October 2013 Mayor’s Question Time and Plenary answers

Below are the answers to written questions submitted to the Mayor by Joanne in October 2013.

Illegal money lending
Question No: 2013/3727
Joanne McCartney

Enfield Council last month won the National Stop Loan Sharks Award in recognition of the work it has been doing to stop illegal money lenders in their tracks. Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable in society. Can you tell me what you are doing to tackle this problem, and will you congratulate Enfield Council?

Written response from the Mayor
I do not have any statutory powers to prevent illegal money lenders from operating in local boroughs. I continue to promote credit unions and free debt advice services in the capital. My advice to Londoners is that they should always be careful when borrowing money and to be particularly cautious of punitive interest rates.

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Pedestrian crossings in Enfield
Question No: 2013/3728
Joanne McCartney

Further to MQ 0935/2012, there are still ten pedestrian crossings in Enfield which do not have an audible signal or other device to help blind or partially sighted people cross the road safely. I understand that TfL aim to have all signalised pedestrian crossings fitted with either tactile or audible indicators fitted by the end of the financial year 2015/16, but it appears that no work has been carried out in Enfield in the past 18 months.  Can you please tell me what action has been taken and when you expect all crossings to have appropriate warning signs in Enfield as this is a matter of urgency?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Pedestrian crossings in Haringey
Question No: 2013/3729
Joanne McCartney

Further to MQ 0936/2012, can you provide me with an update on how many of the fifteen pedestrian crossings without either tactile or audible indicators in Haringey have now been fitted? If they have not all yet been completed, when do you expect the works to be completed in Haringey?

Written response from the Mayor
Of the 15 pedestrian crossing sites in Haringey, 3 have already been upgraded, a further 10 are programmed to be upgraded by April 2014 and the remaining 2 sites are scheduled for completion by our April 2016 overall compliance target.

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Priority access for wheelchair users at Edmonton Green
Question No: 2013/3730
Joanne McCartney

I recently met a resident in Edmonton who is a wheelchair user and has been having difficulty with bus drivers from the Edmonton Green bus station who have been wrongly informing him that once a pushchair is on the bus, a wheelchair user does not have priority and cannot get on the bus.  Drivers have been refusing to ask pushchair owners to fold their pushchairs and have informed him that the “rules have changed” and that they do not need to make this request. When he has complained to the drivers’ supervisors (on a number of occasions) they have stated to him that the drivers are right and that the rule has changed. The Big Red Book given to all bus drivers clearly state that wheelchair users have priority and pushchairs should be folded so both passengers can ride the bus.  What are you doing to ensure all managers at bus garages are enforcing this regulation? What action will you take ensure that managers and supervisors at Edmonton Green bus station are informed that they must give priority to wheelchair users?

Written response from the Mayor
The policy is clear; wheelchair users have priority access to the wheelchair area when needed, as stated in the Big Red Book. Drivers should use the PA system to explain this if necessary.

TfL continues to remind all front line staff of the importance of this policy. This will be further reinforced in a new training film called “All Aboard!” produced in collaboration with Transport for All and Age UK London. All bus drivers will participate in this interactive training session by December 2014 as part of their annual training.

As always, if any customer believes that the policy has not been applied in practice then they are encouraged to report this to TfL.

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Unresolved bus complaints
Question No: 2013/3731
Joanne McCartney

An Edmonton resident has recently informed me that he has submitted four complaint forms to the bus kiosk/office at Edmonton Bus Station on between 2011 and 2013, but has not received an acknowledgement or response to any of these.  Transport for London later stated that these complaints were never received from Edmonton bus garage.  What are you doing to ensure that all complaints are taken seriously with and responded to as this is simply not acceptable? What process should be followed once a complaint form is submitted and will you ensure that those responsible for such a process at Edmonton bus station are reminded of the correct procedures to be followed?

