Agenda and minutes
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Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Substitute Members
There were no declarations of substitute members.
Declarations of Interest
If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:
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§ 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.
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This applies to all members present at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
To agree the minutes of the 6 September 2022 meeting.
The minutes of the 3 October 2022 meeting will be submitted to the next meeting.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 September 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them subject to including the added comments above .
The Chair informed the meeting of the 1st Informal working group on sustainable and affordable energy held on 17th October 2022. Members received a presentation from James Wilson, Islington’s Energy and Sustainable Consultant Manager on how council is working on the public sector decarbonisation scheme. Mark Hewitt, the CEO of Icax, a company that specialises in renewable energy system will be attending the next informal meeting along with Chetan Lad , the Interim and Deputy Mayor Head of Energy GLA on 21 November.
The Chair thanked Cllr Gilgunn for circulating information about a workshop which is titled ‘ working together in local government for public accountable social housing retrofitting’ to be held at University of Westminster on 18th November
Order of Business
The order of business would be as per the agenda.
The Chair invited Emma Pavans de Ceccatty of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) to give an overview of their work, highlighting the harms caused by the use of pesticides. The following points were raised:
· PAN is the only UK charity whose focus is solely on tackling the problems caused by pesticides and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives in agriculture, urban areas, homes and gardens.
· The charity works with and puts pressure on governments, regulators, policy makers, industry and retailers to reduce the impacts of harmful pesticides to both human health and the environment.
· PAN’s work includes campaigning for change in policy and practices at home and overseas, co-ordinating projects which help smallholder farming communities escape ill-health and poverty caused by pesticides, and contributing our wealth of scientific and technical expertise to the work of other organisations who share our aims.
· PAN strives to eliminate hazardous pesticides, reduce dependence on pesticides and promotes ecologically sound, and socially just, alternatives to chemical pest control
· PAN publishes independent information on pesticide use and impacts for governments and decision makers, researchers, media, concerned citizens and other interested groups.
· The charity also undertakes research to promote better understanding of the cause and effects of pesticide problems.
· In addition to the above PAN undertakes projects to demonstrate that growing food and textiles, and managing amenities, is possible without the use of hazardous pesticides.
· The charity promotes effective and progressive policies to eliminate pesticide hazards, representing concerns of users, consumers and exposed communities nationally and internationally.
· Meeting was reminded of the impact of pesticides use on biodiversity, habitat loss and its harm on insects like bees and butterfly which is crucial for the environment.
· Also its impact on the council’s personnel health was noted despite the use of PPE and that the spraying of pesticides in open spaces without adequate signage being displayed could be detrimental to the health and well being of residents who use those open spaces for leisure.
· PAN is concerned with pet poisoning as a result of pavement being sprayed in an attempt to remove wild vegetation, it was suggested that this was often unnecessary, especially as not all plant species causes damage to pavements.
· PAN acknowledges Islington’s efforts in striving to be pesticide free over the last 10 years but noted that more could be done despite financial constraints.
· Members were reminded that local authorities have a role in protecting the natural environment, and although PAN are not advocating for Council’s to allow wild vegetation to thrive, it is important for the council to recognise that damage to pavements is caused by big trees like sycamore. The organisation wanted to increase awareness that not all plant species are harmful as these vegetation/plants can be a habitat for insects such as bees.
· PAN acknowledges Islington’s investment in staff training, promoting green industry in the borough and its engagement with residents
· PAN has a 3 year template and tool kit guide which it is prepared to share with Council officers.
· The meeting was advised that ... view the full minutes text for item 58.
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.
Committee received a
presentation on the Natural Environment from the Head of Greenspace
and Leisure Services and in particular how it fits into the
Circular Economy and Green Jobs. The following points were
· The Council aims to develop and deliver a programme to support Greening initiatives across the borough, and this programme would include delivering in in line with the 2020 Environment Bill, Vision 2030 Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan.
· This will result in tackling Biodiversity Loss, reducing the impact of climate change and reducing Environmental Risks to Public Health. The Council in its first year has delivered the Islington Greener Together Programme with some first schemes evident on the ground and Council is now aiming to deliver its tree planting programme.
· Greener Together programme will include delivering approved greener together projects with housing and highways and development of a pocket park framework.
· With regards to tree canopy cover, the Council will increase Tree Planting and there are plans to combat drought impact through adaptations.
· On Parks & Biodiversity and Engagement with Nature, the Council aims to increase food growing in communities and promote the benefits of green spaces for healthier Communities and introduce education programmes.
· The officer highlighted a number of Green Space targets which include a 26% canopy cover by 2025, and 27% by 2030 which is quite high comparable to neighbouring authorities considering the borough size and dense nature of the borough.
· The Council aims to replace every tree lost by delivering an overall net gain of at least 600 trees every year by 2026 and provide 1000sqm of new green space by 2026. Members were also informed of the increase in volunteer hours and the development of 1.5ha of pocket parking to support new green spaces.
· With regards achievements, meeting was informed of the 38 approved Greener Together projects, funding from NEIR for the development of pocket framework and the Future Parks Accelerator funding to accelerate urban greening and TFL funding for Greening Cally.
· Achievements of the Tree Service include the planting of 701 trees in 2021/22, grant funding for a Tree Officer post has been received to engage with residents on identifying locations for trees and therefore increasing the capacity of the team. The Tree donation process will be launched next month with Trees for Streets.
