Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

70.

Apologies

71.

Declarations of Interest

    Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary, personal or personal and prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests relating to items on this agenda and/or indicate if S106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.   

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest.

72.

Urgent Items of Business

    To determine whether there are any additional items of business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chair decides should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

    Minutes:

    There were no urgent items of business for the Committee to consider.

73.

Items for Exclusion of Public and Press

74.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 68 KB

    To consider the minutes of the meeting of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held 23rd January 2018.

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held 23rd January 2018.

     

    A member referred to minute 66 (Resources and Neighbourhoods Directorate Plans 2017/18) insofar as it noted action being taken towards the implementation of paperless meetings and in doing so he referred to the size of the published agenda for this meeting of the Committee (320 pages) and expressed concern at the amount of paper being used in terms of copies for members of the Committee, officers and spare copies, suggesting that the Committee’s meetings, in the next Municipal Year, be conducted ‘paperless’ by way of an experiment to ascertain the viability of paperless meetings.

     

    Decision:

    1.    The minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, held 23rd January 2018, be approved as a correct record.

    2.    The clerk to the Committee be requested to consult with members on the feasibility of holding the Committee’s meetings, starting at the beginning of the 2018/19 Municipal Year, ‘paperless’ as a means of helping to gauge the viability of paperless member level meetings.  

75.

Finance Update Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 434 KB

    The Committee to scrutinise a finance update report for 2017/18.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer which updated Members on the Council’s financial position as at the end of November 2017 and which had sought approval from the Cabinet of the Budget Pressures Fund and Capital Budget adjustments. This report had been approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on 30th January 2018, where the recommendations contained therein were approved.

     

    In considering the report Members noted the projected overspends relating to the Children’s Directorate, Economy Directorate and the Neighbourhoods Directorate. Representatives of these three Directorates were in attendance at the meeting to explain how the reported overspends had arisen and to answer Members questions and queries about proposed remedial action to reduce their Directorates’ overspends.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    Not reporting on financial performance puts at risk the achievement of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan. Effective budget management is critical to ensuring financial resources are spent in line with the budget and are targeted towards the Council’s priorities. Monitoring enables the early identification of variations against the plan and facilitates timely corrective action.

     

    Decision:

    (1)  That the report be noted.

     

    Reason for the decision (made by the Cabinet on 30th January 2018):

    Effective financial management is essential if the Council is to keep spending within available resources. It is vital that services make adjustments in spending to ensure that they spend in line with the approved budget.

76.

Collection Fund 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 154 KB

    Ther Committee is asked to scrutinise an update report on the collection fund for 2017/18.

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer which detailed the Council’s forecast 2017/18 Collection Fund position, as at the end of November 2017. The committee were advised that this report had been submitted to the Cabinet on 30th January 2018 where the recommendations contained therein were approved.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    Not reporting on financial performance puts at risk the achievement of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy. Effective financial management was critical to ensuring that financial resources are received in line with the budget, which enables them to be targeted towards the Council’s priorities. Monitoring enables the early identification of variations against the plan and facilitates timely corrective action.

     

    Decision:

    That the forecast 2017/18 Collection Fund position as at the end of November 2017 be noted.

     

    Reason for decision (made by the Cabinet on 30th January 2018):

    The Collection Fund update report for 2017/18 was presented for information purposes as part of the budget monitoring process.

77.

Revenue Budget Update 2018/19 to 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 516 KB

    The Committee is asked to scrutinise an update report on the revenue budget for 2018/19 to 2020/21.

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Director of Resources on the latest position regarding the Council’s Revenue Budget for 2018/19 to 2020/21 and which sought a recommendation to Council of a council tax increase for 2018/19 of 4.99% for the Rochdale Council element, comprising 2.99% for general purposes and 2 % for the Adult Social Care Precept.

     

    The report had previously been considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 30th January 2018 where the recommendations contained therein were approved.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    The Cabinet could decide not to implement the proposals in the report and provide alternative options to enable a balanced budget to be achieved.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for decision:

    The Council’s Cabinet is required to recommend a balanced Revenue Budget for 2018/19 to Budget Council before 11th March 2018 and provisional budgets for 2019/20 to 2020/21.

78.

2018/19 Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy pdf icon PDF 106 KB

    The Committee is asked to scrutinise proposals for the Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy for 2018/19

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Director of Resources noting that the  Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy needed to be amended for 2018/19 due to a change announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget. The Cabinet, at its meeting on 20th February 218, was being asked to consider a proposal to revise the Policy to raise additional business rate income.

     

    The Cabinet was to be asked to consider making a recommendation to the Budget Council meeting on 28th February 2018, to revise the policy to raise additional business rates income. There were two options for the cabinet to consider: Option one – to introduce a maximum rateable value of £51,000, above which relief will not be granted to charitable and not-for-profit organisations. This will raise additional business rate income of approximately £205,000 per annum. Option two – no change to the existing policy.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    The change to the policy relating to Pub Relief had been determined by the Government and the Council was directed to implement, therefore no alternatives were considered.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the decision:

    The powers for granting discretionary rate relief by Councils were provided in Sections 44a, 47 and 49 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, which was subsequently, amended by the Localism Act 2011 to incorporate wider powers to grant relief under local discretion.

79.

Treasury Management Strategy for 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

    The Borough’s proposed Treasury Management Strategy 2018/19 is presented.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer that sought approval from the Council for the Borough’s Treasury Management Strategy 2018/2019. The main objectives of the Treasury Management Strategy were: to effectively manage and control the risks associated with treasury management activities giving regard to the CIPFA Code, and all relevant legislation, criteria and limits set within this report.

     

    The Committee was advised that the submitted report was due to be considered by the Cabinet on 20th February 2018 and by the Budget Council meeting on 28th February 2018.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    TherearenofeasiblealternativesallproposalswereinaccordancewiththerevisedCIPFACodeofPracticeonTreasuryManagement,whichhad beenformallyadoptedbytheCouncil,andwithGovernmentguidanceregardingtheTreasuryManagement Strategy.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the recommendation (to Cabinet on 20th February 2018):

    Thereport wasproducedto gain the Cabinet’s approval of the TreasuryManagementStrategy, prior to submissionto the BudgetCouncil meeting on 28th February 2018andto ensurethatCabinetMembers beinformedofandensureadherenceto therequirementsofthe Prudential Framework.

80.

Capital, Investment and Disposal Strategy 2018 to 2021 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

    The Committee is asked to scrutinise the Capital, Investment and Disposal Strategy

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committees scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer which outlined the capital, investment and disposal strategy for the Council. This strategy was a three year plan which formed a key part of the Council’s asset management and property investment strategies. The strategy provided the framework for all aspects of the Council’s capital programme, including planning, prioritisation, management and funding.

     

    The capital, investment and disposal strategy linked the Council’s vision and priorities with forecasted capital resources and capital budgets and flowed into the medium term financial strategy to ensure that all revenue implications were recognised and provided for in the revenue budgetary forecasts.

     

    The strategy considered: the purpose of the Strategy and links to national, regional and local priorities; priority areas for Investment; funding; governance arrangements; and the disposals strategy.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    The Council was legally obliged to set a balanced budget. The budget setting process was complex and was required to be undertaken in a planned way. Budgets thus were prepared in accordance with approved guidelines.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the recommendation (to the Cabinet on 20th February 2018):

    The purpose of the Capital, investment and Disposal Strategy was to provide a framework within which the Council’s long term investment plans will be delivered to ensure that all capital investments were consistent with the Council’s priorities, consider associate risks, recognise financial constraints over the longer term and represent value for money.  These plans were to be driven by the Council’s Place Plan, The Townships Plan, The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Council’s Asset Strategies. 

     

    The Capital, Investment and Disposal Strategy should therefore comply with the Prudential Code for Local Authority Capital Investment introduced through the Local Government Act 2013 and the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy. The key objectives of the code were to ensure that Capital Investment Plans were affordable, prudent and sustainable.

