Agenda and minutes

Finance and Corporate Services Committee
Tuesday 29th January 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber. Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

781.

Chairman's notices

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the list of notices published on the back of the agenda.

782.

Apologies for Absence and Substitution Notice

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor D M Sismey.  In accordance with notice duly given Councillor R G Boyce was attending as a substitute for Councillor Sismey.

783.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 948 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee held on 27 November 2018 (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 27 November 2018 be approved and confirmed.

784.

Disclosure of Interest

To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interests or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6-8 inclusive of the Code of Conduct for Members.

 

(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interests as soon as they become aware should the need arise throughout the meeting).

 

Minutes:

There were none.

785.

Public Participation

To receive the views of members of the public on items of business to be considered by the Committee (please see below):

1.               A period of ten minutes will be set aside.

2.               An individual may speak for no more than two minutes and will not be allowed to distribute or display papers, plans, photographs or other materials.

3.               Anyone wishing to speak must notify the Committee Clerk between 7.00pm and 7.20pm prior to the start of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

No requests had been received.

786.

Corporate Health and Safety pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Director of Resources detailing Corporate Health and Safety activity for Quarter Three (1 October to 31 December 2018).  A summary by Directorate and a description of the reported incidents and near misses were set out in the report.

 

Appendix 1 to the report provided details of progress with the Health and Safety Action Plan for 2018 / 19.

 

It was noted that there had been seven reported accidents, five incidents of unacceptable behaviour and follow up action was detailed in the report.  The report detailed a number of roles with Health and Safety responsibilities where there were vacancies following staff leaving the organisation and Members were advised that nominated replacements for these roles would be sought and training provided as appropriate.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Resources agreed to check if there was an alarm bell or other form of alert used by the Council’s Customer Service Advisors on the reception desk to attract colleague’s attention, if required and ensure the system was tested.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)                 That the accident and incident statistics for the quarter be noted;

 

(ii)               That progress with the Health and Safety Action Plan be noted

 

(iii)             That that action required to replace staff with health and safety representatives as they the organisation be noted.

787.

Supplementary Estimates, Virements and Use of Reserves: 31 October - 31 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources reporting:

·                    virements and supplementary estimates agreed under delegated powers;

·                    procurement exemptions that had been granted in the period;

·                    on the use of the Repairs and Maintenance reserve during the year.

 

It was reported that there were no Virements or Supplementary Estimates to be reported for this period.

 

Members noted that there had been one procurement exemption granted to continue with the current banking arrangements and the report provided further detail in respect of this exemption. 

 

A number of requests for funding from the Repairs and Renewals reserve had been approved and the details of these were set out in the report.

 

Councillor Mrs M E Thompson joined the meeting during this item of business.

 

In response to a question regarding the use of reserves being looked at collectively or as individual amounts, the Director of Resources reminded Members of the policy regarding supplementary estimates and explained that this did not apply to the use of reserves.  It was noted that the Council had very clear procurement guidance which did not allow the segregation of things to bypass rules and regulations.  In respect of the use of reserves and the five items reported these were separate incidents which required repairs, had happened at different points in the year and would not be combined together.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

788.

Capital and Investment Strategies for 2019 / 20 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ approval of an annual Capital Strategy (attached as Appendix 1 to the report) and Investment Strategy (attached as Appendix 2 to the report) for 2019 / 20.

 

It was reported that the Capital Strategy had been prepared considering the future plans of the Council, ensuring that they were affordable and prudent.  The Annual Investment Strategy had been updated in line with statutory requirements and good practice, having regard to the Council’s financial position, links to wider strategies, plans and aims and the advice of the Council’s external treasury advisor.  There were no changes to the Council’s treasury management practices or processes, as previously reported to the Committee.

 

In response to questions, the Director of Resources provided the following clarifications:

·                    Loan repayments referred to loans where the Council had borrowed monies;

·                    The Council had no housing stock, but as part of the transfer of housing stock there was a small amount of money the Council received from the Housing Association dealing with the property.

 

It was noted that in Appendix 1 under ‘Investment for Services Purposes’ there was a minor typographical error which would be corrected.

