Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing W5 2BY

Contact: Mike Smith, tel 020 8583 2069, e-mail  mike.smith@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed all present to the London Borough of Ealing. He welcomed in particular, Andrea White, Independent Member of the Audit Committee and Derek Lawrence and Rakhee Gorolay, the two Independent Members for standards.

 

Apologies had been received from Councillor Pamela Fleming and Councillor Keith Burrows.

16.

Declarations of interest

Members are reminded that if they have a pecuniary interest in any matter being discussed at the meeting they must declare the interest.  They may not take part in any discussion or vote on a matter in which they have a pecuniary interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

17.

Minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2015 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2015 were confirmed as a true record of the meeting. There were no matters arising from the minutes.

18.

Independent Persons

Members are asked to note the decision of the appointment panel to appoint Derek Lawrence and Rakhee Gorolay as Independent Persons for the purposes of the Authority’s Member Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Derek Lawrence and Rakhee Gorolay who were both in attendance, as Independent Persons for the purposes of the Authority’s Member Code of Conduct. Members noted the decision of the appointment panel which made these appointments.

19.

Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report of the Treasurer and Director – Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015 – Agenda Item 5.

 

Jay Patel, Head of Finance and Performance, introduced the report. He explained that the Audit Committee had considered the range of information including reports by Deloittes and the internal auditor from the London Borough of Hillingdon. The outcome had been a finding of reasonable assurance and acknowledgement that recommendations had been implemented. The self assessment statements from Chief Officers and managers provided assurance that a good system of controls was in place. There had been improvement year on year. There was little change in the accounts to the draft seen by the Authority in June. Members were asked to support the recommendation of the Audit Committee to approve the accounts and for them to be signed by the Chair, Director and Treasurer.

 

The Chair congratulated officers on an excellent set of accounts, with a positive statement from the auditors. He thanked the Finance team.

 

Councillor Amrit Mann considered that every action taken so far had been positive. Issues of risk discussed by the external auditors had been put right so the current position was positive. Councillor Eleanor Southwood agreed that the position was positive.

 

Andrea White, Independent Member, noted that internal auditors had done a thorough job in respect of strength of controls. She paid tribute to officers for implementation of the recommendations and noted a good set of accounts.

 

Members agreed to approve the accounts and two copies were signed by the Chair, Director and Treasurer.

 

Resolved:

 

  1. That the Authority agreed the Audit Committee’s recommendation to approve the Statement of Accounts for 2014/15 (Appendix 1 of the report).
  2. That the accounts were signed by the Chair, Director and Treasurer at the meeting.

 

 

20.

Budget monitoring report for period 4 (July) pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report of the Director and Treasurer – Budget Monitoring Period 4 (July) – Agenda Item 6.

 

Jay Patel, Head of Finance and Performance, introduced the report. He pointed out that the financial performance showed a favourable variance of £0.8m. He drew attention to the variability of the inflation rate and the waste streams. The report included a £0.7m rate rebate passed on to the boroughs.

 

The Key Performance Indicators were on target. He highlighted the target for sickness absence which was showing ‘red’ but which resulted from the disproportionate effect of one long term absence among a small number of staff. Also one audit recommendation was shown as ‘amber’ as it took longer to implement than anticipated. Otherwise there was strong operational performance.

 

Mr Patel advised that for the 2016/17 budget setting they were working with partners in the boroughs on the tonnage forecast and there would be a report to the December Authority meeting. There was a session arranged for challenge with the Chair and Vice Chair and Chief Officers on 13 November. The Vice Chair, Councillor Amrit Mann, gave his apologies as he would be away on that date.

 

In response to questions from the Chair, it was acknowledged that there had been a decrease in the number of sickness absence days so that current figures beyond July were showing ‘green’ and it was anticipated that this would continue for the rest of the year. The turnaround payments were on target.

