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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

235.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillor Bell - Bradford

236.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

237.

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

238.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 October 2020 be confirmed as a correct record of the proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them

239.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That future virtual meetings of the Committee commence at 7.00 p.m. with effect from the meeting on 28 January 2021

240.

Public Questions

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

 

Minutes:

The Chair outlined the procedure for Public questions

241.

COVID 19 Update - Local economy/Employment pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Stephen Biggs, Project Consultant and Caroline Wilson, Head of Inclusive Economic Development were present and outlined the report, and made a presentation thereon, copies interleaved

 

During the presentation the following main points were made –

 

·         A significant minority of Islington’s workforce, and employed residents were in a vulnerable economic position prior to the pandemic, working in low paid insecure jobs

·         Many residents were running small micro businesses are disproportionately owned by women and people from BAME communities

·         After COVID hardest hit sectors were predominantly, but not exclusively, classed under Accommodation and Food sectors and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

·         London’s unemployment rate has risen faster than other regions, and Islington’s unemployment rate has risen from 3% of the workforce to 7.3% in October, lower than the London average.

·         Youth unemployment appeared to be lower than average rate for the borough but has risen by 14% on May figures

·         An increase in vacancies in August, across the board, was perhaps an early sign of recovery, however the situation remains unstable

·         Despite encouraging signs local people are likely to experience deteriorating economic conditions, and enduring market uncertainties, however the Chancellor’s announcement of the furlough scheme  came too late with many employees already receiving redundancy notices

·         In Islington unemployment has more than doubled since the pandemic began, and the number of workers on furlough rose 36% between June and August to 31000 people

·         In addition to enhancing existing work programmes there are four key strategic lines of response to support Islington’s residents and workers – Prioritise policies that support health and incomes of already disadvantaged people, support people into employment, strengthen the Council’s role as an economic agent, and continue to pioneer an inclusive, fairer local economy

·         Community wealth building – core component of Council’s Fairness Commission focusing on tackling economic inequality and disadvantage. This strengthens the Council’s role as an economic agent, in order to use its assets to build an inclusive local economy, and provide an opportunity for local residents. Also to engage local partners, and ensure the Council is well placed to challenge the challenges of COVID, have an impact on the local economy and employment, and support a strong and sustained economy

·         Noted that the Council is working hard to support LBI residents and businesses in a fast changing climate of economic  challenge and uncertainty

·         The health and care sector has been least affected by COVID

·         The Council’s response is to prioritise support for those disadvantaged residents who lose their jobs and to support people into work

·         Strengthen the Council’s role as an economic agent, and continue to support  fairer, more inclusive economy

·         Noted that there is a good working partnership with the Health and Care sector, and that the Council were looking at green jobs in consultation with industry, and working with other Boroughs to create economic clusters as to how young people are better able to target jobs, and a new employability programme had been established

·         Affordable workspaces have also been created, and work is taking place with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 241.

242.

Contingent Workforce pdf icon PDF 283 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Human Resources, Julie Foy, was present and outlined the report

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·       Noted that the Council had one of the lowest agency employment rates across London at 10.7%, with a target of 10%, and agency spend in October was the lowest since January, despite the need to employ extra staff during COVID

·       There had also been a reduction of one third in staff employed on £450 per day or above

·       A Member referred to the fact that whilst considerable achievements had been made in reducing spend, he felt that there needed to be a ‘stretch target’ set and more temp to perm appointments made. Reference was made to the fact that it needed to be recognised that the Council would always need to employ agency staff to ensure services remain fully operational, and that targets need to be flexible to reflect the needs of the organisation

·       In response to a question it was stated that temp to perm was a priority in E&R, and that a number of the workforce is drawn from local residents

·       In response to a question it was stated that HR did discuss with departments the data for agency staff spend, and the reasons for this, and to plan for future requirements

·       It was stated that interim staff were often costly to employ, and it was noted that this was an area to be looked at  in order to ensure that where staff can be appointed permanently to such posts that this is done as speedily as possible

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted and that future reports should include details of the number of interim posts and the length of time that these have taken to be converted into permanent appointments

 

The Chair thanked Julie Foy for her presentation

243.

Council Sickness pdf icon PDF 299 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Human Resources, Julie Foy, was present, and outlined the report for Members

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·       Noted that sickness levels were 8.5%, which is currently above target at 7.5%, but sickness levels had been affected by COVID

·       Levels of stress, depression, mental health accounted for 25% of all sickness absence, however this was a similar figure to the rest of London Boroughs

·       BAME staff had been more adversely affected by the events surrounding Black Lives Matter and appropriate counselling was being offered

·       In relation to muscular/skeletal injuries it was stated that a lot of work was taking place in relation to reducing this, and where necessary trying to redeploy staff to less manual work related posts if appropriate

·       Reference was made to the figures for long term sickness absence of 50+ days, and whether managers were taking appropriate action in this regard. It was stated that there is a need to identify problem areas and ensure that where necessary referrals are made to Occupational Health. There is also a need to analyse and use the data available, and patterns of sickness, to reduce sickness levels. There is also a need to ensure appropriate training is provided for managers

·       Noted that a lot of work is taking place in E&R to reskill staff, and to enable them to develop new skills. A new sickness policy had been introduced earlier in the year, following discussions with Trade Unions

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

 

The Chair thanked Julie Foy for attending

244.

Financial Monitoring - Month 6 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Finance, Paul Clarke, was present and outlined the report

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         COVID 19 will have a significant ongoing impact on the Council’s budget for the foreseeable future

·         Overall the Council is currently estimating COVID 19 related budget pressures of approximately £59m, including HRA and potential Council Tax and Business Rates income losses that will impact future year budgets. The Council has received £18.5m as a contribution towards budget pressures which leaves a gap of £40m, before any funding the Council receives and still to be confirmed from the Government income loss scheme. Any residual shortfall not funded by Government would significantly weaken the Council’s balances and reserves, which would then need to be replenished in future years

·         There is currently forecast General Fund overspend of +£19.662m in 200/21. This is a net decrease of - £0.576m since the month 5 forecast

·         The COVID 19 crisis is expected to lead to significant slippage of the 2020/21 capital programme into future years due to the pause in construction activity during the lockdown and ongoing social distancing measures. There is also a risk that it pushes up the overall costs of some construction projects

·         Noted that the Council’s financial accounts had been signed off

·         Noted that the Government spending review funding allocation was in line with Council expectations

·         In response to a question it was stated that the bulk of the income collection loss had resulted from losses in parking collection, business rates and Council Tax

 

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

 

 

The Chair thanked Paul Clarke for attending

245.

Monitoring Report/Work Programme etc.

Minutes:

 

Discussion took place as to whether there should be a scrutiny review undertaken in relation to BAME, and it was felt that the Chair should discuss with the BAME group the possibility of presenting an item at a future meeting of the Committee to discuss areas that they would wish to the Committee to investigate. Members were of the view that this would be the most acceptable way of proceeding, rather than a specific scrutiny review topic being agreed

 

RESOLVED:

Accordingly