Agenda and draft minutes

Strategy and Resources Committee - Thursday 11th November 2021 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Committee Services  Email: committee.clerk@maldon.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Chairman's Notices

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and went through some general housekeeping arrangements for the meeting.

 

Referring to recent changes to the Leadership of the Council Councillor Siddall advised that he would be resigning as Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee commenting on how he had enjoyed his time as Chairman of this Committee.  The Chairman thanked Councillors Stamp and Nunn, who had led the Council for the past year, for their work, contribution, and the huge difference they had made to the Council and residents of the Maldon District. 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R G Boyce MBE and K M H Lagan. 

 

The Chairman asked that it be recorded that Councillor C Morris was in attendance.

3.

Minute - 16 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To confirm the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on Thursday 16 September 2021, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

(i)              that the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 16 September 2021 be received.

 

Minute 274 – Chairman’s Notices

The Chairman referred to an announcement he had made at the last meeting regarding behaviour at the July meeting.  He requested that the final sentence of the Minute relating to this be redacted.  The Chairman apologised to Councillor Miss White who had been the victim of abuse as a result of this.

 

At this point, the need for all Members to show respect, be working ethically, respecting diversity and equality was reiterated by the Chairman.

 

RESOLVED

 

(ii)            that subject to the above amendment, the Minutes of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 16 September 2021 be approved.

4.

Disclosure of Interest

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

 

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

Minutes:

Councillors M F L Durham and W Stamp disclosed a non-pecuniary interest as a Member of Essex County Council and any matter that come up relating to that authority.

5.

Public Participation

To receive the views of members of the public, of which prior notification in writing has been received (no later than noon on the Tuesday prior to the day of the meeting).

 

Should you wish to submit a question please complete the online form at:

www.maldon.gov.uk/publicparticipation.

Minutes:

No requests had been received.

6.

Budgetary Control April - September 2021 pdf icon PDF 305 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 providing information in relation to financial performance over the period 1 April to 30 September 2021.  The report provided an update on a number of areas including the following:

 

·                  Gross Service Income and Expenditure;

 

·                  Top Expenditure Areas and Variance Analysis - A detailed breakdown of refuse and recycling was set out in Appendix 2 and ICT expenditure in Appendix 4. 

 

·                  Top Income Areas and Variance Analysis – Refuse and recycling income was attached as Appendix 3 to the report;

 

·                  Salary Monitoring as at 30 September 2021;

 

·                  Impact on the General Fund Balance;

 

·                  Capital Projects Monitor as at 30 September 2020 (Appendix 1)

 

It was noted that the Council’s ability to operate within its budget had been directly impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic and continued to result in income shortfalls and expenditure overspends.  Although Government Grants had mitigated some of this, they had not fully compensated the Council.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendation as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

Members debated the report and in response to a question regarding refuse and recycling, the following information was provided:

 

·                 Appendix A to the report provided a breakdown in respect of waste and recycling.  The additional vehicle was required due to the increase in waste during the covid pandemic and specifically related to the 20% increase in recycling.  The Director of Resources confirmed that the Council had agreed to vary the contract.  It was noted that the price for recycling had increased and this would be factored into the end of year outturn.

 

In response to a specific matter related to a green waste customer in her Ward, the Director of Service Delivery advised that he would contact Councillor Miss S White outside of the meeting.

 

Councillor M F L Durham commented on the professionalism of the Council’s cemetery staff and work they had been continuing to undertake during recent difficult times.  In response to a query he raised regarding maintenance of the cemeteries, the Director of Service Delivery advised he a review of parks staffing was currently being undertaken with Officers also looking at potential growth items and was happy to discuss growth items with Councillor Durham.

 

The Chairman put the recommendation which was duly agreed.

 

RESOLVED that the forecasted 2021 / 22 financial position at the midway point of the financial year be noted.

7.

