Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
Contact: Email: Democracy@enfield.gov.uk
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
Cllr Sabri Ozaydin (Vice Chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited Panel Members and Officers to introduce themselves.
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Nawshad Ali (Chair) and Cllr Ayten Guzel who were substituted by Cllr Doug Taylor and Cllr Mahmut Aksanoglu, respectively.
Apologies for lateness were received from Cllr Aksanoglu.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relating to items on the agenda.
In respect of item 5, Cllr Doug Taylor advised that he was a Board Member of Energetik.
Cllr Sabri Ozaydin advised that he was a Director of Housing Gateway Ltd; and Cllr Thomas Fawns advised that he was a Governor at Durants School.
To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 29 March 2023.
The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 29 March 2023 were agreed.
RECEIVED the report which sets out the current controls in place in relation to purchase card use and spend.
Julie Barker, (Head of Exchequer Services) highlighted key issues such as the reduction in the number of cards in circulation, reduction in spend, the controls in place, improved transparency for better reporting and the creation of business accounts with Amazon and Travelodge resulting in better deals, best value and a reduced risk of misappropriation of funds.
1. In response to Members’ questions on misappropriation, maximum spend andsanctions, itwas confirmedthat Exchequerwere satisfiedthat the263 cards now in circulation were primarily used by front line services for small spend items. Purchase cards provide flexibility for services and allow officers to get discounts and obtain best value in relation to the purchases they buy online. It was also confirmed that monitoring is in place to ensure officers are using the most appropriate payment option when purchasing goods and services. There will always be a need to use purchase cards but to control spend purchasing limit categories have been introduced.
2. In respect of sanctions and misappropriation, spend is monitored every month. If suspected misappropriation is uncovered a referral is made to the Counter Fraud Team who investigate and draft a report with recommendations which could include referral to HR to consider misconduct or to the police to consider prosecution. Exchequer have made 3 referrals to the CounterFraud Teamin thelast 6months.
3. In respect ofparagraph 12,Members suggestedchecking, infuture for equivalent spend via the Neptune purchasing system to ensure there is no reckless spendingusing purchaseorders ratherthan onthe cardnow thereare controls in place.
4. It wasconfirmed thatpurchase cardsare thebest wayto acquireroad tax asit ispossible totrack andreconcile spend.There isalso afee fordirect debits.
5. In responseto concernsabout People,Fay Hammond(Executive Director
- Resources)provided reassuranceregarding improvementand thenew system should rectify issues. It is the area with the most cards.
6. Members congratulatedJulie onthe positive change.
To receive Quarterly Monitoring Reports (Revenue, Capital and Performance reports attached).
Received the Quarterly Monitoring Reports (Revenue, Capital and Performance reports) for information.
Steve Muldoon highlighted the key points in the reports.
1. Cllr Georgiouhighlighted thatthe three Quarterly Monitoring Reportsshould havebeen separated as items rather than amalgamated to make them easier to address.
2. In response to Members’ questions on the recurring theme of Digital Services’ overspend, officers asserted that there is a strategy in place to return to balance in the current year with numerous plans to addressthe figureswhich includeredundancies andreducing systems.
3. It wasconfirmed byofficers thatthe aimfor next yearis toreturn to balance without using reserves.
4. In responseto Memberquestions it was confirmed that in the published plan £9M or £10M of growth is expected but temporary accommodation pressures remain.
5. In responseto furtherqueries regardingMillfield Theatreofficers confirmed that there is no budget pressure next year as the new lease replacement should fully cover any costs.
6. In respectof reductionsin pensionfund contributions,it was advisedthat keeping investments at a good level was paramount to ensure commitments can be honoured.
7. With regardsto HIFfunding additionalmoney wasreceived butnot as much as expected so proposals had to be scaled back.
Members expressed dissatisfaction at the non-attendance of the Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member or relevant officers.
It was agreed that the report should be carried over to the next meeting so questions could be answered.
1. In response to an enquiry from a Member of Youth Parliament, Shanise on what has been done to reduce knife crime in London, officers explained that teams work closely with the police and young people, and there are several schemes to reduce and prevent knife crime.
To note the Finance & Performance Scrutiny Panel Work Programme for 2023/24.
An updated work programme for the municipal year was received at the meeting and Noted.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
To note that the dates of future meetings are as follows:
Tuesday 16th January 2024
Wednesday 6th March 2024
And an additional date to be agreed by the Panel.
Future dates were noted.
An additional meeting date will be scheduled via an email to Members.
Commercial property assets and investment return/income generation
(This item contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person – including the authority holding that information) of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as amended).
After part 2 discussions the item was noted and it was agreed that the Property Director, Nick Denny would talk through the deck at a later date.