Agenda and draft minutes

Moved (from 14 July 2020), Scrutiny & Overview Committee
Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020 6.30 pm, MOVED

Venue: This meeting is being held remotely; to view the meeting, please click here.

Contact: Simon Trevaskis
0208 7266000  Email: simon.trevaskis@croydon.gov.uk

Note: Moved from 14 July 2020 

Items
No. Item

26/20

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To approve the minutes of the joint meeting held with the Health & Social Care Sub-Committee on 26 May 2020 as an accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the joint meeting held with the Health & Social Care Sub-Committee on 26 May 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

27/20

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

 

Minutes:

There were no new disclosures of interest made at the meeting.

28/20

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There was no urgent business for this meeting.

 

(Note: At the meeting the Committee agreed to change the running order of the meeting to take the Croydon Economic Agenda item after the update on the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The minutes are presented in the original running order to correspond with the published agenda.)

 

29/20

Update on the Council Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic pdf icon PDF 112 KB

The Committee is asked to review the Cabinet report along with any further information provided at their meeting and decide whether they wish to make any recommendations.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on the Council’s response to the covid-19 pandemic covering the period since the previous update provided at the Committee meeting held on 26 May 2020. The update was presented by the Chief Executive of Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, a copy of the presentation can be found on the following link –

https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=166&MId=2152&Ver=4

During the presentation the following information was noted:-

  • The pandemic continued with the Council responding as needed. The Gold and Silver emergency response arrangements remained in place along with reporting into the London response arrangements.
  • As services began to reopen a significant focus had been placed on the continued support for vulnerable residents who had been shielding and support for the provision of mobile testing.
  • When decisions were made to reopen services the key principle was safety first, with all reopening’s approved by the Director of Public Health.
  • The Council’s website had a full list of the services that had reopened and provisional dates for those still to open. The Waste & Recycling and Registrar’s services had opened first, with parks and public toilets also now open. Access Croydon had reopened to the public using an appointments system. Six libraries were due to open later in week and preparations were being made to reopen leisure centres.
  • There had been 14,814 vulnerable residents on the Government’s Shielding list. 700 of these would require ongoing support once the scheme ended on 31 July.  Services were working to ensure that plans were in place for these individuals from that date.
  • The test and trace system would be one of the resources used to support local authorities to manage outbreaks within their local area. New powers were expected to be granted from the Government to support the work of the Director of Public Health in controlling outbreaks and preventing the spread of the virus. It was expected that these would include powers to either restrict access to or close premises, prohibit certain events and restricting access to or closing outdoor spaces.
  • Croydon had received £23m in funding from the Government, but at present there was still a significant funding gap. Three submissions had been made to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government  (MHCLG) setting out covid-19 related expenditure, with further submissions due to be made.
  • The crisis had demonstrated that the Council was able to adapt and deliver change quickly, such as setting up a digital solution for shielding residents within days of the programme starting. The crisis had also demonstrated that community resilience in the borough was strong and existing partnerships had worked well together to provide support for vulnerable residents. Another learning point from the crisis was there was greater scope to use digital solutions than had previously been thought.
  • At present there was very low numbers of positive Covid-19 cases across London, with only four new cases in Croydon in the past seven days.

Following the presentation, the Committee had the opportunity to ask questions on the information provided. The first question  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29/20

30/20

Scrutiny Review of Croydon Council Finances pdf icon PDF 111 KB

The Committee is asked to review the Cabinet report along with any further information provided at their meeting and decide whether they wish to make any recommendations.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received two reports previously considered and approved by the Cabinet on 20 July 2020 which set out proposals for managing the financial uncertainty facing the Council in light of covid-19 expenditure. The Committee also received a presentation delivered by the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources, Councillor Simon Hall, and the Section 151 Officer, Lisa Taylor, a copy of the presentation can be found on the following link –

