Agenda item - Chairs Communications

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Agenda item

Chairs Communications

Minutes:

3.1     The Chair gave the following communications:

          “Welcome councillors, standing invitees and members of the public (present and viewing via the web cam) to the first meeting of the NICE committee for the new civic year. 

            Committee members will be aware that we were due to consider an item on the Third Sector Commission 2020-2023.  I have listened and considered the comments I have received regarding the item and have consulted the spokespeople for the Greens and the Conservatives.  However, given the importance of the matter, I have decided that the item be withdrawn from this committee meeting and  that a special NICE committee meeting be held. 

            This special meeting will be considering solely this item,  so that we can give it the time it deserves.  I intend to call the special meeting as soon as is practically possible, before the 25th July and the standing invitees will, of course, invited to attend the meeting.  In fact I would very much welcome their attendance and input into the debate especially the community and voluntary sector representatives, so we may continue the strong collaborative relationship the council has with the sector. 

            In addition, I am conscious that committee members will be aware that a recent all committee review has taken place, looking at the remit and workload of each of the various council committees with the aim of making sure decision making is effective and streamlined.

            The review found that there are some areas of overlap where work and responsibilities were being duplicated across committees.  Therefore, a proposal is being put forward to the Policy, Resources and Growth Committee and then to Full Council later this month to reallocate work to more relevant committees.  The aim is to reduce duplication and ensure that no one committee is overburdened. For example, rough sleeping is proposed to move to Housing and New Homes committee and responsibility for major projects, economic growth and regeneration will move from Tourism, Development and Culture to Policy and Resources Growth committee.

            There is also a proposal to create a new committee by bringing together the Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities & Equalities (NICE) and Tourism, Development & Culture (TDC) committees.  The new committee is set to be called Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture (TECC) committee. 

            ALL the work currently being undertaken by the NICE committee will continue and none of the focus will be lost.  And with the shifting of some sizeable areas of work to more relevant committees, I am really confident that this new committee will continue to drive the work needed to tackle inequality in this city and support the community and voluntary sector to survive and thrive. Moreover, and really importantly, the proposal is to continue with our standing invitees on the new committee who bring welcome challenge and alternative view points and experience that add great value to our committee debates and decision making.

            None of this negates the importance of the items we have on the agenda this evening, or at the special meeting.  And I thank you all for your dedication to the remit of the committee - especially the community and voluntary sector representatives who have given their time and energy over the life of the committee and are coming with us to the proposed new committee. With your help and hard work, we have managed to not only mitigate the most damaging effects of the Conservative Government’s ideologically driven cuts (to Social Services, the benefits system, the housing budgets, the NHS, the police and education – to name just a few) but also to build new structures and ways of working to protect and enhance peoples’ lives.  So thank you.

 

            Now I would like to shift the focus away from council business, to look at what’s been happening across our city, since the last committee meeting.  It’s a long and inspirational list!

            The Council organised - in partnership with American Express - a wonderful celebratory event on 17th June, to say thank you to some of the amazing volunteers in our city. And I would like to invite by fellow committee members to join me in repeating that thanks here at this evening’s committee meeting. Thank you.

            Then there was the recent refugee week where the welcome message from the city was as strong as ever with lots of dialogue and support for unity and standing together against hate – so important in these divisive times.   Especially inspiring was the hands against hate human chain in New Road, and Sanctuary on Sea’s flagship Refugee Week event at the Dome.

            And just to further confirm our City’s reputation for creativity and inclusivity, we also had the go-live of a fantastic young people led project, again against hate and division. Supported by the council’s communities team, the Young Voices project launched its social media project @anyonebrighton which already has 102 followers – please follow, comment and repost them on Instagram

            The Communities team has also supported the growth and formal launch of Brighton & Hove Upstanders Network bringing together diverse community groups to stand together against hate and all forms of extremism 

            I am pleased to announce that there has been a fantastic number of bids (over 60 at the last count) to the first round of the council’s annual grant programme - the Communities Fund – these are currently being appraised and decisions will be out soon. Also, a reminder to everyone – present or watching - if you have groups looking for funding please do remind them that the next round of the Communities Fund is closing soon 26th July and then our final round is mid October – October 18th, I believe.

            I want to wish our Trans community and allies a safe and successful Trans Pride on 20th July.  It has become a well-recognised occasion in the city’s event calendar, attracting national and international visitors who can take part in a week-long programme of events of inclusion and celebration of trans and non-binary people. Most importantly, I take this opportunity to send a message of solidarity to the Trans and non-binary community here in Brighton and Hove, in the UK and Internationally.  These are difficult times, and we stand with you.

            As a socialist administration, we deplore the ongoing injustice and ill treatment of our citizens, under the Conservative hostile environment policy, so it was uplifting to see the celebration of Windrush Day in the city on June 22nd.  There were many events but I would like to mention the Windrush Tea party that was held at the Royal Pavilion. This was a wonderful event made possible by the collaboration of B&H BME Heritage Network and Royal Pavilion & Museums. 

            And last week we held a multi-agency week of action to raise awareness of violence, vulnerability and exploitation in our neighbourhoods and communities as well as launching our #spotthesigns of exploitation social media and poster campaign– find it on twitter using hashtag #spotthesigns.

 

            Highlights of this campaign included:

·                   exploitation awareness training for taxi drivers by WiSE;

 

·                   Albion in the Community, Sussex Police, Trust for Developing Communities and youth workers from the voluntary sector all took part in the Premier League ‘Kicks’ pop-up sessions on the Level – a programme designed to inspire vulnerable or hard to reach young people.

 

·                   There were also joint awareness visits by licensing teams from the council, police and the fire service to bed and breakfasts properties;  including visits from the police ‘cuckoo’ car, to properties and individuals considered to be at risk

·                   workers from a large range of agencies visited neighbourhood groups to have discussions around these issues and how it affected them in their areas.  I know that the members of both the Moulsecoomb and the Bevendean Local Action Teams, at their monthly meetings, were very interested to find out about the campaign around cuckooing and stamping out county lines.

·                   There was also a large event organised by Sussex Police at the Amex Community Stadium bringing together about 150 people from across the city to look at how serious crime, violence and anti-social behaviour impacts us as a city and as individuals and seeking positive ways to tackle this together.

 

            So a busy, creative and inspiring time for the City.  These events really highlight what is so amazing about our community, about our shared desire to both protect and defend our residents, but also improve the lives of everyone that lives and visits.  And it was a privilege – but also very humbling - to sit here and read that list out.”

 

 

 


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