Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: The Olympic Room - AVDC. View directions

Contact: Bill Ashton; Email: bashton@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk; 

Items
No. Item

1.

Final Budget Proposals for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 741 KB

Councillor Mordue

Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources

 

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164

Decision:

(a)          Decision(s)

 

(1)          That the Finance and Services Scrutiny Committee be thanked for its input to the budget setting process.

 

(2)       That Council be recommended to:-

 

(1)  Approve the budget for 2019/2020 and the Medium Term Financial Plan as set out in summary form in the Appendix attached to the Cabinet report.

 

(2)  Approve an increase in Council Tax of £5 (3.35%) for 2019/2020, the maximum allowable for lower tier councils.

 

(3)  Approve the use of £1.48m of New Homes Bonus to meet the costs of the Connected Knowledge Programme in 2019/2020.

 

(4)  Approve the proposed fees and charges as set in Appendix E to the Cabinet report.

 

(5)  Approve the level of Band D Special Expenses charge for 2019/2020 as set out in Appendix F to the Cabinet report.

 

(b)          Reason(s) for Decision(s)

 

The Council is statutorily required to set a budget for 2019/2020 and plan for expenditure in subsequent years based upon the Medium Term Financial Plan.  The Budget proposals reflect the transition to a new unitary authority.

 

(c)          Alternative Options Considered

 

The development of the budget proposals has involved a number of key elements of choice as set out in previous reports to Cabinet.

 

(d)          Relevant Scrutiny Committee

 

Finance and Services.  The Committee Chairman attended Cabinet to elaborate upon his Committee’s deliberations.  Cabinet accepted all the comments of the Scrutiny Committee and in particular:-

 

·        It was confirmed that the business cases of all of the projects that formed part of the Connected Knowledge Programme were analysed carefully by a programme management board and were and would continue to be assessed having regard to the likely requirements of the new unitary authority.  The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources would be invited to attend meetings of the programme management board.

 

·        It was agreed that the sum of £10,759 should be re-instated in the budget for funding to a number of voluntary and community sector organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau and that in order to give those organisations some certainty whilst the new council was being established, this funding should be for a two year period.

 

The budget proposals will now be subject to consideration by full Council and are not therefore subject to call-in.

 

(e)          Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)

 

As a member of an organisation that contributed financially towards the work of the CAB, Councillor Mordue declared a personal interest in this item insofar as it affected the future funding arrangements for this organisation.

 

 

Minutes:

The report to Cabinet on 18 December, 2018, had presented a set of initial budget proposals.  That report had highlighted uncertainty around a number of issues, particularly further reductions in Government Grant, retained business rates and New Homes Bonus.  Since the December meeting, work had continued to refine the budget assumptions.  In practice, little had changed materially at a service level.  The significant elements of the final budget proposals were around the impact of the Government Grant numbers and changes to other centrally funded support. 

 

As set out previously, it was intended to support the Connected Knowledge Programme through the use of NHB reserves.  The Programme underpinned many of the components of service delivery and commercial AVDC, and therefore the ability to meet the financial agenda of the Council over the coming years.  The final recommended budget had been attached to the Cabinet report as Appendix A1.  A summary of the changes, savings and pressures which had been used to arrive at the summary position had been attached as Appendices A2, C and D.

 

The Government had announced the draft Grant settlement for councils on 13 December, 2018.  Despite some indications that there might be significant changes to reflect on-going pressures on the wider local government sector, the Government had largely honoured its commitments contained within the four year settlement and had left the pre-announced Grant numbers mostly unchanged.  The important numbers of Revenue Support Grant and Baselined Business Rates were virtually the same as those that had been announced for 2019/20 last year, within the four year settlement.  As had been anticipated, the Government had also provided extra resources in 2019/20 to cancel the negative RSG adjustment to tariffs and top-up.  the confirmed impact of the change would benefit the Council by £687,000.  This would be a non-recurrent re-aligning of funding.

 

Cabinet had previously agreed that the funding should be ring fenced to support likely and known pressures during 2019/20, to include £0.3m to support the on-going housing growth agenda in Aylesbury Vale and the associated infrastructure schemes, such as HS2, East-West Rail and the Oxford/Cambridge Expressway.  Cabinet felt that the remaining £0.4m should be allocated to meet the costs of the car park changes (replacement equipment) detailed in the Car Park Strategy.

