The Governance, Risk and Best Value Committee meets on a monthly basis and I have raised issues in two different meetings on important matters.
I highlighted an Internal Audit report on the full cost of CCTV to the Council .
“The City of Edinburgh Council operates a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera estate across public spaces; housing blocks; schools; bus lanes and Council buildings. The total operational cost of public space is £955,354 with income of £128,000 generated. Provision of CCTV services is non-statutory…”
The important point is that the gap of £827,354 is met by the Council. I pointed out that as we face another £106m of cuts on top of £240m already made, this cannot continue. Making matters worse is the fact that the system is not fit for purpose and needs to be updated. This became a news story but will also play a role in Council budget deliberations.
Health and Social Care
In the second meeting I raised the fact that the month 3 position was predicting a net overspend of £7.720m from a gross overspend of £15.575m. The bulk of this is in Health and Social Care. The report highlighted that there was no progress in 4 key areas by Health and Social Care.
This problem with Health and Social Care is not unique to Edinburgh so I raised directly with the Chief Executive that there was a need to act together with other Chief Executives requesting that the Scottish Government use their record underspend of £453m to help Councils cope with the crisis in Health and Social Care. In reply he said that this had been discussed at a joint away day and he would take this proposal forward. However it will also need political pressure to make sure that any request made is met. Otherwise cuts will need to be borne by other services to fill the gap.
In Full Council I raised again the question of the record underspend of £453m by the Scottish Government with the Council Leader asking him to request funding now for Edinburgh. Whilst I was warned ‘be careful what we wish for’ this is a legitimate demand given the Council’s financial position.
All of this work can be viewed on the webcast of each of the committees. Item 7.2 on the Agenda in this link relates in particular.