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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Webcast: View the webcast (video) will remain online for 12 months

No. Item



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.

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The Chair referred Members present to item one on the agenda in respect of filming at the meeting.  Members noted the information contained therein.


Apologies for absence

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An apology for absence was received from Mr Chapman.


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).

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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.

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

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Minutes pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of 8 November 2018.

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That the minutes of the meeting of 8 November 2018 be approved.


Scrutiny of the 2019/20 Draft Budget/5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (2019/20-2023/24) pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To consider and make recommendations to Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 2019-20 Draft Budget/MTFS 2019/20 to 2023/24 and savings proposals relating to the Panel’s remit.

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Councillor Weston, the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, stated that she felt that the proposed budget savings were both deliverable and achievable.  Of particular note was the fact that they strengthened early help and protected front line services.


Anne Graham, the Director of Children’s Services, reported that all service areas had been looked at for savings but the priority had been on deliverability.  They had been very conscious that a number of previous savings proposals had proven to be non achievable and a lot of work had taken place to ensure that the current proposals avoided this.  Paul Durrant, Senior Business Partner from Corporate Finance, reported that it had been acknowledged that some more recent savings proposals had been unrealistic.  Any proposals that were not considered to be sufficiently robust had been taken out during the current exercise.  A more collaborative approach had been followed that acknowledged the true cost of running the Children’s Service.  The Panel noted that only 20% of proposed savings in previous years had actually been achieved.


Ms Graham felt that the proposed savings in social work staffing carried some risk but greater stability in the workforce was more efficient.  Councillor Weston stated that the budget for children and young people’s services had been reduced by about one third due to the government’s austerity policies.  It had become progressively more difficult to identify savings. Ms Graham reported that savings were also intended to be realised through improved recruitment and retention of foster carers.  However, it was also important to ensure that children were allocated to them and care plans were reasonable.  The proposals had left some space for manoeuvre.  There would always be unforeseen circumstances but the service aimed to ensure they met their savings targets.


The Committee noted that the Finance Service had been required to sign off all of the proposals.  Ms Graham stated that the service would not break placements just for the sake of making savings.  However, they were happy to agree to children returning home if the service was able to work successfully with the family and if it was safe to do so.  Only three such cases had been identified so far as the service was taking a cautious approach.  Councillor Weston reported that the service had a moral and legal responsibility to meet the needs of children.  A large amount of work went into ensuring that they were placed in the right setting for them.  They sought to be as realistic as possible in their projections but the service was ultimately demand led.


The Panel noted that the Staffing and Remuneration Committee had considered a report on the recruitment and retention of social workers within the Children’s Service at its meeting on 17 December and it was agreed that this would be circulated to Panel Members. 


The Panel considered in detail the proposals relating to its terms of reference as follows:


·         P1; Reducing Agency Spend on Social Work Staff;

In answer to a question, Ms Graham reported that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Cabinet Member Questions - Communities

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Mark Blake, on developments within his portfolio.


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Councillor Mark Blake, Cabinet Member for Communities, reported on key developments within his portfolio as follows:

·         A bid from Haringey to the Mayor’s Young Londoners fund had been successful. More details on this would be provided in due course;

·         A successful bid for funding had also been made for the Project Future initiative to the Big Lottery fund.  This was a community based, youth led mental health service aimed at young men aged 16-25 who were involved in offending and affected by serious youth violence and run in partnership with the Council, Mind in Haringey and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health;

·         Reports on the Serious Youth Violence strategy and Children at Risk were due to be considered by the Cabinet in March. Consultation had been undertaken with young people in developing these.  This had been facilitated by the Godwin Law Foundation.  There had also been a fruitful meeting with local MPs;

·         The Council’s Corporate Delivery Unit was currently looking at school exclusions and alternative provision.  He would welcome input from the Panel on these issues;

·         He congratulated the Director of Children’s Services on the outcome of the recent OFSTED inspection.  Although the outcome had been good, there were nevertheless areas where the Council acknowledged it needed to improve.  He was delighted that Bruce Grove Youth Centre had been praised by the report, particularly after it had previously been threatened with closure.  One key area that needed to be developed further was the strategic response to criminally exploited children.  A seminar on reducing the criminalisation of children was being planned as part of the development of this.


Panel Members expressed concern at the increase of violent crime.  It was felt that there might be a lack of awareness of its impact in the west of the borough.  Young people often did not report crime.  There was a lack of youth provision in the west and it was difficult for young people to find safe places to socialise.  The Cabinet Member acknowledged that a significant number of young people had been victims of muggings and other crime.  There was a need for schools to acknowledge the problem.  Although there were now new resources for youth provision, there was nowhere near as much as was required.  Whilst the Police had an important role to play in addressing violent crime, he wanted to see earlier engagement with young people.


In answer to a question, Ms Gibson reported that the Bridge Renewal Fund had just completed a mapping exercise of existing youth provision provided by the voluntary and community sector.  It was intended to improve signposting of services for young people that currently existed.  In respect of the successful bid for Young Londoner funding, the successful evaluation of the impact of the project was critical.


Panel Members highlighted the fact that secondary schools had all received Building Schools for the Future (BSF) via the Council and there had been an expectation that facilities would be available for community use in the evenings.  However, many  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To consider the Panel’s workplan for 2018-20.

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That the work plan for the Panel be noted.