Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 8 December 2021 7:00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking

Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer 


No. Item


Declaration of Members' Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes - To confirm as correct the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 105 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 November were agreed.


Budget Strategy 2022/23 to 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services presented a report on the Budget Strategy 2022/23 to 2025/26. The uncertainty behind the figures presented was highlighted, owing to the delay in the Local Government Finance Settlement and the worsening rates of Covid-19 nationally. A number of aspects that would affect the final budget, were also not within the control of the Local Authority, such as a potential national insurance pay increase. Once the Council had received the settlement from Government and knew its intentions around Council Tax, it would be able to use this information to confirm the budget for next year.

In response to questions from Members, the CFO and Cabinet Member stated that:

  • The current forecast overspend for the financial year had been split into two categories: savings and pressures. Savings not achieved in this financial year would roll over into the next financial year. Many of the one-off pressures that the Council had were Covid-related, such as one-off financial year support to SLM, the Council’s leisure centre provider; however, the Council received a share of SLM profits and would benefit from increased footfall in future financial years. It had income losses in Heritage and other traded entities, with £0.5 million of income that it would ordinarily expect to receive, not being received in this financial year;
  • Ongoing savings and pressures needed to be addressed as soon as possible so that these did not reoccur. Many of these were driven by demand relating to Covid-19, such as in Children’s Care and Support, where the Council had seen increased pressures. The Council was looking closely into how it was investing money into services such as Early Help, noting the work that other councils had also undertaken around this and their outcomes. Prevention was also high on the Council’s agenda, to avoid children coming into care at the outset and to provide families with the right support, at an earlier date;
  • The Borough was supporting some very high needs families at very high-cost placements, some of which would continue indefinitely. The Council was working hard with providers to find either alternative provision, or a way of providing the right care through a more financially sustainably approach. Care and support colleagues worked closely with the Finance team, to ensure that costs could be mapped;
  • The Council had increased its involvement in the way that the NHS operated, as part of the Integrated Care System (ICS) which covered northeast London. The Council was working more closely with health colleagues to understand NHS financial pressures and any Council actions that were adversely affecting these, and vice versa, to mitigate pressure issues, achieve value for money and support each other in making the right decisions for residents;
  • Stress testing on the impact of inflation was undertaken as the Council reviewed the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), and this would be repeated when the Council set the budget in March 2022. The Council also had a well-run Treasury  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 71 KB


The Chair informed the Committee of the following change that had been made to the Work Programme since the last meeting, which was agreed by the Committee:

The Investment and Acquisitions Strategy, which was due to come to the 5 January 2022 Committee, would instead be deferred to 9 March 2022.

The work programme was noted.