Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: daniel.wilkinson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Note: The deadline for public questions is 12 noon on Wednesday, 11 July 2018 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Spencer Drury, Christine Grice, Mehboob Khan, Clive Mardner, Denise Scott-McDonald, David Stanley.

 

Apologies for leaving for leaving early were given by Councillor Maureen O’Mara. 

2.

Minutes

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2018.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

That the minutes of the Council Meeting on 27 June 2018 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor was pleased to announce that the Royal Borough of Greenwich Recycling Crew had won a nationally recognised award for Excellence in the Recycling and Waste Management Collection Crew of the Year category.   The competition was hard, which was a real testament to the hard work and dedication of those working in the industry, particularly our recycling crew that won on the day.  Councillor Thorpe as Leader of the Council, presented the award to Joanne Oliver, Assistant Head of Service, Street Services.

 

Further, the Mayor was very pleased to announce that the Royal Borough of Greenwich had been awarded 12 Green Flags for 2018/19 for the management of our Parks and Open Spaces. The Green Flag Award was the national standard endorsed by Central Government for well managed good quality parks and open spaces.  Greenwich Council have also supported the Friends of Plumstead Common and the Twinkle Park Trust to secure 4 Community Green Flag Awards for areas of Parks and Open Spaces that they manage on behalf of the Council.

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council to address the Chamber.  Councillor Thorpe read a statement advising the Chamber that following the conclusion of a detailed criminal investigation carried out by the Council's internal Audit and Anti-fraud Team regarding Councillor Tonia Ashikodi’s Council tenancy and the ownership of a number of properties he was advised, yesterday afternoon, that the Council had decided that there is sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to charge Councillor Tonia Ashikodi with two offences of fraud.  That as a consequence of the charges Councillor Tonia Ashikodi had been administratively suspended from the Labour Group by the National Labour Party pending the outcome of the judicial process and that it was clearly of paramount importance that Councillor Ashikodi’s fundamental legal rights to respond to these legal charges and to receive a hearing were respected therefore, the Council would not be making any further comment on the matter.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group thanked the Leader for his clear statement of the Council's position concurring that all parties, including residents, should exercise extreme care in anything said on this matter particularly on social media.  He sought clarity as to whether Councillor Ashikodi would be suspended from her Directorship of GSPlus and other Outside Bodies, for the present.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe confirmed that Councillor Ashikodi would be replaced, on a temporary basis until the outcome of the hearing, in respect of all nominations to outside bodies by the Labour Group; she would continue to hold any Committee nominations made by the Council.

4.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Peter Brooks made an unspecified personal declaration in relation to Item 9, oral question in relation to the Wide Horizons Trust.

 

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies is noted.

5.

Notice of Members wishing to exceed the 5 minute rule

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that that no requests to exceed the five minute rule had been received.

6.

Petitions

Presentation to the Council of petitions for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following petitions were presented at the meeting:

 

Subject and Number of Signatures

Presenting Councillor

Lead Department

‘To make Westmoor Street, New Lydenburg Street and Herringham Road safe and clean for the public’

25 signatures

Councillor John Fahy

Directorate of Communities and Engagement

‘To oppose changes to parking restrictions in Calderwood St, SE18 6QW’

25 signatures

 

Councillor John Fahy

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise & Skills

‘To increase parking spaces at 112 Eltham Road London SE12 8UL’

39 signatures

Councillor Ian Hawking

Directorate of Housing & Safer Communities

 

‘To have a CPZ on Ingledew Road’

43 signatures

Councillor Peter Brooks

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprises & Skills

 

‘To make Ladysmith, Halons & Enslin Roads one way.’ 

47 signatures

Councillor Pat Greenwell

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprises & Skills

 

7.

Public Deputations on matters not otherwise on the agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that that no requests for public deputations had been received.

8.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Up to half an hour will be allowed for questions by Members of the Public.

 

Questions will be taken in the order notices are received by the Chief Executive.  Each question to have no more than one part.  No member of the public shall ask more than 2 questions at a meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that Council had received 12 written questions by members of the public.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix A to the minutes.

9.

