Agenda and minutes

Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 18th January, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Media

Items
No. Item

33.

Webcasting Introduction

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

34.

Substitute Members

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

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Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that Councillor W Breare-Hall would substitute for Councillor J Philip at this meeting.

35.

Declarations of Interest

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

 

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Minutes:

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

36.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 820 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 16 November 2017.

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Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2017 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

37.

Risk Management - Corporate Risk Register pdf icon PDF 110 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-019-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report regarding the Councils Corporate Risk Register.

 

The Corporate Risk Register was considered by the Risk Management Group on 12 December 2017 and the minutes of that meeting were then reviewed by Management Board. These reviews identified amendments and one new risk for the Corporate Risk Register, which were updated as follows;

 

(a)          Risk 1 Local Plan

 

The risk had been updated following the Submission Version 2017 of the Local Plan being agreed by Council at the Extraordinary Meeting on 14 December 2017. The risk vulnerability had been amended to reflect the submission deadline of 31 March 2018. Controls and Required further management actions were also updated.

 

(b)          Risk 2 Strategic Sites

 

The Effectiveness of controls/actions had been amended to advise the updated position for the key sites. Construction had started at Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre and contractors were digging out the swimming pool. Marketing of the Pyrles Lane Nursery site would commence in January 2018.

 

(c)          Risk 4 Finance Income

 

The Key date had been updated to advise that the budget would be considered at the Council meeting on 22February 2018.

 

(d)          Risk 7 Business Continuity

 

The risk vulnerability had been amended to note the need for business continuity responsibilities to be updated following the re-organisation.

 

(e)          Risk 9 Safeguarding

 

The Key date had been amended to May 2018, to reflect the revised submission date for ESCB (Safeguarding Children) audit.

 

(f)           New Risk 11 Transformation Programme

 

The major programme to modernise working practices and improve efficiency had reached a key stage and would be included in the Corporate Risk Register. The Vulnerability, Triggers and Consequence along with supporting controls had been set out and the risk had been scored A1 (Very High Likelihood/Major Impact).

 

The Cabinet Committee advised that the risk profile for the new Risk 11, Transformation Programme was too high and should be reduced, as there was both political and officer willpower to modernise the Council. The Cabinet Committee agreed that a more appropriate risk score would be B1.

 

The Director of Neighbourhoods advised that the Chinese Government had indicated that they would no longer accept imports of paper and card board for recycling, which could have implications for the Council. The Waste Contractor, Biffa advised that they were currently looking for alternative markets although there was a risk share arrangement with the Council to recycle commodities and this could result in a financial loss, but the situation would be monitored. The Chairman asked the Portfolio Holder for Environment, if he wished for this to be added to the Risk Register. Councillor W Breare-Hall advised that he would monitor the situation in consultation with officers, as the position was uncertain at the moment and not add it to the Risk Register. 

 

Resolved:

 

1.            That the risk Vulnerability, Controls and Management actions for Risk 1 be updated;

 

2.            That the Effectiveness of controls/actions for Risk 2 be updated;

 

3.            That the revised Key date for Risk 4 be updated;

 

4.            That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Detailed Directorate Budgets 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-020-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director Accountancy presented a summary of the detailed directorate budgets for 2018/19. He advised that the checking process would continue and slight adjustments would be made until the Budget was agreed by Council on 22 February 2018.

 

The report provided the draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budgets for the financial year 2018/19 and was presented on a directorate by directorate basis. There were accompanying notes giving some background to each service heading and any CSB (Continuing Services Budget) and DDF (District Development Fund) changes proposed. This was the Cabinet Committee’s opportunity to comment and make recommendations prior to the budget being formally set.

 

The budget setting process had commenced with the presentation of the Financial Issues Paper incorporating the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) at the Cabinet Sub-Committee on 20 July 2017, which had identified a savings target for 2018/19 of £0.3 million. The settlement figures provided in December 2015 had been for four years and the Council signed up on the understanding that the figures would be set at that level. However an update had been provided which had reduced the 2018/19 figure by £7,000 and the 2019/20 figure by £50,000. The Government had also provided an update on the New Homes Bonus which would provide £50,000 less than previously estimated in 2018/19. This had resulted in the CSB lists now showing a reduction in funding of £1.125 million as opposed to £1.075 million previously. However there were significant savings from the new Leisure Management Contract and additional income from Land and Property.

