Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

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Contact: Carol Stiles on Tel: 020 8583 2066 or email:  carol.stiles@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

97.

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

Decision:

All members were present.

 

The Chair confirmed that he was accepting all reports on grounds of urgency, as the reports had been published outside the legal deadline.

Minutes:

All members were present.

 

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed all present. He wished to ensure that all members had the relevant papers. These were the main agenda pack, the addendum pack with Appendix B to Item 4 and an additional addendum with an amended pro-forma to replace the incorrect version in Appendix B.

 

The Chair confirmed that he was accepting all reports on grounds of urgency, as the reports had been published outside the legal deadline of five clear days in the public domain. This was not an ideal situation but was understandable in the circumstances.

 

The grounds for urgency were clearly understood, given that this was an extra meeting to enable the Executive to consider additional savings within the deadline to set a balanced budget.

 

 

98.

Review of Staff Terms and Conditions (Corp Serv 55) pdf icon PDF 192 KB

This report was unavailable at the point of publication on Monday, 7 February 2011 and was marked to follow at that time. The agenda was republished on 10 February 2011 with the report included.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved:

 

1) The Executive noted one amendment to the report – paragraph 6.1 – figure for Noise Team within Emergency Planning Team should read £175 not £350.

 

2) The Executive agreed the recommendations both from the summary and as set out in detail in the body of the report as follows:

 

  1. That the Executive recommends to Borough Council that the following proposals are implemented as part of the 2011/12 budget to deliver a minimum saving of £400k (recognising that the Council must consult with the Trade Unions):

 

Additional Duties/Hours

 

a)     Acting Up allowances – That the application of acting up allowances is revised to include an evaluation of the additional duties to ensure that they are being appropriately paid. (Section 5.1 of the report).

b)     Honoraria payments – The termination of honoraria payments. (Section 5.2 of the report).

c)      Call Out Allowances – The basis of the calculations for call-out payments to be reviewed with fixed call-out allowances incorporated into an Allowances Policy which clearly identified any differential payments. (Section 6.1 of the report).

 

           Allowances

 

d)     Enhanced Pay (Weekend Working) – A review of all staff receiving Temporary Enhanced Pay to ensure that these weekend overtime payments are controlled with appropriate staffing levels provided to minimise additional payments. (Section 6.6 of the report).

e)     Extra Duty Allowance – Negotiate the removal of the allowance with payments allocated to the appropriate allowance with the high payment rates reviewed. (Section 6.7 of the report).

f)        Vehicle Allowances – The introduction of HMRC rates for car, motorcycle and bicycle allowances to replace the existing scheme of essential and casual user rates. Departmental management teams to review expenditure to determine if alternatives to vehicle use can be considered e.g. greater use of teleconferencing, purchasing Oyster cards for team use, car sharing etc. (Section 8.6 of the report).

 

             Leave

 

g)     The Authorised Leave Policy – To add a category where staff can receive up to 3 days paid leave in event of the serious illness of a relative and the removal of management discretion to offer up to 10 days paid special leave with pay for exceptional circumstances not otherwise covered by the policy. Staff to be offered flexi leave or unpaid special leave in circumstances not covered by the policy. (Section 10.1 of the report).

h)      Leave – The introduction of the facility to buy additional leave up to a maximum of 5 days per annum. (Section 10.2 of the report).

 

              Policy Changes

 

i)        Incremental Progression – To amend the appraisal process to withhold annual increments for all staff performing below requirements where clearly evidenced through performance management. (Section 11.2 of the report).

j)        Chief Officer and HMG bonuses – The removal of Chief Officer and HMG bonuses. Consideration of whether to remove Chief Officer and HMG bonuses from the respective appraisal processes with effect from 1 April 2011. (Section 11.3 of the report).

k)      Allowances Policy – The introduction of an Allowances Policy to ensure that there is a consistent and transparent approach  ...  view the full decision text for item 98.

Minutes:

See the report of the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development – Agenda Item 2.

 

Before the formal introduction of this item, the Chair referred to discussion with the Trade Unions and wished to advise that it was recognised that many of these proposals were subject to negotiation. He wished to make it clear from the outset that was understood.

 

John Kitching, Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development, introduced the report. He advised that the report set out a group of saving options in various bands to be implemented as part of the next financial year savings. The intention was to achieve at minimum a saving of £400k.

