired about the methodology behind the consultation; typically the most affected groups were often the most difficult to engage with.

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement responded that both Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement had prompted the reassessment of the policy. The policy focused on looking inward as an organisation to improve itself to begin with and to set the principles. The consultation would be carried out online due to the pandemic and efforts would be made to reach those who are digitally excluded. He added that Members’ assistance in this would be greatly appreciated. Voluntary and community groups would also be approached.

     

    Cllr Patel noted that the organisation www.demsoc.org (Democratic Society) has a toolkit on how to engage a more diverse group of people given the shift to digital working. https://participedia.net/collection/6499 and https://www.involve.org.uk/our-work/our-projects/practice/how-can-councils-engage-residents-tackle-local-issues feature community engagement initiatives during Covid-19.

     

    The Chairman moved to a vote on the officer’s recommendations:

     

    RESOLVED that the Committee agreed:

     

    1. To note that the draft Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion policy will be sent out for consultation
    2. That the consultation responses come back to the committee for consideration prior to the policy being approved.

     

11.

Annual Equalities Report 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 793 KB

    To follow

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    11.            

    Annual Equalities Report 2019-20

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagementreported that the report had been due to be presented at the June 2020 meeting, which had been cancelled due to Covid-19. The Action Plan will be brought to CLLC in 2021 as part of the annual cycle.

     

    Cllr Conway commented: 

     

    ·       It may be useful to bring together different communities so that they could feed their views into this piece of work. She added that the term ‘BAME’ is currently being debated as a suitable term to use.

     

    ·       There has been a long delay in the Committee having a dialogue with the Communities Together Network. She suggested adding an item with a theme such as mental health or housing might help people to engage with this.

     

    ·       (2.2) Location inequality is not considered in the report, even though male life expectancy is several years lower in some wards in Barnet than in others.

     

    ·       (3.14, 3.15) Should the Equalities Champions Network be externally focused, if it isn’t already? A briefing on the Action Plan by a representative from the Network would be helpful. 

     

    ·       (3.3) How often does the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group meet, who sits on the Group and can residents can provide input into it?

     

    ·       (3.5) A more specific focus on diversity and inclusion may be needed  and a Citizens’ Enquiry might be appropriate.

     

    ·       (4.2) Cllr Conway welcomed the fact that Barnet staff are offered pro bono support and recommended that community groups are also offered this.

     

    ·       (4.6) It is positive that 500 young people had been included in the survey. How were they engaged, and could a breakdown of their area and diversity be provided?  Also when would the Life Chances Strategy be published?

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement noted that the Equality and Diversity Steering Group publishes papers and details of its membership on the Barnet website. The Group has an external focus but monitors the Action Plan and receives reports from the Workstream Leads. The Group also provides reports to the Council Management Team. Barnet Equality Allies will report to the Policy & Resources Committee (P&R) in October in response to a Member’s item from Cllr Mittra. They could also be invited to present to CLLC.

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement reported that the Equalities Champions have an internal procedural role to assist people to carry out an equalities impact assessment on any policy change.

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement agreed to address the other points outside the meeting.

     

    The Chairman commented that he would welcome any contributions from the Barnet Equalities Allies and other organisations that have a contribution relevant to a future agenda item, to inform the Committee before it considers items. 

     

    Cllr Narenthira stated that the term ‘BAME’ applies to a wide section of the population so it may be better to refer to different groups individually. She asked about the vacancy since the previous Equality Officer left  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 79 KB

    To follow

    Minutes:

    12.            

    Forward Plan

     

    Cllr Conway requested that the Borough Command Unit (BCU) update on environmental crime be added to the agenda for the November meeting. The Director of Assurance responded that she would consider this together with the Chairman and the BCU, when looking at proposed items for the Forward Plan, but the Covid response may mean this is delayed.

     

    Cllr Patel asked whether a report on the civil society sector, as mentioned in the Recovery Plan report, could be added to the agenda either in November or January.  The Chairman responded that given the ongoing pandemic November and January are likely to be too soon.  

     

    The Deputy Head of Strategy - Strategy and Engagement noted that the first part of the Barnet Plan will be brought to Policy & Resources Committee in December, at the heart of which is Barnet’s relationship with its partners. Some insight is likely to be available at that point.

     

    The Chairman added that their critical work is ongoing so asking partners to provide a report would distract them from this, so it is difficult to commit to a deadline at the moment.   

     

     

    RESOLVEd that the committee noted the Forward Plan.

      

     

     

13.

Any item(s) the Chairman decides are urgent