Lewisham Council
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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee room 3

Contact: Timothy Andrew Email: (timothy.andrew@lewisham.gov.uk) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

Decision:

Resolved: that a clarification would be added to the minutes of the meeting on 24 September 2019 regarding the factual position of the budget of the refuse service in previous years. It was also agreed that information would be provided regarding the resourcing of the Council’s internal audit and finance functions.

Minutes:

1.1    The Committee discussed the minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2019. It was noted that the Director of Environmental Services had said that the refuse service had not spent within budget in “living memory” - contrary to the indication in the minutes that the service had mostly stayed within budget until 2016.

 

1.2    It was reported that officers had made different remarks relating to the overspend in the refuse service budget.

 

1.3    Members discussed the constitutional changes being implemented to clarify the reporting structure for the Audit Panel.

 

1.4    Members noted the previous assurances that had been given regarding the resourcing of the Council’s internal audit function.

 

1.5    Resolved: that a clarification would be added to the minutes of the meeting on 24 September 2019 regarding the factual position of the budget of the refuse service in previous years. It was also agreed that information would be provided regarding the resourcing of the Council’s internal audit and finance functions.

 

2.

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Minutes:

2.1 There were none.

3.

Responses from Mayor and Cabinet pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3.1    The responses were considered as part of item five (income generation and commercialisation).

4.

Budget cuts update pdf icon PDF 313 KB

Decision:

Resolved: that the report be noted, pending a further update to the Committee at the meeting on 16 December 2019. It was also agreed that in advance of the next meeting the Chair of the Committee would provide further direction to officers regarding the content of the report.

Minutes:

4.1    The Chair agreed that the item would be deferred to the following meeting in order to allow for additional direction to be given regarding the expected content of the report.

 

4.2    Members requested that the report for the next meeting should include information regarding the outcome of the previous trial of shared services with the London Borough of Lambeth (specifically relating to the costs involved).

 

4.2    Resolved: that the report be noted, pending a further update to the Committee at the meeting on 16 December 2019. It was also agreed that in advance of the next meeting the Chair of the Committee would provide further direction to officers regarding the content of the report.

 

5.

Income generation and commercialisation pdf icon PDF 247 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: a) that the responses from Mayor and Cabinet should be noted; b) that (due to the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development being unavailable) the update on commercialisation and training would be deferred to the meeting on 16 December; c) the report from CLES on the Council’s approach to social value would be brought the Committee before the end of the financial year.

Minutes:

5.1    Katherine Nidd (Strategic Procurement and Commercial Services Manager) introduced the response from Mayor and Cabinet regarding ‘trading accounts’, the following key points were noted:

·         Previous versions of Oracle (the Council’s financial management IT system) did not allow for the creation of trading accounts. However, the latest version of Oracle would do so.

·         Options were being considered for the implementation of traded accounts alongside the work officers were doing on fees and charges.

 

5.2    David Austin (Director of Corporate Resources) addressed the Committee, the following key points were noted:

·         It was not the intention to carry out full accounting through Oracle.

·         There were no plans to re-impose full cost allocations through the system. It would be used with key services to assist in the process of allocating and identifying costs through the budget monitoring process.

 

5.3    Katherine Nidd responded to questions from the Committee, the following key points were noted:

·         The implementation of traded accounts fitted well with the work on cost modelling and on fees and charges.

·         The process provided transparency and the opportunity for critical challenge.

 

5.4    Katherine Nidd introduced the response to the Committee’s commercialisation and income generation (2018-19) in-depth review:

·         Detail had been provided on the budget monitoring process in response to the Committee’s recommendation on income generation and the cuts process.

·         The income generation strategy set out a multi-stage business development process, which could be used for the assessment and development of new ideas. Responses had been provided regarding the two new ideas recommended by the Committee in its review.

·         The Committee’s recommendation about commercialisation training had been considered and was addressed in the update to the Committee that was also on the agenda.

