Agenda and minutes

Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board - Tuesday, 23rd January, 2024 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

FG67/23

Apologies pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Britcher-Allan, Goodship, McMillan and Sankey.

FG68/23

Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 67 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 or other significant interests declared at the meeting.

FG69/23

Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To note any visiting Members and members of the public wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 18 and 19 and which items they wish to speak on.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no visiting persons registered to speak.

FG70/23

Minutes of the meeting dated 14 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 201 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:

No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 14 November 2023 be approved as a correct record.

FG71/23

Forward Plan as at 11 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To note forthcoming items as set out in the Forward Plan

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No amendments were proposed.

 

RESOLVED – That the Forward Plan as at 11 January 2024 be noted.

FG72/23

*People Strategy 2024-27 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ben Chapelard, Leader of the Council, William Benson, Chief Executive and Paul Taylor, Director of Change and Communities introduced the item set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The document included an action tracker to ensure that actions set out in the Strategy were completed.

-       One of the actions in the Strategy was about ensuring the Council collected people data.  The data was reported back frequently.

-       One of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) focused on recruitment and retention.  Turnover rate was something that was measured.  It could also be benchmarked against the national average.

-       Currently the national average was running at about 14%.  The Council typically ran at about 25%.  This was high, but this was likely to be down to local and national reasons e.g. the high cost of living in Tunbridge Wells and its proximity to London. Although this could change due to the way people now worked.

-       The Council had recently agreed to purchase an add-on with ITrent (the Council’s payroll and HR system providers) that would allow more data to be extracted that would help evaluate this KPI. 

-       The Council encouraged staff feedback and undertook regular pulse surveys and staff briefing sessions.

-       One of the ways the Council measured staff satisfaction was by shadowing the methodology behind the Best Places to Work.

-       Turnover of staff was an important element and was about right at the Council.

-       The Strategy included an Action Plan with some key deliverables.  Officers met regularly to see how the Council was progressing against those deliverables.

-       As part of the Action Plan, a number of pieces of work would come forward, e.g. pay and pay policy.

-       Progress on the KPI’s would be reported back to Cabinet.

-       The Council was also looking at its recruitment process and would aim to amend and restructure to take account of new ways of working.

-       The recommendations from the recent Corporate Peer Challenge would be incorporated into the Strategy.

-       Feedback from the Corporate Peer Challenge highlighted the passion, enthusiasm and calibre of the staff that worked at the Council.

-       Each individual action included a statement of intent.  Within these themes, included a number of different actions. By delivering on the actions, the statement of intent would be completed.  This would then be linked back to a key set of performance indicators.

-       Once the ITrent add-on had been secured, the Council would be able to establish what additional data could be extracted.  At that time, a Member Briefing could be organised to update Members.

-       The Council offered many opportunities for prospective new members of staff.

-       Council pay was based on a job evaluation scheme.  The Council paid to the median of the Public Not for Profit Sector (PNFP) South East (not including London). 

-       Historically when inflation was low, pay was reviewed every 3 or 4 years.  However, the market was now moving very  ...  view the full minutes text for item FG72/23

FG73/23

Banking Tender 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 111 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 item set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

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

 

FG74/23

*Governance Review 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:

Councillor Ben Chapelard, Leader of the Council and William Benson, Chief Executive, introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       One of the issues that emerged from the study was the level of attendance at meetings.  It was noted that four apologies had been received for the meeting this evening.

-       The introduction of substitutes was very welcome, particularly for the decision making Committees.

-       The review took account of the changes in the number of Councillors and reduced the number of Members for each Committee accordingly.

-       Whilst there were advantages to moving some meetings online, there were also advantages to having meetings in person.

-       It should be left to the individual Committees to decide whether to meet online or in person.

 

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

FG75/23

* Budget 2024/25 & Medium Terms Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 995 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 set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The influx of respondents to the survey at the beginning of January was due to the Council being able to use the email addresses of those residents who paid their Council Tax via e-billing.  In addition, the Council sent emails to businesses that it had on its records.

-       Direct emailing resulted in a greater response to the survey.

-       Little support for both the Amelia Scott and the Assembly Hall Theatre was consistent with previous years. 

-       The budget survey asked residents to take tough decisions and reallocate funding in order to balance the budget. 

-       The result was that money was taken away from services that may not be used as frequently or considered as important as other services. 

-       There was uncertainty whether car parking revenue would recover following the pandemic.  However, gross income was now above pre pandemic levels.

-       This was one of the main reasons the Council was able to balance the budget for this year.

-       Increases in car parking revenue was also a very healthy sign for the Town Centre.

 

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

FG76/23

Revenue and Benefits Shared Service Proposal Report pdf icon PDF 228 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Georgia Hawkes, Head of Mid Kent Services and Zoe Kent, Interim Head of Revenues and Benefits introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       The three year timetable for implementation was because of the multitude of processes involved when dealing with revenues and benefits. 

-       Three years would allow time for the scheme to bed in.  

-       It was also important to minimise the number of redundancies.  As and when staff left, consideration could be given to whether some form of automation might be appropriate, or whether the post needed to be backfilled. 

 

To note, the matter was decided taking the exempt information set out in the Agenda as read.

 

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

FG77/23

*Discretionary Rate Relief Report pdf icon PDF 161 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Zoe Kent, Interim Head of Revenue and Benefits introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

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

FG78/23

Cleaning and Hygiene Maintenance Tender pdf icon PDF 257 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

William Benson, Chief Executive introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

To note the matter was decided taking the exempt information set out in the Agenda as read.

 

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

FG79/23

*Treasury Management Policy and Strategy pdf icon PDF 154 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 set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

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

FG80/23

*Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 149 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 set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

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

 

FG81/23

Property Transaction Report July to December 2023 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Candlin, Head of Economic Development and Property introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

It was noted that since the publication of the agenda, an additional lease was let in Royal Victoria Place. Paragraph 2.8 of the open report should now read, ‘12 Occupational matters have been completed’. This would be updated in the report that went forward to Cabinet.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

To note, the matter was decided taking the exempt information set out in the Agenda as read.

 

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

 

FG82/23

*Asset Management Plan 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Candlin, Head of Economic Development and Property introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

The consultation closed on 26 January 2024 so a verbal update was provided as follows:

 

-       To date, at least 20 individuals had accessed the consultation.

-       Of which 10 people had read the Asset Management Plan with comments received from 6.

-       Comments included:

o   The impact of the loss of parking within the Town Centre.

o   Not in favour of the Council acquiring Royal Victoria Place due to the potential for the additional burden it may create.

o   To bring the empty units within Royal Victoria Place to be brought back into use.

o   Investment in the Wesley Centre in Paddock Wood.

o   Carbon neutral investment at Putlands Leisure Centre.

o   That the Asset Management Plan document was too long.

 

Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

 

-       There was concern related to items being declared surplus for potential disposal. 

-       Care should be taken when listing items when there was very little chance of disposal.

 

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

 

 

FG83/23

Lease of 8 Grosvenor Road - The Gateway pdf icon PDF 173 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Peter Benfield, Senior Estates Surveyor introduced the report set out in the agenda.

 

The report was taken as read.

 

To note, the matter was decided taking the exempt information set out in the Agenda as read.

 

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

FG84/23

Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 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.

FG85/23

Date of the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is Tuesday 5 March 2024, at 6.30pm. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 5 March 2024 at 6:30pm.