Skip to content

Agenda and minutes

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


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ibrahim, Pandor, Ozdemir, Nathan and Graham.


Declaration of Substitute Members

Additional documents:




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  

(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 of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 401 KB

Additional documents:


The following amendments to the minutes were proposed:


Minute 43 to be reworded to read: The Committee requested an update on when the response to the Net Zero Carbon 2030 strategy (including Waste Management) scrutiny review would be going to the Executive; and when the Executive response to the Performance Management and Development scrutiny review recommendations would be available.


Addition to minute 46: A Member made the point that in the Annual Workforce report on page 145 there is insufficient detail provided to effectively scrutinise sickness absence and agency workers in the council. The member noted the last reports to the Committee on these subjects were on 2 December 2021 and 4 November 2021 respectively. The Member asked that time be made available in the Committee workplan to receive reports on these two subjects.


In relation to the appended letter from Thames Water, it was noted that there had been a further burst pipe on Holloway Road since the previous meeting that took approximately one week to be repaired. A member suggested that the reasons for this should be investigated by Thames Water. The Chair advised that she would contact Thames Water in relation to this.




That subject to the amendments listed above, the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.




·        Democratic Services to follow up on scrutiny response reports.

·        The scheduling of an update on sickness absence and agency workers be discussed between the Chair and HR officers.

·        The Chair to write to Thames Water in relation to the leak on Holloway Road.


Chair's Report

Additional documents:


The Chair brought the Committee’s attention to the actions from the previous meeting and responses provided in the meeting papers.


In relation to point 13 on transfer of the apprenticeship levy, a member commented that it would be very helpful to have more specific information on what percentage of the apprenticeship levy is spent internally and externally, and the types of apprenticeship courses being funded externally.


In relation to point 16, on destinations and career progression of those on apprenticeships, a member expressed surprise that the council did not track the outcomes of those it supported into apprenticeships. It was noted that Ofsted rated one third of apprenticeship courses nationally as “requiring improvement” or “inadequate” and the member considered that it was important for the Council to track this data in light of this context. It was requested that officers consider how the effective tracking of apprenticeship outcomes may be enabled in the future, as mentioned at previous meetings.


In relation to point 7, on the status of previously agreed savings now considered undeliverable, the papers noted that the detail would be included in future budget monitoring reports. A member expressed disappointment that this detail was not yet available and suggested that the information would help to inform the scrutiny of the budget setting process. The Committee asked if it was possible for this detail to be provided in a standalone document and the officers present advised that this would be prepared and circulated in December.


In relation to point 6, on the employment of agency workers, a member requested data on how many agency workers and consultants were recruited in each financial year, how spend on this compared to previous years, which specific teams were employing agency workers, and why this was considered necessary. It was requested that data on agency workers and high-value interim workers be reported separately.


A member raised the career progression of BAME staff and queried the plans, targets and timescales to recruit more diverse staff to senior levels. It was noted that the committee had previously asked about this topic. The Chair advised that this was a matter for Human Resources and the relevant Executive Member was the Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance. The Chair reiterated that the Committee wished to review the findings of the previous equalities working group held on BAME staff progression at a future committee meeting.


In relation to point 17, on staff sickness absence where mental health was recorded as a factor, it was commented that the data provided was helpful, but did not specify if work-related factors had contributed to the sickness absence. It was asked if any data was held in relation to this, including qualitative data. It was suggested that discussions with those on long-term sickness absence may be helpful to understand if work-related factors had contributed to their absence.


In relation to point 4, on the Islington Lettings scheme ending, it was suggested that the Housing Scrutiny Committee could consider lessons learned from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.


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.


Additional documents:




External Attendees (if any)

Additional documents:




Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion - Annual Presentation pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Additional documents:


Councillor Khondoker, the Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion, presented to the committee. The presentation included detail of the Challenging Inequality Programme and its workstreams, and the work of the Equalities Team to support, facilitate and empower other council services to consider equalities issues in their work.


The following main points were raised in the discussion:


·        A member noted that much of the council’s equalities work focused on race, with some reference to LGBT+ issues and disabilities. It was queried if a similar approach would be taken for all protected characteristics, and also equalities issues such as disparities in income and wealth, and disparities in access to housing. In response, it was advised that the starting point of the Challenging Inequality programme was racial equality, and the next phase would focus on disability, however it was accepted that marginalised groups faced a range of challenges and the council wished to address all forms of inequality where it was able to do so.

·        In response to a question, the Executive Member advised that it was important to understand intersectionality when considering the inequalities experienced by particular groups.

·        It was noted that the Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance had Executive responsibility for Human Resources, including equalities matters related to Islington Council as an employer.

·        In response to a question on how key performance indicators were measured, it was explained that action plans were being developed and this would include how actions would be monitored and evaluated. A member asked if any timescales had been set for key outcomes to be identified. In response, it was advised that tangible targets and timescales were currently being identified, and an update would be reported to the committee when this was available to allow for further scrutiny. It was recognised that there may be difficulties in identifying quantitative performance measures in this area. Officers advised that it was hoped to identify five or six key target outcomes by the end of January; this focus on a limited number of outcomes would then help to drive change in those areas.   

