Venue: Committee Room, First Floor, BCP Civic Centre Annex, St Stephen's Rd, Bournemouth BH2 6LL. View directions
Contact: Jill Holyoake 01202 127564 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: This meeting will begin at the conclusion of the preceding meeting which may be after the time indicated.
To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.
Apologies were received from Cllr H Allen, Cllr L Allison, Cllr M Andrews, Cllr J Edwards and Cllr M Earl.
To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.
Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.
Cllr D Borthwick substituted for Cllr H Allen, Cllr M Cox substituted for Cllr M Andrews, Cllr G Farquhar substituted for Cllr L Allison and Cllr V Slade substituted for Cllr M Earl.
Declarations of Interests
Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.
Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.
To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-
The deadline for the submission of public questions is ordinarily 4 clear working days before the meeting. However, due to the late publication of the report relating to item 5, the deadline for the submission of questions has been extended to Tuesday 30 August 2022.
The deadline for the submission of a statement is midday the working day before the meeting.
The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.
The Chairman reported that no public statements or petitions had been received on this occasion. Four public questions had been submitted by a member of the public, Mr Alex McKinstry, who was present to read out his questions as follows:
Question 1 from Mr Alex McKinstry:
The report for this meeting was published belatedly - the day after the deadline for public questions. This meant I had to submit questions for the meeting based on guesswork, then withdraw those - and submit the present batch - on 26 August, when the report appeared and the deadline for questions was extended. (This also wasted officers' time.) The explanation, which can still be seen on the agenda frontsheet, was that the leader had been 'unavailable' to sign off the report. Why was he unavailable, and why couldn't he have arranged for the report to be signed off by his deputy?
Response from Cllr D Mellor, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation:
I’m really delighted you've been able to submit your questions, so that was resolved.
You've asked me why I was unavailable. I was on holiday, effectively I had a long term booked holiday that actually was back-to-back with our Director of Finance’s holiday and we needed to look at the papers collectively which we did as soon as I returned from holiday and then released it.
Why was it not been arranged for the report to be signed off by the Deputy? I'm the Portfolio Holder for Finance, so effectively that report is the responsibility of the Section 151 Officer and myself, so it would have been inappropriate to have asked anybody else to sign it off. I'd also just bring to your attention the fact that this report was originally expected in the back end the late September Cabinet meeting. So what we've actually done is bring it forward. That created significant pressure on our Finance team to get this report ready in time and effectively four weeks early. So in answering your question, I'd like to thank our finance team who have delivered this report early for us. And hope that those two comments I've answered your questions.
Question 2 from Mr Alex McKinstry:
The agenda stated that the report had been delayed 'at the leader's specific request', because of his unavailability. The leader should have no say in the matter, however - reports are required to be published five working days before these meetings under S100B LGA 1972. There is a get-out under sub-section 3 - where a report hasn't yet been seen by members - but to release the KPMG reports five weeks after public questions is beyond belief. Why are these reports being published so late in the day, and why was the leader allowed to hold this one back at his 'specific request'?
Response from Cllr D Mellor, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation:
As we have discussed in the previous meeting, I was of the view that we needed to wait until we ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
This report provides an update on the council’s financial position further to the financial forecasts set out in the end of June 2022 budget monitoring information. The position includes an acknowledgment of the
a) recent update to the Government’s Flexible Use of Capital Receipts statutory guidance.
b) latest forecast of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the council including the impact of the pay award offer made by the National Employers for local government service.
The report also recommends how the Council can ensure that it maintains a balanced budget for the current 2022/23 financial year and prudently positions itself ahead of the requirement to deliver a balanced budget for 2023/24.
The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation presented a report and supplementary addendum, copies of which had been circulated to the Committee and which appear as Appendix A to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Leader explained that this report had been brought forward to the 7 September Cabinet due to the impact of the Government’s updated guidance on the Flexible Use of Capital Receipts direction (FUCR) on funding transformation costs. The letter from Paul Scully MP dated 2 September confirmed that the Government was minded to offer the Council in-principle support of up to £20m in the form of a capitalisation direction for the financial year 2022/23. The Leader thanked the Minister and his team for their prompt assistance. The report and the addendum set out the steps proposed to address the Council’s financial position and prepare itself to deliver balanced budget for 2023/24.
The Leader and officers responded to questions and comments on the following issues:
The S151 Officer confirmed the following: a capitalisation direction was a process for exceptional financial support in exceptional circumstances; a recommendation to allow the flexibility to increase the overall borrowing cap was being taken to Council in September; the typical premium over normal borrowing rates was 1% and this was assumed in the budget. It may not necessarily be applied but if so, it would be for the £20million only; and the role of a S151 Officer was to take all necessary steps to prevent the Council being issued with a Section 144 notice;.
In respect of council tax the S151 Officer referred to the Budget and MTFP report of February 2022 which had suggested including an alternative form of budget as an option. The current report included a recommendation to bring forward a capital receipts schedule for non-strategic, asset sales, which would be drawn up if agreed. He confirmed that the protection of and a commitment to increase the Council’s unearmarked reserves was advised.
The Leader explained that, while more of a challenge, the current Administration retained its aim not to raise council tax. He was clear that further work with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) was required and he paid tribute to the Council’s Finance team for their response. He did not agree that the sale of assets in these circumstances constituted a ‘fire sale’. The potential sale of non-strategic assets and ‘investments to yield’ could be explored. This was subject to ongoing discussions with DLUHC but may not be required.
During the meeting there was a robust exchange of views around the Council’s financial position under the ... view the full minutes text for item 29.