Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Microsoft Teams (please copy and paste the following link into your browser): https://bit.ly/38mBh1K

Contact: Gary O'Key, Tel: 020 7926 2183, Email:  gokey@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

    Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

     

    Minutes:

    Councillor Liz Atkins, Chair, opened the meeting and welcomed all attendees.

     

    There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.

     

2.

Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 307 KB

3.

Financial Planning and Medium Term Strategy 2020/21 to 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

    Contact for information: Hamant Bharadia, Assistant Director of Finance, Financial Planning and Management, Tele: 0207 926 9153, hbharadia@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Finance & Performance, introduced the report and made the following points:

     

    • Since the coronavirus lockdown, council income from sales, fees and charges had fallen while spending had increased, including on food packages, care homes, personal protective equipment and support for local businesses. This had led to a significant budget shortfall
    • The Government had stated at the beginning of the pandemic that councils would be fully recompensed but currently reimbursements covered less than half of the deficit. While an additional £3.5m had just been announced, this still left the Council £24m short
    • Prudent financial management in recent years meant this could be covered with reserves; a Section 114 notice would not have to be issued
    • Local government was already faced with a lack of financial clarity prior to the pandemic, due to uncertainty over the fair funding review, business rates and adult social care funding, leading to a series of one-year settlements. These issues, along with Brexit, were still firmly on the horizon
    • The Council had tried to do what was necessary during Covid-19 and would continue to work on a recovery which worked for everyone, including investing in jobs, affordable workspace, cultural facilities and digital infrastructure

     

    In response to questions from members, Councillor Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Finance & Performance; Councillor Jack Hopkins, Leader of the Council; and Christina Thompson, Director of Finance & Property, stated that:

     

    • It was unclear currently which of the scenarios set out in the report was the most likely. Ongoing planning was taking place involving finding mitigations and savings for all three scenarios. The Chancellor’s autumns statement may offer some clarification
    • In order to help visualise the level of deficit, it was explained that the total mental health budget was £15m, as was the fostering and parenting service
    • In response to a query from members, the Director of Finance and Property stated that she was happy to hold a briefing for members on the overall ‘big picture’ in terms of the Council’s finances
    • The majority of the unavoidable growth set out in the report did not relate to Covid-19 but was identified as part of the closure of the 2019/20 accounts. Temporary accommodation was a particular issue, which was expected to continue into next year, while the Council was reducing the number of court cases brought in relation to council tax arrears, meaning the income target was not being met. There was also an ongoing problem with the way the Electoral Services budget was set which was being rectified
    • With regards to the irrecoverable loss of income figure, it was clarified that the Council was now expected to receive compensation for loss of income but further details were being awaited from Government
    • While it was always a last resort to use reserves, it was likely to be necessary on this occasion. It was also possible to use some balances and earmarked reserves. Any reserves used would need to be replaced to bring them back up to a prudent level
    • With regards  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Tackling Climate Change in Light of Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 504 KB

    Contact for information: Hannah Jameson, Assistant Director, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Response; 0207 926 6918, hjameson@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    At the beginning of this item the Chair stated that requests to speak had been received from Cllr Nicole Griffiths and Cllr Pete Elliott. Since these requests were received after the published deadline, they were declined, but a written submission was invited and subsequently received.

     

    Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader of the Council (Sustainable Transport, Environment & Clean Air) introduced the report and made the following points:

     

    • Since Lambeth declared a climate emergency in January 2019, work had not stopped on progressing this agenda, which now ran throughout the council’s strategic operations
    • Investment in the team leading the climate change work had occurred prior to the pandemic
    • The corporate carbon reduction plan had been published, as had the carbon emissions baseline for both the council and the borough as a whole. This work was done in house, which had helped develop skills, and had also been peer reviewed
    • The Transport Strategy launched in 2019 set out various projects including Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and joint initiatives with Transport for London (TfL) which, along with work on electric vehicle charging, solar panels on estates and tackling single use plastics, had stood the council in good stead when Covid-19 hit
    • Lambeth had published the first emergency transport strategy in the country. The initial phase ran to September, after which TfL’s emergency settlement would become known
    • It was important to avoid a car-led recovery which would exacerbate current inequalities
    • The planned Citizens’ Assembly had been postponed. An online climate action hub was being launched to continue dialogue with stakeholders, share ideas and access information, all of which would help enrich the Assembly when it was able to take place
    • Local government had a unique role in tackling climate change but could do so much more if the funding commitment from central government was enhanced

     

    In response to questions from members, Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader of the Council (Sustainable Transport, Environment & Clean Air); and Hannah Jameson, Assistant Director, Sustainable Development & Climate Change Response, stated that:

     

    • It was acknowledged that the emergency road closures may feel counter-intuitive to some people who may have ended up driving for longer as a result; however, such emergency measures were based on a huge amount of traffic flow data collected over many years
    • In the original Transport Strategy, the council was going to implement three LTNs in three years; under the emergency strategy seven would be delivered in five months. Research and experience suggested there would be a bedding in phase while behaviour change took hold
    • In terms of engagement, officer capacity was significantly stretched but residents were sent letters when emergency transport works were to be carried out in their neighbourhood, ward councillors were briefed, and posters and other materials were distributed in the area. There was also a named officer for each area who residents could contact with any enquiries
    • One aim of the emergency transport measures was to support a local economic recovery
    • The emissions baseline was a living document which would be refined over time  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

2020-21 Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 366 KB

    • View the background to item 5.

    Contact for information: Gary O’Key, Senior Democratic Services Officer; 020 7926 2183, gokey@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair introduced the report and outlined the expected agenda for the OSC meeting scheduled for 23 September, which would be themed around economic recovery.

    A brief discussion then took place regarding possible topics for future scrutiny to be considered when planning the committee’s work programme for the 2020-21 municipal year.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1. That the work programme as drafted and the status of actions be noted (Appendix 1).
    2. That the agenda for the committee meeting scheduled for 23 September be confirmed as:

    -          Inclusive Resilience Strategy (follow on from Sustainable Growth and Inclusive Opportunity Strategy item considered at OSC in November 2019)

    -          Employment & Skills Strategy (carried over from cancelled meeting in March)

    -          Jobs For All Scrutiny Commission Action Plan Update (carried over from cancelled meeting in March)

    -          Events Scrutiny Commission Action Plan Update

    1. That the committee considers bringing forward the planned health and social care themed meeting from November to October in order to feed into planning for winter pressures and a potential second wave of Covid-19
    2. That the group of members involved in scoping work in relation to a Climate Change Commission be reconvened to reconsider the focus of its work in light of the discussions at this meeting
    3. That the following issues be considered for future scrutiny activity:

    -          Housing customer services

    -          Housing benefit system and implications for residents as Covid-19 evictions suspension is lifted

    -          Generation and allocation of Section 106/Community Infrastructure Levy

    -          Tackling anti-social behaviour, including enforcement on housing estates