To receive a report from the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services providing a Risk Registers update.
RECEIVED the report of the Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services presenting registers for the Service Delivery operating areas (Health, Housing & Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Regeneration & Environment Departments).
1. Officers from relevant service areas were in attendance to address any questions about their registers.
2. The paper provides the register for the Council Services operating areas that cover 3 departments which include HHASC, Children’s Services and Regeneration & Environment.
3. The Register contains 22 risks as summarised in the table at pages 2-3 (Para 3.5) of the report. Since the last report on the Service Delivery risks, there have been 7 risks removed from the register and these are highlighted in grey in the 2nd table at para 3.5 of the report.
4. The Service Delivery Risk register is provided in Appendix 1 (pages 7-11) of the report.
5. The following questions raised in response to the risk registers:
a. The Chair referred to the red risk (appendix 1) relating to Children’s Services (CS 003 – Increased Service demand). Clarification by Tony Theodoulou (Executive Director – Children’s Services) that this was an inherent risk. The risk assessment hadn’t been changed since the last time he had reported to this committee. Because the risk still remained and is compounded by the reducing budgets and service reductions that the department has made. This was being done as carefully as possible so as to mitigate risks.
However, there is no doubt that with a growing population, growing levels of poverty, changes to legislation such as Universal Credit, the introduction of the homelessness reduction act, there will be further demands for Children’s Services at a time of diminishing resources.
b. The Chair noted that this risk was being kept under review and looked at every 2 months. Tony Theodoulou, clarified that as detailed in the budget monitor, this was an unavoidable pressure.
c. Councillor Savva wanted to know what officers were most concerned with, in view of the financial cut backs. Doug Wilson (Head of Strategy & Service Development, HHASC) clarified that the picture for adult social care was very similar to that of Children’s Services, in terms of increasing numbers of people. The population is growing substantially and the department were seeing those numbers translated into people who access hospital services. This was a cost and demographic pressure.
d. Bindi Nagra (Assistant Director – Strategy & Resources) further highlighted areas of concern regarding adult social care:
· The market for care is very challenged although the Council has one of the largest number of residential care homes in London. Other local authorities are placing patients in Enfield at a fast rate, pushing up prices the Council has to pay, by using its capacity.
· An underlying demographic pressure that all departments are experiencing across the Council.
· Pressure from the NHS, which is constant throughout the year. Enfield has 2 hospital trusts operating in its patch, North Middlesex and Chase Farm. The pace at which the NHS wants Enfield to dis-charge people, not only increased costs to the Council but also gives less time for these people to recover and rehabilitate from illness as they are being dis-charged still poorly. The Council are potentially creating a long term dependency in community care. The better care fund will provide a cash injection from central government, some of which had been bought forward to enable adult social care to survive a while longer. The reality was an over-spend of £7M if the department didn’t receive that money.
e. Councillor Simon mentioned the fact that the sleepover cost risk had not been included in the HHASC register and should be reflected.
f. James Rolfe was leading the implementation of Universal Credit (UC) across the Council. What the contribution (above) from HHASC colleagues does is illustrate one of the many areas of concern, whilst implementing UC. By affecting council customers like tenants, service users and patients that receive UC. Arising from the 2 pilot sites of UC, Lambeth and Croydon, the implementation will impact on debt collection, council tax collection and the overall short term finances of the Council.
What the Council have in place is an implementation pack to make sure the operation is implemented as soon as possible. This will include an understanding and analysis of all the risks and a communication programme. Therefore, this will be taken to both political groups and key partners i.e. head teachers because they will see it with students and school children.
With the committee’s agreement James Rolfe will ask the team who are implementing UC to report to Audit & Risk Management Committee about the implementation. Learning from test sites in London and around the country suggest that assurance cannot be given that, there won’t be an impact, because there will be.
ACTION: Sally McTernan (Assistant Director – Community Housing)
AGREED to note the risks recorded in the Service Delivery registers.