Written response from the Mayor
If you can provide TfL with contact details for the resident concerned, I will ask its Customer Services team to contact them directly. In the meantime, TfL will make staff aware of the process for passing original complaint forms internally to its customer services team so they are despatched from Edmonton Bus Station quickly and securely for a more rapid response.

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GLA apprentices’ pay
Question No: 2013/3732
Joanne McCartney

Can you confirm whether the apprentices within the GLA family of organisations are receiving a London Living Wage?

Written response from the Mayor
The GLA family is committed to paying apprentices the London Living Wage (LLW) and each of the organisations is now working towards obtaining the LLW accreditation.

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MPS – BOGOF
Question No: 2013/3733
Joanne McCartney

If boroughs enter into “buy one get one free” contracts for PCs or PCSOs with the Metropolitan Police Service, can you guarantee that these offices will be additional to those already promised under your local policing model?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Riot Damages Act Payments
Question No: 2013/3734
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide details of how many cases have been settled and how many are still outstanding, including headline amounts paid or claimed, arising from the riots in 2011?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Station ticket office closures in Enfield & Haringey?
Question No: 2013/3735
Joanne McCartney

Please can you give full details of all ticket offices you are planning to close or reduce hours at in Enfield & Haringey?

Written response from the Mayor
At this point TfL is continuing to develop its plans to improve customer service on the Tube and keep pace with customers’ changing expectations.

Londoners want and deserve the best possible service from their Tube and should to be able to buy a ticket quickly and easily.  That is what we aim to give them, alongside many other improvements to customer service.

Any proposals will be underpinned by the clear and unequivocal commitment that all stations will be staffed, so that all customers can get help and assistance quickly and easily.

TfL will of course discuss any firm proposals with Assembly Members and other stakeholders across London.

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Crossrail 2
Question No: 2013/3736
Joanne McCartney

What case have you made to HM Treasury in relation to the future funding of Crossrail 2?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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MOPAC – Crime Prevention Fund (1)
Question No: 2013/3737
Joanne McCartney

In the recent round of applications for MOPAC’s crime prevention fund, London Boroughs had some bids rejected, yet have not had adequate ( or any) feedback as to why those bids were unsuccessful. Will MOPAC please give such feedback to bidders?

Written response from the Mayor
MOPAC has provided feedback on rejected bids to boroughs when requested. Borough engagement leads continue to work closely with each borough and there is regular dialogue. I would urge boroughs to continue discussions and request further information if this is required.

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MOPAC – Crime Prevention Fund (2)
Question No: 2013/3738
Joanne McCartney

I understand that London Boroughs are concerned as to whether funding for their projects will be available after the current financial year and that this is causing a great deal of uncertainty? What assurances can you give on this issue?

Written response from the Mayor
Previous community safety funding was provided to boroughs on an annual basis. As part of the London Crime Prevention Fund, MOPAC offered boroughs the opportunity to bid for funding of up to four years. Where boroughs have bid for initiatives of more than one year and have been successful, funding will be made available to projects for the duration (subject to successful outcomes being delivered and on wider Government funding being available to MOPAC in future years). Of the approved bids, 92% were multi-year initiatives.

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Leadership Clubs (1)
Question No: 2013/3739
Joanne McCartney

Can you provide me with an overall update on your Leadership Clubs programme since its launch in May 2012?  How many young Londoners has this scheme supported so far and how are you measuring its success?  Do you plan to expand this scheme further?

Written response from the Mayor
In their first academic year my Leadership Clubs supported over 800 pupils from 14 schools across London. Success is being measured by looking at the impact on improving both pupil’s behaviour and academic attainment. An external evaluator has been commissioned to support the funded organisations to track and monitor this impact. The programme will continue to be rolled out over the next 2 academic years and reach an additional 500 pupils across 30 schools.

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Leadership Clubs (2)
Question No: 2013/3740
Joanne McCartney

How many young Londoners have taken up the regular teaching sessions on Saturday mornings and the week long summer school that the SHINE Trust offer as part of your Leadership Clubs Programme? Could you provide me with a breakdown by London Borough for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013?

