Agenda and minutes

Community Safety and Environment Policy and Accountability Committee
Monday, 30th January, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Small Hall - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  020 8753 2088

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Sharon Holder.

26.

Declarations of interest

If a Committee member has any prejudicial or personal interest in a particular item they should declare the existence and nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a prejudicial interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Standards Committee.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance, then

the Councillor with a prejudicial interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration unless the disability has been removed by the Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2017.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

28.

2017 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Hitesh Jolapara, Strategic Finance Director, presented the Council’s budget. He explained that economists were forecasting that the economy would grow less strongly than previously thought. It was predicted that public sector finances would be in a less healthy position than suggested by past forecasts. Government borrowing had already exceeded targets and whilst public sector spending had risen slightly, funding for Local Government in London had fallen significantly.

 

Hammersmith and Fulham faced growth of £7.3m, including unfunded growth from government, as well as inflation of £2.8m. Government grant funding would also fall by 20%. These pressures would be balanced by savings of £14.4m, and a balanced budget of £154.5m was proposed. The administration was not proposing to either increase council tax, or apply the Social Care Precept. Developer contributions of £2 million would again be used to fund services. The general reserve was expected to continue to be £19m, whilst 20% of the earmarked reserves would be used to fund invest to save and similar projects.

 

Hitesh Jolapara concluded his presentation by noting that if the council did not bring in more revenue or develop more efficient ways of delivering services the gap between resources and expenditure was likely to grow significantly.

 

Mark Jones, Director of Finance and Resources – Environment, explained that the majority of the Environment department’s expenditure was covered by income from fees and charges. Approximately £70 million was spent per year, with £63 million revenue being brought in. The department also had a number of high value contracts for service delivery.

 

For 2017/18 the department aimed to bring in significant amounts of extra income through increased commercialisation. It was also expected that more money would be allocated by Public Health to supporting the department’s work. There would also be modest savings in some areas. Combined the additional income and savings would lead to a total saving of £2.7 million.

 

There were also funds being held centrally for possible growth in the department, covering; additional costs of alternative methods of weed-killing; a slower implementation of the Phoenix Leisure Centre project; additional costs as a result of rent reviews of Council leased buildings, and; spending on defending planning decisions at Judicial Review.

The main risks to the departmental budget were an increased reliance on income, some of which could be affected by a downturn in the wider economy, and increasing costs of both staff and waste disposal.

 

Many Fees and Charges in the department were to be frozen, parking charges being amongst those which would not increase. The fees for trading at Lyric Square’s Thursday market had fallen significantly since the market had returned to Council control. Some fees and charges were to be reviewed either to ensure that they were both competitive and covered the council’s costs or in response to legal proceedings elsewhere. Other fees and charges in the department would rise by inflation at 1.8%.

 

The chair thanked officers for their presentation and invited questions.

 

Councillor Dewhirst asked whether there was an income strategy for moving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Street Cleanliness and Recycling pdf icon PDF 552 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sue Harris introduced the report and explained that it was intended to update the committee on the work which had been done since the last report to the PAC. The administration had set up a number of review groups to look at how the service could be improved; these had made recommendations which had been taken up by Serco and the council. Serco had also reviewed their own performance and had developed an action plan. The next step was for Serco and the council to act on the findings, and whilst many recommendations had already started to be implemented there was more to do.

 

Sue Harris explained that the council had carried out a lot of work in a number of hotspot areas to try to tackle dumping there. These had used a significant amount of resources but had generally led to positive outcomes. As well as improvements in specific areas the overall level of fly tipping had fallen, and the recycling rate had improved slightly.

 

Councillor Harcourt explained that a lot of work had been done to improve the waste and recycling service. The council had pressed Serco improve and they had accepted that there were some things which they needed to do better. Councillor Harcourt said that the council had also made changes to how the service worked, for example the council had previously investigated even very small fly tips; now Serco would be asked to clear most tips unless they were especially large or they saw evidence which was likely to lead to a prosecution.

 

The Chair noted that a number of residents had provided information and ideas to the council and asked whether these had been used. Sue Harris explained that residents had provided the council with some really useful information which had helped officers and Serco to work better together.

 

The Chair asked whether landlords had been receptive to the council’s advice about waste management and storage. Lesley Gates explained that it was often quite difficult to contact landlords but that where this was possible the guidance was generally welcomed. She explained that the guidance was to be put onto the council’s website so that it could easily be accessed.

 

Councillor Dewhirst asked what the council could do to deal with individual residents who persistently put out their bins on the wrong day. Sue Harris said that there was an enforcement hierarchy for residents identified as not presenting their waste correctly; to begin with officers would write to the resident and put up notices in the area; if that didn’t work officers would look to issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) although this required clear evidence. Councillor Harcourt explained that the administration was considering whether to raise the FPN value which might deter residents from dumping waste.

 

Councillor Hamilton asked whether investigation of fly tips was to be reduced. Sue Harris clarified that it would now be focussed on areas where there were particular problems rather than trying to investigate lots of smaller  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Work programme and dates of future meetings pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Minutes:

The committee’s work programme was noted. Members noted that the next meeting would be held on 1 March 2017 in the Small Hall at Hammersmith Town Hall, starting at 7pm.