To receive the report of the Executive Director of Finance, Resources & Customer Services providing a Risk registers update for Children’s Services, HHASC, Regeneration & Environment.
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 Chair asked relevant service officers to go through each of their respective risks and to explain how they are being managed.
4. Tony Theodoulou (Executive Director of Children’s Services) clarified the following:
a. CS 1718 -02 Missing Children – A few years ago, the department would identify children going missing from home because they were unhappy about issues going on at home. The department were now seeing young people missing from home in relation to the trafficking of drugs. It had been identified that approximately 30 young people are regularly going missing because they are selling drugs in other parts of the country. As a response to this, the department were putting in additional resources into its missing persons team as have the Police (additional Police Officers), focussing on who is most at risk of being exploited in this was and the department’s response to them. This is an area where the risk rating may increase the next time Tony Theodoulou reviews them.
b. CS 1718-03 Increased Service demand – This was one area, despite the mitigations in place, continues to be red due to uncontrollable issues. Tony Theodoulou provided an example of this regarding a recent murder in Cheshunt (December 2017), whereby 5 Enfield residents were arrested in connection with the murder. The residents were all 14 or 15 years of age and had been remanded to secure accommodation until their Old Bailey trial date in May 2018. If these young people stay in secure remand between December 2017 and May 2018, that would cost the local authority approximately £0.5m.
c. CS 1718-04 Changes in policy & associated legislation – There would soon be new duties towards care leavers due to newly passed legislation. This meant that the departments duties towards care leavers would be extended to leavers aged 25 from currently aged 21. The risk is that the department have had no clarification about the new burdens funding, which should come with these new duties. There will also be additional resources required, additional staffing, additional commissioning budgets, etc. The department were still waiting for this. This was an example of how new legislation can impact on this work.
d. CS 1718-05 Negative Inspection outcomes – From January 2018, OFSTED are introducing a new Inspection Framework. They tend to change the inspection framework every 3 years and the department will be inspected in the next 3 years under this new framework. The department had participated in a pilot inspection in April 2017, which resulted in a positive and re-assuring outcome.
5. Jon Newton (Head of Service – Older People & Physical Disabilities) & Jane Senior (Head – Procurement & Commissioning Hub) representing HHASC clarified the following 4 risks:
a. HHASC 1718-01 Financial Pressures – This was a consistent pressure for Adult Social Care (ASC). With some elements of ASC you could understand where the pressures are coming from i.e. older people in terms of the demographics and services to be provided. In terms of that pressure some populations were more static i.e. learning dis-abilities who understand their finances. ASC pressures can come from anywhere i.e. provision costs, homecare costs, etc. All internal controls were in place to combat this risk i.e. monthly financial monitoring, decision making, performance monitoring, etc. The department were not doing things wrong but the massive pressures were not dissipating.
b. HHASC 1718-02 Workforce – A market shaping strategy had been agreed within adults including the establishment of a market shaping board to be chaired by ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services). This would cover 3 key areas:
· Market intelligence & facilitators
· Quality & engagement with providers
· People & staff
This will comprise a number of cross functional work streams, bringing together representatives both internally and externally. This would include training departments, skills for care, etc. This would enable the department to develop a coherent workforce development strategy.
The department are working sub-regionally with Councils to look at this area and from that, nurses’ operating in residential care in Enfield have been invited to participate in a passport to leadership development programme. This is to support nursing staff because of a general recruitment crisis in care homes. To support their personal and professional development with the aim that they stay longer within care homes.
c. HHASC1718-04 Vulnerable Residents – There is a very well established safeguarding team and a very robust framework around provider concerns with strong links to the regulator CQC (Care Quality Commission). There is also a contract monitoring team who monitor existing providers and providers who want to deliver services in the Borough.
One of the main areas of focus for the Market Shaping board will be quality and how the department can work with the sector to make improvements. Also promoting good practise by bringing in a range of guest speakers to support development initiatives. There would also be some further work with NCL partners, on a sub - regional, basis to look at how to quality assure providers across the field. To consolidate the departments approach to vulnerable residents.
d. HHASC 1718-04 Market Stability & Sustainability – Provider forums would be one of the work streams contained within the market shaping strategy and considered by the Market Shaping Board. The department will be looking at market intelligence and facilitation which will involve looking into market segments i.e. inter domiciliary care, residential supported living schemes, etc. To fully appreciate the high demand issues, gaps in the market and provider prospective that the department wants to draw upon so as to have a collaborative approach to addressing sustainability issues. As part of that the department would want to encourage diversification and innovation. Understanding market issues is the way to do this. Other mitigating actions regarding this risk are detailed at pages 9-10 of the report.
6. Peter George (Assistant Director - Regeneration & Environment) and James Rolfe (Executive Director – Finance, Resources & Customer Services) clarified the following 3 risks:
a. HRA 1718-01 DMT* Right to Buy (RTB) – This risk is causing a real pressure on the HRA account. The frequencies of RTB had been higher than the department initially forecast with approx.100-150 homes being lost per annum. It is particularly complicated by the rules that are attached with spending the RTB receipts. The Council can only spend a third of the receipts towards the cost of a replacement home. This has to be done within 3 years otherwise the receipts have to be returned to central government plus 4% interest compounded over the period. To date, the Council has not had to return any RTB receipts to central government and have managed to continue to provide replacement affordable homes.
The pressures on the HRA have been compounded by the government’s decision to reduce rents over the 5 year period, which has left very little headroom within the HRA. Therefore the Council’s ability to match fund the RTB receipts is under real pressure in the short term. One of the risk mitigation measures the Council is looking at is through the establishment of a registered provider company (Red Lion Homes). The Council would provide Red Lion Homes with a third of the RTB receipts, towards the cost of replacement homes and the company could then borrow the two thirds match funding on the private market.
The HCA (Homes and Community Agency) has now approved the 1st stage round of applications towards establishing Red Lion Homes Housing Association. Red Lion Homes now had 8 board members, of which Peter George is one and the report going to Full Council this month is recommending that Cllr Ahmet Oykener joins the board as the 9th member.
The Council had projected £45M of RTB receipts over the next 5 years but are reliant on Red Lion Homes being successfully established and set up in order to be able to spend the £45M.
b. HRA 1718-02 Estate Renewal scheme – The Council has one of the larger and more successful estate renewal programmes in London. There are active sites in New Southgate (517 new homes), the Alma Estate and New Avenue (450 new homes). All 3 main projects are all underway and the Council are currently consulting on the next project at the Snells Park Estate/Joyce Avenue which will ultimately achieve 2,400 new homes subject to a ballot this summer. This particular risk relates to the costing of the schemes and ensuring that the Council maintains the financial viable position over time.
c. HRA 1718-03 Universal Credit – Madeleine Forster’s (Interim AD of Council Housing & Regulatory Services) team were currently in the process of running some scenario testing on the HRA based upon what could happen once Universal Credit is fully affecting tenants.
This is part of the departments cross council introduction of the Universal Credit programme board that housing colleagues, CAB and finance colleagues sit on. From other local authorities that have gone live, the council knows that rent arrears arise as a result of Universal Credit. What is not known, as yet, is if this a long term problem for tenants or a short term issue until they understand the new systems. The impact on council housing is just one part of the housing market that is affected by this. There is also temporary accommodation and the Housing gateway affected too. Debt collection teams are working with housing officers to make sure all necessary procedures and advice is in place. At present, the council are still getting rent revenue but it is taking longer to collect.
7. Gary Barnes (Executive Director of Regeneration & Environment clarified the following risks:
a. RE 1718-01 Failure to recruit & retain staff – The department were working to develop internal staff and to go through the use of apprenticeships. They were working with colleges and schools to attract people, at ‘A’ level stage, into roles and to provide day release training and recruitment, which has been successful.
b. RE 1718-03 Failure to work effectively with centralised Hubs – The Hubs were now in place and working effectively and this risk should now be removed or should have a green rating next time.
c. RE 1718-04 Budget Management – The department are looking to work with finance officers to continue the terms of budget management arrangements. The department had been very effective in terms of commercialisation across the department and officers were now working across the Council very effectively.
d. RE 1718-05 Failure to improve the quality of customer service – The department were continuing to improve the department’s web site content so as to improve the ability for people to communicate with the council. The department were working with the Customer Services Board, a key part of their improvement project.
e. RE 1718-06 Contract Management Failure - The Council had a large number of contracts. These are regularly reviewed on a monthly basis and where performance is not to the required standard the Council and Gary Barnes use powers to effect change. Ultimately the Council and Gary Barnes are seriously considering the performance of its highway works contractor who it is felt is not performing and not performing within the bounds of contract. The Executive Director has agreed a revision of the contract to attempt to deliver an acceptable performance. If it is not delivered, Gary Barnes would come back to Council with a recommendation to terminate the contract and to go back to market.
8. The following comments, questions and issues raised in response to the report:
a. Councillor Hayward enquired as to the ages of the young people that were regularly going missing due to selling drugs in other parts of the country. Tony Theodoulou clarified that they were all under 18 with the youngest being probably aged 13.
b. Peter Nwosu (Independent Member) reflected on the risk for Missing Children (Children’s Services) and asked if this risk would ever have a green rating and what would need to be done to achieve a green rating. Tony Theodoulou clarified that he didn’t think it ever would achieve a green rating as there was too much inherent risk involved in the work that Children’s Services do.
c. The Chair sought clarity within the mitigations for the ‘Increased Service Demand’ risk and how the department had progressed with those and who the recently commissioned external provider was. Tony Thedoulou clarified that the 2 DCLG/Home Office grants that were available had both been applied for. One had been rejected and the department were awaiting the outcome of the second application. The external providers are called ‘Achieving for Children’ who run Children’s Services at Richmond & Kingston Council’s. They were chosen because OFSTED had highlighted the positive work that these two authorities had done with that particular aspect of the service.
d. Councillor Dogan’s question about the ‘Missing Children’ risk and if there is a system in place that the authority checks if children are attending school. Tony Theodoulou clarified that the system used had improved over the past couple of years and as a result the list of children missing from education had substantially reduced. The reason being that the department now knows where the children have gone i.e. abroad, other local authorities, etc. Enquiries are made with government agencies and benefit agencies. The department will continue to make efforts to identify where these children have gone until they are satisfied that they know.
e. Peter George (Assistant Director – Regeneration & Environment) joined the meeting at this time – 08:15pm)
f. Councillor Savva comments that he had not been aware of the missing children issue until it was mentioned at the recent Haselbury CAPE meeting by a resident. His question was; as an authority, what are we doing about this as far as awareness is concerned, especially with schools. Tony Theodoulou clarified that this wasn’t a new issue and that young people from London have been involved in selling drugs, outside of London, for a very long time. This issue had been highlighted with TV programmes about it. They call it ‘running county lines’ where young people from London are being told to go into a particular area i.e. council estate and to start selling drugs there.
The message that the department gets across to these young people is that there is nothing glamourous about this lifestyle.
What tends to happen is that young people get bullied into doing this or promised money/clothes. What the department has found is that the people controlling the drugs arrange for these young people to be robbed of their money and drugs they are carrying, on the street. Resulting in those young people being in debt to the people controlling the drugs, with favours. What they have to do is work for free and are offered to work for 14 hours a day, sitting in a house with a mobile phone, waiting for instructions. It is a miserable life.
The department are also using the experiences of people who have come out at the other end, to work with local young people and try to deter them from getting involved in the first place. Sometimes, families are moved out of the borough so they can have a fresh start.
g. The Chair’s comments regarding the HHASC ‘Workforce’ risk and that it was important to focus on having permanent staff, as we leave Brexit and the number of care workers that may leave the UK including the focus on training. The Chair also asked for more information regarding provider forums which related to the HHASC ‘market stability & sustainability’ risk. Jane Senior clarified that these forums would comprise as part of the market shaping strategy. There will be a number of different themes involved. The forums will need to be purposeful with a strategic approach. They will provide an opportunity to share intelligence that is gathered at the market, to work with providers so as to understand concerns and then to develop joint approaches.
h. In response to councillor Haywards question regarding the establishment of Red Lion Homes and its purpose, Peter George clarified the following:
· The Council can spend right to buy (RTB) receipts on providing replacement council homes, as they have done with small housing sites like Du Jardin Mews.
