Public Accounts Select Committee - Thursday, 24th September 2020 at 7:00pm - Lewisham Council Webcasting

Public Accounts Select Committee
Thursday, 24th September 2020 at 7:00pm 

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Start of webcast
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1 Confirmation of the Chair and Vice-Chair
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2 Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020
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3 Declarations of interest
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4 Responses from Mayor and Cabinet
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5 Financial stabilisation - budget update and medium term plan
7 Select Committee work programme
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  1. Webcast Finished
5 Financial stabilisation - budget update and medium term plan

all right and then I'm going to open the meeting by welcoming everyone to this meeting of public accounts Select Committee and asking Members to confirm the outcome of the AGM in July and that is that Councillor card should be Chair of the Committee and their Castle Hall should be Vice Chair of the Committee and asked if that's agreed
great read
great Councillor Carter over to you
thank you to welcome to the public accounts Select Committee

1 Confirmation of the Chair and Vice-Chair

present this evening as well as Councillors who are members of the Committee and also some other Councillors who are observing may wish to wish to ask a question that which are allowed to do under Standing orders and too many council staff who are known as Council offices in Council world and they will be taking part in the meeting or observing the proceedings I welcome also to members of the press and public who may be observing or proceed through the website
I'm pleased as a member of our local democracy working Group that this recommendation to be able to broadcast all meetings the public has been enabled the some announcements I need to make before we begin so bear with me
unless you are a member of the Committee your cameras should be switched off until it is your item on the agenda
or I've asked you to speak this helps those watching at home understand what is happening so Councillor Rafborough not a member of the Committee perhaps she could switch off and secondly please keep your microphone muted until you're invited to speak
thirdly if a member of the Committee or another Councillor wishes to speak please use the chap function type her a letter Q in the chat chat function
to indicate you wish to speak at any point in the meeting this Life's makes life much easier for the Chair
please try not to use the chap for anything else
I realise that sometimes on line meetings may not seem to flow as well as impersonal beatings because you know someone asked a question someone else has got a question that relevant to that question but they don't get called to later those other things can happen more often on line but we'll we'll get there the answer urge everyone to be patient
and finally OBE
penalty shortly if you get disconnected from the meeting due to technical difficulties you should use the link you were sent initially to return to the meeting you can also text him Andrew our scrutiny managers keeping us organise please finally note that this meeting is being web cast and a recording will be available on the Council website Sam of we any apologies for the meeting apologies from Councillor Amla yeah OK thank you

2 Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020

I'm the next item is the minutes of the last meeting can we all please agree the minutes of the last meeting we can do that by just raising physically rising our hands if you're happy with a minutes last meeting
gap OK and James used his hand signal as well OK that's good are there any matters arising from those minutes from members
no Concini K thank you well that covers the the minutes

3 Declarations of interest

can I just ask Members are there any declarations of interest before we start meeting
and again no non non non been C so

4 Responses from Mayor and Cabinet

the next item again is a very quick one responses from Murray cabinet there are none and they're also not outstanding so we can move on to the next item
but before we come to the main item will be on the agenda which is Item 5 were going to take to effectively sign off our commercial and culture change review that we completed earlier this year and was due to come to our meeting in March but because of the coronavirus crisis that meeting was postponed but I thought it would be a good idea that so while we had plenty of people here including senior staff from the Council that they just see us sign off this report there's two reasons I'd like to take it earlier on the agenda perhaps three away one is to sort of hopefully get it out of the way quite quickly but secondly our officers leading on this Catherine need it's not been a tradition at the last couple of years that that to Catherine and and latterly Sunil have

5 Financial stabilisation - budget update and medium term plan

had to come to our meetings and sift through lots of other items until the very end of the evening that if they do have to go on to something else they can perhaps leave after this and also has a said I just want to emphasise the importance of this site and from from the committee we attach a lot of importance to this strand of the Council's work there is a need for culture change on commercial activity in the council we want it led from the very top of the councillors you'll see from from my forward and just for members of the Committee the forward in the actual printed papers is a little out of date that was at that was an early draft but I think Tim sent another one ounce today
and I just would like to draw people's attention particularly to section 3 which are all findings particularly those referring to Waltham Forest where we we particularly felt that the work that Walton Waltham Forest were doing had a lot of resonance for Lewisham council and a lot of are
our recommendations are built on on what we picked up from from the many councils with Opta but particularly from Waltham Forest
I just wanted to surrender think any Committee member would want to add before we agreed to move into the recommendations Jim I can see what's speak so gin go ahead
well first of a carer I'd like to think we ought to thank Councillor Grabowski who is no longer on the Committee but was Vice Chair last year and led both by inspiration and involvement in driving the thing forward and with the help of Yearsley of officers particularly Catherine need and supported by Councillor Ryk or from the cabinet but Luis herself had an awful lot to do with just making sure we kept moving I suppose the other thing I'd like to say is really moving forward
it is going to be extremely difficult to move forward on this agenda because of our
the budget crisis we are facing in the in the sense that were were going to have a declining officer resource but on the other hand there are things within it which we do have to to to make very much part of the future agenda in in post covert or even during covert as we as we look forward to the future because we are going to have an awful lot less money to provide services it may well be that we have to 2 2 took if we can to look for ways of of generating resources from elsewhere as difficult as that's gonna be given that all sorts of other organizations and councils themselves are going to be a strapped but there is a there's a suggestion that are we know our culture needs to change and I think probably our culture is going to change any way and will very much of this plays an integrated part in it
thank you Chair
anyone at Aston Villa tightly those what Jim said there as anyone else
saying the thing John
yeah just to selflessly understand that but I think I'm obviously done a quite what can be done yet the Budget but I think we do need to recognise it will lead to further and precious entails a capacity within the Council so that my of estate was might have an impact on this as well about how things are pursued and and so we just need to be mindful of that what we originally has perhaps isn't good is going to be done a different well some of it may not be able to be done at all that just does noting that fact thank you
but if we look at our recommendations mean recommendation 1 we are acknowledging because we've updated them since March because of the coronavirus closures so the recommendations wrong page 1 and 9 of the printed papers and you know
within the proposals that will see in the next item for the way that would look onto thematically look at managing our budgets we are talking about reviewing commercial issues the income trading aspects of the council so it's very relevant to the way forward as well so I'm I'm fairly confident we will we will see a good response from the Council to this report
Katie to people want to move on to the draft recommendations and just agreeing those
yeah I K good so at I think Tim that's all we have to do with this item is agreed the draft recommendations and then the report will be finalised and put to Mayor and Cabinet
that's correct yeah OK so can we have agreement those draft recommendations all those in favor could lift our hands of again if that's the yet good thank you Jim does as well that's good thank you very much that's a great him and everyone else who say in listening
so can I just check his Councillor Mallory joined us can't see him listed no OK so we come to the main item tonight the for financial stabilisation and Budget update and Medium Term Plan so this item is a serious one for the Council and I think is reflected in the fact that Sir not only to be have are we could perhaps call our usual officers here for items such as this at public accounts and David Austin the fine finance director and so in Thompson the Director financial Services we also have a range of other senior directors joining the Committee to observe them to perhaps help answer any questions
and is included our Chief Executive came right and our new Executive Director of Finance Cathy Freeman both very welcome as everyone else you know those was watching and as Members here we can't see them all but a you know they're all here and am sort of imagine them lined up behind David like a Leica sort of her now the All Blacks rugby team or something like that I'm you know about to a hacker so
we have two Cabinet Members here as well I've spotted Amanda to Ryk Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and Crispin and Cabinet Member for the school before was children Services as well as some other Councillors who are observing
I think Councillor Rathbone would like to speak at some point in this item as well that I'll take care questioned when we were me had the presentation I'll take precedent that questions from members of the Committee first
so I think then I also spotted the Councillor Mallory has just joined us Councillor Maslin sorry you're both Ceann sorry on the thing Councillor Maslin has just joined the meeting so fake welcome Councillor Maslin we've done every item effectively except for item 5 the main item were onto now and the workprogramme
so I think as my understanding is can write would just like to introduce the item by giving some context to us before David introduces the report and takes questions so Kim over to you
minutes Councillor Carter has taken over because hear me OK OK thank you so
thank you very much for the introduction and it is right that the whole of E and T appear this evening and relevant than standing behind David were very much shoulder to shoulder on this committee's are collectively should challenge for the whole leadership team of the Council and that is he put Weiwei certainly taking on on the his that is owned ship across ENT and are not just be seen as something that finance do I think it's fair to attain the process
this year is going to be more challenging than ever before and we generally are in an unprecedented level of uncertainty and it's by no means clear what the full impact of the global pandemic is going to be
we know the second wave is is upon us and it's highly likely that the generation of that family told it will take will be harder than for the first wave we also know that government funding for the over-mighty our is insufficient fall far and that gap between the cost of perverting the government funding is is likely to widen and almost nothing of Brexit on the horizon with all of the uncertainty that brings with it as well but we also know that we got some very strong foundations to build on and we know we reacted with compassion in speed and professionalism over the last six months to respond to some of
most vulnerable residents in protecting support them we know that we've been prudent with our finances in the past that we're getting on top of the the overspends in year that the corporate strategy Willow is still broadly on track for delivery despite all of the uncertainty and and turbulence and that we've got a framework for recovery host cove its own that we've seen in shared with many foreign and the Mayor will shortly be bringing forward proposals how we take that forward framed by these budget discussion this but right now we have to think the unthinkable
we have to focus on the on the budget in the medium term in a way that we never had to focus on it before because of the scale because of the uncertainty because of the challenges
that's why we're approaching it differently this year so as I say we've got the whole of their beliefs ship team here this evening we're taking a more strategic themed approach with the budget cuts going forward we know we can have 10 very difficult discussions with members about some choices that would have been unpalatable and unthinkable in the past and we know that we we simply can't afford literally to carry on doing things in a way that we've always done then on factory defensive about things that we've been doing for a long time that we might now need to the rethink and reshape the redesign and reimagine
we've also shy away from the off Chelsea's that that that relisted in things like your commercialisation report and that's why one of the themes were looking at is about that municipal Nerval ship that it's was gonna be so potentially powerful force based on that the work of Members of already done I think collective challenge now as a council is really to embark upon this process of of cuts in a way that does enable us to think the unthinkable to look at what the art of the possible is and not shy away from making some tough choices from some tough options but we need to do that to make sure that we are giving the very best outcomes that we count to Lewisham residents with a budget we've got available chairs his they they deserve that and that's what we're all here for and I'm confident that between us working together in a chur way will be able to tackle the challenges that we got in front of us and and all of us such a T M you are here tonight to help to shape back discussion input to your questions and work on this in a very collective collegiate way going forward thank you Councillor
thank you very much came
David Torrance occurring then introduced the report thank you thank you well came very kindly covered the DJ at the general context and and the key word from from that for me before we get into the detail of the channel's is is that point about uncertainty and you know we saw that it even only yesterday when the autumn budget was cancelled and we're still pending a
comprehensive spending Review but it's likely to only be for one year not three so in that respect as name he you get a sense of the the landscape that were we're trying to in the town the donkey if you like it was some of these numbers but nonetheless what the report does set out is a clear challenge we've got in year around are overspending and the impact of the covert pandemic so that's up to 20 million pounds we believe so far and rising with a second wave until there's hopefully further confirmation of intervention the government may provide and then on some services we have overspending in the region of the last monitoring of around 17 million pounds and that is why the report outlines the Management action is being taken to try and bring that down initially we've identified earn just under five and a half million so far and we're looking to go further with that so that's part of the report the other part of the report as Kim's as looked forward and that's the Medium Term financial assumptions and we enter that we've had the build some caution because the recovery as much as we need to look to opportunity from it I do believe is going to take some time so you'll see in some of the assumptions around the Medium Term financial Strategy that
income collection for as may well remain a challenge some of our spending her and demand cosmic continue and some of those things are in the themes which will come onto so the challenge of the next two years in addition to dealing with the in-year pressures is as a further 14 million in the next three years we believe and a significant proportion of that 24 million comes next year so it is somewhat from loaded
the cuts approach we're taking is the Matic the report actually went out for scrutiny at the end of August beginning of September and what we've done is refined the themes that you have in in in attainment report am to 6 and to all the ones that are in the report are within the six that we're taking forward it's not we've dropped any we've just rationalise them to help focuses focused on leadership attention on them and each member of the executive management team who are on the gulls evening is leading on one of those so one is around joint working in the scope of service one is around productivity new-age where King the third as service reconfiguration and in particular to drive down some of those overspending pressures a fourth is around the the asset base the castles the that the buildings and holding the council has which from a budget perspective is better revenue implication and also a Capital One
effect is the commercial one that we've talked on already and then the set which is a significant one particularly for our main budget areas in social care demand management so those are the six themes that we've we've grouped around him and the exact emergent team I'm sure we'll be able to talk to the ones that they're leading on shortly and if not the evening further discussions are in the diary now floor per member so that we can talk about that before we come forward with detailed proposals so that this is a two way conversation to ensure all of the ideas are captured then in terms of timing obviously the perhaps bring this now is that we have to get on top of the challenge of that scale sooner rather than later we don't have the reserved not to do this now I'm here we are in a good and strong position and we can we can do it in a reasoned and measured way but we shouldn't wait another year that that would that would be too long and certainly before the next year's budget to build it up to February we needed to start this conversation now to ensure that all members were engaged and participating and understood the context from this work we're building to bringing forward in November the more detailed proposals in the normal way that you you receive them for pre scrutiny there and they'll go into man cabinet in December by December we also hope to have that you know the outcome of the comprehensive spending Review that we should have some guidance on what funding and grants and and and the wider considerations for the budget from government we can then pull out together in January with any further changes we may need to make if these assumptions are NEET need to be corrected before bringing the that the the full budget to you in February and on to council for adoption for the next financial year
so that's what the report covers the the in-year pressures the Medium Term assumptions and an approach were taken to address both of those in-year and future year gaps through the thematic approach the other thing I just say is the recommendation in the report has gone tools greeting notice was for them to consider the report and they have and this is the last in the sequence of those committees there are no formal recommendations from any of them to yourselves to take on to Mayor and Cabinet but just to give you a flavour of the conversations we've we've had with them we we talked around considering where we're doing where we bring forward cuts the value of preventative services so that we don't just end up with the very expensive intervention services which albeit that statutory and we have to get a balance that we take our