·        The Chair noted that all Corporate Directors had responsibility for promoting equalities matters in their directorate and this was important to achieve improved outcomes for residents. It was queried if residents had been engaged in the development of the programme. The council’s Principal Risk Report identified failure to address social inequalities as a key risk, and identified that clear prioritisation, governance, and programme management would be crucial to the programme’s success. In this context, it was asked how the Committee could help to establish a rigorous approach to the monitoring of progress against priorities. In response, it was advised that the discussions were ongoing to ensure that equality objectives were included in the council’s performance framework, and scrutiny played an important role in reviewing performance data. Officers recognised that Challenging Inequality was a broad topic and there was a need for a sharp focus and prioritisation of this work to ensure that it had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Scrutiny Review: Cost of Living Crisis - Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 2 MB

·        Fuel poverty and the work of SHINE (Seasonal Health Intervention Network)

·        Evidence from Cally Energy

·        Evidence on the resident experience of retrofitting

·        Update from the Chair on Council Tax Support Scheme

Additional documents:


(i)               Fuel Poverty and the work of SHINE


The Committee received a presentation from Jobe Bryer, Energy Advice Manager, on the role of the Seasonal Health Interventions Network and the support available to residents experiencing hardship due to increased energy costs. The presentation also summarised the energy efficiency of the council’s housing stock.


The following main points were noted in the discussion:


·        It was noted that the caseload of the SHINE service had increased due to the energy crisis.

·        The Committee expressed concern about the impact of rising energy costs, not only for residents, but also for public services. The increased cost of energy was having an impact on schools and leisure centres, and their ability to offer services in a financially sustainable way. Some leisure centres had reduced operating hours as a result, and this would have an impact on the health and wellbeing of residents.

·        It was asked if government cuts were hampering efforts to install energy efficiency measures in housing. In response, it was advised that the government had ceased the Green Homes Grant which primarily supported owner occupiers, and other schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) had also been significantly reduced over recent years. In 2014 the council fully insulated the Holly Park Estate and primarily financed this through ECO funding. The council had been unable to finance energy efficiency improvements through this scheme since as the scheme had been significantly reduced.

·        Concern was expressed about residents on pre-payment meters in the current energy crisis, particularly as those residents had to be proactive in claiming government energy support measures, in comparison to those who received credit on Direct Debit payments. In relation to concerns about energy companies using debt collectors, officers advised that they were encouraging as many people as possible to join the priority services register, as those on the register could not legally be switched to a pre-payment meter.

·        There were reports in the press about government vouchers for pre-payment meters going unclaimed, and it was thought that a proportion of these had been lost or delayed. Officers advised that they were aware of cases where residents had not received these vouchers, and in some instances they had liaised with energy companies on behalf of residents to resolve the issue. It was also noted that pre-payment meters only accepted a maximum credit of £250, which was being used significantly faster due to the high cost of energy.

·        A member asked if officers were aware of any hurdles to residents accessing the services that SHINE refer to. In response, it was advised that due to significant demand there were some delays from the point of referral to residents receiving support. For example, it was known that there had been some recent delays to payments made from the GLA Warmer Homes scheme.

·        A member asked if the Energy Advice service liaised with community and faith groups about the support available and suggested that further engagement may be helpful to promote the schemes available. In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Financial Monitoring Report - Month 6 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Additional documents:


Paul Clarke, Director of Finance, and Councillor Ward, Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance, introduced the budget monitoring report.


The Committee noted the £4 million overspend in Adult Social Care, and that the Adult Social Care In-House Transformation Programme had been delayed to December 2022/23, causing a cost pressure of £500,000. This issue was referred to the Health and Care Scrutiny Committee to explore further. 


A member expressed concern about the increase of schools in financial deficit. This was primarily due to an increase in energy costs, combined with a decrease in school roll numbers. Officers were working closely with schools to help them with their financial planning. Members also expressed concern about the increase in the cost of residential care services for children and young people. In response, it was advised that this was a national issue, the priority was ensuring that children were looked after safely and this was becoming increasingly expensive in the current financial climate.


The Chair thanked officers for circulating a briefing note on energy purchasing, which highlighted differences between Islington’s approach in comparison to other local authorities. The Chair asked, where the council had different arrangements to other local authorities, how the council would factor in that level of risk into decision-making processes, and how should that inform the work of scrutiny in holding decision-makers to account. Councillor Ward indicated that this would be considered further in advance of the January meeting.




That the budget monitoring report be noted.




Councillor Ward and relevant officers to consider the question of risk management and report back to the next meeting.


Monitoring Item pdf icon PDF 474 KB

·        Council Forward Plan

·        Scrutiny Review Tracker

·        Outstanding responses from previous meetings

·        Updates from Committee Chairs

·        Work Programme


Additional documents: