Agenda item - Items referred from Council

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Agenda item

Items referred from Council

Items referred from the last meeting of Full Council held on 13 August 2020 (copy attached).

 

(a)     Petitions:

 

(i)        Add a Sign to the Queen Victoria Statue in Hove explaining the impact of the Empire

(ii)      Prioritise & Support Community Led Affordable Housing Over Private Developers in the City

(iii)     Declare Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City

 

(b)  Notices of motion:

 

(i)        Committing to Make Brighton and Hove Free of Modern Slavery

(ii)      Black Lives Matter / Anti-Racist Council

(iii)     Historic Monitoring Events on Madeira Drive

Minutes:

(a)  Petitions

 

(i)           Add a sign to the Queen Victoria Statue in Hove, explaining the Impact of the Empire.

 

23.1     The Chair gave the following response:

 

Thank you for this petition and to the many other residents that have already contacted the council with their ideas and suggestions.

 

We’re currently curating information about plaques, monuments, statues and street names on public land and the processes for making any changes – removal, renaming and so forth, which was also a commitment stated publicly by the previous Labour administration. We are also looking at upcoming opportunities for such as naming of new residential schemes. We are aiming to have a programme of action by November.

 

We will be working the council’s BME Workers Forum, our local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and historians to ensure we fully understand the history of our statues and street names and all suggestion put forward by residents. The review is not about airbrushing our island’s history but educating ourselves about it, understanding how it influences us today and celebrating the histories and her-stories of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities of our cities. We would like to explore with Black History how we can support them to progress the Black History walk that they have researched and designed; we will be considering how any other educational pieces in the city can be aligned and complimentary to this including the possibility of a sign at the Queen Victoria Statute.

 

(ii)          Prioritise & Support Community Led Affordable Housing for Private Developers in the City

 

23.2    The Chair gave the following response:

 

I welcome this petition which has been referred to TECC Committee for consideration from full council.

 

I also welcome the valuable work of community led housing projects.

 

In terms of an update - I can confirm that we have a long-established direct link between the Housing Strategy Team and Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust. There are monthly meetings held between both that have continued throughout lockdown. 

 

The meetings are currently focusing on specific matters such as Public Works Loan Board funding - which has been discussed for some time. Counsel’s advice has been sought on the recommendation of the city council’s legal team. Now, Finance and Housing are drafting an initial report to progress this further.

 

Identifying potential sites is regularly discussed and dealt with on an ongoing basis. So far 5 council owned sites, in addition to the original pilot scheme at Plumpton Road, have been confirmed through the Housing Supply Members Board. Further sites are currently being considered. Two sites will be taken to Housing and P&R Committee in November and December seeking approval to dispose.

 

In addition, I know colleagues chairing the council’s Housing Committee are keen to encourage the exchange of information between council officers and the Community Land Trust around minimising the carbon emissions of new homes and to identify additional sites for community-led housing in our city where the council is not in a position to develop them itself”

 

(iii)        Declare Brighton & Hove to be an Anti-Racist City

 

23.3     The chair gave the following response:

 

Thank you, Mo, for this petition which was accepted at Full Council in August. I would also like to thank you for staying the whole duration of the Full Council meeting in order to be able to listen to the debate for the BLM / Anti-Racist Council Notice of Motion, despite the meeting finishing very late.

 

In July we held a special TECC committee to accept and approve the council’s pledge to work toward becoming an anti-racist council. We also agreed for officers to bring a progress report on the council’s work toward becoming an anti-racist council, developing our anti-racism strategy and leading the city towards becoming an anti-racist city to November’s TECC committee meeting. I would like to provide a short update today and give a full response to the petition as part of the progress report at the next committee meeting. 

 

Pledging to be an anti-racist council means we will use our resources and change what we do to actively dismantle racist structures and challenge racial inequality. And that we will work in partnership with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people including council staff, residents and community groups to directly shape our anti-racism strategy through their lived experiences and diverse perspectives.

 

The council also fully appreciates the commitments and work done so far by many people and organisations in the city to be anti-racist.

 

We have called on all services and employers in the city to do everything they can to work towards Brighton & Hove becoming an anti-racist city and the council is ready to play its part. We have already started this conversation with our public sector partners at a meeting of the City Management Board (which is attended by senior officers from all the public sector organisations) in early July. They committed to sharing their plans, joining up action and being informed and led by the community. Their first step was agreement to a civic leadership programme to support and empower Black, Asian and minority ethnic civic leaders in the city. The programme is being delivered in partnership with Operation Black Vote.

