Local democracy and decision making
Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee
Thursday 16 December 2010 7.00 pm
Venue: Room 8, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW. View directions
Contact: Nigel Harvey Tel: 020 7926 3136, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Matt Parr declared a personal interest under Item 5 (Income and Debt Strategy) as a Member of Loughborough Estate Management Board but did not consider this to be prejudicial.
To agree the minutes from the meeting of 24 November 2010 as a correct record of proceedings.
RESOLVED: The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2010 be approved and signed by the Chair as an accurate record of the meeting subject to the following amendment:
Item 4 – Housing, Regeneration and Environment General Fund In-Year Budget Management
Delete final bullet point and insert
(Report no: 171/10-11)
Contact for Information: Tom Barrett, Scrutiny Manager. Tel: 020 7926 2235 email@example.com
Tom Barrett, Scrutiny Manager, introduced the report. He explained that the Commission had been established by Finance and Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committees in 2009 but had not been able to report back before the end of the 2009/10 Municipal Year. The Commission had not been recommissioned and there had been some outstanding matters to be dealt with.
Councillor Diana Morris, Chair of the Commission, had attended the meeting of the Leaseholders’ Council on 21 October to answer some of their concerns. The item had been deferred at the previous meeting of the Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee due to the fact that the minutes of the 21 October meeting had not been published at that time.
The Leaseholders’ Council had asked that the work of the commission continue and that it report to this Sub-Committee. However as noted above the commission no longer existed. Members considered that their points could be progressed by Councillor Christopher Wellbelove, Deputy Cabinet Member. One of the main concerns was that accurate bills were not sent to leaseholders as the system did not have the correct details regarding what serviced charges were payable. Councillor Diana Morris stated that it was important that a computer based system was in place to ensure that all the correct charges were shown on a particular property and that it was properly resourced.
That the outstanding matters be referred to Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee for any further scrutiny work and that the committee and Leaseholder’s concerns also be referred to Councillor Christopher Wellbelove for progressing.
Contact for information: Tom Barrett, Scrutiny Manager, 020 7926 2235 firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Higgins, Chief Accountant, gave a presentation covering the following points:
• The Government had announced the provisional grant settlement for local authorities on 13 December 2010 and asked for responses by 17 January 2011.
• Lambeth’s formula grant (excluding the “rolling in” grants) would reduce in 2011/12 by £20.17million in cash terms. Taking into account the “rolling in” grants this equated to a total reduction of 11.3%.
• Lambeth’s formula grant (excluding the “rolling in” grants) would reduce further in 2012/13 by £16.97million in cash terms. Taking into account the “rolling in” grants this equated to a total reduction of 7.4%.
• The Year 1 previous savings target was £42.378million, against a revised estimate of £37.446million giving a positive variance of £4.932million.
• The final two years of the spending review period remained uncertain but there was no indication that the Government intended to reduce the overall Savings Target.
The following statistics were provided:
October Spending Review Savings Targets
Revised Savings Targets following the 13 December announcement
He concluded by pointing out that:
• The final settlement was due in January 2011.
• The detail around schools and the interplay on the Early Intervention Grant was still being worked on. This would be critical to the “trading relationship” between the authority and the schools.
• Additional funding to the NHS of approximately £1billion, nationally, had been announced and it was anticipated that some of this would be available to support social care provision but no further information was known at the time of the meeting.
• He expected other Government communications and details to emerge in the next few days. However, there was some evidence that lobbying on front loading had had some impact.
• Further steps to take would be progressed through the Council’s Service and Financial Planning process.
Councillor Paul McGlone, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources addressed the meeting. He stated that the Council was being asked to make an unprecedented cut of £37million. In addition the full details of which grants were to be ring fenced was not known at the time of the meeting as not all of the announcements had been made. It was expected that the final details would be published on 19January in advance of the next meeting of the Sub-Committee.
In response to questions from Members it was explained that:
· There were over 135 grants where details had not been released. Details of these would be forwarded to members of the Sub-Committee. The biggest component was the Dedicated Schools Grant.
(Report no: 186/10-11)
Contact for Information: Frank Higgins, Chief Accountant. Tel: 020 7926 9316; email@example.com
Frank Higgins, Chief Accountant, introduced the report and explained that this was to be a regular item on the agenda for this Sub-Committee.
He explained that as at the end of September 2010 the Council was forecast to overspend the General Fund Budget by £13.7million. The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) had a surplus of just under £2million and the capital budget was performing reasonably well.
Councillor Paul McGlone, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, referred to the forecast deficit and stated that he did not consider it acceptable for there to be an overspend at the end of the year.
In response to Members it was explained that:
In conclusion the Chair confirmed that the following areas were of concern:
That the report be noted and that the concerns of the Sub-Committee be conveyed to officers.
(Report no: 187/10-11)
Contact for Information: David Ashmore, Divisional Director, Revenue, Benefits and Customer Service. Tel: 020 7926 0949.
During the discussion of this item, the guillotine fell at 9.00 pm.
MOVED by the Chair, and:
RESOLVED: That in accordance with Standing Orders 9.5 – 9.7, the meeting continue for a further period of up to fifteen minutes.
David Ashmore, Divisional Director, Revenue Benefits and Customer Service, introduced the report. He explained that this was the first draft of the strategy which would be consulted upon before finalisation. As regards Income Collection, performance had improved and Lambeth was now one of the highest performing authorities in London. This was reviewed on an annual basis.
In response to questions from Members it was explained that:
The Chair stated that there was a need to look at income maximisation.
That the report be noted.
(Report no: 188/10-11)
Contact for Information: Tom Barrett, Scrutiny Manager, 020 7926 2235 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sub-Committee agreed that the following items be submitted to the next meeting on 27 January 2011:
(1) That the report be noted
(2) That the work programme be updated in line with the report requests outlined above