· The pressure here was the fact that in the short term the HRA business plan doesn’t have the capacity to continue to provide 2/3 match funding needed to compliment the RTB receipts. The Council cannot provide RTB receipts to a company that it entirely owns i.e. Enfield Innovations, Housing Gateway.
· The Homes & Community Agency (HCA) had introduced rules stating that local government representation must not exceed 24.5% on the board (2 of 9 board members).
· A further advantage, for the Council, of establishing Red Lion Homes is that it needs more affordable housing in order to bring down the cost of temporary accommodations. The advantage a housing association has over a local authority is that it is subject to the voluntary RTB and the Council is subject to the mandatory RTB. Red Lion Homes would then therefore not volunteer to offer RTB to its tenants. Red Lion Homes will therefore remain as affordable housing helping to address the Council’s temporary accommodation and financial pressures.
i. Councillor Dogan referred to the Council’s big commitment with having these large companies. By having this provider (Red Lion Homes), in the short term, how would it meet expenditure and how would it achieve this. Peter George clarified that this depended on Red Lion Homes (RLH) being fully approved by the HCA. The company had already received its stage 1 approval from the HCA. The projections for spending RTB receipts are dependent on RLH being fully established and starting to purchase affordable homes from the 2nd quarter of the next financial period. If it is not established within the timescales the department is proposing, the Council would then be under pressure to acquire affordable homes so as to avoid giving the RTB receipts back to central government. As a contingency, the Council had been buying street properties using RTB receipts and match funding, which has helped. However, the match funding capacity is dwindling, in the short term.
j. Councillor Hurer asked for confirmation of the discounted percentage that RTB tenants receive and if it was 35%. He also stated that the Council would then only get a third of the discounted amount. Going back into the market the Council would then only be able to buy at market value, so it was a double whammy. Peter George confirmed that the 35% discount figure depended on the length of the tenancy. The Council had been lobbying central government about wanting to retain the entirety of the RTB receipt, to have greater financial ability to replace lost homes. In the autumn budget, the government were silent on this but they did provide the ability for local authorities to bid to increase their HRA capacity if they met certain criteria. This was being looked at.
k. Councillor Maguire questioned one of the mitigating actions in relation to the estate renewal scheme risk and if a contingency sum had been identified by the HRA & Estate Renewal Governance Board. Peter George clarified that an example of this would be the Alma Estate development. The big cost to the council would be the acquisition of the resident leaseholders. The most recent Cabinet report provides a based budget for buying out the balance leaseholders. However, the budget for doing this is based upon the present value of those homes with some movement.. The Council has therefore provided itself with some contingency allowance to accommodate reasonable market movements in the short term.
The Council now had CPO powers confirmed on the Alma Estate, which allows the council to acquire the balance of homes it has yet to purchase. Advice had been taken on the contingency allowances and if the council purchases the homes in accordance with CPO timescales then they will be sufficient.
l. Councillor Savva enquired about Energetik consumption regarding the council’s 3 main estate development schemes. Peter George clarified that all 3 of those projects including the Snells & Joyce development will connect into Energetik. Energetik had already got its second customers at the Electric Quarter which is not a HRA scheme but a general fund scheme. There is going to be a satellite scheme at Alma Estate, Ladderswood Estate and New Avenue in addition to the main scheme which will connect into the Meridian Water development. Energetik estimates there would be enough power to accommodate heating to 100k homes.
James Rolfe felt that this risk (HRA 1718-02) should be updated to reflect the fact that financial monitoring wasn’t actually the mechanism by which costs are controlling contracts, it is the proper quantity surveying contracts in the first place and the active governance of those. The Chief executive and james Rolfe have jointly sponsored a review with PwC colleagues to see where the capacity could be increased in that area.
AGREED to note the risks recorded in the Service Delivery Registers.