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

17.

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 Mr Ransley.

18.

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.

RESOLVED ITEMS

19.

Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and Interim Chief Executive

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the Leader of the Council, the Interim Chief Executive and the Director of Finance to the meeting.

 

The Interim Chief Executive opened the meeting with an overview of the major issues facing the Council and the Borough.  He outlined the national picture in relation to the work of local authorities, drawing on some of the themes highlighted in the Local Government Association (LGA) conference the previous week.  A major concern had been the issues around funding available to local government, particularly the approach to funding adult and children’s social care and the financial demands of children’s special educational needs. There has been an announcement of £20bn for the National Health Service, but questions remained as to the implications for adult social care. A Green Paper had already been delayed and was now due in the Autumn.  The new Secretary of State had spoken about creating a sustainable footing for social care; this was urgently needed and the issues were now acute in Harrow, with demand increasing, care packages becoming more complex and prices rising.

 

The outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review setting the national allocation for local government was still awaited. The Fair Funding review would look at the allocation of local government funding between Councils. In London, the pooling of business rates sought to balance out the returns from business growth around London. Harrow had managed to stabilise its business rates levels after long-term decline over 20 years; however, business rate growth in other areas of the capital was stronger.

 

The Interim Chief Executive reported that housing remained an important national and London theme; the Mayor of London had made funds available for affordable housing and Harrow urgently needed to make the most of this opportunity. The Council was preparing its Strategic Housing Market Assessment and in the new London Plan, the housing targets for Harrow would double. In London, there was now a major focus on gangs, knife crime and the safety of young people. While Harrow was still a relatively safe Borough, it was becoming less safe, with recent incidents in Wealdstone, South Harrow and Rayners Lane. The Interim Chief Executive was conscious that, in this context, the “Harrow is ‘safe” message did not  work for residents as it simply did not resonate with their experience, particularly in these areas.  Post-Grenfell, a lot of work was taking place on emergency planning arrangements and Harrow was playing its part in these discussions.

 

The Interim Chief Executive  referred to the restructuring of the Police service in London which involved the creation of a new Borough Command Unit covering Harrow, Brent and Barnet; the new model would go live in November. He was confident that the good partnership relationship with the Police in Harrow developed over many years would help ease this transition.  The principal challenges in housing were the high levels of people in temporary accommodation, the HRA’s sustainability and the task of increasing social housing while the Council was up against the borrowing cap.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Termination of the 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 10.05pm