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Agenda and draft minutes

Items
No. Item

175.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors Gantly, Wayne and Jeapes for lateness

176.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

177.

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

178.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Minutes:

A Member referred to minute 173, and requested that Councillor Hull inform Members of the number of posts in the Council occupied by interim post holders. Councillor Hull stated that he would inform Members once this information has been compiled

 

RESOLVED:

(a)That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 December 2019 be confirmed, and the Chair be authorised to sign them

(b) That Councillor Hull be requested to inform Members of the number of interim post holders, as referred to above, when this is available

179.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair stated that items would be taken in order of agenda

180.

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 procedure for public questions and the fire and evacuation procedures

181.

Budget 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present, and was accompanied by Steve Key, Service Director, Finance.

 

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

 

·         Noted that the combination of central government funding cuts, rising costs, and demand for services, has meant that the Council has already had to make savings of £239m since 2010. Despite these financial challenges the Council is determined to make Islington fairer for all

·         Noted and supported Islington’s aim to become the best Council in the country for prevention and early intervention, and that there will be continued support for residents through the Resident Support scheme, and free school meals for all nursery and primary school children. Vital frontline services will be protected, including no library closures, youth centre closures, or leisure centres closures over the next 3 years

·         Welcomed the proposed package of budget growth in 2020/21, which will help the Council to continue to address some of the pressing issues facing residents, including enhanced services to support victims of violence against young women and girls, increased capacity to tackle anti-social behaviour, extra support for vulnerable young people, and adults, to help them increase skills and to find work and investment, and in tackling homelessness/rough sleeping, plus children’s centre outreach

·         Noted the Council Tax, and social care increases proposed

·         Noted the possible pressures on the budget in the medium term, and that the estimated level of General Fund balances should be adequate to meet the working balance requirements. In addition, this should provide a reasonable level for unquantifiable risks, that are not already covered in the Council’s budget, or any contingency sums

·         Noted, and welcomed, the proposal to agree that any underspends at the end of the financial year should be used to increase General Fund balances, and/or earmarked reserves, in order to provide resilience going into an uncertain medium term budget cycle

·         Noted the agreed balanced HRA 2020/21 budget, and the latest estimates over the 3 year MFTS period, the Capital Programme, and the Dedicated Schools Grant proposals

 

RESOLVED:

That the above comments be forwarded to the Executive for consideration

 

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull and Steve Key for attending

182.

Performance Update - Quarter 2 Well run Council/Crime Statistics pdf icon PDF 270 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present for consideration of this item. Jan Hart, Service Director, Public Protection, and Annette Hobart, Strategy and Change Manager, Martin Bevis, Assistant Director Financial Operations and Customer Services, Laura Eden, Children’s Services, were also in attendance

 

The report was outlined for the Committee

 

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

 

·         Councillor Hull stated that the issues raised at the last meeting had been responded to in the report

·         Reference was made to the Hate Crime figures, and that the sanctions rates were disappointing, and that the Police needed an improvement on these. Council tax and business rate collection was good

·         Discussion took place on channel shift, and that whilst there has been a reduction in the number of callers to the Customer Centre, the number of online transactions needed to increase

·         In response to a question, it was stated that the reports on sickness and agency staff would be submitted to the next and following meetings of PPS respectively

·         A Member referred to the number of people killed on roads, and that in her view this should be a key PI. Councillor Hull stated that he would consider this, however E&R scrutiny committee may have a view

·         A Member referred to sickness absence, and that a report was due to be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee. The Member stated that there was a need to review long term sickness cases, how they are being managed by senior management and trends, possibly reviewing cases of long term sickness absence of 6 months or more

·         Reference was also made to the high number of muscular/skeletal injuries in E&R, and that there needed to be a focus by management on reducing these, and to set a zero injury figure, even if this is not ultimately achievable. There was a need to look at what training, action being taken to reduce this figure. Councillor Hull stated that this could be looked at

·         A Member also referred to the need to look at trends over a period of time, comparative data with other neighbouring Local Authorities, an analysis of long term sickness, the number of staff in each department, and a narrative of sickness absence from the relevant Director on reasons etc. In addition, there should be an analysis of sickness absence by grade

·         It was stated that HR did work with Directors, and senior managers, on sickness, and there is a need to ensure senior management have the capability to address these issues. Staff also needed to be supported in an appropriate manner

·         The Chair expressed the view that the figures on stress/mental health/depression and anxiety, also needed to be separated out, as the level of support and other issues would not be the same in each case

·         Concern was expressed that the representation of BME staff at senior level is not representative of the workforce or community, and such representation needed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 182.

183.

Performance - Future Presentation of Information pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present and was accompanied by Annette Hobart, Strategy and Change Manager

 

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

 

·         It was noted that consideration was being given as to the best method for triangulation of information, however this was complex and best used in ‘deep dive’ scrutiny topics, such as the Universal Credit scrutiny review

·         It was noted that it would be useful if future reports could contain some narrative where necessary, to explain why targets have not been reached, reasons therefore etc. and if comparative information could be provided if possible with other neighbouring boroughs

·         Reference was made to the introduction of the Housing Dashboard and that this still not been introduced some 2/3 years after promised and this was not satisfactory

·         Councillor Hull stated that whilst the Council had a great deal of data, it needed to be more consistent and there needed to be more refined data collection

 

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the evidence and key findings of the review, as set out in paragraph 4 of the report, be noted

(b)  That the recommendations for improving performance reporting arrangements, and effectiveness, as set out in Section 5 of the report be approved

(c)   That Members be informed of the reasons for delay of the introduction of the Housing Dashboard and when this will be operational

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull and Annette Hobart for attending

184.

Financial Monitoring pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present at the meeting, and was accompanied by Steve Key, Service Director Finance

 

During consideration of the report the following main issues were raised –

 

·         Noted that there is forecast to be a General Fund underspend on - £2.572m, compared to a forecast underspend of -£0.634m in the previous reported position

·         Noted that the HRA is due to break even over the year

·         The latest delivery tracker shows that of agreed 2019/20 savings of £13.775m, £12.865m are either on track to be delivered or have been replaced by deliverable alternative savings in the current financial year

·         Noted that there were risks in ongoing delivery of some of the 2019/20 savings in future financial years, and a risk based review of the savings programme is currently underway, and will feed into future years budget monitoring reports

·         Reference was made to the provision for bad debt in the HRA, and it was stated that this was provision for non-payment of rent to cover the risks of the Council. Reference was also made to the legal costs provision, and it was stated that Councillor Hull would investigate and respond to Members thereon with the detail

·         In response to a question, it was stated that in response to the enquiry from Councillor Russell about the number of evictions as a result of non-payment of rent, this may be an issue that the Housing Scrutiny Committee may wish to look into in more detail

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the report be noted, and Councillor Hull be requested to respond to Members on the issue raised above relating to legal costs in relation to the HRA

(b)  That the Housing Scrutiny Committee consider investigating the number of evictions, as a result of non- payment of rent, as referred to above

 

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull and Steve Key for attending

185.

Monitoring Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted