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Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Daksha Ghelani, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1881 E-mail:  daksha.ghelani@harrow.gov.uk

Link: View the meeting online

Media

Items
No. Item

106.

A Welcome and Notification of a Replacement of a Councillor on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all present to the first virtual meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and made some general announcements. He informed the Committee that the meeting would be audio and video recorded and would be available on the Council’s website.  Also present at the meeting were Members of the Scrutiny Sub-Committees who had been invited to the meeting to participate in the Question and Answer Session.

 

The Chair also welcomed Councillor Stephen Greek to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 1.5, he advised that Councillor Stephen Greek had replaced Councillor Richard Almond on the Committee.  On behalf of the Committee, the Chair thanked Councillor Almond, a former Vice-Chair of the Committee, for the contributions made to the work of the Committee whilst upholding the spirit in which scrutiny operated by working across party lines.

107.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)              if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were no Reserve Members in attendance.

108.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)               all Members of the Committee;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that the following interests were declared:

 

Agenda Item 10 - The Council's Response to COVID 19 - Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive

 

Councillor Sarah Butterworth, a member of the Committee, declared non-pecuniary interests in that she was:

 

-               a teacher at an Academy High School in Harrow 

-               a member of the NEU and the GMB

-               a school NEU Representative

-               a member of the Harrow NEU Committee

-               a member of the NEU Councillor Network

-               an assistant to the Portfolio Holder for Young People and Schools with the remit of ‘youth initiatives’

-               a local authority appointed governor at Whitmore High School.

 

She would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Councillor Jean Lammiman, a member of the Committee, declared non-pecuniary interests in that she was Chair of Governors at Shaftesbury High School and a Trustee of Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD).  She would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Councillor Stephen Greek, a member of the Committee, declared non-pecuniary interests in that he was employed by the London Assembly and that he was a governor of Weald Rise Primary School.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Councillor Dan Anderson, a member of the Committee, declared a non-pecuniary interests in that:

 

-               in his employment, he had helped to raise funds for Northwick Park Hospital;

 

-               he was an assistant to the Portfolio Holder for Community Engagement and Accessibility with the remit of ‘engagement with local groups’ and would not participate in the question and answer session relating to the community and voluntary sector.

 

He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Councillor Chris Mote, a member of the Committee, declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he was ‘shielding’ due to the coronavirus pandemic and that, to date, he had not sought or received any support from the Council but that he might require assistance in the future.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Mr Ransley, a co-opted Member of the Committee, declared non-pecuniary interests in that he was Chair of St John Fisher Catholic Primary Academy, Vice-Chair of the Blessed Holy Family Catholic Academy Trust and a governor of St Dominic’s 6th Form College in Harrow.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered.

 

Councillor Jeff Anderson, a member of the Committee, declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he was ‘shielding’ due to the coronavirus pandemic and that he was in receipt of services from the Council. He added that he was a Director of Harrow Labour Hall Wealdstone Trust.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Ms Mandeep Trivedi, a co-opted member of the Committee, declared an interest in that she was a governor of Stanburn Primary School.  She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Minutes of the special meeting held on 23 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 208 KB

That the minutes of the special meeting held on 23 January 2020 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the special meeting held on 23 January 2020, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

110.

Minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

That the minutes of the meetings held on 11 February 2020 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 11 February 2020, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

111.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

To appoint a Vice-Chair of the Committee for the Municipal Year 2020/21.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To appoint Councillor Stephen Greek as Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

112.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 17 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received.  There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, 28 May 2020.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk  

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were received.

113.

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors under the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 15 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no petitions had been received.

114.

References from Council/Cabinet

(if any).

Minutes:

None received.

RESOLVED ITEMS

115.

Establishment of Sub-Committees 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider the establishment of and appointment of Members to the Sub?Committees of this Committee for the Municipal Year 2020/21, including the appointment of Chairs under Committee Procedure Rule 7.2.

 

[NOTE:  Members are asked to note that subsidiary body memberships must be determined in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and regulations made thereunder.  Therefore, whilst the Committee has to confirm the membership of its Sub-Committees to comply with the Local Government Act 1972, the actual nominations of named Councillors are decided by each Group, from within the membership of that Group.  It is not open to the Committee to seek to change or to delay the nominations duly made by a Group.  It is only if there is a failure to make a nomination or to act in due time that the Committee may seek to consider the matter further].

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Sub-Committees of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be established for the Municipal Year 2020/21 with the memberships and Chairs detailed in Appendix I to these minutes.

116.

Appointment of Scrutiny Leads 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 24 KB

To appoint the leads for the Municipal Year 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the Scrutiny Lead Members and their areas of responsibility, as set out in Appendix II to these minutes, be agreed.

117.

The Council's Response to COVID 19 - Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Chief Executive setting out the Council’s response to Covid 19 which had been considered by Cabinet on 21 May 2020.  The Committee also received a presentation from the Council’s Chief Executive which had been circulated with the supplemental agenda, which provided an overview of the national and London position, an update on Harrow Services such as the Community Hub/Hardship Fund/Business Grants, the position in relation to Care Homes, the availability of PPE, central government’s Test, Track and Trace programme, the Council’s budget position and the restart and recovery phase.

 

The Chair welcomed the Chief Executive and his Corporate Strategy Board to the meeting.  He also welcomed the Leader of the Council, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, Councillors and advisors serving on the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Sub-Committee and the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee.  He stated that the Committee would focus their questions on the following areas:  Health, Finance, Business Grants, Schools and the New Normal.

 

The Chief Executive referred to his report and presentation and paid tributes to staff and Councillors for their hard work to meet the challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).  The Leader of the Council also paid a tribute to the Voluntary Sector which had risen to the challenges and had helped the Council to put services together from scratch.  He was saddened to report that, as at 5 May 2020, the number of Harrow residents who had lost their lives due to Coronavirus was 359.

 

The Chief Executive added that his career in local government had spanned 30 years but the challenges brought about by the pandemic had been the most demanding.  The Council had performed well in difficult circumstances but there were lessons to be learnt.  As London had now passed the peak in infections, the focus would be on the New Normal, the Recovery and how best to restore Council services. 

 

The Chief Executive reported that, given the pressures, Council services were performing well, including Adult Social Care.  The Council had set up two new services such as the Community Hub and the Hardship Fund which had brought about additional challenges in the distribution of Business Grants.  The pandemic had also resulted in a significant loss of income for the Council thereby increasing the existing budget gaps for 2020/21 and beyond.  The emergency funding of £30m received from central government would only cover costs for a period of four months and he hoped that additional money would be provided to local authorities.  He invited questions from Members.

 

Democratic Accountability

 

Questions:

To what extent had democracy in Harrow stopped?  On the basis that more decisions would have been taken by officers, what impact had there been on politicians being able to pursue policy?  To-date, there had been no real engagement with the Members of Overview and Scrutiny Committee and given its statutory function to hold the Executive to account, how would this change given that a second wave of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 117.