Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions
Contact: R. Perrin Tel: (01992) 564532 Email: email@example.com
(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.”
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.
(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
The Cabinet Committee noted that there were no substitute members for this meeting.
Declarations of Interest
(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any item on this agenda.
There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct.
To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 15 November 2018 (previously circulated at Cabinet on 10 December 2018).
That the minutes held on 15 November 2018 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
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.
That, as agreed by the Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee and in accordance with Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the following items of urgent business be considered following the publication of the agenda:
· Council Budgets 2019/20
· Annex 5 – Medium Term Financial Strategy
To consider the attached report (FPM-020-2018/19).
The Assistant Director Accountancy presented a summary of the detailed directorate’s budgets for 2019/20. The budgets were presented on a directorate by directoratebasis in line with the revised management structure. It contained some background to each service heading and any CSB (Continuing Services Budget) and DDF (District Development Fund) changes proposed. This was the member’s opportunity to comment and make recommendations prior to the budget being formally set on 21 February 2019.
Initially the budget setting process commenced in July 2018 with the presentation of the Financial Issues Paper which incorporated the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), which confirmed an identified savings target for 2020/21 and 2021/22 of £0.3 million. Furthermore, the settlement figures that had been provided in December 2015 for the four year period had subsequently reduced, although appearing slightly better than expected for 2019/20. It included a reversal of the previous decision on a Negative Revenue Support Grant worth £280,000 and a New Homes Bonus allocation of £452,000. The MTFS had previously assumed the CSB element would drop to £116,000 going forwards and given the volatile nature and potential revisions to the formula, it was seen prudent to reduce the CBS slightly to £100,000, whilst putting the rest into the DDF. The CSB lists now showed a reduction of £749,000 over the three year period from 2019/20 with £900,000 being diverted to the DDF in 2019/20 and 2020/21. There was also a one off windfall in 2019/20 of £50,000 which related to the redistribution of surplus Business Rates levy income collected by Central Government.
The commitment made to move to 100% retention of Business Rates locally had changed to 75% during 2018/19 and a consultation had been launched with responses required by 21 February. The Essex authorities (excluding Thurrock) had applied to be a pilot status, although the county had not been successful and it was expected that the current retention proportions (40% District, 9% County and 1% fire) would change.
Furthermore, Support Service Allocations had now been made discretionary and the budget had been prepared on the basis of allocations only to the HRA and corporate activities.
The new Council structure and budget databases had to be created and prepared by the end of October 2018 to enable budget process, although it had included the Governance and Member Services directorate which had now been removed. The intention was to disaggregate Governance and Members Services budget when the formal budget papers were put together.
The budgets highlighted areas where either Continuing Services Budget (CSB), District Development Fund (DDF) savings or growth and Invest to Save (ITS) expenditure had occurred and that ITS in particular, included with the budgets relating to revenue items only. Each budget was presented by the relevant Service Director.
The Assistant Director Accountancy advised that budget was made up of support services and corporate activities. The original estimate for 2018/19 had been expenditure of £994k with a probable outturn of £981k. The net decrease had been attributed to the Corporate ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
To consider the attached report (FPM-018-2018/19).
The Interim Transformation Manager, G Nicholas presented a report regarding the outturn position for Quarter 3 - 2018/19.
The Corporate Plan 2018-2023 was the authority’s key strategic planning document, which laid out the journey the Council would take to transform the organisation to be ‘Ready for the Future’. The plan linked the key external drivers influencing Council services, with a set of corporate aims and objectives, grouped under three corporate ambitions.
A Corporate Specification for each year (previously called the Key Action Plan) detailed how the Corporate Plan was being delivered through operational objectives, with these in turn linked to annual service business plans.
The success of the Corporate Plan was assessed through the achievement of a set of benefits, each measured through one or more performance indicator, focussed on what the Council achieved for customers. The Leadership Team, Cabinet and the scrutiny committees had overview and scrutiny roles to drive improvement in performance and ensure corrective action was taken where necessary.
The Interim Transformation Manager updated members on the following performance indicators;
M2.1 Number of safeguarding concerns – The value of 10.34% had been incorrectly inputted and the actual target had been met and should have been 27%.
M1.2 Number of ‘take-away’ restaurants signed up to ‘Tuck In’ pledge – This had missed the target set for quarter 3, although officers were promoting the scheme.
M2.2 Number of days to process to benefits claims – It was now on target for quarter 3.
M4.3 Number of new residential properties built or acquired by the Council – This remained below target due to delays on the Council site at Springfield and Burton Road.
M9.6 Delivery of the Technology Strategy – This had missed the target in quarter 3 because of new projects being added, which reduced the overall percentage completed and there were a number of projects on hold.
M10.2 Annual Council Tax collection – This measure had marginally missed the target in this quarter, although the Business Support Portfolio Holder advised that payments were still chased after the year end and would improve.
(1) That the outturn position for Quarter 3 2018/19, in relation to the achievement of the Corporate Plan for 2018-2023 be noted.
Reasons for Decision:
The combined report brings together the performance of the Council against the Corporate Plan and gives ‘clear line of sight’ for performance across the Council via the new benefits maps and performance indicator set. The benefits maps provided an opportunity for the Council to focus attention on how specific areas for improvement would be addressed, and how opportunities will be exploited and better outcomes delivered. It is important that relevant performance management processes are in place to review and monitor performance against performance indicators to ensure their continued achievability and relevance, and to identify proposals for appropriate corrective action in areas of slippage or under performance.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
No other options were appropriate in this respect. Failure to monitor and review performance and to consider corrective action ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
To consider the attached report (FPM-019-2018/19).
The Risk Management & Insurance Officer, E Higgins presented a report regarding the Councils Corporate Risk Register.
He advised that it had been considered by the Risk Management Group on 17 December 2018 and Leadership Team on 19 December 2018. The reviews identified updates for the current risks and no new risks, although both of the groups agreed the need for a review of Council’s Risk Management Strategy by September 2019.
Furthermore, several of the Risk Owners required updating following the implementation of the new senior management structure. These were as follows;
The amendments to the Corporate Risk Register included the following;
(a) Risk 1 - Local Plan
The Council had submitted the Local Plan to the Secretary of State and the risk Vulnerability, Trigger and Consequence had been extensively re-written. The risk Consequence for not achieving an adopted plan remained at an increased annual requirement of 923 homes, rather than the 518 set by the Council. Therefore the increase would result in vulnerability to the planning appeal decisions and potential development in the Green Belt, as the presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply.
The Effectiveness of Controls/Actions and Required Further Management Action relating to the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) had also been updated.
(b) Risk 2 - Strategic Sites
The Effectiveness of Controls/Actions and Required Further Management Actions had been updated to reflect the Landmark Site (Former Winston Churchill), St John’s Road Development and the disposal strategy of Pyrles Lane Nursery and relocation of services to Town Mead.
(c) Risk 3 - Welfare Reform
The Required Further Management Action was updated to include the need for an action plan to be developed by the end of 2019/20, for the baseline effects of Universal Credit for implementation in 2020/21. The resulting Critical Success Factor and Measure identified the impact of Universal Credit on all services and the necessary mitigating actions.
(d) Risk 4 - Finance Income
The risk Vulnerability had been updated to reflect increasing dependence on locally generated income and little information had been available relating to funding from 2020/21. The increasing possibility of a no deal Brexit could cause challenging trading conditions for businesses, which could impact a number of the Council’s income sources including commercial rentals and business rates. The changes in economic conditions were also reflected in the updated risk Trigger.
(e) Risk 5 - Economic Development
The Existing Controls/Actions to Address Risk had been updated to advise that the Economic Development Plan has been drafted and presented to the Economic Development Board and the Required Further Management Action needed an Economic Development Implementation Plan.
(f) Risk 7- Business Continuity
The Effectiveness of Controls/Actions had been updated to advise that an audit of Business Continuity arrangements had commenced. ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
To consider the attached report (FPM-021-18/19).
The Assistant Director Accountancy presented a report that set out the detailed recommendations for the Council’s budget for 2019/20. The budget added £0.51m to reserves and the Council maintained its policy on the level of reserves throughout the period of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). Over the course of the MTFS the usage of the reserves would support the spending peaks at £1.153m in 2021/22, reducing to £0.384m in 2022/23. The budget was based on the assumption that Council Tax would not increase in 2019/20 and that the average Housing Revenue Account rents would decrease by 1% in 2019/20.
The annual budget process commenced with the Financial Issues Paper (FIP) being presented to this Committee on 26 July 2018, which continued the earlier start to the process and reflected concerns over the reform of financing for local authorities. It highlighted the uncertainties associated withCentral Government Funding, Business Rates Retention, Welfare Reform, New Homes Bonus, Development Opportunities, Transformation, Waste and Leisure Contracts and Miscellaneous, including recession and pay awards.
In setting the budget for the current year it had been anticipated £306,000 would be used from the General Fund reserves. There was expected to be a surplus of £994,000 on ongoing General Fund activities and it had been agreed to make a transfer of £1.3m to the District Development Fund (DDF) ensure it remained in surplus. Also, the MTFS approved in February 2018 showed a combination of net savings targets and use of reserves which adhered to the Council’s policy. Between 2017/18 and 2021/22 it was expected that a little under £1m would be used from the General Fund reserve bringing the balance down to £4.8m at the end of the period and this was above the target of 25% of the 2021/22 estimated Net Budget Requirement of £3.233m.
The revised MTFS presented with the FIP took into account all the changes known at that point and highlighted the uncertainties around income from business rates. The projection showed the savings targets could be left unchanged at £300,000 in both 2020/21 and 2021/22 and would keep revenue balances comfortably above the target level at the end of the final year. However, with significant uncertainties around funding beyond the next financial year it was making forward funding projections extremely difficult.
The budget guidelines for 2019/20 were therefore established as;
(a) the ceiling for CSB net expenditure be no more than £12.9m including net growth /savings;
(b) the ceiling for DDF net expenditure be no more than £0.553m; and
(c) the District Council Tax to continue to be frozen.
The overall position on the budgets through the medium term was rather different now to what it was in July 2018 and considerable progress had been made on implementing the People Strategy. The savings target set for 2018/19 had been exceeded. In roads had also been made into meeting the 2019/20 target by virtue of the fact that some of the savings contributing to the 2018/19 target had ... view the full minutes text for item 50.