Agenda and minutes

Budget meeting, Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 14th February, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Bury Town Hall

Contact: Leigh Webb  Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

OSC.387

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any matters on the agenda and, if so, to formally declare that interest.

Minutes:

Councillor J Harris declared a personal interest in any item relating to Six Town Housing as she is a member of the Board.

 

Councillor Walker declared a personal interest in any item relating to Six Town Housing as he lives in a property owned by Six Town Housing.

 

Councillor S Wright declared a personal interest in any matter relating to staffing as his wife is employed in a Bury School.

 

OSC.388

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on matters considered at the last meeting and set out in the minutes or on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present to ask questions under this item.

 

OSC.389

MONTH 9 2018/2019 CORPORATE FINANCIAL MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 255 KB

A report from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing submitted a report informing the Committee of the Council’s financial position for the period April to December 2017 and projecting the likely outturn at the end of 2017/18.

 

                The report included Prudential Indicators in accordance with CIPFA’s Prudential Code.

 

                The Cabinet Member reported that the current projected overspend was £1.838m which represented approximately 1.36% of the total net budget of £135.330 and was a reduced figure from both months 3 and 6.

                                                         

Questions and comments were invited from the Committee and the following issues were raised:

 

·         Councillor Hankey referred to the delayed achievements and non-achievements of cuts options and asked whether the Council was confident that the savings targets could still be achieved.

 

Councillor O’Brien referred to the ongoing service redesigns and explained that actions relating to these were constantly being monitored. Where there were delays or where an objective was unachievable other savings were identified. It was also explained that new funding streams were being researched and identified. The Council was confident that the savings targets can be achieved in the timescale.

 

·         Councillor Hankey referred to the review of civic facilities which seemed to have been carried out in one form or another for at least 6 years’ and stated that losses were still being recorded.

 

Councillor O’Brien stated that improvements and savings were expected to be seen in these areas.

 

·         Councillor Harris explained that she was aware that schools were now in a position to decide who provided their contracted services such as catering and maintenance and cleaning. These were historically provided by the Council but some schools were looking to other providers. Councillor Harris asked what was being done to try to retain or regain the contracts within schools.

 

It was explained that the Council have established a Traded Services Group which have reviewed the way in which the Council was offering its services and had identified better ways of working. The Council will look to provide a high quality, competitive and appropriate service offer at a price that customers are willing to pay. There had already been meetings with head teachers and school business managers to discuss the offer to schools and it was reported that the revised packages would be with all schools by the end of March 2018.

 

·         Councillor S Wright referred to the table at 4.3.3 within the report and the action being taken column in reference to Children, Young People and Culture Department. Councillor Wright asked why the column contained reasons for an overspend rather than an explanation of the actions being taken to address it.

 

It was explained that demand pressures drive up the cost and it was the Councils statutory duty to provide these services, Work was being undertaken in relation to prevention and early intervention but this would take time. It was reported that the Council was looking at options to provide in house higher level care.

 

Peter Lowe, Head of Financial Services - Children, Young People and Culture explained that each  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC.389

OSC.390

REVENUE BUDGET & CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2018/2019. TO 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 613 KB

A report from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing is attached

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing submitted a report setting out details of the Capital Programme for 2018/19 to 2019/20 and the Revenue Budget for 2018/19 to 2019/20. A draft budget consultation pack and consultation responses were appended to the report.

 

The report recommended that the Capital Programme be limited to those schemes fully funded from external sources.

 

With regard to the revenue budget the report outlined details of:

 

·         The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018/19 to 2019/20

·         Forecast outturn for 2017/18

·         The budget strategy for 2018/19 to 2019/20 and the approach to balancing the budget. 

 

The report examined the robustness of the assumptions behind the budget forecast and contained an assessment of the adequacy of the Council’s balances.

 

Questions and comments were invited from Members of the Committee and the following issues were raised:

 

·         Councillor Harris asked for the schools’ funding to be explained.

 

 

Peter Lowe, Head of Financial Services - Children, Young People and Culture explained that there were currently changes to the way that schools were funded going through parliament but the primary legislation was not as yet in place.

 

It was anticipated that the changes would see greater emphasis placed on deprivation.

 

The new schools’ funding would be put in place over the next three years.

 

It was agreed:

 

 That the report be noted.

 

 

OSC.391

HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

A report from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

              A report from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing was submitted which detailed the proposed Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for 2018/2019. The report set out proposals in respect of Dwelling and Garage rents, Sheltered Support, Management Amenities, Heating and Furnished Tenancy charges and Fernhill Caravan site tenancy charges. The report had been prepared on the basis of the Government’s requirement for a decrease in dwelling rents of 1% for 2018/19 for General needs and Sheltered Extra Care properties.

 

Questions and comments were invited from Members of the Committee and the following issues were raised:

 

·         Councillor Caserta referred to the introduction of Universal Credit which was being rolled out and asked whether there was any information available in relation to rent collection rates for tenants claiming this.

 

Councillor O’Brien reported that the current rent collection rate for the 500 tenants on Universal Credit was 98.82%.

 

·         Councillor Jamie Walker asked whether there were any figures available to show collection rates for younger people.

 

Councillor O’Brien stated that he would make sure this information was available for the Council meeting on 21 February 2018.

 

                 It was agreed:

 

                 That the report be noted.

 

OSC.392

TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 385 KB

A report from the Cabinet Member for Finance & Housing is attached.

Minutes:

              The Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing submitted a report setting out the suggested Strategy for 2018/2019 in respect of the following aspects of the Treasury Management Function:-

 

·  Capital Plans and prudential indicators

 

·  The minimum Revenue Provision Policy

 

·  The current treasury position

                       

·  Treasury limits in force which will limit the treasury risk and activities of the Council 

 

·  Prospects for interest rates

 

·  The borrowing strategy

 

·  Policy on borrowing in advance of need

 

·  Debt re-scheduling

 

·  The investment strategy

 

·  Creditworthiness policy

 

·  Policy on use of external service providers

 

              The primary objective of the Council’s Treasury Management Function would continue to be the minimisation of financing costs whilst ensuring the stability of the Authority’s long-term financial position by borrowing at the lowest rates of interest and by investing surplus cash to earn maximum interest, all at an acceptable level of risk. 

 

The overall strategy for 2018/19 would be to finance capital expenditure by      running down cash/investment balances and using short term temporary borrowing rather than more expensive longer term loans.

 

Councillor J Walker asked that the hard work being done in relation to treasury management be supported.

 

               It was agreed:

 

That the report be noted.