Agenda and minutes

(Special) Moved from 7 July 2021, Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 12 July 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Andrew Seaman, Senior Democratic & Electoral Services Officer  E-mail:


No. Item


Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.


Reserve Members may attend meetings:-


(i)            to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)          where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)         the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)         if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.


RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members:-


Ordinary Member


Reserve Member

Councillor Ajay Maru

Councillor James Lee

Councillor Ramji Chauhan

Councillor Kantil Rabadia



Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 377 KB

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:


(a)          all Members of the Committee;

(b)          all other Members present.


RESOLVED:  To note that


(1)           the Declarations of Interests published in advance of the meeting on the Council’s website were taken as read;


(2)           Members of the Committee and Co-opted Members who had declared interests remained in the virtual meeting whilst the matters were considered and voted upon.


Councillor Ramji Chauhan declared that his wife worked for Northwick Park Hospital.


Councillor Dan Anderson declared that he was the Portfolio Assistant to Cllr Sue Anderson, who’s portfolio covered customer services.

Resolved Items


Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Presentation is attached.


The Committee received the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report, which was presented by an Officer in brief.  It was noted that:


·                 The Council had launched a 3-strand approach to race equality in order for inequality in life outcomes to be addressed, for the services and role as an employer to be reviewed.


·                 An independent race adviser was commissioned to conduct an internal review of the Council’s role as an employer.  A staff survey was also conducted to which circa 700 staff took part.


·                 Recommendations had centred around recruitment and retention, for the organisation’s culture to be changed through training and development and for safe spaces to be created for dialogue.


·                 It was essential to address issues around race inequality with staff which were based on mutual trust, openness, and honesty.


·                 The next stage would involve the creation of the corporate race action plan for the race review.


·                 It was explained that the race action plan included a six-step process including focus groups, data analysis, establish priorities, a directorate EDI Vision to be created, measures to be defined and for these to be reviewed and evaluated.


·                 Implementation of the action plan would be aimed to begin for November 2021.


The Director of HR and OD added that what could be seen in the race action plan overlapped well with planned improvements to the HR service, ensuring that there would be a good staff development offer for staff and for career support and development to be implemented for all staff.


The Cabinet Member for equalities and public health added that this review was very much welcomed and that the coaching, mentoring and leadership programmes to be implemented would be positive benefit for staff.


The Chair thanked officers and opened the floor to questions from the Committee which were discussed and answered by the officers present, which highlighted the following:


·                 Raised if there were planned processes for other protected characteristics as it would be vital for all protected characteristics to be included.  It was explained by the Director of HR and OD that there was a need to focus on race because there had been a need to prioritise a response to Black Lives Matter.  However, it was noted that the race action plan was being used to test initiatives that would be part of an overall approach to equalities, diversity, and inclusion which could be applied to other issues of underrepresentation.


·                 It was emphasised by a Committee Member that it would be useful to know how the Council would be creating an environment where those with disabilities could come forward.  The Director of HR and OD explained that part of the disability confident campaign had outlined how the council aimed to be disability welcoming which formed part of the Council’s employer branding.


In addition, there was the new staff network called DAWN (Disability and Well-being Network) which was launched late in early 2021, this had allowed for a safe place for staff to raise and be consulted around the disability agenda and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 171.


Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive pdf icon PDF 131 KB


The Committee received a presentation on the strategic context and priorities form the Chief Executive which noted the following:


·                 The response to Covid-19 would continue to dominate the work of the Council for the next 9 to 12 months.


·                 There had been significant service pressures caused by the pandemic.


·                 Strategic priorities were explained to be what could be done alongside the response and recovery from the pandemic.  This included the delivery of core Council services with the extra demand, the HSDP and wider regeneration strategy, the accommodation strategy, health and social care integration, the equalities, diversity and inclusion agenda.


·                 It was mentioned that the winter months would likely bring challenges to the NHS and Social Care due to flu season and Covid-19.


·                 The council’s ability to restart paused activities that were pre-Covid-19 would be limited.


The Leader of the Council also added that staff would continue to be impacted by the pandemic as it was still on going and that staff have worked with very little breaks which was a factor that others should be mindful of when the recovery to the pandemic begins.


The Chair thanked them for the presentation and then opened the floor to the Committee for questions that related to the following topics which were answered as followed:


The Covid-19 Pandemic


Q.  How many staff had been put on furlough related to the issues of health?


The Chief Executive explained that no Council staff had been furloughed because it was not necessary and also would have been frowned upon for public sector employers to furlough staff.  When it came to sickness absence and self-isolation from Covid-19 had always been relatively manageable.


Q.  Was there an understanding on the long-term impact long-covid would have on our social care provision?


The Chief Executive noted though this could be a pressure that the social care provision could be faced with in the future it relatively not impacted social care.  However, one of the biggest challenges that social care had been faced with was that the elderly that survived the pandemic had been debilitated further by the pandemic.  It was also found that there was an element of catching up on elective care and delivering a higher level of aftercare packages to those who had been discharged from hospital.


This was followed up by a Member of the Committee noting that those with long-covid could have relied on family when restrictions were in place but may now have to rely on social care when those restrictions would be eased.  The Chief Executive agreed and noted that another challenge could be that many people who caught long-covid may not be eligible for social care.


Q.  It was mentioned that how the pandemic had affected Council priorities.  What has the impact been on the Council’s core services?


The Chief Executive explained that core services were running reasonably normally as it was aimed to keep services operating to a reasonable level however, it had not been possible to be as responsive as the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 172.