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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 3044

Items
No. Item

229.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Clarke-Perry.

230.

Declarations of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

231.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

232.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

233.

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 informed the meeting that public questions will be taken during consideration of each item on the agenda.

234.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

None

235.

Scrutiny Review Witnesses - Garden Class Room & Octupus Network

Minutes:

Marnie Rose, Director of Strategy & New Programmes of The Garden Classroom, and Julie Parish and Anita Gracie of Octopus Network, informed Members of the work carried out by their organisations, its challenges and future plans.

 

During discussion the following main points were made.

 

·         Julie Parish informed the meeting that Octopus Network, a small charity, initially carried out most of its activities in community centres, offering and hosting a range of services and events. Over the years, however, it has expanded into the use of open spaces and parks. Julie Parish welcomed the support provided by the Parks Department.

·         The meeting was informed that Octopus Network had received more than £900,000 external funding over a number of years, which enables it carry out a range of activities across the borough. It supports residents in designing gardens and open spaces, growing food to eat and running workshops in community centres for residents. One of the notable and successful activities is the Environmental Summer Schools, which are run in partnership with Islington Green Space for Children, from ages 5-11, and their families.

·         The “Trail Blazer”, which is run in partnership with Islington Community Hubs Network, aims to create unique living/learning spaces that provide new outdoor learning environments for local communities to develop, design learning activities, manage and enjoy.

·         In response to a question about promoting “Urban Wild Places” in parks, the meeting was advised that, with the support of Islington Parks, Octopus would endeavour to establish an area within the park where wildlife could thrive, so that young children could visit, observe and learn about bees, butterflies, frogs, etc.

·         The Garden Classroom (TGC) comprises volunteers who help deliver high-quality hands-on sessions in green spaces across Islington. TGC works with individuals who have an understanding of outdoor life and have a passion for nature and the outdoors.

·         TGC works in partnership with Islington Council, and other councils, community gardens, schools and businesses, to bring real benefits to the community, which it believes will boost staff morale, and engage client or customer bases. Members were advised that TGC works with schools to deliver its curriculum through outdoor learning in parks and gardens.

·         The meeting was informed that more than 62,000 children had been engaged in various outdoor activities over the years, which accounts for 28.5% of what TGC provides. Since there is a recognition that city dwellers experiencing myriad challenges, such as overdevelopment, pollution and insufficient open spaces, are missing out on outdoor activities, TGC also engages with disadvantaged children and visits schools.

·         Although TGC works with other departments, it currently has a positive working relationship with Public Realm: it helps to deliver more than 200 hours of activities in the Ecological Centre, instead of the 60-70 hours agreed in the service-level agreement.

·         Challenges include lack of shelter and toilet facilities for schoolchildren in the park. Anti-social behaviour and dog fouling is an issue in some of the parks, there is a noticeable decrease in such activities particularly after community engagement in the space.

·         With  ...  view the full minutes text for item 235.

236.

Quarter 1 Performance Report ( 2018/19) - Employment & Skills pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Q1 Performance Report.

·         Members were informed that the number of residents supported back into work is above target compared with last year. To minimise duplication, partners now share details of their local offer, consult with the partnership when changing or adapting delivery, share data on their outcomes, and work collectively to identify and address gaps.

·         The Council recognises the essence of supporting parents into work as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty, particularly in light of the very high levels of child poverty that is related to parents on out-of-work benefits. Members were advised that although the Council, with 119 outcomes, has exceeded the profiled target for quarter 1, council services and partners aim to support at least 425 parents into employment this year.

·          iWork continues to trial different models of outreach so that support is effectively targeted at the economically inactive residents, including parents who don’t claim unemployment benefit, under 25s, and residents on disability benefits.

·         It continues to be a challenge to engage unemployed young adults aged 18-25, but council services and partners will continue in the council’s aim to support at least 360 young people into employment during the year. The meeting was informed that Network Aspire, in conjunction with employers such as Nando’s and Caffe Nero, provides hospitality masterclasses to address this situation.

·         In relation to issues around the night-time economy, the Executive Member for Economic Development acknowledged that this had not been looked into but that it would be an area of interest in the future. Members were advised that the Council will continue to encourage employers to introduce the London Living Wage, and increase the skill of its residents to prepare them for better-paid jobs.

·         In response to a request for comparison data about the increasing number of apprentices that had moved into further employment or training, the Executive Member for Economic Development indicated that it would be circulated. In addition, the Director Employment, Skills and Culture informed the meeting that a progress report on the Apprentice strategy, which highlights the progress in, and challenges of, retaining apprentices, would be brought to Committee for consideration.

·         Members were informed that the Council continues to embed social value in its council commissioning/procurement exercises by creating apprenticeships and entry-level jobs with its suppliers for local residents. Members were informed that a Task and Finish Group, headed by the Corporate Director Housing and Adult Services, is reviewing the number of Islington residents who have gained apprenticeships with council-contracted suppliers.

·         On concerns over the low skills and poverty levels of its residents, the meeting was informed that the Council’s Adult and Community Learning Service is planning to make lifelong learning more accessible by offering night schools and establishing a Joint Directorate Outreach Team to address the issue.

·         In response to an observation that children of West Indian origin, and white working-class children, had not been participating in the summer reading challenge held in libraries, the Executive Member indicated that she would have a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 236.

237.

Annual Report of the Executive Member for Economic Development (2017/18) pdf icon PDF 834 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation on the 2017/18 Annual Report. A copy of the presentation would be interleaved with the agenda.

 

In the discussion, the following points were made.

·         The Executive Member for Economic Development informed the meeting that 1,334 Islington residents had been supported back into paid employment.

·         In comparison with other central London boroughs, Islington Council had the highest proportion of school leavers going into apprenticeship schemes.

·         The Council had launched its health and work programme, which is co-located
 with the Council’s iWork team at 222 Upper Street.

·         More than 43,000 sq ft of space has been secured from developers to support local businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, the £1 million funds received from the Mayor of London will enable the Council to deliver a £2 million affordable workspace programme in Finsbury Park.

·         As a local economic agent, Islington Council continues to initiate internal work to co-ordinate and increase the Council’s approach to social value through its procurement process and commissioning services.

·         In a recognition that local residents enjoy the benefit of a thriving local economy, a new Inclusive Economy Team had been created to manage the process.
 

·         On the reported 8% of Islington’s working-age population that is identified as sick and of ill-health, Members requested a further breakdown of the sickness data to be provided.

·         In response to concerns about the increasing gentrification of the market area by neighbouring Hackney Council, the Service Director Planning and Development informed Members that she would raise the issue with her counterpart in Hackney.

·         On the question of whether Council data existed on the number of people engaged in the night-time economy, the Executive Member for Economic Development reiterated that, although the Council has no data, it will continue to encourage employers to sign up to the London Living Wage and to consider measures of improving in-work progression.

·         In response to a suggestion that the favourable business arrangements of charities in town centres should be reconsidered because other small businesses were disadvantaged, the meeting was informed that this was a planning policy issue and could be addressed only through national legislation. The Executive Member for Economic Development indicated, however, that she would investigate as to what could be done to support other businesses.

·         The meeting was informed that although the Preston Model is recognised as a good example in terms of supporting and revitalising the local economy, and lessons have been taken on board, over the years Islington Council has introduced measures, such as some of its services being brought back in-house, to improve the wages and income of staff. In addition, the Executive Member reiterated that the Council’s Planning Policy has resulted in the Council being able to secure a commitment from developers of 50% of affordable housing for residents and of affordable workspace for emerging businesses – peppercorn rents for up to two years.

·         It was noted that the Council continues to work with anchor institutions, such as the NHS, large public sectors, and universities, to deliver apprenticeships and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 237.

238.

Annual Report of the Executive Member for Environment & Transport (2017/18) pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Webbe gave a presentation on the work of the Environment & Transport Directorate. A copy of the presentation would be interleaved with the agenda.

 

In the discussion the following points were made.

·         The meeting was advised that residents should continue to be supported by initiatives such as “Energy Doctor in the Home’, “Warmth on Prescription” and “Warm Home Discount”, which had resulted in lower energy bills.

·         2,600 residents had switched their energy supplier from one of the six main providers to the Council’s Angelic Energy, which was launched in October 2017. In addition, approximately 72% of those who signed up have switched to pre-payment meters.

·         In 2017/18, 2,548 vulnerable residents had been referred, with each being offered an average of four to five interventions. Members were reminded that, through SHINE, Islington Council has achieved an estimated average annual saving of £213 and, most important, as a result of its success SHINE funding has tripled and expanded across all London boroughs.

·         The meeting was advised that through the Solar Together London initiative, more than 400 residents had registered interest and over 100 properties had accepted the formal offer, thereby increasing solar energy in the borough by 25%. Members were informed that with more than 700 LED light fittings installed at the Town Hall had reduced electricity consumption.

·         Air pollution monitors have been placed outside schools to protect the health of the school children, and the Council, in partnership with Hackney, had introduced the first Ultra-low Emission Vehicle Zone to help tackle the city’s air pollution. In addition, the anti-idling campaign is being promoted around a number of key hotspots.

·         Members were informed that road junctions in the borough that are identified as dangerous are being transformed: Archway gyratory had been reconfigured and construction around Highbury Corner is ongoing, solely to improve pedestrian safety and to create safer cycle routes. In response to concerns about other dangerous junctions in the borough, the meeting was informed that where a junction is identified as dangerous, it will be included in the schedule of work. The Service Director, Planning and Development indicated that she would look into the Drayton Road Junction.

·         The Executive Member for Environment and Transport highlighted the Council’s plan to install a further 100 electric vehicle charging points over the next 12 months to add to the 87 units already in place.

·         The meeting was informed that although recycling rates fell in 2017/18 from 31.6% to 29.5%, the residual waste per household figure remains the lowest it has ever been. Members were also advised that the new fleet vehicles had resulted in a substantial and consistent reduction in missed collections.

·         Members were advised of the new street cleaning service, launched in June 2018, which covers every road in the borough five days a week.

·         In response to a question regarding Islington’s transport strategy, the Executive Member advised that, despite the Mayor of London’s tight submission deadline of February 2019, opportunities would be provided to ensure that councillors and various stakeholders would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 238.

239.

Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the work programme be noted.