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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

257.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillor Picknell

258.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

259.

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

260.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 28 January 2021 be confirmed and the Chair be authorised to sign them

 

261.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

None

262.

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

263.

COVID 19 Update pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Sue Lukes, Executive Member Community Safety and Pandemic Response and Linzi Roberts – Egan, Chief Executive were present, outlined the report and responded to questions

 

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

 

·         The roadmap out of the current lockdown has now been outlined, and GOLD are ready to respond to the relaxation of restrictions. The Borough Emergency Control Centre continues to maintain a 24 hour, 7 days a week contingency and response service capability

·         Infection rates have declined, and the cumulative number of deaths since March 2020 had reached 319 by 5 February

·         We are Islington have assisted over 16300 residents, including helping over 4000 to access food and other support has been made available

·         A new risk model has been implemented to help clinicians identify adults with multiple risk factors for priority for vaccinations and this involves 6000 residents

·         Noted that officers from across the Council are continuing to work closely with local health and social care partners, NCL colleagues, and local communities, to support the roll out of the COVID 19 vaccination programme

·         Vaccination hesitancy is a problem, and a challenge, and the communications team has worked with health professionals, faith leaders, VCS partners, Councillors and Council staff to encourage take up

·         The resident support group has continued to help residents with the unprecedented challenges presented by COCVID 19

·         Staffing – since the beginning of February the percentage of staff working from home has been approximately 54%. The percentage of staff reported as unable to work has remained at around 13%. Building and individual risk assessments remain in place

·         In response to a question about measures being put in place for children returning to schools, and a possible consequent rise in cases it was stated that whilst testing should take place twice a week permission rates for parents for children to be tested were only currently around 20%. The Government has stated that it would be mandatory for children to attend school whether they were being tested or not

·         Noted that the Easter school break was only 4 weeks after children return to school,and that this could act as a ‘firebreak’ if infections started to rise, and that Public Health advice was available to schools

·         In response to a question it was stated that the lack of support for testing from parents was due to a number of factors, such as self – isolation requirements and loss of pay, lack of information etc.

·         Discussion took place as to vaccination reticence, and it was stated that some groups were not taking up vaccinations, and in many cases these were similar groups who do not take up other vaccinations. These groups need to be encouraged to take the vaccine, and work was taking place to identify places where residents felt comfortable in attending and were local to them, and work is also taking place with community groups to encourage uptake

·         In response to a question as to the GLA and local elections, it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 263.

264.

Presentation Executive Member Finance and Performance pdf icon PDF 421 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Gill, Executive Member Finance and Performance was present and outlined the presentation – copy interleaved

 

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

·         COVID 19 has cost the Council about £52m and after Government funding this leaves a shortfall of £8m

·         The General Reserves have increased in line with forecast at £16m

·         Pension Fund is leading the way in reducing carbon footprint and performed well

·         Budget proposals include a capital programme to deliver 550 new homes, £17m to tackle the climate crisis, and other additional investment. To fund this £25m of savings are needed on 2021/22

·         Impact of COVID 19 has made this untypical year for income collection with a loss of business rates and Council Tax

·         Maintained help available through Council Tax support scheme, supporting over 26000 households, and continued approach of ensuring a claim for UC is also treated as a claim for Council Tax support when notified to DWP

·         The number of residents making a claim for UC has increased by 148% during the COVID period, and the total number of claims now totals 32339. Initiatives have been undertaken through Discretionary Grants, pension credit take up campaign, Test and Trace support payments to assist residents

·         The Corporate Asset Strategy agreed by Executive in March 2020 and a number of improvements have been implemented

·         Digital Services has been dominated by the response to COVID requiring the creation of new services to residents and to support home working

·         Human Resources – developed and rolled out COVID workforce policy and well-being hub for staff, workforce equality plan, government funding for Kickstart schemes, new grievance procedure and other intiatives

·         Legal services – completed affordable workspace projects, dealt with high profile court matters, delivery of housing new build programme, completed the new 4 year construction contracts framework agreement

