Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Michaela Gay  01225 394411

Items
No. Item

46.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting. She welcomed Councillor Lisa O’Brien as the new Vice Chair of the Panel and Councillor Sally Davis as a new Panel member.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Colin Barrett for his long standing contribution to the Panel.

 

47.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.

 

48.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

There were none

49.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Joe Rayment stated that he worked for DHI.

 

Councillor Andy Furse stated that he is the Vice Chair of Governors at Bath College.

50.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

There was none.

51.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING

At the time of publication no notifications had been received.

 

Minutes:

There were none.

52.

MINUTES - 22nd November 2017 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.

53.

Budget and Council Tax 2018/19 and Financial Outlook pdf icon PDF 73 KB

This report provides this PDS Panel with recommendations and context to enable it to consider the separately published draft Council budget.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director for Resources, Andrew Pate introduced the report, he explained that the Panel should take an overview across the Council and pointed to the recommendations on page 5 of the agenda papers. Donna Parham, Divisional Director for Business Support (Director of Finance) gave a detailed explanation of the tables contained within the report.

 

Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:

 

Councillor O’Brien pointed to the shortfalls in achieving the budget targets in the current year and asked what was in place to rigorously monitor this in the future. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish explained that a very thorough piece of work had taken place which has resulted in the rebasing of the figures for 2018/19, an example was the total rebasing of the HR budget. In previous years it had been easier to compensate from other budgets but that flexibility no longer existed. He further explained that the Cabinet will require routine monitoring of all services particularly where there is a high spend or risk, there will also be reporting by exception. The Strategic Director added that the HR review and restructure had corrected a legacy budget issue.

 

Councillor Furse asked about the £3.4m over budget and the Cabinet Member explained that this was the figure at the end of December, it is the net figure.

 

Councillor Rayment asked the following questions:

 

1) The profit share agreement for the Thermae Spa, and any possible lease extension agreement, is proposed to be delegated to the Chief Executive. Will there be any further opportunity for this to undergo democratic scrutiny, and what form would that take? (e.g. will this be open to call-in?)

 

3) The release of Leading Change Together Programme funding is proposed to be delegated to the Chief Executive. As this funding will facilitate a significant restructure of the Council and the loss of 300 FTE staff posts, will there be any further opportunity for this to undergo democratic scrutiny, and what form would that take? (e.g. will this be open to call-in?)

 

4) How do the Cabinet define the various terms used to describe the services that will be unaffected by the reduction in staff numbers? (i.e. ‘front line services’, ‘key front line services’, ‘critical services’ and ‘critical functions and services for vulnerable people’)

 

5) Has the Cabinet had any assurance from the Government that failure to utilise fully the permitted Council Tax rise of 3% (without referendum) will not impact negatively on any of the Cabinet’s proposals for how to raise further revenue (e.g. a ‘tourist tax’) which require Government policy changes?

 

6) The papers identify ‘changes to Government policy that affects future funding’ as a likely risk with a potentially high impact. What information has been used to inform this?

 

The Cabinet Member stated that he would respond in more detail to some of these questions after the meeting. Regarding questions 5 the Cabinet Member explained that there have been recent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Council Operation Plan pdf icon PDF 81 KB

This report presents the Council Operation Plan to the Panel for consideration and feedback as part of the Council’s operational planning and budget development process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair explained that both the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish and the Cabinet Member for Transformation and Customer Service Councillor Karen Warrington were present to answer questions from Panel members. The Chair also stressed the importance of the Panel focusing on items within their remit (pages 33-35).

 

The Strategic Director for Resources, Andrew Pate introduced the item and explained that other PDS Panels had scrutinized the items in their remits.

 

Councillor Warrington – Cabinet Member for Transformation and Customer Services introduced the key change proposals in her area (page 53)

 

Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:

 

Councillor Furse asked about the consolidation of marketing and communications. The Cabinet Member explained that this is about rationalisation as sometimes there are slightly different ways of working.

 

Councillor Rayment asked about the consolidation of performance and intelligence functions and whether this will work considering the need for specialist knowledge in some areas. The Divisional Director for Strategy and Performance reassured the Panel that there will be the right balance of skills and generic approach.

 

Councillor Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency introduced the key change proposals in his area (page 59) with comments on the following:

 

·  Corporate Travel Plan – a pragmatic approach needed to improve the way staff to move around.

·  School Support – most schools are now academies

·  Traded Services – schools have been given notice that the Council will no longer provide school catering. There will be a saving for parents.

·  Commercial Estate Income – continue to generate income by seeking acquisitions along with diversification of the estate.

·  Corporate Estate & office accommodation – with the downsize in staffing, floors in Lewis House will be rented out.

·  Management Arrangements and staffing – some changes take effect from April.

·  Shared Services – moving further towards this, some services are already shared, for example with North Somerset for internal audit. There may be further opportunities in the future regarding Youth Offending Service and IT Services to Schools.

·  Digital by Choice – it is recognised that people must still be able to use traditional methods of communication if they wish to.

·  Property Company – (Councillor Gerrish stated that he is Chair of the property company ADL). He reported that the Council will continue to use ADL as a property company.

 

 

Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:

 

Councillor Anketell Jones asked if there should be a target set in terms of retail as there are changes in this area and this could affect the Commercial Estate income. The Cabinet Member explained that rigid criteria has not been set but disposals will be made where appropriate.

 

Councillor Rayment asked about staffing which he noted is delegated to the Head of Paid Service. He stated that 300 FTE staff are going and the report states that front line services will be protected – he asked if this was the end of the democratic process on this saving. The Cabinet Member explained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish stated that he had mainly been working on the Budget which had been reported to the Panel elsewhere on the agenda.

 

 

 

56.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 111 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.

Minutes:

With the following amendments, the Panel noted the workplan:

 

·  ‘Update on demand for Printing, Catering and Cleaning services and future delivery options’ to move to May 2018