Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow

Contact: Ian Duke, telephone 020 8583 2191, e-mail  ian.duke@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions.


The Vice Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the substantive items on the agenda.



Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members


Cllrs Chatt, Ellar and Thompson sent their apologies.


Minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2017 pdf icon PDF 140 KB


The minutes of the meeting of 19 July 2017 were agreed as an accurate record.



Matters arising from the minutes


Ian Duke stated that in reference to Item 52 (Outcome of LGA Peer Challenge and Action Plan) the meeting with Cllr Chat and Ian Duke is yet to happen due to leave and that the action will carry over to the next meeting.


Ian Duke stated that in reference to Item 53 (Worksmart programme timelines and deadlines to OSC), Ian Duke is awaiting these from Ms Heran and will circulate as soon as this is available.


Ian Duke stated that Item 54 (OSC to look at performance on recycling at the 20 September meeting as a part of its ongoing oversight of Recycle 360) will be dealt with at the next meeting of OSC.


Ian Duke stated that Item 54 (Ian Duke to seek clarity from Peter Large on the issue process regarding the removal the third level of appeal). Guidance was circulated shortly after the meeting; however, this decision has subsequently been Called In and a date for that meeting is currently being agreed.



Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 504 KB

Report by Cllr Theo Dennison

Additional documents:


Cllr Lambert introduced the Medium Term Financial Strategy that Cllr Dennison had submitted to the meeting.


The following discussion noted:


·         Members noted point 4.14 of the report regarding the overspend in Adult Social Care when a reserve had been set and questioned why there had been an overspend and whether there were plans for another precept this year. Cllr Dennison responded that due to the significant demand pressures in Adult Social Care in LBH and other Boroughs, there was an overspend. No precept has yet been set for 18/19. It will be set in February of next year and the MTFS indicates that there will be an increase of council tax by 1.99% percent and the MTFS is built around this.


·         Members sought clarification about what central government may be planning that may affect LBH and what contingencies are being planned. Cllr Dennison responded that information of that kind becomes known in December and LBH is working on the basis that there will be no significant change.


·         Questions were raised around Welfare reforms, housing and specifically families that have been put on Universal Credit and could end up homeless due to rent arrears, and what planning LBH has around this area. Cllr Dennison noted that LBH are pathfinders in the rollout of Universal Credit and changes do need to be made and its known that a significant number of Universal Credit recipients are in arrears in their rent and there is a proposal to increase the amount of assistance that the Council gives in respect to council tax assistance. Members raised concerns that the differences in amounts being paid from legacy benefits to Universal Credits are quite high. Cllr Curran stated that the Council is so concerned about the effects of Universal Credit, and particularly on families with children that the Minister has been written to and there is a related motion on the agenda for next Borough Council meeting.


·         Cllr Lambert raised the changes in rules proposed on homelessness legislation and what impact it will have on planning and the proposal that the local authority pay cap is to be removed. Members noted that what was needed was increasing homes provision and the temporary accommodation costs is unlikely to be reduced. Members noted regarding the pay cap, and its’ effects on salary estimates for 18/19, budgets may have to be adjusted.


·         Members raised questions around the report covering waste and the release of two existing Council waste sites and enquired what waste sites these referred to and whether one of these sites included Spaceway. Cllr Curran clarified that it does not include Spaceway.


·         Members discussed the proposals for the new build programme, specifically Year 2020/21 and observed that the Budget for that year moved to zero. Members discussed that the MTF strategy was based on the assumption that there would be future new build programming in future years beyond this.


·         The MTFS projects an overspend in the next financial year. Whilst taken seriously this was true last year, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.


Impact of Savings Upon Key Vulnerable Groups. pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Consideration of the impact of savings over time on services to support vulnerable groups in the borough.


Members received two presentations on the impact of savings over time on Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care and Education. Cllr Kaur introduced the first and highlighted the following:


·         The Adult Social Care budget is split between ASC and Commissioning. There is a prediction of a 2 million overspend in Quarter 1. Demand varies for ASC and difficult to predict.


·         Grants and additional funds and the implementation of the ASC precept has reduced savings by circa £1.8 million in 2017/18. This is not additional money however. It has kept the budget to where things were.


·         There are 5 key financial risks areas for the ASC budget that has significant impact. 1. Demand and Demographic Pressures (such as children with complex needs).  2 Complexity of Need (this is on the increase and a national trend) 3. Improved better care fund requirements 4. Policy Change- (the deprivation of liberty of safeguards- as people lose capacity L/As have responsibility.). 5. Market Pressures. The ASC budget has had to deliver £3.1 million of savings as a part of MTFS. A lot of benchmarking is done with other boroughs to deal with market pressures and financial analysis.

The discussion surrounded the following below points:


·         Members discussed the 19% rise in children with SEN needs in the last 5 years. It was noted that LBH has quite a large number compared to other Boroughs. The Council is also undertaking work in appropriate diagnosis.


·         Members raised questions around whether there is to be more investment in dementia. Cllr Kaur responded that there is the improved better care fund and funds cannot be placed in another criteria area than what the government requires. The one-off Adult Social Care grant will be used across all of our Budget and one element of that will be used for people with dementia. CCGs do invest and has dementia as a high priority. There is a joint strategy with the Council and the CCG and there is a lot of work that occurs around dementia. Carers are eligible to an assessment and henceforth a possible entitlement, but lots of carers do not take their full entitlement. Cllr Kaur stated that she can provide numbers of people with dementia in the future via the performance reports and that information on services that are commissioned for people with dementia can be obtained from commissioning and provided in the future. Members asked that this and details on falls, be incorporated into a wider presentation to be given on prevention. The Chair requested that benchmarking be included in the future presentation.


·         Members sought clarification as to why there was nothing in the presentation about prevention. Cllr Kaur made the point that there are many areas of work and the essence is prevention and extra provision. There are 180 extra places in care housing that surround prevention. There are aids, adaptations, link line as examples. Cllr Kaur commented that she could return at a future meeting again to provide a presentation around prevention but the presentation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.


Delivery of Agreed Savings

Update on those savings agreed that are at risk of not being delivered and what is being done to address this.


Report to follow.


From Appendix B within the MTFS, the following red-ragged savings were discussed at the meeting:

·         Members discussed specifically the red ragged status and the overspend of £800,000 on consultants and/or temporary staff. Members discussed this as not strictly a MTF strategy issue but as a monitoring report issue.


·         Members raised foster care placements. Cllr Bruce responded that having in house foster carers is far cheaper than placements elsewhere. There are efforts to reduce the placements overall but this may not be possible. Hounslow rates of foster caring is significantly lower than a lot of other boroughs, but to reduce the budget further the Council needs to reduce the amounts of out of borough foster carers. Members also raised children coming into care at a later age and risks around this and that further scrutiny is required in this area.


·         The Chair asked whether a decision had been made as to how the £650k of savings identified from Hounslow Highways would be delivered. Cllr Dennison responded that no decision has yet been made.




·         The Committee notes that this item was dealt with in part in the medium term financial strategy.



Forward Plan

A link to the electronic version is listed here:


An A3 size hard copy will be circulated separately to Members of the Committee


Ian Duke introduced the item as a standing item and stated that there is a link to the item in the agenda. Members commented that they didn’t receive it. The A3 copy was not circulated and Ian Duke apologised and stated that this would be resolved ahead of the next meeting.



Monitoring Information - decisions taken under urgency arrangements


   No items to report



Urgent Business

Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.


   No items to report



Dates and Times of Next meetings

18 September 7:00pm – Provisional date for call-In of Youth Services review.


20 September – Postponed.


3 October 7:00pm – to consider performance areas (OSC update and Recycle 360) and come back to non-permanent staff.


10 October 7:30pm – Provisional date for call-In of Complaints.


Meeting dates of the Committee have changed due to Call Ins. The next meeting is the 18 September 2017 at 7pm which is a ‘Call In’ on Youth Services Review. The meeting of 20 September 2017 has been moved to 3 October 2017 at 7pm.