Supplementary Estimates, Virements, Procurement Exemptions and Use of Reserves: 1 September 2021 - 31 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 236 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 and Procurement Exemptions agreed under delegated powers where they were below the levels requiring approval by the Committee.  It was noted that there was no drawdowns from Reserves during this period.

 

Member’s attention was drawn to two Virements, two Supplementary Estimates set out in the report, for information only.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report and these were duly seconded.

 

During the debate that ensued a number of comments and questions were raised in relation to the procurement exemptions detailed and the following information provided:

 

·                 First Aid cover at Promenade Park, Maldon was to ensure that the appropriate First Aiders were present and mainly related to the Splash Park area.

 

·                 Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment Update 2021 – 2022 related to Local Development Plan (LDP) work, looking at what the Council might need in the future and where a contractor was required to undertake some assessment work.  It was requested that the description refer to the LDP.  In response to a question regarding the cost, the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance advised that although he didn’t have the detail, he would look into this and respond to Members outside of the meeting.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report and these were duly agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)               That the Virements as detailed in paragraph 3.2.1 of the report, be noted;

 

(ii)              That the Supplementary Estimates as detailed in paragraph 3.3.1 of the report be noted;

 

(iii)            That the Procurement Exemptions as detailed in paragraph 3.4.1 of the report, be noted.

8.

2021 / 22 Half Yearly Treasury Management Update pdf icon PDF 253 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 setting out the Council’s investment activity for the first half of 2021 / 22 in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Treasury Management (TM) Code.

 

The report provided an update on the following areas and further details were set out in the related Appendices:

·                 An overview of the external economic environment - Appendix 1 to the report had been prepared by Arlingclose who provide treasury management consultancy and advice services to the Council.

 

·                 Investment Activity (April 2020 – September 2021), including an update in respect of Brexit and the Coronavirus.

 

·                 Performance – Budgeted income and outturn.

 

·                 Compliance with Prudential Indicators and Treasury Management Strategy (Appendix 2).

 

·                 Outlook for the remainder of 2021 / 22 provided by Arlingclose.

 

It was noted that only one of the Prudential Indicators had been briefly breached and a prudent approach had been taken in relation to investment activity with priority being given to security and liquidity over yield.

 

The Chairman put the recommendation as set out in the report.  This was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED that the Treasury Management report be noted for compliance purposes.

9.

2022 / 23 Fees and Charges Policy pdf icon PDF 219 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that the agenda incorrectly referred to 2021 / 22 and ththe Fees and Charges Policy related to 2022 / 23.

 

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ review of the fees and charges policies that had been put forward by Officers prior to approval of the 2022 / 23 budget.

 

Appendix A to the report set out the current position for each fees and charges policy including any concessions being given, further financial information and comments.  The report summarised proposed changes to the Fees and Charges Policy and it was noted that no new Fees and Charges policies had been added.

 

It was noted that the detailed schedule of Fees and Charges would be reviewed based on policy decisions and this Committee would recommend to the Council the 2022 / 23 Fees and Charges during the next cycle of meetings.  The 2022 / 23 income budget would be based on the recommended policy.

 

The Chairman put the recommendation as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

It was noted that the commercial service box office related to where the Council acted as ticket facilitator for events.  The Director of Resources explained that Officers would be carrying out a review of events to ensure that the charges applied for providing this service were fit for purpose.

 

Members were advised that the inflation figure would be included as part of the next detailed fees and charges report due to be considered by this Committee.

 

The Chairman then put the recommendation as set out in the report and this was duly agreed by assent.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Fees and Charges policies for 2022 / 23 (as set out in APPENDIX 1 to these Minutes), be approved.

10.

Climate Action Strategy pdf icon PDF 221 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 Strategy, Performance and Governance seeking Members’ approval of the Climate Action Strategy (attached at Appendix 1 to the report).

