Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2XY

Contact: Frankie Belloli, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1263 E-mail:  frankie.belloli@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

21.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)              if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no Reserve Members had been nominated to attend the meeting.

 

An apology for absence had been received from Neville Ransley.

22.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)               all Members of the Committee;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no declarations were made by Members of the Committee.

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 133 KB

That the minutes of the meetings held on 5 June and 10 July 2018 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 June 2018 and of the two meetings held on 10 July 2018 be taken as read and signed as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2018 commencing at 8.14 pm (Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and Interim Chief Executive):  Minute No. 19, Minute Page 25 – second paragraph, after the phrase “The Interim Chief Executive added that he could not recall a financial year when the Council had not underspent; …” add the following words:  “…; the fact that the Council had underspent was an achievement”. 

24.

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 17 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received.  There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm on 12 September 2018.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk   

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions or petitions were received at this meeting.

25.

Reference from Cabinet - Regeneration Financing pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Scrutiny Challenge Panel on Regeneration Financing - Report back from Cabinet meeting held on 21 June 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report concerning the Cabinet’s response to the Scrutiny Review of Regeneration Financing.  The Chair welcomed the Portfolio Holders for Finance and Resources and for Regeneration, Planning and Employment to the meeting.

 

Referring to the table of responses to the scrutiny review recommendations,  Members raised the following questions:

 

Recommendation 2:  what is the expected timing of the officer report on risks and mitigations? The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources reported that late Autumn was still the anticipated timescale.  A Member asked that members of the Committee be advised of any alteration to this plan.

 

Recommendation 3:  when would the strategy for lobbying about transport links be completed? The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Employment explained that the plans for lobbying related not only to the Council’s regeneration programme, but also the proposals from private developers.  The Council was using population projections produced for the current electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE); these were estimates for the year 2024.  It was hoped that the transport operators would use these projections to plan services, though they often seemed to be demand-led in such decisions (he explained that population estimates produced by the GLA were different from those used in the LGBCE exercise which encompassed anticipated development sites).  He hoped that the transport operators would respond to the Council’s approaches so that the lobbying strategy could then be developed, but he could not give a timeline.

 

Recommendation 4:  had the letter from the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Opposition been sent to the Mayor of London and TfL? The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Employment understood it had not been sent and expected that the necessary information to make the case for improved transport links would be available by Christmas.  The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources added that the Cabinet had not committed to writing that letter as such, but to using the data on transport pressures to support engagement with providers and stakeholders.

 

The Portfolio Holders confirmed that the plans mentioned in the responses to recommendations 2 and 5 were the same plan rather than two separate ones.

 

Recommendation 8:  A Member asked about references in previous Cabinet reports to a yield of 8% from property investment in the regeneration programme, when it now appeared to have reduced to 5%.  The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Employment advised that the 8% figure was the expected gross yield before accounting for financing charges.  The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources explained that interest payments and minimum revenue provision for the life of the asset would give rise to a lower net yield; equally, the exact timing of transactions in relation to interest rates at the time would affect yields.  The Member who had asked the question suggested that reports should make clear whether references were to gross or net figures. 

 

The Member also asked about assessment of the traffic impacts of developments.  The Portfolio  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

RESOLVED ITEMS

26.

Scrutiny Work Programme 2018-22 pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Report of the Divisional Director, Strategy and Commissioning

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report concerning the Scrutiny Work Programme proposed for the period to the next Council elections in May 2022.  It was confirmed that a number of Members on the Committee had been involved in discussions about the content of the programme and that it reflected the priorities and phasing which been supported by them.

 

A Member who had been elected for the first time in May, asked about the approach taken in framing the programme.  The Divisional Director, Strategic Commissioning, reported that discussions with councillors in the political groups had commenced in January focusing on a list of some 12 to 15 key topics; these had been generated through evidence and research, residents feedback and consideration of Council priorities.  The Divisional Director would circulate this list.

 

The Member suggested that the programme could also include examination of equalities issues; she pointed to the reference to considering the impact of ethnicity on in-work poverty, but wondered whether this meant such aspects were not addressed elsewhere.  Other Members stated that equalities should be an integral part of the work in any scrutiny review and that this had always been the case.  The Divisional Director, Strategic Commissioning underlined that the Committee were in control of the work programme and could adapt it as they considered appropriate from year to year; it was discussed at regular Scrutiny Leadership Group meetings.  Sometimes, the programme would be impacted by significant external events affecting local government, an example of which was the collapse of Carillion.  He and the Chair encouraged all non-executive councillors to become involved in scrutiny work.

 

A Member gave an example of a middle management review undertaken by Overview and Scrutiny councillors some time ago and explained how it had developed from a “light touch” review to a more  in-depth analysis as a result of the nature of the some of the issues initially discovered.  Another Member explained how the review of health visiting had, in effect, been used to create a contract specification for a revised service; he emphasised the importance of Cabinet using scrutiny in this way to improve services for residents.

 

A Member commended the work programme and asked questions about the way in which the views of resident and staff had informed its preparation.  The Divisional Director, Strategic Commissioning reported that a company called the Campaign Company had carried out a 500-person telephone survey of residents using standard market research methodology; the sample size meant that there was a confidence level of plus or minus 3% in the results.  The Corporate Leadership Group had suggested a number of key topics for research and investigation, and trends in the annual complaints reports had also been examined. 

 

A Member referred to the important role of scrutiny lead Members in carrying out initial work to frame and develop the later formal scrutiny reviews.  He underlined the need to keep alert to key issues arising, for example, in the business reported to Cabinet, so that these could inform the evolution of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.