In May 2018, Labour was re-elected to govern Haringey on the manifesto ‘Our Haringey, Our Future’, which laid out our vision on how we would rebuild and transform Haringey and Council services, over the next four years. This manifesto set a clear direction for the council over the course of the administration. One year on, this is the first annual report highlighting our progress towards delivering what we promised.
We are making great strides on our key manifesto commitments – we are building a Council that works for the many, whilst protecting local people from the impact of the austerity which has held Haringey back for too long. We are moving away from a ‘business as usual’ approach and are working to build a new local economy where both poverty and inequality are addressed and new strategies are developed to build local wealth and insource our public services. We have extended Council Tax Relief to 100% for our least well-off residents, meaning up to 6000 will now be eligible for a discount of up to 100%, saving these families, on average, around £250 a year.
Our Fairness Commission, launched last year, has spoken to over 1,500 residents, run three large public events and gathered submissions from a range of people and organisations across the borough. Recommendations due later this year will help inform and shape council policy.
We have fundamentally changed our approach to housing. Last July, we scrapped the Haringey Development Vehicle. Instead, we are pursuing an approach which ensures the Council is in the driving seat when developing plans for public land. We are pressing ahead with our plan to deliver the largest number of council homes in a generation. This year’s budget earmarked £1billion to both deliver the 1,000 council units over the next three years and to invest in our existing council housing stock; bringing Imperial Wharf and Turner Avenue up to decent homes standard. Additionally, we were successful in a bid for £62.8million from City Hall, a massive boost of confidence in our plans. We have already confirmed 227 additional Council Homes, and by July we will have started to directly build our first Council homes on the Templeton Road site. All 11 properties there will be council homes at council rent.
We’re working to ensure we keep as much as possible of the money that our council spends in the local economy. We want to make every Haringey pound go further. We have begun conducting a holistic view of all of the council commissioned services. Our first priority remains to deliver services directly as a first preference, and to seek to insource services where it is prudent to do so. The cabinet with publicly announce two substantial contracts coming back in house over the forthcoming months, and we’re continuing to build the Council’s capacity.
We are in the process of rolling out our Community Wealth Building approach; this takes the ‘Preston Model’ and adapts it to the Haringey context. This means we must continue to capacity build small and medium-sized businesses in Haringey to enable them to access council contracts. We must also be proactive in providing additional skills and training for local residents to ensure that they can also take advantage of new opportunities.
Youth services have historically borne the brunt of cuts ushered in by austerity. This administration has secured £1.5million over the next three years to re-introduce detached youth workers, extend outreach to more young people growing up in Haringey and fund local organisations through our Haringey Community Gold scheme. The Council has also increased our free youth activities in the school holidays and committed an extra £250,000 annually for youth services for each of the next three years.
Our new, ‘Young People at Risk Strategy’ takes a public health approach to address youth and gang violence in our borough. Alongside this, we have also received £400,000 to provide vital support to help prevent children from getting caught up in crime.
This administration reversed the planned closure of Osborne Grove Nursing Home. An options appraisal is currently in the process of determining how we can achieve our long-term ambition of having a Council owned nursing home on the site. We are also looking to re-introduce the provision of adult day care facilities in two locations in the borough. We are working to implement the Unison ethical care charter, and have become a Living Wage accredited employer.
We are combatting fly-tipping, and tackling people who dump waste on our streets. The Council has launched our Take Pride in Haringey campaign, which urges all of our residents, businesses and stakeholders to help the council keep our streets and public spaces clean, neat and tidy. Of course we cant do this alone, but will use education and enforcement to work with everyone and make a visible difference to our surroundings. We have also helped shape the national agenda, by declaring a climate emergency though we are already ahead of the curve in reducing our Councils carbon footprint.
Over the last year, we have changed the direction of Haringey Council, laying the foundations for consistent progress over the remaining three years of this term. That said, there are still challenges ahead. This Conservative government shows no signs of relenting on their brutal cuts to local government funding, which means that here in Haringey we have lost £1000 per household, nevertheless, we are working tirelessly to deliver on our manifesto commitments and to build a Haringey for the many, not the few.