Agenda and minutes

Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: R. Perrin Tel: (01992) 564532  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

28.

Webcasting Introduction

(a)          This meeting is to be webcast;

 

(b)        Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking; and

 

(c)        the Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

29.

Substitute Members

(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that Councillor A Lion would substitute for the Councillor H Whitbread for the duration of this meeting.

 

30.

Declarations of Interest

(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

31.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 17 November 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes from the meeting held 14 November 2019 were read and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.

32.

Finance Strategy pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim Strategic Director (Finance), N Dawe introduced a report on the draft financial strategy for 2020/21 which included;

 

  • the Medium-Term Financial Strategy of the Authority;
  • the Budget for 2020/21;
  • Prudential Indicators; and
  • the proposed Council Tax Increase.

 

These items were linked and formed around the aim of delivering a sustainable growth strategy and acting prudently throughout the future planning period. The final figures were awaiting the Governments announcements and allowed for a cumulative net impact of £500,000 on the direction of the Leader and in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Section 151 Officer. Any adjustments that required a value more than £500,000 would be brought back to the Cabinet before being agreed by the Council on 25 February 2020.

 

The Interim Strategic Director gave further details on the following elements of the Financial Strategy;

 

Medium Term Financial Strategy

 

  • The prudent estimates in the Medium Term Financial Strategy, particularly in respect of inflation of cost, charges and fees, and the aim to maintain the financial strength of the Council had been evidenced by the reserve balances and would be broadly maintained throughout the MTFS period; and
  • There would be an increased importance on the income from Qualis in respect of the MTFS and the budget.

 

Budget 2020/21

 

  • That the approach to cost and income inflation would be 3.0%;
  • That rents would increase as per the national formula by 2.7%;
  • That car parking income would not rise and awaited the outcome of the parking review;
  • That there was a confirmed list of developments for which funding would be released on implementation, with details on how they would be prioritised and grouped;
  • That the General and HRA capital spend was £26,171,528 with the Council House Building Programme and the Accommodation Strategy being the largest projects planned;
  • That the loans to Qualis totalled up to £160m in 2020/21, which were reliant on income from Qualis and the prudent reduction of the estimates in the first year of operation; and
  • That the overall funding adjustments for District Development Fund (DDF), savings and contingency were a net draw from DDF of £1,774,906 (£2m forecast last year), £500,000 of savings and the formation of a contingency fund which assumed a spend of £1,095,540.

 

Prudential Indicators

 

  • That the Council intended keeping the financial strength of the Council at current levels;
  • That the impact of taking and granting loans to Qualis would have a margin of profit for the Council;
  • That there was a general risk price approach to the loans granted to Qualis; and
  • That the full set of prudential indicators along with the Treasury Strategy would  be presented to the Full Council on 25 February 2020.

 

Council Tax Increase

 

  • That council tax would increase by 1.5% which was half of the predicted inflation rate for 2020/21; and
  • That the options to cease or reduce council tax rates existed although there was an accepted Government expectation on what should be raised from council tax.

 

There would be further minor adjustments made in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Corporate Plan - Performance Exception Report Quarter 3 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Business Services), P Maginnis reported on the Quarter 3 performance in relation to the Key Performance Indicators & Work Programmes within the Corporate Plan. She advised that the performance measures had been streamlined to enable improved focus on how Corporate Objectives were being met. The Corporate Plan Quarterly Reporting provided details on an exception basis for Amber and Red RAG Ratings or items worth noting.

 

The Service Director reported the following updates;

 

Stronger Communities

 

·         Increased Customer Satisfaction – The target originally set had been 75%, which had been increased to 80% and the actual target achieved was 83%.

 

·         Improved Customer First Contact – The annual target had been set at 45% but the actual was currently 40.17%. The Contact Centre had taken on other services areas and hoped to achieve the target by the end of the financial year, following the increased improvement of 4.56% in the last quarter.

 

Stronger Place

 

·         To deliver the Council Housebuilding Programme/Building or acquiring new affordable properties in the District – Phased 2 had been completed and progress was being made on phases 3 and 4 in 2020.

 

·         Local Plan Programme – A member working group had been established to assist with the issues concerning the Habitats Regulation Assessment and what progression the Council could make, whilst awaiting the Main Modifications and further direction from the Planning Inspector.

 

·         St John’s Road Programme – The target had only been missed due to the delay in the Cabinet meeting, which had been because of the General Election in December 2019.

 

Stronger Council

 

·         People Strategy Programme – There had be a number of work streams which would be completed by the end of the financial year and a new strategy would be presented from 1 April 2020. Furthermore, the Stronger Council Select Committee had requested a workshop on the new structure that would be presented to the Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny Committee. 

