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Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Jonathan Moore  Email: democracy@islington.gov.uk

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274.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 270 KB

The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 December 2023 were agreed as a correct record and the Mayor was authorised to sign them

275.

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.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest were made.

276.

Mayoral Announcements

(i)           Apologies

(ii)          Order of business

(iii)         Declaration of discussion items

(iv)        Mayor’s announcements

(v)          Length of speeches

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(i) Apologies

 

Apologies were received from Councillors Russell, Ozdemir, Spall, Graham and Gilgunn

 

(ii) Order of business

The order of business was as per the Agenda.

 

(iii) Declaration of discussion items

No items were declared.

 

(iv) Mayor’s announcements

In the past few months, the Mayor had been working with their chosen charity, Voluntary Action Islington, to organise two Volunteer Fair events at Weston Rise Community Centre and Caxton House Community Centre. The aim was to encourage more people to take up volunteering, which was the main focus of their partnership with the charity for that year.

 

Additionally, the Mayor participated in judging the winners for the Civic and Ben Kinsella awards alongside a panel. With numerous nominations, it proved to be a challenging task. The Mayor eagerly anticipated the awards evening scheduled for the following month.

 

Since the last full Council meeting in December, the Mayor engaged in more Christmas engagements, enjoying activities such as learning dance moves with Amberleigh Charity at their end-of-year performance. They also welcomed visits from children at William Tyndale School and historians at the Peel Institute.

 

In January, the Mayor attended a Greek Orthodox service at St. Anthony the Great and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, where they had the opportunity to meet His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and learn about the church and its community. They also participated in recognising the achievements of young people at the Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards and unveiled a new defibrillator at Caxton House Community Centre.

 

For Holocaust Memorial Day, the Mayor commemorated it at two events—a ceremony at City Hall and another at the Town Hall, both of which were deeply moving experiences.

 

The Mayor also attended the Islington Mind annual celebration to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers and staff supporting people with mental health difficulties, emphasising the importance of good mental health for everyone.

 

In February, the Mayor joined the Highbury Fields park run and walk, where they were commended for their walking pace and enthusiasm. They also celebrated International Mother Language Day at the Town Hall, highlighting the linguistic heritage of children and its significance to their communities.

 

Furthermore, the Mayor expressed gratitude to Ameera Abdi for her term as Young Mayor and congratulated the winners of the new Young Mayor elections in February.

 

Lastly, the Mayor paid respects to Norman Beddington, an Islington councillor who passed away in December. A moment of silence was observed in his honour.

 

277.

Leader's Announcements

·        The Leader will address the Council;

·        The Leader of the Opposition will then be invited to respond.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader started by sending their heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the loved ones of Malika Hibu, who tragically passed away a couple of weeks prior after falling into Regent’s Canal. The Leader couldn't imagine what her family was going through, but the council would continue to offer them all the support they needed for as long as they needed it.

The Leader said that the reason many councillors get into politics was to make Islington a more equal place, ensuring that the least well-off in society got the support they needed and giving those who felt powerless a voice. However, they noted after 14 years of government austerity, this had become harder than ever before. The Leader noted the amazing things the council did on a daily basis, changing lives through new council homes, good jobs, and much more even when facing significant challenges. The Leader was proud that the council continued to be responsible with public money and prioritised frontline services. However, Islington needed a fair funding settlement and a change of government to help us out of the current state.

 

The Leader was passionate about giving a voice to local people who felt unheard and tackling the mistrust and dissatisfaction with politics that the government had created. The Council’s Corporate Plan "Islington Together 2030," set out how the council would give a voice to local people on the issues that matter in their local area. The council’s commitment to community power was an extension of the existing commitment to make change with local people, not to them.

The Leader was excited about the Citizens' Panel, made up of local people from all backgrounds, which would help to shape the future of the borough. However, no voices were more powerful for local people than their vote at the ballot box. The Leader expressed concern at the government’s introduction of voter ID. At the local elections last year, around 4% of people who didn't vote said this was because they didn't have the correct ID, and this rose to 8% for those who were unemployed. Those from global majority backgrounds were five times more likely to say they didn't vote due to a lack of ID. The Leader said this was a shame on our country; the government was excluding those who needed their voices heard the most. The Leader was proud that the Council had been at the forefront of a campaign against this and alerting local people about these changes, and the Leader encouraged all present to help raise awareness. The London elections were coming up in May, and a general election was also likely this year. The Leader urged local people to contact the Council and ensure that they had the correct ID.

 

The Leader of the Opposition responded. While on a bus recently the Leader of the Opposition had found an older gentleman in a wheelchair had fallen over at the edge of the curb, his shopping spilling onto the ground as he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 277.

278.

