16/07/2015 Questions to Full Council from Cllr Varinder Singh Bola

16 Jul

The below extract is taken from Redbridge Council’s approved minutes for 16th July 2015:

Councillor Singh Bola asked the Cabinet Member for A Fairer Redbridge, Councillor Farah Hussain, can the Cabinet Member for A Fairer Redbridge explain how the Fairness Commission in Redbridge will seek to understand and address the issues of inequality that are affecting the local population?

Councillor Farah Hussain replied that the Redbridge Fairness Commission had been set up to investigate poverty and inequality in Redbridge and to look at how the Council and its partners were taking action to address it. The Commission would seek to understand how austerity had affected the lives of local people and to engage with a wide range of local community groups to identify priorities for making Redbridge fairer.

The Commissioners had examined various themes to identify where inequalities lay and how. They had looked at a number of areas, including health and wellbeing, housing, working and learning, young people, older people, building communities and the last topic was still to be discussed.

They had heard from expert witnesses who provided services or were academics as well as community witnesses who had highlighted the key inequalities residents faced and provided challenge to the experts.

Evidence had been and continued to be gathered in a range of ways:
• Three open meetings had been facilitated by the RCVS where anyone could attend to give their views
• A call of evidence was open for the duration of the Commission
• Meetings with a wide range of voluntary and community groups as well as front line staff to gather evidence
• Peer research, which recruited researchers from within groups whose voices were heard less frequently in order to explore inequalities of wellbeing between different Redbridge communities.

The evidence gathered would provide the Commissioners with a rich picture of inequality within the Borough. This would help to create an understanding of how the inequalities and the themes considered, interlocked and impacted on one another.

The commissioners would spend the summer reviewing this information and shortlisting recommendations on changing how we worked with Partners in the Borough. The recommendations were not yet developed, but the Commission would ensure that they were realistic and practical so that they were able to help more of the local population.

In its final report, due to be published in November 2015, the Commission would make recommendations to be taken forward by the Council and its partners to make Redbridge a fairer place to live.

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Singh Bola asked how will the Fairness Commission recommendations be implemented in practice?

Councillor Farah Hussain replied that the recommendations of the Fairness Commission would be published before the refresh of the Corporate Strategy and would therefore inform what our priorities were for the coming year and they would be monitored as part of this process.

In addition, the recommendations could include specific projects or pieces of work. Where relevant, a task and finish group would be established to deliver the action plan and report on the progress through the appropriate mechanisms.

As Cabinet Member for A Fairer Redbridge she would monitor the implementation of recommendations and would work with fellow Members to ensure the Council did what was right and fair for the people they served.

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