Are there any sites in your local area which are vacant, rundown or underused? Through redevelopment could they make a more positive contribution to your area?
To assist the development of local plans, the Council is carrying out a ‘call for sites’ exercise to identify sites within Brent that may have potential for development. The ‘call for sites’ is an early opportunity for individuals and organisations to suggest sites within the borough for development. This could be development for uses such as:
Community uses including education/potential schools
Hate crime is the initial focus of a new series of public meetings which aim to tackle difficult issues in our community.
Taking place on 21 July, the hate crime event is part of the Council’s wider ‘It’s Time to Talk’ campaign which aims to empower residents and community leaders to talk about difficult issues and work together with the authorities to tackle them. Important challenges such as hate crime, child sexual exploitation, extremism, gang culture, domestic abuse and harmful practices are all expected to be discussed at separate events throughout the year.
The event on 21 July has a number of high-profile speakers attending, including Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy – Centre for Hate Studies, Stephen Brooks MBE – Coordinator of the Disabled Hate Crime Network and special guest keynote speaker – creative pioneer Samuell Benta. Topics such as what exactly a hate crime is, how big the problem is in Brent and the role of social media in the context of hate crime, will be discussed.
Cllr Harbi Farah and Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray have both join the council’s Cabinet for the first time following the council’s Annual Meeting and Mayor Making ceremony last night. Harbi is also the first Councillor of Somali origin to serve on Cabinet in Brent.
The appointments were made after Cllr Ruth Moher, former Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, and Cllr James Denselow, former Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, both decided not to stand for their positions previously.
It was a hotly contested AGM process. Labour is the largest Party at the Council and we held a vote between the Labour Group on Saturday to put forward to the Council for appointment. Cabinet appointments are now up until 2018 which is when the next local election will be held.
There are direct individual elections for the Leader and Deputy Leader positions. Cabinet is then elected using a pooled voting system where anyone wishing to stand can put their names forward and the top six
The council’s Leader and Deuputy Leader are:
Cllr Muhammed Butt – Leader of the Council
Cllr Margaret McLennan – Deputy Leader of the Council
Cabinet is then elected using a pooled voting system where anyone wishing to stand can put their names forward and the top six are then chosen to be put forward on to the Cabinet. The Leader then appoints Cabinet Members to Portfolio positions. The Cabinet Members and their portfolio positions are:
Cllr Krupesh Hirani – Community Wellbeing
Cllr Harbi Farah – Housing
Cllr Roxanne Mashari – Regeneration, Growth, Employment and Skills
Cllr Michael Pavey – Stronger Communities
Cllr Eleanor Southwood – Environment
Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray – Children and Young People
Now that the AGM vote is over and positions are confirmed, we are all looking forward to working together and Leading in our respective areas.
I will be covering Adult Social Care and Public Health as I was before, but in addition I will now also be responsible for Sports and Leisure, which I will be developing going forward using the Council’s Public Health remit. I will also now be chairing the Health and Wellbeing Board – previously Chaired by the Leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt.
In Brent, we are working with the Community to make our area a Dementia Friendly Borough. We were recently featured on London Live where I gave an interview on the issue. Dementia is not just about providing core services but for me it is about a whole community approach on the issue to make sure that everyone is aware of the issue and is mindful of Dementia when they are going about their everyday lives; be it going shopping in a supermarket or queuing to be served at a bank cashier.
This video here explains more has a real life experience from Dianne Campbell who was diagnosed with Dementia at the age of 44.
Community Action on Dementia (CAD-Brent), a local charity, is working in partnership with Brent Council, Brent CCG and a number of other organisations to improve the support for people living with memory loss.
Brent Council is supporting the Dry January Campaign run by Alcohol Concern working with Public Health England – encouraging people to give up alcohol for January and promoting the health benefits of doing so.
Giving the body a break from drinking alcohol will see a number of benefits including weight loss, improved sleep, improved energy levels as well as saving money.
In Brent we have services available for people who are concerned about their drinking. B3 offer a confidential and supportive peer to peer drop in service each Saturday, 12noon- 5pm and Sunday 1pm-4pm for people with substance issues. The drop in session is held at 97 Cobbold Road, NW10. Find out more on their website.
As part of its support, Brent will share information on its communications channels about Dry January and also signposting people to B3 for support. Working with B3, Brent will be holding an information stall on Thursday, 14 January where B3 will be talking to people about the amount of units in different types of alcoholic drinks, offering support and advice available for people that feel they drink too much as well as discussing alternatives to alcohol.
Last January over two million people participated. To find out more and to pledge to give up alcohol for the month go to http://www.dryjanuary.org.uk
Brent Council’s cabinet has agreed proposals for sharing its ICT services with Lewisham Council, from April 2016. This new shared service will help Brent towards saving £1m each year in the amount it spends on ICT to support the full range of council services.
Cllr Michael Pavey, Brent’s Deputy Leader, said
“This is an absolutely ground-breaking deal. It will save a huge amount of money whilst safeguarding an outstanding service. The Government have slashed our funding in half, but through creative work like this we can protect essential services for residents.”
Now this has been agreed separately by both Lewisham and Brent’s cabinet, this new partnership will be overseen by a joint committee of two councillors from each local authority, and managed by a senior officer from each council. The two councils will then appoint a new lead officer working in both areas to manage the shared service. As the majority of the staff that will be working for the shared service are currently employed by Brent it was agreed that staff currently employed by either Lewisham or their external ICT supplier will also be transferring to Brent; however all staff will be expected to work across both council locations.
The shared service will be looking to provide services to more organisations going forward in order to reduce costs even further.
Brent has already agreed a target of reducing its overall IT spend by £1.62million a year, and this joint service will make the largest contribution to that savings target.
Under a separate arrangement already in place, Brent Council provides ICT services to the Local Government Association and that income also helps contribute towards reduced costs to the Brent council tax payer.
Brent Council has put up a useful list of areas where trees have fallen down as a result of the overnight storms.
Some areas seem to be more heavily affected than others and Dudden Hill is in particular affected with quite a few trees having fallen down around the Gladstone Park Primary School area.
In the Neasden area, brick fences have come down and wooden fences too. I’m sure they have in other areas too. Tanfield Avenue which is a major travel and bus route for commuters and school children has also been affected by a fallen tree.
There were also morning disruptions on the Jubilee line with items on the track having to be cleared.
For more information please visit the Council page here: LINK