Questions from Members pdf icon PDF 181 KB

a.      To receive written responses to questions submitted by Members in line with procedure Rule A1.38.

b.      Up to 10 minutes will be allowed for Members questions.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor stated that 24 written questions had been received from Members of the Council.  The questions and replies, together with the supplementary submissions made during the meeting are attached as Appendix B to the minutes.

 

Under procedures for oral questions, the Mayor invited questions to Members of the Cabinet for response.

 

Councillor Pat Greenwell asked the Leader of the Council, I now understand that it has been agreed that Wide Horizons charity will return the lease on the Bexley Road Centre to the Council as soon as possible.  I also understand that if the charity goes bankrupt Greenwich Schools are at risk of losing £17,000 pounds in deposits which have already been lodged with the charity.  Can we please have an update on what the current position is with Wide Horizons and what the Council is doing to help them? 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, responded that no lease had been returned and we are in ongoing discussions with Wide Horizons about the situation that they find themselves in and there is a risk to paid deposits.  It is necessary for Wide Horizons to find a solution to the situation but we are talking to them about a range of options. 

 

Councillor Matt Hartley asked the Leader of the Council, given his recent statement calling for the cruise liner terminal to be more environmentally green, does he as Leader of the Council want to see onshore power, yes or no?

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, noted that onshore power was one option that could be pursued but as I understand it, there are no onshore power supplies anywhere in this country and cruise liners are moving into more on board solutions to reduce emissions from ships.   It is not down to the Council to determine how the developer responds but we have been calling on them to ensure that a green terminal is delivered or that they consider another option to come forward.

 

Following on from Maria Freeman’s public question on webcasting meetings Councillor Matt Hartley felt that both webcasting and direct engagement were to be encouraged but I would remind the Leader of the Council that he voted for a motion giving a commitment to seriously consider rolling out web streaming to Cabinet, Planning Board, Highways Meeting and other key meetings. Whilst the viewer number are one aspect, the principle of openness and transparency are as important and be of real value to residents who want to engage in this way.  Will you reconsider?

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council,thanked Councillor Hartley for raising the point on openness and transparency, noting that at the last couple of Planning Board Meetings the room were full, so there's not an issue with people attending Planning Board to engage directly.  People do not want to be at home watching it on the television they would like to be in the room making the points you made the point about openness and transparency.  

 

Councillor Matt Clare  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Matters for early debate

Up to 3 items of business may be prioritised for consideration under this section.  Each political party may select an item of business, from the list of items on the agenda, for early debate. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor noted that no requests for matters to be taken early had been received.

11.

Statement of Accounts 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Council that the Royal Borough’s statement of accounts 2018/19 had been considered by the Pensions Fund Investment & Administrative Panel, which had no comments for the Councils consideration.  The accounts were also considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel which requested that the Council considered to continue to focus on council tax collection rates and identify comparative Borough practices.

 

The Mayor invited Mr Paul Dossett, Engagement Lead from Grant Thornton (Independent Auditors), to introduce the auditors' findings Report

 

Mr Dossett, summarised the report advising that the statutory deadline for submission of Statement of Accounts was the end of May, for all councils and, as had been the case for many years the Royal Borough of Greenwich had produced its in a timely fashion.   

 

Mr Dossett advised that he intended to give an unqualified opinion on the financial statements and an unqualified value for money.  He summarised the detail of the report advising that no issues had arisen, And whilst the Council was financially stable it must continue to be aware of the pressure on authorities finances, maintain rigorous monetary saving plans and reserves and urged the continuation of Greenwich’s prudent approach to maintaining a reasonable level of reserves.  He confirmed that he would be signing off the audit tomorrow and extended his appreciation of the  hard work of the Councils Officers for their support.   

 

The Mayor invited questions to the auditor.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group, requested that the Conservative Groups thanks to the auditors and also to the Finance Team for meetings and very quick turnaround deadlines be recorded. 

 

In moving the recommendations, Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, thanked Paul Dossett and his team for their report and the interim Director of Finance and his team in preparing the accounts and the  audit team for their work.  He was pleased that the auditor had confirmed the Council had proper arrangements in place to deliver value for money in our services and how those resources were used whilst recognizing the budget pressures the Council faced, particularly in the area of social care.  He noted that the Auditor felt that Greenwich had fared better than some Local Authorities, thanks to strong leadership and a dedicated team of Officers.  Councillor Thorpe cautioned that the Council needed to be aware of the areas the auditor’s report highlighted in terms of sustained pressure on the delivery of statutory services.  

 

Councillor Thorpe noted two areas the auditor had mentioned;  that the collection of Council Tax was still lower than the London average and he would be asking the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources to oversee improvement in this area; that the auditor noted no concerns in respect of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the project management and monitoring arrangements of the Council’s capital projects.  The auditor had noted some concern amongst Members at the additional requests for capital funding for the Eltham cinema. 

 

Councillor Chris Lloyd, Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Panel,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Treasury Management Outturn Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the Audit Findings Report (AFR) in respect of the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Appendix 1b) and Pension Fund (Appendix 2b)

 

Noted the comments of the Audit and Risk Management Panel and that the Pension Fund Investment and Administration Panel had no comments.

 

Approved the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018 at Appendix 1d, incorporating agreed amendments.

 

Agreed that the Mayor signed and dated the revised Statement of Accounts.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Council that the Report had previously been considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel and Pension Fund Investment and Administration Panel with no comments for the Council’s consideration.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council moved the recommendations noting that despite the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit there had been no material effect upon the low risk and security first approach to Treasury management in Greenwich.   That gradual increases in interest rates were supporting the continued approach of the Council’s capital investment programme and the Audit and Risk Management Panel would be undertaking training on this technical area in order that they can continue to provide an effective pre-scrutiny role.

 

The Leader of the Council formally closed the debate and the Mayor called Members to vote and it was;

 

Resolved unanimously -

 

1.     That the Audit Findings Report (AFR) in respect of the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Appendix 1b to the report) and Pension Fund (Appendix 2b to the report) be noted.

 

2.     That the Audit and Risk Management Panel and that the Pension Fund Investment and Administration Panel had no comments.

 

3.     That the Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018 at Appendix 1d, incorporating agreed amendments, be approved.

 

4.     That it be agreed that the Mayor signed and date the revised Statement of Accounts.

 

13.

Petition Response pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to the petition presented to Council.

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that Council had requested an update on a petition response presented to the June meeting be brought to this meeting and invited Tiffany King, from St Margaret's CE Primary School and Radha Rabadia, from the Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple, to address the Council.

 

RadhaRabadia, from the Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple commented that more needed to be done and not just during school hours as there were out of hours school activities and people going to and from the Temple in the morning and evening.  Cars were parked on both sides of the road with traffic travelling, at speed, along the road, which double yellow lines, alone, would not resolve.  She appreciated the proposal but requested that officers reconsider the situation as there have been several near misses and an accident a couple of weeks ago.

 

Tiffany King, from St Margaret's CE Primary School highlighted how strongly it was felt that this should be a one way street. She noted that the school held a fire drill last week and the fire engine had had extreme problems getting down the road to the school with cars having to reverse down the road or being parked on the zigzag markings, outside the school.   She noted that, if it had been a genuine fire or emergency the situation would have been the same and if for no other reason this illustrated the point that a one way street was the only option.

 

Councillor David Gardner, Cabinet Member for Children’s Service and Schools advised that due to a family bereavement Councillor Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport was unable to attend Council but had been receiving updates on the situation.  He felt that the speakers had made a passionate address for making St Margaret's Grove a one way street, which Glyndon Ward Councillors had strongly pressed for, is still a possibility but, as stated in the response a traffic assessment is required, and such a change would incur a financial cost as well as time to carry out.   Councillor Scott McDonald was strongly committed to a site visit and a meeting to take this issue forward.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks addressed the Council, as a Ward Member for Glyndon.  He welcomed the continued support from the school and the temple representatives on this issue asking that Officers continued to pursue this issue quickly.

 

Resolved -

 

That the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council be noted.

14.

Motion - Council calls on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing in schools pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

Council celebrates the 70th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS) and pays tribute to every person who has worked or volunteered for the NHS since its inception. Council especially thanks the NHS for the array of support given to all Greenwich residents.  

 

Council notes the Government’s plan to support schools by offering every secondary school mental health first aid training and the trials to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff. Council further notes the Government’s funding plan for the NHS to receive an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 but supports the King’s Fund view that it still falls short of the 4% annual increase required to meet current needs.

 

Council notes its Children and Young People Plan, Quarter 4, 2017/18 Performance Monitoring report and is deeply concerned that it shows a rise in the number of Greenwich children attending A&E due to self-harm, which can be used as a proxy measure for poor mental wellbeing. Council considers the Government’s plan to support schools and the NHS’s funding plan will fail to provide the early intervention services needed, to ensure pupils’ sub-clinical mental health needs do not become progressively worse.

 

Council notes the Greenwich Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Early Intervention Team’s work in schools providing a range of services including training, consultation, group work, Non-violent Resistance (NVR) training for parents and NVR continual professional development for teaching staff. Council notes the strategic and financial support of Royal Borough of Greenwich and schools for emotional wellbeing but that more resources are needed in schools to promote, protect the emotional and mental health of children in Greenwich.

 

Council recognises that both local authority (LA) funding and per-pupil funding has reduced in real terms which affects a school’s ability to provide in-house mental health services. Hence, Council calls on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing via the LA for schools to establish in-school mental health experts and maintain programmes such as CAMHS and the NVR training programmes in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and across the country. 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Anthony Okereke moved the motion noting that a quarterly performance Report showed an increase in the number of young people attending hospitals because they had self-harmed.  That in four years the number of British children who have self-harmed had increased by 49%, giving a horrifying indication of the scale of the poor mental health and well-being of children in this borough.  He noted the support, per academic year, Greenwich schools received from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service  (CAMHS) but with a growing demand this service was becoming overwhelmed.  Whilst schools have the option to buy additional CAMHS service and top up their core offer they were finding this increasingly difficult to finance.   He felt that schools must be equipped to provide the right environment for learning which included providing the right environment for emotional wellbeing which was why he was calling on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing via the local Authority for schools to establish an in-school mental health expert team and maintain the current service and other programmes.

 

Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins Mariam Lolavar[1] seconded the Motion noting that 75% of those in need of mental health support were not able to access it due to the long waiting lists and the high thresholds for CAMHS; professionals play a key role in reaching young people in crisis and this motion aimed to shed light on one small part of a fragmented mental health provision in crisis.  The Government's children young people's mental health green paper was welcomed but given that a recent NHS providers report stated that 80% of NHS trusts in England feel they do not have enough money to provide quality care to the growing numbers of people seeking mental health support, there were questions as to how this would be funded.   More than 57% of NHS Trusts were unable to meet the demand from Under 18’s specifically.  Introducing mental health workers into schools was the right thing to be doing allowing early identification, self-management and preventative work also to provide support to those with a long way ahead of them for treatment.   There was a predicted 5 years roll out of the Government’s proposals and this Council must be empowered to do more and providing funding for additional support in schools was one step that could be take now to protect our young people.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group, moved an amendment.  He commended Councillors Okereke and Cousins Lolavar1 on their impressive maiden speeches and echoed the concerns raised.   The increase in the number of Greenwich children presenting at A&E due to self-harm was deeply worrying  and the Conservative Group praised the hard work of teachers and health professionals in the Borough.  He want to be clear there was no disagreement on the scale of the problem or the urgency of dealing with it rather the motion identified the right problem but the amendment sought a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Motion - "Greenwich Against Loneliness" pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

Council notes that loneliness is a significant public health issue, with research finding social isolation to be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and causing significant costs to the health service and society as a whole.

 

Council endorses the recommendations of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness as accepted by the Government in January, with a new dedicated Minister for Loneliness and a new cross-government strategy launching later this year.

 

Council applauds the work of the Social Isolation Strategy Group in understanding how our communities are affected by loneliness, and their continued work to identify people who may be particularly at risk in their areas, and to set out plans for local action to address these challenges.”

 

Council notes that locally:

More than 2,800 older people in Greenwich are estimated to feel lonely ‘all or most of the time’, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness

Only 41.6% of adult social care users, and only 20.0% of carers, in Greenwich feel they have as much social contact as they would like, according to 2016/17 figures

27 local neighbourhoods in the borough have a “very high risk” of loneliness in later life according to Age UK heat mapping data, with some ranked within the top 1% of 32,844 neighbourhoods in England for loneliness risk.

