Agenda and minutes

Education and Local Economy Scrutiny Commission - Tuesday 30 January 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Room G02A - 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH. View directions

Contact: Amit Alva  Email:

No. Item



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    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Joseph Vambe.


Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear working days of the meeting.


    Proposed amalgamation of St. Jude’s and Charlotte Sharman Primary Schools.


    The Chair informed the commission that the urgent item on the proposed amalgamation of St. Jude's and Charlotte Sharman primary schools has been withdrawn due an on-going consultation on the merger. This item will be looked at substantively at a future meeting and hear from both schools.


    The Chair has also informed the commission that she will be giving a brief update on Kintore Way (KW) nursery school which has been circulated at the meeting. (Attached to minutes appendix.1)


    There will be an update on St. Mary’s Magdalene School (SMMS) at future meetings.




Disclosure of interests and dispensations.

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    Members to declare any interests and dispensations in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.


    There were no disclosures of interests and dispensations.




Proposed Amalgamation of St. Jude's and Charlotte Sharman Primary Schools

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    To hear from the teachers at Charlotte Sharman Primary School on the proposed amalgamation with St. Jude’s C of E Primary School.


    This item was withdrawn as mentioned in notification of any items which the chair deems urgent.


Impact of school closures and amalgamations - Human Resources Data

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    To receive a report from Alasdair Smith, Director of Children & Families, Children's and Adults' Services and Shereen Moussa, Head of Schools Human Resources, Children's and Adults' Services and the impact of school closures and amalgamations on:


    ·  Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) school staff and pupils

    ·  Male and Female members of school staff (data breakup)

    ·  LGBTQ staff

    ·  Disabled members of school staff

    ·  Senior Leadership Team in schools 

    ·  School Support Staff (low-paid) 

    ·  Governors


    In addition to this data on


    ·  BAME school staff disciplinary data

    ·  Flexible working requests in schools (job-shares, part-time)


    Supporting documents:


    Chair’s update on KW nursery school (attached appendix 1.)


    ·  Thirteen staff redundancies took place on 31 December 2023, significant impact on children especially with regards to Special Needs and Educational Disabilities (SEND) provision

    ·  Need for early years strategy for SEND provision, however positive signs, council’s acknowledgement of the work needed in this area.

    ·  Overall national issue with funding for nurseries and SEND provision in nurseries; next meeting agenda would include these topics.

    ·  Currently creating a budget deficit recovery plan over a 5 year period


    The commission then received a report from Alasdair Smith, Director of Children & Families, Children's and Adults' Services and Shereen Moussa, Head of Schools Human Resources, Children's and Adults' Services on the impact of school closures and amalgamations (HR schools data) covering the following points


    • Report pt. 5 lists types of schools maintained by Local Authority (LA) with the exclusion of academies and free schools
    • Multi-layered legal framework (education law) for educational operation in schools in addition to equalities, employment law and data protection etc.
    • Schools have day to day responsibility for data protection management, LA having very little control
    • Data provided is a combination of schools works census data and HR schools advisory service which schools can opt in to, 60 schools have opted in; Data provided anonymously to protect confidentiality
    • Section 23 provides the impact of school closures and amalgamation, and council’s ‘Keeping Education Strong’ strategy to mitigate the impact
    • Only protected characteristics data (pt. 26-31) of age, gender, ethnicity and disability are collected by schools
    • The exercise as a result of this report has led to changes in data collection forms for schools.
    • Varying levels of redundancies in different schools; varying levels in ethnicity data; gypsy, roma, white British, white- Irish  and non-white ethnic groups
    • Gender data suggests women proportionately more represented than men in schools
    • Disabilities data vary from 6% in one school to no disabilities in other schools and some people opting preferring not to say
    • Mitigating impact on support staff jobs- admin, catering, cleaners, supervisors and also other full time jobs such as teaching assistants.
    • Influencing and supporting schools and governing boards in minimising the impact of redundancies by helping staff find alternative employment through HR workshops (job hunting and upskilling) with Job Centre plus.
    • Working with schools, trade unions and external service providers for finding jobs for redundant staff; advertising jobs from schools outside the borough like Kent
    • Schools independently manage day to day HR processes with regards to disciplinary to avoid it turning into a formal hearing; 4 out of 5 disciplinary cases listed in the report are Black British which is a cause for concern, underpinning data shows varying levels of ethnicity
    • Efforts being made to ensure Governance panels and council’s HR business partners are from diverse backgrounds; also ensuring all necessary steps are taken prior to any formal hearing for dismissal
    • Managing and mitigating issues linked to women of a certain age (menopausal) with regards to behaviour and performance; working with trade unions and Department Level Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


An update on East Street Market renovation project

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    To receive an update from R. Lindon and Shade Abdul on the East Street Market renovation project.


