Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 29th November, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: George Meehan House 294 High Road Wood Green N22 8JZ

Contact: Ayshe Simsek Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager 

Note: To watch, click the link on the agenda front sheet 

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 to item 1, on the agenda and members noted the information about filming at meetings.


Apologies for Absence


Councillor Gunes could not be present ‘in person’ and attended the meeting virtually.


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).


The chair formally accepted the High Road West  Scrutiny Report at item 12.2 as a late  item of business. This  was late due to the need to consult on factual accuracies in the report and  respond to comments.


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


Cllr White declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 5 and 12.2 as he was a voting member of Cabinet when decisions had  been taken in March 2021 on the High Road West Scheme.



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


Cllr White left the meeting room, following his declaration of a personal and prejudicial interest.


The Chair had received a deputation in relation to item 12.2 - High Road West Scrutiny Review and invited Paul Burnham to put forward his representations.


 Michael Hodges and Florence Allayway accompanied Mr Burnham


The deputation spoke against the High Road West Scheme as a whole and highlighted the recent Lendlease planning application which, in their view, showed that the whole scheme was unviable and produced only half the rate of profit that Lendlease needed to take forward the rest of the scheme as set out in previous Cabinet reports.


In the deputation’s view the recent Planning application indicated that the Council would not be able to offer the single move to most residents as promised in the earlier Cabinet reports and voted on. There had been 500 Council homes promised but 300 would not be ready until 2032 and in the view of the deputation would mean that residents would spend longer in temporary accommodation.


Mr Burnham contended that 70% of the new homes would be offered on the open market with only 30% available on shared ownership, which was less affordable for local residents and meant less access to housing by BAME residents. Therefore, development using the £90m of GLA money, which would, end up supporting non-council homes and would also drive up the value of homes and rents in the area and increase retail costs.


The deputation continued to outline their concerns on the conduct of the Love Lane Ballot, including:


  • That Council officers had targeted contact with residents that were vulnerable in respect of their uncertainty on a yes or no vote for demolition.
  • There was a significant number of officer contacts with Love Lane residents to ensure completion of the ballot responses.
  • Concerns raised that there had been collection of ballots by officers, which the ballot registration company had advised against but had still been taken forward on 4 occasions.
  • A statement read out from a resident advising repeated phone calls from an officer and door being knocked on several times. The Committee heard from the deputation that this resident had indicated that they were uncertain and did not understand the choice being given. The resident had then received follow up calls, and a visit to their home. The resident then decided their vote and was helped to complete this online. In the deputation’s view, this statement was enough information to warrant a review of the conduct of the ballot process, before any further steps on the demolition were taken.



In response to questions from the Committee, the following responses were provided by the deputation party:


The deputation contended that viability was a complex calculation and expectation of 20% and 14% return on the scheme and whole scheme profit of 6.6% profit. The expectation was that the construction of the homes will in turn increase the prices of the homes and allow the profit to be made by scheme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Scrutiny Reviews pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To approve the following Scrutiny Reviews:

1.    Haringey Family of Schools

2.    High Road West – To follow

3.    Adult  Social  Care Commissioning – To follow

Additional documents:


High Road West Scrutiny Review


Cllr White remained absent for this item.


The committee agreed to vary the agenda and consider the Scrutiny Review on High Road West after the deputation.


The Chair set out the 13 recommendations of the review, outlining that the Committee had not heard direct evidence on issues concerning the conduct of the Love Lane Ballot but were putting forward the recommendation for a lesson-learned review with particular focus on the experience of residents to inform any future ballot.


The Chair emphasised that this was the very first estate ballot conducted in Haringey and it was particularly important that due importance was given to the allegations and representations received on this matter.


Councillor Connor asked if recommendation 2 concerning the ballot could be strengthened to put forward an independent review. In response, the deputy Monitoring officer advised that when compiling reviews there was a need to consider evidence from all parties. Although, the Committee had heard the representations of the deputation, the committee had not had the benefit of hearing from the officers involved with the process and this would be needed when putting forward recommendations to any review and advised against this.


The Chair proposed, as a way forward, that the recommendation could still go forward as a separate matter referred from the Committee to the Executive, having heard from the deputation. The Committee agreed this.


Councillor Hare raised the following points, which did not affect the recommendations.


Ø  Suggested that the Chair's forward could note the length of the review, membership changes and need to complete evidence sessions by August 2021.

Ø  On Recommendation point 2,  he explained that evidence provided was not a council officer but one of Capita's staff carrying a ballot bag.

Ø  On Recommendation 11, suggested that the first bullet point should not just be  the price of purchasing similar premises but suggested should say price of purchasing similar premises on similar freehold or leasehold basis  as this was a  key point made by the Peacock business estate who also highlighted that some business premises included residential accommodation,

Ø  Suggested adding some wording to recognise the high level of difficulties in business planning, investing and financing created by uncertainties, and in future, to engage with businesses that may be affected fully and at the earliest stage of considering regeneration schemes to limit the additional disruption caused by uncertainties.


