Venue: The Auditorium - Harrow Council Hub, Kenmore Avenue, Harrow, HA3 8LU. View directions
Contact: Kenny Uzodike, Senior Democratic & Electoral Services Officer E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendance by Reserve Members
To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.
RESOLVED: To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members:
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from all Members present.
RESOLVED: To note that the following declarations of interest were made by Members at the meeting:
· Councillor Paul Osborn, the Leader, declared a disclosable non-pecuniary interest in Item 3: Question 6, in that he was appointed by the Council as a Trustee of Harrow Cycling Hub.
· Councillor Amir Moshenson, the Chair, declared a disclosable non-pecuniary interest in Item 3: Question 12 in that his son had a special needs child.
Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and the Managing Director
The Leader informed the committee that he was happy to have the new Managing Director AlexDewsnap with him at this question and answer session.
1. A Member questioned that as staff had been advised at the Managing Director’s staff briefing to park at the Leisure Centre at discounted rates, she wondered if the safety of female staff walking from the Council Hub to the Leisure Centre car park during the winter months had been considered.
· The managing director explained that there was a proposal being consulted on through staff groups that would soon make its way back to corporate leadership team. A session would be held on 8 August which would consider the proposal along with a lot of issues with the Hub such as access to the site by staff who need their car for work, zoning in the building, IT issues, the booking app, and optimisation of meeting places but the safety of all staff was a paramount issue.
2. Another Member asked for further explanations about the intensive customer services academy session.
· The Managing Director explained that this was part of the customer experience strategy, rather than telling staff to answer the phone in a particular way, instead, there would be more focus on the psychology of how to put residents first within the organisation. The aim of the session (which was developed by staff) was to show how to emotionally connect with residents and be more empathetic with responses to queries from residents. He suggested that the academy piece could be incorporated into the ongoing work of Scrutiny Leads on customer services experience.
3. The Vice-Chair commented that it had been six months since the budget and asked that given, the restricted service across the Council and other significant changes, how close was the administration in achieving the £10m savings target and what challenges needed to be dealt with to ensure a set budget in the next financial year.
· The Managing Director explained that there had been significant growth and savings this year and an undergrowth of 500k had been offset. He admitted that it had been challenging complementing the 10% Management Savings and 5% G grade savings while avoiding a negative impact on frontline services. This had made the staff structure more streamlined. The situation was being reviewed each month by senior management. Despite some in year challenges, expectations were that the budget would balance this year although there was need to ensure that major savings had strong business and if not delivered this year would be developed to deliver next year.
· The Leader added that this year was expected to be difficult given the scale of the savings target and the time needed to achieve it. He said that the administration was quite keen to minimise the overspend in the previous year given that the budget from the former administration was going to take £14m out of reserves and now the outturn was £6.6m. The third year would be much more challenging and ... view the full minutes text for item 52.