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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Merton Civic Centre

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Paul Kohler and Cllr Billy Hayes.



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 66 KB


The minutes were agreed as a true and accurate record of the previous meeting.



Executive Director introductions


The Chair invited the Executive Directors to introduce themselves to the Commission and give an overview of their priorities/challenges and what they would like to achieve in post.


Asad Mushtaq, Executive Director for Finance and Digital, covering accountancy, ICT, digital, commercial, and transactional services. Key priority is financial sustainability.


In response to questions from Commission Members, the Executive Director for Finance and Digital added:


My first impressions are that the Council is well run and ambitious.


I think the profile needs to be raised, not just on a London level but nationally, and we can certainly transform in some key areas, such as being more commercial in in terms of varying our revenue and becoming more resilient.


The financial monitoring task group will be important and a critical piece for me in terms of understanding how scrutiny works. I will work with the Scrutiny commission over the next year to make sure Members have the necessary budget training internally, and potentially some independent advice as well, in terms of upskilling Members to ask the right questions.


With regards to the website, there's a wider piece of work planned around how we enable our residents to interact with us and a key area of that is accessibility, including digital deprivation and the use and functionality of the website. We want to provide a good digital offering to our residents and businesses.


Dan Jones, Executive Director of Environment, Civic Pride and Climate.

Key areas are waste collection, street cleansing, parking, highway maintenance, parks, regulatory services, leisure, culture, and libraries. As well as some areas that will be covered by this committee including community safety, CCTV and violence against women and girls.


My priorities will be the ‘Borough of Sport’ and bringing the street cleansing service back in-house over the next few years, as well as commissioning a new waste collection service and trying to deliver on the climate emergency agenda.


In response to Commission Member questions:


Street lighting - the energy efficient bulbs/ LED lights do save a significant amount of money but there are challenges in certain areas where the lighting is perceived to be not as good as it was before. The best thing to do with those, in my experience, is take them on a case-by-case basis. It might be there are contributing factors, such as overhanging branches that are cutting out light, or the general environment doesn't reflect back as well as it could in certain areas. There have been numerous occasions when I've looked at street lighting from a community safety aspect particularly around alleyways, parks and routes from town centres to public transport interchanges used late at night that are not as well-lit as they could be. In those cases, we have worked with community safety colleagues, the police and parks colleagues to see if we can improve those, which might mean changing the lighting from high to low or low to high depending on the situations or putting in different types of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


PSPO Signage pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:


The item was introduced by the Community Safety Team Manager.

The borough wide Public Space Protection Order was agreed by Cabinet, and we agreed to bring the signage to the Commission. The signs will be erected from the 10 July onwards and are designed around the ethos of making Merton a responsible drinking Borough as well as covering our legal requirements to make sure that we discharge the order correctly.


In response to comments and questions


·         Legal team advised on the wording of the signs.

·         Kingdom Officers will be giving out leaflets, which are written in plain English and clearly explain what the PSPO is.

·         Street drinkers will be given a leaflet about a drug and alcohol and treatment service provider in Merton and how they can refer themselves to get some additional support.

·         Members will have an opportunity to scrutinise the performance of the PSPO later in the year. Safer Merton to return on 6 September 2023 with summer feedback and results.


A Member raised the irony that at a meeting in which we're going to be praising the process of scrutiny, we are given an item to scrutinise that is un-scrutinisable.



Annual Report pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:


Members agreed they would like to see more public engagement at scrutiny meetings. Scrutiny to look at how we promote these meetings and encourage members of the public to get involved.


Young Inspectors feedback to be included in the annual report.


Investigate whether online version can include hyperlinks to reports.


Members agreed the Annual Report for 2022/23.




Identify questions for the Borough Commander


Please send to Scrutiny Officer by 24 July.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 129 KB


The work programme was agreed.

The Financial Monitoring Task Group was re-established for 2023/24.