Agenda item

Capital Programme Update


The Director of Finance & S151 Officer introduced this item to the Panel alongside the Programme Director for Bath Enterprise Area/Zone. He stated that a rephasing of the programme took place early on in the crisis, especially during April and May when projects had to be paused due to restrictions in place.


He said that the Capital Strategy Group sets out the officer governance for managing the Capital review and providing oversight of the Capital programme.


The Programme Director for Bath Enterprise Area/Zone said that with 168 lines of project activity the approach that has been taken was to try to deliver as much as possible with reduced revenue impact on the Council. He added that a number of projects have had to be deferred or delayed.


Councillor Matt McCabe asked two questions on behalf of Councillor Lucy Hodge who had given her apologies for the meeting. He said that Councillor Hodge had noted that in all portfolios there are savings proposed through vacancy management (274 K (Resources), 270K (Children’s services), 16K (Climate Emergency and Neighbourhoods), £155k (Housing) and 99K (Communities)) – totalling £814K. In addition, £2.84 million of salary budget savings are to be found within Resources, specifically.


He added that Councillor Hodge was concerned that there is little further detail other than that all savings on staffing costs will be achieved “without compromising service delivery”.  


For example, within Children services, she was aware from personal experience that 40K of the savings was due to not recruiting to the director of music services post. She could confirm that this has already had a significant impact on the level of service provided.


Yet through the scrutiny process we have no idea of the detail relating to over £3.6 million of lost or deferred posts. The CEO’s response at last Committee informed us that as c. £82 million of a c. £200 million budget was attributable to staffing costs, cuts were inevitable but no further detail was forthcoming.


She asked how we can be assured of this without any information on where the cuts will be made.


The Director of Finance & S151 Officer replied that all current vacancies are being held to contribute towards the recovery plans have been proposed by the relevant Director and their services managers to ensure services can continue to be delivered. New recruitment requests are being corporately co-ordinated considering service need and impact.


Councillor Matt McCabe said that Councillor Hodge had noted that within the savings offered up by Adults Services, line RP20 - Review of Care Package Delivery, states that “a review of existing packages to identify efficiencies” will deliver £1.312 million of savings.


He said that Councillor Hodge had received a narrative response that a 2018/19 review of care packages for 18 – 64 year olds with learning and mental health problems, and those for older patients, had found our costs per package to be high and this forms the basis for proposing savings.


She asked what percentage of the total expenditure on Care Package delivery this sum (£1.312 million) represents.


The Director of Finance & S151 Officer replied that the 2019/20 purchased care budgets across client groups is c£60m, this proposal represents c2%.


Councillor Hal MacFie asked with reference to appendix 3 and in particular the Keynsham High Street Public Realm work that was due to commence in August 2020. He asked what delays were now expected for this work.


The Programme Director for Bath Enterprise Area/Zone replied that they were now looking to scope the project according to local economic business needs. He added that some funding had been received from MHCLG to extend the project to December 2021 and this would mean a short delay of around 4 – 6 months for the project.


Councillor Mark Elliott asked with regard to the Bath Area Forum CIL funded schemes for an explanation of what was meant by “correct CIL focus”.


The Director for Partnership & Corporate Services replied that he signs off these schemes and that the challenge under the review was to assess whether they have same requirements following Covid-19. He added that the review was carried out with the respective recipients of the scheme.


Councillor Elliott asked for further information on the status given to projects eg. approved / provisional.


The Director of Finance & S151 Officer replied that approved schemes have gone through the decision-making process either through Single Member / Cabinet and have an approved business case. He added that provisional schemes are listed but that no work can begin on them until they have been approved.


The Chairman thanked everyone for participating in the debate.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the Capital Strategy Group Terms of Reference and the Capital programme adjustments in Appendix 2 & 3.

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