Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 15th October, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator 

Note: use the link on the agenda front sheet or paste the following into your browser 

No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.


The Chair referred Members present to agenda item 1 regarding filming at the  meeting and Members noted the information contained therein.



Apologies for Absence




Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business. (Late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with at item 14 below).




Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct


Councillor Ahmet declared that she was a governor at Rowland Hill Primary School.  Councillor Connor declared that she was a governor at Tetherdown Primary School.  Ms Keever declared that she was a governor at St Ignatius Primary School.  Mr Chapman declared that he was a governor at Fortismere and Bounds Green schools and Haringey Learning Partnership.  Ms Davin declared that she was a governor of Seven Sisters Primary School.



To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 335 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting on 20th July as a correct record.

Additional documents:


The Committee raised the following matters from the Action Tracker:

·         In respect of the development of the night times economy, they requested details of when the issue had been discussed with Wood Green ward Councillors (Action: Clerk/Assistant Director of Regeneration and Economic Development);

·         An update was requested on the all Member briefing session on leisure and the Fusion contract that the Committee had recommended but which had been postponed due to the lockdown (Action: Clerk/Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Equalities and Leisure); and

·         In respect of the Citizens Panel, the Committee requested an update on progress (Action: Head of Policy).




That the minutes of the meeting of 20 July 2020 be approved.



To receive and note the minutes of the following Scrutiny Panels and to approve any recommendations contained within:


Housing and Regeneration – 16th December 2019, 3rd March 2020 & 14th    

September 2020

Environment and Community Safety – 17th December 2019, 5th March 2020 & 3rd September 2020

Children and Young People – 19th December 2019, 2nd March, 11th March (joint meeting with the Adults & Health Scrutiny Panel).

Adults and Health – 6th January 2020, 25th February 2020 & 21 September 2020.



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That the minutes of the following Scrutiny Panels be received and noted and any recommendations within them be approved:

·         Housing and Regeneration – 16th December 2019 and 3rd. March and 14th September 2020;

·         Environment and Community Safety – 17th December 2019 and 5thMarch and 3rd September 2020;

·         Children and Young People – 19th December 2019 and 2nd March and 11th March (joint meeting with the Adults & Health Scrutiny Panel) 2020; and

·         Adults and Health – 6th January, 25th February and 21 September 2020.


Cabinet Member Questions: Deputy Leader of the Council & Cabinet Member for Children, Education & Families

Verbal update


The Chair reported that, due to the change of date of the meeting, the Leader of the Council had not been able to attend.  Councillor Amin, the Deputy Leader, had been asked to cover on his behalf, in her capacity as Deputy Leader.  However, she was new to her role and would therefore just be covering issues relating to the Children and Families part of her portfolio.  The Leader had been invited to attend the next meeting of the Committee.


The Deputy Leader reported as follows:

a.    It had been a turbulent time for children and young people.  Headteachers and school staff had worked hard to prepare schools for their reopening.   School attendance had been steady so far and in line with levels elsewhere.  The attendance of more vulnerable groups was being monitored and was also steady.  A small number of cases of Covid had been recorded in schools.  Learning was taking place either virtually or face-to-face.  Risk assessments had been undertaken and were regularly updated.  The Assistant Directors for Schools and Learning and for Public Health were working with schools and had provided regular briefings;

b.    Action was being taken to ensure that more vulnerable children continued to have face-to-face contact with social care staff.  New ways had also been developed of working with children so that they could continue to be supported.   Staff were being supported;

c.    There was a particular challenge in ensuring that all children had access to the IT equipment that was needed for them to learn effectively at the current time and there was evidence of a “digital divide”.  It was also felt that there needed to be clear guidance on what children should be learning and the progress that they should be making, including national standards for access.  The Children’s Commissioner and Ofsted were currently looking at these issues.