·         Corporate support had been made available for the strategic procurement and commercial services function. This included once off funding and an ongoing budget for this work.

·         Consideration had been given to the options to enable a ‘call for ideas’ from all staff. There might be options to do this through the work that was being carried out to roll out the new ‘Lewisham Way’.

 

5.5    Katherine Nidd and David Austin responded to a question from the Committee about the reliability of income streams and grants from central government. (Members were informed (by Petra der Man, Principal Lawyer) that the pre-election period commenced at midnight on 6 November). The following key point was noted:

·         Once funding from central government was agreed – it was very likely it would be received (in contrast to income from commercial services, which might have to be chased).

 

5.6    In the Committee’s discussion, the following key point was also noted:

·         Members welcomed the consideration that had been given to developing a commercial approach to managing agency services.

 

5.7    Katherine Nidd introduced the update on the delivery of the income generation strategy – the following key points were noted:

·         Two key areas of focus in the past quarter had been on fees and charges/income generation activity and the other had been on culture change (although Adam Bowles (Director  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Adult social care pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Decision:

Resolved: that the report be noted; that the service should be commended on its successes to date; the Committee believes that – despite the risks and pressures – the service should continue to work on managing costs and on managing demand.

Minutes:

6.1    Tom Brown (Executive Director for Community Services) introduced the report – the following key points were noted:

·         The budget for adult social care was currently projected to underspend by £1.9m.

·         Some of the underspend was predicated on the allocation of non-recurring grants. There was no indication what decisions would be taken by government regarding those grants next year.

·         There were a number of risks facing the service – these included demographic pressures of an older population and associated pressures on hospital admissions and discharge.

·         This week Lewisham Hospital had been in a “particularly bad state”. The standard grading for pressure on services was based on a green, amber red rating. Beyond the standard rating system there was also a ‘black’ rating, which is where the hospital had been this week.

·         There was more demand in the emergency department than there were beds available. Inevitably, this meant that there was more demand for discharge of patients to adult services – combined with higher levels of dependency. This resulted in increased financial pressures on the Council.

·         There were also increasing numbers of complex cases reaching adult social care from children’s social care.

·         The caseload was around 30 young people a year – not all of whom had high support costs – but a significant number that did (of typically £1500-£2000 a week each).

·         The team in adult social care had a good understanding of the pressures on the service and the costs. The service worked hard to remain within its statutory obligations whilst also delivering services within the resources that were available.

 

6.2    Tom Brown responded to questions from the Committee – the following key points were noted:

·         The service was working to manage the costs associated with complex cases. A joint transitions team had been created to manage the transition from children’s to adult social care.

·         Adult services were working with young people from an earlier age to ensure that they were as independent as possible. The support provided was individualised and needs based.

·         This work was shifting the focus onto developing independence for young people and encouraging them to maximise their abilities rather than on just providing institutional care.

·         More generally, the service moving from a clinical/health based model to a more social care/assets based approach which emphasised enablement and assets.

·         More than 60% of service users who went through the social care enablement process no longer required ongoing care.

·         Work was also taking place to ensure that residential care and support could be provided locally.

·         The large majority of residents were treated at Lewisham Hospital (although about 10% went to Denmark Hill).

·         There were a number of complex issues associated with linking the different IT systems being used by the service.

·         The consolidation of IT systems would allow for the streamlining of social work processes.

·         The charts in the report provided an overview of the costs associated with care packages – however – it should be noted that each April there was an increase in costs due to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 274 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: that the following items would be on the agenda for the Committee’s next meeting – communications and Mayor’s office update; financial forecasts; commercialisation and culture change (the report from the Director of Human resources and Organisational Development).

Minutes:

7.1    Resolved: that the following items would be on the agenda for the Committee’s next meeting – communications and Mayor’s office update; financial forecasts; commercialisation and culture change (the report from the Director of Human resources and Organisational Development).

 

8.

Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet