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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

54.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)            to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)          where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)         the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)         if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Member:

 

Ordinary Member

 

Reserve Member

 

Councillor Honey Jamie

Councillor Dean Gilligan

 

55.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 103 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2020 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2020, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

56.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)          all Members of the Sub-Committee;

(b)          all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that the Declarations of Interests published in advance of the meeting on the Council’s website were taken as read.

57.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 17 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received.  There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, 10 December 2020.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk   

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were received at this meeting.

58.

Petitions

To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors under the provisions of Committee Procedure Rule 15 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no petitions had been received at this meeting.

59.

References from Council and Other Committees/Panels

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were none.

Resolved Items

60.

Children and Adult Social Care Complaints Annual Reports 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 761 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the Children and Families Services Complaints Annual Report 2019/20, and the Adults Services Complaints Annual Report 2019/20.

 

The Children and Families Services Complaints Annual Report 2019/20 outlined that there were some 156 “transactions” within the complaints process during the year.  These were representations, formal complaints, members’ enquiries and referrals to the Local Government Ombudsman.  Given the nature of some of the work undertaken, such as, child protection and looked after children, it was positive that numbers of complaints were minimal.

 

The Chair invited questions from Members of the Sub-Committee on the report.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

 

a)    the overall number of complaints was small, and not representative of any particular community;

b)    the Council had a responsibility towards Children Looked After (CLA) as their corporate parent, and CLA brought up practical issues towards their care; and

c)    the majority of cases were based on perception, where some families found particular questions invasive, and the role that Social Workers played was vital to clear up any misconceptions.

 

The Adults Services Complaints Annual Report 2019/20 outlined the overall picture that remained positive and reflected real commitment from managers and staff to resolve complaints as effectively, and as promptly, as possible.  Low levels of escalation to secondary stages or the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) further reinforced that complainants were satisfied that their concerns were heard and dealt with appropriately.

 

There were some 200 “transactions” within the complaints process during the year. These were representations, formal complaints, members’ enquiries and referrals from the LGO.  Given the nature of some of the work undertaken in ensuring care for very vulnerable individuals, it was positive that the numbers of complaints were minimal.

 

The Chair invited questions from Members of the Sub-Committee on the report.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

 

a)            the current health pandemic in the country, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, had an impact on interaction with clients.  However, the use of modern technology facilitated communication, such as telephone calls, and Microsoft Teams meetings or via Zoom;

b)            some complaints occurred when there were domestic issues, particularly around couple’s divorce.  One party would feel aggrieved that Social Workers were siding with the other party, which was not the case; and

c)            it was not the role of Social Services to try and “reconcile” divorcing parties, but would provide support if required.

 

RESOLVED:  That the reports be noted.

61.

Reports from the Director of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received three reports from the Director of Finance.  These were:

 

1)            Revenue and Capital Monitoring 2020/21 - as at Quarter 2 (30 September 2020);

 

2)            Draft Revenue Budget 2021/2022 and Draft Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021/2022 to 2023/2024; and

 

3)            Draft Capital Programme 2020/2021 to 2023/2024.

 

The Revenue and Capital Monitoring 2020/21 - as at Quarter 2 (30 September 2020) informed Members on the 2020/21 forecast financial position as at Quarter 2 (30 September 2020), and would update Cabinet on 17 December 2020.  It would seek approval for Capital Programme adjustments which required Cabinet approval in accordance with Financial Regulations.

 

The Chair invited questions from Members of the Sub-Committee on the report.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

 

a)            Why was Everyone Active being funded by the Council when it was a private organisation?

 

The Director of Finance advised that Everyone Active was a charity, and support was being provided in view of Government guidelines in the current Covid-19 environment.  There was the provision of support to Everyone Active by way of granting a management fee holiday, and help to underwrite losses.  This would also include assistance with maintenance and management costs.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources added that the circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had necessitated support to leisure centres.

 

b)            Quoting paragraph 2.23 of the report, where the Under 18s “Home to School Transport” arrangement, with £500 000 being part of the deal between Transport for London (TfL) and Government, would this be suspended by TfL, thereby affecting free travel for under 18s, had this been confirmed, and if so, what alternative arrangements would be in place?

 

The Director of Finance advised that the concession had been in place since 2006, and its withdrawal would mean that the statutory financial support for school travel for some age groups would fall to local authorities, as it did in the rest of the country.  Whilst the duty had also been with local authorities in London, the financial cost had been met by TfL.  The proposal was that any changes would come into effect in January 2021.  The Council would be informed about the final outcome in the course of the week.

 

c)            Quoting paragraph 2.29 of the report on the central contingency of £1.248m being forecast as being spent at this point in the year and so there being no variance, would this be earmarked for particular spending?

 

The Director of Finance advised that it was an ongoing reserve figure, going to the third quarter (Q3), with the aim of keeping a grip on the budget.  It was envisaged that the contingency would be applied generally, and not on a specific item.

 

d)            What lessons had been learned on the slippage on page 21 of the report, from the underspend of £1.39m?

 

The Director of Finance advised that the significant part of the £149m was the £94m ear marked for commercial property investment, which was paused.  This would be removed from the Capital Programme.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

The video recording of this meeting can be found at the following link:

 

https://www.harrow.gov.uk/virtualmeeting.