Agenda for Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee on Monday, 28th November, 2016, 4.00pm
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Agenda and minutes
Venue: St Richard's Church Hall, Egmont Road, Hove
Contact: Penny Jennings Democratic Services Officer
(a) Declarations of Substitutes: Where councillors are unable to attend a meeting, a substitute Member from the same political group may attend, speak and vote in their place for that meeting.
(b) Declarations of Interest:
(a) Disclosable pecuniary interests;
(b) Any other interests required to be registered under the local code;
(c) Any other general interest as a result of which a decision on the matter might reasonably be regarded as affecting you or a partner more than a majority of other people or businesses in the ward/s affected by the decision.
In each case, you need to declare
(i) the item on the agenda the interest relates to;
(ii) the nature of the interest; and
(iii) whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest or some other interest.
If unsure, Members should seek advice from the committee lawyer or administrator preferably before the meeting.
(c) Exclusion of Press and Public: To consider whether, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, the press and public should be excluded from the meeting when any of the following items are under consideration.
Note: Any item appearing in Part Two of the agenda states in its heading the category under which the information disclosed in the report is exempt from disclosure and therefore not available to the press and public.
A list and description of the exempt categories is available for public inspection at Brighton and Hove Town Halls and on-line in the Constitution at part 7.1.
30a Declaration of Substitutes
30.1 Councillor A Norman declared that she was in attendance in substitution for Councillor Lewry.
30b Declarations of Interest
30.2 There were none.
30c Exclusion of Press and Public
30.3 In accordance with Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 (“the Act”), the Committee considered whether the public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item of business on the grounds that it is likely in view of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during it, there would be disclosure to them of confidential information as defined in Section 100A (3) of the Act.
30.4 RESOLVED - That the public are not excluded during consideration of any item of business on the agenda.
To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2016 (copy attached).
31.2 RESOLVED - That subject to the foregoing amendments the Chair be authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2016 as a correct record.
Before Proceeding to the formal business of the meeting there will be a presentation arranged by Community Works from representatives of Brighton & Hove’s LGBT Community.
Those attending will be talking about their lived experience of LGBT mental health issues, the very high levels of poverty and suicidal distress for LGBTQ people in Brighton and Hove, and how MindOut, the LGBTQ mental health service, works to help people get their needs met, support each other and to raise mental health as a community concern.
Following the presentation(s), Members will have the opportunity to ask questions following which there will be a short break before proceeding to the main business of the agenda.
32.1 Before proceeding to the formal business of the meeting a presentation was given arranged by Community Works from representatives from the Brighton and Hove LGBT community.
32.2 Those attending talked about their lived experience of LGBT mental health issues, the very high levels of poverty and suicidal distress for LGTB people in Brighton and Hove and how MindOut, the LGBT mental health service worked to help people get their needs met, support each other and to raise mental health and community concern.
32.3 All in attendance stressed the important work provided by the small group network (13) groups which underpinned this which represented hugely diverse groups providing practical guidance, support and information; also working collaboratively to in order to source all available funding. The First Trans Advocate in the UK had been appointed in 2016 and that was seen as representing an important step forward.
32.4 Details were given including a photo digest of the events that had taken place during the last year including “Pride”
Following the presentation(s), Members had the opportunity to ask questions following which there was a short break before proceeding to the main business of the agenda.
32.5 The Chair, Councillor Daniel thanked all present for their informative contribution which had served to indicate the valuable work taking place across the city.
33.1 The Chair, Councillor Daniel, welcomed everyone to that days meeting at St Richard’s Hall.
33.2 The Chair stated that she would like to use her communications to draw people’s attention to a few key events and activities happening and to give her thanks for the hard work and dedication of public sector workers and the citizens of this city for their ongoing efforts to help protect and improve lives of our more vulnerable citizens.
33.3 RESOLVED – that the content of the Chair’s Communications be received and noted.
(a) Items (34 – 40) will be read out at the meeting and Members invited to reserve the items for consideration.
(b) Those items not reserved will be taken as having been received and the reports’ recommendations agreed.
34.1 All items on the agenda were reserved for discussion with the
Item 38 – Power of Volunteering Action Plan.
To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public to the full Council or at the meeting itself.
(b) Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 21 November 2016.
(c) Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 21 November 2016 – To consider the Deputation referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 20 October 2016.
At the Chair’s discretion the Deputee will be invited to address the Committee for 5 minutes.
