Agenda and minutes

Community Safety and Environment Policy and Accountability Committee
Tuesday, 29th January, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Small Hall - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Amrita Gill  Tel: 020 8753 2094

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2018.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

 

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Morton and Ann Rosenberg.

 

 

3.

Declarations of interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.

 

Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

2019 Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 166 KB

This report sets out the budget proposals for the services covered by this Policy and Accountability Committee (PAC). An update is also provided on any proposed changes in fees and charges.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Hitesh Jolapara, Strategic Director of Finance and Governance gave a presentation outlining the Council’s budget proposals. He highlighted the scale of challenges facing local government in recent years. He showed slides that demonstrated the debt levels nationally, noting that local government expenditure and Council services were declining nationally apart from Adult Social Care.

 

It was noted that grant received from national government continued to reduce. There was a general grant funding reduction of £3.3m from 2018/19 to 2019/20 – this was after receipt of extra one-off social care funding of £1.5m and winter pressures funding of £0.9m as per the Autumn Budget Statement. An inflationary council tax increase of 2.7% was modelled for 2019/20. This increase would generate income of £6.3m over 4 years and £1.56m in the first year. The Council’s spending power reduction was 13% more than the national average and expected to deliver extra savings of £34m. In addition, there needed to be savings of £2.4m for residents’ services for 2019/20.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked how the additional costs relating to the disaggregation of residents’ services, would be funded and whether these had been factored into the budget for 2018/19. In response, Hitesh Jolapara explained that there might be a one-off cost for the disaggregation however the Council was in the process of concluding the new arrangements, therefore this had not been finalised. The current message was to disaggregate within existing budgets.

 

Sharon Lea, Director of Resident’s Services explained that each service area would be required to do a zero-based budgeting exercise and present a business case. This would include a breakdown of how services were currently being delivered and how these could be brought together more effectively. In addition, she added that the Council wanted to ensure that the new staffing arrangements worked cross functionally to improve efficiencies. i.e. how we can embrace change and improve the way services were delivered.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler expressed concerns around the disaggregation of resident services’ and asked if there was a wider strategy in place. She queried why the Council had decided to disaggregate, given that the existing arrangements were working well. In response, Sharon Lea explained that the current staffing arrangements were based on a traditional approach. Therefore, this was an opportunity to explore new ways of working and introducing best practice to the Council. In addition, this would be achieved using the funding already set out for resident services’.

 

Councillors Wesley Harcourt, Cabinet Member for the Environment commented that the bi-borough arrangements were not as successful as the Council had originally intended, and recommendations were made to remodel the services based on a zero-based budgeting approach.

 

Councillor Iain Cassidy asked what was the Council’s position relating to discounts and exemptions on council tax in comparison to other boroughs. Emily Hill, Assistant Director - Corporate Finance explained that the single person and student discount entitlements were likely to be relatively similar across other London boroughs. However, council tax support was provided to the elderly, and residents working for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Management of Infectious Diseases in the borough pdf icon PDF 125 KB

This report provides an overview of the systems and controls that we have in place to keep residents and other members of the public safe.

Minutes:

Ann Ramage, Assistant Director for Regulatory Services provided a presentation, noting that the Council had a statutory duty to receive notifications of infectious diseases (including food poisoning). The Council also had a legal duty to monitor and investigate these cases and take action where necessary. She showed slides that provided an overview of the systems and controls that were in place to keep residents and other members of the public safe.

 

The Borough’s principle partner in this work is the Health Protection Team (HPT) which was part of Public Health England (PHE). The HPT team consisted of Consultants in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC), consultant nurses, and support staff. The CCDCs were appointed by the Council as Proper Officers for receiving notifications from doctors. In addition, PHE would collate and publish monthly details of notifiable diseases by borough and disease.

 

Investigations of infectious diseases would be carried out by fully qualified Environment Health Officers (EHOs). These would also include cases of food poisoning and Legionella. The officers had the power to close a business posing risk and exclude people from work if they were a risk to others. They also received regular training from PHE, and participated in desktop emergency exercises. An overview was provided around how infectious disease cases were managed and the cost implications to businesses. Those most at risk were the very old, very young, pregnant women those with compromised immune systems and those already ill.

