Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee - Monday, 29th January, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: 145 King Street (Ground Floor), Hammersmith, W6 9XY. View directions

Contact: Debbie Yau  Email:

Link: Watch the meeting on YouTube

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Daryl Brown, Councillor Lucy Richardson and Eleanor Allen.


Nandini Ganesh joined the meeting remotely.



Declarations of Interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the 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 disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant 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.


Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.


Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as an accurate record and note any outstanding actions.


Nandini Ganesh raised the following amendments for the minutes of the meeting on 13 November 2023:


Item 6, paragraph 10:


“Nandini Ganesh asked if people supported internship as part of Industrial Strategy in Education as they might not necessarily lead to employment” should read as:


“Nandini asked if supported internships were part of the industrial strategy as in practical terms they always did not lead to employment. It would be good if the supported internships offer was part of the Industrial Strategy.”


Item 7, paragraph 5:


“Nandini Ganesh commented that to assure the parents about programme safety and quality, it might be useful to state the programme was suitable for children and list the providers involved” should read as:


“Nandini Ganesh commented that it would be useful for parents to know the age range of the summer in the city programme, as for disabled students and students with SEN, it could go up to 25, but it might not always be suitable for 25-year-olds to be in the same programme as a 18 year old. Parents needed to understand the suitability of the programme before enrolling their children/ young people.”




That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2023 were agreed to be an accurate record.



2024 Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 458 KB

This report provides an update on the overall preparation and proposals for the 2024/25 revenue budget, risks, financial resilience, and the impact of those proposals.


This report also sets out the budget proposals for the services covered by this Policy and Accountability Committee. An update is also provided on any proposed changes in fees and charges in the budget.


Additional documents:


Councillor Rowan Ree (Cabinet Member for Finance and Reform) gave an overview of the 2024 Medium Term Financial Strategy.  He said that despite the financial constraints faced by local authorities across the country, the Council managed to put together a budget that not only safeguarded key services but also protected those services that made Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) unique like providing breakfast for primary school children, free home care and local Law Enforcement Team.  Although the grant funding from central government had been cut by 56% in real terms since 2010/11 and one in five local authorities might need to issue a section 114 notice this year, Councillor Ree reassured that this Council was one of the best run councils in London, as recognised by the External Auditor, and would continue to provide services residents needed.  Last year, the Council had managed to run a budget surplus and add this to the reserves at a time when most councils were taking money out of theirs. The budget setting this year had started with a budget gap of £23m from which savings had to be found. This was made possible because of a ruthlessly financially efficient approach in managing public services and through carrying out a number of reforms in various areas. 


In terms of technology reform, Councillor Ree noted the use of artificial intelligence in adult social care services and the use of robots by the revenue and benefits team to provide the best effective services for residents. Under organisational reform, more savings across the council would continue to be identified through the four large corporate savings programmes. The Council was also funding new policy reforms to improve service delivery, notably the commissioning of the Family Hubs. Councillor Ree took the opportunity to thank finance officers who had worked incredibly hard throughout the year for putting this balanced budget, as well as officers in various teams who, together with Councillor Alex Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children and Education, had managed previous year’s budget effectively and identified savings.


James Newman (Assistant Director of Finance) presented the Corporate Budget Strategy 2024/25.  He outlined the strategic operating environment, objectives of the Council’s financial plans, strategy to deliver the financial plans, proposed budget for 2024/25, including a summary of proposed revenue budget 2024/25, savings and investment proposals, a summary of reserve position and a medium-term forward look. The budget would be considered by the Cabinet on 12 February and approved by Full Council on 28 February this year.


Jacqui McShannon (Strategic Director of Children’s Services) presented the budget proposals of the Children and Education Services. Highlighting that budget decisions were consistent with the team’s vision and high aspirations for the children, young people and their families, she introduced the strategic “whole system” approach under which right provision at the right time would be made to meet needs locally. She outlined the right strategy, challenges and mitigations and priorities. Tony Burton (Head of Finance – CHS and Education) presented the 2024/25 savings (£1.562m) and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Date of Next Meeting

To note the date of next meeting on 25 Mar 2024.