Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Thursday, 12th September, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Lloyd White, Head of Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Shehryar Ahmad-Wallana, Jonathan Bianco, Janet Duncan, Neil Fyfe, Janet Gardner, Vanessa Hurhangee, Pat Jackson and Ali Milani. 

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 04 July 2019 (attached)

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July 2019 be agreed as a correct record.

20.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that he had attended 247 engagements since May 2019 which had included: the London Youth Games; Hayes Carnival; allotment sites; Battle of Britain celebrations at RAF Northolt; and the launch of the Mayor’s charities (Hillingdon Autistic Care and Support and Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Support Charity).

 

The Mayor congratulated the Ruislip Rifle Club on winning the London Mayors’ Association London Inter Borough Small Bore Rifle Shooting Challenge Cup for the fourth year running.  He also encouraged those present to attend the Quiz Night on 17 September 2019. 

21.

Report of the Head of Democratic Services pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

i)          Urgent Implementation of Decisions

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the Order of Business and it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That the Urgency decisions detailed in the report be noted.

 

iii)        Amendment to the Council Constitution: Health and Wellbeing Board Membership

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the Order of Business and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That Ms Sandra Taylor be named as the substitute for the Director of Children’s Services statutory voting member on the Health and Wellbeing Board.

 

ii)         Consideration of the 2019 Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny In Local and Combined Authorities Issued by HM Government

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the Order of Business.  Councillor Curling moved, and Councillor Morse seconded, the following amendment:

 

"That Council agrees that an all-party working group be set up in order to review the structure and practice of the overview and scrutiny function, that will then report its findings and recommendations to full Council, to ensure that Hillingdon's model fully complies with the latest government guidelines and follows current best practice."

 

Following debate (Councillor Puddifoot), the amendment was put to a recorded vote.

 

Those voting for: Councillors Allen, Birah, Bliss, Curling, Dhillon, Dhot, Eginton, Farley, Lakhmana, Mathers, Money, Morse, Nelson, Oswell, Prince, Sansarpuri, Singh and Sweeting.

 

Those voting against: The Mayor (Councillor Yarrow), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor Barnes), Councillors Arnold, Bridges, Brightman, Burrows, Chamdal, Chapman, Choubedar, Cooper, Corthorne, Denys, Deville, Edwards, Flynn, Goddard, Graham, Haggar, Hensley, Higgins, Kauffman, Lavery, Lewis, Makwana, Markham, Melvin, D Mills, R Mills, Morgan, O’Brien, Palmer, Puddifoot, Radia, Riley, Rodrigues, Seaman-Digby, Simmonds, Stead and Tuckwell.

 

Those abstaining: None.

 

The amended motion was lost.  The original motion was put to the vote and it was:

 

RESOLVED: That, following consideration of the 2019 Statutory Scrutiny Guidance, Council:

a)    adopts the new Protocol on Overview & Scrutiny and Cabinet Relations as Table 2 in Schedule E - Policy Overview, Scrutiny and Select Committee Procedure Rules in the Council’s Constitution; and

b)   agrees the associated new Paragraph 19 to those Rules as set out on the Order of Business.

22.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To take questions submitted by Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11

Minutes:

6.2       QUESTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR MAKWANA TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR EDUCATION AND CHILDREN’S SERVICES – COUNCILLOR SIMMONDS

 

“With the new school term having recently got underway, can the Cabinet Member provide an update on the position with school places at Primary and Secondary Schools in the Borough?”

 

Councillor Simmonds advised that local government was most often associated with emptying bins, fixing potholes and providing school places.  Prior to the start of the recent new school year, the Council had received over 3,900 applications for primary school places in the Borough.  97.88% of these children had been offered places at one of their top three schools and 89.37% had been offered their first preference which compared favourably to the London average of 86%).  The Cabinet Member paid tribute to the work of officers. 

 

Those children born during the baby boom a few years ago had prompted the increased demand for primary school places and were now starting to move up to secondary school.  Progress had been made in delivering additional secondary school places in the Borough to meet this additional demand for high quality education.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Makwana asked for an update on the provision of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) school places in the Borough.  Councillor Simmonds advised that the Council had submitted its SEND capital plan to the Department for Education which had also been lobbied for additional funds in this area.  The Council’s capital plan had included an additional 155 places for children with disabilities, complex medical needs and learning difficulties.  This £5m capital investment would ensure that every child with SEND was educationally catered for to the best of the Council’s ability. 

