Monday, 2 July 2012



You may wonder why I should post this information about Lambeth Council’s Oversight & Scrutiny Committee. These Committees are potentially very important ways in which Councillors can review the work of officers and Cabinets. Too often there is a danger that they can be rubber-stamps. An important element is to invite views from outside people and organisations on the policy and procedural matters they are looking at.
So back in April whenLambeth Councillor Stephen Morgan in Prince’s Ward (Kennington and Vauxhall) emailed asking local people etc to comment on the priorities for the work of Lambeth Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee for 2012-13,  I thought I would give my thoughts. My reply stated:
‘This is a significant step forward.

One of the real values of O&S is to hold open–ended evidence submitted enquiries especially encouraging local organisations to comment on areas of Council policy and delivery, cross-cutting themes, and responses to ne new challenges.
Through its Policy Review Committee Wandsworth Council’s controlling Labour Group in the 1970s made significant changes e.g. on tackling unemployment and beginning local economic development action, aspects of social services, support to lone parents, housing policies, etc. Lambeth Group use of Commissions is valuable but they are one offs, whereas O&S can re-visit a topic/issue.

Given the challenges ahead for the Borough topics that might be worth O&S looking at are:
·         the implications of the forthcoming Census analysis for Council policies and public and community/voluntary services

·         how can localism be better embedded in the Co-op Council initiative so that officers come out of their offices and engage more with local people and organisations

·         how to meet skills training and adult learning needs in a time of cuts and high unemployment

·         how to ensure that developers target local employment and skills training

·         review of the principles across all organisations of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry recommendations in the light of continuing deep seated institutional racism

Council reply
Last month I received the following reply from Tom Barrett, Scrutiny Manager, Scrutiny Team, in the Council’s Finance & Resources section.

‘Thank-you for your suggestions and apologies for the time it has taken to get back to you. Your suggestions were considered by an informal meeting of the committee and I can update you as follows:
  • Census implications – An item on the outcomes of the census has been inserted into the committee’s work programme but has not yet been scheduled (this is subsequent to further guidance on timing)
  • Localism/Coop Council – The committee is planning a more active role in terms of the coop council direction of travel. This will include considering a particular coop ‘theme’ (to be identified) at future meetings. This process will begin with a workshop between the committee and officers looking specifically at some of the challenges/implications for our engagement with local people and organisations. The new legislative context (including the Localism Bill) will be a key part of that.
  • Adult learning needs/skills training – The committee has requested a substantive item on business, employment and employability in Lambeth. This is due to take place in the Autumn at a meeting that is yet to be scheduled and will cover the issues you highlight.
  • Developers targeting local employment/skills – The committee has commissioned a substantive item on regeneration in Lambeth for its October (25th) meeting. These issues will be picked up either through this item or that detailed above on employability.
  • Stephen Lawrence recommendations – The committee will consider a general report on equalities during the municipal year but this has not currently been scheduled. Councillors asked that I refer your specific suggestion to the council’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Communities who will be able to set out the council’s position on this matter.
I’ve attached the committee’s draft work programme for your information and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information about specific items, attending our meetings or any scrutiny-related questions.
Once again, thank-you for getting in touch.’

12 July 2012
HRE - Planning Reneration and Enterprise Savings Tracker 2011-12
Work programme and Action Monitoring
12 July 2012
The council's engagement with its communities
Discussion paper to include latest position (incl. relevant national and local legislative and policy framework) and direction of travel with particular reference to the Cooperative Council/local decision-making and the following areas:
- Neighbourhood forums/plans
- Community-led commissioning
- Community forums
- Community Hubs
- 'No rules zone' development
- Avoiding 'sectional capture'
- Capacity building within the community
- The role of the ward councillor
25 October 2012
Regeneration in Lambeth
Report to include focus on the following areas:
- Vauxhall Nine Elms/Northern Line opportunities/threats
- Use of the Community Infrastructure Levy
- The relationship between the North and Sth of the Borough (incl. funding)
- The council's engagement with developers
- The role of Planning Committee
Business, employment and employability in Lambeth
Report to include reference to:
- Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) incl. lessons learnt and Nth/Sth r'ship
- Retention of business rates
- Business satisfaction with council services (charter)
- Business-council (incl. Cllrs)-education (school and higher) links
- Employability of Lambeth residents
- Worklessness priority
28 January 2013
20 March 2013

Affordable Housing Supply
Regeneration/redevelopment of the Borough's Estates
Welfare reform
Equalities (as per 2011-12 report)
Census analysis
Items from 2011-12
Strategy on Poverty - incorporating adults.
Partnership working around worklessness and local economic plans. Committee decided to defer taking an item on youth unemployment/apprenticeships as similar being considered by CYPS SC 3/12
Communications – how robust is the council’s engagement with residents and how to manage in stringent times. Include follow up to call in including degree to which the post-Lambeth Life publicity arrangements reach all parts of the community. Consultation arrangements.
Update on Co-operative Council
The following are recorded in the workplan as items for future follow up (potential issues for 2012/13)
Update on Town Centre Masterplans (discussed 5/11)
Contract for Statutory Notices and Advertising – follow up to call in on decision to use The Weekender for carrying statutory notices etc (6/11)
The cumulative impacts of savings proposals, including savings made by partner organisations – issue proposed for in-year follow up arising from budget discussion on cumulative EIA; progress on developing shared equalities impact framework (1/12)
Neighbourhood Forums – PNQ on creation and support to Forums: committee interested to follow up on neighbourhood arrangements/local involvement and decision making (including community led commissioning)

Commission proposals

Entries in italic are to be confirmed
Meeting/information type key:

Briefing Paper:
A paper submitted to the members of the committee for information/update but not considered at a formal meeting of the committee (unless a member specifically requests it).
An informal meeting of the members of the committee (frequently open to all members) to receive information on an area of the council’s work.
A formal meeting of the committee convened in response to the receipt of a call-in.
Challenge Session:
An informal meeting of the members of the committee to provide an opportunity to challenge a particular council policy.
A small group of councillors responsible for conducting an in-depth piece of research and established by the committee.
A formal meeting of the committee scheduled in the annual calendar of the council at the AGM.
A formal meeting of the committee that falls outside of the schedule of meetings.
Visits to a particular location for the committee-members only

No comments:

Post a Comment