The Committee expressed concern that, whilst it was possible to access privately run face-to-face services for children under the age of two, Children’s Centres were only providing them for children who were considered vulnerable. The Cabinet Member stated that all maintained Children’s Centres were open and, in particular, those with nurseries attached.  It was difficult for Children’s Centres though as many parents were anxious about using them at the moment.  It was also challenging because of the young age of children which meant that they found it hard to understand matters such as social distancing. Eveleen Riordan, Assistant Director of Schools and Learning, stated that all Children’s Centres had undertaken risk assessments.  Although all maintained centres had been open, one of had needed to close due to a positive Covid-19 test. It was agreed that additional information would be provided to the Committee regarding Children’s Centres, the processes that had been undertaken prior to their reopening and the services that were currently being provided. (Action: AD for Schools and Learning).


In answer to a question, Beverly Hendricks (Assistant Director for Safeguarding and Social Care) reported that domestic abuse remained a key priority and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Terms of Reference and Memberships pdf icon PDF 152 KB

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1.     That the following scrutiny panels be established for 2020/21:

·        Adults and Health;

·        Children and Young People;

·        Environment and Community Safety; and  

·        Housing and Regeneration 


2.    That the terms of reference, policy areas and membership for each scrutiny panel be approved.


3.    That the appointments of the Council’s representatives to the North Central London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and of an additional member to the Adults and Health Panel be deferred until the next meeting. 



Revision of Statement of Licensing Policy 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 405 KB

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Dahlia Barrett, Licensing Team Leader, reported on the review of the Council’s Licensing Policy.  All licensing authorities were required to do this every five years. The policy covered the licensing of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshments.  Legislative changes had been incorporated.  In respect of the response to Covid, businesses were now able to fast track applications for placing tables and chairs outside premises for one year at a reduced cost as part of the Business and Planning Act.  However, take up had been slow so far.  Lessons learnt had been incorporated within the new policy and, in particular, the review by the Friends of Finsbury Park on events held there.  The Council’s Public Health service had been wanting to establish a Community Impact Zone in an area within the borough in response to the harm arising from alcohol, including crime and anti-social behaviour.  This enabled authorities to specify that an area had reached saturation point for licensed premises and made it more difficult for premises to obtain or extend licenses.  However, clear evidence needed to be produced that alcohol was the main driver.


The Committee expressed disappointment that a Community Impact Zone had not yet been set up in the borough as the adverse impact of alcohol on locations within the borough could be clearly seen.  It was felt that learning could be obtained from other authorities that had implemented such schemes.  It was agreed that the Committee would recommend that a report come to a future meeting of the Committee on the setting up of a zone within Haringey (Action: Licensing Team Leader).


In answer to a question, Ms Barrett stated the Council followed all relevant legislation regarding consultation.   All licensed premises and the public had invited to respond to the consultation on the new policy.  8 weeks had been allowed for responses.  4 questions had been included plus the opportunity to input free text.  In respect of School Zones, Public Health could make representations regarding licensing applications in such areas. However, the legislation required that evidence was based on clear evidence and not just anecdotal.


In answer to another question, she stated that there was a section on the process for reviewing licenses.   Clear evidence needed to be provided by those objecting that premises were not complying with their responsibilities.  Applications were shared with responsible authorities who were given 28 days to respond.  Her service was not able to solicit responses but met regularly with authorities and could provide guidance.  She stated that residents should bring any incidents to the attention of the local Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams. 




That the Licensing Team Leader be requested to submit a report to a future meeting of the Committee on the potential development of a Community Impact Zone within an area of Haringey.



BREXIT - Implications for the Borough pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Jean Taylor, the Head of Policy, reported on the work that was taking place in response to the UK leaving the European Union (EU) and, in particular, the leaving of the Single Market and the Customs Union in December.  The details of any deal were still not known and the current Covid-19 pandemic had created additional uncertainty.  Particular efforts were being made to ensure that EU residents obtained settled status.  There were specific risks arising from a loss of income due to economic downturn and the impact on the workforce if significant numbers of staff did not obtain settled status before the June deadline.  Brexit could also disrupt the Council’s supply chain and exacerbate skills shortages.   The economic impact could also have a negative impact on residents.  The risk register was a dynamic document and would be further developed in due course.


