Meeting documents

Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring)
Monday, 10th September, 2018 10.00 am

Date: Monday 10th September 2018 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR J. COLLINS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (176K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from: -

Councillor W. Hodgins
Councillor L. Parsons
Councillor B. Thomas
Councillor G. Thomas
Councillor D. Wilkshire
Councillor L. Winnett

Co-opted Members:
Mr A. Williams
Mr T. Baxter

A Member expressed his disappointment that another meeting had been scheduled for the same date and time. It had therefore been necessary for some Members to submit their apologies to the other meeting.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. TIME OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Consideration was given to the commencement times of future Joint Scrutiny Committee Budget Monitoring Meetings.

A Member suggested that to avoid meeting clashes and to maximise attendance future Joint Scrutiny Committee Budget Monitoring meetings be held late afternoon/early evening.

Discussion ensued and upon a vote being taken, it was

AGREED that future Joint Scrutiny Committee Budget Monitoring meetings remain at 10.00 a.m.

Agreed
6. SPECIAL JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
Minutes (106K/bytes)
Cofnodion (42K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Special Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 22nd January, 2018 were submitted.

The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
7. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
Minutes (204K/bytes)
Cofnodion (199K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Joint Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 5th February, 2018 were submitted.

The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
8. REVENUE BUDGET MONITORING - 2017/2018, PROVISIONAL OUTTURN
Report (150K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (99K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (282K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (78K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (44K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (197K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources which was presented to update Members on the provisional outturn against revenue budget for the financial year 2017/2018 across all portfolios.

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein and commented that continuation of overspends would significantly impact on Council reserves in future years.

A Member commented that it was good to note that income generation was higher than the target with Technical Services contributing to this and enquired if the same practice could be introduced in other directorates. The Chief Officer Resources said Technical Services - Engineering & Property Management had achieved an excellent return of 429,000 and other Council areas could provide services to external customers in some circumstances.

Another Member commented that although this was a good report with a lot of positive work undertaken by officers, this years financial settlement had been the best so far but the Authority was still over budget at this point in time.

In relation to the Schools budget, concerns were raised regarding the 2% increase in staff costs. The Head of Education Transformation said that overall school budgets were under pressure and that there was a reduction in surplus positions for schools.

A Member pointed out that the schools budget showed a deficit. The Chief Officer Resources explained that this report did not provide details for individual schools but confirmed that the Reserves report also on the agenda showed an overall deficit for school balances.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1.

Agreed
9. CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING 2017/2018, PROVISIONAL OUTTURN
Report (97K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (167K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (43K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (49K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources which was presented to update Members on the provisional outturn against budget for the financial year 2017/2018 across all portfolios.

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

In response to a Member's question regarding expenditure on workplace transformation, the Chief Officer Resources said that the expenditure related to refurbishment works at Anvil Court, Abertillery and the Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1, namely

  • the appropriate financial control procedures agreed by Council continue to be supported; and
  • the budgetary control and monitoring procedures in place within the Capital Team to safeguard authority funding be noted.
Agreed
10. REVENUE BUDGET MONITORING 2018/2019, FORECAST TO 31 MARCH 2019 (AS AT 30 JUNE 2018)
Report (158K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (56K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (267K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (78K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (368K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (52K/bytes)
Appendix 6 (186K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources which was presented to provide Members with the forecast financial year position across all portfolios for the financial year 2018/2019 (as forecast at 30 June 2018).

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

A Member raised concerns regarding the continuation of budget savings in relation to Looked After Children although he supported change, the Council needed to be mindful of pressures on vulnerable services when setting targets for budget savings in future years.

In response to a Member's question regarding Universal Credit and its impact on Social Services, the Corporate Director of Social Services informed Members that there had been a small increase in Universal Credit cases, however it was too early in the process to predict additional cost pressures but the Directorate would monitor the effect on Council budgets and services.

A Member highlighted Appendix 2d page 106 and enquired whether the variance in relation to the General Officers should be an 'adverse variance'. The Chief Officer Resources responded that she would check on the information provided and would report back to the next meeting.

The Member also pointed out that Appendix 2d page 107 showed that the Catering Account figure was almost doubled to what was originally estimated. The Chief Officer Resources noted the Members comment and said that a review of the Catering service was being undertaken.

Another Member commented that he had wished to raise questions on the Action Plan but was disappointed that no senior officers from the Environment & Regeneration Directorate were in attendance. The Managing Director assured Members that this issue would be addressed to ensure Environment & Regeneration senior officers attended future meetings.

A Member raised concerns in relation to the schools budget and the 2% staffing cost increase in September, the Council had only budgeted for 1.0% increase. The Head of Education Transformation said that the Council had protected schools budget by 1% with the Individual School Budgets (ISB) of 42m being delegated directly to schools. The overall position regarding surpluses had generally reduced.

In relation to the adverse variance for CCTV the Chair said that the adverse variance was due to overspends in the contract prices with Newport CBC and BT. The long term sustainability of the CCTV service was under review and a report would be presented to Council in due course.

The Managing Director added that the CCTV system was not fully functioning across the borough and proposals were currently being developed to improve the service. Members would have the opportunity to consider the proposals at Council before approval.

The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1, namely;

  • the appropriate financial control procedures agreed by Council continue to be supported; and
  • that the action plans at Appendix 4 developed to address forecast adverse variances at the end of June 2018 be noted.
Agreed
11. CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING 2018/2019, FORECAST TO 31 MARCH 2019 (AS AT 30 JUNE 2018)
Report (93K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (190K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (44K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources which was presented to provide members with an overview of each Portfolio's forecast capital expenditure against funding approvals for the 2018/2019 financial year, as at 30th June 2018.

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

A Member raised concerns in relation to the scaffolding costs associated with the Company Shop, Tredegar. The Chief Officer Resources informed Members that the Company Shop, Tredegar currently forecasted an overspend of 9,449. Discussions were ongoing with the owners and CADW regarding the future of the property and it was anticipated that a resolution would be reached at the end of this financial year.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1, namely:

  • the appropriate financial control procedures agreed by Council continue to be supported; and
  • the budgetary control and monitoring procedures in place within the Capital Team to safeguard authority funding be noted.
Agreed
12. USE OF GENERAL AND EARMARKED RESERVES 2018/2019
Report (142K/bytes)
Appex 1 (105K/bytes)
Appex 2 (85K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Chief Officer Resources which presented the forecast reserves position for 2018/2019 as at Quarter 1 (30 June 2018).

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

In response to a Member's question regarding Earmarked Reserves in relation to Community Asset Transfers, the Chief Officer Resources clarified that an annual revenue budget of 50,000 had been established and during 2017/18 only 24,000 had been spent with the remainder transferred into reserves for use in 2018/19.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and

  • the negative impact the 0.950m forecast adverse variance for 2018/2019 would have on the General Reserve be noted;
  • the implementation of service Action Plans to address the in year forecast adverse variance of 0.950m (as reported in the Revenue Budget Forecast report) be supported; and
  • the development of a plan to maintain the general reserve at the 4% target level for 2019/2020 and future years be supported.
Agreed