You are here

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions

Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 

 

By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mark Chapman.

3.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business. (Late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with at item below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

4.

Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting on 14th January 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 14th January were agreed as a correct record.

7.

MINUTES OF SCRUTINY PANEL MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To receive and note the minutes of the following Scrutiny Panels and to approve any recommendations contained within:

 

Housing and Regeneration – 17th December 2018.

Children and Young People – 18th December 2018.

Environment and Community Safety – 18th December 2018.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the following Scrutiny Panels were noted and the recommendations contained within were approved:

 

Housing and Regeneration – 17th December 2018.

Children and Young People – 18th December 2018.

Environment and Community Safety – 18th December 2018.

Adults and Health – 18th January 2019.

 

8.

CABINET MEMBER QUESTIONS - CABINET MEMBER FOR CIVIC SERVICES

Verbal Update.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Civic Services responded to a number of questions from the Committee in relation to her portfolio. The Chair acknowledged that the Cabinet Member had only recently been appointed and suggested that she be invited back in due course to give a further update. The following arose in response to the discussion of these questions.

a.    The Committee enquired about library provision and plans for improvement. In response, the Cabinet Member advised that retaining all 9 libraries was key priority for the administration and that there was a planned approach to improving those libraries as part of a programme of capital works. Phase one involved works to Marcus Garvey Library. In addition, works were also underway at Hornsey library as well as some smaller branch libraries. Officers had consulted with staff as well as stakeholder groups on these works. The Committee was advised that proposals were in place to improve Wood Green Library to improve accessibility and make it feel like a proper library, following the implementation of the customer service centre on site. The Committee requested to see current plans for improvement of branch libraries and the capital spend allocated. (Action: Andy Briggs).

b.    In response to a concerns raised about length of time taken to answer calls to customers services, particularly in relation to housing and repair queries, officers suggested that there were plans to ensure channel shift to other methods of responding to queries. The Committee was advised that the Council had an SLA with HfH and worked closely with the Housing Repairs service. 40% of call volumes across the Council were related to housing. The Committee was advised that 96% of calls were answered in the previous week and that was the best performance that had been achieved in a long time. Officers acknowledged that spikes and log-jams did occur and advised that the average call time was two to five minutes.

c.    In response a query about the location and the launch of the youth space event in Marcus Garvey, the Cabinet Member acknowledged concerns about holding the launch event in term time and advised that the youth space was located immediately on the right as you entered the building. The Cabinet Member acknowledged that there were still some niggling issues in relation to Marcus Garvey, such as signage and the back door. The Cabinet Member agreed to bring a report back to a future meeting setting out the ongoing issues in relation to library improvement  works. (Action: Cllr Amin/Andy Briggs).

d.    The Committee raised concerns with the lift in Marcus Garvey being regularly out of order. The Cabinet Member agreed to speak to Fusion about the lifts and to include the lift issue in her future briefing to the Committee on Marcus Garvey Library. (Action: Cllr Amin/Andy Briggs).

e.    In response to a question around progress of the Fairness Commission, the Cabinet Member acknowledged that she was hoping to meet with the previous Cabinet Member to determine how  best to move  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a cover report and the Treasury Management Statement for 2019/20 – 2021/22 for comments, prior to its submission to Corporate Committee and Full Council for final approval. The following arose from discussion of the Treasury Management Statement:

a.    The Committee was advised that the Strategy identified £670m of new borrowing over the next three years, which was approximately split into a third for the HRA and two-thirds for the General Fund. In light of the lifting of the HRA debt cap, there had been significant expansion of the capital programme.

b.    The Committee sought clarification about the term ‘unplanned cash flow shortages’ as set out in the report. In response, officers outlined that the organisation handled around £1 billion in income and expenditure over the course of a 12 month period, and that whilst a great deal of work was done to forecast cash flow there were inevitably fluctuations in cash flow levels. Officers reassured the Committee that the organisation would not run out of money as a result.

