Agenda

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Sandra Hancock  Email: democraticservices@watford.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

2.

Disclosure of Interests

3.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 May 2024 to be submitted and signed. 

4.

Official Announcements

5.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 517 KB

Report of the Elected Mayor of Watford

 

6.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0

7.

Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0

8.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

9.

Business especially brought forward by the Chairman or the Head of Paid Service which in the opinion of the Chairman should be considered as a matter of urgency.

10.

Scrutiny Annual Report 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 654 KB

Report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer

 

11.

Relocation of New Hope Service from 64 Rickmansworth Road pdf icon PDF 504 KB

  • View the background to item 11.

Report from Cabinet held on 8 July 2024

 

Additional documents:

  • Extract of minutes from Cabinet 8 July 2024

12.

Proposed use of commuted sums to deliver social rented homes - Sydney Road pdf icon PDF 598 KB

  • View the background to item 12.

Report of Cabinet held on 8 July 2024

 

Additional documents:

  • Extract of minutes from Cabinet 8 July 2024

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

14.

Motion 1 - Addressing the funding crisis in Local Government

The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Rodrigues and seconded by Councillor Watkin:

 

Council Notes that the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates that councils in England face a funding gap of £6.2 billion over the next two years. Alarmingly, one in five English local authorities are at risk of issuing a Section 114 notice this year or next. In Watford, we have seen our grant funding from central government cut by 50% in real terms in the last 10 years which makes managing local services a difficult ask.

The sensible financial decisions Watford Council has made have protected key services for many years. However, continued cuts to our funding and increasing demands on our services will result in difficult decisions in the future. Running our public services should not be a game of compromise.

Past governments have created a ‘begging bowl culture’ of local government finance, with councils having to invest significant resources into applying for pots of money. In most cases, a majority of councils then receive little or no funding at all and the time chasing these grants is wasted.

In effect, the government is allowing Councils to compete against each other for survival. To put things in perspective, Watford’s services grant from government reduced from £110,000 this year to a mere £18,000 for next.  This has meant we have had to cut costs where we can and making the most of our income opportunities, including the return on our property investments.

Half of English councils lack confidence in their ability to fulfil their legal duties next year and there is wide concern about local authority funding that spans all political parties and divides.

Similar financial pressures and concerns are faced by councils in Scotland and Wales, and there is a call for the Scottish and Welsh Governments to collaborate with their councils to take action.

 

Council Further Notes:

1.      The National Audit Office estimates that between 2010/2011 and 2021/2022, the real spending power of English councils decreased by 29%.

2.      The 2023 Autumn Spending Statement did not address the needs of local authorities or the people they serve.

3.      The ageing population is growing faster than the general population, increasing the complexity of care required. The Health Foundation suggests that £14 billion may be needed by 2030/31 to fund Adult Social Care alone.

4.      The number of looked after children is 80,000 and rising.

5.      Many councils in England struggle to meet the demand for SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) support.

6.      Councils face difficulties funding the increasing need for homeless placements and supported accommodation.

7.      Councils are under increasing cost pressures, particularly to meet inflation and rising staff costs, including the National Living Wage.

Council Believes:

1.      Local authorities play a vital role in delivering local services.

2.      The current funding arrangements are insufficient to meet the needs of local authorities.

3.      The government’s approach of encouraging councils to use reserves and capital receipts to subsidise their revenue expenditure is fundamentally wrong  ...  view the full agenda text for item 14.

15.

Motion 2 - Rebuilding Watford General Hospital to support better Maternity Care

The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Hill and seconded by Councillor Clarke-Taylor:

 

“The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Watford General Hospital as “requires improvement” during its last inspection in 2021; this was driven, in part, by two services that require improvement – Maternity Services and Urgent & Emergency Services.

 

The CQC stated that in the Maternity Services building: “The design of the environment did not always meet the needs of the service. The maternity service was challenged by the design and layout of the building infrastructure. Delivery rooms within the delivery unit were small with limited space for all the required equipment for deliveries.”

 

New facilities, designed for current and future health care needs, should support staff in the effective and safe care in maternity services during antenatal and postnatal care.

 

Council notes that under the previous Conservative Government, Watford General Hospital was confirmed to be one of 40 hospitals named in the New Hospital Programme.

 

During the recent general election campaign, candidates for the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties all stated the NHS was a key priority. They specifically lent their support to rebuilding Watford General.

Council notes that under the Liberal Democrats, Watford Council has done everything it can to support the rebuilding of Watford General Hospital. This has included enabling the building of Thomas Sawyer Way, providing land for the new multi-storey carpark and granting outline planning permission for a new hospital. These actions have improved access to the site, protected services that are provided at Watford General and meant that there is the space needed to build a new hospital.

 

Council believes

 

·        That the Maternity Team and all local NHS staff are working incredibly hard to deliver excellent care in Watford General Hospital’s current facilities.

·        That local residents are appreciative and proud of the work of health workers, especially new mothers who are grateful for Watford’s maternity services.

·        That management in the local NHS Trust have been successful in improving the standard of care over recent years, and this could be further improved by the provision of a new hospital.

·        That local health outcomes would be vastly improved by implementing plans for investment in a new Watford General Hospital.

 

Council calls for

 

·        Mayor Peter Taylor to write to the newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to confirm whether the New Hospital Programme is continuing and whether Watford General Hospital will still be included within that programme.

·        Mayor Peter Taylor to write to Watford’s [re-]elected MP to ask for their support in ensuring Watford General Hospital is a priority for rebuilding under the new Government and what is their plan to make sure it gets built.”