Ø  On Recommendation 13 and taking this forward, to fully cost the value (economic, social, including indirect ) of the businesses as part of the public engagement and analysis.

Ø  In the report, at 6.4, the impact on businesses of the change from the original Arup master plan suggested should be described. Option 1 was supported by the businesses because the Peacock Estate was retained and the change was significant for the Peacock business estate.


The Committee noted these points and the Chair highlighted the above points raised were already captured in the main body of the report.


With regards to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To approve the  minutes of the meeting held on the 7 October 2021.


Councillor White returned to the meeting.



There were two outstanding actions concerning the budget which would be taken forward as part of the scrutiny budget process.




To approve the  minutes of the meeting held on the 7th of October 2021.



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


·         Adults & Health – 9 September 2021

·         Children & Young People – 23 September 2021

·         Environment & Community Safety –  13 September 2021

·         Housing & Regeneration –  13 September 2021



Additional documents:


Cllr Connor highlighted that the Adults and Health Panel were looking at how the Irish Centre group would be working alongside the Grace organisation.


Cllr Gunes added that the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel were in the process of evidence gathering for the Child Poverty Scrutiny review, for completion by March 2022.


The co-opted member Lourdes Keever, was concerned to hear about the issues on funding and support  raised by the Irish Centre at the recent Full  Council meeting  highlighted the need to ensure that co-production activities picked up these issues.




To note the minutes of Scrutiny Panel meetings as set out at 9 to 50 of the agenda pack.


Joint working with and support for the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Additional documents:


Geoffrey Ocen , Chief Executive of the Bridge Renewal Trust and Poppy Thomas, VCS Co-ordinator provided a presentation containing an update on how the Council works with the Voluntary and Community Sector. They were responding to a request from the Committee for information on:


·         How the Council works with the local voluntary/community sector, is strengthening their capacity and working with them to attract external investment in the borough;

·         How the Council is involving and supporting voluntary organisations to bid for services.


The Committee  noted that the Bridge Renewal Trust were commissioned in 2016 to work with the Council as the voluntary sector strategic partner to essentially support and build the capacity of the voluntary sector. The aim was to work closely together with the Council to deliver support services with The Bridge Renewal Trust specific aim of developing the capacity of the VSC .

The Committee continued to consider a presentation on the projects that the: Council , The Bridge Renewal Trust and Voluntary groups have been working on together. In particular noting :

·         The Council based voluntary sector team was established since summer 2020, to grow further capacity and provide direct support, providing workshops and training and building relationships.

·         The Team were providing network, facilitating relationships, and resources,

·         The Council and Bridge Renewal Trust , working together was not just about bringing more funding to the sector but also bringing people together in the voluntary sector and working together to address the common underlying issues affecting communities.

·         The Bridge Renewal Trust were providing information through their website on issues affecting the voluntary sector.

·         The Bridge Renewal Trust were ensuring the sector was resourced effectively and working together as collaboratively as possible.

·         The sector was provided information on core sector funding and the understanding of the funding available related to Covid project funding and available resource costs.

·         Making sure that the voluntary sector can access the available funding support.

·         Working with the sector to help them attract external funding support

·         Working on health inequalities and ensuring involvement of voluntary sector in co – production.


Responding to the presentation, the Committee sought clarification on the outcomes of the voluntary sector community group initiatives that had been funded by external funders and funded by the Council as part of the Covid support grant. It was understood that  there were several initiatives that were coming forward, post pandemic, and it was queried  how  they would  be assessed i.e. what had worked well and what had not? The Committee also needed further clarity about the composition of external funding and needed to understand what  was Council money or CCG money was.

In response , it was clarified that the external funding outlined was money coming into the voluntary sector, including Council money. It was further explained that £2.7m had come into the borough for key projects from key external funders – [this would not include Council funding].


It was recognised that an outcome to the Council Covid grant support had helped keep organisations afloat,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


CABINET MEMBER QUESTIONS - CABINET MEMBER FOR Customer Service, Welfare and the Public Realm


Cllr Chandwani, The Cabinet Member for Customer Service, Welfare, and the Public Realm attended the meeting to respond to questions on the Customer Service and welfare part of her portfolio. The Cabinet Member provided a brief update to provide some context and background. The following key information was noted:

  • The vision for Customer Services was for the Council to be able to serve people in the way they want and way that they need. This was through effective use of resources in a multi-faceted way, ensuring accessible services for those in need and everyone else served in a different but accessible way.
  • Ensuring Services connect strategically which also requires getting the atomisation right so the council can help people most in need whilst ensuring that day to day contact and interaction is as efficient as possible.
  • Customer services supports 17 council services and does not answer phone calls for all Council services.
  • There were varied and complex contacts with the council ranging from planning enquiries, council tax enquiries and parking fines .
  • The logo of the council was important for setting out the identity of the council. There was a need to be clear on the brand and what this means to everyone.