Petitions

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a petition from Dr Kristina Zeljic, calling on the council to only make use of plant-based catering.

 

279.

Questions from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question (a) from Rebekah Kelly to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:

 

Can you explain the budget proposal for the Green Garden Waste subscription that has been advertised on Islington Council media accounts?

 

Written Response:

 

If residents purchase a garden waste collection permit, they will receive fortnightly garden waste collections from the beginning of April for a year. This works out at around £2.88 per collection, and there’s a 50% concessionary rate for residents receiving certain benefits.

 

Essentially this is a change to our waste and recycling service to enable us to dispose of food waste and garden waste separately.

 

Currently we are one of only a few London boroughs that mix them together at the point of collection

 

As part of the Mayor of London’s approval of our Waste and Reduction Recycling Plan we were asked to continue to explore options to separate the streams and a reference was also made to the Governments potential requirements.

 

Until very recently it appeared the government was going to require local authorities to collect separately, although as is the case on a number of other initiatives they diluted this and will continue to allow joint disposal for the present.

 

If disposed of separately then the cost of disposal of garden waste is less and the cost of disposal of food waste significantly less,

essentially because the food waste can go to anaerobic digestion and produce gas which is sold to set off against disposal costs – and this has positive carbon implications.

 

In terms of charging, at a time when council budgets are being stretched to the limit by ongoing austerity from Central Government, we did need to look at the best way of protecting the service and funding the change.

 

Many people in Islington don’t need the service because they don’t have outside space. It is also the case that for many people who would use the service they could compost at home, and therefore do not need to pay a charge - and we would encourage them to do so. To support this, we offer subsidised compost bins.

 

A charge for the service does bring us in line with the majority of other boroughs, where, at the time of writing, 21 out of the 31 other London boroughs charge for green garden waste collections, and our £75 [annual] fee is comparable with other inner-London boroughs.

 

Thanks again for your question.

 

Question (b) from Patricia Niclas to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport:

 

Set out below are extracts from the Councils response from the St. Peters LTN consultation:

 

"24% of resident feedback suggested road closures except for cycles and buses"; 76% did not and yet the Council did not publicise this;

 

"40% of respondents stated they walk or cycle more to local shops"; Results show that 54% say there is no change or that they do so less;

 

"30% of respondents state they walk or cycle more for shorter journeys instead of driving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 279.

280.

Questions from Members of the Council pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

280          

Question (a) from Cllr Wayne to Cllr Woolf, Executive Member for Community Safety:

 

Consumers deserve to be protected from unscrupulous and unethical traders. Is the council committed to maintaining a robust trading standards department and what is it doing to deter rogue traders?

 

Response:

Islington Council Trading Standards can proudly boast to being one of the most dynamic Trading Standards in London, if not the UK. It has enforcement responsibility for around 200 Acts, Regulations and Orders, covering broad areas such as fair trading and product safety.

 

Our Trading Standards Department adopts a prevention, intelligence and enforcement (PIE) strategy. Lots of the work is behind the scenes, preventative, and comprises offering advice to businesses proactively. For example, letting agents get visits to make sure that they are protecting client money as required by law and that they don’t charge banned fees. Where they don’t or where they don’t respond to a nudge to get things right, Trading Standards can fine them. Since April 2022, fines totalling over £100,000 have been issued.

 

We have a well-resourced department (7 field officers, where the London average is 4 or fewer), driven by council priorities and evidence of harm and other sources of intelligence. With over 4000 complaints annually, not all can be looked into nor, in fact, merit it. An example of how this intelligence aspect is done is by the systematic quarterly analysis of complaint data, called repeat offender reports. The outcome of this analysis might be a formal investigation started, or simply establishing a point of contact for other Local Authority enforcers to engage directly with a business of concern.

 

The final bit of the strategy is enforcement. In this area, Islington can proudly boast having a second to none record of tackling and prosecuting the worst of the rogues. The most recent court case is typical if tackling of the rogues, where a £22,000 deposit was taken for unnecessary roofing work, with the culprit pleading guilty last month. It also shows how our Trading Standards is ever more determined to catch the rogues even if not all can be identified as this case involved the prosecution of a money launderer. Since 2022 alone, Trading Standards have conducted 12 prosecutions, some with multiple defendants, resulting in custodial sentences of 11 ½ years and fines of over £15,000 (excluding over £40,000 in costs awarded) have 6 further cases currently being prosecuted. For example, for illegal tobacco vapes, unsafe e-scooters, underage sale of a knife, rogue builder cases and 10 formal investigations currently ongoing.

 

Therefore, returning to the question put, I would answer that, as illustrated, we are not only fully committed to our Trading Standards service but are fortunate to have one of the most outstanding services nationally where good traders, the vast majority, are simply helped or nudged to get things right and rogues prosecuted and their proceeds of crime confiscated, to compensate victims, deter them and others.

