Agenda and minutes

Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 16th November, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: R. Perrin Tel: (01992) 564532  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

23.

Substitute Members

(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that there were no substitute members for this meeting.

24.

Declarations of Interest

(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct.

25.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 14 September 2017.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2017 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

26.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

Minutes:

That, as agreed by the Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee and in accordance with Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the following items of urgent business be considered following the publication of the agenda:

 

·                     Draft General Fund CSB, DDF and ITS lists and Savings Update.

27.

Key Performance Indicators - 2017/18 Quarter 2 Performance pdf icon PDF 105 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-013-2017/18).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report on the Quarter 2, Key Performance Indicators 2017/18.

 

The Director of Resources reported that Council was required to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions and services were exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. As part of the duty to secure continuous improvement, a range of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) relevant to the Council’s service priorities and key objectives were adopted each year. The performance against all of the 32 KPIs were reviewed on a quarterly basis.

 

The position with regard to the achievement of target performance for the KPIs at the end of second quarter (30 September 2017) was as follows:

 

(a)                       25 (78%) indicators achieved target;

(b)                       3   (9%) indicators did not achieve target,

(c)                       4   (13%) indicators performed within the agreed tolerance for the indicator, and

(d)                       26 (82%) of indicators were currently anticipated to achieve year-end target, 3 (9%) were uncertain whether they would achieve year-end target and a further 3 (9%) were anticipated not to achieve year-end target.

 

The Director of Resources advised that the resources quarterly indicators were on target. Furthermore, the use of a text message service for late Council Tax payments had proven successful with a spike in payments being made following the reminder.

 

Resolved:

 

That the performance in respect of the second quarter of 2017/18 in relation to the Key Performance Indicators be noted.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The KPIs provide an opportunity for the Council to focus attention on how specific areas for improvement would be addressed, and how opportunities would be exploited and better outcomes delivered. It was important that relevant performance management processes were in place to review and monitor performance against the key objectives, to ensure their continued achievability and relevance, and to identify proposals for appropriate corrective action in areas of slippage or under performance.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

No other options were appropriate in this respect. Failure to review and monitor performance could mean that opportunities for improvement were lost and might have negative implications for judgements made about the progress of the Council. 

 

28.

Annual Audit Letter pdf icon PDF 127 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-014-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report on the External Auditor’s Annual Audit Letter, which would be presented to the Audit and Governance Committee on 27 November 2017. The report had been placed on this agenda to ensure that Members of this Committee were aware of the key issues raised.

 

The Director of Resources advised that the Annual Audit Letter (AAL) confirmed that the Financial Statements gave a true and fair view of the Council’s financial affairs and that the Annual Governance Statement contained in the Financial Statements was not misleading or inconsistent with other information. The external auditors were able to satisfy themselves that the Council had proper arrangements in place to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources, which enabled them to issue an unqualified value for money conclusion.

 

The AAL confirmed that the auditors had not needed to exercise their statutory powers and that they had no matters to report. An audit certificate to close the audit for the year ended 31 March 2017 had been issued on 27 September 2017.

 

The Cabinet Sub-Committee congratulated P Maddock and his team for the work and effort put into Financial Statement.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the External Auditor’s Annual Audit Letter be noted.

 

Reasons for Decisions:

 

To ensure that Members were informed of any significant issues arising from the annual audit.

 

Other Options for Action:

 

The report was for noting, no specific actions were proposed.

29.

Mid-Year Report on Treasury Management and Prudential Indicators 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 168 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-015-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report on the mid-year Treasury Management and Prudential Indicators 2017/18.

 

The Director of Resources advised that the mid-year treasury report was a requirement of the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management. It covered the treasury activity for the first half of the financial year 2017/18.The Council has continued to finance all capital expenditure from within internal resources, the average net investment position had been approximately £35.7m and there had been no significant breaches on any of the prudential indicators.

 

The Council planned to borrow in order to carry out the capital programme and a revised capital programme would be going to Cabinet for approval in December 2017. The forecast Capital Programme for the five years to 2020/21 totalled £124m and was partly funded by £24m borrowing, although at the end of this period there would still be £1.7m available in Capital Receipts and nil in the Major Repairs Reserve.

 

The Cabinet Sub-Committee were asked to note the report.

 

Resolved:

 

That the management of the risks associated with Treasury Management for the first half of 2017/18 be noted.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The report was presented for noting as scrutiny was provided by the Audit and Governance Committee who made recommendations to this Committee when necessary.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

Members could ask for additional information about the CIPFA Codes or the Prudential Indicators.

30.

Quarterly Financial Monitoring pdf icon PDF 150 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-016-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director, Accountancy presented the quarterly financial monitoring report which provided a comparison between the original estimate and the actual expenditure or income, for the period from 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017. The report provided details of the revenue budgets for both Continuing Services and District Development Fund, Capital budgets which included Major Capital schemes.

 

The Cabinet Committee noted that the salaries schedule showed an underspend of £153,000 or 1.3%.

 

Within the Governance Directorate, Development Control income was down on expectations with Fees and Charges £55,000 lower than budget to date although this could be affected by the impending publication of the Local Plan.Building Control income was £64,000 higher than the budgeted and the ring-fenced account had assumed a deficit of £129,000 due to the amount of scanning work required, however the account could breakeven.

 

Within Neighbourhoods Directorate, Public Hire licence income and other licensing was above expectations, although figures included future years so in reality income relating to 2016/17 was £7,000 down. The Income from MOT’s carried out by Fleet Operations was a little above expectations, but the account was budgeted to show a deficit because of higher estimated  business rates and the Car Parking income was a little below expectations. The shopping park would be around £200,000 lower than expected as some units were let late, but the rental income was still expected to be around £2.5m per annum and Local Land Charge income was £9,000 above expectations. The waste management contract showed some underspend due to timing and the leisure contract payments were now on track.