 

The Government had also announced consultations on the further progression of the Fair Funding Review in advance of the provisional 2019/20 settlement, and the redesign of business rates retention by the end of the year.  A new system (Fair Funding), based on the Government consultation, would be introduced in 2020/21 alongside a Government wide Comprehensive Funding review.

 

The Fair Funding review would affect how funding was allocated and redistributed between local authorities from 2020 onwards.  It was expected to use three main cost drivers: population, deprivation and sparsity, together with additional cost drivers related to specific local authority services.

 

Alongside the new methodology, in 2020/21, a new phase for the business rates retention programme would also be introduced.  The aim was for local authorities to retain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Capital Programme Update 2019/20 to 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Councillor Mordue

Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources

 

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164

Decision:

(a)          Decision(s)

 

That Council be recommended to approve the updated Capital Programme for the period 2019/20 to 2022/23, onwards as set out in summary form at Appendix A to the Cabinet report.

 

(b)          Reason(s) for Decision(s)

 

The Council is required to set a capital budget for the coming year and as part of prudential financial management, incorporate a longer term view of capital activity.  Regular review of the capital Programme is essential, especially when a number of major schemes are running in parallel.  The CIPFA Prudential Code (December 2017) includes a requirement to produce a capital strategy.

 

(c)          Alternative Options Considered

 

None as such.  The proposed Capital Programme represents the allocation of anticipated resources in accordance with corporate priorities.

 

(d)          Relevant Scrutiny Committee

 

Finance and Services.  That Committee considered the Capital Programme at its meeting on 14 January, 2019.  The Committee Chairman attended the Cabinet meeting to elaborate upon the Committee’s deliberations.

 

Cabinet accepted all of the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Cabinet’s final recommendation will now be considered by full Council and therefore is not subject to call-in.

 

(e)          Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)

 

None.

 

 

Minutes:

Cabinet received the updated Capital Programme for the period 2019/20 to 2022/23 onwards.  An interim report had been submitted to Cabinet on 18 December,2018.  As had been reported at that time, the focus of the Capital Programme was on the delivery of existing schemes already approved by the Council.  The Programme reflected the Council’s strategy of ensuring prudent use and maximisation of available capital resources.  The earlier report had made reference to an additional request for funding from the Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone Board in relation to an investment proposal at Westcott.  The report now before Cabinet could be viewed in full on the Council’s web site.

 

It was reported that the Capital Programme for 2019/20 had now been updated to include provision for the Westcott investment proposal and the latest report (posted on the Council’s web site) contained more detailed information.  AVDC was the accountable body for the Aylesbury Vale enterprise Zone.  The proposed funding of £1.2m would be recovered through a combination of loan repayment and the recoupment of business rates collected and retained from the Enterprise Zone.

 

The CIPFA revised 2017 Prudential and Treasury management Codes required, for 2019/20, that all local authorities prepare an additional report setting out the Council’s capital strategy.  To comply with the statutory requirements, an expanded, but still abridged (because of the unitary proposal) would be presented in the Treasury management Strategy.  The Cabinet report set out the key principles of the capital strategy.

 

The creation of a new unitary authority would occur during the period of the capital plan.  This removed the need for medium term planning for Aylesbury Vale as a single entity organisation.  However, the Council remained obligated to hand over its affairs to the new organisation in the best possible financial state.  At this early stage, the financial implications of reorganisation were yet to be fully understood.  However, future investment and borrowing decisions might be influenced by the outcome of the unitary arrangements.

 

The Cabinet report had been considered by the Finance and Services scrutiny Committee on 14 January, 2019.  The Chairman of that Committee attended the meeting to elaborate upon the Committee’s deliberations.  The Scrutiny Committee had been supportive of the use of residual Right to Buy capital receipts and nominal sums from New Homes Bonus for affordable housing, to fund new affordable housing schemes.  The Committee had also been supportive of the funding proposal for the Space Catapult Innovation Centre at the Westcott Enterprise Zone.

 

In addition, the Committee had been supportive of the remaining £341,000 from the sale of the Elmhurst Community Centre being used for the maintenance of community centres in the Aylesbury Special Expenses Area.  The Committee had asked for, (and Cabinet confirmed), a breakdown in due course of how the £341,000 had been allocated.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)  That the Finance and Services Scrutiny Committee be thanked for its feedback on the Capital Programme.

