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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

94.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors Woodbyrne, Khurana and Gallagher

95.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

96.

Declarations of Interest

Declarations of interest

 If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b)  Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d) Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e) Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f)   Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

None

97.

To approve minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 14 February 2019 be confirmed and the Chair be authorised to sign them

98.

Matters Arising from the minutes

Minutes:

None

99.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

 

Minutes:

The Chair outlined the procedures for filming at meetings and public questions and also the fire evacuation procedures

100.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

None

101.

Scrutiny Review - Universal Credit - witness evidence - Verbal

Minutes:

Ruth Hayes, Islington Law Centre, and Deniz Ugur, Director of IMECE Women’s Centre were present for discussion of this item, and made presentations to the Committee. Details of the use of Food Banks in Islington from 2011 – 2018 were also laid round.

 

During consideration of the presentations the following main points were made –

 

·         The Islington Strategic Partnership (ISP) comprises Citizens Advice Bureau, Islington Law Centre, Islington People’s Rights, Help on Your Doorstep, Islington BAMER Advice Alliance, which includes Evelyn Oldfield Unit, Eritrean Community in the UK, Islington Bangladesh Association, IMECE, Islington Somali Community and Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women’s Association

·         The organisations meet regularly, together with the Council, and are involved in various local partnerships

·         ISP was very aware of the impact that UC was having where it was rolled out elsewhere, and has undertaken a number of actions to try to prepare for the impact to assist people to mitigate the likely hardship and to highlight policy issues. Specific activities have included – a community conference, a research project, a community survey to gather feedback from a number of local front line organisations, promoting and participating in Know your Rights group, training for community groups, applications to lever in additional resources to the borough. CAI has been awarded additional funding from the Government to increase the level of help to claimants making and maintaining claims, and this help is located in Job Centres. The Law Centre has been awarded £180k over 3 years by City Bridge Trust to increase capacity for specialist casework, as well as support to community groups. Islington Peoples Rights has been awarded £134k over 3 years from City Bridge Trust to provide specialist welfare benefits and debt advice to vulnerable Islington residents, particularly through Help on Your Doorstep

·         All the above client groups represent the diversity of the borough and most clients present with more than one issue. The demand for assistance with social security appeals is currently higher than can be met

·         This has a particularly detrimental effect on disabled people. Disabled residents may face a very difficult decision if they are turned down for disability benefits, following a work capability assessment, if they claim UC, they cannot go back on a legacy benefit and have to claim PIP, and they may get the Severe Disability Premium of over £64 additional income, but this is not payable under UC, and UC claimants are prevented from making claims for PIP). This could lead to a loss of over £3300 to some of the residents with the greatest need. However, it is uncertain how long an appeal may take and claimants face difficulties in the interim. Once a mandatory reconsideration (the initial step prior to an appeal), has been considered, clients can then claim ESA, in the interim, whilst they wait for their appeal, and that is often in their best interests

·         The specialist Advice Partners are increasingly seeing people once they have already been advised to claim UC (often incorrectly by DWP),  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

Financial Monitoring update pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present, together with Steve Key, Service Director Finance

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         Members noted the forecast revenue outturn for the General Fund of a gross underspend of £0.8m

·         Members noted that the HRA is forecast to break even over the year

·         Members noted that £107.0m of capital expenditure will be delivered in 2018/19

·         Councillor Hull expressed concern that the Council were paying £750000 per annum in funding to no recourse to Public Funds and that this is not being re-imbursed by the Government

·         Reference was made to the underspend in Children’s Services and it was stated that this is due to the numbers of looked after children and children in care being less than originally budgeted for

·         In response to a question on underspends, it was stated that managers did endeavour to stay within budget, however budgets tended to vary according to demand. Many services were demand led

·         Members expressed the view that it would be useful to have more detailed information in future reports on the reasons for overspends and underspends in the budget

·         Reference was made to the capital monitoring budget and the figures in the report did not give details of whether budgets were coming in as forecast, or whether especially on new build they were going over budget. Councillor Hull stated that the Council had a large new build programme but the budget had been reduced due to slippage in the programme

·         In response to a question as to the vacancy factor, the saving had been achieved as a result of planned vacancies and that this would probably not occur in the future

·         It was stated that in relation to the relaxation of rules on HRA borrowing,  and possible increases in building costs, as a result of slippage in works, that the slippage was mainly caused at the planning stage before the contract is let. In addition whilst borrowing restrictions had been relaxed, the additional borrowing costs had to be taken into account in the HRA

·         It was stated that the capital programme reflected slippage in projects and requires Executive approval as part of the 3 year budget programme

 

RESOLVED:

That Councillor Hull discuss with Members/officers the provision of more detailed information in future reports to the Committee, particularly in relation to the Capital Programme

103.

iCO Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present, and was accompanied by Kevin O’Leary, Director of Environment and Regeneration.

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         Members noted the iCO business units, and that these continued to grow in terms of turnover, and that the Board expects to make a small profit in 2018/19

·         Members noted the progress made in relation to commercial waste, memorials, HR services, iCO Green, and Pest Control

·         Members noted the main business model, and the investments made by iCO

·         Members noted that iCO is now trading in a small number of areas, but is looking to expand the Commercial Waste, Memorials, and Pest Control business units as a priority for the 2018/19 financial year. It was stated that the intention for 2019/20 is to achieve £1.2m of gross income, whilst continuing to explore new opportunities

·         iCo now had a non-executive non paid Director who had added valuable expertise to the Board, A Business Development Officer had also been appointed

·         The Committee noted that iCO had made a net financial benefit to the council of £415000 in the current financial year

·         Members expressed the view that the majority of savings had been achieved by E&R initiatives and other Directorates should contribute and it may be advantageous to incorporate other Directors onto the iCO Commercial Board

·         In response to a question it was stated that other services could be offered for example services to Housing Associations. It was stated that discussions were taking place with other Directorates as to services that could be offered

·         It was noted that there are some services that could be offered by the Council and others that could only be offered through iCO

·         In response to a question it was stated that a skills audit of staff had not taken place, and that services were at present being offered on an ‘opportunistic’ basis, and where appropriate training and development is offered to staff

 

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted and consideration be given to other Directorates being involved on the Commercial Board

104.

Monitoring Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted