Agenda, decisions and minutes

Executive
Thursday, 24th January, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: New Council Chamber - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services (01737 276182)  Email: Democratic@reigate-banstead.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

84.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 29 November 2018.

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Executive meeting held on 29 November 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed.

85.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Minutes:

Executive Members: None.

Non-Executive Members: Councillor M.S. Blacker and Councillor M.J. Selby.

86.

Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

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Minutes:

None.

87.

Observations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Draft Budget Proposals for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To receive and consider the comments received from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the Service and Financial Plans for 2019/20.

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Minutes:

Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Finance, submitted a report that set out the outcome of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s consideration of the draft budget proposals for 2019/20.  The report included the relevant statutory powers, the outcome of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s considerations, legal, financial and equalities implications, consultation undertaken and policy framework considerations.

 

The Executive Member for Finance thanked Councillor N.D. Harrison for his hard work in chairing the Budget Scrutiny Review Panel. He also expressed his gratitude to the Members of the Scrutiny Review Panel the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to Officers for their contribution to the process. It was noted that the Panel had conducted a thorough review of the budget proposals, aided as in previous years by a high number of advance questions. The report and recommendations of the Panel were subsequently considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December.

 

It was noted that following its deliberations the Committee had put forward five recommendations (set out in paragraphs 12 to 14 of the report presented) for consideration by the Executive.  Councillor Schofield confirmed each of these areas had been carefully considered and reflected on the Committee's overall positive conclusions about the provision budget proposals.

 

In response to the recommendation for an internal audit of "how budgets are developed and reported" the Executive Member for Finance confirmed internal auditors regularly carried out audits of the Council's Service and Financial Budget Setting Process. It was explained that they had reported most recently in January 2018 and that their findings included the following observation: "the Council can take substantial assurance that the controls upon which the organisation relies to manage the identified area are suitably designed, consistently applied and operating effectively". It was highlighted that no areas of weak controls or non-compliance with controls had been identified and accordingly no "actions for management" had been raised.

 

The Executive was asked to note that:

 

-       Since the proposed budget had been reviewed by Overview and Scrutiny there had been a Provisional Settlement announcement from the Government, including additional information on the level of Business Rates the Council would retain in 2019/20. 

 

-       An update on this announcement, along with additional information concerning the Council's Capital Programme, had been provided to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in January. It was highlighted that the contents of which had been reflected in the Budget 2019/20 and Capital Programme 2019 to 2024 report (set out at item 6 to the Executive agenda).

 

-       The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had made no additional recommendations in response to this information.

 

During the discussion it was highlighted that moving forward, and throughout the year, financial scrutiny would become even more important, especially in view of the growing complexity of local government.   

 

In conclusion, the Executive Member explained he did not believe there would be any merit in commissioning a further internal audit of how budgets were developed and reported, especially as the service and financial planning process remained the same as at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.

88.

Quarterly Performance Report (Q2 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider the Performance Report for Quarter 2 (2018/19).

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Minutes:

Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Finance, submitted a report with financial and performance monitoring information for the second quarter of 2018/19. The report provided information on major variances in relation to the Council's overall performance for the period.

 

The Executive Member for Finance confirmed that 8 of the Council’s 14 key performance indicators were on target or within agreed tolerances. Councillor Schofield provided information on each of the major variances and the Executive was informed that no new strategic risks had been identified during the quarter. 

 

The quarterly performance report was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 6 December 2018. It was noted that the Committee had asked for a description of the colour codes used to rate risks on the Council’s risk registers to be included in future reports. It was also highlighted that the Committee had queried the identification and evaluation of risks relating to Brexit. It was noted that further information on each of these observations had been set out in the covering report presented.

RESOLVED that the performance outlined in the report of the Director of Finance and Organisation be noted.

 

Reason for decision: To consider the performance for the second quarter of the financial year 2018/19.

 

Alternative options: None.

89.

Budget 2019/20 and Capital Programme 2019 to 2024 pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To propose a budget for approval for the 2019/20 financial year.