35.1 There were none.
35b Written Questions
35.2 Notification of one question had been received and had been circulated to the Committee as an addendum to the main agenda. Ms Des Moulins was invited to put her question set out below:
“Power of Volunteering Action Plan – (Item 38 on the agenda)
“We note the papers say that the implementation group has met on numerous occasions but were disappointed to see that the only action attached to accessible volunteering is to update the university website. Do members of the Implementation group have the expertise to ensure that accessible volunteering is made a reality within their organisations across the city?”
35.3 The Chair, Councillor Daniel, responded stating that it had been recognized that this issue needed to be addressed and confirmed that this would be pursued going forward. It took time to look at what each organization was doing and what was needed in terms of capacity building. In due course a further report would come to Committee detailing and seeking approval a collaborative programme of work.
35.4 Ms Desmoulins responded stating that she was happy to note all that had been said but had wanted to highlight the importance of publicising what had been achieved to date and the need to ensure that partners shared training opportunities and had the ability to learn from each other.
35.5 RESOLVED – That the question and response given be noted.
Protect our Community from Alcohol Misuse and Anti Social Behaviour
35.6 A Deputation had been referred from the meeting of Full Council, details of the original deputation and the response which had been given at that meeting had been circulated to the Committee for their information included with the agenda papers for the meeting. At her discretion, the Chair had agreed that the lead petitioner, Sir Ron Dewitt be permitted to address the Committee for 5 minutes. Sir Ron was called forward and invited to address the Committee.
35.7 Sir Ron explained that notwithstanding the response which had been given at Full Council residents were concerned that greater powers be used to address these problems than currently appeared to be the case from estate agents marketing properties and from business owners themselves. Adequate day centres and resources were required within the diminishing resources available. Those with complex mental health and other needs and those who were rough sleepers or were afflicted by addictions needed support to ensure that they did not exacerbate problems which had already reached breaking point. There was a need to enforce the licensing regime and to create a safer space within the city. LAT’s and the public were beginning to loose faith in the Council and wanted to ensure that suitably robust measures were in place in advance of the following summer.
35.8 The Chair stated that as Sir Ron had raised different issues from those originally brought forward at Council she considered it would be more appropriate given that they related to licensing matters for the issues raised to be forwarded to the Safe in the City Partnership, rather than the Police and Crime Commissioner as suggested in the report as in her view that would be a more appropriate forum. Councillor Simson and other Members concurred. Councillors Gibson and Littman agreed but remained of the view that the matter should also be referred to the Police and Crime Commissioner. That was lost on a vote however and the proposed amendment was carried.
35.9 RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee receives and the contents of the Deputation and response provided (attached as an appendix to the report).
(2) That the Committee formerly resolves that a copy of this report, appendix and an extract from the minutes of this meeting be forwarded to the Safe in the City Partnership for their consideration.
Please Protect Hangleton & Knoll Youth Services
35.10 The Chair explained that she had been notified of two other Deputations which she had permitted to come before the Committee as she considered it was important for groups to have the opportunity to voice their concerns about potential funding cuts ahead of the budget process. Each group would be allowed to speak for 5 minutes in support of their respective deputations.
35.11 Representatives of the Hangleton & Knoll Youth Project including young people who belonged to and had been helped by it and their parents were in attendance and spoke regarding their grave concerns regarding the impact potential funding cuts could have on this well established and valuable project which had provided a much needed resource in the area with which young people had engaged and which had provided them with opportunities to flourish. The weekly drop in sessions were well attended and the project had helped to provide a focus which had supported young people during the period of transition from childhood to young adult hood. A period when mental health issues associated with bullying and feelings of insecurity for example could be to the fore. Young people involved credited the project had given them somewhere to go and helped to prevent them from getting into trouble and to keep them out of trouble. It had also provided them with the opportunity to take on responsibilities. The impact of any cuts would be keenly felt and would have an extremely detrimental impact.
35.12 The Chair thanked those present for their Deputation stating that Members had heard and noted what had been said and would be therefore be aware of that when budget decisions needed to be made.
35.13 RESOLVED - That the Deputation be noted.
Sister’s Uncut - Potential Cuts to Service Provision Services for Victims of Domestic Violence
35.14 Sacha Williams was in attendance representing “Sister’s Uncut” a local and international feminist group which was pledged to support those who were victims of domestic violence and to resist cuts in funding to the various support services available to them which were already severely stretched. Safety should be a “right” not a privilege and it was a salutary fact two women died in the UK in consequence of domestic violence. Those who were disabled, transgender or from immigrant communities were also vulnerable.
35.15 It was not appropriate for Government and others to remove funding and “slam” doors without ensuring that the required level of support was in place. In order to meet very real needs such services could not be delivered on a shoe string or to the same level as currently for less money. Those who were vulnerable and abused needed to be protected.
35.15 The Chair thanked MS Williams for her Deputation stating that Members had heard and noted what had been said and would be therefore be aware of that when budget decisions needed to be made. Whilst direct Home Office funding was due to cease this Council took the issues very seriously and was working pro-actively with partners including the Police to mitigate this including its work in funding the Survivors Network, the Council was itself facing major cuts in funding. No budget decisions had yet been made and it was timely for these issues to be raised now.
35.16 RESOLVED - That the Deputation be noted.
To consider the following matters raised by Members:
(a) Petitions: To receive any petitions referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee;
(b) Written Questions: To consider any written questions;
(c) Letters: To consider any letters;
(d) Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.
36.1 There were none.
36b Written Questions
36.2 There were none.
36.3 There were none.
36d Notices of Motion
36.4 There were none.
Executive Lead Officer, Strategy, Governance and Law (copy attached)
37.1 The Committee considered a report of the Executive lead Officer, Strategy, Governance and Law presenting the Council’s response to the recommendations of the Brighton and Hove Fairness Commission.
37.2 The processes used for coordinating, responding to and responding to and managing the recommendations within the Council as well as setting out the wider city partner responses and the arrangements for implementation and governance going forward were set out. Appendix 1 to the report set out detailed responses received to each recommendation and supporting information regarding timescales, responsibilities and budget where relevant.
37.3 It was noted that full implementation would be a long term process and that the recommendations would be used to influence, level and affect change across a wide range of services and that the council would ensure that the recommendations were embedded into its core business planning and performance frameworks. The Fairness Commission had been undertaken in a short timeframe during which it had heard from a huge number of contributors which had resulted in the final report including a significant number and range of recommendations at a time of reducing budgets.
37.4 Councillor Simson referred to Recommendation 49 which related to “Poverty Proofing the School Day”. Whilst considering that this should be put into place if needed she considered that this should not be applied on a blanket basis in the absence of discussions taking place with individual schools first, this might not be needed at all schools. Given current financial constraints, Councillor Simson stated that she was anxious that available funds were applied where they were most needed.
37.5 The Chair, Councillor Daniel agreed stating that it was timely for such discussions to take place in advance of budgets being set as they could then inform the decision making process. It was confirmed that following approval of the recommendations further discussions would take place, with the schools and with other partners in relation to the relevant areas to ensure that available funding was utilised appropriately.
37.6 Councillor Simson referred to recommendation 5 of the report stating in her view the word “monitoring” needed to added before the word “delivery”. There was agreement by the Committee that this would be appropriate and this was taken up as an amendment and voted upon when the Committee considered the report recommendations.
37.7 Councillor Simson stated that a number of the points and recommendations which had come forward had also been highlighted as a result of earlier scrutiny panels, the Social Value Scrutiny and in relation to street clutter were cited. In view of the longer term aims of the Fairness Scrutiny she was anxious that the outcomes from this earlier work were not lost.
37.8 Councillor K Norman agreed, commending the work which had been carried out, especially by colleagues on the Cross Party Member Working Group of which he was aware that Councillors Littman and Simson had been Members. This represented a valuable piece of work and valuable pieces of work had been undertaken in the past it was important that these were not lost sight of.
37.9 Councillors Moonan and Littman concurred agreeing with the approach which had been adopted, considering that it was important to “future proof” the recommended approach. Councillor Littman considered that against the backdrop of reduced funding it was important to ensure that this work was carried forward, an important tool in ensuring that was achieved in his view was to bed this into the EIA process which would ensure that it fed into the budget process and that an appropriate level of on-going monitoring took place.
37.10 Councillor Gibson considered that as this work was cross-cutting across a number of departments and budgets that it would be appropriate for the relevant strands to go forward to the appropriate individual committees. Councillor Littman concurred in that view. The Chair, Councillor Daniel stated however that that this could result in a delay. Following approval by the Policy and Resources Committee work would continue within the Council and with its partners. The Chair sought confirmation from the Committee as to whether they wished to pursue that approach but it was rejected by the remaining eight remaining Committee Members.