 

Members were informed of one correction to the report. The section on Allowances, paragraph 6.1 related to Call Out payments, indicated that the figure for the Noise Team within Emergency Planning Team was £350, whereas this should read £175.

 

Going through the proposals quickly, Mr Kitching advised that in respect of allowances, weekend working had been an issue raised by the Trade Unions as a concern. Extra Duty Allowance was only relevant to a handful of staff. Mr Kitching informed members of the intention to clarify and tidy up the whole range of allowances, to bring them within the framework of an Allowances Policy. In respect of vehicle allowances, it was proposed to change to the use of HRMC rates, as a number of other councils had done.

 

With regard to leave, a change to the authorised leave policy was proposed. The proposed facility to allow staff to buy extra leave had not been costed as it was not clear how popular this would be.

 

Any change to incremental progression was a matter of concern for the Trade Unions as this was considered to be covered by national terms in Part 2 of the Green Book.

 

It was proposed to revise the Appointments Following Reorganisation Policy to make a consistent approach. In respect of recruitment, the use of Executive search agencies would be restricted to Corporate Leadership Team posts, but some aspects of the agency services rather than the full search might be required for some senior posts.

 

Referring to section (ii) of the recommendations, Mr Kitching advised that it was recommended that these options for sick leave and pay reduction should be withdrawn. The Trade Unions had requested their removal and this was recommended. It was noted that some proposals had a higher impact on the lower paid and attracted limited savings, so these were also recommended for withdrawal, together with the proposal for winter payments, where there was no business case.

 

Section (iii) of the recommendations focused on areas where there was the potential to find a minimum of £600k in savings for the next financial year and the following three years.  It was recommended that there should be negotiation with the Trade Unions on these proposals.

 

The proposals included allowances, with consideration of adaption and consistency, and market supplements. There was a proposal for a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98.

99.

Public Consultation on Savings Proposals for 2011/12 Budget - Receipt of Consultation responses on Budget Savings from Children's Services and Lifelong Learning and Community Services and other consultation pdf icon PDF 105 KB

This report was unavailable at the point of publication on Monday, 7 February 2011 and was marked to follow at that time. The agenda was republished on 10 February 2011 with the report included.

 

 

 

Decision:

The Executive received and noted the outcome of the public consultation on savings proposals for the 2011/12 budget.

Minutes:

See the report of the Corporate Leadership Team – Agenda Item 3.

 

Mary Harpley, Chief Executive, reminded members that they had heard at the last Executive meeting that over 6,000 residents had responded to the consultation. The current report completed the picture in respect of consultation. There had been a range of means used for consultation, including through the Area Committees, a day event to consult businesses and the ‘You Choose’ mechanism on the website. In addition there were consultations on proposals for specific services, the results of some of which were included in the report. Members had not seen these results before.

 

The report at page 69 also made clear those consultations which would not be completed until 31 March 2011. Any decisions relating to those services made at Borough Council on 1 March 2011 would need to be made in principle. It would be made clear in the Budget papers for 1 March, which consultations were still outstanding and so which decisions would be made in principle.

 

Councillor Cadbury believed that the Council had undertaken extensive consultation in the time available. She acknowledged that it was not perfect, but information had been distributed widely and the response was high. The Executive had listened to residents’ comments and made changes to the original proposals. Hence they were looking again at proposals for community halls, libraries, the education welfare service, street cleansing and the youth service. This did not mean that there would be no change in those services but the results of the consultation were useful in determining how the Council might move forward and not with the full cuts.

 

Councillor Cadbury noted that the need to make efficiency savings was obvious, as was the need for deficit reduction, but the speed and depth of the cuts required through central Government action was beyond precedent and she believed beyond sense macro-economically. Councillor Cadbury advised that they would concentrate on service issues and have the opportunity for earlier planning next year but the cuts would be as great. She commented that the Executive had listened to residents and offered some respite but cautioned that this was not the same as reversing the cuts, bearing in mind what they would face next year. However, there would be more time to look at how services were provided and efficiencies, with the hope that consultation would not be so drastic and short notice as it had been compelled to be this year.

 

Councillor Dennison advised that at the Chiswick Area Committee when he was presenting the Budget he had bowed to pressure and proposed that the draft Budget proposals would be available by 24 November as a benchmark for future years. Councillor Dennison considered this to be appropriate. He had apologised to the Conservative group as he did believe that the Executive had fallen short this year. However, they would aim for 24 November for the next financial year so as to have full and proper consultation with residents and staff.

 

Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.

100.

2011/12 Revenue Budget Additional Savings (FIN 23) pdf icon PDF 90 KB

This report was unavailable at the point of publication on Monday, 7 February 2011 and was marked to follow at that time. The agenda was republished on 10 February 2011 with the report included.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved:

 

The Executive noted the report in the main agenda pack, the addendum document Appendix B and the tabled amendment to proforma CSLL 1 in Appendix B and agreed the recommendations of the reports as follows:

 

  1. The Executive approved that the package of savings options outlined in Appendix A of the report totalling £2.684m be added to the savings options to be recommended to the full Council on 1 March 2011.
  2. The Executive considered the option of including a provision in the 2011/12 budget to continue to fund a number of important services for children which are currently funded from specific grants which are being abolished or cut by central Government from April 2011.

Minutes:

See the report of the Director of Finance – Agenda Item 4, the Addendum Report - Appendix B (Item 6) and the tabled amendment to pro forma CSLL 1 (Item 7).

 

Stephen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance, introduced the report. He reminded members that this followed the proposals considered on 8 February and agreed in principle, which identified savings of £15.3m. The target to find was £18m so the present report put forward proposals to plug the gap of £2.7m. There were a range of initiatives to plug the gap, which would be reported to Borough Council on 1 March 2011.

 

The Director of Finance referred to paragraph 3.1 of the report and the table setting out the make up of the proposed £18m in savings to be recommended to Borough Council on 1 March. This included approximately £1.6m of savings put to the Executive on 8 February which required further consideration. These had now been certificated appropriately.

 

Paragraph 3.2 of the report set out these further savings options from restructuring in Corporate Services and Finance, changes to customer access, management structure in Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning, charges for the use of the staff car park and changes to library services.

 

New options were also proposed. Work was recommended to identify a further £600k from changes in pay and conditions, in addition to the initial target of £400k. Further savings had also been identified from management of vacancies, non pay budgets and the adjustment of inflation provision, together with a further option within Environment Department in respect of towing arrangements and Streetcare consultancy.

 

Together these options represented savings of £2.7m, which it was recommended should be taken forward.

 

The report also addressed the reductions in specific grant for 2011/12 and put forward a suggestion for the retention of critical services into the new financial year.

 

The Director of Finance commended the recommendations to the Executive to take forward to include in the Budget report to full Council.

 

The Chair clarified that members should have received an addendum page to include in Appendix B, with new figures, which were correct. In agreeing the recommendations, members should do so taking account of the new figures.

 

Councillor Mayne, Lead Executive Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, noted paragraph 4 of the report and the decrease in specific grant funding. He considered this the sting in the tail of Government cuts. Many of these specific grants had been set up under the previous government and his portfolio for Community Safety, together with much of Children and Families, was dependent on them. He was shocked at the time it was taking to clarify the position in respect of grants when services were on the line, which might lead to people suffering in the borough. He hoped that the Government were listening and would not keep people waiting much longer before the position was clear.

 

Councillor Cadbury expressed her surprise that grants were potentially being pulled in areas which the present Government also supported  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Urgent Business

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

Decision:

There was no urgent business.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

102.

Addendum pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Appendix B to Item 4- 2011/12 Revenue Budget Additional Savings (FIN 23)

Decision:

Appendix B to Item 4 – 2011/12 Revenue Budget Additional Savings (FIN 23) was circulated separately as an Addendum report to the main agenda pack.

Minutes:

Appendix B to Item 4 – 2011/12 Revenue Budget Additional Savings (FIN 23) was circulated separately as an Addendum report to the main agenda pack.

103.

Addendum 2 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Amended proforma:

 

The attached document is an amended proforma for CSLL1 – CSLL Management Restructure.

 

It replaces the document included at page 3 of Appendix B to Item 4 – 2011/12 Revenue Budget Additional Savings (FIN23)

Decision:

An amendment to proforma CSLL1 in Appendix B of Item 4 was tabled at the meeting.

Minutes:

An amendment to proforma CSLL1 in Appendix B of Item 4 was tabled at the meeting.