Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: This meeting will be held digitally. The meeting can be viewed from the link posted to https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my-council/cm/
Contact: Democratic Services on 01424 451484 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Items No. Item
Apologies for Absence
Apologies received from Councillor Beaney
Declarations of Interest
RESOLVED – (Unanimously) that the minutes of the meeting held on 20th January 2021 be approved as a true record.
- QTR 3 Ops combined App 1 , item 72. PDF 34 KB
- QTR 3 Corporate App1 , item 72. PDF 17 KB
- Appendix 2 - Capital Q3 , item 72. PDF 45 KB
The Chief Accountant presented a summary of the interim outturn position for services at the end of December 2020 (excluding capital financing charges and recharges).
This report is based on figures from quarter 3 (1 October to 31 December). Since then a budget has been set and figures have been revised. In future the Overview and Scrutiny meetings shall aim to be more aligned with updated figure.
Some of the large variances are as a direct result of COVID-19. The Chief Accountant highlighted to the councillors that main income streams have been impacted including car parking and the cliff railways. Homelessness and temporary accommodation costs are the largest overspend in the report.
The pandemic may continue to impact the budget in the next financial year, depending on the situation. There is hope that easing the restrictions and opening the town to tourism later this year would boost the local economy and improve the income.
The Chair thanked the Chief Accountant for the report and for the layout of the report being put into separate service areas. This had made the report more accessible.
The councillors discussed overspends and underspends. It pointed out that there appears to be no vast underspends which is a positive. The Chief Accountant informed the committee the large overspend was due to temporary accommodation the finance department are working closely with the housing department and the director of housing to identify future options, using external professional advice if and where appropriate.
There are currently over 230 families/individuals in temporary accommodation. The town needs a large amount of affordable housing. To drive down the rental market, around 400 new homes a year is needed. The average price of rent went up 40% in the last few years what makes the prices unaffordable for a large proportion of residents.
There was a surge of applications for accommodation last year. The government grants to cover temporary accommodation during the pandemic are much appreciated, but the best long-term solution for the town is building sustainable accommodation and secure long-term tenancies. The council is aiming to buy and build new properties to reduce the costs of temporary accommodation in the future. The Councillors agreed that the process would take time and generate costs.
Councillors commented that 2021 was always going to be forecast as a deficit year and asked about the increase to this. The Chief Accountant agreed that a larger deficit was forecast and that the figures in the report are in addition to any deficit we had. COVID-19 has impacted our income streams, not foreseen and that has added to complications. Capital schemes have had to have been put on hold. COVID-19 has impacted across the board on all forecasts. The rental income forecast is to try to recover any loss income and not write off any income or any deferral where necessary and can be impacted by the slowdown of the general economy.
The Managing Director informed the councillors that that some savings that had been planned ... view the full minutes text for item 72.
The Managing Director submitted a report to the councillors with an update on progress against key activities and performance indicators outlined in HBC’s corporate plan during quarter 3 (1 October to 31 December),including new or changed activities (see HBC’s recovery intentions) as a result of COVID-19.
The second part of the report outlined progress in terms of refreshed performance reporting arrangements.
Councillors discussed the housing renewal and the issue of meeting the housing target for the borough. There are currently 1444 families and individuals on the council waiting list. Over 360 of that number are families on the priority list, and only two houses on average are available each month. The pandemic had a significant impact on the situation. The council is actively working with local developers and housing associations to deliver affordable houses to meet the town’s targets. There are currently new houses identified with housing associations. Hastings Borough Council is in active conversation with the County Council about the possible build sites and aims to develop a joint approach. Councillors discussed several possible build sites.
Councillors wanted to know the scale of the council services and projects being affected by the activities in response to the pandemic. The pandemic affected most of the regular services provided by the council with some of the projects being paused. Those services are being slowly restarted where capacity and resources allow.
Councillors discussed the increase in pollution, including dog fouling and litter across the town in the last few months and the measures that could be put in place to improve it. The council strategy is to send clear communication via social media and website to remind the residents about their duty to keep the town clean and report any pollution. The council cleaning services are responding to any reports promptly. The Councillors raised a concern about the ongoing issue with litter pollution in certain areas. The situation has not changed despite multiple reports.
The Managing Director will follow up on the matter and report to the committee at the next meeting.
The Managing director had a collection of questions that had been submitted to her by the committee.
1: What impact the national road map has local pandemic response and recovery intentions.
The council is still in a major incident although the statistics and facts are getting better every day. We may come out of a major incident very shortly and we still have significant work dealing with the pandemic. There's still potential for surge testing, and the pandemic still impacts on partners ability to cope because although things are improving, its fragile as things reopen. The next phase is transition and then into recovery. Data must be monitored carefully. Regarding our own services outside leisure and the cliff railway will be open on 29th March. The museum will open in Stage 3.
The community hub is still supporting people, the COVID secure and compliance officers are preparing for businesses re opening safely. The activity of ... view the full minutes text for item 73.