Council meetings

Agenda, decisions and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 239 KB


Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting on 25 September 2018 be agreed as an accurate record.


1.1      The Committee discussed the minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2018, the following key point was noted:

·           The suggestion had been made that any strategy for improvement in children’s social care had to be “corporate and cross-cutting”.


1.2      The Chair informed the Committee that he had hoped to attend the meeting of Mayor and Cabinet on 10 October 2018, when the Committee’s referral on children’s social care was considered. However, he had been unable to do so because of commitments in his ward. He advised the Committee that, had he attended Mayor and Cabinet, he would also have raised the following key points:

·         It was important that issues with children’s social care and adult’s social care were considered in advance of the proposed cuts to the budget – because the burden of overspending in these areas fell on other areas of the Council.

·         The Committee recognised and supported positive improvements that were planned for the children’s social care budget, however, it was felt that the reasons for the suddenness of the overspend in 2017-18 had not been fully explained.

·         The Committee was making a “profound leap of faith” in welcoming the children’s social care improvement plan and that the Committee would be seeking assurances and accountability in the coming year to ensure that such an unprecedented situation was not repeated.


1.3      David Austin (Head of Corporate Resources) was asked to address the Committee in relation to the Chancellor’s autumn budget and any potential additional funds being made available for children’s social care by Government. The following key points were noted:

·         Lewisham had received £1.3m of the additional £240m funding for 2018-19 and 2019-20 from Government to spend on winter pressures.

·         In 2019-20 a further £410m had been made available nationally for children’s and adult’s social care. Information had not yet been made available about how this would be split and allocated. The assumption being made was that Lewisham would receive an additional £2-3m (based on initial figures from London Councils).


1.4      Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting on 25 September 2018 be agreed as an accurate record.



Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 201 KB


Councillor Alan Hall declared a non-prejudicial interest as Chair of Unite the union community branch for Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley; member of the Lewisham Trade Union Council and a member of Unison.

Councillor John Muldoon declared a non-prejudicial interest as a subscriber to the Lewisham garden waste service (and- following a complaint- was the recipient of a partial refund)

Councillor Jim Mallory declared a non- prejudicial interest as the Chair of Lee Green Lives (a recipient of funds from the main grants programme and the local assemblies fund) and as a member of the board of Lee Fair Share Time Bank (also in receipt of a grant from the local assemblies fund).



Responses from Mayor and Cabinet

There are none.


3.1 There were none.


Adult social care budget pdf icon PDF 727 KB



·         Figures would be provided detailing the savings made as a result of the new ways of working outlined in the report at section 8.3 onwards.

·         Figures would be provided setting out the alignment of the expenditure between adult social care and mental health services.

·         Analysis would be provided on the health of patients who had been discharged from hospital with an enhanced package of social care - as well as the longer term financial impact on the Council.

·         Information would return to the Committee (when it became available) setting out the plans for funding from the improved Better Care Fund.

·         Future updates should be provided about the work the Council was going to undertake on demand management and cost control.



4.1      Councillor Chris Best (Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People) was invited to address the Committee. The following key points were noted:

·         The report highlighted the usual pressures facing adult social care, which included: early hospital discharge; increasing longevity and complexity of needs; transition arrangements between children’s and adult’s social care; the rising demands of people living with dementia; responsibilities relating to deprivation of liberty safeguards.

·         The Council was eagerly awaiting further announcements from Government about future funding. Previous announcements (including a 2% increase in funding for pressures) had merely served as a ‘sticking plaster’ to for the long term issues facing funding for social care.

·         Ultimately, the work of carers should be more highly valued. Lewisham paid London Living Wage – but not all councils did.

·         The Council was working hard to support residents and to meet its responsibilities within the statutory framework.


4.2      Joan Hutton (Head of Adult Social Care) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:

·         The report outlined the budget for 2018-19 and detailed the expenditure on care (which accounted for the majority of spending).

·         Some examples of spending on care packages and levels of activity had been included in the report.

·         The Council focused support on those who had the highest levels of need.

·         Information had been provided about the levels of hospital discharge and the funding available to support this work.

·         There were growing numbers of people presenting with dementia – and this presented a pressure for services.

·         Savings had already been delivered from the adult social care budget.

·         Integration with health services was ongoing – the Council was working with colleagues in health and in children’s services to reduce duplication and contain costs.

·         Communication with potential care service users at an early stage was of vital importance.

·         Work was also taking place to ensure that systems, processes and methods for invoicing supported the delivery of frontline services.


4.3      Joan Hutton and Dee Carlin (Joint Commissioner) responded to questions from the Committee, the following key points were noted:

·         The Council worked with partners, using a variety of means, to prevent vulnerable people from having to make repeated visits to A&E.

·         Adult mental health casework and support services were recorded on different systems. Work was taking place to share information between the systems.

·         The Council shared data with partners in mental health services and ensured that statutory returns were made. However, it was hoped that improved use of data between partners would allow better analysis and targeting of support.

·         The report to the Committee outlined the adult social care spend – not the whole healthcare spend in Lewisham.

·         There were agreements in place across a number of client groups which ‘aligned’ spending between adult social care and health.

·         The joint commissioning budget did not show the entirety of spend on client groups in adult social care. To consider the totality of this spending the Committee would need to review the budget for Lewisham’s clinical commissioning group.

·         Lewisham was providing more  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Budget cut proposals pdf icon PDF 565 KB

The following proposals are due to be considered by this Committee:

CUS1   Printing reduction

CUS10 – Create revenues protection team

CUS11 – Process automation in revenues and benefits

CUS12 – Housing benefit overpayment recovery improved

CUS13 – Improve sundry debt collection

RES1 – Benefits realisation of Oracle Cloud

RES2 – Legal fees increase

RES3 – Executive Office – administrative support staff reduction

RES4 – Policy, Service Design and Intelligence – staff reduction

RES5 – Withdrawal of councillor car run delivery service

RES6 – Increase income supporting the Funding Officer post and review Economy and Partnerships function

RES8 – Insurance costs – premium reduction

RES9 – Insurance costs – self insurance reserves

RES13 – Reduction in business rates for the Corporate Estate

RES 14 – Corporate estate facilities management insourcing

RES 15 – Commercial estate growth

RES 16 – Commercial property investment acquisition          





Additional documents:


Resolved: that the Committee’s comments would be submitted to Mayor and Cabinet, along with those from the select committees.


5.1    Damien Egan (Mayor of Lewisham) was invited to address the Committee about the budget cuts proposals, the following key points were noted:

·         Government austerity continued to impact on the budgets of local authorities nationally and inner London authorities were particularly hard hit.

·         In discussions with residents it was clear that there was surprise at the level of cuts the Council had sustained due to government austerity. There was also concern in Lewisham’s communities about the increased burden of council tax and cut back to services.

·         The Council had reached the limit of the cuts that could be made to ‘back office’ services and it was likely that reserves would have to be used to balance the budget.

·         The cuts being presented to the Committee were officer proposals. He thanked officers, councillors and the Cabinet Member for Jobs, Finance and Skills for the time and effort taken to develop the proposals and to take them through the scrutiny process.

·         He had hoped that his first budget could have been made under different circumstances with a more understanding government.


5.2    David Austin (Head of Corporate Resources) introduced the report, the following key points were noted:

·         The proposals followed the medium term financial strategy in July - which had set out the pressures being faced by the Council and the cuts still to be made.

·         In the next two financial years, savings of £30m needed to be found – split £17m for 2019-20 and £13m for 2020-21. Proposals in the report amounted to £21m so it was likely that the Council would need to use reserves to balance the budget until additional cuts could be found.

·         A number of proposals had been through the scrutiny process, the remaining cuts were for the Public Accounts Select Committee to consider.

·         The cuts report was due to be considered by Mayor and Cabinet on 21 November.

·         Following consideration at Mayor and Cabinet further work would need to be carried out to progress consultations and provide the additional information that had been requested before the draft budget was prepared for consideration by the Committee at its meeting in February (for scrutiny before Mayor and Cabinet and agreement by the full Council).


5.3    David Austin responded to a question from the Committee about the long term use of reserves, the following key points were noted:

·         The longer term balancing of the budget depended on the financial settlement from Government and any additional funding made available. It would also require the strengthening of systems within the Council and improved efficiency. Further cuts would also need to be found.


5.4    John Muldoon (Chair of the Healthier Communities Select Committee) and Councillor Octavia Holland introduced the referral from the Healthier Communities Select Committee.

·         The referral was endorsed by the Public Accounts Select Committee. It noted the comments about the likely impact of proposals COM1 and COM2 on the VCS, and that other cuts proposals would undermine the ability of the sector to meet that further burden.


5.5    Councillor Liz Johnston-Franklin  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved: that the work programme for the meeting on 12 December be agreed.


6.1    Resolved: that the work programme for the meeting on 12 December be agreed.


Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet


Resolved: that the Committee’s comments on the budget cut proposals under item five be referred to Mayor and Cabinet.


7.1    Resolved: that the Committee’s comments on the budget cut proposals under item five be referred to Mayor and Cabinet.