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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

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Clarke-Perry.


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:

§  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.



There were no declarations of substitute members.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 121 KB


Members requested an officer update on the following actions listed below -

The Biodiversity action plan and in particular the Executive Member for Environment and Transport’s comment that the plan would be incorporated into the Environmental Strategy. (page 3 of the minutes)


Comparison data for neighbouring authorities on the number of apprentices moving into employment.  The officer’s commitment that the Apprentice Strategy will be brought to Committee for consideration at a future meeting was noted. (page 4 of the minutes)

Information regarding the ethnicity of children participating in the summer reading challenge would be provided (page 4 of the minutes)

The breakdown of sickness data of Islington’s working-age population (page 5 of the minutes)

The Chair informed the meeting that the Committee Clerk will follow up the above enquiries and that the recent officer responses to questions raised by Members outside the meeting would be circulated.



That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 November be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.



Chair's Report


The Chair informed the meeting that as part of the ongoing scrutiny review, a number of site visits have been arranged and urged members to respond quickly if interested in attending. A suggestion to include a visit to Penn Road as an example of volunteer engagement was noted.

A briefing or update from the Recycling Manager could be facilitated if members were interested in attending such a session.

Members were reminded of the public consultation regarding the local plan and the two drop in sessions in the Town hall.

In response to a question on whether the Committee as part of its remit would have an opportunity to consider the Transport Strategy, the Chair informed the meeting that this will be raised with the relevant officer.



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.



In response to questions raised by a member of the public regarding the disposal and recycling of electronic devices, household solar installation and air quality measures in the borough, the Chair requested that the questions be sent to the Committee Clerk for officers’ responses.



Quarter 2 Performance Report - Employment and Skills pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair informed Members that officers had not been asked to attend this meeting.  Any issues or queries arising from the report should be sent to either the officers or the Committee clerk.



Scrutiny Witness: Role of the Assistant Parks Manager and Park Ranger Service



Members received a presentation from Bhupesh Thapa, Assistant Parks Manager, and Sally Oldfield, Nature Conservation Manager, on their roles, day to day operations and the management challenges in Islington parks. A copy of the presentation is interleaved with the agenda.

The following points were noted in the presentation and in the discussion:

The Area Parks Team consists of

·         the Nature Conservation Manager who manages the ecological centre and 3 nature reserves,

·         3 Assistant Park Managers who are responsible for the day to day operations of the 124 parks across the borough, and are supported by 2 Community Rangers and 3 apprentices.

·         The Area Parks Team is the first contact for residents, the press and event managers on a range of issues such as events in parks, anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping. Last year, 129 events were held in Islington parks with over 65,000 people attended. Along with the ground maintenance works, the team has the responsibility for managing projects which have been commissioned by other council services in the park. The team facilitates fun fairs in the summer months, which can be a challenge, especially in terms of public attendance and health and safety issues. 


·         The Nature Conservation team safeguards the Biodiversity Action Plan by making sure that assets and infrastructure are well maintained.

·         The Team regularly liaises with both internal and external stakeholders from formal groups such as Friends groups to institutions such as NHS in order to maximise the use of open spaces and parks.

·         It plays an active role in facilitating community engagement through volunteering as it recognises the benefit in promoting public involvement in parks.  Currently there are 36 friends groups.

·         It engages with diverse groups and communities, in particular vulnerable groups such as those with learning difficulties, the NHS, schools and children.  They also receive requests for work experiences from schools.

·         There is a regular programme of volunteering for those who want to provide their services on a regular basis such as nature conservation groups. In addition, Park Rangers offer ad hoc volunteering session across the borough. Other volunteering groups include the Friends groups and companies who want to carry out team building activities for their staff.

·         The team supports gardening groups in parks and on housing estates where residents offer to take up an area and develop it by growing food or planting.

·         Residents volunteer for many different reasons such as improving their health and physical well-being, especially retired people, learning new skills and meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures.


·         Volunteers are a positive benefit to the Council.  Their activities go a long way towards achieving the objectives identified in the Fair Futures Commission report, they help maintain community space and prevent anti-social behaviour. Income is received from corporate volunteering when companies use the parks for staff team building exercises. Skills are acquired and shared by volunteers and the positive engagement with the community can only be welcomed.

·         Managing the different activities in the parks can be challenging for staff as they are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 247.