Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Services, Commerce and Communities Policy Overview Committee
Tuesday, 6th April, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: VIRTUAL - Live on the Council's YouTube channel: Hillingdon London. View directions

Contact: Liz Penny - Email:  epenny@hillingdon.gov.uk; Telephone: 01895 250185 

Items
No. Item

57.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Vanessa Hurhangee.

58.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

59.

Minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 4 March 2021 be agreed as an accurate record.

60.

Exclusion of Press and Public

Minutes:

It was agreed that items 1-11 were in Part I and would be considered in public and, if required, item 12 was in Part II and would be considered in private.

61.

Review: Voluntary Sector Response to Covid-19 Pandemic - draft report pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members had reviewed the draft report and raised no concerns or comments. The Committee endorsed submission of the final report to Cabinet for consideration.

 

RESOLVED That the Corporate Services, Commerce & Communities Policy Overview Committee:

 

1)    Agreed the final report and recommendations in principle and endorsed its submission to Cabinet for due consideration; and

2)    Delegated any minor drafting changes required prior to the report’s submission to Cabinet to the Democratic Services Officer, in consultation with the Chairman and Opposition Lead as required.

62.

The Committee's Next Review Topic - Ideas / Selection Phase pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Minutes:

Members were invited to put forward ideas for the Committee’s next review topic. Suggestions for review topics / information report items:-

 

1.    The Council’s engagement with the Armed Forces;

2.    Town centre regeneration – how the Council is engaging with Hillingdon’s high streets to assist with economic recovery further to the Covid-19 pandemic;

3.    The Council’s procurement – future plans and possible efficiencies;

4.    The Council’s ICT / digital strategy and current major ICT projects being undertaken / future plans;

5.    Ways in which the Council helps local small businesses with their procurement processes;

6.    Facilities management within the Civic Centre – updating the building and installing energy efficient equipment;

7.    Disability access in public buildings.

 

It was noted that suggestions 3 and 5 (procurement) could feed into each other. It was agreed that Councillor Choubedar would provide further information regarding 4 (ICT).

 

In respect of suggestion 6, Members commented that it would be useful to gain a better understanding of the Council’s use of building space and where efficiencies could be made; particularly if some staff would be continuing to work from home post Covid.

 

The Committee observed that most of the topics would be information report items.  At this stage the preferred review topic was option 2 regarding town centre regeneration post-pandemic. It was agreed that Democratic Services would liaise with officers to scope this further and report back to the Committee. If Members thought of other ideas following the meeting, these could be communicated directly to Liz Penny in Democratic Services.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee considered potential topic ideas for their next major review for officers to scope further and report back to the Committee.

63.

Climate Change Action Plan pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Haygarth, Climate Action Manager, presented the Climate Change Action Plan which had been presented to Cabinet in March. The Committee was invited to comment on the Action Plan prior to it going back to Cabinet in July 2021.

 

The Committee heard that a Climate Change Action Plan was essential given the world’s changing climate and weather patterns. The plan had a focus on community leadership and leading by example – it aimed to inspire residents to reduce their omissions and supported other objectives such as air quality, fuel poverty and preventing flooding. 

 

Members heard that the Council aimed to be carbon neutral by 2030. It planned to achieve clean energy via the use of wind turbines, solar energy and energy supplied by the local and national grid. The use of fossil fuel would be reduced in the future. The aim would be to purchase green energy when possible and, if not achievable, to consider carbon offsetting.

 

Members were informed that the plan set out seven themes of focus and outline targets to achieve the goal of becoming carbon neutral – Community Leadership, The Council’s Own Operations, Building better places, Using Clean and Green Energy, Waste Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Carbon Offsetting. In terms of the latter, measures would be put in place to compensate for carbon emissions which could not be avoided in the short-term e.g. tree planting.

 

It was confirmed that the draft plan would be subject to a public consultation period – an online survey would be released on 29 March 2021 and webinars were planned together with direct emailing to interested parties. It was hoped that people would be engaged and involved in shaping the plan.

 

Members enquired whether the aim to be Carbon Neutral by 2030 was realistic. It was confirmed that this was deemed to be an achievable target but would need to be reviewed nearer the time. The Council had already made significant progress over the last ten years in reducing carbon emissions and switching to green energy. It was anticipated that the residual amount would be reduced further over the next ten years to arrive at a figure which would need to be offset.

