Agenda and draft minutes

Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board - Tuesday, 16th February, 2021 6.30 pm

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Items
No. Item

FG36/20

Apologies pdf icon PDF 9 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Reilly and Stanyer.  Councillor Mrs Soyke was not present.

FG37/20

Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 9 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

FG38/20

Notification of Visiting Members Wishing to Speak pdf icon PDF 9 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no visiting Members.

FG39/20

Minutes of the meeting dated 12 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 202 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 dated 12 January 2021 be approved as a correct record.

FG40/20

Forward Plan as at 28 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To note forthcoming items as set out in the Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the Forward Plan.  No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – The Forward Plan as at 28 January 2021 be noted.

FG41/20

Capital Management Report - Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 220 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, Procurement and Parking introduced the report that summarised the actual and forecast outturn expenditure on capital schemes as at 31 December 2020.

 

Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:

 

-       Cabinet originally approved capital expenditure of £19.479m for 2021.

-       Since then a net £173k of projects had been rescheduled to 2021/22 or removed from the programme.

-       This brought the revised budget to £19.652m.

-       Approvals requested in the report brought the total forecast spend for 2020/21 to £15.894m.  This was a net decrease of £3.758m.

-       This consisted of a decrease of £3.667m for spend rescheduled into next year and a decrease in the forecast projected spend of £91k.

-       The rescheduling of the £3.667m consisted mainly of £2.5m for the Amelia Scott project, £922k for disabled facilities grants and £195k for housing renewal grants.

-       The net decrease of spend of £91k consisted of £15k for the Benhall Mill Depot costs and £76k for the Royal Victoria Place refurbishment project.

-       Full Council on 24 February 2021 would be asked to approve an additional £840k of capital expenditure in relation to the 2021/22 budget. £515k of this would be used for the Crescent Road refurbishment project.  This project was being entirely funded from s106 developer funding and a Government grant. 

-       A capital receipt of £45k was received this quarter which was a clawback related to a previous sale of land at Red Oak.

-       The normal maintenance programme would not be affected as part of the works taking place to renovate the football pitches.

-       The drainage work on the lower football pitches at the Hilbert Recreational Ground had been scheduled for 2021/22. 

-       £47k of s106 money allocated in 2019/20 had not been lost. TWBC had asked the developers to agree for the money to be used for an alternative purpose to the one originally specified.  The £51k allocated in 2020/21 which although had yet to be spent, had been committed to an affordable housing scheme and as such would not be lost.

-       The developer was not obligated to allow TWBC to repurpose s106 money – this was something that was rarely requested.

-       It would be possible for TWBC to ask contractors currently using North Farm Lane to contribute to the resurfacing costs, but there was doubt as to whether this would be successful.  TWBC would like Kent CC to adopt this road.  Kent CC were more likely to take the road if it was in good condition.

-       At present there was only one water metre allocated for all of the properties at Cinder Hill.  Because the cost could not be split, residents could not be asked to settle their own bills and as such TWBC had to pick up the cost.  In order to be able to charge residents individually it was necessary to install water metres for each property.  It was therefore worth the £20k investment. 

 

RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item FG41/20

FG42/20

Revenue Management Report - Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 224 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, Procurement and Parking introduced the report that showed actual expenditure on services compared to the revised budget for the period ending 31 December 2020.  It further included the forecast outturn position from the revised annual budget.

 

Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:

 

-       Actual expenditure to 31 December 2020 was £13.081m, £4.093m over budget.

-       This consisted of a shortfall in income of £6.179m, less a saving in costs of £2.086m.

-       The forecast outturn for the year was now £1.585m over budget.  This was an improvement from quarter 2 of £631k.

-       At quarter 2, income from sales, fees and charges was forecast to be £6.945m under budget.  This had increased by £1.135m in quarter 3 to £8.08m. 

-       The main changes were a further £705k for off street parking, £336k for the Assembly Hall Theatre, £250k for the ice rink, £200k court income and £71k from on street parking.

-       The Government compensation scheme to help cover these losses was estimated at £4.27m and this had been provided for in the forecast.  This was an increase of £545k from quarter 2.

-       TWBC was also awarded a grant of £500k from the Governments Cultural Recovery Grant Fund for  the Assembly Hall Theatre.  Of which £445k would be used for revenue. 

-       The additional income had been included in the quarter 3 forecast.

-       Forecast cost savings were anticipated to be £1.46m for the year, an increase of £858k this quarter.  The main contributor was £519k of savings from staffing and staff vacancies.  An additional saving of £169k had been forecast for the Assembly Hall Theatre costs.

-       There was a projected improvement in investment and bank interest of £140k.

-       Approval of £59,665.00 in write offs had been requested.

-       Ear marked reserves had already been approved to fund the balance of £2.216m.  This transfer could now be reduced to £1.585m.

