Sunday, July 09, 2017

Grenfell Fire Disaster: Never, ever, again: Amendment to Newham Council Scrutiny report.

Tomorrow (Monday 10 July 2017) is the next Newham Council Meeting and on the agenda is a report about future "scrutiny" arrangements

I have proposed the following amendment to item 12 "Structural Review of Overview and Scrutiny".

"3.5 Specific thematic lead spokespersons would be appointed by Council to the
Overview and Scrutiny Committee, these Members would normally chair Task and
Finish Commissions. The current level of Special Responsibility Allowances would
not change as a result of formally adopting this model of scrutiny. Other Members
may be appointed to chair ‘light touch’ Task and Finish Commissions or ‘spotlight’
reviews. These positions would not attract a Special Responsibility Allowance.

It is also envisaged that one of these Task and Finish Commissions could undertake the
Housing Residents Scrutiny function previously undertaken through overview and
scrutiny in Newham.

Delete all in red and replace with below (new paragraph)

"In light of the Grenfell fire disaster a permanent Housing Residents Scrutiny will be set up which will meet at least 4 times per year and the necessary officer time and resources will be made available.

It will comprise non-executive Councillors and elected representatives of Council tenants and leaseholders. Representatives from other non-Council owned tenant and resident Groups in Newham will also be invited to attend and participate.

I hope my fellow Newham Councillors will support this enabling amendment. The best way to protect residents is to give them the power to protect themselves.


I agreed to withdraw this amendment following a commitment by the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny in Newham that :-
  • The Newham Housing Residents Scrutiny forum will start to meet again in its own right in September and at this meeting they will debate its terms of reference. 
  • There will be a Councillor task and finish scrutiny into Housing fire safety following Grenfell
  • There will be a report into how non council residents in Housing Association and Privately owned accommodation in Newham will be protected and their views represented, which should be implemented by January 2018 at the latest. 

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