Agenda and minutes

Venue: Hollingworth (Room 108ABC), First Floor, Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU.

Contact: Alison James  Senior Committee Services Officer

Items
No. Item

96.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence

97.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 25th January 2022.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 25th Jan 2022 be approved as a correct record.

98.

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.

99.

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:

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Housing expressed concern in relation to the current situation in Ukraine, and the likelihood of sanctions being imposed by the United Kingdom and its allies on Russia, in response to moves which they said could lay the ground for an invasion of Ukraine.

 

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Housing continued seeking assurance that current and future Council’s procurement activities do not benefit Russia and asked the Cabinet Member for Communities and Cooperation with delegated responsibilities for STAR Procurement, to represent these requests at future meetings of the STAR Joint Committee.

100.

Items for Exclusion of Public and Press

To determine any items on the agenda, if any, where the public are to be excluded from the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

There were four items in today’s agenda subject to exclusion of press and public

101.

2022/23 Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate which informed of the amendments to the Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy for 2022/23 due to the changes announced by Government in 2021.

 

The Chief Finance Officer informed that, at the meeting of 17th Feb 2022, the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee reviewed the Budget Proposals for 2022/23. At that meeting, Members requested that the Council’s Communication Team create an informative leaflet for residents to explain the details of the Government’s council tax energy rebate scheme and the authority’s Council Tax reduction scheme. The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that the information was sent to residents today.

 

Alternatives considered:

None, the Government has instructed the Council to provide the relief.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the introduction of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme be noted;

2.    That the extension of the Supporting Small Businesses Scheme be noted;

3.    That the extension of the Transitional Relief Scheme be noted;

4.    That the introduction of the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund be noted;

5.    That the Chief Finance Officer in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate, be given delegated authority to finalise the 2022/23 Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy following the Government’s Spring 2022 budget which is expected to take place on 23rd March 2022;

6.    That the Chief Finance Officer in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate, be given delegated authority to finalise the 2022/23 Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy in relation to the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund.

 

Reasons for the decision:

The changes to the Policy have been announced by Government. All the changes must be administered by the Council using discretionary powers.

 

 

102.

Budget 2022/23 - 2024/25 - Local Government Act 2003 Requirements pdf icon PDF 335 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate which south to inform of the opinion of the Chief Finance Officer regarding the robustness of the budget as proposed and the adequacy of general balances and reserves. This report outlined the robustness of the budget, the key risks and the level of reserves to support the Council’s financial resilience.

 

Alternatives considered:

The conclusions of the report were that the proposed budget was robust and that the proposed level of general balances and reserves were adequate. An option to reduce the level of balance/reserves was not recommended given the risk assessment outlined in this report.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the content of the report be considered prior to the approval of the Revenue and Capital Budgets, and Members endorse the approach to General balances included in the report;

2.    That it be recommended that Budget Council approves that the General Fund Balances for 2022/23 be set at £17m.

 

Reasons for the decision:

In order to comply with the Local Government Act 2003 the Chief Finance Officer is required to provide Council with an opinion as to the robustness of the Budget being presented to Council and to ensure the adequacy of general balances and reserves. The Chief Finance Officer reports formally on the following issues:

a)     An opinion as to the robustness of the estimates made and the tax setting calculations;

b)    The adequacy of the proposed financial reserves;

c)    Consideration of the overall affordability of the capital programme when determining the prudential indicators;

d)    The production of longer-term revenue and capital plans.

103.

Budget Report and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 613 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate which sought to inform of the proposed Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Council Tax 2022/23 for recommendation to Budget Council on 23rd February 2022. The information contained in the report was subject to the approval of the Mayor of Greater Manchester Council Tax precepts for 2022/23.

 

The report also outlined the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 to 2026/27. The Medium Term Financial Strategy provided the latest budget position for the Council, set out the key financial challenges and issues which would be faced over the period, and provided details of the assumptions and estimates which underpinned the budget. The strategy also took account of the latest known developments both regional and at a local level.