 

The report provided background information and work undertaken to develop a Climate Action Strategy (the Strategy) since the Council had declared a Climate Emergency on 4 February 2021.  Members noted that the Strategy set out a number of Climate Action aspirations for the District and five Climate Action Pledges.  An Equality Impact Assessment of the Strategy was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

Members were reminded that having a Climate Action Strategy would enable the Council to apply for funding to ensure better outcomes for the District and gain access to Climate Action tools and support both locally and national.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report and this was duly seconded.

 

Councillor W Stamp referred to the work undertaken by the Strategy, Policy and Communications Manager, Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance and their team and welcomed that engagement the Council was doing which she had promoted when she was Leader of the Council.  The Chairman referred to the work that Councillor Stamp had been doing with other Local Authorities to ensure the Council whilst creating its Climate Action Strategy was benefitting from lessons learnt by other Councils.

 

In response to a question the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance advised that there was no budget to deliver all the aspirations set out in the Strategy, but it would be used to attract external funding and the Council was in discussions as to how to implement this. 

 

It was noted that following approval of the Strategy a fully costed and deliverable action plan would be developed and the Council had submitted a funding bid for £125,000 over three years.

 

The Chairman put the recommendations which were duly agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              That the programme made in developing the Climate Action Strategy through the work of the Climate Action Member Working Group be noted;

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(ii)            That the Climate Action Strategy attached at APPENDIX 2 to these Minutes be approved and endorsed.

11.

Rural Settlement List pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Member’s approval of the Rural Settlement List for the financial year 2022 / 23 (attached at Appendix A to the report) to determine and award Rural Rate Relief to eligible businesses.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendation set out in the report.  This was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED that the Rural Settlement List attached as Appendix A to the report be approved.

12.

Marketing and Communications Strategy Progress Update pdf icon PDF 270 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 Strategy, Performance and Governance providing the first progress update on the Marketing and Communications Strategy (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) which had been approved by this Committee on 17 October 2019 and delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

The report provided background on work undertaken and the following areas:

 

·                 Digital / tourism;

 

·                 Social media – Appendix 2 to the report highlighted the statistical analysis of the Council’s social media channels;

 

·                 Community Engagement;

 

·                 Filming;

 

·                 Internal Communications;

 

·                 Campaigns.

 

The Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance presented the report and commended the work of the team, both in terms of the quality and volume of output they had provided.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report and these were duly seconded.

 

Following a comment raised in respect of the Council providing a front facing customer service and its visibility to residents, Members were advised that a review of statistical data and was being carried out to assist with updating the Customer Strategy.  The Group Manager - Customers provided Members with some further statistical information and reassurance of the service being delivered by the Council.

 

The Chairman put the recommendations which were duly agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              That the amount of work carried out by the team to communicate Covid-19 guidance be acknowledged along with the impact it had had on the team’s ability to deliver any face-to-face engagement and tourism specific activities;

 

(ii)            That the direction of travel of the Marketing and Communications Strategy, be supported acknowledging that where possible the team have delivered communications activities and that this is continuously being monitored as the pandemic guidelines and potential winter impacts evolve

13.

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 of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 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 item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1of Schedule 12A to the Act, and that this satisfies the public interest test.

14.

Land Purchase / Development Projects: Project Approach and Governance Proposal

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ approval to commence with appointing the external project resources required by the Land Purchase / Development Projects.  The report also sought approval to drawdown from commuted sums in order to deliver Phase 1 of the project.

 

The report provided background information following the Council’s agreement to pursue the opportunity to purchase land for the purposes of building affordable housings in the District.  It was noted that the project would be delivered in three phases and these were set out in the report.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendation as set out in the report.  This was duly seconded and agreed by assent.

 

The Committee expressed its thanks to the Commercial Manager for his work in relation to this mater.

 

RESOLVED that the use of £185,000 of commuted sums to obtain outline planning permission for the site (Phase 1) be approved.

Appendices pdf icon PDF 540 KB

Additional documents: