Agenda and minutes

Policy, Finance and Development Committee
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Offices,s Station Road, Wigston

Contact: Gary Waterfield  Email: gary.waterfield@oadby-wigton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Councillors L A Bentley, Mrs L M Broadley and R E R Morris.

2.

Appointment of Substitutes

Minutes:

None.

3.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

None.

4.

Petitions and Deputations

Minutes:

None.

5.

Minutes of the last meeting

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Service Development Committee held on 27 March  2012 be taken as read, confirmed and signed

 

6.

Internal Audit Strategic Plan pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair introduced Mr Ridout who led Members through a copy of the actual plan appended to the report. The document set out a strategic plan of Internal Audit coverage for the period April 2012 – March 2015. The Plan uses a risk-based approach, after consultation with senior management, heads of service and, where appropriate, service managers. It is set out in a professional framework as required by central government. The Internal Audit terms of reference were included at Appendix 3, also for approval by the Committee.

 

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted and that the Internal Audit Strategic Plan be approved and adopted with a note that the plan for 2013-14 and 2014-15 is indicative at this stage and the days allocated to each audit for these future years is likely to change following the first year’s review in 2012-13.

 

7.

North West Leicestershire District Council Local Plan; Core Strategy (Submission Version) Consultation pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Minutes:

Mrs Rae introduced her report, confirming the submission of the District’s Local Plan Core Strategy, representations to which were invited by 9 July. In view of this, comments endorsed by the Chair and the appropriate Officer, had been sent to North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) to comply with this deadline. The report was seeking approval of this authority’s objections, as set out in paragraphs 3.4 to 3.12.

 

NWLDC had sought in its plan to reduce its housing allocation by 500. Blaby DC had done the same to which this Council had also objected, on the basis that if these Councils’ requests are adhered to, the shortfall may impact upon the remaining Districts, who could consequently, have their allocations increased.

 

RESOLVED: That Members approve the submission of an objection in relation to Policy CS1: District Housing Provision of the North West Leicestershire District Council in relation to their Core Strategy – Submission Version as set out in paragraphs 3.4 – 3.12 of the report

 

8.

Welfare Reform and Local Council Tax Support pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Minutes:

In his introduction, the Head of Customer Services (Mr Nowlan) made reference to the Member Workshop to be held the day after this meeting. This report therefore merely introduced the subject so that an outline could be relied upon to take forward to the detailed discussions to be held at the above Workshop, to which all Members had been invited,  which would provide a steer in relation to how future policy should be developed. Following this analysis, Officers can then go away and present a draft policy at the next meeting of this Committee, followed by adoption of the final policy at the Council meeting on 20 November.

 

There were four parts as follows:

  • Council Tax Exemption
  • Localisation of Council Tax Support
  • Housing Benefit Reforms
  • Other Relevant Changes

 

Mr Nowlan led Members through the report, section by section.

 

With regard to part one, he referred to the table on page 23 of the report and the administrative burden indicated in paragraph 4.7. The Council would need to operate a discretionary hardship fund and an example of circumstances qualifying was given at paragraph 4.8

 

In response to questioning, it emerged that there were many other examples and Mr Nowlan confirmed that a copy of all 23 would be sent to Members.

 

Part two dealt with the replacement of Council Tax Benefit and this was the driver behind the time line, to allow plenty of time for public consultation. It also provided ample time for ICT work and Mr Nowlan confirmed that the authority would be ready for the changes on this. However, the subsequent policy when agreed and adopted by the Council would determine how easy the conversion would be. In addition, it also provided for agreement between Districts to be resolved, before the legislation is published in November. There is no final picture at this stage. Members will agree upon this in November, the report merely points a way forward for a policy which the Council will eventually have to adopt.

 

Parts 3 and 4 were self explanatory, being detail to be taken account of in whatever plan is adopted, although details of the universal credit implementation were scant at this stage.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

(i)                 The suggested time line for policy development as outlined in the report be approved

(ii)               The report be noted

(iii)             The Workshop to be held on 11 July be noted

(iv)             It be agreed that the final policy will be approved firstly through this committee in September 2012 and finally by Council in November 2012 in line with legislative requirements

 

9.

Budget Outturn Report - 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Finance (Mr Kohli) introduced this report, and in doing so, introduced the new Head of Finance (Ms Bennett), the report writer. He asked Members to note the three outcomes and confirmed that the Statement of Accounts had been completed in draft form and would come to the next meeting.

 

The financial out turn position is a positive one, with a net £188,000 transferred to balances and earmarked reserves. The Medium Term Financial strategy provided for a contingency for emergency provision and the resultant gap in provision of £1.4 million had all but been covered by the savings of £1.25 million with the rest generated by shared services savings.

 

Whilst there were considerable under spends within the Housing Revenue Account, an overspend of £34,000 not previously identified was the subject of an independent investigation, the outcome of which would be reported to the next meeting.

 

Members concurred in congratulating the Finance team for its strong financial stewardship that had resulted in so positive an outcome, with no cuts in front line services, given the restraints of the current economic climate.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(i)                  the outturn position on the General Fund, HRA and Capital Programme be noted

 

(ii)                the £197,198 transfer from the General Fund and the

                  £9,729 to the Housing Revenue Account be approved

 

(iii)               the list of earmarked reserves included in Appendix 5 be approved

 

(iv)              the requested Capital carry forwards as set out in Appendix 4 be approved.

 

10.

Draft Annual Governance Statement 2011/2012 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That, under Section 100(4) (A) of the Local Government Act 1972, by means of special circumstances in that an additional item of business needed to be considered before the next Meeting of the Committee, the following item should be considered as a matter of urgency.

 

Mr Kohli confirmed that it was requirement to review the Council’s Governance statement annually and it was being presented now in draft form, as the draft had been completed ahead of schedule.

 

RESOLVED: That the draft document be noted ahead of formal approval in September

 

11.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the report be noted

12.

Residents Forums Outturn Report 2011/12 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED That the report be noted

13.

Risk Management Update pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms Bennett ran through the narrative running up to the appearance of the report on this agenda as detailed in paragraph 3 and referred Members to Appendix 1 which contained the proposed Strategic Risk Register for the Council in line with the methodology provided by the Council’s general insurer – Zurich – who offer a risk management advisory service.

 

Consequently, it was proposed to report on this quarterly with any high risks highlighted and this effectively meant that a report would appear each meeting, starting in September.

 

Members concurred on their approval of the progress made.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(i)                 the progress on the roll out of the Risk Management Strategy at a strategic and operational level, be noted; and

the Strategic Risk Register as contained within Appendix 1 to the report, be approved and adopted

14.

Procurement Strategy pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Corporate Procurement Strategy and its associated action plan be approved and adopted

15.

Leisure Contract Consultation pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the public consultation exercise for the future options of the Leisure contract be approved

 

16.

Borough Council Elections - Returning Officers Fees 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the scale of fees as set out in the appendix attached to the report be approved and adopted for the 2012-13 financial year

17.

Organisational Change and Future Work Plans pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Court reported on an update of the review of the Council’s Operating Model following the near completion of it’s second phase and anticipated further steps for the transformation of service delivery including Committee Work Plans for 2012-13.

 

Members noted the employee movements arising from either voluntary or compulsory redundancy. Once the establishment is confirmed, the next step is the harmonisation of employee terms and conditions. A performance management strategy is to be prepared for Members’ consideration at the next meeting.

 

The Committee Work Programme was also noted.

 

RESOLVED: That  the outcome of the review be noted and  the following proposed steps to continue with the work to make the Council fit for purpose to meet the budgetary challenges that lie ahead be agreed:--

 

      1) the harmonisation of employee terms and conditions of employment following employee and Trade Unions consultation. 

         

   2) a Performance Management strategy to be developed and presented at the next meeting of this committee

 

      3) the approval of the attached Work Plans for the committee programme 2012/13

18.

Troubled Families pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Minutes:

Mrs Court presented the Chief Executive’s report setting out details of the national Troubled Families Programme that central government is promoting and expecting every local public service organisation to participate in. Accordingly, the Council is proposing to invest £70,000 from earmarked reserves which should draw an estimated £600,000, through partnership working, into the Borough for the purpose of delivering the programme.

 

A troubled family was defined as one with serious problems including parents not working and children not in school, which can lead to serious problems such as youth crime and anti social behaviour. It is estimated that there are 120,000 such families nationally, with 224 identified within the Borough. The government will contribute up to £4,000 for each family towards the cost of successfully intervening with eligible families. The programme is based upon proven intervention techniques and seeks to turn round the situation over the next three years. Some savings may be made where parents come off benefit into work.

 

In practice, the investment will be in the employment of five dedicated full time Family Support Workers for the three year programme who will focus on working with these Troubled Families. If successful, it is anticipated that all public service organisations will make an allowance in their budgets to maintain the momentum after the three year programme ends.

 

A Member Task Group is proposed, comprised of Committee and relevant Forum Chairs, chaired by the Leader of the Council, reporting periodically to this Committee on progress with the delivery of the programme.

 

It was confirmed that the £70,000 investment was for the three year period of the programme, not per annum. It was agreed that the wording of the Recommendations needed to be amended to clarify this.

 

RESOLVED: That

(i)   the Council invests £70,000, spread over a three year period, from its earmarked reserves into the three year Troubled Families Programme which will draw an estimated further £600,000 into the Borough from the Government and other organisations in order to deliver the programme.

      (ii)  a Member task group is set up in order to oversee the delivery

      of the programme and to ensure that the Council realigns its

      existing services to link into this programme and the wider

      welfare reform agenda

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