Agenda and minutes

Budget Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 12th December, 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, at the Council Offices, Southfields, Loughborough. View directions

Contact: 01509 634781  Email: democracy@charnwood.gov.uk

Link: Click here for sound recording

Items
No. Item

14.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 85 KB

The Panel is asked to confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 2nd October 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 2nd October 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed.

15.

Disclosures of Pecuniary and Personal Interests

Minutes:

The following disclosures of interests were made:

 

(i)        by Councillors Miah and Seaton – personal interests in any matters relating to Leicestershire County Council as members of the authority.

16.

Declarations - The Party Whip

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the Party Whip.

17.

Questions under Scrutiny Committee Procedure 11.17

No questions were submitted.

Minutes:

No questions had been submitted.

18.

Draft General Fund and HRA Budgets 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 567 KB

To consider the Draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budgets 2019/20 report that is due to be considered by the Cabinet on 13th December 2018 and which is attached.

 

In preparing for this meeting, members of the Panel identified that the following issues should be considered at the meeting and the attendance of the listed Cabinet Lead Members and officers has been requested:

 

 

Issue

Relevant Cabinet Lead Member and Officers

Use of reserves

Councillor Barkley

Strategic Director of Corporate Services

Impact of reductions in County Council services on Borough Council’s budget

Councillor Barkley

Strategic Director of Corporate Services

HRA budget including conclusion of the decent homes contract

Councillor Harper-Davies

Councillor Mercer

Strategic Director of Housing, Planning & Regeneration and Regulatory Services

Head of Landlord Services

Garden waste bin charges

Councillor Harper-Davies

Head of Cleansing and Open Spaces

 

Minutes:

The Draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budgets 2019/20 report that was due to be considered by the Cabinet on 13th December 2018 was submitted (item 6 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

The Cabinet Lead Member for Finance and Property Services and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services assisted with consideration of the item.

 

In preparing for the meeting, members of the Panel had identified topics that should be considered at the meeting and the relevant Cabinet Lead Members and officers had been invited to the meeting.  The Cabinet Lead Member for Performance of Major Contracts, the Cabinet Lead Member for Housing, the Strategic Director of Housing, Planning & Regeneration and Regulatory Services, the Head of Cleansing and Open Spaces, the Head of Landlord Services and the Head of Strategic and Private Sector Housing also assisted with the consideration of the item.

 

Use of Reserves

 

In response to issues raised the Cabinet Lead Member for Finance and Property Services and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services provided the following responses relating to the topic identified by the Panel:

 

(i)        An outline of the planned use of reserves along with other measures to reach a balanced budget over the period covered by the Medium Term Financial Strategy was provided.  The Council was seeking to save £350,000 in each of the next three years.  It was also seeking to increase the amount of income that it generated in order to become more self-reliant.  That included income from investments, which had been assisted by the recent increase in interest rates, and making best use of the Council’s assets.  Work had been done to increase the income received from the Messenger Close site and the Council was continuing to look at options for the Limehurst Depot site.

(ii)       At the end of the period covered by the Medium Term Financial Strategy the Council’s working balance would still be almost twice the level identified as the minimum balance requirement.

(iii)      The Administration wished to protect frontline services and reserves were being used in order to do so.

(iv)      The settlement figures from the Government had been expected on 6th December but had been delayed.  However the settlement was expected to be similar to that which was used as a prediction in the draft General Fund budget. 

(v)       There was considerable uncertainty regarding Government funding from 2020/21 as a result of the Fair Funding Review, potential changes to New Homes Bonus and changes to the retention of business rates.  The Council had applied to be part of a pilot for the retention of 75% of business rates rather than the current 50%.  The impact of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could also affect the amount of funding that the Government was able to provide to local authorities.

(vi)      In the past the Council had received a significant amount through the Revenue Support Grant.  The Council would receive £165,000 in 2019/20 and that would be the final year in which that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Further Meetings of the Panel 2018/19

Further meetings of the Panel in 2018/19 have been scheduled as follows:

 

·         Tuesday 8th January 2019 at 6.00pm – to consider the Panel’s draft report.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

1.            that it be noted that the final meeting of the Panel in 2018/19 would be on 8th January 2019 to consider the Panel’s draft report;

 

2.            that at the meeting on 8th January 2019 the Panel consider what conclusions and recommendations it wished to make following its scrutiny of the Council’s proposed budgets for 2019/20 and related matters.

 

Reasons

 

1.&2.   To confirm the arrangements for the completion of the Panel’s work.