    The commission then heard from Lindon on the East Street Market renovation project


    ·  Team formed of local communities, traders and shop owners in September 2023; funding received  from ‘Thriving High Street funds’ through the council

    ·  Part of team consists of members of the local residents mainly Black and African communities from various occupations such as urban architects, planners and Chief officers working with young people- anti-knife gangs and young entrepreneurs

    ·  Working and engaging with traders in regular meetings; market traders and shop owners to work together and pooling their resources

    ·  Capacity building workshops and skill building for traders and shop owners to self-manage and have equity in this initiative; public meetings with community and traders to discuss progress

    ·  Mystery shopping exercise including professional researchers to asses trading processes; traders and shop owners accepted the issues brought to light and are working together to take steps to take the market forward

    ·  Survey of footfall in the market with the help of young people including gender and ethnic demographics; 80% of customers Afro-Caribbean customers however only 15 stores to cater to their needs.

    ·  Housing redevelopment has created an influx of new customers who are not keen on visiting the market; meetings with marketing director of Lendlease revealed a need for attracting new customers by having new food offers, having night markets, weekday markets and family friendly markets.

    ·  Local churches have allowed spaces for crèche providing a safe place for kids while residents shop and providing teas and coffees for older residents

    ·  Lack of seating and toilets for elderly residents to be addressed with the help of churches.

    ·  Running an exercise in redesigning the market for benches, pedestrianising the market, permanent stores in place of parasols and gazebos; and introducing Wi-Fi and card machines for payments.

    The commission then asked questions on the following themes


    ·  Previously lack of support for the market; findings of mystery shoppers; Borough and Bankside movement from produce to street food causing overcrowding and causing local customers to go elsewhere;

    ·  Negative impacts of zoning market according to products; diversity of offers such as meat vans are not there anymore; plans to develop market; taxing process from council; need for standards agency working with traders; way –finding from other streets and updating frontages of shops

    Lindon informed the commission that current funding from Thriving High Streets Fund amounts to £12,800, however just under £4800 has been received for this initial stage which is quite less than needed. This initial work is being undertaken to assess where the market is and where it needs to be in the future. Mystery shopper found cleanliness issues, issue with displaying licenses for returns, not all food vendors are displaying health hygiene ratings. With the help of our urban designers and planners, zoning the market is being considered, keeping in mind customer journey through the market. Pricing and negotiations by customers and traders is also being looked at; traders are going for cheaper products for higher prices to increase profits.


    Lindon explained to the commission  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Cabinet Member Interview- Jobs Skills and Business ( Local Economy)

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    To interview Councillor Martin Seaton the Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Business covering a holistic overview of key strategies and projects under the portfolio, supported by Danny Edwards, Head of Economy. (Report to follow)


    Supporting documents:


    The commission then heard from Councillor Martin Seaton and Danny Edwards on the following points of discussion


    ·  Programme support for businesses; High Growth and Low Emissions economy; Investment and Growth stream, Green Economy stream; Thriving High Street funding stream; Inclusive neighbourhood; Extending local ownership

    ·  Encourage and promote Southwark Youth Deal; Encouraging young people to take leadership positions; ensuring there is good quality work through working with trade unions; Flexible working for mothers with young children; better accessibility to work for disabled people; Opportunities for people 50 years or older

    ·  Southwark is the best place to invest; forward thinking and prepared to work with industries of the future; Green Jobs target from last year of 2000 new green jobs currently at 1299 jobs as of last quarter, working with London South Bank University (LSBU) and Green hub, Southwark Colleges to identify green skills required to pipeline these jobs from schools and colleges

    ·  Apprenticeships, recent launch of Health and Innovation District in 2023 named SE1, consisting of health and life sciences, projecting 15,000 new jobs; mainly in big digital, technology and pharmaceutical companies who are centred here for research and product development jobs meant for local people. This consists of Guys and St Thomas, Kings College, South London and Maudsley hospitals developing clinical trials

    The commission then asked questions on the following topics


    ·  Delivery plan of 2022-2026, target of getting 2500 Southwark residents into work; which are the growth sectors of jobs to meet these targets

    ·  Support for business like Plush who have been displaced in the south of the borough; Response to previous scrutiny recommendations, P33 policy, businesses relocation strategy for providing relocation to businesses displaced due to redevelopment; relocation options not being viable for businesses and council steps if a developer is not able to provide viable relocation and its effect on planning permission for the development.

    ·  Developers providing affordable work spaces at 10% and they can divert the 10% to communal spaces; Benchmarking apprenticeships in Southwark when compared to other boroughs in Southwark and relatively low number of internship (250) targets

    Councillor Seaton explained to the commission that the growth sectors of jobs are mostly to the north of borough and efforts are being made to bring it to the south; mainly digital, retail and hospitality sectors which will be an evolution over-time towards the south of the borough.

    The commission learnt from Councillor Seaton that there is some sensitive information that he is not at liberty to share; on support for businesses like Plush that have been displaced. The planning directorate did not grant the planning permission given by the council planning committee on the basis that the business and developer were unable to agree a financial compensation or viable relocation. Furthermore, the business lease on the property had expired for the past two years, the free holder then took direct action. Southwark planning policy does ensure that businesses in-situ for 10 or more years are protected for financial compensation due to redevelopment or relocation of business. Southwark  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme 2023-2024