 

(2)  That the Council be recommended to approve the updated Capital Programme for the period 2019/20 to 2022/23 onwards,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Public Sector Equality Duty pdf icon PDF 14 KB

Councillor Winn

Cabinet Member for Communities

 

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Andy Barton (01296) 585430

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)          Decision(s)

 

That AVDC’s Equality Report for 2018 be approved for publication in order to meet the Council’s statutory duty.

 

(b)          Reason(s) for Decision(s)

 

This is a statutory requirement.

 

(c)          Alternative Options Considered

 

None.

 

(d)          Relevant Scrutiny Committee

 

Finance and Services.  That Committee considered the report at its meeting on 14 January, 2019.  The Committee Chairman attended the Cabinet meeting and elaborated upon the Committee’s deliberations. The Committee’s comments which were essentially around future reporting information were accepted.

 

(e)          Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)

 

None.

 

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report, also submitted to the Finance and Services Scrutiny Committee on 14 January, 2019, and summarised in the Minutes of that meeting, giving an assessment of the Council’s performance against the Public Sector Equality Duty and the requirements of Regulation 2 of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations.

 

The Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee attended the Cabinet meeting and elaborated upon his Committee’s deliberations.  In particular, Committee Members had noted that a number of requests that they had made in 2018 on future reporting had been taken on board in the preparation of the latest report.  It had been suggested that in future it would be helpful to include some information on why there were generally more females in the SG4 and SG5 grades.  The Committee had been particularly pleased to note that the pay equality position at AVDC was excellent.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the content of the Equality report for 2018 be noted and the document be approved for publication in order to meet the Council’s statutory duty.

 

 

4.

Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) Business Plan pdf icon PDF 12 KB

Councillor Bowles

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development

 

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Teresa Lane (01296) 585006

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)          Decision(s)

 

That the draft Business Plan for Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) for 2019/2022 be approved. (A copy was attached to the confidential part of the agenda).

 

(b)          Reason(s) for Decision(s)

 

The Council’s consent is required to the Business Plan in accordance with the agreement with AVE.

 

(c)          Alternative Options Considered

 

Not to approve the Business Plan.  Representatives of AVE were present at the Cabinet meeting to respond to questions from Cabinet Members.

 

(d)          Relevant Scrutiny Committee

 

Economy and Business Development.  That Committee had considered the draft Business Plan at its meeting on 10 December, 2018 and the Cabinet report included the Committee’s comments.  The Committee Chairman could not be present at the Cabinet meeting due to another commitment.  Cabinet Members pursued the comments made by the Committee with the AVE representatives and were satisfied with the response.

 

(e)          Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)

 

As a member of the AVE Board, Councillor Mrs Ward declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting whilst the matter was discussed.

 

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report on the Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) draft business plan for 2019/2022, submitted also to the Economy and Business Development Scrutiny Committee on 10 December, 2018.  The Scrutiny Committee had had an opportunity to question the asset managers on various aspects of the plan.  (A copy of the draft business plan had been circulated in full as part of the confidential Cabinet agenda).  Representatives of the asset managers also attended this meeting.

 

Whilst the Scrutiny Committee had been encouraged that AVE was effective at collecting rents, and that dividends were expected to be returned to the Council, concern had been expressed about proposed site disposals and the business plan’s over reliance on these disposal receipts within the financial model.  Members had also felt that disposals might be due to the demand for dividends to be paid, and that once a site had been sold, it was permanently off the portfolio.  The Committee had hoped that there would be more ideas on how Hale Leys might adapt to the difficulties currently being experienced in the retail market.

 

Cabinet Members raised these issues with the asset managers who responded that disposals in the main were not strategic sites.  The objective was to create a diversity of new development.  The asset managers were fully cognative of the issues facing high streets across the country. and were doing all they could to address these.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the draft Aylesbury Vale Estates business plan for 2019/2022 be approved.

 

NOTE: As a member of the AVE board, Councillor Mrs Ward declared a prejudicial interest in the above item and left the meeting whilst it was under discussion.

5.

Exclusion of the Public

The following matter is for consideration by Members “In Committee”.  It will therefore be necessary to

 

RESOLVE –

 

That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the Paragraph indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act:-

 

Item No. 8 – Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) Business Plan

 

The public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information because the report contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of organisations (including the Authority holding that information) and disclosure of commercially sensitive information would prejudice negotiations for contracts and land disposals or transactions.

6.

Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) Business Plan

Councillor Bowles

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development

 

To consider the attached confidential information.

 

Contact Officer:  Teresa Lane (01296) 585006