Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview & Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: The Council Chamber, Moorlands House, Leek

Contact: Pat Trafford, Democratic & Community Services Officer. Tel. 01538 395551 

Items
No. Item

39.

Notification of Substitute Members, if any

Minutes:

There were no substitute members to the Panel.

40.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the meeting of the Resources Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 28 November be APPROVED as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

41.

Urgent items of Business, if any (24 hours notice to be provided to the Chairman)

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

42.

Declaration of Interests:

      i.        Disclosable Pecuniary Interests;

     ii.        Other Interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

43.

Questions to Portfolio Holders, if any

Minutes:

There were no questions.

44.

Visit by Millbrook re Disabled Facilities Grants

Minutes:

Mike Towers (Senior Officer – Housing, Public Health & Licensing) introduced Chris Williams (Operations Manager – Millbrook Healthcare) to members.

 

Chris gave detailed statistics about his company, highlighting key points including:-  where they operate (nationwide, but predominantly in the south), satisfaction rate amongst customers (99%), number of prescribers (26,000), delivery performance (99.6%), award won (2017 Home Improvement Agency award) and percentage of ‘inherited’ cases completed (91%).

 

Millbrook had looked at the ‘journey’ of an application and had reduced the number of steps from 72 – of which only 11 were of use to the customer – to 15. Installations were now completed within 12 weeks. This had helped to secure financial savings, which resulted in more installations being able to be completed. Staff involved had been transferred across under TUPE rules and the service was now deemed to be robust. There had been 1,042 completions, with 7 complaints and 48 compliments received.

 

Responding to specific member queries, Chris confirmed the following:-

 

·         Was the process the same for private-rented tenants? (Yes, though a Land Registry check has to be done first. The process was much improved in these cases.)

·         If people are unable to get to the Newcastle-under-Lyme office to do the self-assessment, were home visits available? (Yes, people could contact by phone and be ‘triaged’ that way with a follow up home visit within 3 weeks. If they were unable to discuss the matter by phone, applications could be received via letter, with the same time scale for response.)

·         Maintenance costs fell to the householder, leading to a need to get things right first time when installing. Were there any implications? (Manufacturer’s warranties were given – usually 2 years. The contractor picks up any ‘snagging’ issues. Staff would always try to talk customers through any problems they were experiencing, often solving issues without the need to re-visit.)

·         It would be helpful to have a further visit in 18 months – 2 years to see how things were progressing? (Yes, this can certainly be arranged.)

 

 The Chair thanked Chris for his attendance.

 

45.

Third Quarter 2018/19 Financial, Procurement & Performance Review pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council Leader – Councillor Sybil Ralphs – introduced the report to members, which was summarised the Council’s position  at the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2018/19 (31 December 2018) as follows:-

 

Subject

Headline

Reference

Finance

The Finance headlines for the third quarter were:

Performance against Budget

·           The General Fund budget for 2018/19 was forecast to be £148,430 underspent at the quarter three stage.

Efficiency Programme

·           To date, £372,050 had been achieved against the 2018/19 efficiency target of £830,000. Any shortfall may be offset by use of the authority’s earmarked efficiency programme reserve or using in year corporate savings.

Capital Programme

·           The revised Capital Programme budget for 2018/19 was £6.1 million including the carry forward of capital underspends from 2017/18.  The projected outturn for the year was £3.6 million – with £2.5million of projects expected to be re-profiled into future years.

Treasury Management

·           Cash investments held at 31st December 2018 totalled £6.8 million. The Ascent loan and debenture currently stood at £14 million;

·           Council borrowing at 31st December 2018 totalled £7 million (relates to the Ascent loan);

·           The Council’s net interest receipts budget target was projected to be £50,500 above target.

Revenue Collection

·           84.3% of Council Tax was collected by 31st December 2018, compared to 84.5% for the same period last year;

·           80.9% of Business Rates was collected by 31st December 2018 compared with 81.7% for the same period last year;

·           At the end of quarter three the value of sundry debt that was over 60 days old was £133,450, compared to £105,030 at 30th Dec 2017- the current year figure included two invoices for a single customer totalling £57,000 which were paid within 10 days of the quarter end.

 

Appendix A

Procurement

The procurement headlines for the third quarter were:

·         16 procurement activities were completed;

·         The procurement forward plan included 54 procurement activities for 2018/19 (either SMDC only or joint);

·         At 31st December 2018, 62% of procurement activity undertaken was on the forward plan and the Council paid 91% of its invoices within 30 days during the year.

