Agenda and minutes

(Special), Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 10 January 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: The Auditorium - Harrow Council Hub, Kenmore Avenue, Harrow, HA3 8LU. View directions

Contact: Kenny Uzodike, Senior Democratic & Electoral Services Officer  E-mail:


No. Item


Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

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RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Member:


Ordinary Member


Reserve Member

Councillor Govind Bharadia

Councillor Matthew Goodwin-Freeman

Councillor Philip O’Dell       

Councillor Dr Antonio Weiss



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.

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RESOLVED:  To note the declarations of interest, if any, as published on the Council’s website prior to the meeting.


Resolved Items

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Question and Answer Session with the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive

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Councillor Paul Osborn, the Leader of the Council, in his introduction, explained that the draft budget was published in December and the final budget, though presently undergoing consultation would be published in February and he was happy to present it to the Committee for further comments.  He also gave the following highlights on the budget and corporate plan:


·                 The previous budget had planned on using 14 million pounds of reserves this year.  This would have resulted in a budget gap of £16 million for year 2.  The problem with the use of more reserves was the potential like other Councils of issuing a section 114 notice within 18 months.


·                 The budget had to deal with significant inflationary pressures.  This year had £5.6m budgeted for pay inflation and the provision for non-pay inflation had been on the basis that inflation would be at 4% but was now 12% which would have led to a projected gap of £21m in next year’s budget but was reduced to £10.9m.


·                 The full final budget next month would have to be a balanced budget; efforts were being made this year to limit the use of reserves budgeted for in the original budget.  This would result in an overspend of only £9bn which was an underspend of £5 billion from the previously budgeted £14bn.


·                 There would be an underspend of about £3-5m this year from the £14bn pounds of reserves.  This would improve the resilience of the organisation and ensure that availability of sufficient resources when needed.


·                 The corporate plan was being developed alongside the budget and there were several performance indicators and measures on the delivery of priorities.  There were several flagship actions that would be related to those priorities such as, the delivery of more electric charging points, cycling projects and other projects that would make a significant difference to people, the environment and Harrow.


·                 The corporate plan would be published next month as part of the budget and would be presented at Cabinet and Council but could also be presented at Overview and Scrutiny Committee for comments and recommendations. 


Members asked the following questions:


·                 A Member questioned if assurances could be given that in the final budget that council tax would be frozen.  The Leader responded that the proposed increase in council tax was out for consultation.


·                 A Member asked what the planned percentage of staffing reductions was to help balance the budget.  The leader responded that there were plans to streamline the senior management structure within the organisation.  The Chief Executive explained that there was a target aim to reduce the management expenditure by 10% and plans to explore specific options around service provision as part of the budget.  Apart from that, there was no for other target set for staff reduction.  He said that however, there could be some marginal implications of other proposals later but not a targeted reduction.  The restructuring process would commence next month and continue into next year, and efforts would be made to avoid duplications.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Any Other Business

Which cannot otherwise be dealt with.

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There was none.