·         Committee services – COVID impacted meetings in person and virtual meetings have taken place. Guidance is awaited on future planned meetings however work is taking place on a hybrid/webcasting meeting system for the future. Casework has increased and additional resource has been allocated

·         Electoral Services – successful delivery of the first annual canvas reform legislation, outreach programmes to increase registration in under registered groups. Working to ensure elections in May are delivered effectively and safely

·         Registration – working on the frontline during pandemic and sadly registered over 1700 deaths, over which 400 were COVID related. Supported families and also managed to carry out over 400 wedding ceremonies and planning for weddings demand once restrictions are lifted

·         Customer services/Assembly Hall – supported residents through We are Islington offer, supported residents during COVID period, and worked with Children’s Services to provide food vouchers and other assistance

·         Procurement – Executive adopted a new Procurement strategy in October 2020 which has a number of significant changes

·         Noted Council had received 1656 FOI requests and 251 DSAR’s and there has been a decrease since the start of the pandemic. Council has achieved an 80% compliance rate for FOI’s and 84% for DSAR’s

·         Performance –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 264.

265.

Performance Management - Presentation - Verbal

Minutes:

Julie Foy, Director of Human Resources was present and made a presentation to the Committee – copy interleaved

 

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

·         Noted that the Council in March 2019 had moved away from an annual performance appraisal process to a continuous performance development framework

·         The previous annual performance framework was viewed by managers as not particularly effective, and involved a lot of documentation and it was more effective to have more regular meetings with staff and a more continuous developmental programme. It was stated that with an annual appraisal poor performance would not be addressed for some time, nor developmental needs for staff discussed. Many organisations had moved away from annual  performance appraisals for these reasons. Younger staff also required more instant feedback, and the changing demographic of the service supported this approach

·         It was stated the staff survey would shortly be taking place which would provide some insight into the effectiveness of appraisal processes across the Council

·         Noted that the new performance framework, which had been consulted on with Trade Unions, would identify under -performing staff at an earlier stage in order to address concerns, and to identify suitable training and development opportunities for improvement

·         Ratings were being considered as part of the introduction of the Learning Management system

·         A Member expressed the view that the Council needed to ensure that it had a high level, clear vision to deliver services effectively for residents and there is a need for performance management to be both effective for staff, and residents, and not just a mechanical process

·         The Chair stated that some departments were more effective than others, but expressed concern that one department in particular were not assisting residents/Members in an acceptable manner and that this needed to be addressed. The Chief Executive stated that Members should get a written response to enquiries within 10 working days, and if this was not the case they should inform her

·         Reference was made to the fact that the Council had not undertaken service reviews in the past, and that these needed to take place in future to address concerns

·         It was noted that a further report could be submitted to the Committee at a future date, if required, on introduction of the new performance management system

 

 

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Julie Foy for her presentation

266.

Financial Monitoring 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 –

 

·         Overall the Council is estimating COVID related budget pressures of £52m, and after Government funding to set against these pressures, are forecasting a deficit of £8m in the current financial year

·         COVID has also impacted the delivery of the capital programme, and further slippage is expected and the forecast adjusted to reflect this

·         Noted that additional funding is being set aside for COVID related pressures, and there is a £5m general contingency fund, in addition to monies set aside for COVID

·         A Member referred to paragraph 3.16 of the report, and that Islington Lettings remains a cost pressure with long and short term issues resulting in a high level of write-offs of uncollected rent. It was stated that further details on this would be provided to Councillor Russell

·         In response to a question it was stated that with regard to income losses, this was a concern and it was anticipated that it would take some time for income to return to previous levels particularly in areas such as parking and leisure centres. There is also uncertainty over future Government funding for Local Government which could impact the Council

 

RESOLVED:

That Councillor Russell be provided with further information as regards the position on lettings, as requested above

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Paul Clarke for attending

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Paul Clarke for attending

267.

Monitoring Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

 

The Chair thanked all the officers and Executive Members who attended the meeting