Agenda and minutes

Finance and Corporate Services Committee - Tuesday 25th September 2018 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

453.

Chairman's notices

Minutes:

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

454.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were none.

455.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee held on 31 July 2018, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31 July 2018 be approved and confirmed.

456.

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.

457.

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.

458.

Superfast Broadband in Maldon District pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery updating Members on progress of delivery of the Superfast Essex Broadband Programme in Maldon District. 

 

The report provided background information regarding the Superfast Essex Broadband Programme and an update on progress to date.  Members were reminded of the funding agreement between the Council and Essex County Council agreed in 2014 and then renegotiated in 2016. 

 

It was noted that the latest figures showed that Maldon District was current at 81.5% coverage and this was detailed in Appendix 2 to the report.  As part of the Phase 2a rollout the Maldon District was due to receive a further 15% increase in connectivity (from a baseline of 77% at the end of Phase 1), ensuring that up to 92% of homes and businesses in the District could access superfast broadband.  Appendix 1 to the report detailed premises that would benefit from Phase 2a.  Phase 3 was planned to start in 2019, with both Phases 2 and 3 due for completion by December 2019.

 

Members’ were advised that the £45,000 contribution (paid over three years of the duration of Phase 2A) had not yet been transferred to Essex County Council (ECC).  ECC was drawing up a bilateral funding agreement to cover the delivery of Phase 2a in the Maldon District, this would include trigger points for payment and suggested points were set out in the report.

 

Some Members expressed concern as to whether it was still worth investing in this project.  Councillor A S Fluker commented that living in a remote location he had been advised that he would never receive high speed broadband and felt that this was something BT would roll out whether the Council funded it or not.  He proposed that under the six month rule, the Committee recommend to the Council that the offer (the Council’s contribution of £45,000 over three years to contribute to the delivery of Phase 2a) be withdrawn.  This was duly seconded.

 

In response to a question regarding consequences to the Council if this proposal was agreed, the Economic Development and Partnerships Manager advised that in his opinion this would risk damaging the Council’s reputation in respect of financial commitment.

 

Councillor Sismey reminded Members that when making the decision to contribute to the Superfast Broadband programme the Council had been clear that monies would only be committed if there was an incremental delivery of the programme.  The Chairman referred to the proposal in the name of Councillor Fluker[1]which highlighted how Members were not confident with the incremental delivery of superfast broadband.  He then put the proposal to the Committee and upon a vote being taken this was unanimously agreed.

 

Councillor B S Beale commented that Devonshire and Crown Roads in Southminster had not been included in Appendix 1 to the report.  In response the Director of Resources advised that she would pass this information on accordingly.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Council’s contribution of £45,000 over three years to contribute to the delivery of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 458.

459.

Supplementary Estimates, Virements and Use of Reserves: 28 June - 31 August pdf icon PDF 105 KB

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources, reporting to the Committee virements and supplementary estimates agreed under delegated powers.  The report also reported on procurement exemptions granted during the period.

 

Members noted that there had been one procurement exemption for the upgrade of the Land Charges software.  This was only available from once supplier, hence the exemption request.

 

RESOLVED that the procurement exemption detailed in the report be noted.

460.

Medium Term Financial Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 167 KB

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources updating Members on the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and seeking approval of principles to be adopted for the 2019 / 20 budget setting process.

 

Members were advised that a review of the MTFS had taken place and savings of £2.0m were required to close the budget gap to the end of the period 2022 / 23.  It was noted following a review the negative Revenue Support Grant (RSG) had been eliminated for 2019 / 20 and therefore removed from the MTFS.

 

The Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) were working with Ignite to deliver the Council’s Future model which was anticipated to deliver £1.489m of savings.  The Finance Team were currently working on a zero based budget with no growth items and would be scrutinising the current budget for underspends to inform this.

 

A number of principles for the 2019 / 20 budget process were proposed and set out in the report.  Members were reminded that they were not making any policy decision at this time but being asked to consider these principles which would be used to calculate the MTFS.