 

The Committee requested clarification as to how savings to date had been achieved and enquired whether the Council could do more in the future to reduce the residual figure further. Members were advised that the Council had committed to the first climate change strategy and had introduced a number of activities to reduce its carbon footprint including the installation of lower energy LED street lighting, more efficient boilers and the purchase of green energy. It was also noted that the UK power network had de-carbonised substantially in recent years. It was anticipated that the residual figure to offset carbon would be reduced significantly over the next 5-8 years and, if the Council continued to purchase green energy, would be relatively low by 2030.

 

In response to their enquiries, Members were informed that a lot of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

Prevent pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Minutes:

Fiona Gibbs, Stronger Communities Manager, provided an update on current activity in relation to delivering the Council’s responsibilities under the Prevent Duty, as set out in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Members heard that the Council had a responsibility to work towards the aims of its Prevent Duty and the report set out the ways in which it was meeting its objectives and safeguarding those being drawn to extremism.

 

The Committee was informed that there were 4 or 5 key areas the Council had to respond to working alongside other agencies. A key area of responsibility related to safeguarding – identifying and supporting those who might be vulnerable to radicalisation. Channel was the multi-agency process for the management of cases relating to vulnerability to radicalisation and support of terrorism. The local authority acted as Chair of the Channel panel and multi-agency meetings were held on a regular basis to identify and offer positive support to those at risk.

 

Members heard that training for staff and partner agencies was key to enable stakeholders to identify those at risk and make referrals thereby ensuring that expectations were being met in relation to safeguarding. It was confirmed that the Council had delivered training to more than 5000 staff across the Borough from within the Council, education, health, voluntary and other settings.

 

In terms of risk assessment, the Council worked with local partners to understand the picture in relation to radicalisation – what the issues were and how best to respond to them effectively and proportionately. The picture was constantly changing and there had recently been an increase in extreme right-wing extremism. An understanding of the online space and how it was being used to spread extremist material and messaging was of vital importance. The Council worked with local partners to raise awareness and educate people to recognise the signs of grooming / radicalisation.

 

With regards to building resilience, the Council continued to deliver its MOPAC funded programme in collaboration with the police, schools, the college, the university and community groups. The aim was to enable individuals to build their own resilience and develop critical thinking skills. Workshops had been delivered in schools with pupils discussing topics relating to promoting equality and diversity, challenging discrimination and tackling hate.

 

Members requested further clarification regarding the Prevent training available to staff. It was confirmed that e-learning modules had been developed by the Home Office which provided a basic introduction to Prevent, how to make a referral etc. These modules took approximately 1-1.5 hours to complete. Key staff could also access further Home Office training and learning. Face to face workshops were organised both for Council staff and for local partners and specialist training was also offered. It was confirmed that all the training provided was Home Office approved and was regularly updated to reflect the changing picture. The Home Office was currently revising its face to face training package. During lockdown, training had mainly been delivered virtually. Some Covid-secure face to face training  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Past Review Update: Homophobic, Biphobic & Transphobic Bullying Review pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

Dan Kennedy, Director – Planning, Environment, Education and Community Services, introduced the report which provided the Committee with an update on the recommendations approved by Cabinet in June 2019. Members were informed that progress was being made in respect of all the recommendations though some of the actions had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In response to requests for clarification from the Committee, it was confirmed that schools had generally embraced the recommended action points and a number of programmes were being run which was a positive step. Progress would continue to be monitored going forward.

 

In respect of recommendation 4, Members enquired whether any schools had joined the “Stonewall Champions Programme”. It was confirmed that schools were being encouraged to join. Secondary schools had generally engaged more than primary schools; however, it was noted that, over the last 12 months, schools had been focussing on the challenges presented by the pandemic. It would be possible to provide a fuller update at a future date.

 

RESOLVED That the Committee noted the updates on recommendations as agreed by Cabinet in June 2019.

66.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In response to the Committee’s request for clarification regarding at item due to be considered at the 17 June meeting, Councillor Choubedar confirmed that Microsoft Azure was a cloud-based platform where hardware / software could be held. 

 

It was confirmed that Democratic Services would liaise with the Chairman and Opposition Lead to provide comments on the Climate Change Action Plan before it came back to Cabinet in July.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1)    That the Committee noted the Forward Plan and commented on any items coming before Cabinet as they saw fit; and

2)    That Democratic Services liaise with the Chairman and Opposition Lead to draft comments on the Climate Change Action Plan.

67.

Work Programme 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that the work programme 2021/2022 would be populated with information items / standing items prior to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the Work Programme and agreed any amendments.  

68.

Prevent - Part II Discussion

Minutes:

There was no requirement for a Part II Prevent discussion.