 

6.4       QUESTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR MORSE TO THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL - COUNCILLOR PUDDIFOOT

 

“Given that the UK Parliamentary Council Guidance on selecting Chairs of Scrutiny committees states that “Given their pre-eminent role on the scrutiny committee, it is strongly recommended that the Chair not preside over scrutiny of their relatives”, how does the Leader of the Council account for Councillor Richard Mills being selected to chair the Corporate Services, Commerce and Communities Policy Overview Committee for the 2019/2020 municipal year?”

 

Councillor Puddifoot advised that paragraph 1.11 of the report at Agenda Item 5. ii) on this agenda stated "in the guidance, the Government stresses the strong organisational culture that should underpin overview and scrutiny, the role it can play in holding the authorities decision makers to account, ensuring the efficient delivery of public services and driving improvements within a council and borough.  Fundamentally, the Government also recognised that councils have their own democratic mandates and are ultimately accountable to their electorate, and that councils are best placed to decide their arrangements based on local circumstances".

 

At the local elections in May 2018, the Conservative administration had received the democratic mandate of the people of the Borough for a series of policies and to continue with the strong Leader and Cabinet model of governance rather than the committee system being advocated by the Labour Group.

 

Paragraph 1.13 of the report stated, “As Statutory Guidance, by law councils must have regard to it when exercising their functions.  The phrase 'must have regard' when used in this context, does not mean that the sections of Statutory Guidance have to be followed in every detail, but that they should be followed unless there is a good reason not to do so in a particular case.  In addition, the Guidance advises that councils may have regard to other material they might choose to consider, including that issued by the CfPS, the Centre for Public Scrutiny, when exercising their overview and scrutiny functions.”

 

Paragraph 1.14 stated, “In light of this, therefore, Members should note that the CfPS and ADSO - the Association of Democratic Services Officers - have been engaged in updating the Good Scrutiny Guide which was published in June 2019.  This has been circulated to Committee Chairmen and Democratic Services Officers as a useful resource to guide committee advice and activity going forward.  It is also a background paper to this report should Members wish to read it further.”

 

The Good Scrutiny Guide from the CfPS stated, "It is inevitable that members of scrutiny committees will have personal relationships with members of the executive - particularly in smaller councils and particularly where they are in the same political party.  It is not uncommon for members of the same family to sit on councils and, under some circumstances, it is therefore possible that close relatives could find themselves sitting across the scrutiny table.  Monitoring Officers will have to be alive to the risks, and perceptions, around how these relationships might interfere with the operation of scrutiny.  It is impossible to hand down rules on this matter - what happens, and what works, will depend on determinations made at local level."

 

The remit of the Corporate Services, Commerce and Communities Policy Overview Committee was broad and cut across multiple Cabinet Member portfolios.  Furthermore, the key 'scrutiny' function of the Council, i.e., the ability to call-in a decision, was exercised through the Executive Scrutiny Committee and Councillor Richard Mills was not a permanent member of that Committee.  Therefore, there would be limited opportunity for him to directly scrutinise the decisions of his father, Councillor Douglas Mills. 

 

In respect of Cabinet deciding whether to endorse any recommendations from Policy Overview Committees, it was noted that Cabinet decisions were taken collectively.  Councillor Douglas Mills was one of seven Cabinet Members responsible for making these decisions.

 

Whilst being clear that it should be for particular councils to decide, the guidance did request that each council consider taking a vote by secret ballot to appoint all chairmen of overview and scrutiny committees.  In Hillingdon, such appointments were made in public at the Council AGM as befitted a modern democratic public body and that would continue to be the case.

 

It was the view of the Administration that there was no conflict of interest.  What was most important was how the relationship between Policy Overview Committees and Cabinet could work collaboratively for the benefit of the Borough and its residents who would ultimately judge how successful the Council was at election time.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Morse asked whether, in light of the guidance, Councillor Puddifoot would be asking Councillor Richard Mills to resign as Chairman of the Corporate Services, Commerce and Communities Policy Overview Committee.  Councillor Puddifoot referred Councillor Morse to his previous response. 

 

6.3       QUESTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR MELVIN TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR CENTRAL SERVICES, CULTURE AND HERITAGE – COUNCILLOR LEWIS

 

“Would the Cabinet Member please tell me how many apprentices we employ and whether we find it effective to employ and train staff in this way. Can you also please explain the benefits to both the apprentices and Hillingdon Council?”