 

In response to a question regarding retrospective funding, the Director of Resources advised that this would not be allowed.  Councillor A S Fluker referred to a specific matter where additional funding had been approved and in response, the Director of Resources agreed to provide Members with an update in respect of this.

 

RESOLVED that the following principles be adopted for the 2019 / 20 budget setting process:

·                 The budget process will be carried out on a business as usual basis, with updates being made for the future model, as and when they are confirmed.

·                 No additional budget growth (including one-offs growths) will be added save for exceptional circumstances;

·                 The principle of zero based budgeting will apply for the 2019 / 20 budgets onwards;

·                 The Council is to improve income generated through fees and charges following a review of the existing fees and charges policy;

·                 Review the Policy on Reserves and Balances to ensure that it supports the delivery of the corporate priorities;

·                 Capital funding will only be allocated if essential, value for money is demonstrated and the project is fully deliverable;

·                 All support service budgets will be centralised (i.e. legal), and,

·                 Key projects will be progressed for the commercialisation agenda through the Full Council Transformation.

461.

Human Resources Statistics - Quarter One 2018 / 19 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and noted the report of the Director of Resources presenting Human Resources statistics for the period 1 April to 30 June 2018. 

 

Statistics and updates relating to the following areas were detailed in the report:

·                 Labour Turnover;

·                 Recruitment;

·                 Job Vacancies;

·                 Staff Sickness Levels;

·                 Attendance Management Compliance;

·                 Workforce Statistics – attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

 

It was noted that as a consequence of the implementation of the Future Model, a hold had been placed on all non-essential recruitment and therefore there had been a low level of recruitment during Quarter One.  Human Resources (HR) continued to work with the Corporate Leadership Team and Ignite regarding implementation of the people, culture and change work streams under the Future Model.

 

Members noted that the overall staff sickness levels were 2.13 days per Full Time Equivalent and this was the lowest they had been since Quarter One 2014 / 15.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

462.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

To resolve that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.

463.

Crematorium Project Update

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery providing Members with an overview of the work carried out to assess the commercial viability of a crematorium within the Maldon District.

 

The report provided background information to this project along with current crematoria provision across Essex.  Detailed financial modelling had been undertaken and the report detailed this along with potential operating costs, land acquisition & build costs, research carried out on the likely crematorium throughput and sensitivity and the outcomes of these.

 

Members were advised that following completion of the business case it had been concluded that there was no benefit in exploring the viability of a crematorium within the Maldon District as demand would not be sufficient to general surplus income.

 

A lengthy discussion ensued, during which further clarification was provided by Officers in respect of some of the detail set out in the business case.  It was agreed that Officers would circulate to Members of the Committee the financial data within the business case.  The Chairman advised that should Members have further concerns, on receipt of this information, these could be brought forward to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

Councillor D M Sismey proposed that the recommendation as set out in the report be amended to read “…should not be taken forward for now”.  This amendment was duly agreed and upon a vote being taken the amended recommendation was agreed by the Committee. 

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              that the outcome of initial investigations be noted;

 

(ii)            that further work on the Crematorium project not be taken forward for now.

464.

Disposal of Land at Springfield Road, Burnham-on-Crouch

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting a proposal received to purchase a plot of land in the Council’s ownership at Springfield Road, Burnham-on-Crouch.

 

The report provided background information following receipt of the request to purchase land.  Members were advised that a valuation report had been obtained and this was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and a map of the area in question was detailed at Appendix 2.

 

It was noted that the name of the interested party, detailed in the report, was incorrect and Members were advised of what this should be amended to.

 

Councillors P G L Elliott and A S Fluker declared interests in this item of business as they were a casual acquaintance of the interested party.

 

Councillor Fluker proposed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee in conjunction with the Section 151 Officer negotiate on behalf of the Council in respect of the disposal of land and report back to this Committee for decision.  This proposal was duly seconded and agreed.

 

RESOLVED that the Director of Resources, in conjunction with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee negotiate on behalf of the Council in respect of the disposal of land at Springfield Road, Burnham-on-Crouch and report back to a future meeting of this Committee for decision.