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(i)                 that the Capital Strategy for 2019 / 20 attached as APPENDIX 1 to these Minutes be approved;

 

(ii)               that the Investment Strategy for 2109 / 20 attached as APPENDIX 2 to these Minutes be approved.

789.

Members' Allowances - Independent Members Remuneration Panel Update pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To consider the report of the Independent Members Remuneration Panel, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Independent Members Remuneration Panel (IMRP) seeking Members’ consideration of its recommendations following meetings held in November 2018.

 

It was reported that the IMRP had met three times in November 2018 to consider the introduction of a Members’ Mileage and Expenses Policy along with the level of allowance currently paid as a Special Responsibility Allowance to Area Planning Committee Chairman.  The recommendations of the IMRP to introduce a Members’ Mileage and Expenses Policy and a reduction to the allowance current paid to Area Planning Committee Chairman were set out in Appendix A to the report and the Minutes of its first meeting at Appendix B. 

 

Councillor A S Fluker declared in the interest of openness and transparency an interest in this item of business.

 

Councillor Fluker proposed that an additional recommendation be added to recommend that Members could not spend more than the allowance currently offered to Offers as a form of subsistence.  This proposal was duly seconded. 

 

In response to a number of questions the following information was provided by the Director of Resources:

·                    guidance was issued to all new Members of the Council and the rules in respect of mileage claiming were clearly set out on the mileage claim forms. 

·                    Mileage was not allowed to be claimed for attendance at Party Conferences;

·                    Reference within Appendix A to a single Area Planning Committee was observations of the IMRP and not the Council.  No amendment could therefore be made to this document, it was however noted that the Council had previously considered the introduction of a single Area Planning Committee and agreed not to revisit this matter for a number of years.

·                    Officers would look into alternative means of Members signing in and out when attending the Council Offices.

·                    A new app was currently being tested which sat on stop of the Sage finance system and would allow a user to make mileage and expenses claims via a mobile phone, including attaching a photograph of a receipt.

 

Councillor Fluker clarified his earlier proposition that the new Members’ Mileage and Expenses Policy should reflect the policy currently applicable to Officers.  This was duly agreed.

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(i)                 That a Members’ Mileage and Expenses Policy be introduced reflecting the policy currently applicable to Officers;

 

(ii)               That the allowance currently paid to Area Planning Committee Chairmen be reduced to 50% of the existing rate.

790.

2018 / 19 - 2021 / 22 Capital Programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting year to date spend information on the 2018 / 19 Capital Programme (Appendix A to the report) and the proposed Capital Programme for 2019 / 20.

 

It was noted that two projects from 2018 / 19 were being carried forward into 2019 / 20 and the remainder of the 2018 / 19 Capital Programme was envisaged to be completed by 31 March 2019.

 

The Finance Manager reported that there had not been any change to the proposed 2019 / 20 Capital Projects considered  by this Committee at its last meeting and approved by the Council on 20 December 2018 for taking forward in the budget process.

 

In response to questions the Director of Resources provided the following information:

·                    The purchase of bins related to bins for new housing development which were now built into Section 106 Agreements and recharged for all significant developments.

·                    Expenditure detailed related to the end of Quarter Three.

·                    Officers would confirm if there had been any further spend in respect of the Maldon Cemetery Chapel.

·                    Current Polling booths had been reviewed and where possible repaired.  However some did require replacement.

 

Councillor B E Harker declared an interest in this item of business as he was the Chairman and Treasurer of the Friends of Heybridge Cemetery.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the Quarter Three 2018 / 19 Capital Outturn Table be noted.

791.

Discretionary Fees and Charges 2019 / 20 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources, seeking Members’ consideration of the proposed Fees and Charges for 2019 / 20 (set out in Appendix A to the report).

 

It was noted that the proposed fees and charges for 2019 / 20 had been based on the policy decisions recently updated and agreed by this Committee at its last meeting.  The report detailed the budgets for income generated from fees and charges and highlighted two main changes:

·                    Building Control fees – These fees are the subject of a separate review which will be reported to the Committee once completed.

·                    Clinical Waste – As of 31 January 2019 the NHS was withdrawing its service for the collection of clinical waste.  The free collection has been re-introduced into the budget but officers were carrying out further work in respect of other options available.  It was noted that additional measures were being put in place to ensure use of the free service had been agreed with a GP.

