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Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: This will be a virtual meeting and therefore not held in a physical location, in accordance with s78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020

Link: View the meeting live here

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

 

2.

Declarations of pecuniary interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2020 are agreed as an accurate record.

 

The Chair advised that item 5 would be taken first, with items 4, 6 and 7 being considered together.  For ease of reference the minutes are listed below in the order they appeared in the agenda.

4.

Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Business Plan 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That the reference of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission set out in paragraphs 2.8 to 2.13 of the report be taken into account when making decisions on the Business Plan 2021-25.

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Peter Southgate, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission presented the report which set out the reference from the Commission in relation to the Business Plan 2021-25.  He acknowledged the difficult circumstances in which the report had been written and the number of late stage announcements.  He set out the proposed savings which the Commission had concerns about and asked that the Cabinet proceed with caution and urged the Cabinet to continue to press for compensation from the Government for the costs incurred by protecting residents during the pandemic.  He thanked the Director of Corporate Services and looked forward to looking at the second round of savings.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Southgate and agreed with his comments regarding compensation from the Government.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance echoed the thanks made to officers and to the Chair and Commission Members for their oversight and comments and addressed the comments made during his presentation of the Business Plan item. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the reference of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission set out in paragraphs 2.8 to 2.13 of the report be taken into account when making decisions on the Business Plan 2021-25.

 

5.

Local Restrictions Business Support Grant Scheme pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Additional Restrictions Grant Policy for Phase one be agreed.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance presented the report which set out proposals for a local restrictions business support grant scheme over two phases.  He thanked the officers involved in drafting the scheme and the Chairs of MVSC and Merton Chamber of Commerce who had agreed to sit on the panel with Council officers to administer the scheme.  A review would be undertaken at the end of phase one which would inform the criteria for phase two which would come back to Cabinet for a separate decision.

 

The Director of Corporate Services advised that dates had already been set up in January to process the applications.

 

The Chair echoed the thanks and welcomed the recognition by central government for the Council’s efforts in distributing money quickly to local businesses earlier on in the pandemic.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Additional Restrictions Grant Policy for Phase one be agreed.

 

6.

Financial Monitoring report 2020/21 - October 2020 pdf icon PDF 505 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

A.        Thatthefinancialreportingdatafor month 7, October2020,relatingto revenuebudgetarycontrol,showinga forecastnet adverse varianceat year-endof £8.2m be noted.

 

B.        That the contents of section 4 of the report be noted and the adjustments to the Capital Programme in Appendix 5b be approved.

That the contents of Section 4 and Appendix 5b of the report be noted and the amendments to the Programme contained in the Table below be approved:

 

 

Budget
2020-21

Budget
2021-22

Budget
2022-23

Narrative

Corporate Services

£

£

£

 

Customer Contact

(217,800)

217,800

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Planning and Public Protection

(340,710)

340,710

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Invest to Save General

(198,140)

198,140

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Housing Company

(6,000,000)

 

6,000,000

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Children, Schools and Families

 

 

 

 

Links Capital Maintenance

(137,000)

137,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Unallocated Capital Maintenance

(694,250)

605,360

 

Three virements and Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Perseid Capital Maintenance

(106,840)

106,840

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Melrose SEMH

77,440

997,560

 

Primary/Secondary SEMH Merged and reprofiled on this Scheme

Melrose Primary SEMH (Merging Schemes)

(200,000)

(875,000)

 

Primary/Secondary SEMH Merged with Scheme above

Environment and Regeneration

 

 

 

 

Haydons Road Shop Front Improvements

(481,580)

481,580

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Wimbledon Park Lake Safety

(150,000)

150,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Leisure Centres Plant and Machinery

(240,000)

160,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend & £80k Relinquished

Total

(8,688,880)

2,519,990

6,000,000

 

 

 

C.        That finance officers will continue to work with budget managers to identify further re-profiling and savings throughout the approved capital programme 2020-24.

 

D.        That £129,000 from the Outstanding Council Programme Board (OCPB) Reserve as part of the Recovery and Modernisation Programme - for an interim CSF Change Programme Manager (£79,000) and MVSC transformational resource (£50,000) be approved. This is in addition to £40,000 already drawn down from the same reserve to fund an external IT review.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance presented the report which set out the Council’s financial monitoring information for month 7, thanking officers for their efforts in controlling the budgets and highlighting the key issues for Cabinet’s consideration.  The forecast net adverse variance had reduced slightly due to the receipt of £3.6m of funding from the Government, which was welcomed although the net cost of Covid was still £12.5m and therefore it was important to keep pressing for full reimbursement from the Government.  Another area of concern was the Dedicated Schools Grant and the Government needed to properly fund this also.  It was clear that the pandemic had impacted most areas of the Council and this would need to be closely monitored in light of ongoing uncertainty.

