Scrutiny Committee Looks At Proposed Cuts: Live Coverage

Live coverage of Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

We were at Overview and Scrutiny Committee last night where the proposed cut in council spending were aired for the first time.

When we do live coverage normally, it takes two people – one at the venue, doing their best to translate what is being said in the room and converting it into text. It’s whizzed over the airwaves to the second person who tidies it up and publishes it.

Last night that wasn’t possible to publish it live to VB, so here’s the text that was entered at the time of the meeting.

[6pm start]

Cllr Bingham: Great deal of publicity about this in advance. We live in difficult times.

We’re not sure what grants from government will be next year. Maybe less with a change of government.

All based on corporate plan.

Max council tax rise will be 2.5%.

For reference a 1% rise in council tax would only bring in an extra £695k.

Isle of Wight council only has control over a small amount of the total budget – 30% – equiv to £135m.

£3m costs concessionary bus fares. Should be less next year – due to a recent grant.

£2.5m over spend this years.

It’s not unusual to have a significant gap between _desired_ expenditure.

£11.6m is gap between _desired_ expenditure.

Online budget simulator – “quite well used”

Star chamber process – explained – core membership. Five people. “A very robust process.”

(BTW This is the first meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with Cllr Bacon as the new Chairman)

Cllr Bacon: Will there be a deficit this year?

Cllr Bingham: If there are, they will be carried over.

-next speaker
Dave Burbage (Head of finance): Papers give a pretty full flavour. Cabinet report release today.

Appendix 4 – very detailed breakdown. £11m. More work has been done and saving are now at the shortfall of £11.6m

—questions
(Question going around the table, with councillors asking their questions)

Cllr Humby: Street refuse. Where would saving come? Concerns of rubbish been strewn around the streets.

Contract with Biffa is a backdoor collection.

Cllr Pugh: Vulnerable people will be accounted for (back door collection). Other will have to put out front.

Stuart Love: Will ask people to not put out rubbish overnight. Contract will need less resources, hence the savings.

Cllr Humby: Concern over rise of resident parking permit.

Cllr Pugh: When it was introduced, it (2006) was excessively cheap. Now is the right time to increase it. We’ve got to look at the amount that the IWC spends on travel (buses).

Have considered charging more for gas guzzlers, but thought that one price would be better.

Low emission cars no longer have free parking.

No reduction for pensioners.

Permit will be equiv to £4/week. (So we guess it’s £200/year)

Bingham: In the recent public consultation, rising parking charges were seen as a good way to raise council funds.

Cllr Bacon: What account has been taken in to account of less people buying permits?

Burbage: it’s been considered.

-next
Cllr Churchman: Public realm. Tourism is vital for us, so we must maintain the public realm. People won’t come if it starts looking tatty here.

Cllr Pugh: High quality toilets around the Island. No further budget for public toilets. We’re looking at using pub and restaurants toilets that could be used by the public.

Also getting developers to provide them as part of the planning applications.

Cllr Churchman: Haylands Farm concerns me greatly. Personalised budgets. There is a bit of a panic around the changes.

Cllr Pugh: Part of a National scheme. Want to empower them. It will be a phased withdrawal of payments over two years.

Cllr Churchman: Reducing Supporting People programme really worries me. Will we get a rebound and poss double costs?

[18:37]

Cllr Pugh: We’re looking to end some duplication. We’ve had discussions with NHS about repercussions.

It’s been an area given a lot of support in the past.

“I hesitate to call it this, but it’s been a luxury” – in time such as this, we’re looking to reduce in this area.

We need to support older people.

Reduce support by £2.7m

Cllr Bingham: It’s been a difficult choice.

Cllr Ward: We’re not the only contributor to the Supporting People scheme are we? Can they make up the short fall.

Cllr Bingham: It’s in progress.

Steve Beynon: Discussions through the Island partnership. Combining it might provide a better service.

Cllr Bacon: This is a real concern. Been informed that £3m cut will lead to a £11.5m costs back to the community. IWC has a duty to provide these services, if others don’t.

Will impact is 900 families.

Cllr Pugh: We will have to look at the impact.

Steve Beynon: CapGemini did some figures on this, which I understand was for the office of the deputy Prime minster (Prescott), hesitate to describe it as political motivated.

900 – it’s not the same people. Is a rolling support Figure.

-new
Cllr Ward: Ryde + Shanklin theatres. What will the maintenance cost be of them?

Cllr Pugh: Not proposed that IWC won’t be responsible for the costs long term.

-new
Cllr Hobart: Student rider increase by 20p. Is it worthwhile increasing this. Will just annoy students. Surely SV will just put up charges and benefit will be lost.

Cllr Bingham: There’s more cost effective was for people to travel – Freedom pass give better value.

