Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and 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, 24 October 2018 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

The Mayor varied the order of business and took Items 18 and 19 before Item 17.

 

Council voted to extend the length of the meeting by an extra half hour.

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Norman Adams,

Gary Dillon, Bill Freeman, Christine Grice, Maureen O’Mara, and

Dominic Mbang

 

Apologies for arriving late were given for Councillors Angela Cornforth, Rajinder James and Mariam Lolavar

 

Apologies for leaving early were given by Councillors Peter Brooks,

Mehboob Khan, and Chris Lloyd

2.

Minutes

To agree the Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 18 July 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:

Resolved –

 

That the minutes of the Council Meeting held on 18 July be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record subject to an amendment that under Item 14 it state that Councillor Mariam Lolavar, rather than Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins, seconded the motion.

3.

Mayor's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Mayor informed Council of a Members briefing session that the Directorate of Children’s Services would be holding prior to the next full Council on Wednesday 12 December.

 

The Mayor was pleased to announce that the Royal Borough of Greenwich had won some awards recently -

 

§  That the Parks Estates and Open Spaces Service had won twelve Green Flag Awards for well managed and maintained parks, Silver Gilt Awards for the Borough and Well Hall Pleasaunce in the London in Bloom Competition, a Gold Award by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, and a Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme Bronze Award. 

 

The Mayor called on the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and the Third Sector to present the awards.

 

Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and the Third Sector, presented the awards to Mirsad Bakalovic, Senior Assistant Director Environmental Services and to Dawn Squires,Head of Parks, Estates & Open Spaces

 

§  That the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been awarded for leading the league table in the year's Good Food for London report, and for the second year in a row; which recognised the good work taking place across the borough in relation to food and food poverty.

 

The Mayor called on the Cabinet Member for Adult’s Social Care, Health and Anti-Poverty to present the certificate

 

Councillor Averil Lekau, Cabinet Member for Adult’s Social Care, Health and Anti-Poverty, presented the certificate to Emma Eaves-Anderson from Public Health, Tracey Parnwell from GS Plus and Livia Le Camera from Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency

 

§  That at the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee annual conference and awards ceremony, Carole Destre, a Waste and Streets Advisor in Street Services, was presented with the award in the “Outstanding Contributing to Recycling” category.  

The Mayor called on the Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport to present the award

 

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport, presented the award to Jo Oliver, Head of Street Services on Carole Destre’s behalf.

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 Angela Cornforth declared a Personal and Financial interest in agenda item 11, because she was personally and financially affected by the decision.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley declared a Personal interest in agenda item 12, because he was a director of the Credit Union.

 

Councillor Olu Babatola declared a Personal and Financial interest in agenda item 13 because his partner was affected by the decision.

 

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

Make our streets clean, safe and peaceful

54 signatures

Councillor

Mark James

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Opposing pocket living development

101 signatures

Councillor

Leo Fletcher

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Make Woolwich Road Junction Safe

1863 signatures

Councillor

Stephen Brain

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Oppose the current development plans for the Spray Street Quarter in Woolwich

560 signatures

Councillor

John Fahy

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Take action to reduce speeding and inconsiderate driving in Blanmerle Road

48 signatures

Councillor

Nigel Fletcher

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Petition to increase parking availability for residents of Dinsdale Road

31 signatures

Councillor

Geoffrey Brighty

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

The establishment of trees to be planted along Ruthin Road

32 signatures

Councillor

Geoffrey Brighty

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills

Parking Petition Plumstead High Street

208 signatures

Councillor

Matthew Morrow

Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and 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 79 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 128 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 29 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 Sarah Merrill asked the Cabinet Member for Adult’s Social Care, Health and Anti-Poverty about the impact of universal credit on residents.  The Cabinet Member for Adult’s Social Care, Health and Anti-Poverty indicated that there were 2739 residents in the borough who did not have enough income to cover their household costs and that was projected to rise to 4683 by 2020, with the proportion of children in relative low income rising to an estimated 37%; this was in large part due to the impact of welfare reforms. The Cabinet Member commented that the extra money recently allocated to universal credit did not off-set the cuts to other benefits, that what the Government was giving with one hand it was taking away with the other.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley suggested to the Leader of the Council that he set up a working group of Cabinet Members and representatives of the campaigners to try and force the issue of the cruise liner terminal. The Leader of the Council replied that if he thought such a working group would achieve anything he would be the first to do it. The Leader stated that they needed to keep up the pressure on the developer as it was they who had to come to the table and address the concerns about the terminal.