a community approach that we start with what the outcome needs to be in work back in so for example in we work with families and we don't just tree the children and the Adult separately because we do see an air a number of vulnerabilities in a family that cross both of those are we look at the community in that kind of way and I'm sure they'll be be other examples
the in bringing forward cuts that we are very careful not to stay in our own services so that we avoid cost-shunting you know there might be something I could do my service but it creates a pressure in another and worse at that pressures bigger than divided it then that that you know that's doubling down rather than seeking an opportunity so that was a caution and in fact that really speaks to take him a thematic approach because not only do we as Kim said heavy empty leading on a they've engaged as the senior leadership team and excitedly should team to contribute as was that court causes us to come together to discuss and work
and hopefully avoid some of the the challenge you have given us in previous years around siloed or salami slicing
other parts were around asking about clarity about the budget but I certainly we are reasonably uncertain at the moment but these are the best assumptions we can make as again as I said there are some extra set sessions in the dark for further member contribution ahead of the November proposals am and then the other part of it was really just a few Members were emphasising the to align our financial work with the broader recovery piece that Kim's talk to to ensure that what we're doing now supports and underpins are in terms of opportunity and doesn't cut across it as you would expect in some of the Committee's ever some specific aspects that they drew out there was particularly relevant to their their terms of reference so you know in sustainable it was ran the asset base in housing it would have been around evictions and Children's it was ran a preventative early help strengthening offer so those are examples but they would have been more specific to those those discussions but no formal referrals to yourselves the seeming so that that's what the report covers that's what the discussions to date have covered and very happy to take questions and obviously for not specifically about the finances we may bring in colleagues to Thomson's were
thank you very much David am I think I can expect questions from all councils but Councillor Hall the Vice Chairs got in first so so Alan as asked a question there forget to take herself off me like I adjusted thank you it just for absolute clarity I just wanted to ask her some brewed questions and that is him in November officers will be presenting us with a budget reductions cuts and can you just clarify the amount the quantum of those cuts the you're expecting to date
An and secondly and you tabled a paper to us or with the Management action and I to thank you for that because that says something this committed ask her specifically for but I did notice that that does include some increases in income as well so this management action he is not only the freezing of posts it has wrapped up in it increases in income any you know things such as the increase in a bereavement Services Fees so I just wondered EU other as there any other management action and there will be required before we set the budget thank you
there already is a came back ivy so answer those young
on Council just before I come to those specific questions you did also probably earlier I've forgotten introduction to mention so it's not it's not to do with a report as of could just generally felt that the Committee's attention that the accounts which will be going to the Audit Panel in November an onto Councillor November recurrently in their public inspection period that closes on Monday and anybody who should have any questions on on the accounts you know happening today should be a touch with those and if we can't answer or electronically we can arrange my appointment for them to visit the Council we just have to do by appointment to ensure that our own covert restrictions in terms of managing numbers of people and you know the cleaning of the building and so forth is is done but the inspection period is happening as it would normally the Council cells are a bit late this year as as many things are because the timetables were was shifted by by the covert pandemic but that that on going
to answer the question specifically the concern what the near continent is the challenge around management actions so that was the 17 million I think it's coming down but will be bringing the next monitoring forward in October 2 nerve and Marin cabinet and and this report talks to some of the reductions that we're looking to make the 5 point 4 millions in it in addition there's the future cuts now the way we're approaching this is we're looking 3 3 years out because changed isn't all individual things but the immediate challenge is to identify at least the first step of those three years which is the 24 million needed for next year I'm so whatever we are not able to address within the overspending and
ensure sticks we will have to add that had 4 million because we need to get on top of the overspending it would we take we can't afford to become an overspending as next year and then in addition the 24 million next year so that's the quantum in respect of the in Year paper yet the Committee did ask for more detail which we've shared of offline for your consideration in respect there is one income line which is the bereavement one and that is
the unfortunate
consideration around the covert and I make you know we were not expecting so some of these are very difficult to talk about but you know equally we have to recognise that in the when the where the money's laying in the main though they are where either non critical services were able to be paused and we've been able to not spend money that we can now released to cover some of the pressures in the critical services where they've gone beyond what they needed to do know some of that beyond is captured to covert but equally some of its where they had plans in trainer have been delayed and that's a cost we have to turn to see similarly around that we consistent actually with your own strategic priorities for the council and we're trying to reduce agency and and through this we're trying to hold some of the vacancies limit the number of agency appointments to save some costs
in areas now we have to be careful that those are not continued beyond the point where they become counter-productive in terms of that that the work the Council's doing which is why we brought them forward as a once off package and the wider being taken us in year management action under our obligations to to live within the budget you satyrs where a more formal decision around the Ms needed to keep them going if we were truth and choose to reshape a service and take some posts out for example they would come forward to in November in the normal way while we would highlight that there's a staff consultation needed and and that kind of work are forthcoming so thanks to answer your to question
thank you Councillor Mark Maslin up she'd like to come on screen as well pull
thank you Chair could we have some examples of things that son the previously unthinkable that the in C and the Mary cabinet are now seriously thinking about
then Birol let's take another question I think Jim to marital status your questions he got a comments where I've got an enormous number I think he either in its Letts answered let's get an answer to those questions then thank you
I used to go to enormous number if I really wanted to do
but I suppose that David thank you
there were other ministers with this is this is a classic I mean by Hermes active management colleagues to come in and and give their examples which as he comes behind up so I will sweep on this one and I'll let them lead you can catch your course thanks for your question Councillor lasting are was going to suggest that some of the M T Leeds come in to give some examples of the work that they're they're doing but also to say that the expectation is that through meeting such as these and the strategic sessions we've set up with with members that David spoke about this is about members also coming up with suggestions and ideas and challenges and suggestions for that we're very much working together on this in a mature way that ensures already to have some tough discussions openly and happily about some of the ideas but but members what to share with us so it is very much will a collective and and joint way of working rather than just presenting effective completely Members be one to which all members and an opportunity for generally engage with the ideas that they'd got around what we might be able to stop doing and change what we're doing and continue doing going forward but perhaps there some of they exacted directive might Once-ler having at this point and with their hands up with some flavours of thought that they're having at the moment
he wants to go first
perhaps Campion Councillor Marcus Hart camels on the floor opened the keys chores just signalled then presence yep
Kevin high ya and Africa
well I suppose it's not about think that are unthinkable because they have to be thinkable but I think I think we do need to look at some of our operating models in some of our operations so we made some significant changes in recent years to our waste collection service I think we we we need to go back and have a look at that again and see whether there are different ways of doing that we also need to think about I think some of the the the way we work with our communities in terms of neighbourhoods and thinking about whether whether we can lean more on our communities to maybe helped a little bit more in some of the front line areas I think in terms of demand management I think we have to which is one of the themes that were looking at going for I do think we need to consider how our early prevention approach can ultimately lead to a lower cost as we now go down the chain and you know it may well be that we need to invest in more and earlier prevention and move some that cost to get to gain more down the line so it's it's it's it's things like that so that's that's some of the flavour of some of the things that we we will be looking at either I don't I mean they're not unthinkable I think they just they're just hard to do
thank you Tom
thank you thank you Chair yet and acted in terms of thinking the unthinkable ors Kevin says not that unthinkable there there's very some very close to his coming through in adult social care where previously we have given people more choice about the sort of support that they had him and listened more to individual wishes which has resulted in extra expense and now it may be the time when we've actually got to say that we have to always go for the cheapest option which will in in inhibit what people's at people's ability to influence the direction of their package all we
work within a set budget to get them the best of what they can afford within that budget rather than what they would necessarily want
for example we've now had six months without any day services running we are struggling to bring some of those back bit the mood has changed around what people want certainly for the foreseeable future should we be thinking about a more inclusive community based activities and which will be a different model altogether many places already done that many people though love institution based services so these are difficult conversation two and a half to have with people that use services and of course with with yourselves
thank you some panicky
thank you Chair South put it up some of the comments to that effect already from my colleagues' offices very something around and particularly ensuring young people's services the balance between universal and more targeted services so it's what it's an that links to the point around kind of of managing the demand that we how our services and you'll have seen from the front the from the budget papers that we've got significant demand issue with ensuring young people services tiki social care services at the moment says how we might people shifting what we do towards more targeted approaches for children young people and their and their families
we have a large number of buildings that the director is using to deliver a range of diced different discrete services as whether we are able to bring some of those of his functions to cap and that's an area which is looking at at the moment has no conclusions but that's an appropriate area to can to look at and I think something more widely across the Council as a whole is the learning from COVID-19 so staff have had to work in a very different way to the way they've worked previously what's the learning from that in terms of more agile working for staff going forward and what does that mean and transfer cost base as as a cancer Council so those just some examples that were considering but I think what I could appoint that Kevin's need in terms of whether that's unthinkable not
thank
thank you for said Councillor Maslin lay of mists of those answers I see but they all have been recorded so be able to watch the recording back and came did you want to sweep up to use the same expression was used earlier after those answers
and I was happy to express our like that I recommended lots of questions than ever tomato attitude now thank you OK so let's move to Councillor Mallory care it is Councillor Maslin with us
yes Dr you turned up a blissfully Aajel most of the antics pointed they have been recorded for the or half the watch the recording Love I'd love to do that Barrett terrible problems with the Tina area we're not gonna get proper internet factual Tuesday badly OK
thanks for a case I came Mallory you had a few questions apparently June we'll pool you pull you could switch to eat and you wouldn't have any problems I'm a neighbour of polls and not having any internet problems yeah I've got well given the direction of the discussion so far I've got quite a few more comments than I thought I would have an I certainly got some questions about the report itself so starting with the comments
I don't
have to say and I know I know some of the problems have been around our having to deal with a pandemic but I think this report comes to us too late I really have had wished that we could have had a meeting in July to look at some of the Gitell of that we had at the time and on some of my questions are going to be in and around that I think that I'm the difficulty were currently in is that we're having to address severe budget problems and yet we're talking about a covert recovery or actually given the likelihood of a second spike
yet the continuing pandemic and lessons to be learned I think personally I think that we should already be thinking are really quite radically in terms of what we do as a result of the things that we have so far learn from covert in terms of of of of ideas so I was I realised that officers were probably a little recent reticence in coming forward with radical ideas so let me try some on I think for example that the covert pandemic has taught us that the voluntary sector has a bigger role
