Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Clare Chapman  Email: clare.chapman@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 6160

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Barbara Barwick, John Hills and Sarah Merrill. 

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2016.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Community Safety and Environment Scrutiny Panel held on 29 September 2016 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

 

5.

Update on the Reorganisation of Environmental Services pdf icon PDF 68 KB

An update on the progress to increase collaboration and integration of environment services within the Community Services directorate.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Senior Assistant Director in conjunction with a presentation on the services delivered by Street Services and the challenges faced in 2016/17.  

 

There was a general perception amongst the Panel that some areas of the borough received an inferior street cleansing service in comparison to others.  Those Members of the Panel who represented wards in the Woolwich and Plumstead areas had received numerous complaints from residents and were finding it increasingly difficult to defend the perceived lack of street cleansing in these areas. 

 

The Senior Assistant Director acknowledged that the service did not always meet the expectations of residents and apologised for inconsistencies.  He explained that some areas of the borough were more challenging than others and cited anti-social behaviour in Plumstead as an example.  He agreed to send copies of the street cleaning rotas to Members of the Panel to give them the opportunity to check the quality of cleaning in their wards via ‘mystery shopping’ or the use of score cards.

                                                           Action: Community Services

 

The Cabinet Member informed the Panel that on-the-spot fines of £400 could be issued for environmental offences however she felt that prevention was a far better tool.  She was keen for a strategy encouraging residents to take pride in their community to be developed and felt that working with secondary schools was a progressive move towards preventing this behaviour.  She also felt that the number of friends of parks groups needed to be increased especially in areas of greatest challenge.  The Senior Assistant Director announced plans for a community engagement event for friends’ groups in March 2017, the aim of which would be to provide them with support and engage groups who were not already engaged. 

 

The Chair welcomed this proposal.  He suggested publicising the work of these groups to provide a useful counterbalance to the current problems and recommended further discussion about this at a future meeting in 2017. 

                     Action: Central Services and Community Services

 

The Senior Assistant Director advised that the current situation within the service had also been exacerbated by the IT systems which were disjointed and often required manual intervention.  However, he anticipated that the introduction of new systems in mid 2017 would have a positive impact.  He added that a shortage of drivers in Waste and the recent departure of 13 key members of staff had also impaired service delivery.  Human Resources was fast-tracking candidates to fill these vacant posts as quickly as possible.  He was keen to reassure the Panel that his team were working hard in challenging circumstances and he was committed to supporting councillors in feeling more positive about Street Services. 

 

The Cabinet Member was of the view that a decision needed to be made about whether to invest more money in the service.  Currently the cost to each resident for Street Services was £29 per year which she felt was a very small level of resource. 

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted. 

 

 

6.

Plumstead and Charlton Environmental Taskforce pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To explain the reasons behind the area-based approach to address environmental problems in the public realm, describe the benefits, outcomes and future development work, and explain the associated costs.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Head of Street Services in conjunction with a presentation covering the issues leading to the development of the Environmental Taskforces, the benefits of these taskforces and plans for future work. 

 

The Chair invited Barbara Buckingham, Chair of the Charlton Central Residents Association (CCRA), to address the Panel.  Ms Buckingham felt the Charlton Taskforce had been a huge success and was delighted with the proposed expansion.  She had noticed a slight decline in the service recently but understood this was due to staffing issues.  She was particularly grateful to James Cooper (Assistant Operations Manager, Street Services) whose work she said had made a big difference.  Ms Buckingham was concerned that as this was a pilot the scheme may not continue but assurances were provided by the Head of Street Services that it was unlikely the Taskforce would be dissolved and that consideration would be given to extending it further.     

 

The Panel was addressed by Jill Austen of the CCRA who raised the issue of staff retention and expressed concerns about future funding.  She felt that future plans would need to be realistic in order to keep the Taskforce operational.  She welcomed the idea of involvement with schools.

 

In response to a question from the Panel, the Head of Street Services confirmed that he had attended meetings with the Peabody Trust to address the waste problems in Thamesmead.  He introduced Satti Heir, Environmental Enforcement Investigations Manager, whose team had worked in partnership with McDonalds to keep the area near the bus garage clean.  The Environmental Enforcement Investigations Manager knew from his inspections of this area that McDonalds was proactive about removing their litter and had been very cooperative. 

 

The Cabinet Member was aware of similar problems in Pettman Crescent, particularly the bus garage, and advised that Street Services had done a lot of work here to tackle the problem of drivers dumping litter from their busses in this area. 

 

In response to a question from the Panel, the Environmental Enforcement Investigations Manager confirmed that since September 2016, 300 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued to landlords whose activities or whose tenants had caused environmental problems.  His team relied upon residents to provide intelligence leading to this type of action which had received positive coverage in the local press.  

 

As a consequence of the financial cuts made in 2010, the Cabinet Member wanted to ensure the Royal Borough was delivering the environmental services promised to residents.  She did not want residents to continue in the belief that the Royal Borough could do more for less.  She felt it was necessary to tap into the energy and commitment of local groups and to encourage residents and visitors to the borough to take pride in the area and take personal responsibility for keeping it clean.  She welcomed the creation of a strategy to address this.     

                                                           Action: Community Services

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.

7.

Commissioning of Future Reports - Specification of Requirement pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Community Safety and Environment Scrutiny Panel on 26 January 2017, and to identify any specific themes or lines of enquiry to be covered.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Senior Corporate Development Officer. 

 

The Chair explained that the purpose of the Community Safety and Environment Scrutiny Panel on 26 January 2017 was to engage young people and address their concerns.  Young people had requested more security cameras, wardens and a phone app to report anti-social behaviour anonymously, and safety was a key concern.  The Panel welcomed this engagement.  It was agreed that representatives from the Charlton Society, the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust and the Police should also be invited to attend this meeting.

                                                                   Action: Central Services

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.