 

Councillor Lewis noted that the Council had established an extremely successful apprenticeship scheme, with the number of available apprenticeships relevant to roles within the Council continuing to grow.  During 2017/2018 (the first year of the new apprenticeship scheme), the Council had started 23 new apprentices and retrained 42 existing employees.  This total of 65 apprenticeships equated to 2.3% of the Council's workforce.

 

By 2018/2019, this percentage of employees had risen to 3% with 30 new apprentices recruited and a further 46 existing employees retrained through apprenticeship standards.

 

To date in 2019, there had been a further 9 new apprentices starting with a further 11 vacancies subject to recruitment.  There were also plans to retrain or upskill 55 existing employees in subjects such as library archiving, town planning, early years educating, occupational therapy and team leadership.  Further potential apprenticeships had been identified and it was currently anticipated that the Council would have over 90 apprenticeships starting in 2019/20.

 

Hillingdon had delivered the fourth highest percentage by overall headcount of all the boroughs in London with 2.17% of employees in the Council and associated schools participating in an apprenticeship.  By comparison, neighbouring Labour-controlled boroughs had been performing quite poorly: Hammersmith and Fulham had achieved 0.87%; Harrow had 0.44%; Hounslow had 1.04%; and Ealing had 0.9%.

 

The benefits to the apprentices were obvious.  The Council ran an all-age apprenticeship programme where apprentices helped to deliver the organisation’s vision of 'putting our residents first' whilst gaining essential vocational skills and qualifications.

 

An apprentice with the Council gained invaluable experience and training, and worked alongside colleagues in a team environment whilst also completing an assessed apprenticeship development programme.  The majority of the apprenticeships ended with the applicant gaining an accredited qualification and eligibility for entry to a relevant professional body.  The apprentices who started training in 2017 were now beginning to complete their course and eight of them had already secured permanent employment within the Council.

 

The success of the apprenticeship scheme had been based upon the support of the Cabinet, the Corporate Management Team and senior management from across all services.  The Leader of the Council had introduced an ‘apprenticeship first’ approach where every existing job vacancy was scrutinised against Apprenticeship Standards to determine if the role would be suitable for an apprentice.  Consideration for apprenticeships had also been built into the Council’s Business Improvement Delivery (BID) programme as part of the service redesign process.

 

Through applying these approaches to identifying apprenticeship roles across services, the Council had reduced its overall workforce costs by £301,400 during the first two years of the new programme.  It was an acknowledged trend that local authorities’ workforces were aging which brought challenges around maintaining essential skills and knowledge and succession of key roles.  As such, it was a good news story that the introduction of the apprenticeships had lowered the average age of the Council's workforce from 47½ years to 45½ years since April 2017.

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

6.1       QUESTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR HENSLEY TO THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL - COUNCILLOR PUDDIFOOT

 

“Would the Leader of the Council please update Council on the current situation regarding the future of the proposed Heathrow Expansion and the HS2 Project?”

 

Councillor Puddifoot noted that, with regard to the proposed expansion of Heathrow, the request made by Hillingdon and four other councils for a judicial review of the adoption of the Aviation National Policy Statement (ANPS) had been rejected.  However, leave to appeal had been granted, with the presiding Court of Appeal Judge stating, "The importance of the issues raised in these proceedings is obvious and affords a proper basis for granting permission to appeal.  I also accept that the appellant's grounds are properly arguable".  The Council’s case, together with three other appeals, would be heard between 17 and 18 October 2019 and 22 to 25 October 2019.  Depending on the outcome of these hearings, the Council or Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) would take this matter to the next appeal stage and it would take some time for the legal process to run its course.  As a Council, Hillingdon was committed and financially resourced for the next stages of the legal challenge, and it was suggested that HAL and its puppet, Back Heathrow, were rightly very worried about this.

 

HAL had launched its first major consultation on the proposed expansion in June which ran throughout the summer with a closing date of Friday 13 September 2019.  The context for this consultation was set against the legal challenge.  The Council's challenge of the ANPS had been predicated on the basis that Heathrow expansion could not occur without excessive air quality, noise and other environmental and social harm of such scale that it would not be offset by a nebulous mitigation package.  The Government's response had been that the ANPS had demonstrated that expansion could be delivered but had set a robust decision making framework to ensure that the environmental and social problems could be solved.

 

This consultation was, therefore, an opportunity for HAL to demonstrate that it had made significant strides in delivering an expansion project that conformed to the alleged high standards of the ANPS.  Essentially, it was an opportunity to prove the Council wrong about expansion.

 

The headline to take away from the consultation was that HAL had comprehensively failed to set out an expansion project that could even remotely be described as sustainable development.  There had been no clear strategy on surface access and therefore air quality; the noise issues had been entirely understated; a great swathe of information was still absent or had not been disclosed; there had been a lack of honesty about the extent of the project, i.e., the hotel, storage, distribution and housing growth needed to accommodate more passengers and freight; there had been a distinct lack of credibility about the programme - 4 years to construct the runway (including the diversion of several rivers and the M25) as well as to undertake operational testing was deemed to be borderline fantasy; and, importantly, the level of benefits were far less than Parliament had voted for as part of the ANPS.  Simply put, the harm was much greater than expected and the benefits were far less.

 

The consultation had required HAL to disclose, for the first time, a picture of the true harm of expanding Heathrow.  However, it was noted that, although significant amounts of information were available, it appeared to have been withheld which suggested that the potential harm caused by Heathrow expansion would be even worse than feared.  For example, the ANPS had emphasised the local benefits with over 114,000 new local job opportunities to be created.  This consultation had significantly reduced this figure to circa 60,000 nationwide. 

 

The consultation, which was the pre-application stage of the Development Consent Order (DCO) process, should have enabled the Council to understand the scope of the project, the work undertaken to date and a preliminary understanding of the effects of the scheme.  Unfortunately, the decision to withhold vital information had prevented this from being a truly meaningful exercise.  However, it had not prevented HAL from reaching conclusions on likely significant effects.  The Council considered these conclusions to be premature and misconceived and they demonstrated that HAL had already made determinations on impacts and effects without the necessary evidence being in place to substantiate them.  Vital information had been missing in relation to the following (but not exhaustive) list:

·         Health impacts;

·         Areas of growth had been relied upon to justify expansion with no indication of where they would be located or when and how they would come forward;

·         Contaminated land with valuable desk top studies had been available but had not been disclosed;

·         Flood and water management with survey data had been available but had not been disclosed to the Council even though it was the Lead Local Flood Authority;

·         Surface access with a decision taken not to disclose information to the Council as a highways authority;

·         Heritage with desk top surveys undertaken but not provided;

·         Ecology with vital supporting surveys withheld;

·         Economic growth with information presented in the last two weeks of the consultation timeframe, thereby not informing the Council's assessment;

·         Noise with meaningful flight path data entirely absent; and

·         Air quality with key aspects on modelling data not made available.

 

It was incomprehensible as to why so much information had been collated but had not been made available.  This would have made for a far more credible consultation exercise.  HAL's approach had been disingenuous and gave the distinct impression that it was nervous of "being found out".

 

In short, the purpose of this consultation, which was to front load the DCO process, had been fundamentally undermined by the decision to withhold so much important information.  The Council would be submitting a comprehensive 250 page response to the consultation.  Separately, a letter would be sent to the Department for Transport to seek a review of the ANPS in light of this consultation.  There seemed little benefit in going through an extended, highly complex, resource intensive Development Consent Order process if there were clear warning signs that HAL could not meet the challenges laid down by the ANPS and had been promoting a project that did not align with what Parliament voted on.

 

With regard to the White Elephant, the Council had an application for Judicial Review of HS2 for flouting planning law listed in the High Court at the end of November.  The Council had written to HS2 Ltd regarding its use of utility companies to carry out work which extended the project beyond the limits of the HS2 Act.  For example, using an electricity company to tunnel 7 kilometres through residential roads from Rayners Lane to West Ruislip as HS2 Ltd had failed to secure an electricity supply at West Ruislip.  Although it had been argued that they were entitled to extend the scope of the project, the Council’s concern was that this conclusion has been self-certified by HS2 Ltd without any independent oversight. 

 

The new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had ordered a review of the viability and value of the HS2 project which was now undeniably well over budget, well behind schedule and fundamentally not the most pressing or economically advantageous transport project required in this country at this time.  Whilst the review would be independent, the lemming mentality of the Department for Transport and HS2 would be difficult to dislodge as it was not based on common sense.  The new Prime Minister had agreed that this project needed to be justified to the people of this country on a transparent and open basis.  This would be difficult for HS2 to do. 

 

As a Council, Hillingdon would continue to put the wellbeing of its residents and its environment first and, in both this case and Heathrow expansion, that sentiment extended to the rest of this country.  Common sense must prevail.

 

There was no supplementary question. 

23.

Motions pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To consider Motions submitted by Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12

Minutes:

7.1       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR D.MILLS

 

Councillor D Mills moved, and Councillor Goddard seconded, the following motion:

 

“That this Council welcomes the announcement by The Prime Minister, The Right Hon. Boris Johnson MP, that we need to increase the physical presence of police to help tackle crime levels across the country and that funding will be made available for the provision of an additional 20,000 police officers by 2022.

 

“That, given that Hillingdon will have additional police numbers who will require adequate operational facilities, this Council agrees that its offer to purchase Uxbridge Police Station for £5M, to enable continued use by local officers, made in the 2018 budget should be remade to The Mayor of London as soon as possible.

 

“That this Council agrees that, should The Mayor of London wish to proceed quickly with this offer, to ensure that adequate police facilities are maintained, that it be funded from the projected underspend of £10M in the 2019/20 General Fund Capital Programme resulting from a rephasing of project expenditure, alternatively funding will be provided in to the 2020/21 budget.”

 

Councillor Mathers moved, and Councillor Allen seconded, the following amendment:

·         At the end of Paragraph 1 insert:  “following the Conservative led government’s savage cuts to police budgets since 2010.”

·         In Paragraph 2, after ‘agrees’, delete: “that its offer to purchase Uxbridge Police Station for £5M, to enable continued use by local officers, made in the 2018 budget should be remade to The Mayor of London as soon as possible.” and replace with:

o   “to offer to adapt the Civic Centre building using the £5M for Police Station purchase in the 2018 budget to enable continued use by local officers and using the remaining capital funding to address the inadequate rate of investment by this Conservative led council in public infrastructure and facilities for Hillingdon’s residents against the significant development of housing in the borough.”

 

Following debate (Councillors Curling, D Mills, Prince, Puddifoot and Simmonds), the amended motion was put to the vote and lost.  The original motion was put to a recorded vote.

 

Those voting for: The Mayor (Councillor Yarrow), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor Barnes), Councillors Arnold, Bridges, Brightman, Burrows, Chamdal, Chapman, Choubedar, Cooper, Corthorne, Denys, Deville, Edwards, Flynn, Goddard, Graham, Haggar, Hensley, Higgins, Kauffman, Lavery, Lewis, Makwana, Markham, Melvin, D Mills, R Mills, Morgan, O’Brien, Palmer, Puddifoot, Radia, Riley, Rodrigues, Seaman-Digby, Simmonds, Stead and Tuckwell.

 

Those voting against: Councillors Allen, Birah, Bliss, Curling, Dhillon, Dhot, Eginton, Farley, Lakhmana, Mathers, Money, Morse, Nelson, Oswell, Prince, Sansarpuri, Singh and Sweeting.

 

Those abstaining: None.

 

The motion was carried and it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That this Council welcomes the announcement by The Prime Minister, The Right Hon. Boris Johnson MP, that we need to increase the physical presence of police to help tackle crime levels across the country and that funding will be made available for the provision of an additional 20,000 police officers by 2022.

 

That, given that Hillingdon will have additional police numbers who will require adequate operational facilities, this Council agrees that its offer to purchase Uxbridge Police Station for £5M, to enable continued use by local officers, made in the 2018 budget should be remade to The Mayor of London as soon as possible.

 

That this Council agrees that, should The Mayor of London wish to proceed quickly with this offer, to ensure that adequate police facilities are maintained, that it be funded from the projected underspend of £10M in the 2019/20 General Fund Capital Programme resulting from a rephasing of project expenditure, alternatively funding will be provided in to the 2020/21 budget.

 

7.2       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR EGINTON

 

[NB: Motion submitted in accordance with Council Rule 18 – Previous Decisions and Motions - 18.1: Motion to Rescind a Previous Decision.  A motion or amendment to rescind a decision made at a meeting of Council within the past six months cannot be moved unless the notice of motion is signed by at least 17 Members.  The Head of Democratic Services had confirmed that the Motion had been signed by the required number of Members.]

 

Councillor Eginton moved, and Councillor Morse seconded, the following motion:

 

“That the following amendments to the Council Constitution (shown in Italics) as agreed at Council on 9 May 2019, be rescinded:

 

“Protocol for Member / Officer Relations - Regarding Member Enquiries:

 

“A Member is free to approach any Council Department to provide such information, explanation and advice about the Department’s functions as may reasonably be required in order to assist with discharging his/her role. Such requests must be reasonable and will be met subject to any overriding legal considerations (determined by Monitoring Officer).

 

“If the recipient of any request considers the cost of providing the information requested or the nature of the request to be unreasonable, they will raise the matter with the relevant Corporate Director who will discuss the issue with the relevant Group Leader or, in the absence of a Group Leader, with the Member concerned. Should a Member wish for information that is not specific to their own Ward (e.g. is regarding matters affecting the whole Borough or is cross-cutting for a part of the Borough wider than a single Ward) then such a request must be made through the Group Leader with an explanation as to why such information is required.

 

“Should a Member wish to raise, or be asked to raise by a member of the public, a matter in another Member's Ward there is an expectation that they will refer the matter to the appropriate Ward Member(s), unless a valid reason why this would not be appropriate is provided by the Group Leader.

 

“Where a Member requests such factual information, that information will also be supplied to the relevant Cabinet Member, Chairman of the appropriate Committee or relevant Officers.”

 

Following debate (Councillors Allen, Denys, Edwards and Sweeting), Councillor O’Brien moved Standing Order 14.11, that the question now be put.  This was seconded by Councillor D Mills and agreed by the Mayor.  On being put to the vote, the motion that the question now be put was carried.

 

Councillor Eginton, as the mover of the original motion, gave his right to reply.  The motion was then put to the vote and was lost.

 

7.3       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR MATHERS

 

Councillor Mathers moved, and Councillor Sansarpuri seconded, the following motion:

 

“That this Council notes that, though slavery was abolished across the then British Empire in 1833, including the UK, there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggest that there are more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world, with nearly 25 million in forced labour.

 

“There were 5,145 victims of modern slavery submitted to the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, a 35% increase on 2016. A rising number but still well below the 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims estimated by the Home Office. Modern Slavery is happening nationwide. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.

 

“That this Council believes that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK. That councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies arrangements are set up to combat modern day slavery and exploitation.

 

“That Hillingdon Council, as a port authority, plays an important part in combating this evil practice, given the often vulnerability of asylum seekers.

 

“That this Council resolves to adopt the Charter against Modern Slavery to ensure our procurement practices don’t support slavery.

 

“The Charter

The London Borough of Hillingdon Council will:

1.      Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

2.      Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

3.      Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they don’t rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

4.      Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

5.      Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

6.      Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

7.      Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

8.      Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

9.      Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

10.   Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.”

 

Councillor Simmonds moved, and Councillor Palmer seconded, the following friendly amendment:

·         After Paragraph 2 insert: “This Council welcomes the passing of the Modern Slavery Act by a Conservative led Government in 2015.”

·         After ‘asylum seekers’, delete: “That this Council resolves to adopt the Charter Against Modern Slavery to ensure our procurement practices don’t support slavery.

 

The Charter

The London Borough of Hillingdon Council will:”

 

And replace with:

 

“This Council recognises the role it can play in proactively preventing modern slavery and requests that the Cabinet receive a report regarding the Charter which includes consideration of:

1.    Identification and referral of victims.

2.    Supporting victims.

3.    Community safety services and disruption activities.

 

As well as the other requirements of the Charter as follows:

 

To:”

 

Following debate (Councillors Corthorne, Curling and Mathers), the amended motion was put to a vote and carried.

 

The substantive motion was then put to the vote and it was unanimously: 

 

RESOLVED:  That this Council notes that, though slavery was abolished across the then British Empire in 1833, including the UK, there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggest that there are more than 40 million people in modern slavery across the world, with nearly 25 million in forced labour.

 

There were 5,145 victims of modern slavery submitted to the National Referral Mechanism in 2017, a 35% increase on 2016. A rising number but still well below the 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims estimated by the Home Office. Modern Slavery is happening nationwide. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.

 

This Council welcomes the passing of the Modern Slavery Act by a Conservative led Government in 2015.

 

That this Council believes that action needs to be taken to raise awareness of modern slavery and the fact that it is happening all over the UK. That councils have an important role to play in ensuring their contracts and supplies arrangements are set up to combat modern day slavery and exploitation.

 

That Hillingdon Council, as a port authority, plays an important part in combating this evil practice, given the often vulnerability of asylum seekers.

 

This Council recognises the role it can play in proactively preventing modern slavery and requests that the Cabinet receive a report regarding the Charter which includes consideration of:

1.    Identification and referral of victims.

2.    Supporting victims.

3.    Community safety services and disruption activities.

 

As well as the other requirements of the Charter as follows:

 

To:

1.    Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

2.    Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

3.    Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they don’t rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

4.    Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

5.    Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

6.    Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

7.    Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

8.    Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

9.    Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

10.Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.