https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=166&MId=2152&Ver=4

During the presentation the following information was noted:-

  • Croydon Council had already been facing a challenging financial position due to underfunding which had been significantly exacerbated by the covid-19 crisis.
  • The Revenue Budget Outturn for 2019-20 had ended with a £186,000 overspend which had been met from general fund reserves.
  • Responding to covid-19 had created a huge increase in expenditure driven by a lot more residents requiring support as well as managing a range of new duties and responsibilities.
  • As a result of the covid-19 crisis the savings originally planned for 2020-21 had been placed on hold. There had also been a significant loss of income from areas such as parking fees and rents.
  • The Council had submitted three returns to MHCLG setting out all additional expenditure, missed savings and lost income resulting from the covid-19 crisis which totalled £85m. To date funding of £23.5m had been received from the Government which left a shortfall of £65.4m to be found.
  • The Administration had been addressing this shortfall by looking at how the Council could deliver the same outcomes for residents with less expenditure. To achieve this a Financial Review Panel had been established which included external members to provide an independent challenge.
  • A staff review was being implemented as staffing represented £174m of costs annually. There was also plans to introduce a capitalisation objective to address one off costs.

Following the presentation the Committee was given opportunity to ask questions about the information provided. The first question concerned the staffing restructure and whether any such restructure had been planned prior to the pandemic. In response, it was advised that a targeted review had been planned to look at how the Council could be more efficient. However, no restructure had been planned on the scale required as a result of the pandemic.

As a follow-up, it questioned whether there were likely to be any decisions taken that would affect service provision and if so whether these should be in the public domain. In response it was highlighted that the staffing review was currently in its consultation phase which meant that no final decisions had yet been made. There may be certain teams affected which would lead to services being delivered differently, but the current plan was to continue to deliver all services.

It was questioned whether it would be possible to deliver the same outcomes with less staff or financial resources. The Cabinet Member confirmed that service outcomes would be maintained, although services may not be delivered in the same way.

The rationale behind the decision to have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30/20

31/20

Croydon Economic Recovery pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation for its consideration on the plans being put in place to support the economic recovery in the borough as it emerged from the covid-19 lockdown. The Cabinet Member for Economy & Jobs, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, the Cabinet Members for Environment, Transport & Regeneration (job share), Councillor Paul Scott and the Executive Director for Place, Shifa Mustafa, delivered the presentation. A copy of which can be found on the following link –

https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=166&MId=2152&Ver=4

During the presentation the following information was noted:-

  • As well as the initial health crisis created by covid-19 there was now likely to be an economic crisis as well arising from the impact of the pandemic. Partnership working would be essential to ensure the economic impact was managed as well as possible.
  • There were 14,000 businesses in the borough that had been impacted by covid-19 and to date the Council had distributed £49.5m in business grants.
  • Unemployment in the borough was current at 8.9%, but this could eventually rise to 14%. Additionally 18% of the working population in the borough was currently furloughed.
  • The Council continued to implement the distribution of Government grants and other schemes for local businesses. Internal processes had been put in place around debt management to support businesses. The Council also continued to provide signposting and other information to businesses on an ongoing basis.
  • The disadvantaged such as low earners and the under 25s were likely to be the most impacted by the crisis.
  • An Economic Renewal Board had been launched to deliver a sustainable recovery from the crisis. The Board was looking at a number of themes including the town centre, district centres, employment and skills. Task and finish groups had been set up to develop future plans based upon the themes identified.
  • The task and finish groups brought together a wide team of people with different experiences to workshop ideas for possible interventions in different local centres. It was recognised that each centre was different and a one size fits all approach would not work. Ideas being considered included more external sitting spaces, meeting spaces and busking spaces. It was hoped that various ideas could be trialled leading to long term positives for local centres.

The Committee had also invited Simon Maddox from the Selsdon Regeneration Group to provide an update on their work in Selsdon. It was advised that a Community Plan was being created which had involved over 1000 people from the local community to help with prioritising ideas for the local centre. One such idea that was being explored was a touchdown place for people who worked from home which was being developed through the Selsdon Baptist Church.  It was highlighted that it was important to identify and manage the assets that were individual to the local area.

The Committee was given the opportunity to ask questions on the information provided. The first question concerned the distribution of the Business Grants to local businesses. It was confirmed that to date £48m had been distributed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/20

32/20

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

 

 

Minutes:

This motion was not required.