Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Michael Garraway 

Items
No. Item

63.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Joinson (Councillor Philip Massey was in attendance acting as substitute) and Councillor Robinson (Councillor Hartley was in attendance acting as substitute).

 

64.

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. 

65.

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:

Councillor Massey declared that he was Assistant to the Portfolio Holder for Economy and Communication.  He explained that the budget reports fell under the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Delivery, and that he had not been directly involved in any of the decisions.  However, he had, in his role, provided assistance in relation to several projects noted within the reports.  Councillor Massey remain in the room throughout the discussion on the items.

66.

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:

RESOLVED – That agenda Item No.16 be dealt with following the exclusion of the press and public.

67.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider the minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 8th December 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 8th December 2021 be approved as a correct record.

68.

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To note the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/2022.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/2022 be noted.

 

The Chair announced that the order of the agenda would be varied to take Item No. 13 – 2022/23 Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy as the first report.

69.

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:

Consideration was given to the Discretionary Business Rate Relief Policy which had been amended for 2022/23 due to changes announced by the Government during 2021.

 

The Head of Revenues and Benefits explained that Cabinet would be requested to approve the recommendations set out within the report, at the meeting scheduled to be held on 22nd February 2022.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

 

Prior to consideration of agenda Item Nos. 7 – 13 the Deputy Chief Finance Officer provided a presentation to the Committee, which outlined the purpose of each of the budget reports and drew Members’ attention to the key highlights.

 

The Committee then considered each report in turn, as follows.

 

70.

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

To scrutinise the Chief Finance Officer’s opinion regarding the robustness of the proposed budget and the adequacy of general balances and reserves.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which set out the Chief Finance Officer’s opinion regarding the robustness of the proposed budget and the adequacy of general balances and reserves.

 

The Chief Finance Officer had concluded that the proposed budgets and associated systems and processes were sound and the level of general balances and reserves were adequate.  It was advised that the proposed estimates and tax setting calculations were robust, reserves were adequate and the provisional Capital Programme was affordable.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

71.

Budget Report and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 601 KB

To scrutinise the proposed Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Council Tax 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report that set out the proposed Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Council Tax 2022/2023 for approval at Budget Council on 23rd February 2022. 

 

It was noted that the information contained within the report was subject to approval of the Mayor of Greater Manchester Council Tax precepts for 2022/23.

 

Members were informed that the report also outlined the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 to 2026/27 which provided the latest budget position for the Council, set out the key financial challenges and issues that would be faced over the period and provided details of the assumptions and estimates which underpinned the budget.

 

The Chair then invited comments and questions from Members.

 

During the course of the discussion, the following points were raised:

 

  • In response to a question regarding the expected final balance on the 2021/22 budget transfer to the Equalisation Reserve - it was explained that the Quarter 3 update report was currently being prepared and based on current proposals it was anticipated that there would be an underspend.  However, if all carry forward requests submitted were approved this would create a balance deficit.
  • It was noted that a Council Tax reduction scheme for 2022/23 was proposed, which would offer targeted support to working-age households in receipt of Local Council Tax Support facing financial difficulties.  The scheme would provide a credit of up to £150 on account. If the amount of Council Tax to pay was less than £150 the bill would be reduced to £0.
  • In response to questions, the Chief Finance Officer explained that the Government had announced measures to help with rising energy bills, one of which was a £150 ‘council tax energy rebate’ for all households in Bands A to D. The proposed Council Tax reduction scheme was separate to the Government’s council tax rebate.  It was explained that the details of the rebate scheme were awaited; however, it was anticipated that the Council would administer the scheme on behalf of the Government and Council Tax data would be used to issue payments directly to households that paid Council Tax by Direct Debit.  It was agreed that an easy to understand guide would be circulated to all councillors, which explained the details of the Government’s council tax energy rebate scheme and the authority’s Council Tax reduction scheme.
  • In responding to a query, the Chief Finance Officer agreed to provide the Committee with information regarding the number of households that would be receiving a Council Tax bill of £0 - £50.
  • It was requested that details of the Mayor of Greater Manchester Council Tax precepts and budget setting process be circulated to the Committee.
  • Councillor Wraighte wished to place on record her support for social care workers being paid the real living wage.
  • Concerns were raised regarding the proposed increase of Council Tax, in light of rising energy bills and inflation, and it was suggested that a freeze on Council Tax to benefit all residents should be considered.
  • In addition, it was suggested  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.

72.

Discretionary Fees & Charges 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To scrutinise the proposed Discretionary Fees and Charges 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report that detailed proposals following the annual review of discretionary fees and charges as part of the budget setting process.

 

Members were advised that at Cabinet on 27th July 2021 a 2% general increase in discretionary fees and charges for 2022/23 was agreed for planning purposes, subject to exemptions that were to be agreed.

 

It was reported that following consultation, no changes had been made to the original proposals, and the report presented detailed the proposed discretionary fees and charges for 2022/23, and the charges proposed to be exempt from the general 2% increase.

 

RESOLVED - That the report be noted.

73.

Treasury Management 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To scrutinise the proposed Treasury Management Strategy 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Treasury Management Strategy for 2022/23 which outlined how the Council would meet the requirements of the relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidance that formed the Prudential Framework.

 

It was reported that the Council intended to maintain an under-borrowed position for the period covered by the Strategy, using its own internal balances to fund capital expenditure whenever possible, yet being aware of the possibility of interest rate rises.

 

Members were advised that interest rates were currently low, but expected to rise slowly over the next three years.  It was noted that the Council’s overall borrowing requirement increased over the period of the Strategy.  The treasury investment priorities would continue to place emphasis on security over return.

 

Overall the borrowing strategy was broadly similar to previous years, which had ensured that key objectives were met, whilst making a contribution via savings on the cost of borrowing to the overall budget position.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

 

74.

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

To scrutinise the proposed Capital Investment and Disposal Strategy for 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which outlined how the Council would meet the requirements of relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidance.

 

Members were advised that the Strategy was a high-level overview of how the Council’s capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity contributed to the provision of services.   The Strategy provided an overview of how risks were managed, and what the implications were for future financial sustainability.  The purpose of the Strategy was to set out how the Council took capital expenditure and investment decisions in line with service objectives and took account of stewardship, value for money, prudence, sustainability and affordability.

 

It was noted that the report would be considered at Cabinet on 22nd February 2022 ahead of submission for approval at Full Council on 23rd February 2022.

 

In concluding the discussion, the Chair suggested 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 undertaken a retrospective review of original commercial project business cases twice a year.

 

RESOLVED –

 

     I.        That the report be noted.

 

    II.        That the Communities, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee be requested to scrutinise all commercial projects above a certain agreed criteria.

 

  III.        That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed to undertake a retrospective review of original commercial project business cases twice a year.

 

 

75.

GMCA Corporate Issues and Reform Overview & Scrutiny Committee minutes of the meeting held on 15th November 2021 pdf icon PDF 516 KB

To note the minutes of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Corporate Issues and Reform Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 15th November 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Corporate Issues and Reform Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 15th November 2021 be noted.

76.

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 3 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 item of business, in accordance with the provisions of Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.

 

Reasons for the decision: Should the press and public remain there may be a disclosure of information that is deemed to be exempt under Part 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

77.

Savings Programme 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To scrutinise the Savings Programme 2022/23.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate/ Chief Finance Officer which provided an update on the proposed savings and the outcome of consultation on the workforce proposals that required consultation within the 2022/23-2023/24 Savings Programme.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted