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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Philippa Murphy  Tel: 020 7527 3184 Email:  Philippa.murphy@islington.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 258 KB

The Minutes of the Council meeting held on 4 December 2014.

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Council meeting on 4 December 2014 as amended be confirmed as a correct record and the Mayor be authorised to sign them.

 

24.

Declarations of Interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a)       Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation
            carried on for profit or gain.

(b)       Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your
expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including
from a trade union.

(c)       Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or
     your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the
     council.

(d)      Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e)       Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or
longer.

(f)        Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which
     you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

(g)       Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of
     business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the
     securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital
     of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

 

Minutes:

 

None.

25.

Mayoral Announcements

(i)            Apologies

(ii)           Order of business

(iii)          Declaration of discussion items by the Majority and Opposition parties

 

Minutes:

 

(i) Apologies for absence

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Donovan, Picknell and Spall.


(ii) Order of business

 

The order of business was not changed.


(iii) Declarations of discussion items

 

None.

 

(iv) Mayor’s Announcements

The Mayor congratulated Councillor Burgess, Maureen Collins from Adult Social Services and Uma Mehta for Legal Services who were recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.  Councillor Burgess was awarded a MBE for services to local government, Maureen gained a BEM for services to the care of older people and Uma received a CBE for services to children. 

 

The Mayor also encouraged colleagues to attend the Civic Awards Council on 10 March, as it was an important opportunity for us to recognise the achievements and contributions of residents and asked colleagues to support the next fundraising dinner in aid of Home Start Islington and Islington Foodbank on Tuesday 31 March. 

 

26.

Leader's Announcements

Minutes:

 

Councillor Watts thanked the Mayor and noted that the council’s budget is being proposed in the context of a very difficult economic situation; that the council and the wider borough faced tough times.  Events elsewhere, such as the recent events in Paris, also added to tensions locally and it was particularly regrettable that the Islington Gazette ran an incorrect story that the council had banned pork in schools.  Councillors Watts advised that the Council is proud of the borough’s diversity.

 

Councillor Watts also advised that the Council is working with others across London to push for a London City Deal, which would bring more jobs to the borough and help protect vital services; too many decisions affecting the borough are taken elsewhere.

Finally, Councillor Watts added a personal tribute to Councillor Burgess on the award of an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

27.

Executive Appointments pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Minutes:

 

Councillor Watts thanked Councillor Ismail for all her hard work as an Executive Member.

RESOLVED:

 

1.1          That the appointment of Councillor Asima Shaikh as the Executive Member for Economic and Community Development be noted.

1.2          That Councillor Claudia Webbe’s title is now Executive Member for Environment and Transport be noted.

1.3          That the appointment of Councillor Asima Shaikh as a member of Voluntary and Community Sector Committee be noted.

1.4              That it be noted that the delegation of Executive functions remains unchanged.

28.

Petitions

Minutes:

 

Mr Paul Murphy presented a petition titled ‘Stop the Job Losses’.

29.

Questions from Members of the Public

Minutes:

 

Councillor Alice Perry moved a procedural motion under Rule 22(k) of the constitution, to suspend Rule 19.3 for the duration of the agenda item and to suspend Rule 19.2 in so far as is necessary to enable the Mayor to read out questions from the public.

 

Councillor Poole seconded the motion. 

 

The motion was put to the vote and CARRIED.

 
The Mayor read out the following question from Lloyd Child to Councillor Hull, Executive Member for Finance and Performance:

‘I understand that the Government recently announced that a national fund to support the most vulnerable people in our borough has been cut drastically.  What provision has the council made in this budget to cope with this further loss of funding?’

Reply:

Thank you for your question.  First of all we have say three cheers for the Keep the Safety Net Campaign which did save £74 million of the funding and we have to thank the resident in Cheshire who mounted a judicial review of the government cuts which we supported and which resulted in a victory over the government, which is almost unprecedented.  That means we are able to keep the same level of funding as before, using general fund and housing benefit reserves.

 

The Mayor read out the following question from George Sharkey to Councillor Watts, Leader of the Council:

 

‘As a Labour Council, the GMB recognises that the unprecedented cuts imposed by this Tory-led Government will fall hard on our communities.  Many will be driven deeper into poverty, as a trade union and a Labour Party that was formed out of poverty and deprivation, how can we jointly come together again within Islington to resolve any differences and work towards one single aim of eradicating this inept Tory Government?’

 

Reply:

Thank you for your question.  First of all, we have been cut more than the leafy conservative areas.  We’ve lost 40-45% of funding when western Dorset’s funding has gone up. This government is brutal. Their areas get more.  We get less.  I ensure regular communication with trade unions and we are a much better administration because of it.  The GMB are enormously helpful, the campaign for school meals for example, they are a partner in delivering a fairer and better borough.  We have to work together to get rid of the Tories.  We will fight them here and in more marginal seats as well. 

 

The Mayor read out the following question from Ernestas Jegorovas to Councillor Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children and Families:

 

‘How does cutting the Connections Team (provides young people with information and advice on education, training and jobs) fit in with Islington Labour’s 2014 manifesto priority of every young person has a job, is in college or an apprenticeship?’

 

Reply:

Thank you for your question.  It’s a good question, as it is important to spell out what we are doing regarding employment in schools.  We are going through a process of discussion with schools to help us identify the things  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Questions from Members of the Council pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Minutes:

 

Question (a) from Councillor Caroline Russell to Councillor James Murray, Executive Member for Housing and Development:

 

"Will the Council review its decision to hold on to overpayments made by tenants with communal heating systems this year and repay the money immediately?"

 

Reply:


Thank you for your question.  Firstly we charge the way we do for communal heating and hot water because it is more efficient, cheaper and it allows us to have fairer charging across the borough.  We are setting the budget tonight for 2015-16 and we don’t know exactly what our costs will be or how cold it will get.  We set a reasonable estimate based on last year’s costs and sometimes the final cost is below that and sometimes it is above; just like people pay by direct debit for other services.  The money paid is now ring-fenced.  We use any surplus to smooth out the costs to residents, however, if a significant surplus develops we would make a refund to residents and have done so in the past.  At the end of the year we will make an assessment and there may be a large enough surplus to make a refund this year.

Supplementary Question:


Smoothing sounds marvellous, but if any ordinary customer overpaid one of the big six, they would get their money back.  Tenants are angry that they don’t get the same from the council – they are effectively giving the council a loan. I am glad you are considering a refund.  Will you consider increasing the attention paid to insulating people’s homes so people get lower bills?

Reply:

 

This council takes fuel efficiency very seriously.  Street properties are much harder to insulate, but we have a huge programme to insulate wherever possible; it’s good for the environment and it reduces fuel bills for residents.  We are going to smooth out costs across all tenants on communal heating charges to share the benefit.  Tenants and Leaseholder get charged the same over the longer term.  We are trying to make heating charges low and predictable so bills don’t go up hugely one year and down the next.

 

Question (b) from Councillor Caroline Russell to Councillor Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing:

 

"Why is the Council cutting funding for the Latin American Women's Aid Refuge?

 

Reply:

 

The Latin American Women's Aid Refuge contract with the council was until 2013 with an option to extend for two years to 31 March 2015, which we did.  The contract was paid for out of the Supporting People Grant, which is being reduced by 50% this year and although the refuge is located in Islington, people don’t go to refuges near where they live for obvious reasons and we therefore believe that refuges should receive plan-London funding.  We are contacting colleagues from other councils to support organisations like this and they are submitting a bid to the DCLG for funding which we hope will be successful.  We continue to support their work and provide business rate relief for example.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Budget Proposals 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hull, seconded by Councillor Watts, moved the recommendations in the report.

Councillor Russell moved her amendment.

 

Councillors Burgess and Heather contributed to the debate.

 

The amendment was put the vote.  Voting was recorded as follows:

For: Councillor Russell.

Against: Councillors Andrews, Burgess, Caluori, Chowdhury, Comer-Schwartz, Convery, Court, Debono, Diner, Doolan, Erdogan, Fletcher, Gallagher, Gantly, Gill, Greening, Hamitouche, Heather, Hull, Ismail, Jeapes, Kaseki, Kay, Khan, Klute, Murray, Ngongo, Nicholls, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Parker, Alice Perry, Rupert Perry, Poole, Poyser, Shaikh, Smith, Turan, Diarmaid Ward, Nick Ward, Watts, Wayne, Webbe and Williamson.
 

The amendment was LOST.

