Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Veronica Johnson  Email: veronica.johnson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5004

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Committee.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Spencer Drury; CouncillorMark James; Councillor Adel Khaireh; Councillor Gary Parker; and Councillor Ivis Williams.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 April 2019.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 30 April 2019 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Leader's Update pdf icon PDF 36 KB

To receive and make comment on a verbal update against the Royal Greenwich Corporate Plan from the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader advised that a year in to the administration, progress was being made on everything in the Corporate Plan.  This included 42 sites for social housing being completed which had been very resource intensive.

 

The major challenge was the budget as there would have to be dramatic savings.  Councils have not yet been informed of the settlement they will receive but based on assumptions that have to be made, a £57m overspend looks likely.  The largest overspend is in the directorate of Health and Adult Services.  The Leader felt that it was time for a root and branch overhaul of the service.  A new director had been informally offered the post that day and some major changes to the service would be considered.

 

A lot of joint work was being undertaken around violence reduction.  There had also been two recent large scale operations which had seized around £40k of heroin and ten arrests had been made.

 

In response to questions from the Committee, the Leader advised the following:

·       The Council reserves were relatively low against neighbouring boroughs and would need to be increased which would be part of the strategy going forward.  £57m had to be found and this would necessitate some fundamental discussions with the public about choices that will have to be made.  Council staff would also be asked for their ideas on possible savings.

·       The Council would have to take up the adult precept within the Council Tax as there was no other funding and the level of Council Tax would need to be part of the discussions on the savings.  However, a 1% rise was equivalent to around £800k so increasing the Council Tax would not gain a massive amount of money.

·       The Leader advised that everything was up for discussion about how to save money including how social care was provided.  A major analysis of everything would need to be done.

·       He advised that he did agree with the Mayor of London’s comments about knife crime relating to the most deprived areas.  There were often issues with the lives of young people in deprived areas, including sometimes violence in their families and homes.  Major cuts had been made to youth services and activities needed to be provided for them.

·       In response to a question about the level of termination packages given to officers, the Leader advised that this question would need to be put to the Chief Executive who was in charge of all staff matters.

·       Councillor Mardner advised he had five questions but that as the Leader’s time was restricted, he would be happy to receive written responses to his questions as follows:

 

1.     What is the Leader’s action plan in respect of Brexit?

2.     Could the Leader supply a comparison of this Council’s reserves against other London boroughs?

3.     Is the Council using any one-off monies and if so, where?

4.     £1.5m was being spent on agency staff.  How are we going to reduce this figure?

5.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Initial Review and Health Check - Third Sector Commissioning Process 2019/2023 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To note the outcomes of a survey reviewing the initial feedback from third sector organisations following the completion of the first phase of the Third Sector Commissioning Framework 2019-2023, and agree the subsequent recommendations.  To note the distribution of funding award by size of applicant organisation and consider any recommendations to be incorporated into future funding rounds. To note the summary outcome of a further review of Equalities information collected as a result of the application process which complements the third stage Equalities Impact Assessment. To note that now the Service Delivery Plan phase has been completed, the Council has published a complete list of successful grant applicants.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This was presented along the lines of the report by the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Voluntary Sector; the Director of Communities & Environment and the Assistant Director.

 

Responses to questions included the following: -

·       The table on page 9 of the report showed how many organisations had under £10k turnover – there were two.  The Assistant Director in response to a question advised he would let members know after the meeting who these two organisations were and if they were BAME.

 

Action: Asst Dir, Comms & Env

 

·       It was correct that only five or six questions had been asked in the survey to organisations but an ‘open comments’ section had also been included.

·       Each organisation was asked to come in for an interview rather than just sending in an application.  All organisations had seemed to prefer this method.

·       The funding for Greenwich Theatre was agreed during the bidding process and they also receive support with their business plan.  The CE of the Creative District has also agreed to mentor them.  The council owns the building and undertakes any repairs and under this arrangement it is not possible to have a peppercorn rent.  The new lease was agreed about a month ago and includes a new roof and new performance area.

·       The community centres are very highly valued independent organisations with their own boards.  Any new arrangement regarding managing repairs and maintenance has to be mutually agreed. Workshops have been held about how a co-operative model could work and the community centres are now considering a federated structure whereby the Council puts in some funding and they then fundraise for the rest.  A formal proposal would be sent to them soon.

·       GAVS has been requested to start focusing on a more tailored support for each organisation and to be more proactive in helping them to prevent hitting problems before they happened. The Asst Director agreed to circulate exact details of what GAVS had been asked to provide.

 

Action: Asst Dir, Comms & Env

 

·       In response to a question from a committee member about whether anything needed to be learned from the whole exercise for the future, the Cabinet member advised that the only thing had been that the lead-in process had been too short but that other than that, the process had gone well.  She also thanked the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the three meetings they had held just before Christmas.

·       The Cabinet member also advised that of the 53 organisations awarded, she had met with a lot of them anyway and would certainly try to visit as many of the others as she could.

 

Resolved –

 

1.1           That the outcomes of a survey reviewing the initial feedback from third sector organisations following the completion of the first phase of the Third Sector Commissioning Framework 2019-2023 be noted and that the subsequent recommendations be agreed.

1.2           That the distribution of funding award by size of applicant organisation be noted and that any recommendations to be incorporated into future funding rounds be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To note the upcoming executive decisions set out in the Forward Plan for the period July 2019 – October 2019 (inclusive), and to determine any items for scrutiny.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that he would be speaking with the Leader and the Cabinet Member about the possibility of Scrutiny having more and earlier involvement in the budget process.  In response to a request, he also agreed that he would speak to the Leader about the possibility of scrutiny members having access to information taken to the Budget Recovery Board meetings.

 

                                                                      Action: Chair of O&S

 

With regard to Scrutiny staffing levels, the Chair advised that the Chief Executive had turned down the Committee’s request for the Research Officer post to be funded for a further twelve months and so the post would cease next month. The Chair was meeting with the Chief Executive the following week to talk through the Committee’s concerns about future staffing levels and he would report back to the Committee.

 

                                                                      Action: Chair of O&S

 

Resolved –

 

That the upcoming executive decisions set out in the Forward Plan for the Period July 2019 – October 2019 (inclusive) as set out at Appendix 1 be noted and that any items for scrutiny be determined.

 

 

8.

Work Programme Schedule pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To agree the schedule for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2019/20, and to note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 9 September 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that the next meeting of 9 September 2019 would need to be moved to a later date and this was agreed.  A new date would be circulated as soon as possible.

 

Resolved –

 

1.1           That the Committee agreed the attached schedule for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2019/20 as set out in Appendix 1.

1.2           That the Committee noted the work items that were scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its next meeting (date to be confirmed).

1.3           That the Committee considered the scope of forthcoming reports and specified any detailed requirements.

 

 

 

9.

Actions Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To note that future meetings will include a report to monitor that actions raised by the Committee have been completed.

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

The Committee noted that future meetings would include a report to monitor that actions raised by the Committee had been completed.