Executive London Child Poverty Pledge Item no: 7 Report by: Dianna Neal Job title: Head of Economic Opportunity Date: 8 September 2008 Contact Dianna Neal Officer: Telephone: 020 7934 9819 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Summary The Government has launched a London Child Poverty Pledge for organisations to sign up to as part of a ministerial project to reduce child poverty in London. The report offers a draft action plan to meet the London Child Poverty Pledge for London Councils. The plan outlines how London Councils could reduce child poverty through its work. Recommendations That the Executive: 1. Endorses the draft London Councils Child Poverty Pledge Action Plan contained in Appendix 2 and agrees that London Councils signs the pledge; 2. Receives a further report on the implications of requesting the London Living Wage through some of its contracts, when these contracts are up for retender, if this is agreed in principle; 3. Reviews the pledge in 12 months to assess progress and agree any further action. Introduction 1. London has the highest rate of child poverty of any region of the UK, with 41 per cent of children living in poverty, compared with 30 per cent for the UK as a whole1. There has been no significant shift in child poverty levels in London since 2000. Child poverty impacts negatively on children’s life chances, affecting school attainment and future employment opportunities and undermining achievement of the five Every Child Matters outcomes. London Councils has been a sponsor of the London Child Poverty Commission. London Child Poverty Pledge 2. The London Child Poverty Pledge was launched on 15 July 2008 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, HM Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions. It is aimed at delivery agencies in London - to improve their services for low income families and their effectiveness in reducing child poverty. Organisations are asked to develop an 2 action plan consisting of a series of SMART targets against each element of the pledge. The pledge is outlined in full in Appendix 1. 3. The pledge is one initiative from a London project that is being run by the Government’s Child Poverty Unit. The project is led by a Ministerial Working Group on reducing child poverty in London, chaired by Stephen Timms MP, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform and Beverley Hughes MP, Minister for Children, Young People and Families. London Councils is represented on the Ministerial Working Group, along with London boroughs and agencies such as Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council, London Challenge, London Child Poverty Commission3. 4. London Councils will be holding a summit jointly with Ministers and the Mayor of London around the London Child Poverty Pledge in the autumn. London Councils has circulated the pledge to London boroughs, encouraging sign up and will publish ‘The London Child Poverty Pledge Action Guide’ with the Government Office for London (GoL) that suggests actions that boroughs could take meet the pledge. 1 Households Below Average Income (HBAI), DWP, May 2008. 2 Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound London Councils Action Plan 5. The pledge is aimed at organisations delivering services to Londoners, including families. Whilst London Councils delivers some direct services to Londoners on behalf of the boroughs, not all of these are relevant to child poverty. The London Councils action plan offers a leadership role and focuses on services relevant to child poverty (such as the grants programme, NOTIFY and work with Children’s Services) as well as London Councils role as a contractor and that of sharing good practice around service improvement with the boroughs. The draft action plan can be found in Appendix 2. London Living Wage 6. The following action is proposed for London Councils role as an employer: THE ACTION HOW ACTION WILL BE WHAT IMPROVEMENTS WILL IT IMPLEMENTED MAKE We will work to ensure that… …as an employer, our From October 2008, we will All directly employed London policies and practices request first tier contractors Councils staff currently enable London’s to pay the London Living receive the London Living parents to find and Wage for people working on Wage or above. This action progress in suitable and in London Councils offices as will ensure that all contracted fulfilling jobs; to these contract come up for staff working on site such as balance work and review and re-tendering. cleaners and security family life; and to earn workers, will also receive the a decent wage London Living Wage. 7. This action could potentially lead to increased costs for certain London Councils contracts. Specifically, the cleaning contracts at the Southwark Street and New Zealand House sites and the security staff at Southwark Street could potentially be affected. The focus on these types of contract is based on the model used by the GLA. Initial research suggests these are also the contracts where employees are unlikely to be paid the London Living Wage currently. 