 

Councillor Pat Greenwell asked the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement in relation to knife crime whether consideration had been given to the approach adopted by Lewisham Council of engaging with the family of the Jimmy Mason to have the family visit schools and talk with the children so they saw at first hand the devastating effect the killing had on the lives of Jimmy Mason's family. The Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement confirmed that there had been engagement with Jimmy Mason's family and with the parents of other children that had been killed; they had used all of those approaches and would continue to do so.

 

Councillor Matt Clare asked the Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport, what plans the Council had for bidding for funds made available in the Government’s budget to make British roads safer. The Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Public Realm and Transport, replied that as it was only recently announced there was nothing in place at the moment but the Council would definitely be looking at it. The Cabinet Member advised that improvements to safety on the roads was part of the Council’s new Local Implementation Plan application, and that the Council was signing up to the Mayor of London's “Vision Zero” strategy

 

Councillor Mehboob Khan asked the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools that  ...  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.

Amendment to Members' Allowances Scheme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed an amendment to the Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) in the Members’ Allowance Scheme 2018/19 as follows

 

(i)An increase to the SRA for the Chief Whip by £5,000 to take into account the level of work that is required for this position.

(ii)Set aside £10,000 to finance two project assistants (Elected Members) to work alongside Cabinet Members to support them, and the wider group, in the development of policy.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Angela Cornforth having declared an interest left the meeting for the duration of the item.

 

The Mayor moved the recommendations in the report.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley called the proposal a disgrace. He referred to the Council meeting in March, and meetings in previous years, where the members allowances scheme had been agreed and agreed to be frozen. He questioned what had changed since then, and suggested it was the internal politics of the Labour Group. He commented on the cost of the proposals, and noted that a proposal for a full-time political aide had rightly not been brought forward. He suggested the money could instead be used for vital services. Councillor Hartley requested that the report be withdrawn.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe noted that many councils across London employed political assistants. He stated the opposition was consulted. He said it was not about putting an extra burden on Council taxpayers it was about getting the job done. He said the Chief Whip was of the whole full Council and not just the Labour Group and they dedicated a lot of time, along with opposition counterpart, to getting involved in the business and the running the machine of the Council that many of them did not see and appreciate.

 

Councillor Matt Clare sought confirmation that the proposed political appointments were not being bankrolled by those in this Chamber who had forgone allowances for various reasons.

 

Councillor Spencer Drury felt that the Leader of the Council was breaking with convention and changing the constitution, with members' questions and now allowances, without speaking properly to the leader of the opposition, which suggested behaving in a party political way rather than acting for the common good. He said it was important that the public did not draw the conclusion that the politicians had their snouts in the trough enriching themselves from public funds. He stressed that the appearance of politicians rewarding themselves damaged everyone in the Chamber. He added that the proposal also misunderstood the way in which the London Councils Independent Remuneration Panel worked and the proposal was not in accordance with its recommendations; and proposal was contrary to the constitution as the remuneration was done annually yet the report did not mention it was changing the constitution. Councillor Drury requested that the report be withdrawn.

 

Councillors Sarah Merrill and Stephen Brain called for the “snouts in the trough” comment to be withdrawn. 

 

Councillor Chris Kirby did not agree that the proposal was a breach of the constitution, nor was it an extension of the budget rather it was about use of the existing budget. He commented on the opposition’s previous budget proposals, one of which in attacking the trade unions would have exploded the budget by £3million.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher contended that it was a breach of the constitution, and it was becoming a pattern following the changes to members’ questions. He recognised that the majority party could change the constitution as they willed but that the political system would only have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Appointment of Member to new Outside Body for 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Appointed Councillor Christine Grice to serve on the Board of Directors of the Greenwich and Bexley Credit Union for the Municipal Year 2018/19 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Angela Cornforth, the Chief Whip, moved the recommendation in the report.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley said that as a director of the credit union he had been advised to abstain in the vote but stated that was not to be taken as a reflection on the appointment of Councillor Grice.

