Venue: 145 King Street (Ground Floor), Hammersmith, W6 9XY. View directions
Contact: Debbie Yau Email: Debbie.Yau@lbhf.gov.uk
Apologies for absence
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Sally Taylor.
Councillor Trey Campell-Simon 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.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as an accurate record and note any outstanding actions.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2023 were agreed as an accurate record.
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. It 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.
Councillor Rowan Ree (Cabinet Member for Finance and Reform) gave an overview of the 2024 Medium Term Financial Strategy. He remarked that despite the financial and economic constraints faced by local government, this Council was able to put together a balanced budget that not only protected core services that residents valued and relied on but also protected those extra services that only Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) delivered like free breakfast for primary school children, free home care services, council tax support scheme and the local Law Enforcement team. This was made possible because of its ruthlessly financially efficient approach adopted for budget management and a continuous process of reform. Councillor Ree took the opportunity to thank officers in the finance team who had helped put together this budget and those across the service departments like the Environment who, together with the Cabinet colleagues like Councillor Rebecca Harvey, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion and Community Safety had done an excellent job in managing their budgets throughout the year and identified savings.
Councillor Ree remarked that the LGA estimated that this year, one in five local authorities might issue a section 114 notice, which essentially meant that they were not able to meet their financial obligations. He reassured those who relied on council services that this Council had managed its finances well, having run a budget surplus last year and adding this to the reserves when most councils were taking money out of theirs. H&F had been able to offer the same services despite the funding from central government had been cut by 56% in real terms since 2010/11. The budget setting this year had started with a budget gap of £23m from which savings had to be found. In terms of reforms, Councillor Ree highlighted the technology reform which used artificial intelligence (AI) for the adult social care service and the revenue and benefits team. 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 where residents might access childcare, housing, social care services and so on under one roof.
Andre Mark (Head of Finance – Strategic Planning and Investment) presented the Corporate Budget Strategy 2024/25. He outlined the strategic operating environment, objectives of the Council’s financial plans, the strategy to deliver the financial plans, plus the proposed budget for 2024/25, including a summary of proposed revenue budget 2024/25, savings and investment proposals a summary of the 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.
Bram Kainth (Strategic Director of Environment) presented the Environment Department revenue budget 2024/25. He outlined a wide range of universal services delivered to residents, the recent achievements relevant to social inclusion and community security, the budget breakdown under the three service directorates of Climate ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The report demonstrates the importance of trustee diversity in the third sector - the benefits this has for the communities the Council serves and how ensuring this happens demonstrates the council’s Commitment to tackle inequality - this includes leadership on the race equality agenda.
The Chair welcomed Jamie Hilton, Malcolm John, Dalton Leong and Shad Haibatan to the meeting. He thanked particularly Jamie who alongside Councillor Campbell-Simon had suggested to look at an issue that some H&F charities would like to diversify their trustee boards. The Council committee might be a good forum to bring people together for exchanging ideas and sharing the good practice.
the case study where practical steps Surrey VCSE had taken to address under-representation at trustee boards.
This report provides an update following the previous meeting focusing on work of the Law Enforcement Team between 01 March and 30 November 2023.
Mo Basith (LET Manager) presented the report which provided the Committee with an update following the last February meeting focusing on work of the Law Enforcement Team (LET) between 01 March and 30 November 2023. Detailed information and statistics including patrol data, the number of service requests, the types of work involved and so on were available in the report.
Mo Basith outlined the background of the LET’s Tasking Enforcement Group (TEG) set up with the Police. He said that the Council had always attended the BCU’s Tactical Coordination Group (TCG) held by the Police whilst the latter had been attending the monthly TEG meetings to resolve a lot of issues that arose in the borough. Since last November, the TEG meetings were co-chaired by Superintendent Craig Knight and Neil Thurlow, the Assistant Director responsible for community safety to better align the priorities and actions for wider level of services across the borough.
New forums for more localised intervention had also been set up in the north, south and central of the borough. The LET’s senior and community safety officers had worked together with the four police sergeants at the fortnightly Tactical Coordination Group meetings to deal with ward level issues. The LET would help address the top three priorities brought by the Police whilst the latter would join the LET’s coordinated patrols to meet the service demands of the residents. The two parties had worked closely to tackle drug abuse and car crimes as well as deal with assault cases in the borough.
Replying to Councillor Andrew Dinsmore’s question about LET officers being assaulted, Mo Basith recalled the incidents he had come across as an officer and confirmed that the risk of physical threat was there for LET officers. He mentioned about a case in which the LET officer had been subject to racist remarks and assaulted twice. The Council worked to support the officer and worked with the Police to ensure action was taken – the offender was identified, charged and imprisoned for it. There was a more recent case with racial abuse directed at two LET officers who had intervened due to a reported nuisance. That person was going to court in a few months’ time.
In response to the Chair’s concern about the support available to LET officers, Mo Basith noted the good support network for staff like the employee assistant programme and the forums that staff might attend to get the mental health support they needed. As regards internal support, the LET seniors might modify the patrol schedule and move officers among wards so that the victimised officers might stay away from the abusers. In response to a question around lone patrols of female officers, Mo advised that any female officer who felt the need to conduct patrol with another officer would always have that support.
Councillor Omid Miri asked about measures in place to deepen the cooperation of the two separate bodies, the Police and LET, outside their regular meetings, such as an emergency ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Date of next meeting
To note the date of next meeting on 24 Apr 2024.
Members noted that the next meeting would be held on 24 April 2024. The Chair suggested discussing Prevent at the next meeting.