Agenda and minutes

Finance & Performance Scrutiny Panel - Thursday, 7th March, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

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No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Ayten Guzel, and Cllr Alessandro Georgiou who was substituted by Cllr Hannah Dyson.



Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relating to items on the agenda.


Cllr Sabri Ozaydin stated that he was a Director of Housing Gateway Ltd.



To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 16 January 2024.


The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 16 January 2024 were AGREED.


Temporary Accommodation and Housing Revenue Account Budget Overview pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To receive an update on Temporary Accommodation and Housing Revenue Account budget overview.


Joanne Drew introduced the key aspects of the report. The context, budgetary pressures, causes, and impacts of temporary accommodation and homelessness in the borough were outlined; as were the Council’s strategies and solutions to address/ mitigate them, and support residents. Additionally, the background, costs, effects and performance of the repairs and maintenance service; as well as disposals and available grant funding for development associated with Enfield’s social housing service and the housing revenue account budget, were highlighted.


Cllr Savva thanked the Director and associated officers for all of their work in ensuring that the Council continues to provide quality accommodation for residents, highlighting that 81.25% decency had been achieved. He emphasised the need to build affordable housing quickly to address the issue of homelessness nationally, and appealed to the government for their help in pursuit of this.


Cllr Erbil added his thanks to officers for their work in this matter, and reiterated the size of the challenge temporary accommodation and homelessness posed both in the borough and nationally. He highlighted that 2000 families in Enfield faced Section 21 notices in the last 5 years, and implored the government to outlaw no fault evictions.


In response to Members queries regarding the need for more affordable housing, officers advised that the Local Plan estimates the borough’s housing need over the next 20 years to be 39,000 new homes. Meridian Water was described as an important part of delivering this, with another 100 homes anticipated to be handed over in the next few months, but it was only one element of a larger strategy. Joanne expressed that there had been a complete slowdown in the delivery of all housing development schemes nationally due to the volatile economic environment. She highlighted that the Council’s attempts to enter contracts in development schemes had found prices coming back at 40% over budget, and partners were unwilling to accept any of the associated risk, thus it was uneconomic and impractical to build. It was explained that the market was starting to see more stability, but costs were still high, and grant levels were not sufficient to bridge the viability gaps; a scheme at Upton and Raynham was given as an example of shortfall. Cllr Erbil added that Meridian Water was a 25-year project, one of the largest schemes of its kind in the country and the Council were dedicated to building more affordable housing; hence had made themselves the master planner. He described how 400 families were approaching Enfield Council in a month regarding housing.


In response to Members’ questions and comments relating to moving money from temporary accommodation to building more homes, officers responded that their accommodation strategy to avoid placing people into hotels involved actively looking across the country at good value homes which would be suitable for residents. Joanne explained that it was simply unaffordable for many Enfield residents to live in London any longer, and they had to be realistic about what was affordable, otherwise residents would come back to the council as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To receive the most recent Quarterly Revenue Monitoring Report.


Olga Bennet introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report, including but not limited to: efforts to preserve risk reserves, and the main areas of and measures to reduce the overspend.


In response to Members’ enquiries regarding the impact of additional adverse variances on reserves, staff turnover in children’s services and capital receipts, officers responded that there were always risks of adverse variances. They were being transparent that the situation could change, and further details of these potential variances could be found in an appendix to the report. On the issue of staff turnover, it was said that this would be best answered by the relevant Executive Director, but assurances were made that there was support available to staff in this area with training courses, oversight time with managers and a Microsoft co-pilot AI trial to reduce the burden of additional administration. Olga expressed that Claverings would be the major capital receipt next year. Cllr Erbil added that there was an item on disposals for agreement at next week’s Cabinet meeting.


In response to Members’ questions relating to reserves and contingency funds, officers replied that there was an ongoing budget for contingencies, with £3m built in for 2023/24, there would be built in budget contingencies next year as well, and there were built in contingencies for risk reserves this year. 


In response to Members queries relating to on-street parking and enforcement receipts, officers advised that these were governed by strict legislation, and so income could not be increased. Cllr Erbil added that he had raised the issue of parking enforcement with the new Executive Director of Environment and Communities and hoped there would be improvements with the service soon.



To receive the most recent Quarterly Capital Monitoring Report.


Olga Bennet introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report, including but not limited to an update on recent revisions and variances to the capital budget.


In response to Members’ questions and comments regarding how many months the £2.8m of £6.5m full year forecast capitalised staff costs had been recharged covered, officers responded that this was up to period 8.


In response to Members’ enquiries relating to the release of Meridian Water housing, Cllr Erbil and officers replied that 20 units had already been delivered, with 100 more homes due to be released between May and June 2024. These were large family homes, some of which were specially adapted for those with disability, thus were of quality and addressed the needs in the borough. Cllr Erbil added that lots of the council borrowing was long term, locked in at low interest rates, and represented investments. 


In response to Members’ questions regarding capital investment schemes, officers advised that there was a 3,500 council homes building programme, including Joyce & Snells estate regeneration; they were also working with housing associations, building sector SMEs and faith groups on other housing schemes. Olga Bennet highlighted educational investments, with £14m spending forecast for this year, including building a new sixth form building in Winchmore School. Cllr Erbil raised the value of wetlands, parks, woodlands, and sustainable transport projects in the borough. 



To receive the most recent Quarterly Performance Monitoring Report.

Additional documents:


Sarah Gilroy introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report, including but not limited to: an update on key performance indicators relative to council targets.


In response to Members queries, officers responded that metrics regarding the satisfactory closure of MEQs was something they could look to include. Cllr Erbil added, the quality of responses to MEQs had also been raised at a recent Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the new Head of Customer Solutions would be looking at this. It was conveyed that councillors also had a responsibility to close MEQs. Sarah Gilroy advised that metrics regarding planning enforcement were tracked at departmental management meetings and was information they could look to include. Data on obesity was tracked by the public health team; officers could take questions back. It was said that children living in the most deprived areas were more than twice as likely to be obese. Cllr Erbil added that the council were dedicated to tackling this important issue, he explained that these arguments were used when they applied for funding for active travel such as school streets, and he highlighted the importance of investment in education and communicating the right information and messages through schools.


In response to Members’ questions and comments relating to educating residents about recycling, Cllr Erbil replied that they were in talks with the North London Waste Authority to see what more could be done. In 2022 the council had produced an excellent leaflet which was sent to residents clearly outlining what should be placed in each bin, but they did not have the resources to do this as regularly as they would like. Jon Sharkey conveyed that they had tried to mirror the information in this leaflet on the website. He explained that they were about to start two rounds of door knocking at addresses where bin contamination was identified as a problem and would be providing specific/ targeted feedback. Cllr Erbil thanked officers for their hard work on this matter.


WORK PROGRAMME 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To note the Finance & Performance Scrutiny Panel Work Programme for 2023/24.


Members noted the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Panel work programme for 2023/24.



To note that the dates of future meetings are as follows:


Thursday 11th April 2024.


Members noted the dates of future meetings as set out in the agenda.


The Chair thanked Members and officers for their time and contributions and the meeting ended at 20:23.