c.    The Committee sought assurance about the pressure on revenue accounts arising from the Council significantly increasing its levels of borrowing. Officers advised that interest rate costs and the costs of increased borrowing were factored into the MTFS. The Committee noted that parts of the capital programme were predicated on making savings as a result of the introduction of those schemes. Officers elaborated that of the new schemes identified in the Capital Programme; 16% were core funded, 75% were self-funding and therefore predicated on savings, and 9% were based on external funding.

d.    In response to a question, officers agreed to circulate further information in relation to the interest costs arising from the borrowing set out in the TMSS. (Action Thomas Skeen).

e.    In response to a question around the interest rates involved in borrowing money from the Public Works Loan Board, the Committee was advised that the PWLB was widely recognised as having the lowest borrowing costs on the market for local authorities.

f.     In relation to a question around LOBO loans, officers advised that there was very little chance of the lenders increasing the borrowing rates in the short to medium term, whilst interest rates remained low.

g.    In response to a question, officers acknowledged that the authority was fairly risk averse in its investment strategy. This was linked to the fact that the Council held very low levels of cash reserves. The Committee noted that, in contrast to some other London local authorities, Haringey limited the amount of money invested through commercial banks and exposure to bail-in as a result.

h.    The Committee sought clarification around charges for  Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) overprovision. The Committee noted that the Council was currently on a MRP holiday which created savings within the revenue budget. Officers agreed to circulate a response to members with further information in relation to the historic overprovision of MRP. (Action: Thomas Skeen).

 

RESOLVED

 

     I.        That the proposed updated Treasury Management Strategy Statement for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Budget Scrutiny; Panel feedback and recommendations. pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

*Clerks note – Cllr Connor chaired this agenda item as the Chair of Budget Scrutiny item, as per paragraph 7.4, Part 4, Section G of the Council’s Constitution.*

 

The Committee received a report which set out how budget proposals detailed in the draft 5 year Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2019/20-2023/24 had been reached by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Scrutiny Review Panels. The Committee was asked to consider and agree recommendations contained within the report so that these could be considered by Cabinet on 12th February 2019.

 

The Chair sought the Committee’s  feedback on the budget scrutiny process. The following points were raised in response to this discussion:

a.    The Committee sought additional support from finance officers for future budget monitoring and scrutiny sessions.  It was felt that further clarity around the risks involved with implementing individual saving proposals and any potential knock-on effects, would be useful going forwards. The Committee also requested more information around the impact of savings on residents and how this fed into the wider strategy across the Council.

b.    The Chair of the Housing and Regeneration Panel raised concerns around receiving information requested late and the ability to digest that information as a result. The Chair of the Housing and Regeneration Panel suggested that the budget scrutiny process should be elongated to improve the robustness of scrutiny.

c.    The Committee requested regular budget monitoring sessions and to receive regular updates on the capital budget as part of this process. It was also suggested that monitoring of capital projects should form part of the work programme for the relevant Scrutiny Review Panels.

d.    The Committee agreed that improving the robustness of financial monitoring would form part of the wider review of Scrutiny taking place in March. (Action: Chair/Clerk).

 

The following was noted in response to the discussion around the MTFS and the proposed budget: 

a.    The Committee enquired about the use of corporate reserves and whether there was any expectation that this would be available in futures years. In response, officers acknowledged  that the draft budget had utilised £10.5m of reserves to part fund the shortfall in the budget. Officers advised that the reserves were available partly due to the decision taken at the close of the 2017/18 accounts to establish a budget resilience reserve. The report that went to Cabinet in December set out that the budget gap was projected to be £26m by 2022/23 and that the use of corporate reserves could not be counted upon to plug this gap. Further reductions in the revenue budget were required instead. Officers advised that from 2021 onwards the assumption was that there would not be a corporate reserve available to address the structural shortfall in the budget.

b.    In response to a question around the extent to which the Council’s budget had been shrunk since 2010, officers advised that there had been around £122m of funding reductions since 2010.

c.    In response to a question around the role of Council Tax  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the next meeting.

12.

New Items of Urgent Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

13.

Future meetings

25 March 2019

29th April 2019

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25th March

29th April