 

The matter was put to the vote and with the one stated abstention it was otherwise unanimously

 

Resolved -

 

That Councillor Christine Grice be appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Greenwich and Bexley Credit Union for the Municipal Year 2018/19 

13.

Calculation of Annual Leave for Term-Time-Only Staff pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed that the without prejudice settlement agreed by Cabinet on 17 October 2018 and noted below is funded as described in the Assistant Director of Finance & Deputy s151 Officer’s comments in paragraph 9 of the report.

 

Noted the decision of Cabinet on 17 October 2018 that;

a. the formula used to calculate the annual leave allowance for term time only staff is revised and that this is effected from 1st April 2018.

b. that a settlement sum is offered equivalent to the shortfall to affected term time only staff backdated for 5 years 3 months from 1st April 2018 to 1st January 2013. This represents the difference between the annualised hours already received and annualised hours due under the new formula. This payment will count as pensionable in the year it is paid and will not amend any pensionable service.

c. that term time only staff with less than 5 years and 3 months continuous service receive settlement sums to reflect their length of service with RBG, GS Plus and GSS.

d. that a payment of £50 for each year of continuous pensionable service is made in recognition of pensionable service up to 31st March 2014 for any term time only employee who was a member of the Local Government Pension scheme and has not received a refund.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Olu Babatola having declared an interest left the meeting for the duration of the item.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, moved the recommendations in the report.

 

Councillor Matt Clare said he was appalled to learn that the Council had wasted approximately £3.7 million due to such a basic error. He questioned why there was such a waste of money, when Councillor Kirby had said earlier that the use of the unions was a way of saving the Council money.

 

Councillor Chris Kirby explained that the context was that there were around 18 different formulas being used by councils all around the country and this was legally challenged by national unions. He recognised the work of their own union representatives who had raised the voice of these low paid workers in the borough, and had began negotiations with the Council two years ago; if they had not done so the Council would have been at tribunal with an unknown final settlement.  He said the Council had been able to work with their staff, to come up with a proposal that worked for them and did not threaten frontline jobs because it was sustainable, and that only happened when a Council worked with its own employees.

 

In closing the debate, Councillor Danny Thorpe said it was not a waste of money to pay hard-working decent staff the money to which they are entitled to and anyone who thought otherwise should be ashamed of themselves.

 

The matter was to the vote and with the majority party voting in favour and the minority party abstaining it was

 

Resolved -

 

1.  That the without prejudice settlement agreed by Cabinet on 17 October 2018 and noted below is funded as described in the Assistant Director of Finance & Deputy s151 Officer’s comments in paragraph 9 of the report be agreed.

 

2.  That the decision of Cabinet on 17 October 2018 be noted, that;

a. the formula used to calculate the annual leave allowance for term time only staff is revised and that this is effected from 1st April 2018.

b. that a settlement sum is offered equivalent to the shortfall to affected term time only staff backdated for 5 years 3 months from 1st April 2018 to 1st January 2013. This represents the difference between the annualised hours already received and annualised hours due under the new formula. This payment will count as pensionable in the year it is paid and will not amend any pensionable service.

c. that term time only staff with less than 5 years and 3 months continuous service receive settlement sums to reflect their length of service with RBG, GS Plus and GSS.

d. that a payment of £50 for each year of continuous pensionable service is made in recognition of pensionable service up to 31st March 2014 for any term time only employee who was a member of the Local Government Pension scheme and has not received a refund.

14.

Annual Audit Letter pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the 2017/18 Annual Audit Letter

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Council that the Annual Audit Letter was considered by the Audit and Risk Management Panel on 11 September 2018 and that the Panel had no comments for the Council’s consideration.

 

The Mayor invited Paul Dossett, the External Auditor to address the Council on the Audit Letter.

 

Paul Dossett, the External Auditor, summarised the report. He highlighted their unqualified audit opinion. He commented that a couple of things needed to be done before the process was complete but they were not anticipating any significant issues.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, and Councillor Matt Hartley, leader of the opposition, thanked the auditor and the Council’s finance team for their work.

 

Councillor Mehboob Khan commented that into the eighth year of austerity the Council still continued to receive an outstanding Annual Audit Letter, despite losing 6 out 10 pounds since 2010. It was a real commendation that the Council not only continued to be compliant with its statutory duties but was building a borough for the future. He said it was a deep regret that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget had nothing for London and for Greenwich. None of the vehicle excise duty was available for any London borough to invest in repairing roads and potholes, and London was the only global city in the world which got no public subsidy in funding the transport system. He said that the additional funding for social care was a pittance compared to the actual funding shortfall. And from next year the Government was to take money from Greenwich which the Council would have retained in the business rates retention scheme.

 

Councillor Mehboob Khan asked the Leader of the Council if he agreed that it was yet again the most anti-London budget from a Government and that Londoners were going to suffer as a result of what the Chancellor was now putting through Parliament. Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, expressed his agreement.

 

Resolved -

 

That the 2017/18 Annual Audit Letter be noted.

15.

Parent Governor appointments to Overview and Scrutiny (Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel) pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Appointed Pastor Osayande Collins Eghafona (Linton Mead Primary School) as the parent governor representative (primary) to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee until 31 March 2021.

 

Appointed Michael Freeman (The John Roan Secondary School) as the parent governor representative (secondary) to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee until 31 March 2021.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor moved the recommendations in the report.

 

Resolved -

 

1.  That Pastor Osayande Collins Eghafona (Linton Mead Primary School) be appointed as the parent governor representative (primary) to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee until 31 March 2021.

 

2.  That Michael Freeman (The John Roan Secondary School) be appointed as the parent governor representative (secondary) to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee until 31 March 2021.

 

16.

Petition Responses pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted the action taken in response to petitions presented at recent meetings of the Council.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor stated she had received requests from various lead petitioners to speak.

 

The Mayor invited Peter Luck to address the Council in relation to the petition response set out in Appendix 2 of the report.

 

Peter Luck felt the description of the situation was regrettably accurate. They had seen the letter referred to in paragraph 2.2 and they were very happy that it was quite strong in its approach to SGN insofar as the Council could be strong given the legal situation which was not in favour of retention.  He noted that both petitioners and the Council were both seeking a further meeting on site with the developer and that they would continue to collaborate.

 

Councillor Sizwe James, the Cabinet Member for Growth and Strategic Development, thanked Peter Luck for his comments. He hoped that they could continue to work together to get as much incorporated as possible in whatever came forward.

 

The Mayor invited Laura Eyres to address the Council in relation to the petition response set out in Appendix 3 of the report.

 

Laura Eyres said they were delighted to see that not only had the Council generally acknowledged residents' concerns over the health risks from the terminal but were now publicly urging the developers to submit new plans and echoing their call for a clean cruise terminal. It was felt that the pressure from both the Council and community appeared to be working as the developer had confirmed in the press and to themselves in writing that they were working on new plans which they hoped to present soon. The campaigners supported the Council in its continuing bid to get the developer round the table. They hoped that after more than three years this opportunity to resolve the situation was not lost otherwise the existing plans could be resurrected further down the line. They would be presenting their petition to Morgan Stanley. They renewed their call for the establishment of a working party so that they could move things forward and they also asked whether the Council would take part in the viability study that the PLA were conducting with regard to onshore power, as Greenwich Pier was owned by the PLA.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Council, thanked Laura Eyres for her comments. He emphasised that they were working hard to get Morgan Stanley round the table, they were due to have a meeting with them in the next week. He took the point about the liability strategy but the management of the river was under the PLA and onshore power was about more than just Enderby Wharf so they had to push for a sustainable River Thames.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher commented that it was recognised that there was little the Council could do in terms of formal planning powers but they had heard from the petitioners that there was still a very strong feeling that the matter needed to be pursued and it was hoped that they could get behind them to amplify  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Motion - "People's Vote on the final Brexit deal" pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved -

 

This Council calls upon the Government to allow the citizens of the United Kingdom to have a ‘People’s Vote’ on the final Brexit deal.

 

Council notes:

·        The Government is incapable of agreeing a unified position on what Brexit is and its aims for Brexit.

·        The Brexit negotiations have been chaotic, which makes it more likely we will get a bad deal, if we get a deal at all. In either case, all outcomes are worse than remaining in the EU.

·        Promises made about Brexit during the Leave campaign, including £350m a week for the NHS; new trade deals ready for March 2019, frictionless trade borders and wider benefits to jobs and the economy will not be kept.

·        The public have changed their minds on Brexit – with polling consistently showing that the Government is doing a bad job of negotiating Brexit, the majority of people now support a ‘People’s Vote’ on the final deal.

Leaving the EU with no deal or a deal with worse trade conditions than we have now will damage the UK economy and put jobs and British industries at unnecessary risk.

 

This Council requests that the Government gives the decision on the final deal back to the British people, through a ‘People’s Vote’, once a proposal has been reached before we leave the EU.

 

Council resolves to:

·        Formally add its voice to those calling for a public, ‘People’s Vote’, on the final Brexit deal.

·        Agrees to write to its MPs expressing its views and asking them to support the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign.

 

 

 

Minutes:

It was noted that due to a clerical error Councillor Jackie Smith’s name had been omitted from the names of the proposers.

 

Councillor Ian Hawking moved the motion. He said the motion was not about re-running the 2016 referendum but about the final deal. He said he had respected the will of the British people in the referendum and he hoped that the British Government could negotiate a satisfactory to deal with the EU. His first preference would be for a general election, but if that was not an option then a referendum on the deal. He said it was clear that a satisfactory deal cannot be negotiated and the only democratic way forward was to let the British people have the final say. He commented on how the referendum result was open to interpretation. He suggested that voters were concerned that the Government was not going to get the deal that voters wanted and were going to fudge the negotiations. He referred to a survey undertaken by Best for Britain and Hope not Hate, noting that the  analysis showed an increase in the remain vote in Eltham constituency from 48 to 53%, in Greenwich and Woolwich constituency from 64 to 69%, and Erith and Thamesmead constituency from 46 to 55%. He said it was clear the public mood has changed now that more facts had become apparent. He recognised that it would be argued that this was a matter for Parliament not councillors, but emphasised that Brexit would have an impact on the residents that had elected them to the Council; they should then be allowed to express an opinion about what would affect those they represented. He referred to what the Local Government Association had given as the risks to councils of leaving the EU with no deal. He said as the TUC and GMB union had reserved the right to express their opinions on the matter, the Council should do so too. He said they should let the government be under no apprehension as to where the Council stood on the matter.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Aidan Smith. He commented on what the public had been told would be the result of Brexit before the referendum. But two years on and there was no deal and no one could even agree what Brexit was or what it entailed. If a deal were agreed the one thing that could be guaranteed was it would not be what people had originally envisaged when they had voted in the referendum.  He suggested that there should be a vote on the real option to leave the EU versus the opportunity to remain. He recognised that the leader of the opposition would argue that Brexit policy was decided in Westminster, that it was not something within the Council's control, but said that had not stopped him supporting a motion calling on Transport for London to introduce a new bus route, or a motion calling on the Mayor of London to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Motion - "To resist further academisation" pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved -

 

This Council congratulates the schools, their staff and students of the Royal Borough in the continued success and progress made with some 94% of schools being now good or outstanding.  We commend the stellar performance at Foundation and Primary stage being among the best outcomes in England though recognise that while still above national average, we still have some challenges as secondary level.

 

We note the Angel Solutions report of July 2018 showing that local authority maintained schools in general perform better than academy schools in OfSTED inspections and that councils are best when it comes to boosting inspection grades of inadequate schools. Further, we note the concern of the National Audit Office and others at the value for money and effectiveness of the academies programme.