8. A breakdown of employee costs is not available in respect of the current contractual arrangement. However, an estimate of how much the value of these contracts may increase by requesting that employees are paid the London Living Wage is estimated to be £26,000 3 London Councils is represented by Cllr James Kempton and Hilary McCollum. per annum. This estimate is based on the assumption that people employed through these contracts are currently paid the adult rate of the statutory minimum wage4. It is difficult to predict the actual effect due to the open tender process and market forces at the time of tendering. The way forward would be that when these contracts are next up for retender, potential contractors would be asked to submit two tender prices; one based on paying the London Living Wage, the other, not paying it. The cost implications under both circumstances could easily be determined, and it would be up to the Executive to decide whether the additional cost of paying the London Living Wage was reasonable. 9. To request contractors to pay their employees the London Living Wage in the future would show a clear commitment to reducing child poverty by London Councils. Recommendations 10. It is recommended that the Executive: 1. Endorses the draft London Councils Child Poverty Pledge Action Plan contained in Appendix 2 and agrees that London Councils signs the pledge; 2. Receives a further report on the implications of requesting the London Living Wage through some of its contracts, when these contracts are up for retender, if this is agreed in principle; 3. Reviews the pledge in 12 months to assess progress and agree any further action. Financial Implications for London Councils These are outlined in paragraphs 6 to 8 of this report. Legal Implications for London Councils London Councils has been advised by the GLA that we cannot legally enforce a request to pay the London Living Wage in our contracts. If this action is agreed in principle, officers will seek further legal advice on this action. Equalities Implications for London Councils Child poverty is concentrated among certain types of families in London including those: 4 £5.52 per hour; the London Living Wage is £7.45 per hour. from some black and minority communities; where English is not the first language; where either a parent or child has a disability; headed by a lone parent. Action to alleviate child poverty is likely to improve equality of opportunity for these groups. Appendices Appendix 1: London Child Poverty Pledge Appendix 2: London Councils Child Poverty Pledge: Draft Action Plan Background Papers DCSF, HM Treasury and DWP, The London Child Poverty Pledge, July 2008 Appendix 1 London Child Poverty Pledge We will do more to help London’s poor families to raise their incomes, and to improve outcomes for poor children and their families. We will work to ensure that… … as an employer, our policies and practices enable London’s parents to find and progress in suitable and fulfilling jobs; to balance work and family life; and to earn a decent wage. …. parents and their families receive continuous and comprehensive support as they enter, stay and progress in work. … children, parents and families do not experience difficulties or delays in accessing support due to avoidable bureaucracy or boundaries between services. … the needs of all poor families are understood and reflected in our strategic plans and priorities. … the impact and effectiveness of services is maximised, and outcomes for poor children and families are improved, as a result of strong partnership working with local, regional and national partners. … child poverty remains a priority across all relevant areas of our work, promoted by a ‘child poverty champion’ on our senior leadership team. … all families – including the most disadvantaged - experience a high quality service from skilled and responsive staff, who understand the contribution that their work makes to ending child poverty, and can identify which customers are parents and tailor their support accordingly. … the views and experiences of children, young people and parents, including those from disadvantaged groups, shape the services we develop, commission, fund or deliver. … services are continuously improved on the basis of robust evidence about what works in tackling child poverty. Appendix 2 London Councils Child Poverty Pledge: Draft Action Plan THE ACTION HOW ACTION WILL BE WHAT IMPROVEMENTS WILL IT IMPLEMENTED MAKE We will work to ensure that… …as an employer, our From October 2008, we will All directly employed London policies and practices enable request first tier contractors to Councils staff currently receive London’s parents to find and pay the London Living Wage for the London Living Wage or progress in suitable and people working on in London above. This action will ensure fulfilling jobs; to balance work Councils offices as these contract that all contracted staff working and family life; and to earn a come up for review and re- on site such as cleaners and decent wage tendering. security workers, will also receive the London Living Wage. …parents and their families By February 2009, we will host a Through its grants programme, receive continuous and seminar for all projects funded London Councils runs a two-year comprehensive support as under London Councils ESF employment and training they enter, stay and progress programme to share best programme match funded in work practice on ways to support through the European Social parents into work through Fund (2008-10). This programme training and other support already focuses on getting activities. parents into work with just under one third of all projects (10) From September 2008 onwards, specifically targeting disabled we will get funded projects to parents, homeless families and monitor the participation in and workless families. progress of parents in all our training and employment London Councils is also working programmes. with London boroughs to develop another