 

The Cabinet Sub-Committee commented that the MOT’s income would need to be kept under review.

 

Within Communities, the expenditure and income relating to Bed and Breakfast placements had been on the increase and although some would be reimbursed by the Department for Work and Pensions, it was only around 50%, leaving a similar amount to be funded from the General Fund. Growth of £12,000 had been included in 2017/18 and a few cases had been rehoused in the Zinc Arts scheme. The Housing Repairs Fund showed an underspend of £84,000 and underspends showed on both Planned Maintenance and Responsive work.

 

The Cabinet Sub-Committee enquired about the completion date of the housing pods to help with the costs relating to Bed and Breakfast placements. The Finance Officer, J Whittaker advised that the pilot pods would be ready by April 2018 and further pods in November 2018. Also, that there were four projects included on the Major Capital Schemes schedule which related to the House Building packages 1, 2 and 3 and the Epping Forest Shopping Park.

 

The Assistant Director, Accountancy advised that the funding retained by the authority after allowing for the Collection Fund deficit from 2016/17 exceeded the government baseline by £389,000 and the actual position for 2017/18 would not be determined until May 2018. In addition the Council was holding £536,413 of cash and benefited from the effective collection of non-domestic rates. The Director of Resources  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Fees and Charges 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-017-2017/18).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director, Accountancy presented a report on the fees and charges to be levied by the Council in 2018/19 and what, if any increases could be made. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) was now 3% and it was proposed to use this as a guide in setting increases.

 

The Assistant Director, Accountancy reported that the Medium Term Financial Strategy had identified the need to find savings of £700,000 over the four year period with £300,000 falling in 2018/19. The Revenue Support funding had already been set for 2018/19 at £193,000 and would be phased out with the Council having to fund all the General Fund services from the Council Tax, Retained Business Rates and Fees and Charges.The scope for increased income as a result of increasing fees and charges was relatively limited as regards the General Fund, though less so with the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). Other options were to introduce fees and charges where they were currently not levied, although this was fairly limited.

 

Within the Communities Directorate, a review of charges at the Limes Centre proposed for regular users (12 occasions or more per year) to be able to take advantage of the scale 1 charge and for charities or residents of the district to be eligible for a 20% discount on the scale 2 charge. The Housing-Related Fees and Charges for 2018/19 were recommended to be increased by 3% with the only exceptions being the charges for Telecare packages to private users; Bed and Breakfast accommodation remaining the same as 2017/18; and the Civil Penalties under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 being added to the list.

 

Within Governance Directorate, the Legal Services proposed to increase legal fees by 3%; Land Charges were to remain the same due to difficulties in service delivery, turn-around times and to be commercially competitive; and the Development Control fee levels controlled by the Government had been suggested to increase by 20% but there had been no clear timetable for this to be introduced.

 

Within the Neighbourhoods Directorate fees and charges included Car Parking Charges, North Weald Airfield rents and charges, MOT’s, various environmental health related charges and Licencing.The MOT income was subject to a maximum charge set by the Vehicle Operating Service Agency (VOSA) currently £54.85 and the Council’s fee were set below this level at £49.00. The charges for the collection of bulk waste represented an increase of 3%, although the Resources Select Committee had been concerned that fly tipping would increase in the district, if this was applied.

 

The Cabinet Sub-Committee commented that the MOT fee should be increased to the charge set by VOSA, as there was little difference and this would probably not affect the revenue. Furthermore, parking at the retail park although restricted to 2 hours did not seem to be consistent with availability and would need to be monitored and fines applied, if required, to allow users to park.

 

Regarding the bulk waste charges, the Cabinet Sub-Committee were advised that officers did  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Draft General Fund CSB, DDF and ITS lists and Savings Update pdf icon PDF 136 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-018-2017/18)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report on the draft Continuing Services Budget (CSB), District Development Fund (DDF) and Invest to Save (ITS) Schedules for 2018/19.

 

The Director of Resources advised that the Financial Issues Paper had been considered by this Sub-Committee at its meeting in July 2017, which highlighted a number of financial uncertainties and risks facing the Authority including the reductions in Central government funding, Retention of Business Rates, Welfare reform and Transformation. The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) identified that savings of around £700,000 were required over the forecast period and £300,000 were required in 2018/19.

 

The total CSB expenditure in 2016/17 had been £215,000 lower than the original budget and £929,000 below the revised; because of this a decision had been taken to fund Capital Expenditure of £1 million from the General Fund balance. This decision had been made because of the significant General Fund balance held by the Council and the comments made by Central Government around ‘excessive’ balances held by local authorities. There were as ever salary savings due to vacancies and this trend had continued into 2017/18 though not as marked. The income from the Shopping Park would be less than expected in 2017/18, due to the various rent free periods and some negotiations with prospective tenants taking longer than expected. A prudent £2.4m had been included on the lists as there would inevitably be some costs incurred in managing the park.

 

The Director of Resources advised that there were a number of areas where further work was required before figures could be included within the budget and finalised. The emphasis in the budget cycle would need to be on CSB savings rather than growth and the figures generally needed to be viewed in the context of this being quite early in the budget preparation process.

 

Members advised that they would have to consider future projects and how these would be financed as it would be more challenging going forward.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the draft the Continuing Services Budget (CSB), District Development Fund (DDF) and Invest to Save (ITS) schedules for 2018/19 be noted; and

 

(2)          That the savings achieved to date as part of the 2018/19 budget process be noted.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

Members were asked to note the first draft of these schedules and make comments as appropriate.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

No other options applicable.