 

The Director of Corporate Services advised that there had been adverse variances, particularly in Environment and Regeneration, and there could be further implications for income streams depending on what tiers the Borough was placed in by the Government.  Officers were in the process of making their claim for this and the results would likely be known in February.

 

RESOLVED:

 

A.        Thatthefinancialreportingdatafor month 7, October2020,relatingto revenuebudgetarycontrol,showinga forecastnet adverse varianceat year-endof £8.2m be noted.

 

B.        That the contents of section 4 of the report be noted and the adjustments to the Capital Programme in Appendix 5b be approved.

That the contents of Section 4 and Appendix 5b of the report be noted and the amendments to the Programme contained in the Table below be approved:

 

 

Budget
2020-21

Budget
2021-22

Budget
2022-23

Narrative

Corporate Services

£

£

£

 

Customer Contact

(217,800)

217,800

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Planning and Public Protection

(340,710)

340,710

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Invest to Save General

(198,140)

198,140

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Housing Company

(6,000,000)

 

6,000,000

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Children, Schools and Families

 

 

 

 

Links Capital Maintenance

(137,000)

137,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Unallocated Capital Maintenance

(694,250)

605,360

 

Three virements and Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Perseid Capital Maintenance

(106,840)

106,840

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Melrose SEMH

77,440

997,560

 

Primary/Secondary SEMH Merged and reprofiled on this Scheme

Melrose Primary SEMH (Merging Schemes)

(200,000)

(875,000)

 

Primary/Secondary SEMH Merged with Scheme above

Environment and Regeneration

 

 

 

 

Haydons Road Shop Front Improvements

(481,580)

481,580

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Wimbledon Park Lake Safety

(150,000)

150,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend

Leisure Centres Plant and Machinery

(240,000)

160,000

 

Reprofiled in line with projected spend & £80k Relinquished

Total

(8,688,880)

2,519,990

6,000,000

 

 

 

C.        That finance officers will continue to work with budget managers to identify further re-profiling and savings throughout the approved capital programme 2020-24.

 

D.        That £129,000 from the Outstanding Council Programme Board (OCPB) Reserve as part of the Recovery and Modernisation Programme - for an interim CSF Change Programme Manager (£79,000) and MVSC transformational resource (£50,000) be approved. This is in addition to £40,000 already drawn down from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Business Plan 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the draft deferred savings/income  proposals (Appendix 4) put forward by officers be agreed and referred to the Overview and Scrutiny panels and Commission in January 2021 for consideration and comment.

2.    That the savings and the associated draft equalities analyses for the savings noted in November (Appendices 3 and 5) be agreed.

3.    That the draft Capital Programme 2021-2025 be agreed and referred to the Overview and Scrutiny panels and Commission in January 2021 for consideration and comment.

4.    That the proposed Council Tax Base for 2021/22 set out in paragraph 2.6 and Appendix 1 be agreed.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance presented the report which set out the draft Business Plan 2021-25 and thanked the Chair and Members of the Commission for their response and their flexibility.  He welcomed the endorsement of the approach to separate the last of the “austerity” cuts from those savings the Council may be forced to make as a result of Covid.  The Council would not know the extent of the savings to be made until just before Christmas when the financial settlement would be announced.

 

The Cabinet Member addressed the savings raised by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in his presentation and advised that the Equality Analyses of those savings were now available.  There were no new savings proposed in the business plan due to strategy to separate out Covid and non-Covid savings, however there were draft Equality Analyses for all savings appended to the Plan.  Officers were still assessing the impact of the recent Government spending review.  The overall gap had reduced to just under £12m however this would have a significant impact on services if the Council was required to make those savings and the Council would await the final settlement figure due just before Christmas.  There had been a slight change in the timetable to reflect that further savings would not be known until that final settlement figure had been announced and therefore additional meetings of both scrutiny and Cabinet had been scheduled to ensure full oversight.

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member for his presentation and the officers involved.

 

The Director of Corporate Services advised that further detail was expected with the financial settlement and the assumptions would be revised with further work carried out on the impacts of any savings proposed.  Further advice was awaited on the public sector pay freeze and which staff would be affected.

 

The Chair echoed the comments and emphasised that Council officers should be paid the same as other public sector workers in recognition of their work on the front line in the pandemic.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education welcomed the discussion on the proposed savings at the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel and advised that the impact on partners would be looked at but residents must be prioritised and the emphasis should be maintaining and protecting services to vulnerable parents and children.

 

The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health recognised that the proposed savings could cause concern and hoped that the Equality Analyses helped to address some of those concerns.  The review of day centre provision would be subject to consultation and an assessment of need and the dementia service would be recommissioned with less of a focus on a physical building and more on how the service can best be delivered in the community, with more of a focus on outreach, subject to consultation.

 

The Director of Community and Housing advised that the children centres saving was proposed for 2022/23 which would give time to review the buildings and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.