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Contact: David Abbott Email: David.Abbott@lbhf.gov.uk
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Councillor Rebecca Harvey (Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion and Community Safety).
Apologies for lateness were received from Councillors Rowan Ree, Nikos Souslous, and Helen Rowbottom.
Declarations of Interests
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 Standards Committee.
Councillor Nikos Souslous declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 5, Introduction of Voter ID Requirements, in his capacity as an election agent for H&F Labour.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as an accurate record and note any outstanding actions.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler noted that under Item 7, she had requested a report on exam performance for a future Board meeting. Councillor Homan said she would discuss it with Councillor Rowbottom.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2023 were approved as an accurate record.
This report provides an update on the Council’s co-production activity alongside a report on action following the recommendations of the Disabled People’s Commission.
Julian Eccles (Strategic Lead for Communications and Communities) introduced the report that provided an update on the Council’s co-production activity and actions taken following the recommendations of the Disabled People’s Commission.
Also in attendance for the item were Tara Flood (Strategic Lead for Co-production), Kevin Caulfield (Strategic Lead for Co-production), Jane Wilmot (Resident Co-Chair, Civic Campus Disabled Residents Team), Philippa Cartwright (Project Director, Civic Campus), and Councillor Sharon Holder (Cabinet Member for Public Realm and Co-production Lead for the Council).
Julian Eccles explained the importance of embedding co-production in the Council’s services. He noted the report’s recommendations for the Policy and Accountability Committees (PACs) and the Board to review co-production across the Council on a regular basis.
Kevin Caulfield discussed the significant progress made since the Strategic Lead for Co-production posts were created in 2019. He noted that officers had been working to build the capacity of residents to take part in co-production work. He also discussed the recently refreshed H&F co-production implementation group, comprising Councillors, officers, residents, and community organisations.
Tara Flood noted that moving the co-production team under Communications function should help to embed the messaging across the Council. A corporate training programme was due to be rolled out. Tara Flood also noted that the team had been approached by other local authorities and Government departments who were keen to learn from H&Fs best practice about implementing their own co-production programmes.
Phillipa Cartwright discussed the award-winning approach to co-production taken with the Civic Campus project. Jane Wilmot spoke about her experiences of the co-production working groups on the Civic Campus, and highlighted the importance of involving a wide range of Disabled people who could bring their lived experience to the project and ensure it was ‘ruthlessly inclusive’. She felt it was important for the PACs to receive regular updates about the barriers Disabled people faced and the progress made. She suggested inviting the co-chairs of the Civic Campus Disabled Residents Team to attend those meetings to supplement the information provided by officers.
The Chair thanked Julian, Tara, Kevin, and Jane for their presentation and said she welcomed the message of embedding co-production and ensuring it was consistent throughout the Council’s services.
Councillor Natalia Perez asked what the Council could do better in this area and how residents could be brought closer to decision-making. Julian Eccles said there was always scope for improvement. He noted that it was important for officers to understand that co-production led to better policy making, better delivery, and better financial efficiencies.
The Chair asked if there were lessons from the Civic Campus project around changing the culture amongst contractors that provide goods and services to the Council. Philippa Cartwright said it was important to stipulate the Council’s requirements at the contract level. The fact that the Civic Campus Disabled Residents Team had sign-off gave them authority and meant they were listened to. Officers also needed to make contractors understand why it was so important – and win hearts and minds.
This report outlines the Council’s operational response to requirements in the Elections Act 2022 for voters to provide photo identification in polling stations.
Zoe Wilkins (Electoral Services Manager) and Kayode Adewumi (Assistant Director – Democratic, Registration and Coroner’s Services) presented the report which outlined the Council’s operational response to requirements in the Elections Act 2022 for voters to provide photo identification in polling stations.
Zoe Wilkins noted that the first elections to apply the new rules were the local government elections in parts of England in May 2023. She said officers were awaiting the Electoral Commission’s report on why voters were turned away so the Council could mitigate any issues when the rules were applied in the borough. She explained that there was already a robust communication and engagement plan in place, and there would be flyers with voter registration information, a social media campaign, targeted adverts based on the results of the Commission’s report, and further information in the Council Tax and winter booklets. She noted there was some grant funding from the Government for this work, but not all of it had been confirmed.
Kayode Adewumi added that the Elections team were working closely with the Co-production team to look at the accessibility of venues and the communications plan. They were also thinking about other areas to improve to ensure residents could access their right to vote. He said the new burdens on the Council were partly funded by Central Government but there were funding gaps, which meant additional costs for the Council.
Councillor Rowan Ree (Cabinet Member for Finance and Reform) addressed the Board and said the Council would do everything in its power to ensure that everyone who wanted to vote was able to, despite the additional costs to the Council.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked how officers verified someone’s identity if they requested a Voter ID certificate. Zoe Wilkins said if they had a National Insurance number, they could check their details on a government portal. If they didn’t have a National Insurance number, then they could accept other forms of ID.
Councillor Brocklebank-Fowler noted that any publicity would be supplemented by pan-London and national coverage, and she felt that very few people would not know about the new requirements. She felt the separate household notification letter was surplus to requirements and overly costly, given that information was already being included with Council Tax letters. She asked the Cabinet Member and officers to reconsider. Zoe Wilkins explained that the items listed in the report was the Election team’s wish-list, and not all of them would be taken forward.
The Chair said the borough had a relatively high turnover of residents and it was important to ensure they didn’t miss out on their right to vote because of a lack of information. Councillor Ree agreed. He said the new rules introduced new barriers to voting which could stop people applying and the Council needed to ensure people were informed.
Councillor Natalia Perez noted that some communities were not officially recognised by the Office of National Statistics, citing the Latin American community as an example. She noted that a recent Greater ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
This report reviews the forward plan of the Policy and Oversight Board in 2023/24 and seeks Members views on any further key strategic issues within its remit to programme for consideration in 2023/24.
Matthew Sales (Assistant Director, Programmes, Assurance and Analytics) gave a short overview of the report that reviewed the forward plan of the Board in 2023/24 and sought the Board’s views on any further key strategic issues within its remit to programme for consideration in 2023/24.
Councillor Brocklebank-Fowler requested a report on exam performance, unless a similar report was considered at the Children and Education PAC.
The Chair highlighted the following potential items for September:
· Intergenerational practices
· Fuel poverty strategy
· Budget update
Councillor Brocklebank-Fowler suggested financial reports on housing, including an update on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). Councillor Daly noted those items were on the Housing and Homelessness PAC agenda in the Autumn. The Chair added that an HRA update could also be included in the Board’s budget update in September.
Councillor Daly suggested bringing the work on digital inclusion and the Council’s broader digital transformation programme together into one item for a future meeting.
The Chair also suggested an item about how the Council worked with partners and gave the example of mental health services, provided in partnership with the NHS and community groups.
1. That the Board noted the forward plan for 2023/24 and commented on additional key strategic issues within its remit to programme for consideration.
Dates of future meetings
To note the following dates of future meetings:
· 11 Sep 2023
· 11 Dec 2023
· 23 Jan 2024
· 29 Apr 2024
The following dates of future meetings were noted:
· 11 Sep 2023 (later moved to 18 September 2023)
· 11 Dec 2023
· 23 Jan 2024
· 29 Apr 2024