· Notable achievements with regards biodiversity and engagement with nature, the service has exceeded its target of 250m squared additional habitat space for wildlife in parks and 13,000 volunteer hours in parks and lots of young people engaged in wildlife.
· Officer also highlighted a number of the council’s biodiversity work and engagement with nature such as Myawaki Forest, the Islington Bloom projects, the Islam nature walk, school children on Big Cities Butterflies workshop and pond dipping etc.
· Within greener together, risks include lack of capacity for consistent engagement with communities and inability to build trust and lack of potential maintenance budget sources for new green infrastructure.
· Risks identified within the Park Services include the potential lack of support from local ... view the full minutes text for item 60.
Cllr Santiago Bell-Bradford,
Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs, with Stephen
Biggs, Corporate Director of Community Wealth Building was present
for discussion of the Quarter 2 Performance report with copy
interleaved. The following issues were highlighted
· The Executive Member wanted to acknowledge officers’ efforts of putting more people back to work especially during this period of cost of living crisis.
· On the number of Islington resident parents of children aged 0-18 supported into paid work through Team Islington activity, the meeting was informed that Council services and partners supported 234 parents of children aged 0-18 into employment which exceeded the profiled target of 232 by 1%. It is anticipated that by the year-end the annual target of 580 will be achieved.
· It is important to note that although Council partners are working with a high number of parents, there is an issue with collecting data on parental status as not all of the partners routinely capture the age of client’s children, so this presents a challenge for reporting as 90% of employment outcomes are received from partners. Some partners have raised concerns that collecting data on parental status could be seen as discriminatory so the Council is taking action to address this by working with partners to identify how to address this gap in information to ensure that this is available for future reporting.
· Council services and partners have supported 234 residents with a disability/long term health condition into employment exceeding the profiled target of 200 by 17%, however the Council in collaboration with London Metropolitan University has commenced a research project to gain greater insight into this issue. Meeting was advised that the research project will segment the general ‘disability and long-term health condition’ category and allow the Service to see in greater detail the employment circumstances of sub-groups within this category and, in turn, allow Service to provide more targeted support.
· The Executive Member highlighted a case study of a client of 3 years who suffers with severe depression, anxiety and has regular panic attacks, and explained how support services were helping him into employment, although recognising the challenges associated with securing long-term employment.
· The meeting was informed that Council services and partners supported 745 residents from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic residents into employment exceeding the profiled target of 480 by 55% and the Council in collaboration with London Metropolitan University has completed a research project on employment among Islington’s Black, Asian and Ethnic minority communities. The research has made recommendations for the targeting of support at communities and these recommendations are being addressed. Through the Islington Working Partnership the Council is encouraging other employment support services in the borough to use the research findings to support better targeting of their own support.
· The service has requested other employment support services to provide greater detail on the ethnic breakdown of the residents they are supporting into work which will be reported in Quarter 3 2022-23.
· An outreach worker has been employed specifically to strengthen ... view the full minutes text for item 61.
Cllr Roulin Khondoker,
Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion, updated the
Committee on Libraries and Heritage Quarter 1 2022-23 Performance
Report. Performance data for Quarter 2 was also appended. The
following main points were highlighted:
· The meeting was informed that the figure of library visits fell short of the quarterly target of 200,000 in quarter 1, however performance is building back to pre-pandemic levels.
· Libraries have been increasing activities and the offer to the public over the course of the Quarter and take up is increasing. Some resources have transitioned online over the course of the pandemic, a core of users have continued accessing them online which impacts on visit numbers.
· During Quarter 1 West Library was closed for the whole of April for building works (including the installation of a lift) to a first floor office which has been now been converted into a Youth Employment Hub which has impacted visit figures.
· Also the exceptional summer weather may also have had an impact on visitor figures and alongside this there was an additional Bank Holiday closure for the Queens Jubilee which reduced Library opening hours.
· The Council continues to promote library services and run a range of activities, that summer holiday activities programme has witnessed a notable increase in years so hopefully visits will improve for quarter 2.
· In terms of number of residents engaging with Community activities, meeting was advised that this is above target for Quarter 1.
· That all Council Libraries in the borough offer a wide range of activities each week for adults and children, that in persons events restarted in November 2021 which has been gradually increasing. The weekly Baby Bounce and under-fives sessions are particularly well attended as well as a range of wellbeing and learning activities. The service continue to promote them and anticipate that they will continue to be well attended.
· Executive Member informed the meeting that she is looking to review the KPI’s going forward, which will enable the committee to scrutinise the performance of the libraries.
· In response to a question about the use of the Library in particular as a warm space, the Executive Member advised that this will be monitored.
· On whether the Service is being able to capture remote access to the Library for example downloading audio books, the meeting was advised that this issue will be taken on board going forward so it will be taken away.
· Promoting library activities with traditional method of leafletting posters on community centres, schools and health centres tend to target a certain demographic audience, so other mediums such as social media needs to be considered.
Meeting was informed that there is a contrast when
it comes to regular activities in comparison to activities held
during half term and summer time, that they are well
The Chair informed the meeting
of changes to the work programme, that officers will present the
Libraries and Heritage quarterly performance report for the months
of both February and March will be considered together at the
meeting in March.