Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 12 January 2018 10.30 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal. View directions

Contact: Jason Habbershon 

Items
No. Item

O&S/41

Minutes pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 27 October 2017 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer explained that officers were in the process of collating the additional information requested at the previous meeting and that the majority of this would be included within the third quarter Council Plan Performance Monitoring report which would be presented to the Committee at its meeting on 2 February.

 

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 27 October 2017.

O&S/42

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of interest were raised.

O&S/43

Declaration of the Party Whip

In accordance with Rule 17 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, any Member who is subject to a party whip on any item must declare the existence and nature of the whip.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of the party whip were raised.

O&S/44

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there are no excluded items on the agenda.

O&S/45

Public Participation

After the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has discussed an item on the agenda, but before a decision is taken, there is an opportunity for those present at the meeting who are not Committee Members to ask questions.

 

More information can be found on the South Lakeland District Council website, www.southlakeland.gov.uk , or by contacting Committee Services on 01539 733333.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there was no public participation in respect of this meeting.

O&S/46

Work Programme and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To consider the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2017/18, and the contents of the latest Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee Services/Scrutiny Officer explained that following the previous meeting, officers had met to discuss the best way to present both the Council Plan Performance Monitoring reports and the associated Portfolio Holder Reports. These would now be split into two separate agenda items to ensure that fuller scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder Reports could take place.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the latest Forward Plan be received; and

 

(2)        the Committee’s current Work Programme be noted.

O&S/47

2018/19 to 2022/23 Draft Budget pdf icon PDF 191 KB

To consider the draft budget proposals for the financial years 2018/19 to 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder introduced the 2018/19 to 2022/23 draft Budget. He reminded Members that an earlier draft had been considered by Council on 19 December, and explained that the Budget had now been updated to include additional information received regarding the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement. Other updates included changes relating to the Council Tax referendum threshold increase, the Rural Services Delivery Grant and possible changes to business rate retention.

 

The Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) drew attention to an addendum which had been circulated prior to the start of the meeting. The addendum provided further updates relating to the potential impact of the Local Government Financial Settlement from 2020/21 after the existing settlement period ended. The update also included the estimated reduced values of Business Rates income which provided clearer information regarding the size of potential future years’ deficits.

 

Following a query, the Financial Services Manager explained that had the Cumbrian authorities been successful in the bid to become a business rate pool pilot the County Council would have borne both the largest risks and largest potential benefits. As such the impact on district councils would have been minimal.

 

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder explained that although the maximum Council Tax increase had been lifted from the higher of below 2% or £5 to the higher of below 3% or £5, the current Budget figures were being calculated based upon a 2.7% increase.

 

The impact of Copeland Borough Council’s entry into the existing business rate pool was queried. The Financial Services Manager explained that officers around the county had worked hard with Copeland to understand previous issues with their business rate base. The risks for the next financial year appeared to be low, and a condition had been placed upon Copeland’s entry to allow other pool members to have some input into the way Copeland accounted for any outstanding appeals to reduce the risk. Although the potential risk from this would increase each year, the Financial Services Manager confirmed that the current agreement was for a single financial year.

 

In response to a query, the Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) confirmed that a strategic asset review was underway and that this would be shared with Members when more information was available.

 

The Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) and Financial Services Manager provided clarity on the revised Rural Services Delivery Grant figures and the predicted savings from the Customer Connect Programme.

 

It was queried why the efficiency savings in Waste and Recycling Services had only been partially met and whether this was an area of concern. The Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) explained that due to service demand and expansion, developments within that area had meant that the target had not been fully met. This had been anticipated by Senior Management Team, and represented a small portion of the service’s overall budget. She explained that consultants had been appointed to look at Council services to identify potential efficiency savings, and potential savings  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/47

O&S/48

2018/19 to 2022/23 Draft Treasury Management Framework pdf icon PDF 278 KB

To consider the draft Treasury Management Framework for 2018/19 to 2022/23.

Minutes:

The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder introduced the 2018/19 to 2022/23 draft Treasury Management Framework. He expressed his view that the Council managed its finances very prudently, and reminded Members that in recent years the Council had undertaken to reduce its interest gap when circumstances made this both appropriate and viable.

 

Members queried why the ratio of financing costs to net revenue stream rose from 6.81% in 2017/18 to 13.06% by 2022/23. The Financial Services Manager explained that a lower net revenue stream due to the reduction in Government grants would cause the ratio to increase against more consistent financing costs.

 

It was highlighted that paragraph 15 of the Treasury Management Strategy (Appendix 4 to the report) should read “2019/20” and not “2019/10” as was currently the case.

 

RESOLVED – That the report, including Appendices 1 to 4, containing the Prudential Indicators, Treasury Management Strategy, Policy and Indicators and Minimum Revenue Provision statement be noted.

O&S/49

2017/18 and 2018/19 Procurement Schedule pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To consider additions to and the review of the Procurement Schedule 2017/18 and the draft Procurement Schedule 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The 2017/18 and 2018/19 Procurement Schedules were introduced by the Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder. He felt that the Procurement Schedule provided a great insight into the work that the Council did and was very helpful for Members not only to gain information but also to ensure that work was on schedule.

 

A number of queries were raised regarding the timings of specific procurement exercises, and the Procurements and Contracts Manager explained that the Procurement Schedule documents were regularly updated. She suggested that Members seeking up-to-date information should contact the Procurement Team.

 

The Committee considered that the Procurement Schedule highlighted a number of good news stories, and it was requested that in the future information on the various projects be provided to the local Ward Member at appropriate stages. It was also requested that additional information regarding the wards affected be added to the Procurement Schedule.

 

Members also felt that the value banding could potentially be confusing with regard to the actual value of the project. The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder suggested that it could be possible to use a narrative banding, with a key setting out the values that each band covered at the end of the document.

 

The Committee asked whether more communication between Portfolio Holders and Members could take place regarding projects. The Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder undertook to discuss this with the Cabinet but explained that portfolio holders did not always have the specific information regarding each procurement process. He undertook to provide an update on the requests made by the Committee at a future meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-

 

(1)        the Procurement Schedule 2017-2018 additions, as attached at Appendix 1 to the report;

 

(2)        the Review of Procurement Schedule 2017-2018, as attached at Appendix 2 to the report; and

 

(3)        the Procurement Schedule 2018-2019, as attached at Appendix 3 to the report.

O&S/50

Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update on the work of the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee from the Council’s representative or substitute.

Minutes:

Councillor Vivienne Rees, the Council’s representative to the County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, explained that she had placed copies of the minutes of recent Health Scrutiny Committee meetings, as well as information from a recent update on the Better Care Together project, within the Members’ Room. She highlighted that much of the activity brought about by the Better Care Together project remained in largely urbanised areas with less work taking place in rural areas. The problems which rural areas faced, particularly surrounding transport to new specialist health centres, required closer investigation.

 

Following a request, Councillor Rees undertook to provide the Members of the Committee with electronic copies of any additional information she received in the future.

 

Councillor Mark Wilson, a Cumbria County Council Member of the Health Scrutiny Committee, also highlighted the issues surrounding the introduction of Accountable Care Organisations and asked whether it would be possible to organise a briefing for Members.

 

Following a query regarding the outcomes of the Tackling Poverty Together Workshop, the Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder explained that Cabinet would be open to reporting back to the Committee in the future.

 

RESOLVED – That the update be noted.