Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Banks Room, Spring Grove House, West Thames College (Directions attached

Contact: Kay Duffy on 020 8583 2067 or at Email: kay.duffy@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


4.00-4.05pm - Welcome

The Chair will open the meeting, invite introductions, welcome new attendees and take apologies for absence.


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited a round of introductions from all present.


·         Dominic Lane and Jas Lall were in attendance from JobCentre Plus;

·         Matthew Parsfield and Gaia Marcus, RSA, were in attendance to present Agenda Item 4: Cranford Stronger Together project;

·         Dr Ellie Francis-Brophy, Principal Community Investment Officer, and Jo Sage, Head of Intelligence Hub, were in attendance to present Agenda Item 5: Cohesion and Anchors.


4.05-4.10pm - Previous minutes and matters arising pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Opportunity for attendees to raise any issues of accuracy before agreeing the minutes and to raise any matters arising not covered by the agenda.


The minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2014 were agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record.


4.10-4.20pm - Update Report pdf icon PDF 175 KB

The update report (attached) provides updates on areas of work initiated by the partnership or in which it has previously expressed an interest. It also includes updates on the other strategic partnerships and now includes a round-up of actions raised by the Board in previous meetings.


See report from Ian Duke, Head of Policy and Scrutiny, Agenda Item 3.


Members were reminded that some of the biggest multinationals in the borough sat on the Economic Business Forum (EBF), together with small businesses, which are represented by the Chamber of Commerce.  Sector research being carried out by the EBF would be brought to this Board once completed.


Both Parveen Sohal and Taz Nagra attended meetings of the VCSE Partnership, together with Dr Francis-Brophy from the Community Partnerships Unit at the Local Authority.  There would be an opportunity to discuss this in more detail later in the agenda.


Kyle Kinsella joined the meeting at this point.


Ian Duke drew attention to the introduction of Universal Credit, which was expected to be rolled out in every authority before the elections in May 2015.  It was understood that the first cohort to be moved to Universal Credit would be single householders.  Hammersmith and Fulham had taken part in the pilot and was now extending the rollout to families using a ‘test and learn’ approach.


In response to a question on the impact of Universal Credit from Ian Carter, Assistant Director of Strategy, Intelligence and Engagement, Jas Lall confirmed that the authorities would retain the ability to count and identify those registered as unemployed. 


Ian Duke stressed the importance of ensuring that the local services support framework, Universal Support, was established alongside Universal Credit.  Once again experiences at Hammersmith and Fulham acted as a learning tool for neighbouring boroughs.  Under Universal Credit benefit recipients would receive their payments once monthly into a designated bank account and it was anticipated that a high level of support would be required for those residents.  Jas Lall assured the Board that a colleague from the Universal Credit team would be available to come and discuss the rollout in more detail with this Board.


Drawing attention to the Actions table, the Chair sought an update on the young people’s attitudes in relation to the borough’s town centres.  Kyle Kinsella confirmed that a document had been prepared, which rated Brentford High Street poorest of all the town centres Brentford.  It was agreed that a copy would be circulated to members of the Board following this meeting. 


Members supported the continued use of the new actions format included in the agenda packs.


Stephen Hutchinson joined the meeting at this point.



The updates included in the submitted report were noted.  


4.20-5.05pm - Cranford Stronger Together project pdf icon PDF 119 KB

This report sets out the key milestones of the project completed to date providing an overview of the original project objectives, its scope and a summary of the Insight phase – ahead of the presentation by the RSA which will be given on the day.  It will provide the Board with a first opportunity to receive some of the key messages emerging from the research before publication of the final report.  The Board will be asked to provide guidance on the next steps as we enter the Design stage.

Additional documents:


See report from Ian Duke, together with the presentation slides displayed at the meeting and attached to the electronic agenda pack for reference thereafter, Agenda Item 4.


Ian Duke introduced Matthew Parsfield (project developer) and Gaia Marcus (senior researcher) from the Connected Communities team at the RSA.


Mary Harpley and Sue Jeffers joined the meeting at this point.


Matthew and Gaia took members through the presentation slides, explaining both the local context and the methodology used for the research.  Researchers had spent a lot of time with people in the target cohort, questioning them on two main areas; their wellbeing and their networks.  From this they were able to map out the patterns of connectivity – both within the local community and with service providers.  The research also focussed on individuals’ levels of resilience and ability to cope. 


The Board was asked to consider and identify the main areas of concern and asked whether isolation was a factor.  Jas Lall confirmed that the Stronger Together group had focussed on three main areas; the impact of Universal Credit (how best to engage with those with levels of illiteracy and poor digital skills); ensuring findings were shared with partner organisations and ensuring that co-production principles were followed.