37.11 Anusri Biswas Sasidharan, asked whether there were provisions in place which enabled the Fairness Commission to challenge proposed budget cuts. It was explained that whilst they did not have the ability to do that by feeding into the budget process Members would be aware of all germane issues when making their decisions.
38.12 Sally Polanski, stated that in view of the involvement of external partners which had fed to both the consultation process and the subsequent process in addition to their role as independent members it was important to ensure that all partners were fully involved in the process to ensure that all agencies were working in tandem. Third Sector Partners had believed they were working collaboratively in putting together a Youth Strategy but had subsequently found that was anticipated was not what was actually in place, this needed to be addressed. The Head of Communities and Equality, Emma McDermott, explained that a meeting was being arranged with voluntary sector representatives at an early date to ensure that the necessary processes were embedded and monitored.
38.13 The Chair, Councillor Daniel, then moved to the vote. She asked whether Members were minded to Councillor Simson’s proposed amendment to recommendation 5 (highlighted below). Members voted unanimously in agreement.
38.14 The Chair, Councillor Daniel stated that in view of Members concerns that appropriate measures were in place to ensure that appropriate levels of monitoring were in place she proposed that an additional recommendation be approved (as set out below). This was seconded by Councillor Littman and Members voted unanimously in agreement.
“(6) That going forward it is recommended that the strands identified should be subject to an EIA attached in order to seek to ensure that the improvements and changes sought are monitored and an assessment is capable of being made as to whether they are being achieved.”
That the Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee are:
RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee welcomes and agrees the responses detailed in Appendix One to this report;
(2)That the Committee agrees with the outcomes of the cross party Member working group process; including the decision to prioritise 15 recommendations as set out in Appendix Two to the report;
Report of the Acting Director of Public Health (copy attached)
38.1 The Committee considered a report of the Acting Head of Public Health which provided an update on the short term actions proposed by the council (appendix 1) to help deliver the commitments in the Power of Volunteering. The council is a member of the Volunteering Implementation Group (VIG), established under the City Management Board (CMB), to develop and oversee delivery of the Power of Volunteering action plan. All the key public sector organisations in the city were members of the VIG. Appendix 2 of the report included actions proposed by the other members of the VIG: University of Brighton, BSUH, and CCG. At time the report was produced East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police, City College and Kent, and Surrey, Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company also members of the VIG were due to submit their plans. Also provided (appendix 3) was a diagram of the key groups/forums driving volunteering improvements in the city.
32.2 RESOLVED – (1) That NCE committee approve the council’s actions to deliver against the commitments in the Power of Volunteering as set out in Appendix 1; and
(2)That NCE committee notes the actions proposed by the other public sector organisations in the Volunteering Implementation Group.
Report of the Acting Director of Public Health, Executive Director, Families, Children and Learning and the Executive Director, Economy, Environment and Culture (copy attached)
39.1 The Committee considered a report of the Acting Director of Public Health, Executive Director, Families Children and Learning, Executive Director Economy, Environment and Culture reporting on the work of the Brighton & Hove BME Needs Assessment Steering Group in relation to BME people in the City.
39.2 The Head of Communities and Equality, Emma McDermott accompanied by Gino Fox who carried out research on behalf of the Council gave a presentation highlighting the headlines which had been identified by this piece of work The purpose of the report had been to provide an accessible overview of statistics about Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people living, working or studying in Brighton & Hove. The ultimate aim of the report being to create a shared sense of priorities.
39.3 The snapshot report showed that the number of residents identifying as BME had increased across all ethnicities between 2001 to 2011. The BME population in Brighton & Hove had grown from 12% in 2001 to 19.5% in 2011, which is higher than the average in the South East. Further scrutiny of the snapshot report had resulted in the BME Needs Assessment Steering group deciding to focus on the variation between different ethnic groups in terms of economic activity and to look at the variation between the genders. Whilst as a whole unemployment and employment rates for BME people were comparable with the white British population a more detailed analysis had shown barriers to accessing and maintaining employment appeared to be a significant issue for specific individuals from specific BME communities. On 20 October Full Council had approved the CESP. Four action groups had been established to deliver the CESP Strategic Map and the Learning, Employment and Skills Partnership would have overall responsibility for the CESP along with the City Management Board. The full research report completed by the appointed consultant Ottaway Strategic Management Ltd on addressing barriers to work for BME people in Brighton and Hove including the recommended actions was set out in appendix 1 to the report.
39.4 Councillor Bell stated that the report was very interesting and enlightening in serving to highlight areas where there was still further work to be done. The Chair, Councillor Daniel concurred, welcoming the report and explaining that it would be beneficial in her view if members could identify action points which they would like to see pursued going forward.
