You are here:

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Waltham Forest Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Sasha Zahedi, Democratic Services Officer  020 8496 4328 | Email: sasha.zahedi@walthamforest.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

29.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Asim Mahmood.

 

It was noted that Councillor Saima Mahmud was substituting for Councillor Mahmood.

30.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting. Interests are defined on the inside cover of this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

31.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 11 January 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

32.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Minutes:

None.

33.

ART FOR ALL: BUILDING COHESIVE COMMUNITIES THROUGH CULTURE pdf icon PDF 583 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Culture and Heritage, Lorna Lee.

 

Ms Lee said that arts and culture help to engender a sense of pride and wellbeing in a community, and there have been case studies linked to bringing diverse communities together. 250,000 people engaged with art and culture programmes in the borough last year, which involved local suppliers and businesses, bringing additional revenue into the borough. There was also targeted programming on offer to reach specific areas of the community such as older residents for example. The Arts Development Grants (ADG) awards £50,000 in two rounds annually to local arts organisations and projects, and a new Council initiative, Community Boost, will make £40,000 available to each ward over the next two years to improve local areas through arts and culture.

 

The Chair asked about the scale of the total arts and cultural budget and the Committee heard that it was approximately £1.5m but that significant additional income was also generated. The Chair then asked about Asian Mela in Waltham Forest and whether there was a plan for the festival to return to the borough. Ms Lee said that though this had attracted an Asian audience before, the new brief for arts and culture was to bring communities together encouraging greater diversity and that there were no plans for the festival to return to the borough.

 

Councillor Roy Berg was concerned that there was little to nothing in the report about the north of the borough with no plans for Chingford. He noted that the Chingford Big Weekender no longer involves a children’s event on the second day, and was interested in ADGs that had been given in Chingford. Ms Lee said that ADG awards would be for the non-Walthamstow parts of the borough, where it was needed more. She also noted that they had received a poor level of responses from Chingford. She mentioned that the tea dances for older people had been recommissioned and take place at the Chingford Assembly Hall every quarter. There are also other activities in libraries throughout Chingford and Indian dance classes across the borough.

 

Councillor Berg asked a further question about Community Boost and which areas it would be covering, in particular whether it could be used to fund a children’s festival in Chingford. He requested more information ahead of the 27 March 2017 briefing. Ms Lee explained that it was different to Ward Forums and since there was a lot of money for each ward, the project would be conducted in a different way. Councillors would choose a location in the ward following engagement with residents and then artists would be commissioned create something physical and functional in that space. Ideas from residents are of course invited and locations will be limited to two sites per ward in order for the funding to have an impact.

 

Councillor Millie Balkan asked if the Head of Culture and Heritage knew what percentage of the funding for Walthamstow Garden Party came  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

COUNTER EXTREMISM pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Community Safety, Alastair Macorkindale.

 

Mr. Macorkindale introduced the report and explained to the Committee that the Counter Extremism Strategy was distinct from the Prevent agenda. While the Prevent agenda was concerned with identifying and working with radicalised individuals or individuals in the process of being radicalised, the counter extremism agenda is much broader and about addressing the kinds of ideology that undermine core British values.

 

Councillor Jacob Edwards said that a policy definition and a legal definition are two very different things and he hoped that the Home Office find the right balance when constructing the legal definition of extremism. He noted that the Prevent Programme left communities feeling targeted and asked how the Council plans to ensure that we do not go down that route again. Mr Macorkindale said that Prevent and Counter Extremism are two distinct strands of work. As a result they are managed in different parts of the Home Office. Counter Extremism also sits in separate management to Prevent in the Local Authority. The Head of Community Safety reiterated the distinction between the two to reassure the Committee that communities would not feel targeted, saying that while Prevent was about changing a person’s ways, the Counter Extremism Strategy was about attacking ideas that run contrary to fundamental British values.

 

Councillor Berg asked why Waltham Forest was picked as a priority borough. The Committee heard that Waltham Forest was one of seven priority boroughs in London and that all areas chosen have high levels of hate crime, demographic isolation and extremist attitudes. Waltham Forest is also a Tier 1 Prevent borough meaning that the potential for extremist ideology in the borough is high. Councillor Berg then asked if the Counter Extremism Strategy was for tackling hate crimes etc. and not terrorism. Mr Macorkindale said that countering extremism and preventing violent extremism were distinct but complementary and that both dealt with the opposition to democracy. Terrorism is one area of common ground but the Prevent agenda does not tackle broader societal issues such as female genital mutilation for example.

