Agenda and minutes

Stronger Council Select Committee
Tuesday, 14th 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

22.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“The Chairman would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by such third parties).

 

If you are seated in the lower public seating area it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.

 

This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if you wish to avoid this you should move to the upper public gallery.”

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.

23.

Subsitute Members (Council Minute 39 - 23.7.02)

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that Councillor R Baldwin would substitute for Councillor M Owen for the duration of this meeting.

24.

Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 15 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

That the notes of the meeting held 15 October 2019 were agreed as a correct record.

25.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

26.

Terms of Reference & Work Programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

(Chairman/Lead Officer) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed the terms of reference and work programme for the select committee. Members are invited at each meeting to review both documents. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Select Committee noted the terms of reference and work programme.

27.

Draft Financial Strategy 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

(Interim Strategic Director) 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.

 

All of which were linked and formed around the aim of delivering a sustainable growth strategy and acting prudently throughout the 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 Authority had been evidenced by reserve balances and would be broadly maintained throughout the MTFS period; and

·         There was 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 Authority at current levels;

·         That the impact of taking and granting loans to Qualis would have a margin of profit for the Authority;

·         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.

 

Councillor R Bassett asked what the current growth rates were in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Corporate Plan 2018-2023 - Performance Report pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To consider the attached report detailing performance against the Corporate Plan, for the period to the end of the third quarter of 2019/20 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Community & Partnerships), J Chandler 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 Service Director (Community & Partnerships)  reported on an exception basis for all corporate objectives that had red or amber performance ratings for quarter 3 and had invited Service Directors and Service Managers to provide an update on project targets that had not been met;

 

Stronger Communities

 

1.            Engaging with the changing needs of our customers –

 

·                     Improved Customer first contact resolution – The Service Manager (Customer), S Lewis advised that this measure reflected the contact centre resolution at the first point of contact. There had been an upward trend since September 2019 which had had resulted in a 44.13% figure for December 2019. Furthermore, the contact centre was set to gain more service areas throughout 2020 and it was thought that the target would be met by quarter 4.

 

Stronger Places

 

9. Improving the district housing offer-

 

·                     To deliver the Council Housebuilding Programme – The Service Manager (Housing Management & Home Ownership) , D Fenton advised that there had been delays on phases 2 and 3 and corrective action had been taken. In addition, to mitigate any further delays the Council had improved its internal staffing resources which included employing a Development Manager responsible for the Council House Building Programme and the procurement of an Employer Agent and Architect to reduce costs and delivery time. Officers had also been working to establish clearer financial reporting and how the Right to Buy receipts would be spent. This included either development or purchasing properties. In phase 4, four tenders had been accepted and no delays anticipated.

 

10. Planning development priorities & 11. Ensuring infrastructure supports growth

 

·                     Local Plan Programme – The Service Director (Planning), N Richardson advised that following the receipt of the Planning Inspector’s advice on 2 August 2019, the Council had written back to the Inspector on 11 October 2019 setting out the further work to be undertaken to support an updated Habitats Regulation Assessment. It set out a timetable for the completion of the updated Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) and Sustainability Appraisal of the proposed Main Modifications to the Plan. This had been scheduled to be completed by Mid May 2020 with the consultation on the Main Modifications from mid June 2020. The Council had recently provided a progress report to the Inspector and the final methodology for the HRA was expected to be established in early 2020. This  would enable the Council to undertake the transport modelling and air quality modelling of various alternative scenarios in accordance with the methodology discussed with Natural England. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that the Council was in a better position with their Local Plan than other adjacent authorities.

 

12. Supporting business enterprise & attracting investment

 

·                     St Johns Road Programme – The Cabinet in December 2019, had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Interim Council & Community Plan 2020 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Community & Partnership), J Chandler 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.

 

Consequently, an interim plan had been developed to provide an overview of the initiatives that would continue or commence over 2020. This would enable a period for  complete review of the Council’s services and functions for the future and an opportunity for the Council to dynamically engage with its’ residents and partners with a view to developing a longer-term ‘inclusive’ strategy for the Council and its’ communities through to 2030.

 

The interim plan also 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 Committee commented that the section relating to Qualis needed further explanation, to be clearer to external readers of the document. Also under Stronger Council the addition of staff being equipped with the correct ICT equipment need to be included in the first point.

 

Finally, the committee asked that the inclusion of other methods of customer contact for residents be considered because not all residents in the District could use the latest technologies.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

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

 

 

30.

People Strategy

(Service Director (Business Support Services)) To consider the attached report detailing progress against the implementation of the People Strategy (to follow).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Community & Partnership), J Chandler advised that an update on this item had been included the agenda item 8 Corporate Plan 2018-23- Performance Reporting. 

31.

Digital Enablement Strategy

(Service Manager (Business Support & ICT)) To consider the attached report detailing progress against the implementation of the Digital Enablement Strategy (to follow).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director (Community & Partnership), J Chandler advised that an update on this item had been included in agenda item 8 Corporate Plan 2018-23- Performance Reporting. 

32.

Dates of Next Meeting

To note the next meeting of the Committee will be held at 7.00pm on 14 April 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that the date of the next meeting would be held on 14 January 2020.