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Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

None.

2.

Items of 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 as noted below).

Minutes:

None.

3.

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.

Minutes:

Councillor Mallett stated that she was a governor at Broadwaters.

4.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

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

Minutes:

None.

5.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Elin Weston, the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, introduced the proposals within the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) relating to Priority 1 of the Corporate Plan.  She stated that they needed to be seen within the context of the very severe cuts that there had been to local government funding since 2010.  In this period, funding had been reduced by 40%.  This had impacted considerably on the Councils ability to provide services, especially in the light of increases in demand.  The intention was nevertheless to ensure that young people were adequately safeguarded.  The proposed savings came to just below £4 million and were proportionately less than were being proposed for other areas of Council activity.  The Panel noted that the original saving proposals for 2017/18 were £4 million.  The current proposed savings were also around £4 million but were spread across two financial years. 

 

In answer to a question, regarding the ability to achieve the savings Jon Abbey, the Director of Children’s Services, reported that there was a degree of confidence that all of the nine savings proposals were achievable.  There was a planning process linked to each of them to ensure that they were delivered and this included assessment of risk.  Timeliness, modelling, confidence of those leading change and Equalities Impact Assessments were all considered as part of this.

 

Notwithstanding this, he stated that it could be difficult to be precise regarding statutory responsibilities with some areas yet to be fully determined.  However, he felt that the proposals were feasible and learning obtained from the previous MTFS had been taken into account.  A question was asked as to whether the level of funding necessary to run a service was safe.  In response, he stated that there was a need to consider this. He felt that it was in the range of £42 to £48 million and funding levels were now getting close to critical levels.  Less had been spent by relevant services each year but it was acknowledged that services for children and young people had a role in contributing to Council savings.   However, there was a need to ensure that there was still capacity to safeguard effectively.  If the budget continued to go down, careful thought would need to be given as to how services might be delivered in the future.

 

A question was asked about the impact of poor housing on the numbers of children entering the care system in the light of a recent report from Shelter which had made a correlation. The Cabinet Member stated that housing issues could contribute to children being taken into care but the cause was most likely to be a range of issues.  She was not aware of any specific proposals regarding housing that were likely to impact directly on children and young people.  She was nevertheless aware that benefit changes were likely to have an impact.  In answer to a question, she stated that savings had been put in year one which were felt to be possible  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.