 

Sussex Police is a member of the City Management Board and was part of the July discussion. The council’s CEO is writing to the Police & Crime Commissioner asking her to respond to the specific actions requested in the Council’s Motion agreed on 13th August. Language is constantly evolving. The council works with and listens to the thoughts and opinions of our staff, residents and community groups to understand the right language to use when talking about ethnicity, culture, faith and national identity.

 

We understand that everyone is an individual and not all people will feel comfortable with the same language. And importantly that by using acronyms and overly simplified language we reduce and diminish the diversity of communities.

 

We welcome continued discussion and conversation about culture and language when discussing race, racism and identity. And we will work to ensure that we use specific and relevant terminology when talking about the impact of racism on Black African people, Asian people and others.

 

With regards to schools, pleased that all training offered by the council to schools, teachers and trainee teachers will now include building understanding of the impact on pupils and staff of bias, discrimination, privilege and institutional racism.

 

Working with a group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic school staff an initial action plan has been created looking at staff training, recruitment and retention, support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic school staff and pupils and decolonising the curriculum. The next step is to engage with a larger number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic school community to deepen the actions in the plan. I know, too, that my colleagues in Children, Young People and Skills have started to progress this work and are also supporting other initiatives such as the Multicultural Book Fund, so that we can enact changes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pupils in our schools in as many ways as possible.

 

In terms of procurement we have already amended our procurement processes to include that all tenders have a standard weighted equality question, and ask for specific Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic equalities information, and that the Procurement Advisory Board form request anti-racism commitment from all commissioners in the council.

 

Internally the council has established a fair and inclusive team. The purpose the team is to offer staff an additional safe space to raise and report issues of discrimination. A member of the team will listen to staff concerns in confidence and offer support and advice on the options available to the person so that they can make their own, informed decision about what they want to do next. The team consist of Human Resources and non-Human Resources staff including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff.

 

The council has recently run a funding programme specifically for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community and voluntary groups in the city. The deadline for applications was 11th September and bids are currently being appraised. There were 29 applicants requesting approximately 56k. The fund is only 25k in total. The Members Advisory Group overseeing the council’s grant programme will be reflecting on this and in discussion with officers considering the future of the Communities Fund within which the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fund was run. 

 

The council last week facilitated the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group convened to shape and guide the council’s anti-racism actions and development of our anti-racism strategy. The group provided clear and constructive feedback that the council needs to demonstrate that it understands and is committed to becoming anti-racism before more engagement with communities. It needs to build up, as an institution its trust and confidence with residents and communities, through open and detailed discussion about its challenges and the work it is doing and will be doing to become anti-racist. 

 

Going forward to the council would like to include discussion on the other elements of the petition in its work with the group. These include:

 

·         enabling an anti-racism adult education programme

·         working with business community to be anti-racist

·         collaborating with universities and Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority groups on researching the history of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people and anti-racism in the city

·         Inclusive festivals

 

The i360 is not owned by the city council, and as such we do not have day to day control over the decisions the i360 makes, and the council does not have a contractual relationship with British Airways. However, it was made very clear to the i360 that the council does not support British Airways as a sponsor and would like to see a new sponsor, when the current sponsorship expires next year, that shares the values of the city, especially with respect to sustainability, equalities, and the city’s role as a City of Sanctuary.

 

Finally, it is vital to recognise that this work exists also because so little responsibility was taken for it in the past and too little engagement was undertaken. Consultants had commented in 2015 that our council needs to do more – I want to take this opportunity to not only share the work done to escalate and progress this to date but to state that actions both now and in weeks and months to come will speak louder than words.”

 

(b)          Notices of motion:

 

(i)            Committing to Make Brighton & Hove Free of Modern Slavery

 

23.4    Councillor Dee Simson proposed the following amendment:

 

“That a future report be brought back to TECC Committee on the 11 March 2021 as an update.”

 

23.5    Councillor Powell formally seconded the amendment.

 

23.6    The motion was passed.

 

23.7    RESOLVED - That:

 

1)    Committee respond to the motion concerning Committing to Make Brighton & Hove Free of Modern Slavery either by noting it or where it is considered more appropriate, calling for an officer report on the matter as requested, which may give consideration to a range of options.

2)    Committee responds to the motion concerning Black Lives Matter / Anti-Racist Council either by noting it or where it is considered more appropriate, calling for an officer report on the matter as requested, which may give consideration to a range of options.

3)    Committee responds to the motion concerning Historic Motoring Events on Madeira Drive either by noting it or where it is considered more appropriate, calling for an officer report on the matter as requested, which may give consideration to a range of options.

4)    A future report be brought back to TECC Committee on the 11 March 2021 as an update.

Supporting documents:

 


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