Question (b) from Cllr Craig to Cllr Champion, Executive Member for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 280.

281.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review pdf icon PDF 240 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ward moved the recommendations in the report.

 

The recommendations were put to the vote and CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED:

That the Treasury Mid-Year Review was noted.

282.

Quarterly Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hyde moved the recommendations in the report.

 

The recommendations were put to the vote and CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED:

That the decisions detailed in the Quarterly Monitoring Report and the attached appendix were noted.

283.

Appointments Report pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hyde moved the recommendations in the report.

 

The recommendations were put to the vote and CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1. That Nick Turpin be appointed as the Church of England Diocese Representative to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee for a four year term, or until a successor is appointed;

 

2. That Susie Graves be appointed as the Secondary Parent Governor Representative to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee for a four year term, or until a successor is appointed;

 

3. That Sophie McNeill be appointed as the Primary Parent Governor Representative to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee for a four year term, or until a successor is appointed.

284.

Budget Proposals 2024/25 and Medium Term Financial Strategy and Proposed Amendment pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ward moved the recommendations in the report. Councillor Comer Schwartz seconded. Councillor Hamdache moved the amendment. Councillor Jegorovas-Armstrong seconded.

 

A deputation was received from Ben Pearson relating to Electric Motorcycles

Policy. They addressed the Council's approach to electric motorcycles, expressing concerns about recent changes parking charges implemented without prior consultation. They urged the Council to follow the lead of other progressive Labour councils in recognising electric motorcycles as a sustainable mode of transport and promoting alternatives to car use.

 

Councillors Williamson, Clarke, Khurana and Weekes contributed to the discussion.

 

Councillor Hamdache exercised their right to reply on the amendment. Councillor Ward exercised their right to reply on the budget report.

 

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

 

For: Councillors Hamdache and Jegorovas-Armstrong

 

Against: Councillors Bell-Bradford, Bossman-Quarshie, Burgess, Champion, Chapman, Chowdhury, Clarke, Comer-Schwartz, Convery, Craig, Croft, Gallagher, Gill, Hayes, Heather, Hyde, Ibrahim, Jackson, Jeapes, Kay, Khondoker, Khurana, Klute, Mackmurdie, McHugh, Nargund, North, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Ogunro, Pandor, Safi-Ngongo, Staff, Turan, Ward, Wayne, Weekes, Williamson, Woolf and Zammit.

 

Abstentions: Councillors Nathan and Shaikh

 

The amendment was LOST.

 

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

follows:

 

For: Councillors Bell-Bradford, Bossman-Quarshie, Burgess, Champion, Chapman, Chowdhury, Clarke, Comer-Schwartz, Convery, Craig, Croft, Gallagher, Gill, Hayes, Heather, Hyde, Ibrahim, Jackson, Jeapes, Kay, Khondoker, Khurana, Klute, Mackmurdie, McHugh, Nargund, North, O’Halloran, O’Sullivan, Ogunro, Pandor, Safi-Ngongo, Staff, Turan, Ward, Wayne, Weekes, Williamson, Woolf and Zammit.

 

Against: Councillors Hamdache and Jegorovas-Armstrong

 

Abstentions: Councillors Nathan and Shaikh

 

The recommendations in the report were CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The General Fund Budget 2024/25 and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFC) (Section 3 of the report)

i.                    That the latest assumed MTFS and 2024/25 budget, including the underlying MTFS principles, latest in-year monitoring position and the budget assumptions be agreed (paragraphs 3.7-3.8, Table 1, and Appendix A of the report).

ii.                    That the proposed 2024/25 net budgets by directorate be agreed (paragraph 3.9, Table 2, and Appendix A of the report).

iii.                    That the 2024/25 savings be agreed, and it be noted that individual savings may be subject to individual consultation before they can be implemented (paragraphs 3.28-3.31, Table 4, and Appendix B of the report).

iv.                    That the funding assumptions following the announcement of the Final Local Government Settlement be noted (paragraphs 3.37-3.47, Table 5 and 6 of the report).

v.                    That the fees and charges policy and the General Fund fees and charges from 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024, as agreed by the Executive, be noted (paragraph 3.57-3.62 of the report).

vi.                    That responsibility be delegated to the Section 151 Office to make any technical adjustments required for the 2024/25 budget (in line with the council’s Financial Regulations).

vii.                    It be agreed that centrally held demographic growth be allocated to service budgets in-year once a more evidenced assessment is available and has been approved by the Section 151 Officer (paragraph 3.19 of the report).

Reserves and Balance Sheet Strategy and CIPFA FM Code Assessment (Section 4 of the report)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 284.