Agenda and minutes

Council Tax scrutiny, Overview & Scrutiny Board - Tuesday, 7th February, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford

Contact: Anthony Clements 01708 433065  Email:

Note: Please note amended start time. This meeting will not be webcast live but a recording should be available on the Council's website from the following day. 


No. Item



The Chairman will announce details of the arrangements in case of fire or other events that might require the meeting room or building’s evacuation.



The Chairman will give details of the actions to be taken in case of fire or other event that may require the evacuation of the meeting room or building.



(if any) - receive.



Apologies were received from Councillors Mandy Anderson (Mathew Stanton substituting) Christine Smith (Keith Prince substituting) and Damian White (Ray Best substituting).



Members are invited to disclose any interest in any of the items on the agenda at this point of the meeting.


Members may still disclose any interest in an item at any time prior to the consideration of the matter.



There were no disclosures of interest.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 285 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Board (attached) held on 7 December 2022 and to authorise the Chairman to sign them.



The minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


2023/24 BUDGET SETTING CYCLE pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Reports attached for scrutiny by the Board.

Additional documents:


Housing Revenue Account


The Director of Housing Services explained that rates of inflation and interest rates posed significant challenges for the housing market. Rent levels were recommended to rise by 7% which was below the rate of inflation. Other Housing Revenue Account charges were to rise by the same level. Details of major works capital programmes and the regeneration programme were included in the meeting papers.


Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy


The Director of Finance explained that the Council was in an acute financial position with a large overspend although this had improved recently. The period 8 overspend could not be covered by General Balances and earmarked reserves were expected to drop to c. £30m which was not a sustainable position.


The forthcoming General Election and Spending Review were likely to lead to some more money being made available for social care costs. Both Adult and Children’s Services had high cost pressures. It was accepted that the Central Government funding distribution model was unfair and that this did not currently provide sufficient funding for social care in Havering. Havering also received less funding overall than many other London boroughs.


Financial pressures were being addressed by savings proposals as detailed in appendix A of the report but this would still leave a significant budget gap over the four year cycle. A band D property’s Council Tax was proposed to rise by 5.94% (including the GLA precept) to £2,088.13 per year.


Capital Programme


Officers advised that the emphasis of the Capital Programme was very much on regeneration. Housing stock replacement would be financed by capital receipts, HRA revenue and grants but principally from borrowing.


Treasury Management Strategy Statement


It was explained that it was aimed to keep the liquidity allowance above £40m and that the Council would borrow as necessary to do this.


Questions and discussion


The 28% projected rise in the cost of housing repairs and maintenance was mainly due to increased expenditure and did not reflect the costs to tenants. It was clarified that the contractor was paid a set fee for a property and was not paid per job. It was accepted that there was a high level of repairs per property – four per property on average and it was hoped to reduce this by e.g. an increase in planned maintenance. The inflation formula used for repairs and maintenance could be confirmed.


Performance penalties were built into the repairs and maintenance contract although not many had been implemented as yet. The contract had commenced in April 2023 and was monitored monthly. It was suggested that a report on the repairs contact could be brought to the next meeting of the Places Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee.


The model for levels of rent payment included assumptions on both the level of inflation and increases in the level of housing stock and officers were happy to review the way in which HRA data was presented. Detail on the delivery of individual units over the next 2-3 years were included in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.