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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item



Apologies of absence have been received from Councillor Mitchell Goldie; Councillor Catherine Saumarez will be attending the meeting as a substitute Member for Councillor Goldie.


None.  All members of the Committee were present




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.


Cllr Vicky te Velde declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 6:  Connecting Communities, as she was the Junior Cabinet Member for Connecting Communities.  Cllr te Velde left the room and did not take part in the discussion or vote of this item.




To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2018.


Subject to Cllr Roy Berg’s Apologies for Absence being recorded, the minutes were approved by the Committee as a correct record and signed by the Chair.




Members of the public are welcome to participate in scrutiny meetings. You may speak for three minutes on a topic related to the Committee’s work, and fifteen minutes in total is allowed for public speaking, at the discretion of the Chair. If you would like to speak, please contact Democratic  ...  view the full agenda text for item 28.


No requests for public speaking had been received, however the Chair allowed Safia Yassafou, resident from Lea Bridge Ward to address the Committee on Item 6:  Connecting Communities.  She raised concerns about lack of engagement with residents.




Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report from the Scrutiny Officer.


Andy Spragg, Scrutiny Officer introduced his report and the Committee noted that an update on Action 9 had been sent to members earlier that day.






Consideration was given to the report from the Connecting Communities Programme Manager.


Damian Atkinson, Connecting Communities Programme Manager presented his report and gave information on the key details, history and current progress of the programme.

Waltham Forest was the only London Borough selected by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to be one of five Integration pilot areas in advance of the publication of the government’s Integration Strategy Green Paper in March 2018.

The Authority developed and submitted a local integration strategy to secure funding to support the local programme and the outline plans were agreed by MHCLG in October.  The Connecting Communities Strategy was agreed by Cabinet in December 2018. 


The Committee noted that the Connecting Communities programme is part of the Creating Futures portfolio for Think Family and would aim to deliver new way of engaging with the community.


Damian Atkinson gave details of the seven priorities that the strategy hoped to address:  A new English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) offer; employment; supporting new arrivals in borough; stronger social integration with young people; equality issues including gender inequality issues affecting BAME women and tackling hate crime; family to family peer support; and working with vulnerable adults and older people so they feel connected and part of the community.


The three core desires of the project was to build a sense of social cohesion so that residents feel they belong and trust people in their community; build on social capital so residents feel they can draw on support within their community when facing challenges or accessing network opportunities for work; and a shared responsibility so residents feel empowered to improve their community.


Mr Atkinson added that the programme had moved into an implementation phase. This included a series of innovations to address the priority areas; a new communications campaign; and a new model of local networks established in four areas across the borough (Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone).  Recruitment had taken place to appoint staff that would support the networks and their aim would be to help the council engage better with residents by building networks, sharing expertise and knowledge within the community to support one another.


The funding had been confirmed by the MHCLG and would be in place until March 2020.


Cllr Berg asked how the Authority would engage and create communities with residents living in flats that did not know their neighbours.

Mr Atkinson stated that this was difficult to answer.  The aspiration was to fund projects but was also about how colleagues in other departments such as regeneration, property and public spaces are influenced so that integration can occur through design.


Cllr Berg also asked whether social media would be involved and gave an example in his area where a Neighbourhood Watch WhatsApp group became a community WhatsApp group with residents helping one another in need.

Mr Atkinson said they definitely wanted to use social media and hastags to extend the reach of programme.  He added that the media campaign  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.




Consideration was given to the report from the Scrutiny Officer.


Alastair Macorkindale, Group Manager (Strategy), Community Safety presented the report and drew the Committee’s attention to Section of 6 of the report and gave information on the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP).  The goal of VRP was to strengthen the council’s existing public health approach to violence.


Mr Macorkindale outlined the four strands that had been adopted for the public health approach to violence:

·           Its first strand is to curtail violent acts at source,

·           The second strand is to treat those who have been exposed to violence to control the spread;

·           The third strand is to support those susceptible to violence due to their exposure to risk factors;

·           The fourth strand is to strengthen community resilience through a universal approach.

Wicked issues had been identified within each stream:

·         the curtail work stream included the need to tackle anti-social behaviour, the policing of the drug market and the use of housing management powers;

·         the treatment stream focused on areas such as on trauma-informed responses and the relation between domestic violence and youth violence;

·         the support sphere looked at issues such as persistent absence, a trauma-informed education offer and more efficient identification and intervention with those most at risk of violence were emphasised; and

·         the strengthen stream issues included changing residents’ perception of community safety, promoting non-violence through borough wide campaigns and embedding violence reduction strategies in universal settings.

Four task and finish working groups had been set up, following the first summit in November. Each would take on one of the four streams, and the wicked issues identified within it.

Cllr Edwards asked about the “strengthen” theme and how high levels of fear violence would be tackled. Mr Macorkindale accepted that it was difficult to deal with fear of crime.  Waltham Forest is across the bottom of public confidence league tables and residents are more worried about gun and knife crime than in comparable boroughs however the rates of violence are not the highest in London.  This was probably due to the few national significant incidents in the borough.  Mr Macorkindale reassured the Committee that further work was being pursued to understand who is scared to minimise those risks. 


In response to a question from Cllr te Velde about the “treatment” theme and under-reporting, the Committee noted that the work flow for reporting had recently changed and all incidents would be reported through the safeguarding hub. Any incidents involving a young person would be entered on the Merlin database and would be discussed at the daily risk management meeting.


Jamil Wallace-Williams asked about the “curtail” theme regarding enforcement and the impact on Stop and Search.  Mr Macorkindale stated that the positive outcomes of Stop and Search were low and even lower for young black males.  Mr Macorkindale added that he had been tasked by the Cabinet Member to work with the YIAG to see how Stop and Search could become more intelligent.


In response to a question from Cllr Baptiste, the Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.




Consideration was given to the report from Prevent Team Manager.


Sean Thomson, Prevent Team Manager, updated the Committee on the Prevent strategy delivery in the borough and drew the Committee’s attention to a few areas of the report:

·         Waltham Forest is a priority Prevent borough in terms of threat and need

·         the Council had committed to more local publicity of Prevent work through Waltham Forest News and the Prevent section of the Council website

·         the 2018/19 funded projects are around Education and Community/ Families.


Cllr teVelde asked if the number of far right extremism referrals had increased because of Brexit and the Committee noted that numbers had remained consistent, but there had been increased levels of anxiety, stress and greater desire for order.


Cllr Baptiste asked if there been resistance to Prevent and asked who was on the Prevent Advisory Group (PAG) and Mr Thomson stated that there is sceptism of the strategy, but concerns were aimed at national Home Office policy rather than locally.  Details of the PAG would be sent to the Committee.


In response to a question from Cllr Berg about the Council of Mosques, the Committee noted that some successes had been made to get the Council of Mosques engaged with the Prevent strategy.  Mr Thomson said it had not been easy due to their concerns about Prevent priorities but they were seeing a willingness to engage. Cllr Khan added that the strategic approach should be communication and demonstrating the benefits to partnerships so that there are greater links between those groups. Cllr Khan also stated that the community had a role to play in making referrals and supporting the Council around challenging issues as they will know if people are being groomed into gangs and radicalisation.  The Connecting Communities strategy will allow the Council to reach out and speak those residents that do not usually engage.


In response to a question from the Chair, the Committee noted that far right referrals tend to come from the police rather than from schools.


Cara Thompson expressed concern at the lack of consistency with information given at schools.  Mr Thomson said that they offered a range of resources that schools can access and it was up to schools to decide which materials best met their needs.  He felt this was better that telling schools that they must deliver a particular workshop to their students.


Cllr te Velde asked whether social media and Facebook groups were ever monitored and Mr Thomson stated that it was not something they did locally however they receive information from the Home Office about social media trends.




(a)      That services circulate the membership of the Prevent Advisory Group to the committee.

(b)      That services update the committee in 2019/20 on:

·         how it has engaged with primary schools and other education settings

·         how it has developed its approach to reviewing social media and using local data to deliver the Prevent agenda.



The Committee noted the report.




Additional documents:


This report was for information only.  The Committee was invited to raise any questions they may have, and the Chair would write to the Superintendent asking for a response.