Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny & Overview Committee - Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held remotely. View directions

Contact: Simon Trevaskis
0208 7266000  Email:

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2021 as an accurate record.



The minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2021 were agreed as an accurate record.



Disclosure of Interests

Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, they are required to consider in advance of each meeting whether they have a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI), an other registrable interest (ORI) or a non-registrable interest (NRI) in relation to any matter on the agenda.  If advice is needed, Members should contact the Monitoring Officer in good time before the meeting.  


If any Member or co-opted Member of the Council identifies a DPI or ORI which they have not already registered on the Council’s register of interests or which requires updating, they should complete the disclosure form which can be obtained from Democratic Services at any time, copies of which will be available at the meeting for return to the Monitoring Officer.


Members and co-opted Members are required to disclose any DPIs and ORIs at the meeting.  

·         Where the matter relates to a DPI they may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  

·         Where the matter relates to an ORI they may not vote on the matter unless granted a dispensation.   

·         Where a Member or co-opted Member has an NRI which directly relates to their financial interest or wellbeing, or that of a relative or close associate, they must disclose the interest at the meeting, may not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  Where a matter affects the NRI of a Member or co-opted Member, section 9 of Appendix B of the Code of Conduct sets out the test which must be applied by the Member to decide whether disclosure is required.


The Chair will invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3, to be recorded in the minutes.



There were no disclosures of interest made at the meeting


Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.



There were no urgent items of business for consideration by the Scrutiny & Overview Committee at this meeting.


Finance Performance Report - Month 7 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The Scrutiny and Overview Committee is asked to:-

1.    Note the contents of the Cabinet report considering the Period 7 financial monitoring position and forecasts as set out in the appendices to this report.

2.    Considered whether there are any areas of in need of further scrutiny that should be scheduled for later in the year by either the Committee or one of its Sub-Committees.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the Month 7 Finance Performance Report as set out on pages 15 to 48 of the meeting’s agenda. The report had also been considered by the Cabinet on the previous evening, 6 December 2021. The purpose of the report being included on the agenda was to allow the Committee to identify any areas of concern they may wish to scrutinise in more detail later in the year.

An introduction to the report was provided by the Council’s Director of Finance, Matthew Davis, who confirmed that the budget position for the 2021-22 budget had improved by approximately £1m, with an underspend forecasted of £400,000 at the end of month 7.  There continued to be budgetary pressures that needed to be closely monitored, with a £1.6m overspend in the budget from the provision of support for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), a £1.8m overspend on temporary accommodation and a £5.6m shortfall from the Council’s Selective Licensing Scheme not proceeding.

There was an underspend in capital budget which included the £50m capitalisation direction that would be transferred at the year end. Another contributor to the under spend in the capital budget was the inclusion of funds for the purchase of housing from Brick by Brick, which had not progressed. The capital budget for 2022-23 was in the process of being prepared and was due to be reviewed through the same Star Chamber process that had been used for the general fund budget.

The Cabinet Member for Croydon Renewal, Councillor Stuart King, supplemented the introduction to the report, highlighting that the Administration had put a lot of effort into working with departments to ensure the Council was living within its means. The Cabinet was confident in the reliability of the forecasted underspend shown in the report, but it was important to continue closely monitoring the potential risks that could have an impact on the final position of the budget.

Following the introduction to the report, the Committee was given the opportunity to question the information provided. The first comment highlighted that it was difficult to identify within the report which services were overspending. It was suggest that for the sake of transparency, future versions of the report should explicitly reference where there were significant overspends within the Council along with commentary to explain the reason for the overspend and how it was being addressed. 

There was concern raised about the overspend for UASC and in light of the Government only providing one off additional funding there was concern about whether the risks and costs were fully understood. It was agreed that this would be picked up by the Children & Young People Sub-Committee when it reviewed the budget for Children’s Services.

As it had been noted at previous committee meetings that a lack of financial discipline across the organisation had contributed toward the financial challenges which culminated in the Section 114 Notice issued in October 2020, it was questioned whether financial control had improved in the past twelve months.  It was advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91/21


2022-23 Budget and Three Year Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 133 KB

The Scrutiny and Overview Committee is asked to:-

1.     Note the contents of the Cabinet report on 2022-23 Budget and Three Year Medium Term Financial Strategy.

2.     Review the information provided with a view to, as part of the wider budget scrutiny process, forming conclusions on the deliverability and sustainability of the 2022-23 budget, as well as ensuring there is an understanding of the key risks.

3.     Considered whether there are any specific budget proposals that should be tested in further detail by either the Committee or one of its Sub-Committees in January 2022.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report set out on pages 49 to 88 of the agenda which provided an update on the delivery of the 2022-23 Budget and the Three Year Medium Term Financial Strategy. The report had been considered by the Cabinet at its meeting the previous evening, 6 December 2021. The report was included on the agenda as part of the budget scrutiny process which would culminate in a report to Council during its consideration of the budget on 28 February 2022.

The report was introduced by the Council’s Interim Corporate Director of Resources & Section 151 Officer, Richard Ennis, who advised that although significant progress had been made with setting the budget for 2022-23 work continued to close the gap, which currently stood at £13m. There was also a need to look at the longer term budget strategy including reducing the level of debt held by the Council through the use of capital receipts. The report outlined potential risks including the ongoing negotiation with the NHS about funding for services and the ongoing underfunding by the Government of the Council’s support provided by to UASC.

It was encouraging to note that the budget setting process had placed an emphasis upon requiring evidence to validate that savings were achievable, but further explanation was request to explain how deliverability was being demonstrated. It was confirmed that the aim was to bring the cost for social care service to a level that was more in line with the London average. The Council had been working with the Local Government Association (LGA) and other local authorities to manage this reduction in spend safely.

It was questioned how the Cabinet and Corporate Management Team reassured themselves that vulnerable adults and children were not being placed under increased risk as a result of the savings in social care. It was acknowledged that this was an important point and it was confirmed that the relevant statutory officers had been robustly questioned during the Star Chamber process about the safety of their proposals. The suggestion of including a statement in the final budget report from the Council’s other statutory officers to confirm that the proposals did not undermine the Council’s duties to children and adults was welcomed by the Committee.

As well as the using the Star Chamber process to obtain assurance on the safety of the savings within social care, further assurance had been sought from other sources such as the Department for Education, Ofsted and the Children’s Improvement Board. Work had also been undertaken to ensure that the benchmarking process with other local authorities was sufficiently robust to identify different ways of delivering services safely.

In response to a question about whether external assurance would be sought from either the LGA or CIPFA on the budget proposals as had happened last year it was highlighted that any such reviews would be an unbudgeted cost. The MTFS had recently been reviewed as part of the non-statutory review, with no issues being raised.

It was questioned whether  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92/21


Scrutiny & Overview Work Programme 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

The Scrutiny & Overview Committee is asked to:-

1.            Note the current position of its Work Programme for 2021-22,

2.            To consider whether there are any other items that should be added to the work programme.


Additional documents:


The Committee considered its work programme as set out on pages 89 to 92 of the meeting agenda. No changes were noted to the information contained in the report.

Resolved: That the Scrutiny & Overview Committee Work Programme for 2021-22 be noted.



Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:


“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”




This motion was not required.