In setting our vision for the next five years, we are setting out a vision of a Lambeth for all Lambeth residents. Lambeth has enjoyed good economic growth in recent years and residents can see evidence of this on our high streets, in our neighbourhoods, in our parks and other public spaces. This brings a range of benefits including more local jobs, thriving local businesses and more leisure opportunities.
However, we know that some of the trends associated with this growth, particularly gentrification and increasing house prices, affect how some of our residents feel about the borough and, more importantly, make things more difficult for some. Not all residents are benefiting from this growth to the same extent, and that some feel left behind. These include those residents who have not been able to find work, or who cannot work because of their personal circumstances, such as through ill health or disability. Increasingly, they also include those in work but on low incomes, who are struggling to meet everyday costs, particularly once the cost of housing is taken into account.
As a result of these more recent and sometimes longstanding issues, there are a number of life domains in which there is significant inequality between different groups of residents: in particular to education, employment, income, housing and health.
We believe that this inequality is unacceptable. We also know that it is bad for individuals, affecting their health, wellbeing and life chances. We want to raise the standard of living for those who are currently worst off so that they feel that they can participate more fully and have better life chances. When people are disadvantaged in several life domains this leads to them being at much higher risk of poor health which in turn further affects their ability to find work and participate actively in family and community life. This is clearly the case in Lambeth where people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage are also much more likely to have a long term condition such as heart disease, mental ill health, chronic lung disease or diabetes, and are much more likely to die earlier than their wealthier and more advantaged neighbours. Poverty, deprivation and inequality are also bad for communities, especially where the physical environment is also poor. Neighbourhoods can fragment, people are more likely to be socially isolated, and are more at risk of crime.
A global city, London is more exposed to some of the changes and pressures that influence inequality, and as has been the case in the past, Londoners in similar circumstances may have found themselves more upwardly or downwardly mobile, for reasons outside their control. There is a limited amount local authorities can do about these trends.
Our approach to inequality also needs to acknowledge the significant budget pressures that we are under and in this context the fundamentally important role that growth needs to play in helping us to achieve our objectives.
However, we are clear that our commitment to pursuing growth needs to be inclusive and not leave anyone behind. We believe that as a partnership, working with central and regional government, we can make a difference. That is why as well as committing to work towards the goals set out here, we are also launching an Equality Commission, that will kick-start our work to understand the causes and consequences of inequality in the borough, and how we can best work together to narrow the gap and improve social mobility.
What we have achieved so far
There are a range of inequalities that we can influence as a partnership, and we have made significant gains in understanding and tackling some of the most important causes and symptoms of inequality over the last few decades. Our young people are achieving their best ever school results and we are narrowing gaps in performance so that all young people have an equal chance to succeed. Local employment is growing and we are focusing our efforts on making a difference to the groups that are furthest from the labour market.
We have invested £500m in improving our housing stock. We are supporting more vulnerable people to live at home and outside of residential and nursing care than ever before and we have made progress in preventing people from becoming homeless. Our Black Health and Wellbeing Commission made a series of recommendations about how we might tackle the disproportionate impact of mental health issues within our black communities, and we are currently implementing these. The Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP), will be investing £36m worth of funding, secured from the Big Lottery, to improve the life chances and outcomes for babies and children in some of the most deprived areas in Lambeth.
However, there is still more work to be done. Despite improvements in GCSE attainment, there continues to be a gap in educational attainment between black Caribbean children and young people, children and young people from low income families, and the general population. There are also significant inequalities in employment for some groups of residents, with black Caribbean and black African residents, residents with mental health issues and disabilities being less likely to be employed, and if employed, more likely to be earning less than the London Living Wage. These low income households are increasingly dependent on private sector housing, with poor living conditions and overcrowding affecting many.
These inequalities are reflected in the health and wellbeing of our communities, with rates of childhood obesity, mental health issues, preventable deaths and some chronic conditions being significantly more common for residents on low incomes, living in more deprived parts of the borough, and from particular ethnic groups.
Our goals and ambitions
We believe that as a local authority there are important things that we can do to reduce inequality among our residents. We need to not only attract investment to the borough, but also to incentivise and manage this investment so that it offers opportunities to those residents who need it most, and make sure that any impacts of associated change are well understood and adequately mitigated.
We want to focus on helping our residents at those points in their lives where our help can make the most difference: in their early years and childhood; in their transition to adulthood and employment. That said, as well as giving residents a good start in life, we also want Lambeth to be a borough that helps older residents to stay independent and continue to participate in their local communities.
Education, skills and employment:
10 year outcome: Make sure that all children in Lambeth get the best start in their educations and working lives, and that their transitions between different life stages are as successful as possible. We will do this by ensuring that all of our children’s centres, nurseries, schools and colleges deliver good or outstanding education for all, with diverse and high quality academic and vocational pathways. By 2021 we will have:
- Increased the proportion children achieving good levels of social, emotional, communication, and language development by the end of Early Years Foundation Stage
- Reduced inequalities in school readiness between children living in poverty, from black Caribbean and Portuguese backgrounds, boys, children in care, children at risk; and the general population
- Ensured that children living in the most deprived wards have the same level of access to good or outstanding primary schools as the general population ¥ Reduced inequalities in achievement between children in receipt of Pupil Premium, black Caribbean and Portuguese pupils, looked after children and those at risk, boys; and, the general population at key stage 2 ¥ Increased the proportion of children with SEN identified early
- Ensure that more childcare settings in the borough are rated good or outstanding, and more children aged 2 and 3 take up their free early years entitlement
10 year outcome: Reduce inequality of education, training and employment outcomes for children, young people and adults from different backgrounds. By 2021 we will have:
- Narrowed the achievement gap at key stages 3 and 4 between children eligible for Pupil Premium, Looked After Children, children from black Caribbean and Portuguese backgrounds, boys children with SEN; and the general population their peers
- Improved the identification of, and support for, young people at risk of disengagement from education and training.
- Increased the numbers of students in Lambeth Schools and colleges at KS5 achieving at least 3 A Levels A*- E or equivalent.
- Narrowed the achievement gap at Key Stage 5 between: young people on Pupil Premium, black Caribbean and Portuguese young people, looked after young people/those at risk, young people with SEN, disabled young people, boys; and the general population.
- Reduced the numbers of young people (16-19) whose status is unknown or who are not in education, employment and training, particularly looked after children, and children with SEN and/or disabilities.
- Reduced inequalities in employment rates between young people (aged 25 and under), Looked After Children, people with health issues and disabilities, from black African and black Caribbean and Portuguese groups, residents aged 50+, and, ex-offenders; and the general population.
- Reduce the rate of Lambeth young people entering the youth justice system, particularly from those ethnic groups who are currently overrepresented.
10 year outcome: Maintain socially mixed communities in Lambeth by building homes of all tenures. By 2021 we will have:
- Built 1000 high quality new homes available at council rent
- Built new homes available at below market rent for low income families, homes at secure market rent for those who can’t afford to buy, and affordable housing for those who can. We will have also built new homes for market sale and rent to help fund more affordable housing.
10 year outcome: Prevent homelessness, placing people in suitable, affordable, permanent homes as quickly as possible. By 2021 we will have:
- Increased the stock of council owned Temporary Accommodation. Some of this will be “in borough” through the remodelling of our hostel portfolio, but other homes will need to be outside of Lambeth in areas that are more financially sustainable.
Health and wellbeing for all
We know that there are a range of factors which have an important influence on the health and wellbeing of our residents, including housing quality and availability, employment, income and access to leisure opportunities. Lower income households are more exposed to negative impacts from these, and we will look to address these throughout the plan.
As a group of partners, our responsibility is to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of all. However, the council and health partners have a particular responsibility to protect and support vulnerable children and adults through our social care services.
Over the past year one of Lambeth’s key priorities has been to take necessary steps to improve following Ofsted’s judgement in 2015 that children’s social care services were inadequate. We must make sure that we not only fulfil our statutory responsibilities but also help children and young people to have the best possible start in life. We are now implementing an ambitious improvement plan with partners and believe that the necessary foundations are in place. We need and expect everyone to share responsibility for making sure that vulnerable children have the best start in life. This can only be achieved through close partnerships and strong communities sharing this responsibility.
We are clear about our responsibilities to protect and support the most vulnerable. However, we also believe that we have an important role to play in promoting independence and recovery for residents so that they have control of their own lives and are able to live the lives they want. With service users, South London Integrated Care (SLIC) has coproduced a set of integrated care outcomes. Our aspiration is that we and other local partners work in way that help residents and carers to achieve these outcomes, for example, through integration and by investing in support for self-management and crisis prevention and response.
10 year outcome: All children receive the support that they need for happy and secure childhoods which give them the best start in life. By 2021 we will have:
High quality universal services in place so that families in Lambeth have the resources and opportunities to give their child the best start in life.
Made sure families experiencing problems are consistently identified, assessed and quickly provided with the support and help that they need.
Support families to be strong and resilient, providing effective support to enable children to achieve their potential and to be safe and secure.
When it is not possible to keep families together, timely and decisive action is taken so that children are afforded permanency, secure attachments and opportunities to grow and thrive.
10 year outcome: Integrated care which actively promotes recovery and independence, and which protects the vulnerable. By 2021 we will have:
- Supported more disabled, vulnerable and older adults to maintain their independence, stay healthy, active and engaged for longer, and remain in their homes. Should their health deteriorate, we will aim to treat and support them close to home. If hospital treatment is required, we will support them to go home more quickly.
10 year outcome: Improve health and wellbeing for all, and ensure it has improved fastest for those communities with poorest health and wellbeing. By 2021 we will have:
- Reduced childhood obesity, with the greatest reduction for children living in poverty and from particular ethnic groups • Reduced the rate of mental health issues across the borough, with the greatest reductions for those groups with the highest rates of mental ill health (black Caribbean and other black groups)
- Reduced the rate of avoidable deaths for the borough (in particular cancer and cardiovascular disease), with rates reducing most for the worst affected groups (low income groups and residents in specific parts of the borough)
- Reduced the rate of diabetes amongst our residents, with the greatest reductions amongst those living in the most deprived areas and from ethnic groups more likely to develop the disease (Asian and black residents), and the borough at a whole.
- Ensure that life expectancy is rising for all, and the gap between poorest and wealthiest is narrowing
- Reduced food and fuel poverty and their associated impacts, particularly for children and young people, and older residents
- Reduced inequalities in health and well-being between people with mental health issues, disability, lone parents and general population.
The Lambeth Equality Commission
The council has also established The Lambeth Equality Commission. This will investigate and further develop understanding of the causes and impacts of inequality in Lambeth. Chaired by the Council’s Leader, Cllr Lib Peck, it comprises commissioners from a range of different backgrounds and with diverse expertise (including business, local voluntary and community sector organisations and research organisations). All members are united in an interest in, and commitment to, reducing inequality, and all of them can offer expertise which will help us achieve this.
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