 

Councillor Saima Mahmud said that Hoe Street is a totally different place from what it was a decade ago when there was very little community integration. Hoe Street has gone from having one residents association to eleven with active participation and Councillor Mahmud said that this kind of integration means that there would be fewer isolated groups and ultimately less extremism. She was however disappointed that Community Waltham Forest (CWF) have not yet done any work with residents associations and instead refer them to online links when they had sought help. She said that CWF don’t explain the processes for how they could access support, don’t know the residents associations or the wider area and that their lists were out of date.

 

Philip Dundon was pleased to see that Waltham Forest was a priority borough but was disappointed that there was no reference to mental health and no  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REVIEW pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Community Safety, Alastair Macorkindale.

 

Last year, the Committee’s themed review was on domestic violence in Waltham Forest and the Head of Community Safety updated the Committee on the progress made in implementing the eight recommendations made.

 

Regarding Recommendation 1, Councillor Edwards said that he was aware of the issues with the underreporting of domestic violence but warned against complacency in seeing the rise of reporting as a good thing. He was concerned that this could become a stock answer each time there was a rise in reporting and asked if there was an idea of the actual crime rate. The Committee heard that there were two analysts employed to monitor spikes in reporting and regarding the crime rate, the Head of Community Safety said that he had no reason to suspect a difference. He added that the volume of crime will increase with the population and the only way to find out if the crime rate is increasing is to rely on something like the Crime Survey for England and Wales which is across a larger sample size.

 

Councillor Mahmud was pleased that third party reporting systems were being encouraged but asked for posters and other materials to be translated in order to reach the wider community and said that such information should be spread more widely. She also noted that the website was out of date and asked what the Council was doing to increase the level of reporting. The Committee heard that, for example, Women’s Aid had an ‘ask me’ scheme involving community champions who help to signpost women to safe spaces in the community, and that there were other such third party reporting systems funded by MOPAC.

 

The Committee heard that Recommendation 5 (regarding the broader mapping of people with no recourse to public funds) had not been progressed. No department had been tasked with this and the Head of Community Safety said that his department would prioritise this less as it should perhaps sit with social care colleagues or elsewhere across the Council. The Committee asked the Chair to write a letter to the Deputy Chief Executive and the Portfolio Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion to find out which department should be tasked with implementing the recommendation.

 

Decision

 

The Committee:

 

(a)  noted the report; and

 

(b)  asked that the Chair write a letter to the Deputy Chief Executive and the Portfolio Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion to discern which department should be tasked with carrying out Recommendation 5.

 

 

36.

REPORT ON WALTHAM FOREST'S GANG PREVENTION PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Policy and Public Affairs Officer, James Holden.

 

The Policy and Public Affairs Officer summarised the findings and recommendations following the Committee’s review of the gang prevention programme.

 

Jane Brueseke welcomed Recommendation 5 and told the Committee that the YIAG were integrated with the gang prevention programme when it was initially set up. The Committee heard that the programme used to work very closely with the YIAG and that there were even two gangs ambassadors from the YIAG who happened to be ex-gang members themselves. There is however a concern regarding funding which is currently provided by MOPAC.

 

Councillor Shameem Highfield wished to highlight Ms Brueseke’s point about Recommendation 5 and asked the Chair to write a letter to the Portfolio Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion regarding the possibility of reinstating the lost post for the YIAG. The Committee heard that this was not a paid post and had its own distinct funding.

 

The Chair gave his thanks to the Vice-Chair, the Committee and all officers involved for their hard work over the year. The Vice-Chair gave his thanks to the Chair.

 

Decision

 

The Committee:

 

(a)  agreed the report and recommendations;

 

(b)  delegated authority to the Chair in consultation with the Policy and Public Affairs Officer to make any changes necessary prior to the report’s presentation to Cabinet; and

 

(c)  asked the Chair to write a letter to the Portfolio Lead Member for Community Safety and Cohesion regarding the possibility of reinstating the lost post for YIAG.