Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE
Contact: Gurdip Paddan
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2019 (previously circulated).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) which lists the actions from previous meetings and their current status.
The status of action agreed at the Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 18 November 2019 in the report was noted.
Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) presenting the budget proposals for 2020/21 as considered by the Cabinet on 6 January 2020.
(Note: The above report was considered by the Cabinet on 6 January 2020. Members are requested to retain their copies of the report for this Committee meeting. Documents can be viewed on the following link: Cabinet Documents 6 January 2020 )
Members considered the report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the budget setting for 2020/21. The report noted that on the 6 January 2020, Cabinet had considered the proposed General Fund Budget, Capital Programme, Housing Revenue Account Budget, Fees and Charges, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Governance Framework for financial years 2020/21 – 2022/23.
In accordance with the Council’s budget and policy framework rules, the Resources and Overview Scrutiny Committee was formally invited to consider the proposals as part of the budget setting process and make comments to the Special Cabinet meeting on 21 January 2020.
Officers summarised the Budget 2020/21 proposals and advised on the savings, together with the current financial status of the Council.
During discussion the following points were raised and addressed:-
1. Increase in earmarked reserves for Climate change initiatives (Council’s commitment) from £50k to £150k for 2020/21.
2. Following the Peer Review, an exercise was undertaken which proved successful; it generated around £800k of efficiencies. This followed the positive outturn on the 2018/19 financial position.
3. Pension Reserves – it was noted that £1.2m was set aside into earmarked reserves from the General Fund for its share of future deficit lump sum payments. The HRA share would be charged directly to the HRA.
4. New Homes Bonus – Council received £1.028m and this will partly be used to support budget expenditure. Noted that no legacy payment associated with the 2020/21 grant award. Government will consult in Spring 2020.
5. Officers clarified the situation in respect of Hertfordshire Business Rates Pool – this has been accepted and includes the County Council and five districts/boroughs.
1. Officers clarified the position on Asset Conditions Survey and confirmed that it was just for one year. Officers confirmed that this does not include housing stock – mainly commercial asset portfolio.
2. Housing Benefit Grant reductions – This grant is from DWP for administration of benefits and will be reducing as housing benefit claimants move to universal credit.
1. Reduction in GLL fees – savings were being made through the merger with Finesse Leisure in 2018, Officers advised that this was on target and were set to increase in 2020/21 in line with the planned programme of savings.
1. A full time Parking Services Officer has been added – this officer is required for the demanding improvements to parking in all areas of the Borough.
2. Concern was expressed in respect of the reduction in AFM funding. It was noted that the reduction of £50k was a share of the reduction based on the County Council’s budget savings. It was noted that Officers had written to the County to voice our concerns in respect of reduction levels for recycling, and that Officers would share these letters with the Committee.
3. Private Sector Housing stock condition survey - £50k is the cost of the survey. This survey is carried out once every five years. Members asked if they ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
The pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme has been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place. Items which the Committee agrees it would like to consider will be scheduled into the work programme.
The work programme for 2019/20 was noted.