-new
Cllr Jones-Evans: R5. I didn’t know we had someone at the council who was a full time union official.

Beynon: Local Authority are to provide to recognised unions. Facilities to unions have not been reviewed for a long time. There may be an imbalance between different unions.

IWC funds one full-time member of staff for a union, but other unions don’t have them.

Cllr Jones-Evans: b99 (ref) Customers survey: Raising planning fees – thought these were set nationally. Building control fees will increase.

Burbage: There are a number of areas where there’ll be increasing fees, but they haven’t been disclosed yet.

Cllr Williamson: Concerned that £200k is being cut from Public Realm.

Fire service. First block of £8m is totally guaranteed? (Yes) Replacement of vehicles is additional to £8m.

£12k Dog bin bags savings. How many dog wardens do we have? (Three) We need to be on the ball to ensure dog mess doesn’t increase.

£123k savings – ENOs being cut

Cllr Pugh: Lots of these people overlap.

Cllr Williamson: £72k Music service cut. Will schools get the money?

Cllr Pugh: It falls to the schools to support and finance this.

Dedicated schools grant has increased over the recent years.

The Music Centre (Saturday mornings) will continue to receive funding.

Cllr Ward: Dog Wardens – understand there may be more mess with the bags being cut. Can ENO give fines? (Yes)

Cllr ???: £618k savings from transformational changes.

Beynon: Youth services use a lot of buildings as does Children’s services.

Cllr Richards: You’ve missed some opportunities to make money. Why not promote parking permit to tourists?

Why reduce the RCC grants? Rural areas will lose out.

Stuart Love: We’ll make more money from having visitors pay for hourly parking than if they use parking permits.

Steve Beynon: Asking other agencies to put money into RCC. Nothing from them so far. We should ask RCC why not, not why IWC is reducing.

RCC should be encouraging voluntary agencies to share some of their costs – office services, etc – not have the costs each.

Marketing the Island in mainland Europe hasn’t been successful. So funding is being cut.

-new
Cllr Barry: Door to door collection. Seaview loads of second home owners. They put the rubbish out on Sunday night as they leave the Island. What if collection changed to Wed, not Monday. Their rubbish will be all over the street.

Cllr Pugh: Second home owners – are not our main concern.

We’d expect the second home owners have to put it out on their rubbish on the right day.

Anyway, they only pay 90% council tax.

Cllr Bacon: It’s the rubbish up and down the street that is the concern.

Cllr Pugh: We can fine them if they put it out early.

-new

Cllr Bacon: Controllable Base – is it still the same as powerpoint slides?

Burbage: Yes, it’s the same.

Cllr Bacon: Chief Executive’s office (Steve Beynon) has £2m costs – but only savings of £80k offered. Why not more?

I’m new to this role, how unusual is it to have a fall in income?

Burbage: Recession. Less planning, so fees lower. Interest on balances 3-4 years ago, it would have been £2m, this year around £100k

Earnings might dip a little bit lower.

[19:33]

Cllr Bacon: What checks are being put into place to ensure that there’s be no major impact on services after this money is cut back?

Cllr Pugh: Will have to be closely monitored. We don’t want to make a saving in one area, with cost rising in another.

We may need to do a mid-year budget review after the elections, if a new government makes cuts.

“It is a slight journey into the unknown”

Cllr Bacon: How much is down to cuts and how much efficiency saving?

Burbage: Transformational – savings.

Others like RCC, we’re cutting.

We’re having to ration services.

-new (a number of questions, missed the answers)
Cllr Richardson: Will we have fortnightly collection of rubbish?
Bingham: We have no thoughts of it at the moment.

Cllr Churchman: What is the £1m for property management spent on?

Cllr Jones Evans: Parking isn’t just about raising income. Will rises aid shops?

Cllr Bingham: All fees and charges are under review.

-new
List of six recommendations were given to the committee including things like consistent reporting year to year, so changes can be measured.

Ten votes for it.

Tuesday, 2nd February, 2010 7:44am

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3 Comments on "Scrutiny Committee Looks At Proposed Cuts: Live Coverage"

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loose canon
There hasn’t been any “dog mess” bags in the dispensers in Shanklin for weeks now. Has the economy cut started here? We have 3 dog-wardens. I walk my dog twice daily, and have only seen a dog warden about 6 times in the past seven years. They do not seem to be about when the worst fouling takes place, i.e. in early morning and at evening. Bus… Read more »
Alan Stanton
Hi Simon, I’m a councillor in Haringey where things are very different. Though I try to keep an open mind on different ways of doing things. For one thing we have wheelie bins, and our contractor’s waste trucks are designed for these. I’d worry that collecting waste from bags on the roadside could promote exactly the behaviour we don’t want. Residents and traders may take it as… Read more »