81.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 to 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

    The Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19 – 2022/23 is presented for the Committee to scrutinise

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer which presented the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The aim of the MTFS was to provide a robust, consistent and sustainable approach to establishing and maintaining a stable and prudent financial basis on which improvement and transformation of the Council’s services progress. The MTFS was a key strategic part of the plan of the Council setting out its proposed detailed spending plans for the next two years and making forecasts for future years, based on current information.

     

    The Committee was informed that the budgetary proposals contained in the MTFS had been widely consulted upon. The MTFS was being presented to this Committee for consultative purposes, for further consideration at the Cabinet meeting on 20th February 2018 and for determination at the Budget Council meeting on 28th February 2018.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    The Council is legally obliged to set a balanced revenue budget. The budget setting process is complex and is required to be undertaken in a planned way. Whilst budgets are prepared in accordance with the approved guidelines a number of alternative options relating to savings proposals and budget pressures are considered as part of the overall budget setting process.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the recommendation (to Cabinet on 20th February 2018):

    The Cabinet is required to recommend a balanced Revenue Budget and Capital Programme for 2018/19 to the Budget Council meeting on 28th February 2018. The Council is required to set a balanced budget for 2018/19 by no later than 11th March 2018. The Medium Term Financial Strategy thus provides a key part of the budget setting process.

82.

Budget 2018/19 - 2020/21 - Local Government Act 2003 Requirements pdf icon PDF 392 KB

    The Chief Finance Officer to report.

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer relating to statutory requirements under the Local Government Act 2003.It was a legal requirement for this report to be presented to the Budget Council meeting for consideration immediately prior to setting the Budget and Council Tax. The recommendations contained in the report aimed to ensure that Council was aware of the opinion of the Chief Finance Officer regarding the robustness of the budget as proposed and the adequacy of general balances and reserves.

     

    The Director of Resources advised that in giving a positive opinion on the robustness of the estimate process reliance had been placed on the Council’s overall arrangements for financial management, which were detailed at Appendix 1 to the submitted report.  These included the rolling Medium Term Financial Strategy, the process for financial forecasts and developing medium term revenue and capital plans, the approach to financial risks and arrangements for in year monitoring of budgets.  Account is also taken of the assessment of the Council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton LLP, as part of the annual audit opinion. The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that, in her opinion, the Council had robust procedures in place.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    None - it is a statutory requirement, under the Local Government Act 2003, to submit this report. 

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the recommendation (to Cabinet on 20th February, and to Council on 28th February):

    In order to comply with the Local Government Act 2003 the Chief Finance Officer is required to provide the Council with an opinion as to the robustness of the Budget being presented to its Budget setting meeting and to ensure the adequacy of general balances and reserves.

     

    The Council is required to take account of this report when determining its budget.

83.

Revenue Budget,Capital Programme and Council Tax 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 578 KB

    The Chief Finance Officer to report

    Minutes:

    The Committee scrutinised a report of the Chief Finance Officer which recommended the Revenue Budget (District Purposes), Capital Budget and Council Tax for 2018/2019, for submission to the Budget Council meeting on 28th February 2018 and which provided estimates for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.

     

    The budget proposals contained in the Committee’s report had been formulated after taking into account the comments of this Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the four Township Committees and the various service consultative groups all of whom had been consulted on proposals contained in the reports to the Cabinet.

     

    The report set out the key financial challenges and issues which will be faced over the period 2018/19 to 2020/21 and provides details of the assumptions and estimates which underpinned the budget. The budget also took account of the latest known developments both regional and at a local level and from this year reports on the integration of health and social care within the pooled budget arrangements from 2018/19.

     

    Alternatives considered:

    None - The Chief Finance Officer reported that the Council had a legal requirement to set a balanced budget, and throughout the budget exercise a robust process has been put in place to consider alternative saving proposals and recognise risks.

     

    Decision:

    That the report be noted.

     

    Reasons for the recommendation (to Cabinet on 20th February):

    The Cabinet is required to consider and to recommend to the Budget Council meeting on 28th February a balanced Revenue Budget for 2018/19 and provisional budgets for 2019/20 to 2020/21 and a Council Tax increase for 2018/19.

84.

Work Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 88 KB