Consultation engagement with the disabled and the elderly

Meeting: 
MQT on 2017-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Reference: 
2017/5053
Question By: 
Tony Devenish
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

How did the MOPAC/MPS public access consultation ensure that the views of older people and those with disabilities were heard, and how was this fed into the equality impact assessment?

Answer

Answer for Consultation engagement with the disabled and the elderly

Answer for Consultation engagement with the disabled and the elderly

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for this important question.  It is important to remember why we are having to make these changes.  They are a direct consequence of the Government’s cuts to policing and the need to make savings wherever possible that do not cut into officer numbers. 

 

The MPS and MOPAC take their responsibilities under the Equality Act extremely seriously.  That is why the consultation published in July 2017 specifically refers to our obligations under section 149 of that Act, namely to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity for those with a protected characteristic.  MOPAC worked with the MPS to analyse the current use of front counters and other forms of public access by older people and people with disabilities, along with those with other protected characteristics to understand the potential impact of the proposed changes on these groups.  Some of this analysis fed into the draft Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) that was published alongside the consultation document for people to comment on.  No draft EIA or formal consultation document was published in 2013 when the former Mayor closed 76 front counters and police stations, more than double those consulted on this year. 

 

During the consultation process submissions were received either online, by post or through the public meetings held in every borough which represented the views of older people and people with disabilities.  MOPAC and the MPS wanted to go further than just relying on those groups coming forward.  This is why MOPAC worked with other organisations - including Age UK London, the London Older People’s Steering Group and Inclusion London which supports over 70 organisations collectively representing 700,000 disabled Londoners - to hold dedicated sessions to discuss the proposals.  As decisions were taken this feedback was considered and individual consideration was given to the equality impact of the changes in each borough.  This, for example, identified the needs of people with mobility problems in certain communities, which is why MOPAC and the MPS are introducing enhanced community contact sessions for those communities over an hour from the nearest front counter.  It also reflected, for example, how the improved MPS website will support deaf Londoners, something MOPAC highlighted in the consultation.  The MPS has also been clear in all of its interactions with the public that it will prioritise those most vulnerable Londoners and this is reflected in the strategy.  When the final strategy was published it was accompanied by a final EIA that highlights some of the findings of the consultation and considers the impact and mitigation of the changes to older people, those with disabilities and others. 

 

This compares, Chair, favourably to the former Mayor’s closure of police stations in 2013 when there was no draft EIA and no formal consultation document.  He also received less than a quarter of the number of submissions received time. 

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Do you have any figures on how many elderly and disabled people took part in the consultation, please?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am sure we do.  I can provide those to you offline, if you want me to.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Thank you.  There was no actual question on the Equality Impact Statement in the consultation and so how did you get the public feedback on it for these two vital groups in our community, please?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We consulted them, not just via the draft EIA.  We hosted a meeting with the Older People’s Advisory Group.  We also met with them at public meetings and engaged with them.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Are you aware that yesterday most people in this room would have received an email giving us 24 hours’ notice the closure programme was going to happen?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am aware that most of the police stations and front counters are closing this week.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Do you think 24 hours’ notice, for particularly these two vulnerable groups in our society, is appropriate?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, the consultation began in July [2017].  August to December is five months.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  You are aware that the independent Consultation Institute called this the worst consultation of 2017.  In retrospect, what more will you do for these two vulnerable groups for another consultation?  You will be aware that there are a lot of key consultations, not just with the MPS but also with TfL, coming forward.  I have had, and I am sure every other Assembly Member has had, representations from both elderly and disabled people of their concerns about whether this is real consultation or ‘lip service’ consultation.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I do not accept the criticism you have suggested.  I have already set out the improvements made between now and 2013; no draft EIA, no public consultation document published, no EIA.  Huge progress has been made since 2013 but we can always improve.  That is why I am pleased my Deputy Mayor {Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime} met with the group you refer to, to take on board suggestions they had.  We have to get this right.  Process matters.  If there are lessons we can learn, I am always happy to learn them.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  There is more to do.  Would you reflect on that, please, and write to me because it is such an important point?  Without going on to a different subject, we have the Oxford Street consultation where, again, these issues are being raised to me and other Assembly Members.  It is how you listen and how you consult.  This is not a political party point.  This is about real consultation and not what happened in the past in 2013 but what happens in 2018.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We will be happy to receive any ideas anybody has as well.  We do not pretend we have a monopoly on wisdom on consultation.  I know you know that Oxford Street area very well.  If there are things we should be doing that we are not, please let us know offline and we will be happy to do them.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Thank you.