employment and training ESF programme using borough monies as match funding. These actions will: Support all projects funded through the London Councils programme to incorporate the needs of families in their training and support activities. It will make the programme more effective in meeting the needs of parents. Provide better information on the progress of parents in both employment and training programmes and whether this support results in sustainable jobs. Previously data for parents has not been available. …children, parents and By February 2009, we will Improved employment prospects families do not experience promote the needs of parents in for parents in social housing in difficulties or delays in emerging models of employment London. accessing support due to support by boroughs for social avoidable bureaucracy or housing tenants. boundaries between services …the needs of all poor From April 2009, child poverty London Councils continues to families are understood and will be reflected in our corporate make reducing child poverty a reflected in our strategic plan, focusing on improving priority and provide resources to plans and priorities parental employment, children’s work with boroughs, regional life chances, effective borough and national government to strategies and changes to the tax reduce child poverty in London. and benefit system. …the impact and By April 2009, NOTIFY will be Continuity and improved delivery effectiveness of services is adapted to inform low income of services to low income families maximised, and outcomes households moving between for poor children and families boroughs of rights and The 14-19 group will work on are improved, as a result of entitlements to benefits and supporting local authorities with strong partnership working council services. putting in place commissioning with local, regional and plans for the transfer of funding From September 2008, the 14-19 in 2011/2012 from LSC to local national partners regional planning group will authorities. The action will ensure that when working ensure that the group focuses on towards shaping the 14-19 improving the outcomes for poor priorities across London children and families within the opportunities for low income new commissioning plans and households are improved. improve their access to training and education. …child poverty remains a Member champion - Cllr James Child poverty has senior member priority across all relevant Kempton, Portfolio Holder for and officer support in London areas of our work, promoted Children and Young People Councils. by a ‘child poverty champion’ on our senior leadership Officer champion – Dick Sorabji, team Corporate Director, Policy and Public Affairs … all families – including the By April 2010, we will have held For the financial year 2008/09 most disadvantaged - at least four sectoral forums with London Councils has provided experience a high quality commissioned VCS organisations approximately £9.7m on projects service from skilled and that include a focus on they can that have a direct link to reducing responsive staff, who individually and collectively child poverty. understand the contribution reduce child poverty. that their work makes to These actions will result in an By April 2010, we will have increased strategic focus on how ending child poverty, and can organised two seminars with the VCS services can reduced child identify which customers are VCS to establish more effective poverty in London. parents and tailor their ways of developing services that support accordingly reduce child poverty. …the views and experiences From November 2008, we will The action will ensure that: of children, young people work with Young London Matters Young London Matters will and parents, including those to host a pan London be better informed of how from disadvantaged groups, consultation event for children future service can be shaped shape the services we and young people in care to look for children and young develop, commission, fund or at the ways in which future people in care. deliver services should be shaped. Young people will have a greater role in determining how future services will be developed. By April 2010, all relevant VCS services will be more sectoral forums of commissioned relevant and accessible to VCS organisations will consider parents. how to incorporate user feedback and involve client groups, including parents, to develop their services. From April 2009, we will work with our commissioned VCS VCS and public sector services ‘policy and choice’ organisations more responsive to the needs of to identify the needs of parents low income families. in disadvantaged communities and how to better communicate this to the VCS, public agencies and government. …services are continuously From September 2008, we will London bor0ugh strategies and improved on the basis of explore the potential to establish activities/services for low income robust evidence about what an expert panel to help London families will be more effective works in tackling child boroughs take effective action to and related services more aware poverty reduce child poverty (subject to of the needs of low income agreement and available families. resources). From April 2010, we will have a More effective approaches to regular annual review of progress increase parental employment and learning from a identified and promoted/rolled commissioned child poverty pilot out. and share good practice/lessons learnt across London.
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