E080908 Item7 Child Poverty Pledge by S84ZBv4k

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									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:        dianna.neal@londoncouncils.gov.uk


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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