Agenda and minutes

Policy and Oversight Board - Monday, 12th September, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Main Hall (1st Floor) - 3 Shortlands, Hammersmith, W6 8DA. View directions

Contact: Bathsheba Mall  Email:

Link: Watch the meeting live on YouTube

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Helen Rowbottom.


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.


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 Standards Committee.


Councillor Lisa Homan declared a non-pecuniary interest due to her position as a trustee of Citizens Advice, H&F, in respect of agenda item 4. Councillor Nikos Souslous declared a non-pecuniary interest due to his position as co-founder and secretary of Ready Tech Go, a local charity.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 June 2022.




That minutes of the 20 June 2022 were agreed.


Developing our digital inclusion strategy pdf icon PDF 417 KB

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the reliance for people to get online for work and pleasure, but it also accelerated and deepened the divide between digital have and have nots. 

This item will support the co-production in public of the Council's developing Digital Inclusion Strategy, through the experiences and expertise of guests and residents.

Guest speakers and contributors have been invited to share their views on the following emerging themes:

·      How can H&F work with residents, community and voluntary sector, local businesses and partners to tackle the digital divide?  How can residents be supported to overcome barriers to digital exclusion?

·      What does H&F already do well and what could we do better?

·       Given the severe impacts of the Cost-of-Living on residents and businesses, how can our approach to digital inclusion help to drive financial inclusion – in terms of improving access to affordable credit, products, services, and support to help manage their personal finances?

Guest speakers:

·       Lisa Howie, Landlord Success Manager, Community Fibre

·       James Prowse, Regional Manager – Local Authorities, Hyperoptic

·       David Strachan, Senior Business Development Manager, Hyperoptic

·       Simi Ryatt, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice H&F

·       Catherine Tyson, Managing Consultant, Agilisys

H&F contributors:

·       Veronica Barella, Chief Digital Officer

·       Darren Persaud, REAP Programme Delivery & Support Manager

·       David Issacs, Co-production co-ordinator


Officer Presentation on Council’s developing Digital Inclusion Strategy

The Board welcomed officers and guest speakers which sought to explore emerging themes on digital inclusion informing the council’s developing digital inclusion strategy.  Veronica Barella outlined the council’s vision which aligned closely with the mayor’s vision on digital inclusion to 2025 and to work with LOTI (London Office of Technology & Innovation).  The aim was to develop a digital ecosystem working with residents, local volunteers, and business partners, to deliver a joined up, accessible digital inclusion strategy for H&F.  Challenges included identifying and removing barriers such as lack of skills or awareness, or prohibitive tariffs and to source robust data that would help identify the range of needs and priorities. 


Cathy Tyson described the work undertaken by the Digital Maturity Assessment which informed and developed a set of best practice measures benchmarking digital standards for accessing online services.  Work to date with the public sector and community groups was recognised as an unstainable model and it was suggested that the public sector needed to use its power to leverage provision.  Darren Persaud described the work Resident Experience Access Programme which supported the provision of online services that residents may access, and identified 6 pillars of digital inclusion: devices, infrastructure, connectivity, data, skills, jobs and related projects.


James Prowse, Regional Manager – Local Authorities, Hyperoptic

Hyperoptic was founded in 2011 to bring connectivity to urban areas (flats), and provides broadband services to 900k homes, most of which were in London.  They had worked with H&F to bring connectivity to those in social housing and about 20-25% of those who could access the provision did so through Hyperoptic. James Prowse state that their intention was to build links with partners across the borough so that by 2024, 80% of residents in flats (and individual homes) could access the hyperactive network.  He recognised that there was considerable fear and confusion about digital space and the digital maturity assessment offered opportunities to identify resident touchpoints in accessible locations. It was important to raise awareness of market choices and the range of tariff options so that people were not locked into long term contracts and could switch when it was cost effective to do so. 50% of H&F residents needed financial help so a public service message raising awareness of 'Fair fibre tariff' was suggested.


Lisa Howie, Landlord Success Manager, Community Fibre

Community Fibre had worked with H&F since 2018 rolling out connections for residents in social housing and working with private landlords and local business.  The roll out included houses of multiple occupation and single use dwellings.  Community Fibre had worked with other local authorities and referenced their work with WCC which had been recognised with a nomination for an award.


Community Fibre were currently recruiting and training four H&F digital ambassadors or champions and was being offered to Disclosure and Barring Service checked volunteers with skills and knowledge (e.g., university applicants) to provide digital skills training to residents. One digital ambassador  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Policy and accountability committee Chair's Update pdf icon PDF 202 KB

This report covers the areas of work and reports considered by each of the policy and accountability committees, examining and exploring emerging themes in the context of the committee’s individual work programmes.


Councillor Lisa Homan highlighted the importance of identifying emerging, cross-cutting themes.  In discussing the cost-of-living it was recognised that this was an important issue affecting residents.  The council was keen to ensure that services worked collaboratively to mitigate against the financial impact of the cost-of-living.




That the report was noted.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 97 KB

This report sets out the board’s work programme for 2022/23.

Additional documents:




That the cost-of-living be the focus of the next meeting of the Board, on 12 December 2022.


Date of next meeting

Monday, 12 December 2022.


Monday, 12 December 2022.