The recommendations in the report were put to the vote.  Voting was recorded as follows:

For: Councillors Andrews, Burgess, Caluori, Chowdhury, Comer-Schwartz, Convery, Court, Debono, Diner, Doolan, Erdogan, Fletcher, Gallagher, Gantly, Gill, Greening, Hamitouche, Heather, Hull, Ismail, Jeapes, Kaseki, Kay, Khan, Klute, Murray, Ngongo, Nicholls, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Parker, Alice Perry, Rupert Perry, Poole, Poyser, Shaikh, Smith, Turan, Diarmaid Ward, Nick Ward, Watts, Wayne, Webbe and Williamson.

Against: Councillor Russell.

The recommendations were CARRIED.

RESOLVED:

 

The General Fund Budget 2015-16 and MTFS (Section 3 of the Main Report)

2.1         That the 2015-16 net Council cash limits as set out in Table 1 (paragraph 3.1.4 of the report) and the MTFS at Appendix A to the report, which include the revenue savings in Appendix B to the report, be agreed.

2.2         That the report of the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee on 22nd January 2015 be noted in reviewing the ‘Budget Proposals 2015-16’ and its recommendation for the addition of an invest-to-save scheme comprising the installation of photovoltaic (PV) plates on corporate Council properties (excluding leisure centres, schools and housing, which are subject to ongoing exploration) (Paragraph 3.1.3 and Appendix B of the report) be agreed.

2.3         That it be agreed that within the 2015-16 revenue budget, £1.16m from general grant funding, to continue to provide a Resident Support Scheme following the reduction in Local Welfare Provision (LWP) funding by the Government, on being transferred from specific to general grant and that it be noted that we will review expenditure on the Resident Support Scheme in the first three months of 2015-16 and supplement this funding as required from the Housing Benefit Reserve up to the level of the LWP funding for 2014-15 (£1.44m) be agreed (Paragraphs 3.2.5 to 3.2.6 of the report).

2.4         That the requirement to report on the number of maintained schools that have completed the Schools Value Financial Standard (SVFS) by 31st March to the Department for Education by 31st May each year be noted (Paragraph 3.2.15 of the report).

2.5         That the fees and charges policy and the schedule of 2015-16 fees and charges (paragraph 3.2.16-17 and Appendix C of the report) be agreed.

2.6         That the Council’s policy on the level of General Fund balances and the estimated use of the Council’s earmarked reserves be agreed (Paragraph 3.2.21-22 and Table 3 of the report).

The HRA  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Constitution Update pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

 

2.1       That the Leader of the Council has approved the changes to delegation of
Executive functions be noted.

2.2       That the amendments to the Constitution set out in the Appendix to the report
be noted.

 

2.3       That the Assistant Chief Executive (Governance and HR) be authorised to make any consequential amendments to the Constitution she considers necessary be agreed.

 

33.

Revised Chief Whip's report pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

Appointment of Councillors to political positions

1.            That Councillor Poyser has been elected as an Deputy Chief Whip replacing Councillor Shaikh, for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be noted.

Appointments to Council Committees:

1.            Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee
That the appointments of Councillors Poyser and Ismail as members of the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee and the appointment of Councillor O’Halloran as Vice Chair, for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed, be agreed.

2.            Health and Care Scrutiny Committee
That appointment of Councillor Turan as a member of the Health Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

3.            Planning Committee
That the appointment of Councillor Ismail as a member of Planning Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

4.            Standards Committee
That the appointment of Councillor Poyser as a member of Standards Committee for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

 

5.            Health and Wellbeing Board

That the appointment of Wendy Wallace, Chief Executive, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Simon Pleydell, Chief Executive, The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, as non-voting members of the Health and Wellbeing Board with immediate effect, for one year or until successors are appointed, be agreed.

Appointments to Outside Bodies:

6.            Appointment to St Mary Magdalen Academy

That the appointment of Councillor Angela Picknell to be the LEA Governor for St Mary Magdalen Academy for a period of four years or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

7.            Islington Community Covenant Grant Schemes Panel

That the appointment of Councillor Asima Shaikh to the Islington Community Covenant Grants Schemes Panel for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

8.            Cross River Partnership

That the appointment of Councillor Asima Shaikh to the Cross River Partnership for the remainder of the municipal year or until a successor is appointed be agreed.

9.            Greater London Enterprise (GLE)

That the appointment of Councillor Asima Shaikh to Greater London Enterprise (GLE) for the remainder of the municipal year or until  a successor is appointed be agreed.