 

Alternatives considered:

No alternatives were presented.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the proposed revenue budgets outlined in Appendix 1 of the report, based on a budget requirement of £248.947m for 2022/23 be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

2.    That, subject to confirmation of the Mayor of Greater Manchester precepts:

a.    A Council Tax for district purposes of £1,779.01 for Band D properties (2.99% increase) for 2022/23 be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

b.    A Council Tax (including precepts) of £2,110.26 for Band D properties (3.62% increase) be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

3.    That the position in relation to Education Services Grant and Schools Funding be noted and Cabinet delegate the decision regarding any changes to the final allocations for the Dedicated Schools Grant to the Director of Children’s Services in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, the Cabinet Members for Children’s Services and Finance and Corporate, and the Leader of the Council;

4.    That it be noted that any final balance on the 2021/22 budget would be transferred to the Equalisation Reserve;

5.    That the establishment of a targeted Council Tax reduction scheme for 2022/23 with an estimated cost of £3m to be funded from one off funds as detailed in paragraph 4.3.9 of the report be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

6.    That it be noted that the proposed revenue budget includes a £1M transfer to the Equalisation Reserve from the Collection Fund Surplus to smooth future losses linked to the pandemic as detailed in paragraph 6.1.5 of the report;

7.    That a contribution of £0.4m towards the Discretionary Crisis Fund from the Collection Fund Surplus to support vulnerable residents as detailed in paragraph 6.1.5 of the report be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

8.    That the updated Budget Carry Forward policy, as detailed in Appendix 3 of the report be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

9.    That the updated Reserves policy, as detailed in Appendix 8 of the report be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval;

10.That it be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval that the proposed Capital Programme for 2022/23 to 2026/27 as detailed at Appendix 4  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Savings Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate which provided an update on the proposed savings and the outcomes of consultation on the work force proposals which required consultation within the 2022/23-2023/24 Savings Programme.

 

Alternatives considered:

1.    The Council is legally obliged to set a balanced revenue budget. The budget setting process is complex and must 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.

2.    Budget challenge sessions were held which considered opportunities for savings proposals / efficiency savings. These options were then considered by Cabinet on 23rd November 2021, and the report outlined any alternatives. To do nothing was not considered to be an option as the Council is legally required to set a balanced budget.

3.    Cabinet Members could decide not to implement these proposals and provide alternative options to enable a balanced budget to be achieved.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That it be noted that the BAU savings totalling £477k approved at November Cabinet have been incorporated into the budget estimates for 2022/23 – 2024/25 to be submitted to Budget Council;

2.    That it be noted that the overall savings available for 2022/23 has reduced by £91k on a one off basis and that this would be managed via the use of reserves in 2022/23 and through the overall budget gap for 2023/24 onwards;

3.    That it be noted that the Workforce saving proposal (£113k) would be implemented via the Councils’ Delegated Decision Making (DDM) process.

 

Reasons for decision:

Cabinet Members are required to recommend a balanced Revenue Budget and Capital Programme 2022/23 to Budget Council and provisional budgets for 2023/24 to 2024-25. The Council is required to set a balanced budget for 2022/23 the by 11th March 2022.

105.

Discretionary Fees & Charges 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate which advised that Discretionary Fees and Charges were reviewed on an annual basis. At Cabinet on 27th July 2021, a 2% general increase in Discretionary Fees and Charges for 2022/23 had been agreed for planning purposes, subject to exemptions to be agreed.

 

Following consultation, no changes had been made to the original proposals, and this report detailed the proposed Discretionary Fees and Charges for 2022/23 and detailed those charges proposed to be exempt from the general 2% increase.

 

Alternatives considered:

Not to review or increase fees and charges. This would potentially reduce the income available to the Council and make it more difficult to achieve a balanced budget.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the updated Discretionary Fees and Charges for 2022/23, following consultation be approved;

2.    That the charges exempt from the general 2% increase, as set out in paragraph 4.3 of the report be approved;

3.    That the new charge for webcasting of funerals as detailed at paragraph 4.5. of the report be approved.

 

Reasons for the decision:

1.    The fees and charges in this report have been proposed by each Directorate, taking into account the 2% general uplift in Discretionary Fees and Charges as agreed at Cabinet on 27th July 2021;

2.    It is recommended not to apply a 2% increase to the fees and charges detailed in paragraph 4.4. of the report.

106.