 

Jim Brennan, Director, also confirmed that although the Key Performance Indicators for the SITA contract had not been reported they were on target and reviewed monthly by an officer group. He suggested the Authority might need to consider whether these should be reported as a confidential item on the agenda. The Chair suggested report of the headlines would be useful. Jim Brennan confirmed that the turnaround times were positive for the borough vehicles and there would be more interesting KPIs to report next summer following the move to full services.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Authority:

 

  1. Noted the current financial position in 2015/16 to Period 4 and Key Performance Indicators.
  2. Noted the financial decisions taken under the Scheme of Delegation to Officers.
  3. Noted the budget timetable for the 2016/17 budget setting.

21.

Treasury management update pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Minutes:

See the report of the Treasurer and Director – Treasury Management Update – Agenda Item 7.

 

Jay Patel, Head of Finance and Performance, introduced the report which summarised last year’s activity. This related to simple activities such as borrowing for building. Excess funds were invested through the London Borough of Ealing under a service level agreement. Prudential indicators were calculated as part of compliance and the activity was within the boundaries. However, it was not clear how useful these prudential indicators were for an organisation such as the Authority.

 

The Chair asked whether the investment via Ealing was still the best option and how this compared with other options. Jay Patel explained that as part of the 2016/17 budget setting they would look at longer term business plans and so take a view about long term investment opportunities. Ian O’Donnell, Treasurer, clarified that Ealing carried a cash balance which was invested through a variety of vehicles. It was difficult to find safe havens to invest short term. This arrangement insulated the Authority from risk and provided the opportunity to be more adventurous. Interest rates were so low that the effect on the return was minimal.

 

Jay Patel also explained that for a major construction project such as the Authority was pursuing, liquidity was important. The advantage of the investment via Ealing was that money could be withdrawn with three days’ notice without loss of interest. The Authority would not get these terms from a financial institution.

 

The Chair thanked officers for the explanation and noted that his enquiry was about review in the financial climate.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Authority:

 

  1. Noted the treasury management out-turn for 2014/15.
  2. Noted the treasury management activity and prudential indicators for the current year.

22.

Waste Prevention Action Plan – a summary of the progress so far in 2015-16 and plans for the 2016-17 programme pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report of the Director and Chief Technical Advisor –Waste Prevention Action Plan – Agenda Item 8.

 

Sarah Ellis, Waste Minimisation Co-ordinator, introduced her colleague, Roger St Paul, Waste Minimisation Officer, and introduced the report.

 

She advised that it was a good news report with the projects identified at the last meeting getting off to a flying start. The report incorporated the results up to 6 September 2015 so these were the latest statistics. The performance status for six activities was ‘green’. With regard to food projects they had exceeded the target with 8 events attended by over 3,000 people. They had also performed very well with events, excluding the ‘second chance smoothie’ food events. The team had spoken to over 4,000 people over 52 events and further events were booked in over the next 6 weeks.

 

There were 200 more subscribers to newsletters. This included a number of elected members on the list but others could sign up. Take up on social media was over 4m which exceeded expectations. They were reviewing and rewriting the web pages.

 

Five actions were shown as ‘amber’ against targets but there were plans to achieve ‘green’ by the end of the year. For electrical items, January was the target month, after Christmas. There would be scheduled collections by the boroughs and DHL. There would be a full time Liaison Officer in post from the following Monday. This was a six month DHL funded resource.

 

There would be a ‘swishing’ event in Ealing at the end of October and several others were booked. With regard to furniture recycling, the activity was likely to change. They would continue to support the reuse hotline but in a different form and aimed for the target to be ‘green’ by the end of the year. There would be further updates in December.

 

New highlights to be reported to members were the Festival of Repair Month in September. There would be repair workshops in Uxbridge and Brent and a West London Repair Man on line. This was a good resource to provide recommendations.