potentially a voluntary and community sectors a bigger role to play a than previously saw I think it could be brought in to do a lot of the work and I remember Tom Brown suggesting this almost a year ago a lot of the work which would keep people out ago out of having to go into care homes quite so quickly as the do and and I think that could well given that placements are one of the big issues facing us in both social care areas are I think that's something that needs to be looked at let me try on the issue of libraries I'm not sure unless we double libraries up as community centres so that they address some of the digital divide seriously in terms of not just usage but classes and so on I'm not sure that libraries can survive only as libraries I know they have diversify but I don't think they diversified fast enough I think one of the lessons is that whether we like it or not we're going to have to sustain our parks and because there is no doubt that Parks will and are continuing to make a major contribution to the health of this borough and I think that in looking at children's social care and I'm going to come to demand management there in my questions but I think we probably and I was interested in Finnissy's comments I think we do need to look at
more at ways in which
sir
at some of the preventative stuff kick it is delivered in such a way that people aren't Khandal above to to care to care residential or other forms of care quite so quickly for some of this is brutal they both care services would argue that there under funded and yet if we're going to sustain our the bulk or at least many of our everyday services on which our reputation is founded we need to control the spend in the big services and then the so adept that work on recovery it seems to me not only needs to to be you know needs to take place urgently but needs to to almost supersede if we're looking at the medium and long term of of of where we go from here because the situation we know is dire local authorities will be bottom of the government's list when it comes to relieving the country of austerity there is going to be no relief to austerity and certainly local authorities won't be part of that figures in the report show just how serious the situation is so turning to the report and questions that I have got to say in passing I also think turns a strategy it's worth looking at section tans and the business rates and Fair funding Review both of which probably aren't going to hit us as hard as they would have had there not been the pandemic but down the road they will and so those are further pressures on us or when we come to the medium and long term strategy chair with your indulgence I have are quite a number of questions because we missed a public accounts meeting in July which didn't which means that we didn't have the opportunity to interrogate the overspend so if I can give an Rakha with we've we've kept with passively devoted this meeting to this out Sergei thank you Chair and I'm sorry to monopolise that so far but I am afraid I've been waiting a long time for this
so if were if if we can just go through I'd like to hear some answers on the environmental overspend and which we were not resort I don't think were properly resolved at the end of last year with at one stage there was a history issues around the refuse collection service I don't know whether those are still the issue so I think we need some detail on that or on adult social care if we haven't got the answers the tonight that I'm going to return to my old bugbear which is that it the in around demand management because adult social care has been cushioned by the better Care Fund so what I want our figures for how much of an overspend there would be an adult social care were it not but for the contribution of the better Care Fund
there's no doubt Adult social Care has relatively speaking benefited more than children's social care in that respect so if we haven't got the figures tonight I think we need them circulated my certainly want them publicly reported to us at the next meeting and I think they should and I would like to recommend SHA that they may be may be made available to the next Mayor and Cabinet meeting so if we are going to recommend anything that's one recommendation of other Members may not agree with me and but that certainly one I would want the second that then finally the last issue is children's social care and I really am upset and perturbed about the overspend in that I imagine it's largely in placements we don't have the narrative in this report but if I can take us back to 2 years ago when we at the public accounts Committee did two things one we recommended to Mayor and Cabinet that they that they put more money in the base budget to help and an or be the first to concede that the service remains underfunded but it's going to have to remain underfunded up for the for the foreseeable future because we are going to have to get control of demand so my other two my other issue is that we we we allowed within inputting that money into the base budget and continuing to monitor the overspend we were persuaded that the improvement plan was going to make a big difference the to that that the two aspects of it that I remember particularly one recruitment of foster carers which would obviously make a big difference I want to know how we did with that I appreciate we got a new directors so if I will probably know whether there still issues in their an inheritance of his of the other issue was that we recognise that our own that that part of our problem was was recruitment of too many agency staff and that we therefore her to enhance our own and our own workforce
improve the the incentives for retention for recruitment and retention and that this would lead to a great deal more continuity and I think it would make it a big works was to make a big difference so I'm I'm sick and I think we need answers on on on on those those aspects of the improvement plan that we reckoned would or need a couple of years to bed in we've had a couple of years are they making a difference and if not why not thank you share
thank you Chair while I think David may want us to start the responding there was some comments initially gym agent vacant lots of be responded to I'm sure people were listening but Kim may like some initial comments and then 3 3 victory Fleetwith on problematic budgets in this year
environment and also to an end last year in fact as well Adult social Care and Children's social Care well we'll if I can start but I I'll invite Kevin environment Penycae on the Children's working those questions particularly children 1 there was a specific service angles to it so I'll let them come in on those but just to the point that this report is late and doesn't have all the detail we did bring
there is Finance report to obvious creating physical Nico bid impact and then to Mayor and Cabinet around the outturn and the first monitor in July so I didn't want to try and overburden or supporting material that that's there and and we will be continuing now that meetings are resumed with a normal monitoring reporting so as I said the next one to Mayor and Cabinet will be in October so I take the point it's an unfortunate those bits of information in different places but we are still still reporting them fully take your point about aligning the budget decisions with the recovery planning and which I think I alluded to my my introduction as well and that's something that the work that the leadership team is is taking on an and others may wish to talk to that as a cyclically just on the Adult social Care question about how much the improved better Care Fund and at several sad into that the Adult social Care precept
and because those are two measures one through the tax collection the other through grants that have been specifically focus on adult social care the impact of those over the last four years is 22 million pounds so that I think that that gives you the number you were looking for Councillor Mallory but I'll turn over to Kevin and Penycae for your environment and children's questions
hi John I come in the Chair
so I had just going back to the pressures that lead if you remember last year there were it's some series of various so instant pressures on the commercial and trade waste collection so when collecting the level of income which we'd hoped with collected we were going to collect and I'll come back to that the other area was there was there was a there was a pressure in terms of the underlying a basic waste collection service there was a chunk of for call stair and there was a a third area which was if you're embed the leasing of vehicles which we were lacing last year that was and we were going to put that right by purchasing vehicles and and then there was a again another or a big sort of chunk of money which we won't collecting all week we'd anticipated to collect in bereavement Services
and those if you add those up those for big areas that that those what that does a fundamental things that were problematic last year
I always start with the last one bereavement Services I I can see from the earlier paper that David I think distributed that that's beginning to come back to where we thought it ought to be from a couple of years ago and sadly in some respects but it's a consequence of the circumstances that were nothing and unlikely to change so that that that area commercial trade waste is going to be very difficult because actually a huge number of our customers were not operating for a great deal of the year and some of them are beginning to come back now but that that that it's but they're not by no means all back some of that it's taken account in the covert pressures that David's identified and will will be seeking to recover as much of that from the government as possible but fundamentally we do need to look at that service again and you'll see that one of the strands in the in the themed approach we're taking this year ease our commercial work and this'll clearly be a part of that a judgement about whether we can make that work or whether we need to do something completely different
the vehicles that we were leasing yet we will be able to put that right this year it's it has been delayed believe it or not covert delay that as well because the the they've got to be imported and when they reported a good be put together in the gory tree processes and all of those things were delayed because of Fear the the the up the whole closure of the business world earlier on this year but but that we will with that that will be put right and that that we've still got an issue in terms of the underlying costs I think of the basic waste collection service and that will be one of the operator I sped set out on the look of the operating model again and make sure that we can do that as efficiently as possible so yeah wits I know you know we will we will the where there are few other minor areas of expenditure which were we're doing everything we can this year to try and bring that into until the other thing I should say is that the with it our recycling budget is always dependent on the market for recyclates and that depends on the global economy and the demand for materials and so that that continues to be something that will worry us as we go forward because clearly with the global economic sort of her you know downturn then it is likely that the income that we get from recyclates will reduce and as a pressure that we have to try and manage as we go forward so it you know I'm not saying we're the would by any means the still quite a lot of work to do but we're where we are on it
in a kayaker had thank you trying to have all the points you may Councillor so a first of all the main part of the overspend in Children's Services is placement shall quite correct said as by far the largest part of the overspend and at the point certainly on my rival was about an estimate of about 10 million pounds overspend projected for the area of work covering off because of various different comments and questions the you mates ever swilling relationship to demand management work is already under way to ensure that we have much better demand management arrangements in us through early help and prevention a programme which her started in July and is working so I threw not talk to the bit about that are Pichal Select Committee earlier on this week
placement costs have gone up so the unit cost for placements have gone up enough just not showing Lucian that Sir that's a national issue and that's been a particular issue also during the covert pandemic period or the number of young people who are required to be in placements has gone up and the number of young people who are in expensive residential placements as unfortunately also gone up so that's why Bierley helped among management pieces absolutely critical in terms of bringing the this up this whole area of activity and technocratic control greater financial control and and this work in terms of addressing those those placed on costs at the moment you ask about staffing agency costs so it is the case that over the last couple of years there has been a reduction particularly in Management Agency costs so I think a sort of PAPs nearly two years ago maybe a year and a half Cook ago particularly children's social care there was a heavy dependence on agency managers in terms of running that services actually not a good way of running a current sustainable service but is also an expensive way of running it rang a service or we now have a full complement of permanent adages across children's social care and then in terms of social workers we are recruiting more social workers so we recent recruit recruited 30 need compensation workers in into into the into the Council in the short term that requires a greater amount of support for those as social workers all it does in the longer term is Bill build our own kind of workforce and we got a target of of moving to 90 percent her permanent permanent workers you asked a very specific question around foster care so unfortunately we are very dependent on independent foster care agency placements our rate of in-house foster care is not knowing near as high as I'd like it to be there was activity to to address that an and the Wasim recruitment but unfortunately that recruitment was also matched by foster carers existing foster carers leaving us mainly through I think through retirement so a significant piece of work that we need to return to is to increase the the rate of in-house foster care on average and the cast per week is about 400 pounds extra for her an independent foster care agency as opposed to an in house foster care can a placement says really important that we we address that it takes some time to recruit foster carers because there's a there's a as an approval process and also we need to ensure that the service we provide is one that foster press prospective foster carers wants to join and as you'll be aware in the inspection of Children's social Care Services last year the judgment of Ofsted was that we were requiring prudent to be good so that makes it more difficult for us to recruit both staff and also foster carers and so the appeal of creaky key piece of work we have to to is to provide a really great service for children young people for the families we working with and of course for the staff who then join us and asked again part of the work that we've got coming on at the moment so I'm I'm hopefully have addressed the question and comments that you made
we'll come back to GM can I just her support just a quick so there hasn't that progress we had hoped hasn't been laid and they are high on penalties agenda as that what we're saying yeah I thought I thought I was picking up that maybe we have made progress on staffing and major there isn't such an overspend in staffing costs but the we haven't we've made some pro while we haven't made as much progress in the other areas particularly foster CA as Jim says is high on your agenda you are nodding finicky all of those things are very high on my tent I've got quite a long list of things at the moment so they are very high on my tender this particular budget is this is on are December meeting say about 2 gives an update then I will give an update until the foster care that takes a much longer period of the or Ceann understood and stood here and did tawny to come back on Adult social Care's that
it's my thinking right
happy to happy to come back M Shed
a couple of specific things that the comments that Councillor Murray raised yes we absolutely do want to use the voluntary sector more it's in the prevention sphere we are that is is happening he rightly cites the them the impact of the of the shielding of the voluntary sector in
in in the response to that what really manifested itself was that the the voluntary sector staff are part of the voluntary sector really stood up and them have made a significant difference I would say that that probably helps us think about where we invest our resources in the next grant round in in 18 months' time to make sure that we ensure that that those grants are aligned with the strategic aims of the council and him that we get we get the the response that the Council expects from the sector it absolutely is making a difference the the numbers of people supported year on your are going down actually and that's through asset based approach using the voluntary sector community connections unfortunately we living in a time of austerity with the disadvantage the most vulnerable being the people who are seeing the greatest impact of austerity on their lives and so the the consequence of that is that we are seeing a lot of people with increasingly high needs and M greater demand so we aren't just able to always them give them informal involved Trevi services sometimes they need the higher end services and I have to say one of the consequences of the pandemic has said as been that the people that we're supporting know who are coming through the system are need a much more unwell and much more dependent the
the issue of of of the libraries I think we do need to reimagine the way the libraries were we've started that piece of work and the the Cabinet Member it has is eager that we press on as soon as we are able to safely reopen the libraries in using them in a much more inclusive way away which has connecting Communities is part of our Council from dawn reimagined and a whole host of other things and we've had some work commissioned around that
I think I think finally the other thing have to serve to make the point on the AGM that that the budget the cushion of the BCF and the AGM and the of the precept which of course is in the context after it in the context of 22 million pounds extra 35 million pounds taken out plus some additional pressures that that have come from things like doing the right thing with the ethical Care Charter which of itself cost between three and a half and four million pounds so I think it's an
it can be sometimes very easy to look at the amount of money that's gone in but those are looking what what has changed in the background as well so absolutely welcome the challenge to see you make sure that we do the right thing but we have to get value for money as well
thank you we'll come back gym at the end of the session on the recommendation to Mayor and Cabinet so we might forget that Joan did you have her question
but to know as the Marmot OK so act I've got a couple up given gyms ask those questions looking after some extent looking back up I won't ask them but I'm I've got some questions looking forward of the Medium Term financial Strategy
just trust David on this business of covert and long covert expenditure how convince star you that you know every services correctly reporting Code a non covert expenditure
does it matter Amina and you know I'm convinced it probably does but you know what risks are that if we're getting it wrong you know if we're overestimating or underestimating code that expenditure secondly
are yeah I wrote this earlier other any grounds for optimism that the government may at some point make good on its promise to fully fund councils covert costs a picking anything up at all you know is is the even as the sea is the comprehensive spending Review gonna be earlier perhaps now because the knock at the budget so at least on their way maybe no Oby stand earlier and you know or are they just going to
what the public can answer this one that are the government just going to renege on its promise in a specific and limited way and the final question is is I thought the whole idea of the themes was was was was quite NO it's it is quite a good one in the sense it it it
to some extent I thought some of them when we have more of them than we've got now were were perhaps another way of doing salami slicing or just an and to some extent doing things that we should be doing anyway like good contract management but that seems to not be in the final six anymore but there were three particular 1 point with 13 point 9 13 point 10 13 point 1 5 which were in a potentially quite radicals of service Sir changes and I'm just wondering if we can get any feel now for what
for which of these six themes we think are going to produce the most
bang for buck away if we could almost savings really word word we think that what we're going to get the same and strong
you know or are we just going to spend about you know Law time
looking at things in different ways and coming to unfortunately not enough solutions and I suppose there is a fourth question really but I just wondered if we looked at any other ways of looking at the budget
I had turned their outcomes at some point and it made me think of something old outcome based budgeting that you know this all did we look at any other ways of of having a completely radical look at the budgets like Zero based budgeting and we benchmarking against other councils as well hope you got all those
David OK well organised crime pick them off but do channels may I miss miss any go both as no conduct covert are we accurate does it matter
we won't be absolutely accurate than you know there's too much going on there are too many moving parts but I do believe we are
AC accurate reasonably accurate and we are taking a great deal of care to be accurate not least because one can month we have to give a return to the government that details very specifically on what we're spending the money that we're claiming to be under-covered as opposed to the ones that were taken proposals now that is benchmarked across London so we we do see what our neighbours are doing and we do see what the whole of London is doing different boroughs have different characteristics I mean clearly some of them have very different numbers around business rates compared to the ones that we've got just because of the nature of the economy in their in their boroughs but when we look at that we are where we would expect to be and we don't seem to be missing and any other particular considerations in addition I know that Cathy will be meeting with the treasurer's across London and they discussing a bit more detail not as the numbers but you know that the actual make-up of those and any challenges they've got in preparing them in terms of how they see things and and representatives of that group are liaising regularly with the ministry as well as through the LGA to support the lobbying angle to the Treasury so I'm reasonably confident one that we're taking care to be accurate and to the that would suggest we are complete and accurate where we may be a little bit wrong and at the margins having the key point is that we haven't been given enough money for the amount of
expense or lost income that we've incurred and that you know that's up to 20 million in reserves for this year as the report says so if if route by million not and I'm very sorry but the principal point remains that the government isn't funding this fully and we are having to dig Howard onto our proven base to ride it out and that will get increased any hard if through the second way we we have to you reinstate further costs
I'm not really goes onto your question about grounds for optimism
let looking for them I think what I'm taking from it is that this is so uncertain so unprecedented not just for us but for the you know the government and the country as a whole that what the government is trying to avoid doing is committing to something that may or may not happen it it's it's committing towards is immediately needed to be done and we saw today the next phase of the furlough scheme going into a job retention scheme and then you could argue that could have been done two months ago but they need to see how things are going in and what the landscape is as they Progresso
I I mean it is requiring me to be a betting person if you like but a deal thing that when it comes to the crunch and you know we seen this was some councils that have got closer to the the cliff-edge sooner than than others that good measures are taken an intervention and support is given to ensure that that there stirred away from the edge so I think if this goes on and the numbers are such
that there may well be money but I can't guarantee and we have to build the modelling and productions on on what we know which is why we've got the big numbers we do the other reason I'm optimistic his I don't think the government at the moment wants to lock up a solution in without really understanding what element of the solution is time limited cause it's specific to go ahead and while a man is fixing the base underlying challenge about suitable financial settlement for local government in particular with the cost of care we and they began to lay the Health and social Care Act and
here the challenges around some of the schools money in the children's money that you being asking about so I think they were probably feels to me drip feed and next week we have to do an income return and will get a bit more money back under the scheme for that you know as I suspect they would repeat it in but how much and when I can't say that that that we will just have to do the dance I think to the point around themes I do think they they ripped they do radically gay beyond the housekeeping
the fact that you've got the executive management team here is not being driven by finance and good below budget monitoring or budget management it's bigger than at it it's it's a cultural strategic leadership point the other thing that we've done within is we've asked exacted Executive Directors to lead on errors that they wouldn't normally be so they're supported by the people with the knowledge that their challenging in were challenging each other this is this as part of the standing side by side on its I do think that that is that is the intention in respect of the ones I think might bring the most money I would say we will probably need to find it through the service reconfiguration the points you be making about looking for opportunity and
being different ways of working and an unthinking more radically or do think there will be something around demand management and where we set our thresholds and risks that Tom's talk to and and Penycae to an extent as well and then a third one I think and you could budget under service reconnect figuration I guess but is Iran productivity where through people not being another Ferzan being able to do things once rather than starting in one place and finished in the other I you make of his end come back to the office but do it all and having a more joined up community approach around the front door and things like that I think there could be some some bigger money productivity so up the 6 I start with those three if you were looking for the bigger numbers and then to a fourth question around otherwise of budgeting
if the answers that you just dismiss them just tell me you just dismissed them
be interesting piece of thinking about that well we haven't done it so in that sense you could say they've been dismissed I have or have looked at and we have looked at resetting the budget around the corporate priorities but the corporate priorities don't encompass all aspects of what we do though the priorities so the gotta be a little bit careful about how they are aligned to the strategy in that sense we could look at zero-based budgeting and it may be if we're doing radical service reconfiguration we designed we will do that but very difficult to do you know for the whole organisation because there are so many moving moving parts and then just finally your other question about that which I think I addressed in part to the first one is are we doing benchmarking yes absolutely we're doing it financially in the round but I know also from my conversations on some of the themes we're looking at you know volumes and unit costs and
market differences across different boroughs and other authorities so we're looking for ideas and we're benchmarking in terms of performance as well I'm so that work is ongoing thank thank you very much David very interested answers and Kim was to come in
surrounding came
just to clarify a point that David made around the process and the way we are well doing this and it is about the whole of leadership T obviously should team of the Council being involved in this but will also mindful of the fact that we also dealing with a second wave of what that may may bring as well so it's quieter a juggling act at the moment to keep businesses and services running to know what's coming down the track with a second way and to deal with that never scale of the challenge that we got in front of us so to managing all of all of that in this context is is also something that we got an eye on as well
have imagined with the first wave though there was a lot of setting things up to do and I know reconfiguring most people may be able to just slot back in two things well it's as insight hairs if only it was that envelope
we need in some areas possibly but you know we are now redeploying staff and none critical services to get them trained in readiness to do work around local contacting and and tracing as that become something more devolved to a local level were looking at how we we attention after Rhys downed up shielding service as well which in ours is a strong possibility Surrey
OK
before we move on to Councillor of premises the question did Dick Councillor Maslin want to come back on something of a said early put a couple of comments in the in the meet and chat
or not
that
thank you
I just think that
what we're talking about here is a lot of narrative and rhetoric and they're not really talk about the numbers if you look at the Council's budget whereas spending the money and we'd on on not sign more savings we need to my own being sold or officers what savings we need to make and if you look at the budget if we closed all the libraries in the leisure St this and the community grass game and took a hatchet to governance and
got rid of all these cabinet members and went down to the bare minimum and got to the bare minimum of committed and got rid of the Young Mayor or respite we wouldn't save these numbers that we've been told we need to save and was offset before you know if I was a non-executive director of a company or charity and I was presented with these numbers of what we needed to find in 3 years 4 years call it what you will our demand big demanding to see a plan now to die and that what we were going to be doing
just say their numbers but we're not doing that we're just talking about rhetoric and narrative sums can happen when a plan and and I'm all respite when it comes all we're going to see is what's going to be sufficient to get through the next few months were satisfied million queries now playing that long term this encompassing all the numbers that we need to find in the time frame that we've been told that we need to find them and telling us what the Council is likely to look like in it at the end of this process and all the things I've heard purely for the new Director of see why p I've heard it all before you know it's not so we've been trying to do these things I'm quite happy to stand up and say I was incompetent art into a good job but there were officers around me who were professionally qualified and competent that we're trying to do all these things so going to happen what you sang is is is going to happen on a fine this money in CYP that we've been told we supposed to find him and we are the authority that said that we could put 5 point 4 million pounds into the budget on a one off basis and that we've had to admit that that was ludicrous in now I've marked my point is that I'm not getting comfort as somebody manages money for living that we are pursuing any kind of poll Aussie as going to deliver the numbers of not me but someone else is telling me regards defined in a given time frame crime thank you us pretty clear came would like to answer that
thank you Chair and thank you Councillor Muslim for your contribution
it is disappointing that some you feel like that around gushing we've been having this evening but we've been very clear that tonight was not about bringing and plating up a plan before you it was about setting out the approach that we were taking and giving the context and that the sessions we've just been having in the last few days with the Select Committees that we've got scheduled to take place from next week for members to attend and then to come back through the Select Committee process before coming back to her pack as he was near enough normal budget year is the time and place where we need to have those discussions with you and other select committees and other members to get it your important urine idea so that we can work together on this rather than just presenting to you set it proposals we wanted to ensure that there was an opportunity you to help to shape this and to input what we're trying to do and that certainly what would be working very very hard for the last few weeks to put in place over continue working collectively with you over the coming weeks as well to deliver that plan that will give you the options and decisions then the only to take and you trim so
after depression school is
I'm Councillor Hall wants to ask the question and thank you own I sympathise recounts the massing in some respects because with a question today we've been clearly told that the extent of the budget deficits are high and they are going to be very challenging and if we just take the you know the timeline that we've been given today and what will happen in effect is that we will be given a matter of weeks to decide and arbitrate on her a number of very serious policy and financial issue so I seem perfect fives with that I want you to bring it back down a bit to look at a specific example because I think this my illustrate why I see some of the problem is is is the is the cross-cutting nature of of these things now I understand that the Home Office has opened accommodation for people seeking asylum in the borough
now looking at the figures and I did correspond with officers before this meeting over the last week am includes children any includes adults and those children will need to go to school I'm seeing in 7 point to to and just to link it in that schools obviously are are finding this covert situation quite typical and we used to be able to license deficits but the regulations of now changed so I would be interested to know how that's change not necessarily in detail at this meeting but outside of it and because I'm concerned that schools can function that's because her visit hours and if schools can't get a licensed deficit from the local authority they will be making cuts in their budgets in-year and on year by an early bases so I would like to see that what I'm concerned about really though he's we did ask for figures about no recourse to public funds and maybe talk to Councillor Maslin about this I think it was in March 2 thousand 19 and this committee said that we were supportive of the policy of a sanitary Borough but we were concerned about the lack of projections for additional costs we resolve the figures would be provided in future regarded no recourse to public funds in the budget and the encores there is any significant and highlights her the difficulties because it affects children's social care if affects the adult budget he affects the schools budget and it's all of these things taken together and increases you know the the NI desperately for for some high cost services at times and when I looked at the briefing are we were given I think I can quote the bottom it says some think because it says something like
whilst the cost is funded by the Home Office of accommodation or council offices around the issue of financial implications upon the council because they waiting for a response with a funding more brief provided well whilst we wait for the government to deliberate deliberate the Council has the legal responsibility the moral and ethical responsibility to provide services and I think that's it we will pick up the tab any would just add to the cost it just adds to cost pressures and it just one specific example and the CYP director couldn't provide me any cost implications because they said the briefing was provided by adults and and I think really it that's that's not that's not what we need we what we need is a coherent corporate response I K yeah well you might get one
where Lucas beginnings a one hour nothing cavern David both want to speak
yeah just to stay on them the asylum seekers issue I I meet their weekly with the Home Office on this matter and cancer Mallory's part of that meeting and as are the other Ward Members
and firstly and full mostly to make sure that the provision that is being made for them is appropriate and and of high enough quality of course which I know that one of my officers visited earlier this week with saw the ward members and I think there were at least reassured to some extent that that was appropriate provision but am as you know the Home Office have taken this approach because of the pressure they're under so it isn't something that the Borough asked for however we know that we have to accommodate people in this situation and were and were very happy to do so if if if we can do it and we get the proper funding for it so it is a matter that we will be taking up regularly with the Home Office in relation to any costs associated with it and that is an ongoing discussion
I'm a triumph at the Under on the wider issue of no recourse to public funds I think those of you have been on the public accounts Committee for a number of years will know that we changed our approach over the years in relation to how we handle this particular policy area and actually I think it's a great success for the council because I think we've managed to turn what was a very challenging situation with many hundreds of people who who had no recourse to public funds into a positive outcome for for many of those individuals because we worked with them and the work of the homeless and we managed to regularise their situation so that they could be they could receive housing benefit and they could receive financial support and and they could then pursue a reasonable secure life for them and their families as they as as they as they went forward so I and I think over the years I've got the figures in in on the you know to my thing is but we we we certainly reduced in doing so the pressure on the Council's budgets by I think by at least 50 percent of it outdated might know that have the figures at 10 but and and we did that in a humane and compassionate way by working with those families to really to really give them the opportunity to regularise their situation in the United Kingdom and will nothing will continue to do that
I commend John on some of the specific I won't pay up to you to I was asking you to yes to myself again and what just off the cabins question first
yet the projections are now recorded looked like they might go very far north a few years ago we did have to put some money in but last year you agreed that we took a million pounds out so some of that corporate injection through the work that can that lighting was paying the dividends and and the approach not not in of itself with good and robust but also it was financially beneficial as well so that that that was moving in the right direction
in terms of the question about asking to see the projections and say I identified for the last four monitors I think it is now we have separated out no recourse in the budgets in response to that challenge and public accounts in 20 19 to ensure that there was visibility and it was through that visibility for the underspend last year were able to agree the reduction to repay back some of the injection corporately we put it in in earlier years so I don't have the projections on the numbers of no recourse people but from a money perspective the line is as a single line in the monitor report that you get the other question around schools the licensed deficit regime has gone but what we are able to do is agree loans
the difference there is that the loan is at our risk so if the schools recovery plan over a period of time does not work then then we're risk and similarly if a school were to become a failing one and be academies in the transition to academy the loan doesn't go with the school that's written off a pulls back on the council to take the risk so the regime is slightly different but it doesn't prevent us working with schools to ensure that we can provide some of that cover over a medium term where they may be hitting particular financial challenges and in that first of all of course we got into look to their reserve position in their own cash management has very distinct and strict schools funding laws through the dedicated sports schools Grant so we start there but nonetheless there are still some interventions the Council can make and we do have and we report regularly on the numbers and the amount that we've got by on name at the moment to to school
I thank you I'm going to have to stop bringing this to this session to a close but before I do so Councillor Rathbone had indicated he may have a question I don't know if you still have having listened to all the other questions can have on I Dale Farm Chair thank you for OK arm
good evening everyone David especially I wanted to pick up date on some of the things with raised earlier primarily by Councillor materi in relation to overspends and existing budget pressures which are unrelated to Covid so if we look back over for example the last five years so we're talking the financial year's 15 16 to 19 20 in that time paying we have total overspend of about 41 point 9 million pounds averaging out at a point 3 8 million pounds a year
obviously this year are non covered overspend is coming in at 17 million pounds I've got some real concerns here that the projections your making in table 7 are overbooked Mr. combat basis your operating go in all free at your cases from a baseline figure which is the presumption that the isn't going to be an overspend
I'm not sure that's a credible position or realistic one so if we look at it for example for projected cuts in our budget gap for next year of 24 point 4 million this year's overspend is 70 percent of total cuts your projecting us as needing to make next year and my concern here is bat we're not in a realistic budget position and that any cuts we do make in the next three years are going to essentially be made irrelevant by our failure to control the overspend something Jim pointed out the CYP in particular was an area of concern so we got 12 point 3 million pounds of non-college related overspend this year coming in CYP and we've obviously 40 million pounds you're projecting over the next three years leading to be met
I was wondering really what progress we're making in gaining control of our overspend in how we can have confidence
as Councillors that we're not going to see a repeat of what's happened every year since you know 13 14 with the last thing the council didn't have an overspend that budget projections made in advance and cuts agreed in advance become irrelevant due to the failure of services to then spend in budget
carried thank you David
proposed
where are the figures given him and I don't have them to hand but I suspect you to Councillor Payne
and and yes it is true we have we have been struggling through the tail end of a decade of austerity trying to land and secure the cuts had been agreed to achieve a balanced budget position no we were doing that and last year and again this year we wrote Berkeley that without committing reserves beyond using the new hope for us to do it however the delivery of some of those agreed cuts were very challenging and diddly to overspend their work to particular issues that we have talked about at length here in in children's area none the lesser over and above that but
not not to do the history part
the the fundamental challenge I think you're raising it are we being
fully reflected the financial challenge by keeping the overspending one such are the report and the 40 million and another I mean I think the point is that both in the same report we both we acknowledged that they are both relevant and bait have to be addressed and I think as I said in my introduction if we don't get on top of the overspend in this financial year we do have to add it to the 40 million so I'm sorry it's not explicit in the report that way and we could build in the modelling in a different way but then we can we run the risk of double counting if you like but
anyway I don't disagree with you we have to be very careful to monitor both of those things at once so that that was part of my current day yes
a joint
so I just come on to the to the to the other point about I mean all over the the 70 minute number we have it and until it's different you like that to hold that number of in front of us but I think as you thing in this reports that should be coming down by the five just under five and a half million that we've identified so far has colleagues have said in a that work continues and we are being careful and thorough in what we're looking at not just what we might change but also where we can get a grip on our current funding projections and I think as Councillor Mallory also said in his introduction we had put the money in Wareing's identify so we were seeking to learn some of the lessons from previous years where the challenge of been do we have realistic base budget so where we have been able to put money in we have sought to two examples I would give that one which was last year we put in 19 million pounds of budget support because we ended up with a different financial Savanna was expected so we really weren't expecting the financial overspend that we've got this year no that that year this year is going to be going on the record for those reasons but that that remains one of the challenges for the officers at the moment
and then while that was spectacularly year nonetheless in the budget we build in an element for growth around Reston brushes and we have been using some of that risk compresses money over the last few years to cover the overspends where we've gotten weeds thing we talked about this two years ago long we had been trying to fund pressures in arrears so we wanted to see them emerge we wanted to touch of use that as the opportunity to scrutinise and challenge them thoroughly so that all the action that could be taken by the service to to limit the spammers done but similarly to equally give us the opportunity to then recognise that the base budget was wrong and put it right now that money in the budget