-       As at 31 March 2020 the Council had £21.2m of usable reserves.  £6.6m had been identified to be used to meet the budget deficit caused by Covid-19. 

-       The five year deficit forecast would be re-forecast after Full Council had agreed the budget.

 

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

FG43/20

Treasury and Prudential Indicator Management Report - Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 181 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, Procurement and Parking introduced the report that monitored compliance with the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy 2020/21 for the period 1 April to 31 December 2020.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The projected interest from investments and bank interest for 2021 was £586k, a reduction on the budget of £47k.

-       This was a significant improvement of £140k on the quarter 2 forecast. 

-       Overall, the expected interest rate was 1.22%, compared to the budget of 1.81%.

-       The increase was mainly due to the investment with the Local Authorities Property Fund. It had been projected that the average interest rate achieved during 2021 would be lower due to the pandemic.  However, the actual dividends to the end of December 2020 was 5.04%. 

-       The Council had also negotiated improved interest rates for its current bank account and its 95 day notice account and was therefore achieving a better than expected rate on its short-term cash.

-       The Council’s £9m investment with the Property Fund was valued at £10.2m as at 31 December 2020.  This was an improvement from quarter 2 of £145k.

-       The Bank of England interest rate was 0.1% and another rise was not expected in the next 3 years.

-       The Council’s current contract for its current account did not permit negative interest so it wasn’t an issue for the remainder of the current term. 

 

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

FG44/20

Performance Summary - Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 187 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Lee Colyer, Director of Finance, Policy and Development introduced the report that summarised the Council’s performance on its projects and services for the period 1 October to 31 December 2020.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The report covered historical performance only.  The position on all projects and services might have changed since the report was written.

-       For this year, where indicators were showing as underperforming but were doing so as a direct result of the pandemic, the Council had agreed that service managers did not have to complete underperforming indicator recovery plans.

-       There were 4 projects remaining in the Five-Year Plan – counted as 6 so that the Community Hubs were counted individually.  Of those projects, 3 were Amber status and 3 were Green status.

-       For Services, the Council collected 32 indicators of which 23 had targets.  Of the 23 with targets, 13 were performing and 10 were underperforming. 

-       It was confirmed the figure of 5.85 as the time taken to process new benefits claims was days.

-       Recycling rates were dependent on individual households.  However, due to the pandemic the amount of general waste had increased so the proportion of recycled waste was a smaller proportion of the overall quantity of waste. 

-       It was noted that the amount of recycled waste collected in quarter 1 in 2018/19 (under the old contract) was higher than in subsequent quarters.   The details as to why this was the case was not known and would be reverted at a later date.

 

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

 

FG45/20

Cleaning and Hygiene Maintenance Tender pdf icon PDF 84 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Denise Haylett, Head of Facilities and Community Hubs presented a report that sought agreement to award a new Cleaning and Hygiene Contract for a term of 3 years with the options of two annual extensions.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The current contract expired on 1 May 2021.

-       The contract would undertake the cleaning and hygiene maintenance for 10 operational sites.

-       The current contract included a provision for an extension, however the decision had been taken to go out to tender so that potential savings could be made.

-       The decision to go out to tender would also allow the Council to review how it delivered its services in light of the very challenging financial position that the Covid-19 pandemic had created.

-       It would be important that the successful contractor was flexible, could present ideas and working methods that would create efficiencies and ensure savings.

-       The tender document would allocate 50% of the marks to quality (which included social value) and 50% of the marks to price.  The term of the contract would be for 3 years with the possibility of 2 annual extensions.

-       The tender was issued on 29 January 2021 with a deadline for invitations of 26 February 2021.

-       To date the Council had received 92 expressions of interest, of which 65 had viewed the documentation and 28 had shown an intent to respond.

-       An analysis of all tenders received would take place on 1 and 2 March 2021.

-       It was not normal practice to create partnerships with other authorities for this type of contract.  Making the contract package too large would exclude smaller companies and particularly smaller local companies from applying.

-       The Council would ensure that any contractor submitting a tender for this work was capable of delivering the contract service. In addition mechanisms would be put in place to ensure the delivery of the service was controlled with payments only being released once the Council was satisfied the service had been delivered to the required standard.

-       In addition the Council would ensure the contractor would have in place the relevant bonds and insurance. 

-       The Council’s cleaning services had previously been an in-house service.  It then decided that it could achieve better value by companies better placed to provide this service and duly out-sourced it. 

-       At the present time it was the Council’s view that the market was competitive and there were companies with the right skill set to better undertake this service on the Council’s behalf. 

-       The Government took on all existing EU legislation (until and unless individually repealed) and as such the Council was obliged to be fully compliant with OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union). 

 

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

 

FG46/20

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 9 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

FG47/20

Date of the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 9 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Tuesday 23 March 2021, at 6.30pm.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 23 March 2021 at 6:30pm.