There had been a lot of work over the last year to create new support structure including:

Ø  The Haringey Here To Help [ welfare scheme] which  was one place to find information on welfare support.

Ø  Haringey Support Fund – which residents  can  get information on access to the Discretionary Housing Payments policy and Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Ø  Debt Partnership Board – This includes several partners and stakeholders who work together to support as much as possible the residents that are likely to face severe hardship.


Committee discussion included:

There was a question on the use of new IT system for parking permits which was useful as accessible online and worked well for people that have basic IT literacy. It was acknowledged  by the  committee that, new systems will have discrepancies that need to be resolved once starting to be used and the question was how quickly these discrepancies can be resolved with the contractor when they become apparent. In response, the Cabinet Member outlined resources to provide basic services and the previous identified need to invest the money in IT element of Parking services. In taking this service forward online, there was a good baseline of information on demand for parking permits and on this basis, the service had done well. The service had worked on the basis on 20% of customers needing assistance but this figure currently stood at 35%. The services had identified simple issues to fix which would improve this figure. There was a frustration that limit on parking permits being issued and this issue as well as others was being managed through the Customer Services Programme board as this involved four services, under different directorates. Therefore, important to note that an identified issue with the system could belong to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Complaints Annual report pdf icon PDF 933 KB


The Committee considered this annual report which summarised Member Enquiries, complaints, Ombudsman caseload and FOI activity alongside performance from the 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The following information was noted in the discussion of the report.

The council had the most complaints to be upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman in comparison to neighbouring boroughs. Understanding was sought on the potential reasons for this and queries about whether this was a failure to properly address the complaint, initially, leading to an escalation to the Local Government Ombudsman. Understanding was further sought on the actions being taken to improve this situation.

In response, The Customer Experience Manager outlined the experience he was bringing to the organisation , since his recent move to the council. This included: the complaints team now looking at the initial response ahead of the deadline and so that they can liaise with the staff and offer a different point of view, providing training to staff responding to complaints , on the basics and responses .

The Customer Experience Manager had reviewed  some initial responses to complaints and in some responses officers were using very technical jargon and not responding to the heart of the matter in the complaint and was tailoring his advice to respond to this need He was also considering stage 2 complaints and noted that some were not treating the individual’s concern and would  provide guidance on this.

The Committee noted that the Customer Experience Manager was encouraging officers to use Complaints team as an advisory service. He was also encouraging peer reading so stage one responses can be more accurate, addressing the crux of the complaint. At stage two complaints he was asking officers to speak more to the customer, pick up the phone and clarify the issues and consider a resolution over the phone.

The Customer Experience Manager was reaching out to all directorates to discuss the number of complaints that they were receiving and helping to identify any trends. He expressed that complaints which were not upheld provide valuable information for the council on the improving the customer experience where needed.

Further improvements outlined, were a new corporate email inbox for Local Government  Ombudsman correspondence, ensuring the council will respond on time to requests for information.

With regards to senior  officer oversight of complaint responses, there were 6 investigation officers for level 2  complaints and they liaised heavily with the  heads of service of the team being complained about.

The Committee referred to the public interest report at page 72, and questioned if training of staff would have the required impact and whether an independent review was needed. In response, the Head of Customer Experience and Operations advised that previous training was adhoc and rudimentary. The current training was targeting every responding officer in the council ,regardless of their level of seniority with a real emphasis on the quality and a resolution. The customer experience team would continue to monitor  responses and raise with directors any issues also monitoring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Performance Update - Q2 pdf icon PDF 940 KB


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the high-level progress made against the delivery of the strategic priorities and targets in the Borough Plan as at the end of September 2021 detailed in the report.


Agreed that any  further queries on the performance information be sent to the Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager for  distribution to services for a response.


Scrutiny Review - Haringey Family of Schools


The Committee noted that the Scrutiny review of  the Haringey Family of Schools considered the relationship between the school and academies and sought approval to the Scrutiny Review and the recommendations set out.




To approve the report and its recommendations and that it be submitted to Cabinet for response.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 301 KB

Additional documents:





1.    To note the current work programmes for the main Committee and Scrutiny Panels set out at Appendix A, noting that consideration will be  given to moving the items listed for the budget scrutiny meetings in January.


2.    To agree the Committee and Panels’ proposed Scrutiny Review Projects set out at Appendix B, C ,D and E and the submission timescales required in order to finish the reviews by the end of the municipal year.



New Items of Urgent Business

As per item 3.




Future meetings

13th January 2022

20 January 2022

10 March 2022


13th Jan 2022

20th Jan 2022

10th March 2022