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Agenda and minutes

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

Link: View the meeting live here

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Mr Saleem Sheikh and Councillor David Chung. Councillor Joan Henry attended as a substitute.


Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interests


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 58 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record.



Impact of COVID-19 in Merton - Verbal update from the Director of Public Health pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Director of Public Health gave a short presentation highlighting that:


Infection rates are very high with approximately 300 new cases per day in Merton. This is in turn having have an impact on the NHS in Southwest London.


Attendance at test centres has increased and they are now working at capacity

Care homes have the high rates of outbreaks. There is increased testing and the majority of cases are asymptomatic.


There were 13 deaths between 12th to 18th December which is the highest in this wave of the pandemic.


The Director of Public Health gave an overview of the asymptomatic testing process.




The Chair thanked the Director for her work during the Pandemic




Budget and Business Plan 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 7 MB

Additional documents:


The Director of Corporate Resources gave an overview of the budget position highlighting that:


New savings were presented at the November Cabinet meeting highlighting that the current budget gap is £11.7 million rising to £12.8 million in 2022-2023 and £13.9 million in 2023-2024.  Neither the local government settlement nor Covid funding will be sufficient to reduce the gap as a result there will be further savings presented to Cabinet on the 18th January.


The Equality Impact assessments have been provided and service plan information details new ways of working as part of recovery and modernisation programme and the impact of savings in service areas. There will be a special scrutiny meeting on the 17th February to feed back to Cabinet by the 22nd February.



A panel member asked about the detail of the adult social care grant within the spending review. The Director of Corporate Services reported that there had been some increases in the Social Care Grants this will be reported to Cabinet in January. The information was not received in time to be included within the savings pack.



CH100 Review of in-house day-care provision.  The Director of Community and Housing reported substantial engagement had taken place prior to the pandemic with people with learning disabilities, their carers and the voluntary sector on the type of day opportunities that was needed and wanted in the future. Many younger people transitioning through the system have made it clear they would like to be able to access a range of activities including in the evenings and at weekends rather than just traditional Monday to Friday day centres. While Leyton Road Day Centre is a new, state of the art building, others are not such good condition  The JMC building has been described as not fit for purpose due to layout and need for renovation. There were also decreasing numbers of people attending the day centres prior to Covid as older people chose lunch clubs and other community options. The Director emphasised this is not about closing day care, rather re-modelling, and working with service users to develop a provision to meet the needs of the community.


The Assistant Director of Adult Social Care added that two of the four day centres had remained open during the pandemic for small numbers of socially distanced customers. To meet the needs of other residents a community  outreach model with different groups was used during the pandemic and this model could be built upon moving forward.


A panel member said service reviews are important, but expressed concern that this is a budget led review leading to a 15% cut in services. Also, an external consultant is being used to conduct the review rather than local provision such as Merton Mencap. Although some young people who want different things, those with complex needs, need to attend day centres.


The Head of Community and Housing Strategy and Partnerships said the budget relates to the whole of direct provision, the amount of savings are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Impact of COVID-19 in Merton - Verbal update from the Assistant Director of Adult Social Care pdf icon PDF 875 KB


The Assistant Director of Adult Social Care gave an overview on the latest position with hospital discharge reporting that there is pressure across the system including a reduced work force but increase in patients. The teams completed a lot of surge planning with partners in health in preparation for the current surge. There is currently capacity within the system and teams are working hard to maintain this and working closely with partners on a daily basis.


The Assistant Director reported that Shielding was re-introduced on 20 December, there are 6500 vulnerable people shielding in Merton. The Community Hub has been commissioned to support this group, there is a structure in place from the first wave.



The Assistant Director of Strategy and Improvement gave an overview of the vaccine rollout in Merton reporting that a detailed presentation with the most up to date information had been prepared and shared with Panel members. He reported that this is an NHS programme of rollout which began initially with the Pfizer vaccine, through hospital hubs for the workforce and Primary Care Network sites for residents over 80 years old. The programme is now also rolling out the Oxford Zenica vaccine and during January and February the community roving teams and mass vaccination centres will come on stream to administer the vaccines.




The Chair thanked officers for their updates


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB


The Panel noted the work programme