Last week, Lambeth Council held its Annual General Meeting to start the final year of this Council term. Disappointingly, the Government have also decided not to extend the ability of councils to hold their meetings online following a court case. This means that the Council will need to take extra steps to make our next meeting in June COVID secure and this could reduce the number of Councillors able to take part or require extra expense to find a larger venue which can seat all 63 Councillors, the Council’s officers and members of the public.
At the AGM, Marcia was confirmed as the Council’s Deputy Whip – a role which will see her help organise the formal business of the Council and work with the other political parties on Lambeth Council to ensure that all councillors can participate. Mary, will continue in her role as Vice-Chair of Scrutiny for the year ahead but will also take up responsibility as Chair of the new Housing Sub-Committee. Meanwhile, Ben will take up a new role as Deputy Cabinet Member for Jobs – with a particular focus on apprenticeships and the Council’s £5m Employment and Skills strategy.
We hope that as coronavirus restrictions are lifted that we will be able to return to holding drop-in advice surgeries and see a return to the many face-to-face public meetings with residents groups that take place in our area. The last year has definitely changed how councils and councillors work and we hope we have improved access to us by creating this website and our newsletter, finding ways to hold COVID secure appointments with residents who need help and offering virtual advice surgeries by appointment. Our community campaign to help address the digital divide continues to see an impact and we hope will soon improve further access to the internet in our area for those who struggle to get online. We are in no doubt, however, that the year ahead will present some big challenges as we all try to ensure the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic helps everyone and not just the few.