Written response from the Mayor
The “SHINE in Secondaries” project commenced in January 2013, with the first cohort of 68 students attending a programme in LB Waltham Forest. From September 2013 an additional 288 pupils have attended based in four schools, including Summer Schools in 2013:

  • LB Waltham Forest: regular Saturday sessions (from January – July 2013) with

68 students

  • LB Waltham Forest: Summer School with 59 students
  • LB Haringey: Summer School and the start of Saturday sessions with 80 students
  • LB Waltham Forest: Summer School and the start of Saturday sessions with 71 students
  • LB Brent: Summer School and the start of Saturday sessions with 78 students

Over the lifetime of the project SHINE will engage with 12 schools and 630 pupils in the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Haringey and Brent.

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Leadership Clubs (3)
Question No: 2013/3741
Joanne McCartney

How many young Londoners have enrolled in the Eastside Young Leaders Academy: ‘Eastside in school Academy’ as part of your Leadership Clubs Programme? Could you provide me with a breakdown by London Borough for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013?

Written response from the Mayor
The Eastside In-School Programme commenced in November 2012.  From November 2012 – July 2013 the programme has supported 183 pupils from four schools in the following Boroughs:

  • LB Newham: 140 pupils
  • LB Barking & Dagenham: 43 pupils.

Over the lifetime of the project, the programme will engage with 14 schools and 420 pupils in the boroughs of Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets.

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Leadership Clubs (4)
Question No: 2013/3742
Joanne McCartney

How many young Londoners have taken up the activities provided by the City Year London programme as part of your Leadership Clubs Programme? How are you measuring its success?

Written response from the Mayor
The City Year London project commenced in September 2012. The project has supported 80 pupils from two schools in the borough of Hackney from September 2012 to July 2013. Over the lifetime of the project City Year will engage with 5 schools and 360 pupils in East London. The success of the project will be measured by the impact on pupils academic achievement and behaviour.

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Leadership Clubs (5)
Question No: 2013/3743
Joanne McCartney

How many young Londoners has the Ark Schools ‘ARK Inclusion’ supported as part of your Leadership Clubs Programme? Could you provide me with a breakdown by London Borough for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013?

Written response from the Mayor
The ARK Inclusion programme commenced in February 2013, so far 210 pupils have been supported across four schools in the following Borough’s:

  • LB Southwark: 101 pupils
  • LB Croydon: 15 pupils
  • LB Lambeth: 94 pupils

Over the lifetime of project ARK Schools will engage with 10 schools (six ARK schools and four non-ARK feeder schools) and 400 pupils in the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark.

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Resettlement support for young offenders
Question No: 2013/3744
Joanne McCartney

Further to MQ 1554/2013, please can you update me on any current and upcoming pilots the MOPAC is involved with which deal with the resettlement of young offenders?

Written response from the Mayor
I am committed to drive down reoffending rates for young people leaving custody by 20%, as set out in my Police and Crime Plan. I am currently providing up to £3.5 million (of European Social Fund matched funding) to provide resettlement brokers and support to young offenders leaving custody up until 2015.

MOPAC are currently in discussions with the Youth Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice about a strategic resettlement model for London.

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Project Brodie
Question No: 2013/3745
Joanne McCartney

Please can you provide me with an update on Project Brodie?

Written response from the Mayor
Project Brodie focused on activity to raise school attainment and reduce the risk of offending by keeping young people in education. One of its initiatives, “Safer Learners”, aimed to improve safety for learners, families, communities, schools and colleges by a pan London partnership of key agencies. This work improved the use of data intelligence and this work to keep young learners safe in London is now been taken forward locally by the MPS and boroughs. Please refer to my reply to MQ 3746 on the other main initiative, the parent advocacy project.

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Project Brodie (2)
Question No: 2013/3746
Joanne McCartney

Please can you update me on the Parent Advocacy Project since the budget was increased in February 2012? Can you detail the evaluations that have been made so far by each participating London Borough?

