Agenda item

Business Planning 2020-2025


The Chairman introduced the report (supplement version with amendments). He reported that further to publication he had been informed of a typo: the third paragraph of the ‘summary’ section states that there is a shortfall in savings for 2021-22 of £5.618million, whereas it is clear from the table below that this should have stated £3.890million.



·       Cllr Fluss referred to page 25 of the report - increase promotion and invest in Hendon Town Hall (HTH) - does Middlesex University, since it leases HTH, pay for all works there as part of their lease?


Mr May, Head of Customer and Digital Services, responded that full detailed proposals would be worked up in 2021 to enable implementation in the financial year 22/23Initially the proposal is to increase income and to achieve this would require improvements to HTH. The responsibilities of Middlesex University and the details of any refurbishment would be agreed in 2021.


·       Cllr Fluss requested to see the terms of the lease so that if Middlesex University is required to carry out full repairs this can be addressed. Mr May agreed to provide this to Cllr Fluss outside the meeting.

Action: Mr May


·       Cllr Rich stated that the Law Commission had proposed to liberalise marriage ceremonies which may mean fewer would take place at HTH, resulting in reduced income. 


My May agreed, adding that this makes it even more important for HTH to be competitive. There would be a consultation in 2021 on the proposals and plans were being made for this potential opportunity.


·       Cllr Rich asked about Section 2.30 in the report. He declared an interest by virtue of the fact that he is a Youth Magistrate in another Borough. The report notes an 18% increase in robbery in Barnet over the past year which involved mainly young people stealing from young people.


Mr Khan, Head of Counter Fraud Operations, noted that the Council is in regular contact with the police on such issues and that this problem also affects Brent and Harrow at similar levels. Mr Leng, Community Safety Officer, reported that a small number of minors had been involved and had been responsible for a significant spike in crime. Occasionally individuals from outside the Borough create stark increases in crime. Cllr Rich noted that he would be keen to discuss this further with Mr Leng outside the meeting.

Action: Mr Leng


·       Cllr Conway asked how the Registration Service had overachieved in its income targets by £200,000 in 2019-20.


Mr May responded that this had happened following a review of the service when it was contracted in to Barnet.


·       Cllr Conway noted that it would be helpful to see comparative costs from other Boroughs in relation to the School Libraries Resource Services.


Ms Richens would follow up after the meeting.

Action: Ms Richens


·       Cllr Conway stated that a lot of people were volunteering especially during the pandemic so she would welcome a volunteer accreditation scheme as part of business planning. 


·       Cllr Conway expressed her concern that the report did not mention youth violence and only had a small section on domestic abuse and violence. A lot of work had been undertaken by the voluntary and faith sectors on domestic violence recently, including training sessions.


The Director of Assurance noted that both domestic violence and youth violence had been reported to the Safer Communities Partnership Board, in accordance with its Terms of Reference, on 23rd October.


The Council had responded to the increase in reports of domestic violence during the pandemic, by increasing the frequency of meetings with partners.   A piece of work to review the governance of community safety, and coordination of their work programmes, was underway and she would report back.

Action: Ms Green


·       Cllr Conway noted that there are delays with repairs to lighting in some parts of the Borough, particularly Grahame Park, during the regeneration work. Residents had reported feeling unsafe in some areas due to this.


The Director of Assurance noted that there is a cross-council project considering issues at Grahame Park and a report had been presented to the Housing and Growth Committee. She offered to feed back on the lighting issue and ensure this is picked up and that Cllr Conway is updated.

Action: Ms Green


·       Cllr Conway felt that the Committee should consider loneliness and isolation in the Borough. It could also be one factor leading to radicalisation of views.


·       Cllr Conway reported that food supply had not been mentioned during the second wave of the pandemic. She had experienced a shortage of supplies at Burnt Oak food bank despite generous donations by the voluntary and faith sector. There was concern about the upcoming Christmas holiday.  


Mr Cooper, Deputy Head of Strategy – Strategy and Engagement responded that plans were underway for food supplies during the Christmas school holiday, as well as for a grant scheme that Family Services would be leading on. The Central Supplies Hub would be transferred to Barnet Together to manage.


Cllr Conway noted that it is important to organise this close to schools in the Borough for ease of access. Half term had created a lot of panic and placed demands on teachers and the voluntary sector. The Chairman thanked Cllr Conway for raising this issue which the Council is preparing for.


·       Cllr Fluss expressed her thanks to the Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP and the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP for their work on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) resulting in £80 million funding being provided to tackle this issue.


·       Cllr Fluss requested details of the 19 partnership organisations who are working with the Council to tackle hate crime.


Due to technical issues at the virtual meeting some officers were unable to respond. The Chairman requested that officers highly publicise the referral partnership organisations, particularly in light of the upcoming holiday period and the pandemic.

Action: Mr Leng


The Chairman moved to the vote on the officer’s recommendations. The vote was recorded as follows:


For – 6

Against – 0

Abstained - 4


The Committee RESOLVED:


1.     To consider the MTFS proposals that relate to the committee as set out in Appendix A and refer their comments to Policy and Resources Committee for eventual decision by Council.

2.     To consider the MTFS proposals that relate to the committee as set out in Appendix A and refer their comments to Policy and Resources Committee for eventual decision by Council.

3.     To note the updates on the Recovery Planning Programme provided.

4.     To approve the continuing work on the Recovery Planning Programme for the service areas it is responsible for, including any next steps outlined in this report. 




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