Agenda and draft minutes

Special Meeting, Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 27th September, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room, First Floor, BCP Civic Centre Annex, St Stephen's Rd, Bournemouth BH2 6LL. View directions

Contact: Claire Johnston 

Media

Items
No. Item

6.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Allen, Allison, Davies, Earl and Rocco.

7.

Substitute Members

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.

 

Minutes:

The following Councillors acted as substitute for the following Committee members: Brooke for Earl, Farquhar for Allison, Filer for Rocco, S Anderson for Davies and Farr for Allen.

8.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

9.

Public Issues

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:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

The deadline for the submission of public questions is ordinarily 4 clear working days before the meeting and the deadline for the submission of statements is ordinarily midday the working day before the meeting. However, due to the late publication of the report relating to item 5, the deadline for the submission of questions and statements has been extended to 9am Tuesday 27 September 2022.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

Public Questions

Questions from Mr Sofianos

  1. Yesterday’s much-delayed Finance Report admits (para 34) that the revised plan “will have a direct impact on the level of services delivered by the council”.

Can you confirm which services would be impacted?

And, in particular, how will this reversal affect the delivery and staffing of Children’s and Social Care services?

Answer.

The statement quoted of “will have a direct impact on the level of services delivered by the council” relates to the MTFP and budget of the Council which adjusts service levels annually in line with any budget proposals. The details of any adjustment are normally set out as part of the annual February budget report with any proposals which need consultation being worked through in advance, to ensure we get the full year effect of the savings. As we have proven by record investment across children’s and adult services over the last 2 years, supporting the most vulnerable in our community is at the heart of this administrations agenda and we will continue to prioritise that.

 

  1. The Finance Report also proposes a schedule of asset disposals (para 8), to fund the transformation Programme. This is hoped to raise somewhere between £26m to £46m.

Which council assets are you planning to sell to raise this funding?

And which sales do you expect to prioritise?

Answer.

The 7 September Finance Update report to Cabinet agreed the following recommendation, Cabinet agrees to bring forward a capital receipts schedule for additional, non-strategic, asset sales that could be used as an alternative method of financing the Council’s Transformation Investment Programme via the Flexible Use of Capital Receipts (FUCR). This workstream is ongoing and the schedule will be brought forward in due course.

 

Questions from Mr McKinstry

  1. Tonight's report should have been released to the public by 11.59 p.m. on Friday 16 September, under the provisions set out in Section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972. That deadline was missed, as was the deadline for two reports for last Tuesday's O & S meeting; as was the deadline for the SPV report for the 20 July meeting; as was the deadline for the finance report for the 2 September meeting. These were all statutory deadlines. How can the Government trust you to abide by a financial strategy when you are repeatedly breaking the law?

Answer.

The Local Government Act does require that the agenda and reports for meetings should be available for inspection at least 5 clear days before the date of the meeting, but nothing in this legislation “requires copies of any agenda, item or report to be open to inspection by the public until copies are available to members of the council”. Provided that the agenda and a description of the business to be heard at the meeting are published timeously, the late publication of reports does not invalidate the meeting or make it unlawful. Late publication of reports in support of agenda items should be avoided however but with the pace of work ongoing in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Scrutiny of the Finance Strategy Update Cabinet Report pdf icon PDF 361 KB

To scrutinise the budget related report scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 28 September 2022.

 

The Committee is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report (to follow) and if required to make recommendations or observations as appropriate.

 

Cabinet members invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Committee were asked to scrutinise and comment on the report and if required to make recommendations or observations as appropriate.

In response to a question regarding how this year’s budget gap compared with two years ago, the Leader of the Council confirmed that the MTFP on 1 October 2020 showed a £50m gap, of which about £30m was in relation to Covid, for which the Council received assistance from the Government.    Last year the gap was about £10m. 

It was further confirmed that for the current year, 2022/23, there would be £20m coming from Central Government, which would result in the Council having a £4.2m surplus.  It was advised that a report would be going to Cabinet in October, that will have the formal response regarding the balancing of the budget. 

The Committee were advised that work on an asset register was ongoing and in response to a question regarding what assets were intended to be closed, it was explained that any asset disposal would not have any impact on capital disposal.  More in-depth options would be available during the next couple of weeks.

The Committee was advised that although the Winter Gardens project had been removed from the Capital Programme, the Council was still committed to delivering a regeneration scheme and the Future Places Team had been asked to draw up further options.  Planned expenditure had, therefore, been taken out of the current Capital Programme, but would be reintroduced when any plans were agreed, to reflect the proposed works. 

Concern was raised regarding issues of staffing and in particular Agency staff and Business Support posts, as it had been advised that no new costs were to be incurred.  It was asked what impact this would have on existing staff and services.  It was acknowledged that whilst the Council had significant numbers of agency staff, this was being reviewed, with plans to move these members of staff onto permanent contracts.  However, there would still be a number of agency staff necessary for some posts.  As part of the transformation programme, there was an aim to reduce the requirement for and number of Business Support posts. 

The Chief Executive confirmed that, in relation to presenting a balanced budget, the Council was moving in the right direction, but final Cabinet and Council decisions would be needed to finalise this.

In response to a question regarding the selling of any Council-owned assets and how much money needed to be raised by selling assets and over what period, it was advised that this came under the capital receipts workstream, and further reports would be presented as work progressed.  £76m needed to be collected by capital budget or the sale of assets.

The Leader advised that they remained unapologetic that they maintained their ambition to not sell any Council-owned assets.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.