Agenda and draft minutes

Budget Scrutiny Task Group - Public Realm - Wednesday 21 October 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Room 3, Assembly Hall, Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, London E8 1EA. View directions

Contact: Tom Thorn 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


1.1  There were no apologies for absence.


1.2  Cllr Muir was absent.



Urgent Items / Order of Business


2.1  There were no urgent items of business and the order was as laid out.


Declarations of Interest


3.1  There were no declarations of interest.


Submissions from the Public Realm Division pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:


4.1  The Chair introduced this item by saying that this meeting was designed to hear further information around savings proposals for 2016/17 for the services falling within the Public Realm Division, and for the Leisure and Green Spaces Service, following the meeting on the 16th September.


4.2  She advised the Group that, as per emails sent to them, an additional meeting had been arranged for the 19th November, in which Members would hear further information around the Public Realm cross-cutting review, and any movement towards the integration of the waste and cleansing services currently operated separately by the Council and Hackney Homes.


4.3  She asked that Tom McCourt, Assistant Director Public Realm, gave a very brief overview of the three papers from his area, which were available within the agenda packs.


4.4  The Assistant Director Public Realm advised Members that the first paper explored the potential of changing the Bulky Waste Service from a free to a chargeable service, with different models for consideration. Introducing charging would bring the Council into line with the majority of other London Boroughs.


4.5  A further paper within the agenda packs explored the likely impact of implementing reductions in street cleansing activity and in the number of crews within the graffiti and fly posting removal team.


4.6  The third item was a paper exploring the scope for greater income generation from greater advertising activity within the public realm.


4.7  The Chair at this point invited questions from Members on the proposals around the Bulky Waste function.


Discussion on Bulky Waste

4.8  A Member noted that the paper stated that there were ICT requirements for a charging model to be introduced. She asked what the cost of the new system would be, and whether there would be a risk of costs escalating from those estimated.


4.9  Mark Griffin, Head of Environment and Waste Strategy said that ICT were aware of a potential change in the service model and of the likely new requirements for the current system. While there was not a dedicated resource in place to deliver the changes at this stage, it was envisaged that there could be for the start of 2016/17. The analyst responsible for these changes would be made responsible for the delivery of other ICT requirements within the Division also; experience had shown that ICT changes had been delivered most successfully where the time of the resource was focused within one single area of the Council.


4.10  The Head of Environment and Waste Strategy thought that it was reasonable to not foresee an escalation in ICT costs and the time for implementation as becoming an issue; there was not a need for a full new system to be developed, and the requirements had been successfully installed in a number of other systems used by the Council. The new facility would be linked with the new Hackney One Account, where residents would be able to request and pay for bulky waste collections online in addition to interacting with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Submission from the Leisure and Green Spaces Service pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:


5.1  Ian Holland, Head of Leisure and Green Spaces, gave a brief overview of a paper which was available within the agenda packs.


5.2  He said that all savings for 2016/17 were set to be achieved from a renegotiation of the Council’s Leisure Contract with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).


5.3  The paper also explored other potential avenues for savings and greater income generation which would need consideration if, as was expected, the service was required to work within further reduced budgets for 2017/18 and 2018/19.


5.4  Options around income generation included greater sponsorship activities, increased catering and ice cream concessions in parks, offering spaces for corporate events and the delivery of more major events.


5.5  Options for delivering savings were around a review of the Council’s offer in supporting and enabling the scale of community events, lesser grass cutting and gardening activity, more locations being kept unlocked overnight, and restructures of the service to reduce staff costs (and service capacity).


5.6  Thanking the Head of Leisure and Green Spaces for the presentation and the paper, she said that Parks were a function of the Council which served all residents. She was thankful for the quality of green spaces (reflected in the number of Green Flags awarded to the authority), which was often commented upon by people living in Hackney or visiting the borough.


5.7  After the Chair invited questions on the paper, a Member asked that Kim Wright, Corporate Director Health and Community Services gave an update on the amount of savings that the Council expected to achieve, and its progress in identifying where these savings would be produced from. He noted that the papers seen during this meeting looked at options to save relatively low amounts in the context of Councillors having been previously advised that savings of many millions were likely to be needed.


5.8  The Corporate Director Health and Community Services said that the Council was still working on a basis of needing to achieve £60 million spending reductions during the three years to 2018/19. £16 million had been identified at this time. However, it could not be guaranteed that savings in excess of £60 million would not be required until full details were known of the Comprehensive Spending and other relevant proposed changes to finance arrangements (business rates and others).


5.9  On the papers giving options for savings of relatively low amounts of money, the Corporate Director said that the scale of reductions which were likely to be required meant that the Council needed to give consideration to how all of its services could contribute. Without doing this, there would be an increased risk of not being able to meet the financial challenge. Also, where services had small budgets relative to those of some other areas (Leisure and Parks compared to Adult Social Care for example), the savings that they proposed could be smaller in value while also being significantly larger as a proportion of their overall budget.


5.10  A Member asked about the scope that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:


6.1  The Chair noted that the Minutes of the previous meeting did not record some Members and an Officer who were in attendance, as present. These were:

-  Cllr Kam Adams

-  Cllr Feryal Demirci

-  Cllr Philip Glanville

-  Ian Holland

-  Cllr Anna-Joy Rickard

-  Cllr Caroline Selman

-  Cllr Peter Snell


6.2  The Minutes of the meeting of the 16th September 2015 were agreed as an accurate record.


Any Other Business


7.1  There was no other business.