Venue: Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford
Contact: Richard Cursons 01708 432430 Email: richard.cursons@oneSource.co.uk
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 9 November 2016 and to authorise the Chairman to sign them.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2016 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Members are invited to make any comments on the budget proposals for consideration by Cabinet at its meeting on 8 February. (Report to January 2017 Cabinet meeting attached for information).
The report updated Members on the Local Government Financial Settlement which had been announced in December 2016.
The report summarised the key elements of the Autumn Budget Statement, the implications for the corporate budget and the proposed financial strategy for the coming year. The report also included the latest in year financial monitor and the latest proposals for the capital programme.
Section four of the report detailed Havering’s financial strategy which included provision for the reduction in Revenue Support Grant (RSG) over the next three years based upon the four year financial settlement applicable from 2016/17 and those reductions are re-confirmed and will reduce from £20.89m in 2016/17 to £1.376m in 2019/20. The impact of the settlement on Business Rates and New Homes Bonus were still being evaluated although it was not expected to have a material impact on the 2017/18 forecast position as reflected in the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) model. A full analysis would be included in the February Council Tax setting report.
Local authorities would now be able to increase the Social Care Precept by up to 3% per annum in 2017/18 and 2018/19. The additional 1% compared to the increase allowed in 2016/17 would require the authority to set out how the money was being spent on improvements in adult social care. The total increase allowed for over the three-year period to 2019/20 was limited to 6%.
Section eight of the report detailed the Council’s financial strategy for the three year period commencing 2017/18.
Section nine of the report detailed a background to the current Capital Programme.
An indicative block programme of £4.9m for 2017/18 had been approved by Cabinet in October 2016 which represented a continuation of the strategy adopted in recent years.
The report also summarised the Council’s financial position which showed that the Council would need to raise income or make additional savings of approximately £13m in order to balance its financial strategy over the next three years. Of this sum £3.8m had to be found as part of the budget setting process for 2017/18.
During the debate Members sought and received clarification relating to several aspects of the report and its impact on the Council’s service provision.
In relation to the future collection of Business Rates Members asked that consideration be given to investigating the use of alternative premises for small/start up businesses to help attract/keep these businesses within the borough.
Officers confirmed that the possible introduction of a commercial vehicle tariff was a 2018/19 possible saving that would require prior consultation with stakeholders. Current figures suggested that nearly 12,000 commercial vehicles were regularly parked either on the streets or drives of the borough. The problem had been exacerbated with the main utility companies reducing their depot capacities where historically vehicles had been parked. To address the problem and to encourage companies to use their own facilities it was proposed to introduce a £500 annual permit charge for commercial vehicles that parked on the highway outside of work time. Companies that ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Members are asked to receive a presentation on the Council’s ICT provision.
Members received a presentation from the Council’s Director of Technology and Innovation on the ICT service provision within the borough.
The presentation highlighted the service’s visions and objectives and Members noted that the prime focus for the service was to improve its core infrastructure so it could support the Council’s ambitions to improve service delivery for residents.
The presentation also detailed corporate ICT functions and gave a breakdown of the service’s budgets and equipment used.
Members noted that the service dealt with the strategic management of ICT including change and development, information governance & corporate systems, IT infrastructure support, programme management & business improvement and print services.
During a brief debate Members were advised plans were in place to develop a strategic ICT document and that corporate priorities determined future ICT priorities.
All parties felt it was important going forward that Member engagement was encouraged when trialling new software and improvements were carried out to the ICT provision.
Members noted that the Council’s Director of Technology and Innovation already met regularly with several Members to discuss ICT provision.
Officers advised that Members had been involved in the re-design of the Council’s website however Members take up on briefing sessions had been poorly attended.
Several Members commented that they had had problems with accessing software through their iPads which often needed passwords re-set and sometimes required a visit to the town hall to seek assistance.
Officers undertook to review the process and would seek to introduce procedures to make the process more streamlined.
The Council’s Director of Technology and Innovation asked that if Members had specific queries relating to IT access that they contact their Group Leaders who would pass on any queries for resolving. Arrangements would also be made for drop-in sessions to be held when Members could bring their IT issues to the attention of officers.
Members were reminded that some IT access issues existed because of parameters placed on the Council because of the need to follow PSN (Public Services Network) guidelines.
In response to a question relating to the number of mobile phones that the Council supported, officers advised that in line with the Council’s hot-desking policy more staff worked out in the field supporting residents and therefore due to health and safety measures needed to contactable by mobile phone.
Members asked if an up to date telephone directory could be made available online to assist Members with contacting officers with queries relating to council services.
OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY SUB COMMITTEE/TOPIC GROUP UPDATES
Health Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee
The Vice-Chairman gave an update on the work of the Sub-Committee.
The Sub-Committee had been scrutinising the work of BHRUT and how it was dealing with the extra pressures of winter weather places. The Trust’s Chief Operating Officer had advised that Queen’s Hospital had been at its peak in the first week of January and that a redirection process had been put in place to send patients presenting at A&E, where appropriate, to other suitable facilities such as walk-in centres or local pharmacies.
BHRUT had also presented on the number of health tourists that were seen by the Trust (approximately 500 a year). Trust officers had explained how they attempted to recover treatment costs from patients but this was often a complex task. Members had asked to see an example of the paperwork that patients were asked to complete in order to clarify what information patients were required to give.
The work covered by the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment had also been scrutinised. This included plans to produce borough level health profiles on a range of areas including mental health, smoking levels and the production of a new pharmaceutical needs assessment.
The Director of Adult Services had updated the Sub-Committee on the latest position regarding the establishment of an Integrated Care partnership for Outer North East London which included the development of three health facilities in Havering. It was hoped that these would work to provide more efficient and focussed services at a local level. The Sub-Committee had also confirmed the position regarding the payment of care home charges for residents whilst they were in hospital. Members had been advised that full charges were paid by the Council for the first twenty eight days whilst a resident was away from the home which then dropped to 60% of the charge after a four week period.
The joint topic group and Healthwatch Havering had met with representatives of NELFT and NHS Improvement in order to gain their perspectives on the issue of delays to treatments. Work was now underway to draw out the key themes from the evidence sessions in order to be able to report back to BHRUT officers for their response.
Members were advised that as part of the forty four Sustainability and Transformation Plans agreed between councils and the NHS there was a possible threat of the loss of some local pharmacy provision within the borough. The Vice Chairman of the Sub-Committee undertook to investigate and provide a response at the next meeting of the Board.
Crime & Disorder Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee
The Chairman advised that the Sub-Committee had received an update on the work of the National Probation Service. Members had been advised that the service had just received the first set of re-offending rates data covering the National Probation Service, Community Rehabilitation Company and Youth Offending Service.
The average re-offending rate across London was 25%, for Havering the figure was 20.7% across all age ranges, with the exception of the 35-39 age ... view the full minutes text for item 17.