Agenda and minutes

Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board - Tuesday, 20th August, 2019 6.30 pm

Download documents using the MOD.GOV app

Venue: Committee Room A, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Contact: Mark O'Callaghan  Scrutiny and Engagement Officer

Note: The public proceedings of the meeting will be recorded and made available for playback on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website 

Items
No. Item

FG25/19

Apologies for Absence pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were noted from Councillors Chapelard and Scott.  Additionally, Councillor Holden was not present.

FG26/19

Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.

FG27/19

Notification of Visiting Members Wishing to Speak pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To note any members of the Council wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 18, and which items they wish to speak on.

Minutes:

Councillor Atkins had registered to speak on Item 7 (See minute FG34/19).

Additionally, Southborough Town Councillors Clay and Blackwell had also registered to speak on item 7 (See minute FG34/19).

 

FG28/19

Minutes of the meeting dated 11 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 11 July 2019 be approved as a correct record.

 

FG29/19

Work Programme as at 24 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To note the Board’s forward work programme as attached.

Minutes:

Members considered the work programme. No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme as at 24 July 2019 be noted.

FG30/19

Quarterly Financial Monitoring Report: Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 5 KB

To receive a verbal exception report on the financial position as at the end of June 2019.

Minutes:

In respect of the order of business, the Chairman advised that reports shown as items 11, 12 and 13, provided the detailed reports under the heading for this item Quarterly Financial Monitoring Report: Quarter 1. These reports are minuted below.

FG31/19

Revenue Management Report: Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Fineman, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced this report which showed the actual expenditure on services compared to the revised budget for the period ended 30 June 2019, and the forecast outturn position, highlighting significant variances from the revised annual budget.

 

She confirmed the intention to continue to produce this report in a documentary format rather than as a verbal update as in the past. In response to member questions, Mrs Fineman further clarified matters relating to:

·         Pension Settlements originally taken from reserves;

·         Recruitment of 37 FTE’s currently down from plan;

·         The return to the General Fund of £1m from reserves;

·         Accounting of expenditure on Calverley Square within Capital Management; and

·         Impact in relation to risks and provisions for Brexit.

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet set out in the report be supported.

FG32/19

Capital Management Report: Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Fineman, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced this report, which summarised the actual and forecast outturn expenditure on capital schemes as at 30 June 2019.  The total capital expenditure was forecast to be increased from the previously approved budgets and an increase was also included for approval for the year 2022/23. 

 

Discussion and responses to member questions included the following matters:

·         The reforecast to later in the year of costs relating to the Crescent Road project;

·         Timescales on allocation of remaining S106 monies; and 

·         Further detail on Culture, Leisure and Economic Development capital budgets relating to improvements at the Trinity Theatre and the Assembly Hall fire escapes.

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet set out in the report be supported.

FG33/19

Treasury and Prudential Indicator Management Report: Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Fineman, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced this report, which monitored compliance with the Treasury Management Policy & Strategy 2019/20 for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019.  It was updated that  investments held by the Council for the 2019/20 period were forecast in line with budget, and interest on the PWLB loan for 2019/20 also remained in line with budget.

 

Discussion and responses to member questions included the following matters:

·         Note of the profit on the Local Authorities Property Fund;

·         The provision of a borrowing strategy to be set out in response to potential increased interest rates post Brexit; and 

·         Further details of repayments on the existing PWLB loan in July 2019, January and July 2020.

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet set out in the report be supported.

FG34/19

Performance Summary: Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 349 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the following registered speakers who spoke in turn in respect of matters included within the report. A brief summary of their issues is provided below:

 

Councillor Rodney Atkins, Borough Councillor for Paddock Wood East

·         Questioned the green status of the project for the Community Centre in Paddock Wood;

·         Raised objections on behalf of the Friends of the Memorial Field not to the principle of a new Community Centre but its location on the Memorial Field;

·         Highlighted the results of the Parish Poll which also indicated a majority against the use of the site; and

·         Explained that this green space in the centre of Paddock Wood was used for cricket, other outdoor leisure activities and was now the subject of a Village Green application.

 

Councillors Martin Clay and Nick Blackwell, Southborough Town Council (STC) regarding the Southborough Hub -

·         Highlighted errors and omissions in the officer report;

·         Clarified matters relating to a quoted depreciation charge;

·         Explained delays to agreements and contracts, increased and unbudgeted costs, the lack of commitment to proposed shop space and most critically the loss of previously committed income from the NHS and an inadequate fixed sinking fund; and

·         As a result STC were extremely concerned over the impact on Council tax payers, notwithstanding letters of comfort received from KCC and TWBC which gave some reassurance and might mitigate some costs resulting from dilapidations.

 

Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development responded to Councillor Atkins representation and confirmed his comments would be noted. 

 

Mr Colyer also responded to Councillors Clay and Blackwell and acknowledged that the report written in respect of this project was very unhelpful.  He apologised and confirmed that the report would be corrected before going forward to Cabinet to make the issues clear.  Future comments would be discussed before publication.  He confirmed, however, that this was a Southborough Town Council led scheme and notwithstanding the best efforts of all involved the contract had still not been signed.  TWBC would continue to provide support to the project objectives.

 

Mr Colyer then proceeded to update on the service performance elements of the report which provided a review of the 24 performance indicators and their status and outstanding issues.  Of these 16 were performing as expected, 5 were not meeting targets and he updated on these.  Data was unavailable for 3 which were being chased up. Additionally the report indicated the status of the 8 big projects and comments had already been heard on two of these from the speakers.

 

Further matters of discussion and responses to questions included the following:

·         Concerns over the adequacy, accuracy, governance, and RAG status on project reporting were discussed along with the potential provision of greater detail, for example to include information on timescales and costs.  It was felt that this would facilitate greater understanding of the wider picture both by members and other stakeholders.  Mr Colyer explained that this was already provided at project board level but it was only intended that a high level summary and  ...  view the full minutes text for item FG34/19

FG35/19

*Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.

Minutes:

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits, introduced the report as set out in the agenda in respect of the Tax Reduction Scheme for the following year.  No changes to the current scheme were proposed for consultation in 2020-21 so it was not necessary to go our to public consultation.  It was likely changes would be made in future and delaying these for a further year would give the opportunity to assess the impact of Universal Credit and to allow time to be spent on modelling any potential changes.

 

In response to discussion and questions from members the following matters were noted:

·         Fraud prevention;

·         Council tax relief was not being proposed relative to additional costs for the collection of garden waste;

·         Consideration of simplification would need to ensure that those who are vulnerable would not be disadvantaged;

·         Impacts on staffing requirements

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendation set out in the report be supported.

FG36/19

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FG37/19

Date of the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 6 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Tuesday 01 October 2019, at 6.30pm.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 1 October at 6.30pm.