Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Room 5, Harrow Civic Centre

Contact: Manize Talukdar, Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1323 E-mail:  manize.talukdar@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

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 there were no Reserve Members in attendance.

2.

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 Sub-Committee;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were no declarations of interests made by Members.

3.

Appointment of Vice Chair

To appoint a Vice-Chair for the 2018/19 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To appoint Pritesh Patel as Vice-Chair of the Sub-Committee for the 2018/19 Municipal Year.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 137 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2018 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2018 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

5.

Public Questions

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, Wednesday 18 July 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, petitions or deputations were received.

6.

References from Council and Other Committees/Panels pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To receive any references from Council and/or other Committees or Panels.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note the Reference from Cabinet.

RESOLVED ITEMS

7.

Equalities Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Report of the Divisional Director, Strategic Commissioning.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee received a report of the Divisional Director, Strategic Commissioning which set out the Council’s performance and work towards advancing equality of opportunity and the equality of service provision.

 

Members asked the following questions and officers provided the following responses:

 

·                     Had the 100 homes property acquisition programme received approval?

 

The Director of Finance advised that the properties had been purchased and that the business case for the acquisition of an additional 50 homes was being drafted.

 

·                     Were there plans to include the issue of Communities and Regeneration into the annual Scrutiny work programme?

 

An officer stated that the work programme was being re-drafted and updated and this issue would be included.  During a recent visit to the Council, a representative from the  Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had looked at the impact of transient, migrant populations on areas such as council services, HMOs (House of Multiple Occupation) enforcement notices, fly tipping, rough sleeping and community cohesion.  The MHCLG had issued a Green Paper on Communities and Harrow had provided a response to this.  Both the Council and MHCLG were committed to tackling these issues and there were pots of funding available this year to this end.  Harrow would be putting in a bid for this.  

 

The Chair expressed concern that the figures for the number of women taking up apprenticeships and vocational training was significantly lower than that for men.  An officer advised that this may be because the apprenticeship programmes were largely focussed on the construction industry.  However, the Council would work to increase the number of female participants in those programmes.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

8.

INFORMATION REPORTS: Revenue and Capital Outturn 2017/18 & 2018-19 Revenue Monitoring as at 31st May 2018 (Submitted at Cabinet on 12.7.2018) pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report of the Director of Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered the following reports of the Director of Finance: Revenue and Capital Outturn 2017/18 report to Cabinet 21 June 2018 and 2018?19 Revenue Monitoring as at 31st May 2018 - Report to Cabinet 12 July 2018.

 

Members asked the following questions and officers responded accordingly:

 

·                     Following on from Q1, how has such a large projected overspend (Adult Services) figure been reached so quickly. £2.521 vs £2.072 previously.  Does this indicate a weakness in the budget setting process?

 

The Director of Finance advised that the £2.4m figure in 2017/18 related to People Services (this had included both Children and Adults), whereas in 2018/19 the figures related to Adults only.  The projected overspend was due to increasing demand for Adult services, and the increased complexity and unpredictability of that demand. 

 

·                     Underspends of £7.476M were shown in the Corporate Budgets and additional income.  These budgets are now showing a balanced position.  Where has the difference in these figures been allocated to in the budget?

 

The Director of Finance stated that, on the whole, Corporate budgets would not be forecast as underspends.  The interest on borrowing, costs on levies and pay inflation were forecast to be spent at this stage in the year.  It would be unusual to forecast Corporate budgets accurately so early on in the financial year and this was the reason for the discrepancies in the two sets of figures.

 

a)            Why are the figures in Table 5 not reflected in Table 1 to represent a total view of the Revenue Budget?

 

b)            What is the total figure for the Contingency and Reserves based on Table 5?

 

c)            How much of a concern is the Central Contingency forecast so early in the year and is it a forecast which can reasonably be expected to reduce as the year goes on?

 

The Director of Finance stated that the three year MTFS which was set in February 2018 would be updated and reported to Cabinet in December 2018. The Council was obliged to set a balanced budget in year 1 (2018/19) and the only process for changing this was through the virement process and for this to be subsequently reported to Cabinet.   The final budget report was set out in tables in order to show all the adjustments that had been made.  Table 1 set out the ongoing Revenue budget.  Reserves on contingencies tended to be one-off pots of money (which were replenished as and when required), and as they were not allocated to a specific year they could be carried forward.

 

Members stated that the term ‘Revised’ Budget could cause confusion and that in the interests of clarity and transparency, future reports should be set out so that it would be easier to track progress.  For example, why could the earmarked contingencies not be included in table 1 as this would provide a clearer overall picture of the current financial position.

 

The Director of Finance undertook to ensure that the tables in future reports were more  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.