The Chair had been notified of and agreed to accept two urgent matters.
Councillor Collins asked whether the Panel might take up this matter again and raise it through the London Scrutiny Network in view of the recent Panorama programme. He believed that the latter could have an impact on the London Borough of Hounslow if it led to closure of homes to which the authority might refer residents. He also referred to the Sheltered Housing Review.
The Chair agreed personally that it would be a good idea as an area to look at but potentially there would be a change in the membership of the panel and it would be proper to allow an appreciation of the work programme by whoever was chairing the panel in the coming Municipal Year. He suggested that following the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s appointments, Councillor Collins might bring this back with the new Chair of the Panel.
Deepa Patel, Scrutiny Officer, advised that Scrutiny could in the meantime ask for an update from the Director of Community Services.
Councillor Pam Fisher suggested that rather than Panel members trailing around the homes, it would be sensible if they requested copies of the CQC reports so that members could read through recommendations and then go back to see whether the recommendations had been put in place.
Councillor Todd pointed out that in respect of the Panorama programme, CQC had conceded that they had failed. He had raised concern on a similar related point that there were no councillors’ visits to Children’s Homes and believed that members should be trained up to undertake visits as they had the responsibility for Corporate Parenting. This was part of members’ overall responsibility of governance and he welcomed the suggestion.
The Chair confirmed that Deepa Patel would ask for further information.
The Chair appreciated the sentiments, noting that change happened and could be for good. He thanked the Panel for its part in carrying him through as Chair and was sure this work would continue. He thanked Deepa Patel, the Scrutiny Officer supporting the Panel, and Councillor Pam Fisher in her role as Vice Chair. He was confident that the Panel would go from strength to strength.
Councillor Reid supported Councillor Fisher’s comments, advising that Councillor Rajawat would be a difficult act to follow as he had been very fair and bold. Councillor Fisher commented that the team was as good as the Chair, that he had been brilliant in this role and she agreed that he would be very difficult to follow.