 

The move to 100% retention of Business Rates locally, was still being worked on by Central Government and was likely to be later than originally expected. Furthermore, a number of the county areas had applied for pilot status but unfortunately Essex had not been successful and the current retention proportions of 40% District, 9% County and 1% fire were likely to change.

 

The budgets highlighted areas where Continuing Services Budget (CSB), District Development Fund (DDF) savings or growth and Invest to Save (ITS) expenditure had occurred and also where allocation or other changes had affected the budgets. It was noted that with regard to ITS, the figures included within the budgets related to revenue items only. Each budget was presented by the relevant Director.

 

Chief Executive

 

The Chief Executive reported that the budget was made up of mostly recharges for corporate and public accountability activities, subscriptions and Transformation Projects. The original estimate for 2017/18 had been expenditure of £1,466 million, with a probably outcome of £1,408 million. The net increases had been attributed to internal recharges of the Customer Services Team incorporating the Neighbourhoods Contact Centre. The 2018/19 budget also included DDF allocations for process mapping and organisational redesign activities, as well as an ITS allocation for a behavioural insights programme.

 

Communities Directorate

 

The Director of Communities reported that the directorate was responsible for three distinct budgets, which were the Housing General Fund, Community Services & Safety and the Housing Revenue Account  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

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.

Additional documents:

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:

 

·                     Detailed Directorate Budgets 2018/19.

40.

Council Budgets 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 188 KB

(Director of Resources) To consider the attached report (FPM-021-2017/18).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources presented a report detailing the proposed Council Budget for 2018/19, which added £1.14 million to reserves and maintained the Council’s policy on the level of reserves throughout the period of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). Over the course of the MTFS, the use of reserves to support spending peaks at £326,000 in 2020/21, reducing to £285,000 in 2021/22. The budget had been based on the assumption that Council Tax would not increase and that average Housing Revenue Account rents would decrease by 1% in 2018/19.

                                                                                                                       

The annual budget process commenced with the Financial Issues Paper (FIP) being presented to the Sub-Committee on 20 July 2017 and continued the earlier start to the process, which reflected concerns over the reform of financing for local authorities. It highlighted the uncertainties associated with Central Government Funding, Business Rates Retention, Welfare Reform, New Homes Bonus, Development Opportunities, Transformation, Waste and Leisure Contracts, Miscellaneous, including recession and pay awards.

 

In setting the budget for the current year members had anticipated using £100,000 from the General Fund reserves, which had been possible as the MTFS approved in February 2017 showed a combination of net savings targets and limited use of reserves. The limited use of reserves in 2017/18 had not been significant because the MTFS at that time had predicted the use of just under £0.38 million of reserves to support spending in the following three years.

 

The revised MTFS presented with the FIP took into account all the changes known at that point and highlighted the uncertainties around income from business rates. The projection showed a need to achieve additional net savings of £300,000 on the 2018/19 estimates, followed by £250,000 in 2019/20 and £150,000 in 2020/21, to keep the revenue balances comfortably above the target level at the end of 2020/21.

 

The budget guidelines for 2018/19 were therefore established as; the ceiling for CSB net expenditure be no more than £12.92 million including net growth/savings; the ceiling for DDF net expenditure be no more than £0.929 million; and the District Council Tax would  continue to be frozen.

 

The overall position was that considerable progress had been made on Transformation with expenditure and savings being included in the budget for 2018/19 and significant additional expenditure was expected for the expansion in community safety budgets, to help address the district wide problem of anti-social behavior.

 

The Director of Resources reported that the DCLG four-year settlement had been accepted and the Settlement Funding Assessment (SFA) had reduced by £6,623 for 2018/19 and by £49,756 for 2019/20, which had meant that overall the SFA had reduced by £2.48 million or over 45%. The Local Government Information Unit briefing on the draft settlement showed that the Council had the sixth largest reduction in funding of all authorities.

 

The Council Tax had not increased since 2010/11 and the Cabinet Committee had been very clear in July 2017 that the Council Tax would not be increased while the General Fund balance remained comfortably above the minimum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.