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Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance, Councillor T. Schofield, introduced the proposed Budget for 2019/20 which included an updated capital programme up to 2024 for recommendation to Full Council. 

 

It was noted that a consultation exercise had been undertaken on the savings and growth proposals, considered by the Executive in November 2018.  These proposals had been the subject of review by the Budget Scrutiny Panel and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Schofield highlighted that the findings and recommendations from Overview and Scrutiny had been reported separately to the Executive (under agenda item 4).

 

Councillor Schofield explained that the savings requirements addressed in the report had been driven by the removal of the Revenue Support Grant and changes to business rates retention, as part of the wider national context.

The Executive Member for Finance highlighted that:

 

-       The budget proposals allowed for a continuation of the high quality services provided by the Council. In recognition of this, it was explained that the proposals included moving a number of long term established posts into the base budget. It was noted this would result in an increased budget requirement for 2019/20 but would provide a more sustainable funding structure for future years and would give certainty for staff and service users. 

 

-       The budget savings proposed and income generation forecasts more than covered the planned service improvements for 2019/20. However, it was noted that the Council faced the challenge of a short term loss of income while some regeneration and income generation projects came on stream.  In response to questions, it was explained that the Council had established ring-fenced reserves to respond to this.

 

-       The Government’s Provisional Settlement, announced on 13 December 2018, had mitigated the impacts of the previously-anticipated £1.48m reduction in business rates receipts in the short term. As a result, the Council would no longer need to draw on reserves in order to present a balanced budget for 2019/20. However, in response to questions, it was explained that this was only expected to delay funding reductions.

 

-       The favourable Settlement presented a budget growth opportunity to establish a permanent budget of £0.250m to fund new posts as a result of team restructures during 2019/20. In response to questions, it was explained that the intention was for this arrangement to continue in future years and would be built into Medium Term Financial Plan and budget projections moving forward.

 

-       The report presented included details of the capital investment plans. In response to questions, it was highlighted that these plans demonstrated a breadth of activity across the borough to improve and enhance the Council’s asset base.

 

-       The capital programme would form the foundation for planned work over the coming months to develop the Council’s Capital Investment Strategy. This would support delivery of the Council’s Corporate Plan and Housing Strategy which were both under development.         

 

The Chief Finance Officer’s statement on the proposed budget, was noted, which pointed out the risks and uncertainties associated with the budget proposals.

 

During the discussion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.

90.

Council Tax Setting 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

The purpose of this report is to propose the technical recommendations which Council will need in order to comply with The Local Government Finance Act 1992 and set a legally compliant budget.

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Minutes:

A report was submitted on the level of Council Tax for 2019/20. Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Finance, explained that the report set out relevant statutory powers, issues (the proposed Council Tax increase and current information relating to precepting authorities), legal, financial and equalities implications, risk management considerations, consultation undertaken and policy framework factors.

 

Councillor T. Schofield informed the Executive that the proposed Council Tax would be the subject of a recommendation to the February Council meeting. That meeting would receive confirmation of the final precept levels from the County Council and the Police together with any necessary adjustments required.

 

In response to questions, it was explained that when the report was produced a 4.99% increase was assumed for the County Council and £24 for the Police Authority. However, it was highlighted that Surrey County Council had subsequently put forward a recommendation for an increase of 2.99% (with no separate adult social care element). The Executive Member for Finance confirmed that these changes, once confirmed, would form part of the update to the February Council meeting.

 

RECOMMENDED that:

(i)

It be noted that on 13 December 2018 the Council calculated:

 

(a)  the Council Tax base 2019/20 for the whole Council as 60,243 [Item T in the formula in Section 31B(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended (the “Act”)] and,

 

(b)  for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates:

Horley Town Council                                      9,843

Salfords & Sidlow Parish Council                 1,409

 

(ii)

The Council Tax requirements for the Council’s own purposes for 2019/20 (excluding Parish precepts) is calculated at £13,702,585.

 

(iii)

That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2019/20 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:

 

a.            £73,325,578– being the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 32(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils.

 

b.            £59,218,953– being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 32(3) of the Act.

