Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 24 January 2023 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 interests.


Minutes (7 December 2022) pdf icon PDF 94 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2022 were confirmed as correct.


Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) Project Update pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Additional documents:


The Council’s Parking Design Manager (PDM) delivered a presentation updating the Committee on the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) Project, which covered the following matters:

·  CPZ Project 1 – Project Scope

·  CPZ progress (a visual representation of the project’s impact on the Borough after it was implemented)

·  Benefits of the programme and obtaining a better understanding of this going forward

·  Improvements to the CPZ engagement process

·  CPZ Project 1 – current position

·  CPZ related income

·  Air quality and health

·  Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and CPZ, and

·  CPZ Project 2 – an introduction and overview (including a visual representation).


Members stated that much of the CPZ project introduced parking restrictions in Dagenham, which had fewer transport links compared to Barking (which benefitted from the overground line, C2C, and district line) and asked whether there was a danger of restricting or isolating residents of the affected areas in Dagenham, as they would not freely be able to travel into other affected areas using their cars, due to parking controls. In response, the PDM stated that whilst this was a concern, he believed the Council needed to take action to encourage more residents to use different forms of transport, rather than relying on multiple vehicles per dwelling, which was the case for many households across the Borough. Whilst parking controls potentially caused frustration amongst residents, it was important for the Council to start somewhere and influence behavioural changes, that would not only positively impact on parking, but on the Council’s air quality objectives.


The Cabinet Member for Finance, Growth and Core Services referred to various bus routes in Dagenham providing transport to different parts of the Borough but acknowledged that more was needed. He assured the Committee that the Council was constantly lobbying for better transport links in Dagenham, including bringing C2C back to Dagenham East (which the Council was pursuing despite its levelling-up bid being turned down), and calls for more frequent trains at Dagenham Dock station. The Council was lobbying for standards at Dagenham East and Dagenham Heathway stations to improve to avoid closures and also challenged TFL on closures relating to engineering works to ensure that they took place efficiently, with minimal impact on residents.


Members requested an update in relation to the introduction of a loading bay at Farr Avenue in the Thames View area and stressed the importance of considering the impact of introducing parking controls on local businesses. Officers stated that car parks had an hour’s free parking and the shopping precincts now had 30 minutes free parking, but for both, the driver must be registered with the relevant pay by phone provider, and this would give them the option to pay a fee, (which was relatively low compared to other areas) if they went beyond these times. The Parking team also tried to engage with businesses prior to imposing any parking controls to find the best way forward.


Members requested an update on the imposition of a 24-hour CPZ in the Thames View area and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Budget Strategy 2023/24 to 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 692 KB

Additional documents:


The Council’s Strategic Director for Finance and Investment (SDFI) presented a report on the Budget Strategy 2023/24 to 2026/27 setting out how the remaining 2022/23 financial gap may be resolved and the implications for services and Council Tax payers in the Borough. Following the Autumn Statement by Government in November, the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2023/24 was published on 19 December 2022, setting out the allocation of funding from Government on an individual borough basis. The Government had provided a policy statement setting out their direction of travel for 2024/25; however, there was still significant uncertainty surrounding funding for future years. The report included details on the funding settlement from Government and budget proposals for 2023/24, which were made against the backdrop of unprecedented uncertainty and several very significant events over the last 15 years, including a banking crisis, Brexit, Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis. Following feedback from public consultation, Members of this Committee, and the Cabinet, the report would be presented to Assembly for approval.


The Cabinet Member drew the Committee’s attention to the savings target of £6.219m for 2022/23 including those brought forward from previous years. £3.600m of these savings were either fully achieved or expected to be achieved in year. £2.354m were at high risk of not being achieved at all, with the remaining £0.265m being uncertain or only part achieved in year. Any savings that were not delivered in full would result in an overspend and an increased drawdown on reserves. He also referred to the growth bids submitted by Council services in 2023/24 which amounted to £24m, which was reduced to £14.3m following a prioritisation exercise. This highlighted the scale of growth needed to provide a level of service which residents needed and the importance of ‘future proofing’ budgets, in the absence four-year funding settlements from Government, as lobbied for by the Council repeatedly over recent years.


Members asked what safeguards were in place within the budget strategy against pressures such as the rate of inflation, which was vulnerable to sudden fluctuation. The SDFI stated that the Council had built into its forecasts and plans assumptions around increased pressures, including the pay award, and increased energy costs. He noted that the vast majority of savings that needed to be made over the next few years were linked to inflationary pressures. Estimates of costs and pressures were periodically revised but ultimately, they could fluctuate. The country had seen inflation go up recently by over 10%, when the Council’s budget had accounted for a 4% increase, demonstrating the very challenging circumstances for managing local authority budgets at this time.

Members asked whether there was something the Council could offer to residents as a symbol of its recognition of the hardships they faced as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth stated that the Council was doing all it could, including taking a prudent approach over recent years which had meant that it did not have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Cost-of-Living Support - Update Briefing pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted the report.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted and agreed the changes to the Work Programme.