 

Graham Morrison, Environmental Health Officer, provided an example of a complex case study that was carried out relating to a previous Salmonella case in the borough - this resulted in 60 customers ill with 20 being hospitalised. Details were provided of how this was managed and the appropriate measures that had been put in place by Council officers.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowlerasked how many Environmental Health Officers were employed. Ann Ramage explained that there were currently 4 (FTE) food environment health officers who responded to infectious disease notifications and outbreaks. There was a similar number of health and safety officers who handled notifications of Legionella. In addition, noted that that this was a highly specialised department due to the nature of work involved.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked how did the Council’s figures in relation to the number of infectious diseases, compared to other local boroughs. Ann Ramage explained that a total of 155 cases of Gastro Intestinal Diseases were notified to the North-West London Health Protection Team in 2018. The London Borough of Hounslow reported a higher rate in comparison to the Council, whilst Kensington & Chelsea experienced fewer cases of infectious diseases.

 

The Chair asked for further clarification around why some diseases fell under the Council’s remit. Ann Ramage referring to page 35 of the agenda pack said that there were 31 diseases listed as notifiable. These were catergorised as infectious diseases because they were caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi that could spread, directly or indirectly from one person to another. Furthermore, GP’s had a statutory duty to notify a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleansing Contract Overview pdf icon PDF 125 KB

This report provides an overview on waste collection and street cleansing in the borough.

Minutes:

Simon Davis, Assistant Director for Contracts and Procurement introduced the report and provided an overview of the waste management and street cleansing services in the borough. These services provided front-line services to residents, businesses, and visitors to the borough. The efficiency and effectiveness with which these were delivered had an impact on residents’ quality of life, and the Council’s overall ability to deliver a ‘cleaner, greener’ borough.

 

Serco managed a collection of domestic waste from approximately 80,000 residential properties. Missed collections were resolved within 24 hours and good behaviour was also factored in as part of their responsibility as a contractor. Furthermore, as part of the borough’s clear all policy, Serco proactively removed unreported fly tips, dog fouling and litter. The streets in the borough were some of the cleanest in London with over 96% of streets being kept to an acceptable standard of cleanliness.

 

The key service standards for street cleaning were outlined. These were to achieve a high standard of cleanliness after each cleanse and remove reported fly tips within 48 hours. In addition, it was also essential to attend emergency responses within one hour.

 

Referring to page 45 of the agenda pack, Simon Davis provided an overview on the current KPI performance. These were measured against the requirements set out in the contract and noted that improvements were achieved compared to 2017/18. The Council set out the aspiration to be working towards the upper quartile performance for cleanliness and recycling rates in London.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked how the success of the KPI’s were measured. In response, Simon Davis clarified that a lower figure indicated a better performance.

 

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler commented that the customer satisfaction indicator was removed and asked for further clarification around why and when this change took place. The Committee also requested that further information be provided around who carried out the street cleanliness inspections.

Action: Simon Davis/ Lesley Gates

 

The Chair asked whether the Council kept a record of the complaints received by the residents. In response, Simon Davis explained that missed collections and fly tipping were recorded on the Council’s system and responded to within the proposed timescales.

The Chair asked for further clarification around what action was being taken by the Council to ensure that Serco would deliver the planned contract improvements. Simon Davis explained that the contract had become out-dated and needed to be refreshed to meet the current requirements of the Council. This would be achieved through a reprocurement exercise when the contract expired in 2020/21. To progress change over the remaining life of the contract, a plan had been established and fed back to Serco. The Council were engaging with Serco senior management to ensure service improvements were achieved through the tail end of the contract to 2021.

 

A resident commented that the Councils winter gritting strategy was reviewed at the Committee meeting held on September 2018. An update was requested around what progress had been made to the gritting of pedestrian and access routes. Simon Davis  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Programme and Dates of Future Meetings pdf icon PDF 48 KB

The Committee is asked to consider its work programme for 2018/19 and note the future meeting dates.

Minutes:

The PAC’s work programme was noted. The next meeting would be held 27 March 2019.