 

c.            £14,106,625 – being the amount which the aggregate at iii.(a) above exceeds the aggregate at iii.(b) above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 32(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year (item R in the formula in Section 32(4) of the Act).

 

d.            £234.16 – being the amount at iii.(c) above (Item R), all divided by Item T (i.(a) above), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 33(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts).

 

e.            £404,040 – being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act (as per the Annex attached to the report presented).

 

f.             £227.46 – being the amount at iii.(d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at iii.(e) above by item T (i.(a) above), calculated by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Draft Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To seek approval of the Treasury Management Strategy 2019/20 for consultation.

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Minutes:

The Executive considered a report seeking approval to consult on a draft Treasury Management Strategy. This was appended to the report. The covering report set out a range of issues for the Executive to consider.  This included an explanation of significant changes to the Prudential Code, the Treasury Management Code of Practice and other regulations published during 2017 and 2018. It was noted that changes were necessary to reflect the increasingly complex business models that had been adopted by local authorities in response to reductions in other funding streams.

 

Councillor Schofield explained that the Strategy had been broken down into different sections and provided information on each of the following: 

 

-       the Capital Prudential Indicators;

 

-       the Borrowing Strategy; and

 

-       the Treasury Investment Strategy.

 

The Executive was informed that these associated strategies would be reviewed in due course by a Member Panel with the assistance of external Treasury Advisors, to ensure that the proposals within the Treasury Management Strategy best supported the Council’s expected activity during 2019/20 and beyond.

 

Councillor Schofield highlighted further work would be carried out to finalise the Strategy details to ensure alignment with a new Capital Investment Strategy. This would be reported to the Executive in March and full Council in April. 

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the Draft Treasury Management report, including Annex 1 to the report presented, be approved for formal consultation in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

 

Reason for decision: To support the adoption of a Treasury Management Strategy for the 2019/20 financial period.

 

Alternative options: To not support the report or to defer the report and ask Officers to provide more information and/or clarification on any specific points.

92.

Schedule of meetings 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To consider the proposed Schedule of Meetings for 2019/20.

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Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor M.A. Brunt presented a report with a proposed schedule of meetings for the 2019/20 Municipal Year. The draft schedule drew upon past experience and had regard to comments from both Members and Officers.

 

It had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 6 December 2018 and it was noted that the Committee had made no observations for the Executive to consider. However, it was highlighted that there had been one change to the proposed schedule since December, which was to swap the scheduling of the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive in September 2019. Councillor Brunt explained that this was to support earlier consideration of performance reporting.    

 

In response to questions, the Leader of the Council advised that, if required, meetings could be added or cancelled in the course of the year, subject to the usual protocols and statutory requirements.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Schedule of Meetings for the 2019/20 Municipal Year be approved as set out at Annex 1 to the report presented.

Reason for decision: To establish a timetable to ensure the efficient and effective conduct of Council business for the forthcoming municipal year.

 

Alternative options: To amend the timetable set out at Annex 1 to the report presented.

93.

Property Acquisitions

To consider any property acquisitions proposed.

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Minutes:

There was no business to be considered under this agenda item.

 

94.

Statements

To receive any statements from the Leader of the Council, Members of the Executive or the Chief Executive.

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Minutes:

None.

95.

Any other urgent business

To consider any item(s) which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered as a matter of urgency – Local Government Act 1972, Section 100B(4)(b).

 

(Note:  Urgent business must be submitted in writing but may be supplemented by an oral report).

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Minutes:

None.

96.

Exempt business

RECOMMENDED that members of the Press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

(i)            it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act; and

(ii)          the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

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Minutes:

There was no exempt business to be considered.

97.

Property Acquisitions (Exempt)

To consider exempt information in relation to these proposals.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business to be considered under this agenda item.

Note

On conclusion of the meeting, the Leader of the Council informed the Executive that John Jones, (Interim) Head of Legal and Governance (Monitoring Officer), was leaving the Council. On behalf of the Council, the Leader placed on record his thanks to Mr Jones for his help and support.

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