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Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

186.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillor Bell-Bradford for lateness and Councillor Chapman, leaving the meeting early

187.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

188.

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

189.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

None

190.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

 RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 January 2020 be confirmed and the Chair be authorised to sign them

191.

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

192.

COVID 19 Update pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, Linzi Roberts-Egan was present for discussion of this item and outlined the report

 

During discussion the following main points were made –

 

·         It was felt that the efforts of staff, Members and residents had contributed to a low rate of infection of COVID 19 in the borough

·         The sickness of staff had peaked at 25%, and that this enabled the Council to maintain front line services. Staff sickness had returned to near normal levels

·         There had been a significant increase in residents claiming Universal Credit, and that this is impacting on residents

·         A Member enquired whether any additional measures had been put in place to address concerns around COVID 19, and BAME staff returning to work, including partner organisations. It was stated that 60/70% of staff were currently working from home, and where staff can work from home they can continue to do so at present. Front line staff have individual risk assessments before returning to work, and in one instance all staff in one area were BAME, and had underlying health conditions, however staff were redeployed to cover in this instance

·         It was noted that a review date for staff returning to work had been set for 31 August, however work is still being undertaken to buildings/office accommodation to ensure staff are safe when returning to work. In addition, adaptations have been made to customer contact points with the addition of Perspex screens, and these adaptations are continuing to be developed

·         It was stated that each department has a Trade Union based meeting, and issues are discussed on a ‘case by case’ basis. The recent staff survey showed that the majority of staff, around 80%, felt that the Council were listening, and were supporting them during COVID 19

·         In response to a question, it was stated that the Council were communicating with Partner organisations, and also with businesses in the borough. It was pleasing to note that the ‘R’ number in Islington was the lowest rate in London, at present

·         The Council needed to be prepared for a second wave of COVID 19. It was stated that modelling is taking place with NCL, and some of the Pillar 2 data that is essential to monitor community transmission is starting to be supplied, and it was stated that this information could be supplied to Members

·         A Member referred to the fact that some parks in the borough had not reopened, and enquired the reasons for this. It was stated that work is taking place, in order to reopen play facilities and parks, however many had closed, due to the need to ensure play facilities were not used. A plan to reopen should be available in the next few days, and this could be circulated to Members

·         In response to a question, it was stated that work is taking place with other London Boroughs, who have had higher transmission rates of COVID 19, to learn from best practice and offer information. Members congratulated officers on the efforts that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 192.

193.

Use of Agency staff/Interims/Consultants pdf icon PDF 628 KB

Minutes:

David Hodgkinson, Corporate Director of Resources was present for discussion of this item, and outlined the report.

 

During discussion the following main points were made –

 

·         The Chief Executive stated that whilst there were a range of reasons for  spend on agency/interims/consultants, there is a clear intention to reduce agency spend and HR are looking at specific measures to reduce this. However there will always be a need for recruitment of these staff in certain circumstances

·         A Member stated that the report did not contain the information in the form previously requested by the Committee, and there is a need to reduce agency spend. He added that the data presented needed to be in a clearer format. In addition, the target of 10% set for agency staff is one the Committee had made clear needed to be reduced to as low a figure as possible, and there was still significant spend in Environment

·         The Director of Corporate Resources stated the aim was to provide information, as transparently and clearly to Members, and that future reports could be structured to provide as much clarity to Members as possible. He added that whilst it was felt the target figure could be reduced, there did need to be flexibility to achieve value for money

·         A Member concurred that the report did not contain the information required for the Committee to effectively manage spend. He stated that he would wish to see, in future reports, each Directorate listing individual agency/interim/consultants employed, the timeframe for these posts, any overruns and the actions taken to reduce spend. This should be presented to Committee on a quarterly basis, especially in relation to the higher spending Directorates, Housing and Environment and the Chief Executive and Leader should keep an overview of this spend

·         The Chief Executive responded that the intention is to provide as much information as the Committee requires, and that there had been significant improvements in some areas such as Housing, where restructures and sickness reductions has seen agency spend reduce

·         A Member referred to two main issues, the lower paid agency staff, which were necessary for services to be maintained and delivered and that of higher paid consultants and interims, who were using umbrella companies/public service companies. The Chief Executive stated that information had been provided to the Committee prior to the meeting but she would recirculate this to Members

·         The Director of Corporate Resources stated that measures were being taken to convert temporary staff into permanent staff, however sometimes specialist staff are needed in certain circumstances

·         Members were informed that whilst there was a overspend of £3.3 million in Environment Directorate. However, a significant proportion of this had actually been offset by developer contributions, and restructuring of the Parking Directorate was now coming to a finish, and would reduce agency costs. Sickness levels had also been reduced from 26 days per FTE to 14 days, with the intention to reduce to 10 days

·         Members were informed however, that if there is a second wave  ...  view the full minutes text for item 193.

194.

Revenue Outturn 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Hodgkinson, Director of Corporate Resources was present and was accompanied by Steve Key, Service Director Finance

 

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

 

·         It was noted that the General Fund had a underspend of £8.405m in the previous financial year, there had been a underspend on the capital programme, and the HRA was at ‘break even’. The General Fund underspend was welcome, due to the additional funding pressures arising from COVID 19

·         The Council were projecting a £36m overspend in the budget, as a result of COVID 19, and a shortfall of £12m in the HRA. However, some additional funding had just been announced by the Government in relation to loss of fees and income, and loss of business rates, however the precise details were still to be finalised. The Council were also looking at an exercise to reduce spending on ‘in year budgets’, and it was hoped that a more precise position could be announced in the next few weeks

·         In response to a question, it was stated that at present it is difficult to forecast the impact of the loss of business rates and Council Tax, however work is taking place, and the best estimate at present is that this could result in lost income of around £10m. In addition, there were implications for loss of income in respect of parking etc. and this is an area where more clarification is needed on Government funding reimbursement

·         In response to a question, it was stated that it was also difficult to assess the impact on the HRA of non-payment of rent, however the Council had taken a decision to act sympathetically in certain circumstances, especially in relation to those tenants on Universal Credit given the circumstances of COVID 19

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report and the Council financial position be noted

 

 

195.

Leader - Executive Priorities 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

The Chair stated that due to the length of the agenda, a written report had been submitted and that if there were any questions arising from such report these could be raised with the Leader following the meeting

196.

Presentation - Executive Member Community Development pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The Chair stated that due to the length of the agenda, a written report had been submitted to the Committee, and that if Members had any questions these should be directed to the Executive Member Community Development following the meeting

197.

Monitoring Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That, subject to the consideration of the addition of a Scrutiny Review into Performance Management at the September meeting, the monitoring and work programme be noted