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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 of the following duly constituted Reserve Members:
Declarations of Interest
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 Sub-Committee;
(b) all other Members present.
RESOLVED: To note that the following interest was declared:
Agenda Item 6 – Call-In of Cabinet decision (14 March 2013) – Strategic Review of Learning Disability Accommodation
Councillor Susan Hall declared a non-pecuniary interest in that she was a member of the board for Harrow Association of Disabled People. She would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2012 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2012, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
To consider and note the Sub-Committee’s Terms of Reference.
RESOLVED: That the terms of reference of the Call-In Sub-Committee be noted.
RESOLVED: That the Call-In would be determined on the basis of the following grounds:
(a) inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision;
(e) a potential human rights challenge;
(f) insufficient consideration of legal and financial advice.
The following documents are attached:
a) notices invoking the Call-In;
b) minutes of the Cabinet held on 14 March 2013;
c) report submitted to Cabinet on 14 March 2013.
The Sub-Committee received papers in respect of a call-in notice submitted by seven Members of the Council. As the Committee Procedure Rules did not make provision for members of the public to address the Sub-Committee, the Sub-Committee agreed to allow family representatives of service users to address the meeting.
The Chairman invited the Member representative of the Councillor signatories to present their reasons for call-in to the committee.
The Member Representative addressed each of the grounds for call-in separately.
Ground a) – inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision
The Member Representative described the Cabinet meeting on 14 March at which he believed there had been confusion about the nature and status of the decision being taken. The families he had spoken to had not been clear as to what had been decided, and thus he had concerns about the nature of the consultation, and whether the service users had the capacity to fully understand the issues and the consequences.
Ground e) – a potential human rights challenge
The Member Representative considered that if the proposals had not been properly explained to service users in the light of their capacity for understanding, if an independent advocate service had not been provided, and if the Council had not fully met service user needs in these respects, then he believed that the Council would be vulnerable to a human rights challenge.
Ground f) – insufficient consideration of legal and financial advice
The Member Representative made reference to the Equalities Act, and its requirements to eliminate discrimination and advance equal opportunity. He queried if enough had been done to create a ‘level playing field’ for service users with learning difficulties, both in ensuring that they fully understood the proposals and their implications, and in delivering accommodation and services that best met their needs.
He stated that he had been made aware of the following issues during meetings and discussions with service users and their families:
· whether the integration of services users with differing categories of need was desirable;
· the potential for bullying and harassment of individuals placed among residents with differing needs;
· the disruption for elderly residents and residents with learning difficulties if accommodated together.
He reminded the Sub-Committee that many service users had been resident in their current placements for many years, even decades, and were ill-equipped to deal with change and disruption to their routine. He believed the trauma of removing individuals from their known and secure environment would have an adverse impact and questioned whether the Council had done enough to address concerns.
The Member Representative then queried whether the figures quoted in the report were sufficiently accurate in respect of predicted costs and anticipated savings. He believed that until the level of work required for mitigation was known and individual care plans were drafted, it was difficult to be clear about costs. Furthermore, if figures were based on services for older persons rather than residents with special needs, then they would be too low.
In conclusion, the Member ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Termination of the Meeting
In accordance with the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 14 (Part 4B of the Constitution) it was
RESOLVED: At 9.45 pm to continue until the end of the meeting.