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

251.

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 the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Member:-

 

Ordinary Member

 

Reserve Member

 

Councillor Jean Lammiman

Councillor Norman Stevenson

 

252.

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:

In connection with Agenda Item 3 (Budget and Corporate Plan Question and Answer Session), Councillor Chris Mote declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he has a Freedom Pass for subsidised public transport.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

In connection with Agenda Item 3 (Budget and Corporate Plan Question and Answer Session), Councillor Macleod-Cullinane declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he has a son attending a school in the Borough.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

RESOLVED ITEMS

253.

Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and Interim Chief Executive on the Budget 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Report of the Interim Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the Leader of the Council, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Commercialisation, the interim Chief Executive and the Director of Finance to the meeting.  The Leader of the Council gave an introduction, underlining the severe pressures on the Council’s finances as a result of 8 years of austerity; Harrow had the third lowest Government grant among all the London Borough councils.  He referred to the draft Corporate Plan which had been circulated as background for the discussion; it largely reflected  priorities carried forward from the previous year.

 

Members asked a series of questions to the Leader and Chief Executive and received responses as follows:

 

Would the holders of “Blue Badge” parking permits be entitled to the Freedom Pass for public transport as well?

 

The Leader explained that central Government had indicated it would compensate local authorities for the financial impact of “new burdens” arising from national policy changes; further detail was awaited from them on how this would be implemented.

 

What were the likely implications of the changes to the structure of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)?

 

The Leader confirmed that he had some concerns over the move to Police Commanders having responsibilities across three boroughs and he would prefer a model more closely focused on individual authorities.  However, he recognised the severe budget pressures on the MPS, with a third of their budget having been cut.  He looked forward to the introduction of a dedicated officer in each ward as he considered local neighbourhood policing to be vital to community safety.

 

The Corporate Director, Community added that officers continued to work closely with the Borough Commander to try to protect resources allocated to the Borough.

 

What was being done to address the implications of the £3m overspend on the children’s services budget?

 

The Leader pointed to the enormous pressures arising from the increased number of children requiring care services and confirmed that he and the Portfolio Holder were focused on the resource requirements of this most important of service areas.  The Corporate Director, People reported that there was increasing demand in respect of child protection, care plans and the needs of Looked After children.  The Council’s funding per child in care was lower than the average for comparable authorities, so the service had achieve greater efficiency than in many other boroughs.   He emphasised that this was a complex service area with frequent decisions about serious, challenging family circumstances, and in this sense, it was qualitatively different to other Council responsibilities.  Budgets could be volatile as a result of demands which were very difficult to predict, yet the department had applied a rigorous approach to ensure that savings were delivered where this was possible;  one example of this had been the response to young people without recourse to public funds.  The Corporate Director advised that care placements were closely scrutinised so that costs could be controlled; this was always very difficult given the significant risks associated with making the wrong decisions in this area.

 

What was the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 253.

254.

Termination of Meeting

Minutes:

In accordance with the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 14 (Part 4B of the Constitution), it was

 

RESOLVED:  At 9.59 pm to continue to 10.05 pm

 

In accordance with the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 14 (Part 4B of the Constitution), it was

 

RESOLVED:  At 10.05 pm to continue to 10.09 pm.