 

Council firmly believes that our schools should be comprehensive, inclusive and rooted in and accountable to our local communities. Further, we believe that the local authority framework offers the best level of support to Governing Bodies and Heads.  We are concerned that some academies have become predatory businesses, establishing trading arms, paying salaries higher than the Prime Minister's and always looking for the next school to acquire, and while there are "softer academies", we note when they fail there is no turning back.

 

We therefore resolve to resist further academisation, to promote the local authority framework and Greenwich Direct services to schools and to further develop the Greenwich family of schools working with existing academies to the benefit of all our children. Further, we call on the Government to delete the clause in the 2016 Education and Adoption Act that automatically triggers an Academy Order when OfSTED judge a school to be inadequate and to allow academies and free schools to revert to Community, Voluntary controlled or voluntary aided status to establish a level-playing field.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor David Gardner moved the motion. Councillor Gardner commented on their workforce which had made a tremendous difference and progress in terms of educational outcomes for the Borough’s children in the last 15 years. They had to sustain the level of progress and give the best opportunities to all their young people. But now there was confusion and fragmentation at the heart of the education system. He detailed the political changes that had occurred. It was accepted that there were some excellent academies, but there were some who were set up more like businesses. He highlighted a concern over some academies lack of commitment to inclusion. He noted that academies were a one way street, but that that the Government had now halted forced academisation. The Council had launched its “Greenwich and Proud” document setting out the benefits of being a local authority maintained school. The Labour Party had made clear in their manifesto that they would resist further academisation, but it was also the view of Conservative LGA Councillor Roy Perry who argued that councils needed to be recognised as “effective education improvement partners”. In all areas of England maintained schools outperformed academies. Councillor Gardner said the motion sets a clear policy for Greenwich standing by their schools, supporting them to stay good or outstanding and to continuously improve them, and further to call for schools to come back as community schools if the academy route did not work for them.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Ivis Williams. Councillor Williams commented that there was no real evidence that turning schools into an academy would automatically raise standards. Greenwich had a lot to be proud of, significantly the performance of its primary schools. It was accepted that some secondary schools needed to improve. She highlighted that the underlying problem was not just who governed the schools but that there were two systems operating alongside each other. There was evidence to show that once a school was converted into a MAT for example certain standards dropped and financial oversight was lost. Academies were not accountable to their local communities and they represented a dangerous step towards privatising education. She described some of the effects of academisation.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley proposed the amendment to the motion, as detailed in the published Tabled Items agenda. Councillor Hartley felt the debate was a waste of everybody's time and that it was just an attempt to mollify the NUT and left-wing opponents of the academy system. He noted that at the general election the public voted for a Conservative manifesto that explicitly said it would roll out more academy schools. He commented that there could not be talk of choice if the Shadow Education Secretary was saying a Labour government would force academies back into local authority control. He said Greenwich should be proud of its academies. He detailed the amendment.

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Nigel Fletcher, who reserved his right to speak.

 

Councillor David Gardner did not accept  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Motion - "Greenwich Street Ideas Map online engagement exercise" pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

The motion was not carried.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Matt Hartley moved the motion which he detailed.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Matt Clare.

 

Councillor Danny Thorpe stated that the Council was committed to being accountable and engaging with their communities in the borough. He said the problem with what was proposed was that the one size fits all model did not work. He said elected members should not be hiding behind an online platform they should be out there having conversations with people. The Council was doing a lot to change the way that it engaged, they were being more active online but that was not the only answer. They were not going to be a Council that hid behind an online platform, they were going to be doing things differently and representing their communities.

 

Councillor Matt Clare agreed one size did not fit all and highlighted the variety of road structures in the borough. He said nobody knew those road as well as the people who live in them. With the demise of Better Together, which had been a forum for residents, it was important that something replaced that.

 

In closing the debate, Councillor Hartley said it was a misinterpretation of the issue that it was either engage offline or online as they should do both, and this was a way that they could do that more effectively. He suggested that the Leader of the Council Speak to his colleagues in Lewisham who were making the proposed system work.

 

The motion was put to the vote and with the minority party in favour and the majority party against the motion was not carried.