is still in and continues to be there so as these things happen we can challenge them and we can correct for them but I have to say it is not in double-digit numbers so if we don't get that overspend down into single figures we are going to really struggle with a stabilising mechanisms we have through the corporate analysis to to do that
but that it meant that the approach we've taken it the other page which we did that 1 year accounting matters referred to is we tried to fund it in advance to take some of the edge of the discussion and the send continue to rise so either way me have a challenge and that is why we're taking the process before you this evening as I do agree with you we'd we do have to look at the over science and acidic gas Rathven
I got some highlights the issue cap on while Hamilton happen flasks yeah yeah you can you can ask a follow photobomb try to be brief cat source of my first for I suppose David quitting the be what overspend you would expect us to have the in 21 22
good simple question thank you
whether rather depends on how how successful were making the cut for now we use reserves and what happened to be been confirmed going to give you an equivocate equivocated answer and not be pinned the something I know you're quite back it the young gay what I'm doing what I'm looking for her Davies and looking for but it projections which are realistic and credible we have averaged an overspend of 8 point 3 8 million pounds a year for the last five years and have an overspend this year of 17 million pounds we've not spent within budget since 2 thousand 13 14 at what point in times it stopped the coming an overspend and essentially something which we are unofficial budgeting you we'll accepting an advance essentially as an undeclared it's anticipated deficit here here here here Fikret your change your your your effectively repeating your question in a different way which is highlighting the issue more which is fine having nothing has got to get to Andrade earners again answer pat on we don't yet know rateable
I think the answer is in two parts and that the the easy answer is when we properly funded and that that goes out with the Council surfing that's one argument that we could agree on the other part tool thought for the the chorus here is her through the planning and bringing forward the cuts to bring the budget into enter into the balance that we needed to be so that we don't have to play this game a catcher which we've not fall into the tackle but we have become used to doing as I said to triumph correct things in arrears if we could do them in real time and not have to challenge that would be great but I think we also have to recognise we've taken out near 200 million over 10 years we're looking to take out another 40 to 50 over the coming four things four years of things don't change the can't do their on an organisation that was at four and a half 5 thousand people is now down 3 thousand people trying to run the same broad level of services and for which very few if any statutory obligations have been changed or removed so we have to think very creatively very odd how how we deliver and do those without there being this constant game of catch-up and challenge that we follow through so
that is why its contents broadcast that's why you've got the whole Executive Management Team here this evening that is why it's a whole Council challenge and I wish it were stoical and I could give you an absolute specific answer but I can't at the moment and it it is one that we are going out to continue to work together on
yeah OK thank thank you I do think can without discussion is demonstrating is that you know councillors particularly those of us on public accounts Committee are
frustrated Hunt and at determined that the actions that are taken do achieve results I do think though it it's fair to say we know and the mission recent snow over the true culprits are for providing us with the insufficient budgets over all you know what we're looking towards central government here and we do need to begin to rapper Jim says he got a set of recommendations for us which I think probably mean what we would put to Mayor and Cabinet
so Jim do you want to propose these
it is came about because I haven't written them down yet OK and had caused these things are recorded he checks around the okay okay well I do and contrary to popular opinion I do actually share with Councillors Rathbone and Maslin some real concerns and a sense of urgency and I did say at the outset of my remarks that I don't think the process has been urgent enough and I do accept that covert has made it much more difficult so the and not wanting that
to be part of our recommendation
but the biggest surprise I had was to hear that none of the other Committees had anything that they wanted to record towards the Mayor and Cabinet be at they were either so bemused by our financial situation or or strapped when it came to thinking of ideas
going forward and I do think it behooves somebody to do that and so I think it's behooves us to do that so what I would suggest we say and obviously happy to to listen to other people's suggestions if they think I'm off base or they want to amend them in in any way but I first I think we should note with real concern and the report and the in Year situation and the the the longer term situation with bute particularly with a view to covert second I think we should note though the the in what they called the the note the David centres around earlier about the
the other in year savings and we note the Minister whether we need to to endorse them but certainly I think we should send them scurrying on their on their way and the third thing and I think that it is after all coal the Medium Term report as well as not just the the the current situation so I think we should we should now we should suggest we should propose that urgent you know that even more urgently the budget and a covert recovery work or lines more quickly and I suggest that because and this is where probably I'm Gove slightly further than councillors Maslin and a council's Rathbone is as I actually think it's quite difficult to prepare cuts that make sense in the medium and long term if we don't have a view about what how covert has influenced a so it may be that the proposals we get in November will accommodate an awful lot of the lessons learned I suspect
not as many as in an ideal world we would want so urgent alignment of those two are working proper processes the budget and the recur recovery and my final point and I think it is highlighted by some of the comments that the number of US of May is that we want a the Mayor and Cabinet to double down on the overspends out particularly the NI overspends in the care services that met the management of demand is is isn't just a matter for our medium and long term strategy it has to continue in year of said another Tim Gore all that is quite good at summarising things when we are talking to them yeah I've got as for this for anyway
so at any one from the Committee fast have any comment on them
John yeah I mean I don't disagree that what we're trying to do is emphasised the that you are the big challenge ahead but I I'm reluctant to put it in terms that seems like criticism of Watson officers of done up until now because I think what what I return from this report will be have been previous rapport is the the number of challenges the number of uncertainties the number of unknowns which are impacting on us the whole time so I'd be very reluctant to add my name to something which employs that our officers are trying to get their heads around this and actually come up in the November meeting with some which we now going to have to be some really quite a significant cats but I take the general point about let's emphasise but I think you know why we emphasising what we all know anyway when an absolute dire situation and very severe
consideration is going to have to be taken into account there was first thought that November meeting I can tell you answer to be I felt joy any of the wording was a criticism of officers yet some of my comments may have been but I don't think any of the Ward End fix such as I think Jones to be fair to gym he was noting a couple of things which were really just noting with concern and then I think the one the Sperry cater some the urgent alignment of the in the medium term of the covert recovery kept plan on the budgets and the budgeting process and then
seeking that the Mayor and Cabinet pay particular attention to recall the doubling down on overspends particularly in the in the current financial year particularly managing demand and also efforts to manage demand I mean I didn't think it was particularly critical job but if you could pinpoint what was and in either to sign the highest last year
sorry I just think that that's there in the report anyway to be honest I mean I think asked to amplify I think I don't have a problem with their but I think it is actually employee what it's not more than employed I think the challenge is clearly set out in the report to be honest but I but Leucocyte and there is no harm in us actually sign you know AdGent 0 voice the seriousness of this Councillor Hall
how
thanks Chair thanks to Jim I think it I think he tried to articulate it what we all as Joan settle Phil and I would support it I think for me I think the word is is urgency is a sense of urgency needs to be there was we not panicking that said completely different thing we do seek see there is it needs to be a sense of urgency to come up with specific proposals that we can then look at and have some choice in in the Dutch strategic direction I think that's that's what the way I see it I also him
I don't want to be too pedantic about this but it is a significant part of the budget and I would like to see now minutes there to note that we didn't really have time to look at the capital budget because there will be an it quite understandable and I make no criticism of that but is something we would have to return to a later day I just would like us to to know that because because of the urgency of the revenue at side that's why we're doing this wheeling on that in the work plan on as well yes thank about about so I think from by Allen's said may be the thing to add but be perhaps in them births in the third one of James was were taught about the the urgent alignment of the the covert are covered crown and the budgeting process you you would want to get it Alan so the councillors have
we have some form of choice when when when budgets are presented to us Blake we do have a choice we have it of choice of vote for or against it ever you when we will have a process to go through a political process so are not trying to say that unchecked trying to see you know there are we realised that there are some huge strategic decisions here and it will be for us as Members to determine that direction and is very difficult to to to to express that in a recommendation I leave gyms wording by children out to to say that was where I was coming from OK thanks exact OK so we'll we'll we'll come to Tim perhaps to readers the wording if as necessary and Councillor Rathbone wants to add something from his point of view thank you Chair I mean I'd agree with a lot of what I'm cancel hold has said here you know it's not about criticising officers at the end of the day officers have produced a budget and they are producing project proposals which I think will be politically acceptable to members my worry is that in another place there are too many members who aren't aware of the challenges we face over real severity of the situation I don't think it's about being panics but I think there is a duty of the public accounts committee to raise the alarm and to make sure that it makes it very very clear to all members that the situation is dire let it is serious and that the approach to agreeing a budget and agreeing cuts is going to have been very very different this year but it has been previous Laika the fact that you know of the Members who don't sit on public accounts I was the only other member who attended tonight is in a Bill so wires
is barely I didn't see him personally advocate is itself a worry with you know this level of passion challenge the should be far more engagement from Members the fact that every single select committee chair is an here to listen to what's discussed by officers in of itself worrying and I think it's essential that this Committee starts laying the groundwork now to make our colleagues aware that it is a serious as it is and that into months time when we start saying we gonna need to take more cuts we're not in our saying it for a laugh and trying to that would be my thing I get to your point being Councillor Rathbone that you would if it from your voice of your your advice to us is to go with Jim's recommendations partly to encourage and an America of the councils are fully aware of the situation Councillor Millbank once to make a point there yeah I just to have be bit careful what we say here I just think if we're talking about I think our role is as the Picker said to stress the urgency of Our this matter was it that we should leave that call a circus why didn't go to any the slick Committees to hear their comments so a distant let's take care I think you know I think we are all aware we've had earlier discussions in other places where about the urgent civil this and the scale of the challenge so I think let's go with Genge recommendations are less just move on because I cursed I think now begin to 8 good good I would agree with that Councillor Millbank thank you thanks very once advice so could up could we ascertain of you gotta a good record of what's been agreed that no one disagree to what Jim said here Hurricane flickered am apologies again via the drop-out zoned still hands-on connection problems but I have a good four points one noting your concerns in the urgency or secondly on agreeing the in year savings erred on the urgent alignment of plans are to include some elements of choice and some something about specifics and fourth on that doubling down on in-year overspends but some as you've said one of the benefits of recording the meeting is that can be visited in them in the you know come up with something that's is more coherent finale cabinet
are you happy with that general did you want to say so
On a number 3 I think I was suggesting the urgent alignment of the of the recovery and the Budget processes a covert recovery and a Budget processes yet that's exactly I rated down yeah
and in the first one to me and maybe we're just saying it quickly but it was it was noting with concern both the in year and the long term Siete yes yes I've got it thank you and I think we've got it OK that's very good thank you very much Council Mallory for that thank you all for your contributions thanks to all the council officers from Kim David Kevin Topping Pilecki others I've forgotten to mention the policies but thank you all for attending we am finish the meeting that if those of you who have other things to do pubs are open until 10 o'clock tonight those those if you've got other things to do you can go we now me to cover are our own
workplan as our final agenda item the Select Committee work programme so a tin could you take us through that I'll I thank you Councillor Carter yeah and or if I dropped out I have to ask gum Charlotte jump in for me in my absence but that and you know you've got that

6 Final report of the Committee's commercialisation and culture change review

work away through the work programme but some of the report sets out the draft programme for the year and there's a an overview of the whole year included a page 141 of your agenda seem I want you referred to that
saying suggestions for the programme of come from a number of different sources including issues that the Committee is agreed it will revisit as a result of previous scrutiny but I think it's fair to say that the programmes going to need to be re-prioritised during the year in your discussions as evening of spoken you know quite in detail to the fact that L B things that will come up during the year that you might need to look at Adderley so the only other thing to say is that there's been a further suggestion for the programme and that is to include an item on capital expenditure the capital program for the meeting in March though with that said and with the addition of that item on the capital programme for March I'd ask you to agree the Programme please
yeah
does any does anyone not agree

7 Select Committee work programme

no I can't quite see the chance of the moment sorry I could someone when it was trying to attract Council says he agrees that's fine Councillor N Mallory wants to say something
Gajam through just ever so briefly came what his policy in what is policy development and a budget under the council slash if I to my feet to provide him OK sorry you have this yeah I taken you know OK that's fine any other questions comments
now it looks as though we are agreeing this it we all leaving it a little bit flexible in view of the the things that couldn't could happen through the year I take your comments earlier Councillor Hall about capital perhaps we could make sure we look at that when we look at the budgets at other meetings as well and then we're going to have a good look at it the in in the final but meeting of the year Council marry as thought of something now go ahead Jim Murray
yeah it's just the Budget Monitoring and Budget uptake and suggest that we have a small in a relatively short item in each of our meeting for the budget update if it isn't implicit in that work programme apologies Lincoln didn't seem to me it was yeah
financial
10 I'm let the item on the financial forecasts is an Isaac described before and Britain it said in a standing item on the Committee bringing ac overspends and areas of pressures so I think in previous discussions with the cherry talked about in a having a information available in bringing it on an exception of very now yeah OK good and I think of the next meeting the key item will be the council budget 21 22 but will also be
sorry the budget cuts sorry apologies would be looking at the budget cuts as the main item next time but we're going to have a look were proposing a look at the Children's social Care budget as well
I can hear the questions or comments
nothing we can take that as agreed than Tim thing I think that means that we can close the meeting once again thank you to everybody for participating and have a good evening thanks but even can affect opinion splay then be webcast