Agenda and minutes

The Economy, Housing and the Arts Policy and Accountability Committee
Wednesday, 5th July, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Courtyard Room - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  Tel: 020 8753 2088 / Email  ainsley.gilbert@lbhf.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Connell. Councillor Ivimy had sent her apologies for lateness.

9.

Declarations of Interest

* See note below.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 June were agreed to be accurate.

11.

Arts Strategy Update and 2017-18 Action Plan pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

James Fitzgerald explained that the Council’s Arts Strategy had been launched in Mid 2016 and an Arts Development Officer had been appointed 6 months ago. The report detailed what progress had been made and what was planned for the next year.

 

Thomas Dodd explained that the highlights so far were the Hammersmith Poem by Robert Montgomery, which had been displayed under the Town Hall Extension and drawn significant attention; and the successful shop front studio in Kings Mall. The shop front studio was the first pilot scheme using an empty shop as a studio which had worked; it was intended to repeat the project.

 

Councillor Jones said that he was very pleased with how the Arts Officer had been taking forward the Arts Strategy and with the projects which were being developed. He noted that the Council had also organised the Shepherds Bush Comedy Festival, which had supported arts venues. Councillor Jones said that the Council was looking at a range of new ideas and was keen to ensure that the borough had sufficient gallery space.

 

A resident asked what the Council thought Arts Fest should be. Councillor Jones said that he felt Arts Fest should continue to be run by the community but that the Council should offer more practical support where this was possible. Councillor Fennimore noted that the Arts Fest received Council funding and said that it was hoped that business in the borough could be encouraged to give more. Councillor Jones added that the Arts Strategy was focussed on how the Council could work with partners to deliver exciting arts projects and facilities; he noted that the Council continued to have its budget cut by central government and that the Council did not have enough money to directly fund all of the projects it might want to.

 

Councillor Phibbs asked who had owned the unit in Kings Mall which the shopfront studio had used. Thomas Dodd said that the unit was owned by Schroeders, who had allowed Arts students from across London to use the the unit for 6 months. Councillor Phibbs noted that buildings in private ownership might become unavailable very quickly; he asked whether there were any Council buildings which could be used, suggesting that exhibitions could be held at schools over the weekend. A resident said that performance and rehearsal space was also needed. James Fitzgerald said that officers were working with Property Services to look at options, especially for artists residencies. Councillor Brown noted that any arrangements in schools would need to have appropriate safeguards for children.

 

Councillor Ivimy arrived at this point in the meeting.

 

Councillor Phibbs noted that it was difficult to display the Cecil French collection because of the high value of some of the pieces of art but said that it was important that the collection be shown. He was pleased that some of the works had been loaned to galleries and asked whether fees had been charged. Thomas Dodd explained that, as was customary when loaning art,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Housing for Refugees and Asylum Seekers pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Minutes:

Brendan Morrow explained that the report set out the support the Council provided for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and those with no recourse to public funds.

 

Those who had been granted refugee status were entitled to work, and claim benefits and access social housing in the same way as British citizens.

 

Those who were claiming Asylum were provided with accomodation and subsistance payments by the National Asylum Support Service; this support continued until their application had been determined and the Council were not usually involved in this support.

 

The Home Office sometimes granted leave for people to remain but with no recourse to public funds. This meant that they could not claim benefits or receive help with housing in the normal way. Children and vulnerable adults did however have rights to some assistance through Social Services legislation such as the Care Act 2014 and the Children Act 1989; this was because of the Council’s safeguarding duties. Where Adults or Children’s Services accepted that the Council had a duty to provide assistance they would ask the Housing Solutions service to provide suitable accomodation and provide subsistence payments. Housing Solutions would place those entitled to this type of assistance in private rented accomodation which would be funded from through budgets delegated by Adults and Children’s Services.

 

Mr Morrow explained that the team which provided the No Recourse to Public Funds Service was currently undergoing a review, with a view to closer working with Adults and Childrens Services. The Council had also got access to a system called Connect which allowed officers to see immigration information and liaise with a dedicated home office team.

 

Councillor Fennimore said that this was a very complex area involving lots of technical legislation which many people struggled to understand. She said that she felt it was important that where the Council had a duty to support people it did this well and praised the work of officers who ensured that Hammersmith and Fulham did this. Councillor Homan added that Councillor Fennimore had taken a personal interest in this area and her work had led to improvements in the service. She noted the good work of Housing Options staff in sourcing accomodation and helping residents.

 

The Chair asked what the impact of the removal of the provision enabling asylum seeking families with children to remain supported until they left the UK would be. Brendan Morrow explained that the change would mean that more families who had not left the UK but whose applications for asylum had been rejected would need to be supported by the Council owing to its safeguarding duty to the family’s children.

 

Councillor Phibbs said that the system seemed very confusing and would benefit from being clearer and easier for the public to understand. He said that he felt it was wrong that Asylum Seekers were not allowed to work whilst their claims were being processed.

 

Councillor Phibbs asked whether there was any incentive to the Council to reduce the costs of providing services to those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Grenfell Fire Response

Minutes:

A resident asked that an update be given on what the Council had done to help with the Grenfell Fire. Councillor Fennimore explained that on the morning of the fire Kim Dero, the Chief Executive, had called Nicholas Holgate, the Chief Executive of Kensington and Chelsea to offer support. Hammersmith and Fulham had provided staff in a number of roles with staff helping in rest centres, with housing needs assessments and many other things. Regular meetings were held to identify what further support could be offered. 41 victims of the fire were staying in hotels in Hammersmith and Fulham and these people were visited every day to provide support and advice. Councillor Homan noted that the community response to the fire had also been fantastic giving the examples of food vouchers being offered by restaurants and collections for the victims being run by TRAs.

14.

Date of the Next Meeting and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Members and residents are invited to submit suggestions for the work programme, either at the meeting or by email to ainsley.gilbert@lbhf.gov.uk

Minutes:

It was agreed that the next meeting would be about Fire Safety and that all other items would be postponed to another meeting.

 

Councillor Phibbs noted that an issue had been referred to the PAC by the Audit Committee but had not been scheduled. The Clerk explained that the item had continued to be considered by the Audit Committee, and that most of the issues they had initially raised had been resolved, and so an item had not been brought; he apologised for not having highlighted the referral to the PAC.

 

A resident asked that a meeting of the PAC be held in the South of the borough. The Chair agreed to look at whether this would be possible.