Campaigning for environmental and social justice in the London Borough of Brent and beyond. Against cuts and privatisation and for real democracy. Managed by Martin Francis of Brent Green Party but open to all who share these aims.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Grant offered to gather young people's views on health engagement

From Health Watch Brent

Health Watch Brent - Gathering Views Small Grants

Health Watch Brent are awarding grants of up to £200 to local organisations and community groups to help gather views on key areas for health and social care services in Brent. E.g.:
  1. What services young people you engage use (doctors, clinics,family support services etc) 
  2. The perceived quality of such services
  3. How they can be improved
These grants can be used to cover the cost of engaging young people (e.g. via 30 a minute focus group). This could include room hire, printing, or even covering volunteer/staff expenses. 

The objective of Gathering Views is to encourage people to share their views via our Healthwatch survey.  Full details will be outlined soon. Please complete the expression of interest form to apply for this grant: 

For further information, please contact / 07825 215 652

Brent Council to consult on contribution to Post-16 travel costs

Brent Council Cabinet is due to agree a consultation with parents, carers and students on  6th Form and  college students' contribution to post-16 transport costs at its October 13th meeting.

Given the Council's quest for additional financial contributions one can only speculate about what this might mean.

As young people get ready to start their courses follow this link to the current scheme. LINK

Controversial issues ahead for Brent Cabinet on September 15th

Brent Council's Forward Plan gives clues to what is coming up at future Cabinet meetings although explanation is minimal. Full details of reports and agenda items are only available to the public one week before the meeting.

With the lack of an effective opposition and poor scrutiny arrangements (and doesn't the Care Quality Commission report on the NW London Hospitals NHS Trust make the case for a powerful separate Health Scrutiny Committee) early notice becomes more important, although actvists may have to speculate about what indiviual items really mean.

Here are the reports/proposals coming up for discussion at the September 15th Cabinet with my comments in italics. Note how much background information is withheld from the public on various items.

The Cabinet now alternates day time and evening meetings. This meeting will be at 2pm.

Developing a new Borough Plan for Brent 2015-2019

To approve the process and timetable for agreeing the key priorities for Brent over the next five years and the plan to achieving them. (This will be in the context of continuing major cuts to LA budgets)

Consultation on the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation for Old Oak and Park Royal

To approve the response to the GLA consultation on the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation for Old Oak and Park Royal. (This also affects Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham boroughs and it means Boris Johnson will takes planning powers away from those boroughs.Hammersmith and Fulham Council have objected LINK. Will Brent?)

Performance and Finance Review Q1

To confirm the first quarter’s performance and spending in 2014/15.

Mobile Workforce Software Procurement

To agree to procurement of a Mobile Workforce Software Solution through competitive tender that can be used by any field officer working in areas such as Social Services, Building Control, Planning, Environmental Health etc. to carry out their key tasks interacting with their line of business systems when offsite using mobile devices such as tablets.

These are the following key benefits:
* Customer service improvements and actions can be carried out immediately.
* Staff and efficiency savings as staff can spend more time in the field and will not need to travel to the office before or after their appointments.
* Potential cost reductions data will not need to be re-keyed when staff come back to the office

Initial communications provision at the new Civic Centre was poor, will this be an improvment. Interesting also that this aims to reduce use of the £100m Civic Centre by staff. The Council is already proposing to lease two floors to Air France, is this intended to release more space?

Update on Public Health Contracts

To note the progress on the procurements of the public health services and to approve the selection criteria and timetable for the procurements

School Expansion

To agree procurements and statutory consultations to take forward specific school expansion proposals.

An appendix to this report will be not for publication as it contains the following categories of exempt information specified in the Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act, namely: information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information); and, information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.

Contracts for building works associated with school expansion are lucrative but have not always delivered on time or of best quality with sub-contracting sometimes an issue.

Brent Education Commission Review

To consider the action plan based on the recommendations of the Brent Education Commission review.

The Review has major implications for the development of education in Brent LINK and includes some controversial proposals including encouraging free schools to set up in Brent to provide extra places (the current restriiction on LAs building new schools coudl be lifted by a new government in 2015) and the scaling down of Brent's school Improvement service. Certainly any Action plan needs to be subject to widespread discussion and consultation.

I would argue that Education, or Children and Families, due to the complex issues involved also needs its own Scrutiny Committee.

Brent Local Implementation Plan (LIP) submission for 2015/16 - 2017/18

To endorse the 2015/16 LIP submission to be submitted to Transport for London

To delegate authority to Operational Director, Neighbourhoods to proceed with schemes subject to results of consultation and to deliver the programme within overall funding allocation.
(Signficant expenditure/savings > 30% of budget for the function in question)

Domestic Violence Advocacy, family support and MARAC coordination services

To award the contract for the provision of domestic violence advocacy, family support and MARAC coordination services for a period of two years from 1 November 2014 to 31 Oct 2016, with the option to extend for further one year.

Housing Zones

To approve the submission of an application to the GLA to establish a housing zone and its location in the borough to accelerate housing supply.

This relates to a government initiative to release brownfield sites for housing. The Mayor of London has invited bids for £400m funding to set up 20 housing zones in the capital.

South Kilburn Regeneration Programme

To note the progress on the South Kilburn regeneration programme and to approve the progress the procurement (sic) of a developer partner for the Gloucester House and Durham Court redevelopment site.

Appendices to this report will be not for publication as it contains the following categories of exempt information specified in the Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act, namely: information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

South Kilburn residents have not been happy with the regeneration so far LINK

NW London GMB backs TTIP fight ahead of Saturday's Day of Action

The campaign organisation 38 Degrees LINK is holding a Day of Action on TTIP (Transatlantic  Trade and Investment Partnership) on Saturday August 30th. (More information below) There is more about TTIP and video of a public meeting on the issue on the excellent Haringey Green party website. LINK

Here in North West London the GMB has called for a campaign of opposition in a motion passed last month:
This North West London GMB branch notes with alarm that an EU/US Transatlantic trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being negotiated by the EU Commission on behalf of the EU member states  - and due to be partly completed by December 2014.

TTIP, if signed, will give multinational companies the right to sue governments over regulations that the companies object to - under 'investtor-state-dispute-settlement' (ISDS) rules - outside and above the courts and parliaments of the EU member states.

TTIP focuses on removing the regulations covering labour laws, food contents, environment standards and protections, working conditions and state-provided health and education services.

The TTIP negotiations, secret up to now, are a direct threat to existing standards and Trade Union collective bargaining. They signify privatisation on a massive scale and threaten the most essential rights won by the working class after generations of struggles.

This North West London GMB branch calls on the GMB leadership to help animate a national campaign of opposition to TTIP and stimulate all GMB affiliated Labour Party branches and Trades Councils to do the same.

This GMB branch resolves to send this resolution to all its own affiliated Trades Council and Labour Parties.

The 38 Degrees website has published useful downloadable campaign materials. This is from their blog:

If you’ve volunteered to get the word out on TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) during the 38 Degrees day of action on Saturday 30th August, you’re not alone – and here are all the important materials you’ll need.

Thousands of 38 Degrees members will be handing out leaflets, getting petition signatures and making sure people know about this terrible trade deal between the EU and the US. There are over 200 events happening across the UK and there’s still time to get involved.

Here are copies of the leaflets, posters, stickers and badges you can hand out on the day. Everyone who has signed up to volunteer will also get a pack of these in the post late next week. There will be 100 leaflets plus a poster, badge, sticker and petition in each posted pack.

To download copies of these online, please click the links below:

A5 leaflet

A3 poster


Bumper sticker


Feel free to print out or photocopy any of these. There is also a Welsh language flyer coming soon. If you want any extra materials posted to you, please just drop the staff team an email.

If you can’t download the PDF versions of the materials below, here are JPEG copies:

A5 flyer front
A5 flyer back
A3 poster
Bumper Sticker
Petition front
Petition back