Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
WELCOME & APOLOGIES
Attendees and residents were welcomed to the meeting.
Apologies were received from Simon Goulden, Tony Murphy and Alicia Meniru.
The Chair outlined how the meeting was to proceed. The substantive item would be the LBE Budget Consultation 2017/18. This would follow a procedural debate on a called-in decision, which would be limited to 30 minutes.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary other pecuniary or non pecuniary interests relevant to items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were received.
To receive a report from the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services outlining a Call-In received for consideration by Overview & Scrutiny on the following reason: (Report No: 191)
Decision by Cabinet (14 December 2016): Revenue Monitoring Report 2016/17: October 2016 & 2017/18 Budget Update.
Cabinet Decision included on Publication of Decision List No: 47/16-17 Key Decision KD4363 (List Ref: 3/47/16-17) issued on Friday 16 December 2016.
It is proposed that consideration of the Call-In be structured as follows:
· Brief outline of reasons for the Call-In by representative(s) of the Members who have called in the decision.
· Response to the reasons provided for the Call-In by the Cabinet Members responsible for taking the decision.
· Debate by Overview & Scrutiny Committee and agreement on action to be taken.
1. The Chair invited Councillors Hurer and Neville to elaborate on the reasons for the call-in.
2. Councillor Hurer stated:
? The report to Cabinet forecast an outturn position of £7.2m overspend for 2016/17. This was reminiscent of the situation occurring last year, and there was not enough detail in the report as to how the shortfall would be reduced.
? The response to reasons for call-in was simply a list of headings which provided no detail and did not specify a timetable for actions.
? He would therefore welcome more detail, and if that was not forthcoming, for the report to be referred back to Cabinet to come up with a plan, or referred to Council to be fully debated.
Councillor Neville added:
? Points made during the call-in meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 4/10/16 also applied in this case.
? An overspend projected of this magnitude was serious, and he was concerned that the public were not seeing a political response from those with responsibility ie. the Cabinet. This was absent from the papers. There should be a clear political steer so that people knew the real direction. The documents provided were not as clear as they should be as to how the Council was going to achieve the savings.
? It was appreciated where the pressures were coming from, and that these were demand-led services which had to be managed and considered carefully in respect of prioritisation.
? Councillor Hurer stressed the importance of transparency from the Council and felt that the public would be unable to see what was going on due to the lack of detail included. If one of the options for consideration was an increase in Council Tax, this should be stated and debated as soon as possible. Honesty and transparency were important.
3. The Chair invited Councillor Lemonides (Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency) and James Rolfe (Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services) to respond as follows:
Councillor Lemonides stated:
? The comments made were puzzling as the details were included in the main agenda, on pages 14 to 21 which showed all the detail of the savings which the schemes were endeavouring to achieve.
? There was therefore a plan in place, and further to that the response to reasons for call-in was ‘plan B’ if the departmental savings were not achieved. There would be further interventions as summarised.
? The items summarised in the response, such as use of earmarked reserves / balances, were things which the government had accepted had to be done to bail out revenue expenditure.
4. The following questions and comments were then taken from Members of the Committee:
Councillor Chibah asked if the Cabinet Member would describe the current situation as unprecedented, and questioned whether rejecting this report would assist with moving forward in dealing with pressures. Councillor Lemonides advised that this was not an unprecedented overspend and that £7.2m although unpalatable was by no means the largest overspend in London. The overspend was also not unexpected as since 2010, ... view the full minutes text for item 300.
Enfield’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee has set up a Budget Meeting to consider the proposals within the Council’s 2017/18 Budget Consultation.
The purpose of the Committee Meeting is to:
(a) Seek comments on and consider the Budget Consultation proposals,
(b) To prepare a response on the Budget Consultation proposals for consideration by Cabinet and Council as part of the budget setting process.
Members of the Committee are asked to note:
· the public have been invited to attend the meeting to participate in the budget consultation process;
· that Cabinet is due to consider the response from the budget consultation process at its meeting on 8 February 2017. The final response agreed by the Committee will be referred onto Cabinet for consideration as part of this process. The Council’s final 2017/18 budget proposals are due to be considered and approved at the Council meeting on 28 February 2017.
The Chair outlined the structure and process for the update and budget consultation.
Introduction / Presentation
James Rolfe, Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services gave a presentation, the key points of which were as follows:
? Key issues in 2017/18 were the projected overspend revenue outturn projection; financial pressures especially in adult social care and children’s services; and austerity/poverty of resources between now and 2021 in the national economy which meant that local government across the country was facing reductions in funding.
? The budget gap over the next four years was £58.5m.
? Since 2010, the Council had achieved savings of £131m, against a net budget of £240m, which was a significant saving.
? The bulk of the changes to make savings took place last year, when there was an extensive budget consultation exercise, and the medium term position for the Council was set.
? This year there had been a review of the pressures and overspends, and a number of measures had been recommended.
? The budget consultation process this year had therefore been relatively light touch, and had checked and reaffirmed the views of local people.
? The overall strategy for the medium and longer term was shown. This included external actions (regeneration of the borough etc) and internal actions, such as commercialisation.
? Benefits were expected from strategies including the Meridian Water development and housing zones, community energy networks, other limited companies and development of the Enfield brand, and ongoing service development.
? Measures were needed to take the Council across the next 3 - 5 years until the longer term benefits began to be realised.
? Central government had created the Adult Social Care Support Grant of £1.3m, but that was offset by the loss of the New Homes Bonus.
? The Improved Better Care Fund would also deliver another £600k for adult social care. There would also be flexibility to raise an adult social care precept by 3% per year up to a maximum of 6% over the next three years.
? The creation of academies and reduction of funding to local authorities meant that education services had less money though a lot of responsibilities for education had been retained.
? Letters had been written to the Secretary of State and MPs regarding the Council’s situation and there had been a meeting with Marcus Jones MP, the Local Government Minister. There had been a huge reduction in Council funding as part of central government strategy.
Ilhan Basharan, Consultation and Resident Engagement Services Team Manager, gave a presentation on the results and methodology of the budget consultation for 2017/18, including:
? He confirmed that there had been an extensive 11 week consultation last year, which also involved a range of voluntary sector organisations and focus groups, and a questionnaire online and distributed in hard copy. Over 3000 responses had been received which provided substantial amounts of data to inform the medium term financial plan.
? In that context, a light touch consultation had been run this year over a five week period, but there had been opportunities ... view the full minutes text for item 301.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
The date of the next business meeting is 23 February 2017.
Provisional Call –In dates
· 16 February 2017
· 8 March 2017
· 21 March 2017
· 12 April 2017
NOTED the date of the next business meeting is 23 February 2017.