Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 3 July 2012 7.30 pm
Venue: Committee Rooms 1&2 Harrow Civic Centre
Contact: Alison Atherton, Senior Professional - Democratic Services Tel: 020 8424 1266 E-mail: email@example.com
Attendance by Reserve Members
To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.
Reserve Members may attend meetings:-
(i) to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;
(ii) where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and
(iii) the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;
(iv) if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.
RESOLVED: To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members:-
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal or prejudicial interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:
(a) all Members of the Committee;
(b) all other Members present in any part of the room or chamber.
RESOLVED: To note that the following interests were declared:
Agenda Item 4 – Question and Answer Session with the Leader and Chief Executive
Councillor Sue Anderson declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that she was employed by NHS Harrow. She would remain in the room during the question and answer session unless there was discussion in relation to changes in health provision and she would then leave the room.
Councillor Ann Gate declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that she was married to the Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families. She would remain in the room during the question and answer session unless there was discussion in relation to the portfolio and she would then leave the room.
Councillor Susan Hall declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that she had a Special Treatment Licence. She would remain in the room during the question and answer session unless there was discussion in relation to these matters and she would then leave the room.
Councillor Krishna Jones declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that her sister was employed by the NHS and she had other siblings that worked for institutions in Harrow. She also declared that she had previously been in receipt of direct payments. She would remain in the room during the question and answer session.
CouncillorBarrry Macleod-Cullinane declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that his sister was employed in a Harrow School and a non pecuniary interest due to his involvement, as former Portfolio Holder, with the establishment of Shop4Support. He would remain in the room during the question and answer session.
Councillor Chris Mote declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in that he was a Qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and held a Dry Needling Licence. He would remain in the room during the question and answer session unless there was discussion in relation to these matters and he would then leave the room.
Councillor Paul Osborn declared disclosable pecuniary interests in that he had received hospitality from Capita and as he had been portfolio holder at the time the MyHarrow account was introduced. He would remain in the room during the question and answer session unless there was discussion in relation to these matters and he would then leave the room.
To receive deputations (if any) under the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 16 (Part 4B) of the Constitution.
RESOLVED: To note that no deputations were received at the meeting under the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 16.
Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive
The Chair welcomed the Leader of the Council, the Chief Executive, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Director of Resources to the meeting. He outlined the procedure for the meeting and then invited the Leader and Chief Executive to give a brief introduction.
The Leader of the Council, during his introduction, referred to the difficult financial position the Council was in and the demographic pressures it faced. He stated that the ambition was to defend and enhance frontline services but that there would be difficult decisions to make. Services were, however, being enhanced despite the difficulties and he outlined the savings targets and referred to the appointment of the new Finance Portfolio Holder who was looking at financial procedures. In addition to this, shared services with other local authorities were being considered, work was being done on modernising terms and conditions, there was to be a restructure of senior staff and the regeneration of Harrow was being considered by way of the Area Action Plan.
The Leader also referred to the recent Municipal Journal award for the MyHarrow account and the commendation for Adults Services.
The Chief Executive reported that the financial environment remained difficult but that progress was being made towards the target of £62m savings. There were, however, likely to be further cuts with a 6% per annum reduction in budgets in the next decade. Outer London boroughs such as Harrow, with a higher proportion of older people, would feel the effects of these budget reductions more acutely.
In addition to the work outlined by the Leader, the Chief Executive reported that there were currently many legislative changes and changes to partner organisations which provided both challenges and opportunities. The Chief Executive stressed the fact that there were opportunities for growth which should not be lost. In terms of capacity, he requested that Members be mindful that as the Council reduced its staff numbers there would be a reduction in capacity. There would therefore need to be a focus on delivering the priorities.
Members asked a series of questions which were duly responded to as follows:
The results of the CIPFA review of financial management were recently published. What is your opinion of the report’s findings? How does the council propose to implement these findings and what role do the Leader and Chief Executive see for scrutiny in contributing to the delivery of the improvement proposals?
The Portfolio Holder for Finance reported that an action plan was being prepared and that the Chair and Vice Chair of the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee would receive a briefing on the CIPFA report. The Corporate Director of Resources added that there would, as part of the action plan, be a restructure of the Finance department and a focus on the training and development of budget holders. The Portfolio Holder and Corporate Director undertook to take on board the Member’s comment that it would be helpful if CIPFA could make a presentation at a future meeting of the Committee. ... view the full minutes text for item 287.