In answer to a question regarding a possible upsurge in hate crime, Ms Taylor stated local lockdowns elsewhere had created tensions in the community.  In addition, any protests against Brexit could increase virus transmission. 


Concern was expressed by the Committee regarding the impact on recruitment and retention of Council staff, especially those in areas where there were skills shortages, and those who worked for Council contractors.  Ms Taylor reported that work was taking place to determine the number of Council staff affected so that action could be taken to ensure that they all acquired settled status.   This would include an internal communications campaign. There was an awareness amongst officers of the areas where there were skills shortages.    Discussions had taken place with contractors and reassurance provided regarding the impact upon them.  She reported that there were currently ten offices from across the Council who were working on this matter. 




That a further report be presented to the next meeting of the Committee and that this includes additional detail on the financial risk to the Council (Action: Head of Policy).







Fire Safety - Update on Implementation of Recommendations from Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 115 KB

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Robbie Erbmann, Assistant Director for Housing, reported on progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the scrutiny review on Fire Safety in High Rise Blocks as follows:

a.    The Building Safety Bill would provide the framework for the implementation of the recommendations of the Hackett Review and was likely to result in sweeping changes when passed.    Although a further report on the legislative changes was due to come to the Committee on 12 January, he felt that it might be better to wait for this until such time as the bill had progressed further through parliament;

b.    The practical application of the new legislation was currently being worked through, including the requirements for an Accountable Officer and Building Safety Manager as well as the need for building fire safety cases for high rise blocks;

c.    Building Control officers had been upskilled and now all had the highest competencies for fire safety. Homes for Haringey were currently also recruiting for their building safety management team.  It had been planned to recruit a single person to undertake the roles required but these had now been spread across the team due to the very limited number of individuals there were who possessed all the required skills; and

d.    Intrusive fire risk assessments were being undertaken on all high rise blocks on Broadwater Farm and other blocks and would be completed within 9 to 12 months.


Bob McIver, the Head of Building Control, reported that although efforts that had been made to recruit additional Building Control officers, these had not been very successful so action had instead been taken to upskill current staff.  Consideration was being given to recruiting apprentices but it was not easy to deliver training at the moment though, due to the team not currently being in the office due to the pandemic.  In addition, funding was a big issue.


In answer to a question, it was noted that the communication strategy regarding engagement with residents on fire safety was currently being updated and that it could be shared with the Committee when completed (Action: AD for Housing).  Signage was also now being provided in a range of community languages. 


The Committee requested that information on Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) of blocks be shared with local ward Councillors.  In response to a question, Farzad Fazilat, Head of Brokerage, reported that two engagement events had been held with care and nursing homes on fire safety and these had also included the Fire Service.  Care homes and nursing homes were required to display FRAs on their premises but not obliged to put them on their websites.  They were nevertheless encouraged to do so and he agreed to request that they do so again (Action: Head of Brokerage). 


Councillor Gordon stated that there were a number of individual issues relating to fire safety that she would like to consider in greater detail at the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel.    In particular, there was a lack of information regarding FRAs on buildings  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 338 KB

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It was noted that there was some space for adding additional items to the work plan for the remaining scheduled meetings for the year, although this was likely to be limited in the January meetings due to budget scrutiny.  The review on Business Support (Procurement and the Local Supply Chain) still needed to be finalised.  All the evidence received so far had now been collated and consideration now needed to be given to how the review could be brought to a conclusion.   Proposals for a virtual consultative event were currently being developed the purposed of this would be to consult further with the community on future items for the workplan.  It was agreed that individual issues of concern arising from the Fire Safety in High Rise Blocks review would be taken up by the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel whilst the Committee would maintain an overview of the implementation of the recommendations of the review.




1.    That the current work programmes for the main Committee and Scrutiny Panels be noted; and


2.    That individual issues of concern arising from the Fire Safety in High Rise Blocks review be taken up by the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel whilst the Committee maintain an overview of the implementation of the recommendations.