 

·         Accommodation Strategy Programme – There were a number of working groups involved and the Decant Strategy and full ICT surveys would establish further requirements of the Civic Offices.

 

The Strategic Projects Portfolio Holder raised concerns about the low target set for the Improved Customer First Contact and it not being achieved. The Service Director advised that a Customer Strategy had recently been adopted and training was being provided to staff, to ensure that as many customer enquiries at first point of contact could be resolved.

 

Councillor I Hadley enquired about the number of staff in the Customer Contact Centre, their response time and whether there was any second line dedicated support officers. The Service Director advised that there were the equivalent of 15 full time members of staff in the Customer Contact Centre and response timelines had been set out in the Customer Strategy. The Customer Contact Officers did not have any second line support as any enquiries they could not resolve, were passed onto the relevant technical officer.

 

The Community & Partnership Portfolio Holder asked whether an update could be given on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Interim Council & Community Plan 2020 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Business Services), P Maginnis advised that since the introduction of the Council’s Corporate Plan 2018/23, the Council had moved forward significantly in terms of planned development and aspirations for the future.

 

The interim plan provided an overview of the achievements of the Council against its key aims and objectives stated in the 2018-2023 Corporate Plan, which identified a 100% success rate in delivery. The interim Council & Community Plan 2020 had been considered by the Stronger Council Select Committee on 14 January 2020.

 

The Planning Service Portfolio Holder advised that the item under Stronger Communities, ‘Supporting the provision of improved health services through the relocation of Princess Alexandra Hospital enabling the building of the new Hospital in Epping Forest on junction 7a of the M1’, was highly unlikely to be achieved within 2020, although some progress was likely as the site had been included within the Local Plan. Furthermore, under Stronger Place the figures relating to the  Council’s aimed delivery of 12,000 new homes should be 11,400 and by 2033 not 2025.

 

            RESOLVED: 

 

That the Committee noted the Interim Council and Community Plan for 2020 with the amendments stated above.

 

35.

Risk Management - Corporate Risk Register pdf icon PDF 243 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Commercial and Regulatory) J Nolan reported that this would be the final Corporate Risk Register to be reported to Finance & Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Future reports would be made to the Audit & Governance Committee which would bring the Council’s reporting in line with CIPFA guidance for effective Audit Committees.

 

The current Corporate Risk Register had been reviewed by the Risk Management Group on 8 January 2020 and had been produced in a new format which incorporated both the gross (before controls were applied) and net risk (after controls had been applied).  This ensured that the direction of travel for each risk was more transparent and that risk mitigations were working as intended. The colour coding focussed attention on the highest scoring risks and the use of the ‘if then’ format, which would improve the articulation of the risks.

 

The review had resulted in amendments to five risks, removal of one risk and three new risks being added to the Risk Register. These were as follows;

 

Risk 1 Local Plan – During the last review of the Corporate Risk Register, the Committee requested that elements relating to delays in issuing Planning Permission should be shown as a separate risk. The new risk was presented as Risk 14. The Risk Management Group scored the remaining Local Plan risk B1 High Likelihood/Major Impact, which had reduced from the previous A1 score. This decision had been made as the Local Plan had been through the hearing phase and work was ongoing to undertake the Inspector’s advice.

 

Risk 2 Strategic Sites – The majority of sites listed within the Strategic Sites risk had  either been completed or were to be transferred to Qualis and it was felt that the risk should be removed.

 

Risk 5 Economic Development – The existing risk control had been updated to include the completion of the consultation with Stakeholders and a report would be presented to Cabinet on 6 February 2020. This would seek approval for the development of an Action Plan and related resource requirements, changing the key date to 6 February 2020

 

Risk 7 Business Continuity – The effectiveness of control had been updated to advise that the Business Continuity plans were largely completed. These plans would be reviewed and help develop a test exercise, which was planned for February 2020. The updated key date was now 19 February 2020.

 

Risk 10 Housing Capital Finance – The effectiveness of control had been updated to advise that a consultant had been engaged to utilise receipts before the deadline of the financial year end. The required further management action stated that there would be monthly meetings to monitor cash flow and the risk owner had changed to Deborah Fenton (Service Manager Housing Management and Home Ownership).

 

New Risk 14 Delays in issuing Planning Permission – A new risk had been developed for the specific delays in issuing Planning Permission caused by objections relating to the impact of development on air quality within the Epping Forest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no urgent business for consideration by the Committee.