Treasury Management 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate which sought approval of the 2022/23 Treasury Management Strategy (TMS) set out in Appendix 1 of the report which outlined how the Council would meet the requirements of the relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidance that form the Prudential Framework.

 

Alternatives considered:

There were no feasible alternatives – all proposals were in accordance with the revised CIPFA Prudential Code and Code of Practice on Treasury Management, which was formally adopted by the Council and with Government guidance regarding the Treasury Management Strategy.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the annual Treasury Management Strategy for 2022/23 be recommended to Budget Council for approval with particular reference to:

a.    The objectives of treasury management contained in section 2 and Appendix A of the report;

b.    The forecasted capital financing / borrowing requirement in section 3.1.1 (table 2) and 3.1.2 (table 3) of the report;

c.    The Operational Boundary and Authorised Limit for debt contained in section 3.1.3 (table 4) of the report;

d.    The Council’s criteria for assessing the creditworthiness of counterparties for investments contained in section 3.2.1 with an emphasis on security of capital over return, noting the institutional investment limits in Table 8 (3.2.4) of the report;

e.    The additional Prudential and Treasury Indicators identified in section 3.4 of the report;

f.     The Minimum Revenue Provision Policy contained in section 3.5 of the report;

2.    It be recommended to Budget Council that delegated authority be given to the Chief Finance Officer in consultation with Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate to approve a breach in the Operational Boundary and Authorised Limit where it would be advantageous to the Council (3.1.3 of the report);

3.    It be recommended to Budget Council that delegated approval be given to the Chief Finance Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate to temporarily suspend or amend the Council’s own creditworthiness criteria adjusting limits with individual counterparties, if appropriate, in response to significant and sudden changes (such as the Covid19 pandemic) or changes to financial institutions’ ratings as a result of global industry changes to the ratings system (paragraph 3.2.1 of the report).

 

Reasons for decision:

To gain Cabinet Members’ approval of the Treasury Management Strategy for submission to Full Council and to ensure that Cabinet Members were informed of and ensure adherence to the requirements of the Prudential Framework.

 

107.

Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy for 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate which sought approval for the 2022/23 Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy (‘The Strategy’) set out in Appendix 1 of the report, which outlined how the Council would meet the requirements of the relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidance that form the Prudential Framework, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Guidance on Local Authority Investments, and Public Work Loan Board (PWLB) Lending Terms.

 

The Chief Finance Officer reported that at the meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17th Feb 2022, Members had agreed that, in view of the current economic environment and uncertainties surrounding interest rates and inflation rises, the Council’s Communities, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee be requested to scrutinise all commercial projects above a certain agreed criteria, and furthermore, the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to retrospectively undertaken a review of original commercial project business cases twice a year.

 

Alternatives considered:

There were no feasible alternatives – all proposals were in accordance with the revised CIPFA Prudential Code, which was formally adopted by the Council and with Government guidance regarding Local Authority Investments.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the annual Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy for 2022/23 be recommended to Budget Council for approval with particular reference to:

a.    The objectives of the Strategy contained in section 2 and Appendices of the report;

b.    The approach to and governance arrangement around property investment/development contained in section 5 of the report;

c.    The Council’s risk appetite and quantitative indicators set out in section 6.3 of the report.

2.    That it be considered and recommended to Budget Council for approval that delegated authority be given to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate and the Chief Finance Officer to implement the outcome of the review of the current strategies and limits in place that govern how the Council manages its debt levels, and to report this outcome via the biannual Treasury Management Strategy update;

3.    That the report of the Chief Finance Officer in terms of the affordability and risks associated with the Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy, as set out in paragraph 5.2 of the report be noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

To gain Cabinet Members’ approval of the Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy for submission to Full Council and to ensure that Cabinet Members were informed of and ensure adherence to the requirements of the Prudential Framework, MHCLG Guidance on Local Authority Investments, and PWLB Lending Terms.

 

108.

Finance Update Report Qtr 3 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 577 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate which informed of the Council’s forecast 2021/22 financial position as at the end of December 2021.

 

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.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the forecast 2021/22 financial positions for Revenue, Capital, and the Collection Fund as at the end of December 2021, as detailed in section 4 of the report be noted;

2.    That it be noted that after accounting for agreed budget carry forwards the remaining revenue position would be transferred to / from the Equalisation Reserve;

3.    That the payment of Your Trust’s Management Fee across the first 4 months of 2022/23 to support Your Trust to mitigate the financial impact of the Covid pandemic as detailed in section 4.1.2 of the report be approved and the Assistant Director (Legal & Governance) be authorised to enter into any legal agreements necessary to give effect to this decision in accordance with the Council’s constitution;

4.    That the Health & Social Care Pool forecast position as detailed in section 4.2 of the report be noted;

5.    That the Budget Pressure requests detailed in section 4.3.of the report be approved;

6.    That the forecast achieved Savings target in section 4.4.of the report be noted;

7.    That the net Capital budget changes of £1,779k, detailed in section 4.6.1. of the report be noted;

8.    That the Capital re-phasing of £11,110k into future years detailed in section 4.6.2. of the report be noted;

9.    That the requests to switch budgets within the Economy and Neighbourhoods directorates as detailed in section 4.6.3. of the report be approved.

 

Reasons for decision:

Cabinet Members should be kept updated on the financial position of the authority, as effective budget management is critical to ensuring financial resources are spent in line with the budget and are targeted towards the Council’s priorities.

This report focuses on the forecast 2021/22 financial position as at the end December 2021.

109.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider that the press and public be excluded from the remaining part of the meeting pursuant to Section 100(A)4 of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that discussions may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the provisions of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and public interest would not be served in publishing the information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following four items of business, in accordance with the provisions of Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.

 

Reason for the Decision: Should the press and public remain during the debate on the following items, there may be a disclosure of information that is deemed to be exempt under Parts 1 and 4 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972

110.

Savings Programme 2022/2023

Report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/Chief Finance Officer.

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to Appendix 2 to a report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate which contained information exempt from publication in relation to Item 9 of the agenda – Savings Programme 2022/23.

 

Alternatives considered:

Not to approve the recommended course of action and seek alternative saving proposals.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations contained within the Appendix 2 be agreed.

 

Reasons for the decisions were considered as outlined at point 2 of Appendix 2.

111.

Rochdale Town Hall and Town Hall Square - Phase 2

Report of the Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications / Interim Director of Economy.

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Cabinet Member for Economy and Communication which contained commercially sensitive information in relation to Item 16 of the agenda – Rochdale Town Hall and Town Hall Square- Phase 2. 

 

Alternatives considered:

Four alternative options were considered. Option 3 was the preferred option.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations contained within the commercially sensitive report be agreed.

 

Reasons for the decisions were considered as outlined at point 3 of the report.

 

 

112.

Electricity Contract Renewal

Report of the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability/Director of Neighbourhoods.

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to a joint report of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Facilities and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate which contained commercially sensitive information in relation to Item 17 of the agenda – Electricity Contract Renewal.

 

Alternatives considered:

Not to approve the recommended course of action.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations contained within the commercially sensitive report be agreed.

 

Reasons for the decisions were considered as outlined at points 3, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 of the report.  

113.

Estate Regeneration – award of grant and update

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Highways/Director of Neighbourhoods

Minutes:

Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Housing which contained commercially sensitive information in relation to Item 18 of the agenda – Estate Regeneration – award of grant and update.  

 

Alternatives considered:

Not to approve the recommended course of action as outlined at point 4.23 of the report.  

 

RESOLVED that the recommendations contained within the commercially sensitive report be agreed.

 

Reasons for the decisions were considered as outlined at point 3 of the report.