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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 at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members :-
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 there were no declarations of interests made by Members.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2019 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2019 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
Appointment of Vice-Chair
To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair to the Call-in Scrutiny Sub-Committee for the Municipal Year 2021/22.
RESOLVED: To appoint Councillor Stephen Greek as Vice-Chair of the Call-In Scrutiny Sub-Committee for the 2021/2022 Municipal Year.
The Chair advised that two call-in notices had been received and drew attention to the document ‘Protocol for the Operation of the Call-In Sub Committee’. She outlined the procedure to be followed at the meeting and the options open to the Sub-Committee at the conclusion of the process.
In accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 46.5, a notice seeking to invoke the call in procedure must state at least one of the following grounds in support of the request for a call-in of the decision:
a) inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision;
b) the absence of adequate evidence on which to base a decision;
c) the decision is contrary to the policy framework, or contrary to, or not wholly in accordance with the budget framework;
d) the action is not proportionate to the desired outcome;
e) a potential human rights challenge;
f) insufficient consideration of legal and financial advice.
Referring to paragraph 8 of the Protocol, the Chair stated that the Sub-Committee, having considered the grounds for the call-in and the information provided at the meeting, may come to one of the following conclusions:-
(i) that the challenge to the decision should be taken no further and the decision be implemented;
(ii) that the decision is contrary to the policy framework, or contrary to, or not wholly in accordance with the budget framework and should therefore be referred to the Council. In such a case the Call-in Sub-Committee must set out the nature of its concerns for Council; or
(iii) that the matter should be referred back to the decision taker (i.e the Portfolio Holder or Executive, whichever took the decision) for reconsideration. In such a case the Call in Sub Committee must set out the nature of its concerns / reasons for referral for the decision taker/Executive.
(a) Notice invoking the Call-in;
(b) Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 27 May 2021;
(c) Report submitted to the Cabinet on 27 May 2021.
The Sub-Committee received the papers in respect of the call-in notice submitted by over 150 residents in relation to a decision made by the Cabinet on 27 May 2021 that the Public Spaces Protection Order (Harrow Town Centre) (Harrow Council) 2021 be approved.
The Chair sought clarification from the representative of the signatories for the call in notice in relation Harrow Town Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) as to the grounds and it was confirmed as e).
RESOLVED: That the Call-In in relation to Harrow Town Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) would be determined on the basis of the following grounds:
e) a potential human rights challenge.
The Chair invited the representative of the signatories to present the reasons for the call-in.
The representative, in presenting the call in, questioned and challenged the following aspects of the Cabinet decision:
(i) Whether there had been any consultation with groups regularly in the town centre and should it be extended due to people having to stay at home due to the pandemic;
(ii) Had there been any consideration as to whether there were sufficient bins in the town centre;
(iii) In terms of section 2 of the Cabinet report, why not control the numbers in the town centre;
(iv) It was unclear as to the cause of the problems in the town centre;
(v) The reasonable adjustments, if any, that had been made for people with disabilities in terms of amplification and the distribution of leaflets;
(vi) Made reference to the Government website in terms of those groups that were exempt from the Order;
(vii) Whether the obstruction of an authorised officer was a civil or criminal matter;
(viii) Were there issues with enforcement;
(ix) Whether the Council would be allocating time for protests.
The Portfolio Holder for Community Cohesion, Crime and Enforcement advised the Sub-Committee that the purpose of the Order was to address anti-social behaviour in the town centre for a period of three years. She responded to the points made by the representative of the signatories as follows:
(i) Consultation had been carried out with a wide range of businesses and residents. This had been done electronically due to the Covid 19 pandemic but there had also been posters in the town centre signposting how residents and businesses could get involved. The Business Improvement District (BID) had submitted a response on behalf of its 200 members. The Portfolio Holder outlined the statistics in the report and stated that she was confident that the consultation had been conducted correctly and been wide ranging. She added that there would be a review of the Order in six months;
(ii) The Council had been receiving complaints in relation to litter in the town centre which was the reasoning for requesting that groups/ organisations seek the Council’s permission if they wished to distribute leaflets and also outline the planned clear up following the activity;
(iii) Residents/ Groups were asked to notify the Council if they were going to carry out leaflet ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
(a) Notice invoking the Call-in;
(b) Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 27 May 2021 (see pages 19-28);
(c) Report submitted to Cabinet on 27 May 2021.
The Sub-Committee received the papers in respect of the call-in notice submitted by six Members of the Council in relation to a decision made by the Cabinet on 27 May 2021 on the Council’s Accommodation Strategy and New Harrow Civic Centre.
The Chair advised the Sub-Committee that as the Cabinet report contained confidential appendices, if there were any questions in relation to that part of the report the meeting would need to move into private session. The representative of the signatories confirmed that he did not intend to raise any questions on the confidential appendices.
The Chair invited the representative of the signatories to present his reasons for the call-in. The representative referred to the call-in notice which set out six grounds for the call-in of the Cabinet decision and went on to emphasise a number of points in relation to each of the grounds as follows:
Inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision
There had been no meaningful consultation with Harrow residents as to where the Council would operate from or with those residents that lived in proximity of the Forward Drive site.
With reference to Council staff, there had been no mention of the proposed move to Forward Drive in either of the two staff Pulse surveys. There now appeared to be an expectation that staff would work 50% at home and 50% in the office which was a shift from the previous proposal. There had been no examination of where staff would be based, how they would travel to the office or the impact of the reduction of car parking spaces.
In terms of partners, for example the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), there was no evidence of consultation on the proposals. The representative stated that there had been no consultation with councillors in terms of where Council meetings would be held or details of how it was envisaged that Members, staff and residents would travel to and from meetings safely as they often ended late in the evening.
The absence of adequate evidence on which to base a decision
A key dependency of the Accommodation Strategy was the ‘flexible futures’ scheme which had not been agreed. There was no evidence in the Cabinet report of the parking requirements for either the new Civic Centre or the Forward Drive site. There had been no consideration of where staff travelled to work from or whether they were required to travel around the borough as part of their role.
The concerns in relation to the safety of Members, staff and residents at the end of late evening meetings had not been addressed in the Accommodation Strategy. There had been a suggestion that Committee meetings be held during the day, but this was not a suitable option as many councillors worked.
In terms of the Strategy for the new Civic Centre, no business plan had been presented and the representative questioned how the Cabinet made the decision without this in place.
The action is not proportionate to the desired ... view the full minutes text for item 13.