Agenda and draft minutes

Finance, Assets & Performance Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 18th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Finance, Assets and Performance Scrutiny Committee - Virtual Meeting - Conference. View directions

Contact: Geoff Durham 742222 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest stated.

3.

MINUTES OF A PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To consider the Minutes of a previous meeting.

Minutes:

Resolved:     That the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 December be agreed as a correct record.

4.

REVENUE AND CAPITAL BUDGETS AND STRATEGIES 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Stephen Sweeney introduced a report on Revenue and Capital Budgets and Strategies for 2021/22.

 

Councillor Sweeney stated that the current pandemic was continuing to present challenges to the Council’s financial position through a mixture of lost income and additional costs.  However, it was forecast that the Council would achieve a balanced outturn for the year 2020/21.  Support from Central Government of £4.5m to compensate the Council during Covid-19 had been unprecedented and had massively impacted on meeting current and future pressures.  Further support had been promised for the first quarter of 2021/22 – this was money that the Council was not expecting, therefore, seventy five percent of any income losses by the Council in the first quarter of the next financial year would be recovered.

 

Councillor Sweeney made reference to a £1.275m budget gap which had been mentioned at Cabinet and a previous meeting of this Scrutiny Committee.  The budget gap had now been filled via an Efficiency Board who came up with a feasible and sustainable solution.  There was also a ‘One Council’ programme between 2021-23 to redesign the organisational structure, processes and technology, underpinned by changes in culture, leadership and governance which was expected to save £195,000 next year and £922,000 at the end of the three years and every year afterwards once completed.  Staff related efficiencies would save £599,000 with no redundancies.  The Council Tax increase for 2021/22 would be £5 which worked out at 10p or less for 81% of Borough households.  There was also receipt of £250,000 contribution to the Borough Growth Fund to enable continued investment in sustainable environment projects during the term of the Medium Term Financial Strategy.  There was an increased level of reserves from £1.548m to £3.1m which would help to safeguard the long term financial resilience and reflect any additional risks that the Council might become exposed to.

 

The Capital Programme for 2021/22 had £4.6m for the refurbishing and reopening of Kidsgrove Pool.  Councillor Sweeney thanked the MP’s for their support and the Government for Listening.  The LGA was thanked for putting Newcastle’s case forward and the Council’s Finance team who had achieved an unqualified audit report through very trying times.  Councillor Sweeney stated that this was a robust and realistic budget.

 

Councillor Hutton asked for this Committee’s thanks to be passed to the Finance team and the Chief Executive for their hard work.  The Chief Executive and Head of Finance were in attendance who would pass thanks on to the staff.

 

Councillor Stubbs referred to the provisional outturn forecast and asked for the total that was being forecasted as being overspent in this financial year.  The Council’s Head of Finance, Sarah Wilkes stated that in period 9, the overspend was just under £400,000 which was forecasted for the year.  A £408,000 tranche of money had been received in respect of Covid-19 and would cover the shortfall. 

Councillor Pickup asked if there had been any changes to the report since the last  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

SCALE OF FEES AND CHARGES 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report regarding the scale of fees and charges for 2021/22.  The Chair advised that this report had a confidential appendix and if it could be discussed without going into detail, the meeting would not have to go into closed session at the end.

 

Councillor Sweeney introduced the report stating that, this year, all parking charges had been frozen to encourage people to come into the town centre.  Everything else in the report was as normal.

 

The Chief Executive, Martin Hamilton pointed out that the fees for J2 were not set but were delegated to be set following some review work which was being undertaken in order to look at how it would be re-launched post Covid.

 

Councillor Stubbs asked if the £5000 charge to Elections was a full charge or a deposit.  Martin Hamilton confirmed that it was a deposit.  Councillor Stubbs asked that this be clarified in the fees and charges and asked if it had been set nationally?  This was confirmed to be the case – associated with Police and Crime Commissioner Elections.

 

Councillor Rout stated that she would be interested to see the fees and charges for J2 when they were available and was pleased that the parking charges had been frozen.

 

Councillor Sweeney concluded that all aspects of parking charges had remained the same for example £1 after 1pm to encourage people into the town centre.

 

Resolved:     (i)         That the fees and charges proposed to apply from 1 April

2021, as set out in Appendix 1 be noted.

 

(ii)        That following the completion of a review of Jubilee 2 by Alliance Leisure, the Executive Director (Commercial Development & Economic Growth) in conjunction

with the Portfolio Holder (Leisure, Culture and Heritage be delegated authority to implement a revised membership pricing structure and offers to attract new memberships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Minutes:

The Chair stated that there had been discussions about the Work Programme at the previous meeting and asked if there were any changes or new issues that Members wished to raise.  None were raised.

 

Resolved:     That the Work Programme be received.

7.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

Any member of the public wishing to submit a question must serve two clear days’ notice, in writing, of any such question to the Borough Council

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

8.

URGENT BUSINESS

To consider any business which is urgent within the meaning of Section 100B (4) of the Local Government Act 1972

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

9.

DISCLOSURE OF EXEMPT INFORMATION

To resolve that the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following reports, because it is likely that there will be disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

The meeting did not go into closed session as the confidential appendix was received as printed.

10.

SCALE OF FEES AND CHARGES 2021/22 - CONFIDENTIAL APPENDIX

Minutes:

Resolved:     That the confidential appendix be received.