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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms C, D & E - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Mr Saleem Sheikh


Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 52 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record.


Croydon and Wandsworth Personal Independent Payment Assessment Centres - Accessibility Audits. pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Executive of Merton Centre for Independent Living said recent data revealed a slight improvement in the number of Merton residents receiving the Personal Independent Payment (PIP). However the rate of Merton residents being denied the award is higher than the national average. There is an overturn rate at the Sutton Tribunal of 70% highlighting there are still challenges with the process.


The Policy and Strategy Manager at Merton Centre for Independent Living  gave an overview of the audits and recent visits stating that they had visited Croydon and Wandsworth assessment centres in December 2018. The findings were documented in the audits provided to the Panel, alongside a short film on journeys to the assessment centre.


A panel member asked what steps are being taken to ensure the recommendations from the audits are implemented. The Chief Executive of Merton Centre for Independent Living said they have been sent to ATOS and it is hoped they will be incorporated into future practice.


Panel members expressed concern about the appeals process and the high over turn rates in Merton. The Chief Executive of Merton Centre for Independent Living said having an assessment turned down had implications for the claimant such as stress and financial hardship.


Panel members discussed the feasibility and previous discussions about having an assessment centre in Merton. A panel member highlighted that there is technology to provide pop up assessment centres in the borough.


The Chair suggested that local MP’s could be asked to speak to government ministers responsible for the DWP to highlight the lack of an assessment centre in Merton.


The Panel unanimously agreed the following motions


ATOS to be required to attend at our next panel to justify continued lack of provision of pop-up PIP assessment centres in Merton. Proposed by Councillor Andrew Howard seconded by Councillor Dave Ward.


Merton Council to urge Croydon and Wandsworth counterparts to increase blue badge parking proximate to their PIP assessment centres.

Proposed by Cllr Stephen Crowe and unanimously approved.



Scrutiny Officer to action the motions and report back to the Panel.


Business Plan Update 2019-23 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Corporate Services gave an overview of the report highlighting that it includes proposals totalling £9.7 million. There is predicted to be a budget gap of £8.8 million by 2022-2023.


A panel member expressed concern about the number of reviews taking place in regards to the budget proposals and the time available to scrutinise them.

The Director of Corporate Services said the scrutiny panel budget meetings in November and January provide an opportunity to review budget proposals.


CH88 Homecare Monitoring System – Panel members queried what savings will be made from the call monitoring system. The Director of Community and Housing said the equipment monitors the length of time a carer is in the clients’ home, so the council only pays while the carer is in the property. Further savings will be realised when the system is rolled out to all Providers as we only pay for the care given. This proposal is positive for residents as it ensures that the care commissioned is provided at the times agreed with the customer and their care and support needs are met.


CH89 Older People Day Activities – The Assistant Director of Social Care reported that there are two day centres for older people in Merton. One is council run and the other is commissioned by Merton. Both are running with approximately a third in capacity. Merton also has over 20 lunch/social clubs run by the voluntary sector providing over 760 lunches per week and these are thriving and very well regarded by the public.  The Director of Community and Housing said the department will review the current local offer and determine the menu of options that will meet the needs of the community.


Councillor Crowe said the Panel may wish to take a view on a preferred option. Some Panel members wanted to wait for the outcomes of the review. A panel member said that both day centres are valued by the community and should remain open.


Councillor Crowe proposed a motion that the department retain one of the day centres. This was seconded by Councillor Andrew Howard.


Councillors Stephen Crowe and Andrew Howard voted in favour of the motion

Councillors Peter McCabe, Joan Henry, Sally Kenny,Dave Ward, Hina Bokhari voted against the motion.

The motion was denied.


CH90 Out of Area Placements - Panel members asked for further details on the savings proposal. The Director of Community and Housing reported that reviews will be completed for each individual on a person by person basis based on their individual care needs to see if care can be provided locally and that people can be closer to their family and local communities.  This leads to a better outcome for the individual as they will be closer to friends and family. Providing care locally can also provide financial savings to the council.


Panel members sought reassurance that the individuals would still be cared for and asked if will there need to be an investment in local providers. The Director of Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Business Plan 2019-23 Savings Proposals Information Pack pdf icon PDF 34 KB

This report is provided separately and will be discussed as part of the preceding Business Plan Update item on the agenda.

Additional documents:


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 83 KB


The Panel noted the work programme.