Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Aix en Provence Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  Email: mark_durnford@bathnes.gov.uk, 01225 394458

Items
No. Item

1.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

Councillor Winston Duguid, Vice-Chair of the Panel announced that due to the absence of the Chairman, Councillor Paul Myers that he would act as Chair for the duration of the meeting.

 

He welcomed everyone to the meeting and Panel members introduced themselves.

 

2.

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.

 

3.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

Councillors Paul Myers and Andrew Furse had sent their apologies to the Panel.

4.

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:

There were none.

5.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

There was none.

6.

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.

7.

Cabinet Member Update

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

 

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Samuel, Cabinet Member for Resources addressed the Panel. He explained that within his portfolio were not just financial resources, he also had components of property, economic regeneration, customer services and information technology.

 

He stated that his main work focus since taking office had been to redefine the Council’s decision making timetable taking into account the financial reporting constraints and to introduce new performance management arrangements in connection with the Council’s major projects and activities.

 

He said that there should be a transparent decision making process and that he wanted to work with the Panel in his role as Cabinet Member.

 

He explained that initial discussions on the Medium Term Financial Strategy would begin in September and that it may be possible at that stage for the Panel to receive a high level presentation.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Samuel for his update on behalf of the Panel.

8.

Revenue & Capital Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The report is to be considered by the Cabinet at their July 2019 meeting. It presents the revenue and capital outturn for 2018/19.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Management Accounts introduced this item to the Panel. He explained that the report presents the revenue and capital outturn for 2018/19, highlighting a net revenue over budget position of £0.92m. He said that the position had vastly improved through actions including a recruitment freeze that had been implemented during the financial year.

 

He added that the improvement has continued since the last report, which forecast an over budget position of £3.21m based on monitoring for the year to December 2018, mainly due to improvements in income generation within Heritage Services, and a reduction in capital financing costs arising from the review of the capital programme and rephasing of capital projects.

 

He stated that the 2018/19 approved budget included the requirement for the delivery of £16.99m of savings. He explained that the final outturn position included achievement of £13.58m or 80% of the savings target compared to 82% delivered in 2017/18. He added that savings items that are no longer deliverable in 2018/19 have been reviewed alongside other recurring budget pressures and have been incorporated into the financial planning assumptions for the 2019/20 budget. He said that it is expected that delayed savings totalling £3.4m will be delivered in 2019/20.

 

He informed the Panel that the Overall Dedicated Schools Grant for 2018/19 was £135.60m, however of this sum £84.63m was returned to the DFE to be allocated to academies, £20.75m was allocated to schools through funding formula, with the remaining £30.23m retained by the LA to support Special Educational Needs, central expenditure and Early Years.

 

He stated that the final outturn position on the Council Tax Collection Fund was a surplus of £0.691m for the Council’s share, this represents a 0.8% variance against target income. He explained the reason for the surplus was mainly due to the number of chargeable dwellings being slightly higher than forecast. He said that the collection rate for Council Tax was 98.22% (98.12% 2017/18).

 

He said that the capital spend in 2018/19 was £88.043m (75%) against a budget of £117.185m giving a variance of £29.142m, primarily reflecting the delivery time to complete projects moving into future financial periods. He added that of this variance, £29.042m is requested for carry forward to 2019/20 to cover re-phased costs of capital projects.

 

Councillor Karen Warrington asked if the 20% of savings not achieved was mainly attributable to Children’s Services.

 

The Head of Management Accounts replied that the Home to School Transport budget was overspent in 2018-19 mainly due to the increasing demands of SEND pupils.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel, Cabinet Member for Resources commented that he recognised that it will be increasingly difficult for the Council to make savings. He added that in terms of the budget for next year, a longer timescale could be set with regard to savings. He said that more rigour was required in terms of savings and would appreciate Panel involvement in the process.

 

He stated that the Children’s Services budget had recently been rebased, but was currently showing a £1.6m overspend.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Corporate Strategy Framework pdf icon PDF 133 KB

This report is an opportunity to engage the Panel prior to further development of the Council’s new Corporate Strategy.

Minutes:

The Head of Strategy Engagement & Marketing introduced this item to the Panel. He explained that the new Corporate Strategy will bring together the Council’s key service commitments, its wider financial strategy and change programme, including initiatives such as moving to a more digital approach to service delivery and the priorities, plans and focus for change of the new administration.

 

He stated that the new Corporate Strategy will set the context for the Council’s financial and budget strategy in light of the new administration’s priorities and be built around a 4 -phase planning cycle.

 

·  Phase One – Plan, prioritise and decide

·  Phase Two – Gear up and start delivery

·  Phase Three – Continue to deliver and realise benefits

·  Phase Four – Review and future planning

 

He said that Policy Development and Scrutiny (PDS) members will have a key role throughout the lifetime of the Corporate Strategy, with particular aspects emphasised at certain phases in the planning cycle.

 

He explained that a programme of engagement on the draft Strategy will be carried out later on the year with a view to adopting the final version by February 2020.

 

Councillor Richard Samuel commented that the Corporate Strategy will translate political commitments into delivery. He added that it will bring forward the pledges made in the Liberal Democrat election manifesto into the structure of the Council.

 

He stated that key elements will include:

 

·  Social Housing / Affordable Housing / Council Housing

·  Clean Air Zone

·  Local Bus Network

 

Councillor Amanda Rigby commented that February 2020 must be a definite end date for adoption and that if it can be earlier she for one would welcome that. She stated that our political goals need to be delivered and implemented.

 

Councillor Shaun Hughes said that project timescales should be available publicly.

 

Councillor Samuel agreed and said that in terms of Council Housing there was a process to be followed to allow delivery.

 

Councillor Karen Warrington commented that to enable a digital approach to service delivery rural area solutions will be needed. She said that she hoped the Strategy would not be Bath centric as public transport solutions are also required in North East Somerset. She asked what resources will be required to implement the Citizens Juries.

 

The Head of Strategy Engagement & Marketing replied that Citizens Juries comprise of a random selection of members of the public to consider a specific Council area of work. He added that they are briefed by experts on the topic in question. He said that the Council was working with the University of Bath to establish the resources required in respect of advisors and facilitation.

 

Councillor Samuel stated that the Strategy would be a document for the whole Council and acknowledged the need for public transport to be improved rurally. He added that housing opportunities were more likely to be focussed in North East Somerset due to land availability and price. He said that Parishes will be addressed as this work progresses.

 

Councillor Karen Warrington said that any development must come with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 103 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:

The Chair introduced this item to the Panel and asked if they had any proposals that they would like to be considered.

 

Councillor Karen Warrington asked for an update on the Corporate Strategy to be added to the workplan for September 2019.