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Substitute Members (Council Minute 39 - 23.7.02)
To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
It was noted that there were no substitute members for this meeting.
To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 4th December 2018.
To consider any maters arising from the minutes of the last meeting.
That the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 4th December 2018 be agreed, subject to noting that Councillor Vaz had given his apologies for this meeting.
(i) Quarterly Financial Monitoring quarter 1 (minute item 29 – 4.12.18)
P Maddock said that recycling credit income had shown an improvement but it had since fallen back. The Council should receive the income within 2 months of the deadline, but this was still haphazard. To be taken up with the County.
(ii) The Medium Term Financial Strategy had been updated and had gone to the Finance & Performance Management Cabinet Committee and then on to Cabinet and will eventually go on to full Council.
(iii) Financial Issues paper 2019/20 (minute item 29 – 4.12.18)
The fraud investigation team will report to the next meeting of this committee.
(iv) P Maddock had spoken to the insurers on indemnity insurance and was told that they did not provide this type of insurance and that insurance like this was not available. However, the Council did set aside a lump sum to cover any appeal pay-outs.
(v) Technology Strategy Update (minute item 29 – 4.12.18)
R Pavey reported that the satisfaction survey and the paperless agenda were moving forward and by May there should be further progress.
(vi) P Maddock was still to receive a response from P Maginnis on the ICT Service Level agreement. He will chase this up.
(vii) Fees and Charges (Minute item 29 – 4.12.18)
P Maddock had found out that HMO licences lasted for a period of 5 years.
(viii) Quarterly Financial Monitoring (minute item 34 – 4.12.18)
P Maddock noted that the proposed Council’s Pods for the homeless would not be in operation until June 2019.
(ix) P Maddock commented on disabled adaptions and the low expenditure reported at the last meeting. There had been a bit of an increase recently but the budget would still be underspent by the end of the year. There were issues with staffing, primarily due to the county council side. However, the budget was reviewed on a regular basis.
Councillor Bedford asked if the underspend was ring-fenced. Mr Maddock said it was held in the repairs fund and could in theory be ring-fenced.
Councillor Bedford formally proposed that Cabinet be asked to ring-fence this money for future use. This was seconded by Councillor Whitehouse and agreed by the Committee.
To propose to the Cabinet that the budget for disabled adaptions be ring-fenced for future use.
(x) Corporate Plan 2018-2023 – Performance Report Quarters 1&2 (Minute item 37 – 4.12.18)
R Pavey noted that a review of the IT Services would be looking at the use of AI software to check forms more quickly.
(xi) Transformation Programme – Project Initiation Documents (Minute item 12 – 9.07.18)
Councillor Patel asked that any outstanding matters arising be completed at the Committees last meeting of the Civic year. He reminded the committee that at their July meeting they had ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To declare interests in any items on the agenda.
In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Code of Conduct, Overview & Scrutiny members are asked pay particular attention to paragraph 9 of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.
This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before an OS Committee which relates to a decision of or action by another Committee or Sub Committee of the Council, a Joint Committee or Joint Sub Committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a member.
Paragraph 9 does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an OS meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.
There were no declarations of interest made pursuant to the Members Code of Conduct.
(Chairman/Lead Officer) the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed the Terms of Reference of the Committee. This is attached along with an ongoing work programme. Members are invited at each meeting to review both documents
(i) Terms of Reference
The Committee noted their Terms of Reference.
(ii) Work Programme
Mr Maddock noted that item 4 of the work programme (Detailed Portfolio Budgets) had been dealt with by the January meeting of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee.
He also noted that item 22 (use of agency staff) would be going to the April meeting.
To consider the report (attached).
For information: the previous regular performance reports covering the annual Corporate Plan Key Action Plan, Key Performance Indicators and Transformation Highlight Report have now been superseded by this single integrated performance report.
P Maddock introduced the report on the Corporate Plan 2018-2023, Performance Report for Quarter 3 (2018/19). This combined report brought together the performance of the Council against the Corporate Plan on performance across the Council via the new benefits maps and performance indicator set.
The committee went through the corporate plan and noted that:
M2.2 – Number of days to process benefits claims – this indicator did achieve its target for Q3 and was inline to achieve it for end of the year.
M9.1 - Workforce operational cost savings – this had now exceeded its target for Q3 and should be classed as achieving its target by the end of the year. Councillor Jennings asked for an explanation of the statement that the “programme manager to realign the programme plan to realise the 2019 savings”. She was told that they had other targets that they could choose from and the manager had moved it to this target.
M9.6 – Delivery of the Technology Strategy – there was no detail in the comments section but they were predicting that they would hit their target by the end of the year.
P160 – Service Accommodation Programme – Councillor Jennings asked what was meant by “agile working”. She was told that it referred to the different ways that staff could work, e.g. home working or from different locations (mobile working) producing a more flexible organisation.
M10.2 – Annual Council Tax collection – it was predicted that this would hit its target by the end of the year.
That the committee reviewed and commented on the outturn position for quarter 3 2018/19 of the Corporate Plan for 2018-2023.
As part of the 2019/20 Local Government Finance settlement the MHCLG issued two high level consultation papers with responses due back on 21st February. It is proposed that a presentation be made to the Select Committee detailing the proposals that have been put forward and the Committee provide comments and make suggestions for the proposed response.
The Committee was taken through two consultations issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG); one on the Fair Funding Review and one on Business Rates Retention. The Fair Funding review was what the government thought we need to spend and the Business Rates Retention was on how we could raise the money. This also related to the transitional arrangements for the new funding regime.
Business rates would be the Council’s new form of funding. The government was committed to giving local authorities control of their business rates (75% by 2021). However, people putting in appeals on their business rates was the biggest issue facing the council and therefore it had to maintain a contingency fund for this.
The Fair Funding Review
The Fair Funding Review looked at the relative needs of local authorities (presentation attached); this was the amount they needed to spend on services. They were also looking at relative resources, i.e. how much councils could raise locally, but not through the business rates. And, using various formulas worked out our funding needs.
The Committee made the following suggestions to put into the consultation response on relative needs:
1) Could we include the cost of ‘flytipping’ to the council, especially as we were a rural council close to London particularly prone to this and it was an increasing problem.
2) Could we also include the cost of pollution, especially now that we have the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in our area; could we get costs for this.
3) Could cost for the provision of services for an aging population be added, as we had a lot of people who move out here when they retire.
The Committee made the following suggestions to put into the consultation response on relative resources:
1) That we recommend that the government use the actual amount of our Council Tax figure rather than a notional amount.
2) Recommend that the government did not use a “one size fits all” formula, and have a variation of schemes across the country. We would like to have an adjustment based on our Council Tax level and not a general regional one.
3) We recommend that we go with an average collection rate.
4) That Fees and Charges not be taken into account, only Council Tax.
5) The Committee were happy with the 4 principles used, that of: Stable, Transparent, Time Limited and Flexibility.
The Committee had asked what period of time would this scheme last for. They were told that it would start in 2021 and probably be for a 4 year period. They went on to ask how would this would be paid and was told that it would probably be a fixed sum paid in 2021.
The committee noted that Councillor Mohindra would also be asked for his views on this scheme. There was a very tight deadline for getting our views back to the MHCLG. Hopefully with a 4 year assessment it would make long term planning easier.
Business ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
Reports to be made to the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
To consider which reports are ready to be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its next meeting.
That the Chairman would give a short report on the consultations considered tonight.
To note the last meeting of this year for this Select Committee will be held at 7.30pm on:
· 2 April 2019.
It was noted that the next meeting of the Resource Select Committee would be held on 2 April 2019.