Agenda and minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 15th December, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Dominic O'Brien, Principal Scrutiny Officer, 020 8489 5896 

Note: Use the link on the agenda front sheet or paste the following into your browser: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YjZmYzZkOGQtZWNhMi00MWI3LTliMGItNDZmN2M2YjVhODY2%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226ddfa760-8cd5-44a8-8e48-d8ca487731c3%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22d1dc05de-ecbd-4e6c-b7b3-3a52b6175baf%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting will be recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on.

 

By entering the meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No apologies were received from Panel Members.


Apologies had been received from Cllr Emine Ibrahim, Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal, Cllr Matt White, Cabinet Member for Planning and Corporate Services and Sean McLaughlin, Managing Director of Homes for Haringey (HfH).

 

Cllr Diakides expressed concern that two of the three Cabinet Members whose portfolios related to the Panel’s remit were not present for the scrutiny of the budget. He also expressed disappointment not to be able to question the Managing Director of Homes for Haringey as there were relevant issues of concern relating to the funding arrangements between the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account.

 

Cllr Adje, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration, noted that Cllr White was unable to attend for medical reasons and that Cllr Ibrahim had another engagement. He also said that there had not been a specific request from the Panel for all three Cabinet Members to attend the meeting.

 

Cllr Gordon emphasised the role of the Panel in scrutinising Cabinet Members and noted that the meeting had been in the diary for some time. The importance of the attendance of Cabinet Members for the budget scrutiny meeting were reiterated by Cllr Barnes, Cllr Brabazon, Cllr Hare and Cllr Say. Cllr Brabazon suggested that a further budget scrutiny meeting should be scheduled so that the Cabinet Members could attend and respond to questions from the Panel. David Joyce, Director for Housing, Regeneration and Planning said that the senior officers present would be able to respond to questions from the Panel and that, on the point about representation from Homes for Haringey, the primary focus of the budget scrutiny would be on the Council’s budget.

 

Cllr Gordon proposed that a separate meeting be organised with the Cabinet Members in attendance so that the Panel’s questions could be answered and this was agreed by the Panel.

 

RESOLVED – That a request be made for a meeting to be arranged where Cabinet Members respond to questions from the Panel on budget issues.

 

3.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

 

4.

Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

5.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 444 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Diakides noted that under the Work Programme Update item in the draft minutes of the previous meeting he was recorded as suggesting that the Panel should consider funding models relating to the ALMO and the HRA at a future meeting. He said that this in fact related to the General Fund and the HRA. The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that this would be corrected in the final version of the minutes.

 

With this amendment made, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th November 2020 were approved as an accurate record.

 

Cllr Gordon noted that there were a number of action points from the previous meeting which would be followed up with responses circulated in January. Cllr Diakides enquired about the use of an action tracker and the Scrutiny Officer confirmed that an action tracker spreadsheet was used to record actions and would be circulated to the Panel when the responses had been collected.

 

RESOLVED – That, following one correction under item 11, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th November 2020 be approved as an accurate record.

 

RESOLVED – That an action tracker including responses to recent action points be circulated to all Panel Members in January 2021.

 

7.

Scrutiny of the 2021/22 Draft Budget / 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (2021/22 - 2025/26) pdf icon PDF 387 KB

To scrutinise the revenue and capital proposals relating to the 2021/22 Draft Budget and the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2021/22 to 2025/26.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

John O’Keefe, Head of Capital and Major Projects, introduced the report on the Council’s draft budget for 2021/22 and 5-Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for 2021/22 – 2025/26 and proposals relating to the Panel’s remit, highlighting the following points:

  • That a number of revenue and capital proposals were being put forward for the Panel’s consideration.
  • That as of February 2020, the financial position had been for a budget reduction of £1.9m in 2021/22 and of £3.1m in 2022/23. However, by December 2020, the financial position was now for a required budget reduction of £17.0m in 2021/22 and of £10.041m in 2022/23.
  • Net savings of £11.6m had been identified for 2021/22.
  • £5.4m of reserves would be used to balance the budget for 2021/22.
  • Significant risks with the budget still remained, including the impact of Covid, Brexit, planned savings not being delivered and a lack of clarity on the level of government support beyond 2021/22.

 

David Joyce, Director of Housing, Regeneration & Planning, provided some further details on the savings proposals:

  • The overall revenue budget for Housing, Regeneration & Planning was relatively small compared to other departments. The majority of the funding came from alternative sources such as work under capital, work charged to the Housing Revenue Account and work funded by income such as planning and building control or through grants.
  • The Housing, Regeneration and Planning department had a strong record of delivery and had a continued ambition to deliver services and projects such as new Council homes and investment in town centres. The intention was therefore to make savings through income and not by reducing activity. The majority of the savings proposals resulted from the cross-cutting Property Rationalisation work.
  • The revenue savings for 2021/22 amounted to just over £1m:

o   HO101: Housing Team Salaries – Increase HRA contribution (£274k)

o   HO102: HfH taking over the lease of PSL properties on their expiry (£209k)

o   EC101: Additional Recharge to Housing Services (£300k)

o   EC102: Additional Planning income from introducing new charges (£200k)

o   EC103: Reduction in Energy Consumption on corporate buildings (£50k)

  • The new capital investment items were listed as follows:

o   Housing (509): CPO – Empty Homes

o   Economy (404): Good Economy Recovery Plan

o   Economy (473): 551b High Road (part of Enterprising Tottenham High Road scheme)

o   Economy (453): New workspace scheme at Stoneleigh Road car park

o   Economy (454): HALS Improvement Programme

o   Economy (455): Replacement Cloud based IT solutions for Planning, Building Control & Land Charges

 

Cllr Ruth Gordon then introduced questions on Housing issues:

  • Cllr Diakides commented on the relationship between the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and the General Fund noting that around half of the revenue savings simply involved transferring money from one to the other. He acknowledged the reassurances that this approach was legally sound but said that this was more of a political issue impacting on the long-term viability of the Borough’s Council housing and that he was concerned about loading more costs onto the HRA. He said that arguments could be made for costs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Dates of Future Meetings

·         2nd March 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

  • 2nd March 2021