Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
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There were no declarations of interest.
The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny has further agreed that the call-in procedure shall not apply to this urgent decision. This is because the decision is urgent and any delay in implementation caused by the call-in procedure would seriously prejudice the Council's or the public's interests due to the fact that the legal agreement could not be signed and payments made as requested by the leaders of the London Borough of Camden and Westminster City Council by the 4th September 2020 to allow sufficient time to procure and set up the temporary mortuary services in planning for a second wave of the pandemic, the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed that the decision is both reasonable in all circumstances, and that it should be treated as a matter of urgency. This is in accordance with Part 4, Section H, and Paragraph 18 (a) and (b) of the Council Constitution.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate and Civic Services considered the report which sought agreement to enter into a pan London inter-authority agreement for temporary mortuary facilities as part of the plan for a potential Covid 19 second surge.
Further to considering the exempt appendices at item 4,
i) That the Council enter into a legal inter-authority pan London agreement as detailed in exempt Appendix 2 for temporary mortuary (storage) facilities and services between all London Boroughs until March 2021, and to delegate authority to the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods to approve the final agreement; and
ii) for Westminster City Council to be the lead authority for contractual services required; and
iii) for London Borough of Camden to hold and administer the finances into a Sink Fund; and
iv) Payments be made as required to the Sink Fund for Haringey’s contribution of cost, with the first payment of £485,964 to be made by 4th September 2020.
Reasons for decision
Modelling based on Government data has been carried out planning for a second surge of Covid-19 deaths and estimates the required storage capacity in temporary mortuary facilities needed within London.
This modelling has taken into account the existing provision of storage at Hospitals, Private Funeral Directors and Public Mortuaries and, depending on a number of arrangements and circumstances, concludes that there is a need to plan for an increased capacity at the peak of a potential second surge across London. This modelling takes account of all excess deaths.
As a result of this need, the Leaders of City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden have requested that pan London storage facilities are set up to manage this demand. See Appendix 1. Such an arrangement was carried out in wave 1 as part of Emergency planning.
A legal agreement has been drafted for all boroughs to consider for Westminster City Council to enter into the necessary contractual arrangements for pan-London temporary mortuary provision and undertake the mortality management function, and for London Borough of Camden to hold and administer the sinking fund, thus taking responsibility for ensuring finances are secured. See exempt Appendix 2.
Alternative options considered
The urgent request for the pan London agreement follows on from the wave 1 management of mortality across London. Coronial jurisdictions areas (in our case Brent, Harrow, Enfield and Barnet) had been asked to consider what local arrangements could be made to support the mortality storage needs across London. The need identified from modelling has already taken account jurisdiction storage and plans that have been implemented by September 2020. This included the proposed use of MHCLG portacabins for storage, which Haringey has already responded to and installed a portacabin onsite at Tottenham Mortuary. Site location is very sensitive, meaning there are very few suitable options. All other options are smaller and local, and are still at the feasibility stage, requiring detailed planning before they can be considered. These local options include:
Marsh Lane N17
The Marsh Lane Tottenham site used in Wave ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
As per item 47.