39.5 Councillor Littman agreed, welcoming the report which indicated that although the situation had improved the Council was itself still playing “catch up” in some areas. Councillors Moonan and Hill concurred and Councillor Moonan said that this piece of work represented a timely wake up call which provided a tool to enable priorities to be set for the medium and longer term. There was an under representation of those from BME backgrounds amongst councillors themselves, that also needed to be addressed.
39.6 Councillor Moonan stated that going forward it was important to have appropriate mechanisms and internal processes in place to monitor activity so that it would be possible to measure whether or not those mechanisms were effective and to take action if they were not. It was important for Members to be involved in the process and for those in senior leadership positions to be pro-actively involved too. Effective governance would be key to success.
39.7 Councillor Simson considered that proposals to ensure involvement of all stakeholders was important considering that it would be beneficial for an initial meeting to take place before proceeding to the next stage, Councillor Miller also supported that view.
39.8 In responding to the points that had been made The Head of Communities and Equalities confirmed that a further report would be brought back to the Committee in 12 months.
39.9 RESOLVED – (1) That the committee welcomes the research and its findings and agrees the recommendations;
(2)That committee refers the research report to the Children, Young People and Skills Committee and the Economic Development and Culture Committee for information;
(3) That committee refers the research report to the Learning and Skills & Employment Partnership and the City Management Board for consideration as part of their responsibility for overseeing the delivery of the CESP action plan;
(4) That committee requests that the work plans of the appropriate CESP action groups be reported back to committee for consideration of how the research findings and recommendations have been incorporated; and
(5) That committee instructs officers to bring a report back in 12 months detailing how the research recommendations have been progressed.
Report of the Executive Director of Finance and Resources (copy attached)
40.1 The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Finance and Resources the purpose of which was to provide an overview in relation to Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA), Sexual Violence (SV) and Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), setting out the strategic context, describing the extent and impact of these crime types in the city, and identifying trends, issues and emerging risks, as well as summarising commissioning and partnership activity.
40.2 The Head of Community Safety, Peter Castleton and James Rowlands, VAWG Commissioner, gave a joint presentation highlighting the key issues. There were likely to be increasing pressures in consequence of some Home Office funding streams which were due to cease and if those funding gaps could not be filled reductions would need to be made. Other funding streams including approaches to potential corporate funders were being actively pursued. The Chair, Councillor Daniel, stated that she was aware of the work that had been and was being done to seek to support this work going forward the outcomes of which were not yet known.
40.3 Sally Polanski, voluntary sector stated that she was aware that this formed part of a national picture a co-ordinated approach was required with all partners to ensure that initiatives could be supported strategically in the longer term.
40.3 Councillor Littman considered that this information was very worrying against a backdrop of growing demand for support services. Councillor Simson agreed stating that if there was a reduction it would simply build up increased problems for the future. It was explained that presently work was being done in concert with the Police and other partners to look at how demand/services could be met in a different way.
40.4 The Chair, Councillor Daniel, confirmed that this was a challenging conundrum to which there were no answers yet, all involved were working incredibly hard to try to ensure what was needed was provided.
40.5 RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee notes the indicative timetable for the review of the city’s VAWG Strategy, the proposal that this becomes a DVA, SV and VAWG Strategy, and agrees that the revised strategy is tabled at a future meeting for approval;
(2) Notes that the reporting of DVA and SV is increasing and that:
(i) While a re-commissioned specialist service is in place this is likely to operate within a reduced joint commissioning budget and will require outcomes to be prioritised;
(ii)There is a risk to the provision of prevention and recovery services, which are likely to be de-commissioned in 2017-18; and
(3) Advocates a comprehensive and detailed review of the response to these forms of violence and abuse across all service areas.
Items referred for Full Council
To consider items to be submitted to the Council for information.
In accordance with Procedure Rule 24.3a, the Committee may determine that any item is to be included in its report to Council. In addition, any Group may specify one further item to be included by notifying the Chief Executive no later than 10am on the eighth working day before the Council meeting at which the report is to be made, or if the Committee meeting take place after this deadline, immediately at the conclusion of the Committee meeting.
Community Venues for Future Meetings:
Please note community venues for meetings for the remainder of the Municipal Year are as set out below:
10 January 2017, Whitehawk Library, 179a Whitehawk Road, Brighton BN2 5FL;
13 March 2017, The Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF
41.1 There were none.