Written response from the Mayor
Project Brodie focused on activity to raise school attainment and reduce the risk of offending by keeping young people in education. One area of activity was work with Pupil Referral Units (PRU) to support parents through the parent advocacy project. The approach was piloted with five PRU in London with promising results. The evaluation and toolkit is published on the London PRU Network website site at: http://londonprus.co.uk/workstream/parent-advocacy-project-in-prus.

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Apprenticeships for children in care
Question No: 2013/3747
Joanne McCartney

What action are you taking to support children in care who would like to apply for an apprenticeship?

Written response from the Mayor
We are committed to increasing the diversity of apprentices and a range of initiatives to encourage more applicants from diverse backgrounds are underway. For example, the National Apprenticeship Service has been working closely with local authorities to engage children and young people in care into apprenticeships.

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Project Oracle
Question No: 2013/3748
Joanne McCartney

Can you provide me with an update on Project Oracle including information on how many people use the Project Oracle website each month and what information they look for?

Written response from the Mayor
At the end of Project Oracle’s first year of delivery (August 2013) 150 providers had been engaged; 22 research placements had taken place;  16 Evidence Champions had been trained; there had been 54 Evidence Competition entrants and 120 providers had been trained.

On average there are about 850 unique users every month with an average of 1,500 hits and the top three most popular pages are: Validated Projects, About PO, and About Providers.

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Good example to young people
Question No: 2013/3749
Joanne McCartney

A resident has contacted me to ask you whether you believe your bad language at September’s Mayor’s Question Time sets a poor example of how to behave to London’s young people?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Mayor‘s Mentoring Scheme and schools
Question No: 2013/3750
Joanne McCartney

You recently wrote a letter to schools in the participatory London Boroughs of the Mayor’s Mentoring Scheme to encourage referral numbers.  Could you tell me how many schools responded: a) positively, b) negatively and c) did not respond?

Written response from the Mayor
I wrote to over 50 schools across London at the request of the local delivery parents on my Mentoring Programme, the majority of which responded positively. Exact figures are unknown as delivery partners are still in conversation.

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New mentoring panel
Question No: 2013/3751
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide details of your new mentoring panel launched September 2013?  Can you explain the function of the new panel and list the members, along with the details of any specific roles members have been asked to perform?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Unanswered question
Question No: 2013/3752
Joanne McCartney

Please can you answer MQ 2565/2013 below which was submitted in July 2013.

“When a member of the armed services is killed in the service of their country, quite rightly, the MOD pays for the funeral but when a police officer is murdered on duty serving the people of London the funeral expenses are paid for by the Police Federation out of the officers own subscriptions. Do you agree that this arrangement should be reassessed?”

Written response from the Mayor

Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Countdown information at bus shelters (1)
Question No: 2013/3753
Joanne McCartney

I have now had numerous complaints and concerns from residents in both Enfield and Haringey regarding the replacement of bus shelters without countdown information boards.  Not everyone has access to smartphone technology or are able to check the internet for bus times with ease, and therefore relied on the countdown information boards.  Can you tell me why bus stops previously with countdown information boards are being replaced without them?

Written response from the Mayor
To enable shelter upgrade work to take place it is required that the Countdown signs are temporarily removed. Once the shelter work is fully completed, including the electrical connection and final wiring, arrangements are made to have the Countdown signs reinstalled within five working days. There is no programme underway to permanently remove Countdown signs in your boroughs or across the network.

Due to the complexity of the works required, it may take some time to reinstall the sign. Therefore TfL has made it possible for customers to be able to see which bus stops have temporarily had their Countdown signs removed due to shelter work or other issues via a regularly updated spreadsheet at www.tfl.gov.uk/Countdown.

TfL will be happy to provide progress updates on these bus stops and investigate other stops not included on the list. Your residents should contact Customer Services on 0343 222 1234 or via www.tfl.gov.uk/contact.

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Countdown information at bus shelters (2)
Question No: 2013/3754
Joanne McCartney

Can you provide me with the criteria for the decision on which bus shelters to replace, and how decisions are made whether to replace existing countdown signs?

