M6 notes 16 January

London Plan EiP day 2, 16 January 2019

Consultations

Warning: Just Space and UCL are trying to make available some sort of record of what happens in the EiP for the benefit of community members. Notes are being taken by students and checked/edited so far as possible by more experienced staff and others. Neither Just Space nor UCL offers any guarantee of the accuracy of these notes. If you wish to depend on what was said at the EiP you should check with the speaker or with the audio recordings being made by the GLA. If you spot mistakes in these notes please help us to correct them by emailing m.edwards at ucl.ac.uk

M6) Was the consultation carried out during the preparation of the Plan in accordance with relevant legislation, and did it involve early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with the community, local authorities, organisations and businesses? [Question posed by the Panel before the hearing]

The Mayor argues they did carry engagement out in accordance with relevant legislation. The draft London plan was sent to the Secretary of State, all London Boroughs, all adjoining districts, London Assembly and functional bodies, a copy was available at City Hall and all London Boroughs were asked to display a copy. They also have a list of all engagements that took place.

The panel ask the Mayor if a number of categories of people were engaged with, outlined in section three (of ?). Section three gives a description of the people you need to make sure you have spoken to. Many participants argue it is not not clear how the Mayor has differentiated between these groups particularly ethnic, racial, religious and national groups.

The Mayor reminds the panel of a range of early engagements that took place especially the City for all Londonersconsultation in which over 76 community equality groups attended workshops.

Robin Brown from Just Space suggests if you are to explore legal and procedural matters of consultation in the formation of the London plan. You should go beyond the GLA acts into the wider context. He cites the Aarhus convention 1998 – ratified by government in 2005 – which helps us define consultation and engagement. He reminds the panel out of 188 meetings in annex a, 7 meetings were held with campaign groups, most of those were actually with Just Space; 7 revolved around A City for all Londoners; 14 out of 188 meetings is not a significant proportions of engagements. It doesn’t seem to be deliberately targeted to meet requirements and access minority groups or those who doesn’t usually actively engage in public consultations.

London Tenants Federation question meaningful engagement with the community and how deep into the community the consultation went.

Many participants were in agreement that the Mayor should develop a Statement of Community Involvement and ground rules for delivering effective community involvement. This should be drawn into the plan as the basis for consultation.

London Forum argued that in their experience the process was as good as you could have expected. They highlighted that the London Plan is a one shot plan which means you can’t change anything after you have produced a draft plan thus little will be changed from this examination as major changes would have to go back into consultation again. (Contrast with local plan process.)

It was again highlighted that there was no space in the programme for negotiation or responses.

Robin Brown from Just Space argued that out of 97 events 4 were sub-regional meetings open to the public, 2 were public launches, and 7 open to the public at city hall. 13/97 were open to public and highlights that Mayor and GLA does not have concerted and productive process of consultation.

There are structural failures with consultations, particularly with marginalised groups.

The Mayor highlights the workshops and community teams engaged with as many groups as possible very early on in the process. They argued they gave sufficient time for response to consultations.

The Panel asked the GLA to produce a version of the list of consultation events, sequenced according to the 9 protected characteristics of those present.

Notes made by Lyuboslav Petrov and Sophie Hardcastle

[added 28 January from Natasha Sivanandan]

Natasha Sivanandan, (Just Space, StopHDV campaign), set out how the law defines what constitutes effective and meaningful public consultation from the Supreme Court case: R (on the application of Moseley) v London Borough of Haringey.  She went on to explain how none of these elements of effective or meaningful consultation had been carried out with specific regard to those who were discriminated against and marginalised in London, nor those who are most poor, in breach of the Mayor’s Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010.   She went on to say that the PSED affected all areas of the new draft London Plan, not just one topic.  She explained what this meant and also how it should be carried out.
She criticised the lack of consultation with Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities who as the Mayor notes are 40% of London’s population.  She pointed out that, when referring to the “race and ethnic origins” provisions of the Equality Act, that people forget that this refers also to “ethnic and national origins” and therefore includes those from Europe.  The GLA notes that there are 1 million EU citizens in London but did not address how they consulted this large group about the draft London Plan.
Natasha Sivanandan pointed out that the failure to put the London Plan documents on which the public were consulted, in an accessible language known as “Plain English”, (specifically as defined by the Plain English Campaign), meant that disabled people, people whose first language was not English and those with poor literacy skills were disproportionately impacted by these failures.
Finally she said that holding lots of meetings did not indicate if consultation was meaningful.  Meaningingful consultation must include consultation not just on the preferred option but also upon arguable yet discarded alternative options.

Back to the EiP narrative page 

On to the next blog post: Good Growth (in effect the vision statement for the plan) M9