Agenda and minutes

Policy and Oversight Board - Tuesday, 24th January, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Main Hall (1st Floor) - 3 Shortlands, Hammersmith, W6 8DA. View directions

Contact: Bathsheba Mall  Email:

Link: Watch the meeting on YouTube

No. Item




There were no apologies for absence.


Declaration of Interests

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 358 KB

(a)   To approve as an accurate record and the Chair to sign the minutes of the meeting of the Policy and Oversight Board held on Monday, 12 December 2022; and


(b)   To note the outstanding actions.


The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2022 were agreed as an accurate record.


2023 Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 480 KB

This report sets out proposals for the Medium Term Financial Strategy for the Policy and Oversight Board to consider.

Additional documents:


Cabinet member overview


Councillor Rowan Ree introduced the Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2023 (MTFS) presentation by commending officers and thanking member colleagues for their significant efforts and commitment in preparing the council’s budget proposals. This was a remarkable piece of work given that final figures from the Local Government Financial Settlement were released only two days before the parliamentary Christmas recess. This was also the fifth consecutive year of having a single year financial settlement and many assumptions had informed the MTFS.


This was a balanced budget, in response to the difficult financial future predicted by the Bank of England, a 10.5% inflationary rate, and interest rates of 3.5%, all of which were expected to have a significant impact on council finances. With increased demand for services and cost for provision, this continued to be challenging. For residents, an increasingly reduced financial envelope had seen no variation in the delivery of high-quality services and the council had gone further by removing home care charges, providing free breakfasts for primary school children, maintaining weekly refuse collection and the introduction of Law Enforcement Team.


These were significant achievements and continued to be part of a package of proposals designed to protect frontline services for residents when the cost of living for many had seen utility and food bills increasing significantly. Approximately £1 million had been ring-fenced as a cost-of-living fund to provide support to vulnerable residents to help mitigate the financial difficulties.


Director of Finance - Strategic Corporate Overview


Sukvinder Kalsi provided a corporate perspective of the MTFS 2023 which included the strategic operational framework offered within the context of local and national economic pressures. Locally, this included demographic changes with increased numbers of older people, major regeneration projects such as the Civic Campus development, the delivery of strategic plans to build 3,000 affordable homes in the borough, and pressure on the wide range of services that residents valued. Protecting and sustaining those services were key priorities within the MTFS. Highlighting some of the examples already raised, it was noted that many councils had reduced waste collections from weekly to every three weeks in some areas, and H&F was one of the only councils to offer free home care services. In addition to protecting services, there would be an increased planned investment of £10.7 million in services (details in the report).


Key principles for the MTFS included accommodating a pay and price inflation figure of 5%, investment in delivering of key council priorities such as policing, a council tax increase of 3%, and 2% for the Social Care Precept. Proposed savings were £2.9 million. A growth allocation of £10.7 million included £4.1 million for Social Care, £1.7 million for waste collection. Reserves of about 26% of the council’s overall budget and these were within the recommended range of between £19-25 million, some of which had been earmarked for an IT upgrade, necessary to protect business continuity and increase resilience. Looking forward, it was anticipated that the fiscal environment for 2024/25 would continue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Work Programme

The board to discuss future items for inclusion in the committee’s work programme.


The Board planned to consider the following items for future meetings:

·       April 23 – Census 21 headlines and look back on year

·       June 23 – Coproduction and intergenerational work


Date of the next meeting

Monday, 24 April 2023


The Board noted the date of the next meeting on 24 April 2023.