Written response from the Mayor
In general, bus shelters are selected for replacement simply on the basis of their age. There may be exceptions to this, for example shelters might be replaced with new models in support of a highway scheme or other development schemes.

Each bus shelter that has its Countdown sign temporarily removed to enable the shelter upgrade work to take place has its sign reinstalled following completion of the works. As explained in MQ 2013/3753, there is no programme underway to permanently remove Countdown signs.

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Countdown information at bus shelters (3)
Question No: 2013/3755
Joanne McCartney

Do you intend to make all bus stops in London free from countdown displays?

Written response from the Mayor
TfL has no intention of making London free from Countdown signs. In fact, the Countdown II on-street upgrade project, which was successfully completed in July 2012, delivered a total of 2506 signs across the London network, bringing a significant increase from the previous estate of 1900 sites.

Please refer to MQ 2013/3753 for more details on the shelter upgrade programme that is currently underway, which requires the temporary removal of some Countdown signs whilst the associated shelter work is carried out.

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Question: Contact Points (1)
Question No: 2013/3756
Joanne McCartney

Please list all contact points in London that are (or are planned to be) situated in SNT bases.

Written response from the Mayor
Please see attached as Appendix 3 a list of contact points situated in SNT bases. Additional contact points are located in existing police stations and some external organisations premises.

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Question: MOPAC Properties
Question No: 2013/3757
Joanne McCartney

In answer to my question 3130/2013 you said that currently there are 8 properties that are set aside for the use of ACPO Officers in the MOPAC Estate. Please share the most up to date valuation of these properties.

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Question: Contact Points (2)
Question No: 2013/3758
Joanne McCartney

Please list all contact points in London, broken down by borough, that are currently operational and give a timeline for those still to be opened.

Written response from the Mayor
Please see attached as Appendix 4 a table of all the contact points broken down by borough and the date they opened.

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Question: MOPAC Diversity Taskforce
Question No: 2013/3759
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide a link to the agendas and minutes of the meetings of the MOPAC Diversity Taskforce?

Written response from the Mayor
These are internal meetings with no formal minutes or agendas. 

However the remit of the Taskforce is to:

  • Advise and inform the positive action initiatives being developed by the MPS;
  • Work with the MPS to understand why some communities are under-represented and identify the barriers to entry;
  • Establish a programme of work to ensure the MPS can reach those communities and seek to address the issues identified;
  • Actively engage as ambassadors for MOPAC within London’s diverse communities; and
  • Propose further options for increasing interest in the MPS as a viable career option amongst every community of Londoners.

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Involvement in Blacklisting
Question No: 2013/3760
Joanne McCartney

A recent Independent Police Complaints Commission report has identified that it is “likely that all special branches were involved in providing information” to a Blacklist that kept certain individuals out of work.

What discussions have you had with the MPS Commissioner regarding this?

Will you be seeking further clarification from the MPS as to the extent of these allegations?

Written response from the Mayor
In November 2012 the MPS received a public complaint regarding the practice of ‘black listing’.  This complaint is currently being investigated by officers from Operation Herne.

The Deputy Mayor and I receive regular updates on the progress of Operation Herne, and discuss these with the Commissioner.

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Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Ticket office closures
Question No: 37 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Recently leaked plans say that you are planning to close most ticket offices. Is this not a cause for concern about the safety of stations, particularly for vulnerable groups to buy tickets and get information at tube stations?


Written response from the Mayor and the Commissioner
At this point TfL is continuing to develop its plans for improving customer service on the Tube to keep pace with customers’ changing expectations.

What is certain is that there is no prospect of any plans being put forward which would adversely affect the safety of customers or the ease with which they can get help or information. Any proposals will be underpinned by the clear and unequivocal commitment that all stations will be staffed, so that all customers can get help and assistance quickly and easily.

TfL will of course be discussing any proposals with Assembly Members and other stakeholders across London.

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