 

Council notes that while loneliness can affect people anywhere and regardless of age or personal circumstances, particularly “very high risk” hotspots have been identified by Age UK in areas within the following wards: Coldharbour & New Eltham, Eltham South, Middle Park and Sutcliffe, Eltham West, Kidbrooke with Hornfair, Greenwich West, Peninsula, Charlton, Common, Woolwich Riverside, Thamesmead Moorings, Plumstead and Abbey Wood.

 

Council notes the important work already underway to tackle loneliness:

 

In our local voluntary sector, including by Age UK Bromley and Greenwich, Contact the Elderly, Greenwich Carers Centre, Goodgym, Listening Ears, Greenwich Pensioners Forum, Dementia Carers Group, Greenwich Citizens and local community and faith groups across the borough.

 

Through the co-ordinating role of the Social Isolation Strategy Group, set up by RBG in 2015 and chaired by GAVS, and in particular the success of the Forever Young Festival at The Stables, returning for a second year this September.

 

Through the inclusion of social isolation in the Greenwich Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the forthcoming Voluntary Sector Commissioning round.

 

Council believes, however, that more could be done to raise awareness of the problem of loneliness particularly amongst other demographic groupsacross the borough, and to mobilise the support of local residents in tackling it.

 

Council therefore resolves to launch a new campaign – ‘Greenwich Against Loneliness’ – to:

Raise public awareness of the issue of loneliness in the Royal Borough of Greenwich Mobilise local residents to support the campaign, by reaching out to their neighbours, and volunteering their time for local projects including Age UK Bromley and Greenwich’s Befriending Scheme

Bid for the “Building Connections” pot that has been made available to expand the offer already available to other groups.

 

Ensure  ...  view the full decision text for item 15.

Minutes:

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group, moved the motion calling for a new drive to tackle loneliness in the Borough stating that whilst canvassing for the recent local elections he was struck at the increase in the number of people he encountered who were evidently lonely or stated they felt lonely and that not everyone had family or could move closer to friends and family.  He noted that that loneliness was a significant public health risk and a survey in 2016/17 showed 42% of adult social care users and 26% of carers felt that they did not have as much social contact as they would like and a heat mapping exercise, by Age UK, showed 27 Greenwich Borough neighbourhoods had a very high risk of loneliness with some ranked within the top 1%. 

 

Councillor Hartley detailed the motion.

 

In seconding the Motion Councillor PatriciaGreenwell read an extract from a letter that had been sent to her by a former care leaver.  Loneliness could be debilitating causing many people health problems and depression and could affect anyone in any walk of life and people could live in a busy thriving area and feel like the loneliest person in the world and many people who faced loneliness, for whatever reason, had no family support and felt too proud or nervous to seek help and do not have family support.  They were the people all Councillors needed to reach out to, give a helping hand to and point in the right direction.  She thanked all the dedicated staff who work in the Councils children's homes.

 

Councillor AverilLekau moved an amended motion stating that the Council took the issue seriously, as reflected in the priorities of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.   She felt that getting the right approach was crucial and needed to be carefully designed and considerate in understanding the local need on an evidence basis and applauded the work, already being undertaken by public health officers, partners and voluntary sector in developing active signposting, social prescribing and self-care which had provided a framework for individuals in accessing services and build social networks.   Efforts were being made to increase access to services and resources, improve navigation and services provided to supporting individuals.  She gave her assurance, as the Cabinet lead on Public Health that further work, on this areas, would be undertaken with the Councils partners. 

 

Councillor Denise Hyland seconded the amendment noting that the Social Isolation Strategy Group had been meeting for some time to co-ordinate activities across the borough including the annual Forever Young Festival.   She felt that Forever Young or Building Connections may be a better title than Greenwich Against Loneliness, as people often did not want  to be thought of in the community as lonely and whilst this tended to focus on older people, who were at a higher risk of social isolation and loneliness, a wider approach was needed to address the needs and experiences across the population and different age groups, including schools  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.