Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 10th February, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Webcast at - https://vimeo.com/507032360

Contact: Lee Walker 

Note: This meeting will be webcast at: https://vimeo.com/507032360 

Items
No. Item

8.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 410 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021.

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 as a correct record.

 

9.

Neighbourhoods Directorate Budget Proposals 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 413 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods)

 

This report provides an updated Neighbourhoods Service 2021/21 budget and sets out the proposed savings proposals, this reflects any feedback from both the November and January Scrutiny committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) that provided an updated Neighbourhoods Service 2021/21 budget and set out the proposed savings proposals, this reflected any feedback from both the November 2020 and January 2021 Scrutiny committee.

The Committee was invited to comment on the report prior to it being considered by Executive.

 

The main points and themes within the report included: -

 

·         Describing the 2021/22 budget pressures;

·         Outlining the 2021/22 savings proposals as part of the wider £50m savings required by the Council;

·         Describing that the Neighbourhoods Directorate had identified an initial £6.683m saving in 2021/22 increasing to £7.376m by 2024/25 across the Neighbourhoods Directorate; and

·         To minimise the impact on residents and neighbourhoods, all opportunities for maximising external income sources were considered and the overall Directorate proposals includes £5.985m of increased income generation.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Noting that the government had failed to keep to the promise made at the start of the pandemic that local authorities would be reimbursed for the additional costs incurred;

·         Noting that the additional budgetary pressures experienced was in addition to a number of years of budget cuts and austerity; and

·         Welcoming the reported levels of recycling, noting the city had achieved our highest overall levels of recycling (40%) and lowest levels of residual waste over the last 10 years, noting this achieved savings to the Council via the waste levy.

 

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods welcomed the improvements achieved across the city in relation to recycling rates. He stated that the ambition is to target work to help further increase these rates, however noted the challenges to achieve these ambitions without adequate funding by the government.

 

The Chair in concluding this item of business expressed her gratitude to all officers and the Executive Members for their work to deliver and protect services on behalf of the residents of the city in extremely challenging circumstances.

 

Decision

 

The Committee endorse the proposals presented within the report to the Executive and Council.

 

10.

Homelessness Directorate Budget and Savings Options 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 609 KB

Report of the Director of Homelessness

 

This report provides the high-level budget context and priorities for Homelessness across 2021/22 and is an update to the report presented to Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny 13 January 2021, which has been used for the development of savings proposals 2021/22 and investment requirements to fund population driven and other budget pressures.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Homelessness that provided the high-level budget context and priorities for Homelessness across 2021/22 and was an update to the report presented to Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny 13 January 2021, which had been used for the development of savings proposals 2021/22 and investment requirements to fund population driven and other budget pressures.

 

The Committee was invited to comment on the report prior to it being considered by Executive.

 

The main points and themes within the report included: -

 

·         The report set out a one year budget for 2021/22, however the longer term implications had been considered and those were considered in the Council’s medium term financial planning;

·         The report had been updated to reflect the Comprehensive Spending Review and Financial Settlement for the City Council which had resulted in a reduction in the Homelessness savings target of £0.5m;

·         Describing the Budget Strategy for the Homelessness Service;

·         Describing the uncertainty of short-term funding, noting that 2020/21 Homelessness budget is supported by significant non-recurrent one-off funding;

·         Providing an overview of the Service Transformation Programme and the savings proposals;

·         The approach to savings would be based on the proposed Service Transformation Programme which gave a strategic direction and framework to services, based on a focus of outcomes and partnerships; and

·         An update on the Covid-19 response and Everyone In, externally commissioned homelessness services and homelessness management.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Noting and welcoming the commitment to continue funding the Everyone In programme beyond March 2021; and

·         What support was being offered to those citizens accessing the Everyone In programme to support them into suitable accommodation’

 

The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure stated that despite the promises made to Manchester and all other local authorities that financial assistance would be made available to support councils to accommodate homeless people during the pandemic this had not been provided. He described this as a failure of government, however despite this Manchester had responded to the situation and sought to support the most vulnerable residents in the city in a dignified and appropriate manner and he reiterated his call upon the government to fund Manchester appropriately and fairly. 

 

The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure described the challenge to plan and deliver innovative schemes and programmes to tackle homelessness due to the short term approach and piecemeal funding arrangements provided to local authorities, stating that long term appropriate levels of funding was required.

 

The Director of Homelessness stated that the Everyone In programme had allowed for the delivery of wrap around support services to be provided to homeless people with the intention to support people into appropriate housing solutions, including commissioned supported accommodation. In reply to a specific question regarding staffing he informed the Committee that the FTE reduction saving identified would be achieved through either voluntary severance or retirement.

 

The Chair stated that the work of the homelessness team and all of the voluntary organisations working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25 pdf icon PDF 474 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer

 

The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and developed a Climate Change Action Plan which was approved by Executive in March 2020. This report provides an update on the significant progress that has been made in delivering the Plan over the last 10 months despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Appendix 1 includes a detailed update on all the actions contained within the Plan with data and visual images where available.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that provided an update on the significant progress that has been made in delivering the Climate Change Action Plan over the last 10 months despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A detailed update on all the actions contained within the Plan with data and visual images where available was appended to the report.

 

The main points and themes within the report included: -

 

·         Providing an introduction and background to the Plan, noting that Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 which recognised the need for the Council, and the city as a whole, to do more to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change;

·         Providing an overview of the Action Plan that was structured in five sections / workstreams;

·         An overview of the established governance arrangements;

·         An overview and update on the progress to date;

·         Emerging priorities for 2021/22;

·         Funding arrangements; and

·         Listing those action that required accelerating due to the impact of COVID-19.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -

 

·         Welcoming the report and commenting that the quality and presentation of the data and information presented was comprehensive, concise and accessible;

·         How many staff and Councillors had completed the Carbon Literacy training to date;

·         How many wards had received specific climate change related events;

·         Was there a zero carbon advertising strategy;

·         What work was being undertaken with local schools regarding meals to promote meat free days and the sourcing of local produce;

·         How much of the carbon reduction reported against Council buildings was as a result of the decarbonisation of the national grid;

·         Were there any more possible savings from the replacement street lighting;

·         Noting the data reported for street lighting and the operational fleet, why was there a difference between quarter 1 and 2 compared to the previous year;

·         Noting the impact of Covid on levels of homeworking was consideration being given to how staff would be working in the future and how buildings would be used post pandemic;

·         What work was being done to engage businesses on the issue of climate change;

·         Would climate change be addressed in the Local Plan;

·         What work was undertaken to ensure all building developments across this city were sustainable and supported the carbon reduction ambitions of the city;

·         When would the additional waste fleet vehicles be in service;

·         A Member requested that information on the Newton Heath Project be shared with the three Miles Platting and Newton Heath councillors following the meeting;

·         Requesting an update on the call on the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) to divest from fossil fuels;

·         Would local ward councillors be involved with the planned cycle and walking routes for Wythenshawe;

·         Noting that it was reported that the Civic Quarter Heat Network would initially run on gas, some of which was green gas, would consideration be given to using alternative sources of energy in the future;

·         Were there any additional or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 448 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This is a monthly report, which includes the recommendations monitor, relevant key decisions, the Committee’s work programme and any items for information.

Minutes:

The report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.

 

Decision

 

To note the report and agree the work programme.