Ian Duke noted that each type of person would require different interventions in relation to the rollout of Universal Credit.  He proposed looking for the reasons for the lack of connection – looking at those who ‘exist’ in the locality but whose networks are elsewhere.  The risk for these people should anything happen to them was high.  Gaia agreed that these individuals represented a ‘wasted resource’ as they had a wealth of knowledge but were not linked to the local area and those around them. 


When asked whether age or household size had been considered as filters when looking at social connections, Gaia confirmed that there had been minimal variance when isolating the data for different age groups and only 10% when looking at the size of the households.  Jo Sage asked whether analysis had been carried out looking at service use by age breakdown.  Jas Lall suggested that JobCentre Plus would be looking at the services previously provided in the locality would be helpful to identify any gaps in provision. 


When asked whether the research had shown anything unique in this area in comparison to research already carried out in other areas, Gaia indicated that there had been many similarities with previous research undertaken.  She did draw attention, however, to the lack of reference by any of the respondents to any political roles, which was particularly unusual when one considered that the research had been undertaken in July - a short time after the Local Government elections.  In addition to this the research had identified a lack of social activism, which pointed to a severe form of isolation.


Although Carl Bussey indicated that this area had been identified as having the lowest confidence in policing, Gaia reported that residents had shown a willingness to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


5.05-5.50pm - Cohesion and Anchors pdf icon PDF 337 KB

In planning and setting its priorities the Board has received presentations on the drivers of population growth and change, and looked at how the borough has absorbed the growth and change to date. In the discussions that followed the Board agreed that ‘community cohesion’ should be the focus of a project moving forward. Central to this should be the concept of ‘community anchoring’; how communities will bind and develop community leadership in the future.


The purpose of this paper is to address these actions and provide a framework for discussion at the Board meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to begin scoping out a potential project around ‘community anchoring’ and agreeing how this will be taken forward.


See report from Ian Duke, Head of Policy and Scrutiny, Agenda Item 5.


Ian Duke introduced the submitted report, drawing attention to the three main questions:

·         How do we measure cohesion?

·         What do we think cohesion looks like?

·         How do we identify the factors that increase or decrease cohesion?


Ian pointed to the borough data maps that had been posted up around the meeting room.  He indicated that there were further factors that increased cohesion than decreased cohesion.   As it was not yet possible to identify areas in the borough that were more or less cohesive than others, Ian suggested this as the first piece of work to do in order to solve this particular riddle.


Cohesion was measured nationally using a set of four indicators, which were not refreshed very frequently.  The next stage would be to return to this Board with a set of action items. 


Jo Sage asked whether it would be more helpful to know more about the unevenness of the borough or how it compared to the London or UK figures.  She suggested that both could be done but pointed to the fact that the borough model was based on ‘attitudinal values’ and could not currently be used for a comparison.


Dr Francis-Brophy confirmed that the Community Partnerships Unit was happy to carry out the micro level research, as it served as good value for money for the services that unit provided.  Colleagues were just beginning to circulate questionnaires to voluntary service organisations containing six indicators.  It was suggested that ‘before and after’ questionnaires could be completed by those using the unit’s services in order to track how effective the service had been.  Dr Francis-Brophy accepted Gaia’s offer to share the evaluation questions used in the Cranford Stronger Together research. 


Sue Jeffers sought clarification on the desired outcomes from the work and the benefits not only to the Local Authority but its partner agencies.  The Chair reminded members of the discussion at the July Board meeting, which had included the suggestion to look at community anchors and impact of population churn.  It was now for the Board to discuss what direction they wished to take with the available data.


Dr Francis-Brophy explained that the work formed part of the Thriving Communities Sector Strategy, which was about the ‘interconnectiveness’ of welfare reform.  The Community Partnerships Unit approached it from an outcome focussed ‘theory of change’ model.  The questions were important to the team from a practical level but also provided useful data in relation to the resilience of the community – not only cohesion but how cohesion interconnects with resilience and independence.  Ian Carter added that the team had amended the outcomes criteria to support intervention to drive very real outcomes for the community.


Ian Duke suggested that the modelling could be carried out to find out what the different anchors are that bring people together, although it was acknowledged that this would not be a straightforward piece of work.  The work would look  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


5.50-5.55pm - Items for the next meeting on 3 December 2014



·         Members noted the date of the Board’s next meeting and the provisional dates set for 2015 (26 February and 30 April 2015).


5.55-6.00pm - AOB and Close


No urgent business was raised.