 

In response to a question regarding animal licensing, the Director of Resources reported that new licensing legislation required the Council to licence all dog sitters and kennels.  It was not known at this stage what the costs would be but indicative costs were being sought.

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(i)                 That the detailed Fees and Charges for 2019 / 20 as set out in APPENDIX 3 to these Minutes, be agreed;

 

(ii)               That the revision to the fees and charges policies shown in APPENDIX 4 to these Minutes, be agreed.

792.

Revised 2018 / 19 Estimates, Original 2019 / 20 Budget Estimates and Council Tax 2019 / 20 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting:

·                    for noting, the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement announced by the Government on 13 December 2018;

·                    the revised 2018 / 19 and original 2019 / 20 General Fund Revenue Budget estimate;

·                    the proposed council tax increase for 2019 / 20

·                    the policy for the use of Reserves.

 

The report and associated appendices to the report outlined the following:

·                    the latest information on the provisional Local Government finance settlement 2019 / 20;

·                    revised General Fund revenue budget estimates 2018 / 19;

·                    General Fund revenue budget estimates 2019 / 20;

·                    budget growth, savings and income generation in 2019 / 20;

·                    Essex Region business rates pool to which no changes to the Pool membership had been notified;

·                    an update on interest on investments;

·                    the Council Tax requirement for 2019 / 20;

·                    General Fund balance and revenue reserves;

·                    risks to the Council’s financial position.

 

Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2019 / 20

The Director of Resources reported that she had received written communication which confirmed that the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019 / 20 had been finalised and settlement funding was £1.508.

 

It was noted that this was the last year of the current spending review settlement and therefore 2020 would see a new way of funding.  There were currently consultations out regarding this and the Director of Resources would be arranging a Member briefing and workshop around this.

 

Council Tax

The Director of Resources highlighted the significant precept rises from Essex Police and Essex County Council.  At the request of Members Officers had modelled the budget to try and stay within the line of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which up to the end of December 2018 was 2.4%.  The budget presented included a proposed Council Tax increase of 2.3%.

 

Councillor A S Fluker thanked the Section 151 Officer and her team for the enormous amount of work that had gone into the budget and engaging with him with regards to the Council Tax.  He referred to the need to protect tax.

 

Councillor Fluker proposed that the recommendations as set out in the report, including an increase council tax by £4.43 (2.3%).  This proposal was duly seconded.  It was noted that recommendation (ii)d should read “to retain…”.

 

In response to a question regarding paying off the pension gap, the Director of Resources advised that this had to be paid every four years and monies were being put aside this year for this.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)                 That the main details of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2019 / 20 as set out below and in section 3.4 of the report:

 

2015 / 16
Adjusted

2016 / 17

2017 / 18

2018 / 19

2019 / 20

£m

£m

£m

£m

£m

Settlement Funding Assessment – Maldon

2.447

1.964

1.601

1.474

1.508

Annual % Change

 

-19.7%

-18.5%

-7.9%

-2.3%

Cumulative % Change

 

-19.79%

-34.6%

-39.8%

-38.4%

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(ii)               that the following be approved:

 

(a)                the Summary Revised 2018 / 19 and Original  ...  view the full minutes text for item 792.

793.

Regulation of investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy and Guidance on the Use of Covert Surveillance pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeing Members’ approval of a revised Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy and Guidance on the use of covert surveillance (attached as Appendix 1 to the report).

 

The report set out the Council’s requirement under RIPA and it was noted that the Council’s current Code of Practice on Covert Surveillance had been updated to reflect the new corporate structure and requirements of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and guidance.

 

Members noted that a change was required to the Appendix to amend reference to the Director of Planning and Regulatory Services to Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance.  This would need further amendment when the area of Planning moved across to the Director of Service Delivery.

 

In response to a question, Members were informed that the Council had not undertaken surveillance to assist in the detection of crime and the prevention of fraud and all staff received regular training on RIPA.

 

RECOMMENDED that subject to amendment, the revised Code of Practice on Covert Surveillance, attached as APPENDIX 9 to these Minutes be approved.

Appendices pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents: