Response to question about Brexit, raised at Full Council Meeting on 23 January 2019
Comments by Mike Vessey
We are working on a pan-London basis through London Councils and London Chief Executives, as Brexit is a London-wide issue that needs to be tackled at a regional level. London Councils has been making representations to the Government on local authorities’ behalf for greater clarity so that we can focus on what is needed to ensure as minimal disruption as possible.
All Council departments are considering any potential risks as a result of a no deal Brexit and will be collating this to ensure that the Council is doing everything possible to prepare for any potential issues once we leave the EU. We will be reflecting on the further advice issued by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government over the last two weeks to focus on areas where we need to make further preparations if a no deal becomes likely.
We have identified one of the longer term risks for this Council as being the settlement status of our members of staff we need to ensure we have the skills in our workforce to maintain services. We have been holding sessions for our EU members of staff, during which we give an overview of the application process as well as detail the support available. This includes a passport confirmation service to staff, a video walkthrough and FAQ of the application process for settlement status and support to complete their application.
In terms of the wider impact to the area, we have taken some steps to ensure other key local organisations are prepared for any outcome. We are supporting residents to get the help they need to apply for settled status by directing them to organisations such as the Greater London Authority and the North Kensington Law Centre, who have specialist immigration advisors. We have a network of business advice agencies that we are currently disseminating information to in order to ensure that in particular our small to medium enterprises, and will be undertaking a body of work with partner organisations as a result of the MHCLG guidance released last week.
In terms of having a debate at Full Council, the responsibility for getting it on the agenda falls to the whips who will consider whether to include a debate on Brexit on the next agenda.