 

Appendix B

Performance

The performance headlines for the third quarter were:

·         Performance in respect of 81% of the key performance indicators was on track;

·         Of the 25 Priority Actions within the Corporate Plan, one was complete, two were still to commence, four were rated amber awaiting a decision, the remainder being classified as ‘Green’;

·         The Council received 70 complaints, 124 comments and 56 compliments in the third quarter. Repeat complaints and response times both on track.

 

Appendix C

 

3 areas of significant underspend were identified on the General Fund Revenue Account:-

 

1.    Legal (£62,100);

2.    Housing Strategy (£79,510);

3.    Corporate Finance (£167,000).

 

5 areas of significant overspend were similarly identified:-

 

1.    Property (£178,310);

2.    Regeneration (£100,890);

3.    Finance, Income & Procurement (£56,950);

4.    Waste Collection (£112,730);

 

Detailed explanations for each of the above were contained in the report and steps were in place to correct each area.

 

It was noted that there had been a drop in the collection rate for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

2019/20 Budget & Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 - 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ralphs presented the proposed Budget for 2019/20, the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan 2019/20 – 2022/23, the Capital Strategy 2019/20, the proposed Fees and Charges for 2019/20 and the Procurement Forward Plan for 2019/20. Each was detailed in the appendices to the report.

 

Discussion took place regarding car parking charges. There was no proposal to increase charges but members queried whether options could be explored to encourage people into the town centres, such as free parking for the 1st 2 hours. Cllr. Ralphs confirmed that discussions had taken place at Cabinet level and any suggestions were welcomed. 1 option which had already been discussed was to have free parking on 1 Saturday per month in each of the 3 main towns. Recent proposals by Staffordshire County Council to introduce on-street parking had met with strong resistance. Feedback was welcomed from members on this subject in order for a robust argument to be put against the proposals. 

 

RESOLVED – Panel members voted to support the following recommendations to Council:-

 

·         To APPROVE the General Fund Budget for 2019/20 as detailed in section 8 of Appendix A to the report;

·         To APPROVE the revised Medium-Term Financial Plan (2019/20 to 2022/23) as detailed in Appendix A to the report, including the revised Capital Programme, detailed in Annex A to the report;

·         To APPROVE the Capital Strategy 2019/20 as set out in Appendix B to the report;

·         To APPROVE the proposed Fees and Charges for 2019/20 as detailed in Appendix C to the report;

·         To APPROVE the proposed Procurement Forward Plan for 2019/20, providing the authority to procure based on procurement activity detailed in Appendix D to the report;

·         To APPROVE a Band D Council Tax of £150.54 for 2019/20 (an increase of 2.9% from 2018/19);

·         To APPROVE a Band D Council Tax of £51.93 for Leek and £10.44 for Biddulph for 2019/20 (an increase of 2.9%) in respect of Special District Expenses;

·         To NOTE the Chief Finance Officer’s view that the level of reserves were adequate for the Council based on this budget and the circumstances in place at the time of preparing it, as shown in Appendix A, Section 7.

 

There were 6 abstentions to the above vote.

47.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Any additional items to be added to the Work Programme:-

      i.        Chairman’s items;

     ii.        Members’ items;

    iii.        Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme be NOTED.

48.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Chair to move:-

 

“That, pursuant to Section 100A(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings whereby it is likely that confidential information as defined in Section 100A (3) of the Act would be disclosed to the public in breach of the obligation of confidence or exempt information as defined in Section 10 I (1) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act would be disclosed to the public by virtue of the Paragraphs indicated.”

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That, pursuant to Section 100A(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings whereby it is likely that confidential information as defined in Section 100A (3) of the Act would be disclosed to the public in breach of the obligation of confidence or exempt information as defined in Section 100 I (1) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act would be disclosed to the public by virtue of the Paragraphs indicated.

 

49.

Ascent - Review of Business Plan / Delivery Model

Minutes:

Executive Director Andrew Stokes gave a presentation to members on the Ascent LLP housing delivery programme.

50.

Call-In of Cabinet Decision

Minutes:

A Cabinet Delegated Decision Ref. 2018/13E – Management Structure – was Called in for discussion by the Panel.