 

October would be busy as they had received additional support from the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This would be pursued via volunteers, with the Authority area funding activities. Use of volunteers in partnership had been approved. There would be two particular activities. Firstly, a trolley parade highlighting amount of food and packaging waste that was thrown away would take place in Harrow and Hounslow and also Uxbridge if sufficient volunteers could be found. There would be placards and signage to raise awareness of the problem. This would be over 12 and 13 October. They had received a grant of £1,500 for the placards and publicity from Design for London. They would be used at the Abbey Road HRRC. The new branding designs looked good.

 

There would also be a Ready, Steady Hate Waste event in Ealing on 8 October. This would involve community groups and local chefs in a ‘cook off’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Responses to consultations pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report of the Director and Chief Technical Adviser – Responses to Consultation – Agenda Item 9.

 

Jim Brennan, Director, introduced the report which asked members to agree the Authority’s response to the Defra consultation on the revised Duty of Care Code of Practice. There were no substantive changes to the legislation but there was a new Code of Practice. This appeared to be both useable and readable but perhaps not as helpful as it could be for those considering general waste such as small businesses. So it was proposed to call on the Government to provide clear guidance for small businesses, given the risk that if such waste was not managed properly there was a risk of fly tipping. Appendix 1 of the report set out the proposed response which must be submitted by the following Monday.

 

The Chair confirmed that members were happy to approve the proposed response as the Authority’s submission.

 

Jim Brennan referred to the European Commission commissioning work on the Circular Economy concerning the economic need to review legislation relating to the Landfill Directive proposals last year. There were targets proposed to achieve 70% recycling but also to reduce waste from packaging. As much recycling was packaging, it was difficult to achieve targets on both. The proposals from last year had been reviewed but there was no change in the targets and other targets had been added, for example one related to ‘Pay as you throw’. There were limits to what could be achieved through incineration.

 

Mr Brennan advised that the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority had called a meeting of the joint waste disposal authorities to discuss the concern that there was not a unified response by the Government and the challenge of the impacts. The key was managing progress. It was agreed there should be a joint policy paper and suggested commitment to joint work to consider the impacts on the waste industry. It was proposed to lobby professional industry bodies and ask for support and a funding contribution.

 

The Chair advised that he had met with other Chairs in London and discussed this wider scale approach which was really important going forward. It was agreed to allocate up to £7k to this process.

 

Jim Brennan reported that the Cabinet ‘Cutting Red Tape’ review created barriers for small and medium size businesses and was of some concern. The potential consequences were an increased risk of pollution and environmental damage if controls were relaxed. For example, a meeting with the Fire Authority had identified risk around fires on waste sites. There was limited scope to lobby on the proposals, but London Councils were taking this forward.

 

The London Assembly were calling for evidence in respect of population growth in London. The city’s population had reached its previous maximum and projected population growth would influence waste generation and put pressure on other key resources. The focus was on energy, water and green space but it was important to be aware of the implications for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Urgent business

Any other items which the Chair accepts for consideration on the grounds of urgency.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business. However, it was noted that it would be helpful to consider member attendance at the next meeting.

25.

Exclusion of Press and Public

That the public and press be asked to leave the meeting during discussion of the following item because exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the public and press be asked to leave the meeting during discussion of the following items because exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.

26.

Confidential minute of the meeting on 26 June 2015

Minutes:

The confidential minute of the meeting on 26 June 2015 was agreed as a true record.

27.

Joint Waste Management Strategy and contracts update

Minutes:

Reference the confidential report by the Director and Chief Technical Officer and the tabled paper with revised recommendations to the report – Agenda Item 13.

 

The report provided an update on the Waste Authority’s various waste treatment arrangements and considered the contractual arrangements helping to deliver the Authority’s Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy. There was consideration of the Victoria Road site, the feasibility study of a potential Brentford Rail link, the WRAP Annual Gate Fee Benchmarking and Carpet recycling.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Authority:

 

  1. Noted the tabled paper with revised recommendations to the report.
  2. Agreed the recommendations of the report, as revised.