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To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 5 September 2017, copy attached as an appendix.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 September 2017 be approved as a correct record.
To consider the attached report (representatives from Everyone Active, the Council’s leisure management contractor) will be attending the meeting.
Contact Officer: Paul Marston-Weston (01296) 585116
The Committee received an update from Everyone Active, the Council’s leisure management contractor, on the actions and measures that had been implemented over the last six months and on other plans for the future and that would continue to improve the standard of cleanliness and hygiene at Aqua Vale Swim and Fitness Centre, Aylesbury.
The leisure management contract for the management and operation of the council’s two leisure centres (Aqua Vale Swim and Fitness centre, Aylesbury and Swan Pool and Leisure Centre, Buckingham) had been awarded to Sport and Leisure Management Ltd, trading as Everyone Active (EA) from April 2013 for an initial period of ten years with an option to extend the contract, by mutual agreement for up to a further five years. EA paid the Council approximately £510,000 each year to manage the council’s leisure centres.
EA managers had attended the Scrutiny Committee meeting in April 2017 following reports of poor standards of cleanliness at Aqua Vale and had acknowledged that the overall standards at Aqua Vale had not been up to scratch or as they would expect to provide and that they should have been more proactive in responding to issues that had arisen. The Committee had been informed on the arrangements in place to manage and monitor the contract and been informed by EA that a number of changes had been made including changes to the senior staffing structure, and the cleanliness and maintenance regimes.
Formal contract monitoring was undertaken by the AVDC client officer by way of a monthly contract meeting with EA Contract managers and site visit together with ad-hoc contract meetings with the Regional Director of EA. In addition, any complaints received by the Council were followed up with EA to ensure that they were resolved in a satisfactory manner. Furthermore, AVDC Environmental Health Officers reviewed the water quality test results obtained by EA if there were any concerns regarding the water quality.
Since the last meeting, the standards of cleanliness at Aqua Vale had continued to improve greatly and much had been done by EA to address concerns raised by Members. There was, of course, room for further improvement and EA remained committed to raising standards of cleanliness now and going forward. EA had produced a report which was circulated at the Scrutiny Committee meeting highlighting the actions and improvements made. The Cabinet Member for Civic Amenities informed Members that she had met with EA managers and had toured the centre to see first hand the improvements made.
Everyone Active representatives attended the meeting and provided members with a Service Standards Report which contained comprehensive information on the Service Improvement Plan that had been actioned over the last 12 months. Key areas within the plan included cleaning, maintenance and staff levels (in particular, relating to lifeguard recruitment). The EA representatives, together with the Contracts Performance, Funding and Partnerships Development Manager, provided Members with further information as follows:-
· Aqua Vale attendance – overall attendance had increased by 4,222 in the first half of ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Andrew Small (01296) 585507
The Committee received a report that had been submitted to Cabinet on 8 November and which set out the high level issues facing the Council in developing budget proposals for 2018/2019 and in updating the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).
The current MFTP for 2018/19 had been agreed by Council in February, 2017. This had predicted the need to identify £1.4 million of savings in order to balance the budget for 2018/19, based upon the information available at that time and a set of assumptions around key variables within the budget. These assumptions would be revisited and reviewed as part of the budget planning for 2018/19 and the following four years which made up the MTFP.
Local government, and most of the public sector, had been managing the consequences of the Government’s balancing of the public sector funding equation over the last seven years, whilst at the same time managing the expectations of residents. With the recent General Election and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its impact, there had been some softening of the Government’s stance on austerity. As a consequence, the Government’s long term targets for balancing the budget had been extended and there had been some new funding for some nationally high profile issues. However, it was still considered unlikely that this would have any material impact on the targets that had been set for local government for the period up to 2019/20. All indications were that austerity would continue well beyond this timeframe.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced in the Autumn budget on 22 November a focus on issues such as housing growth and a re-prioritising of the Government’s agenda that might have far reaching implications for local government. However, the Government appeared committed to the four year settlement, so core funding seemed likely to be unaffected, but there remained many other mechanisms by which local government could be affected. The tone of the report to Cabinet had therefore been primarily focused around the delivery of efficiency savings and new income generation, as identified last year, but with an eye to the wider budgetary risks potentially facing the Council.
The report identified some of the key issues and areas that would need to be considered as part of the review and update process and set out the timetable for scrutinising and agreeing the budget and the MTFP. The proposed timetable broadly followed the same format as in previous years and this was summarised in the report.
The ongoing work of officers and Cabinet Members under the wider commercial AVDC programme meant that the process could be condensed. This should be achievable, as any strategic choices relating to the level or means of service delivery had already been debated and scrutinised throughout the year. The restructuring programme recently completed had been the single largest facet of the commercial AVDC programme during the last 12 months.
The Commercialisation programme was being delivered as an ongoing four year programme of co-ordinated works and service reviews and not ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164
The Committee received the report on the Council's financial performance for the period 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017. The current position at the half way point of the year was showing an overspend against budgets of £1.290m. The latest Quarterly Finance Digest had been included as an appendix to the Committee report and Members referred to this document whilst considering the report.
The financial position was largely being driven by budgeted levels of staff costs in relation to the reorganisation of the Council. Over the past 12 months, the Council has undertaken a series of business reviews in order to position itself as a more commercial organisation. It was anticipated that the financial benefit of doing this would be realised through significant savings in staff costs in the future.
During the first 6 months of the year, £0.672m of salary savings had been made as a result of business reviews and vacancies. These vacant posts were, however, being filled by temporary staff (agency and consultants) at a premium cost. For the first six months of the financial year, agency costs were reported as being £1.290m above budgeted levels. It was anticipated that the reliance on temporary staff would reduce during the year as vacant posts were filled.
The forecast for the financial period to the end of March 2018 was now expected to be an overspend of £0.496m. This overall figure included redundancy costs of £1.7m and temporary staff costs of £2.9m, offset by full year salary savings of £1.8m in excess of the salary savings requirement.
The cost of redundancies would be funded from reserves. The use of reserves to meet redundancy costs had previously been agreed to fund these exceptional costs of reorganisation. The council anticipated the pay back of costs incurred through staff savings over the next few years.
Detail of the reserves and provisions held by the Council were detailed on page 13 of the Digest. After allowing for known movements, the balance of reserves was forecast to be £35.817m at 31 March 2018.
As well as the revenue budget the digest, on page 14, it had also been reported on the level of capital spend to 30 September 2017. Whilst the year to date spend of £0.78m represented only 6% of the total anticipated spend, there was no perceived risk on the delivery of the schemes and it was anticipated that expenditure would increase in line with plans over the second half of the year.
Page 15 of the Digest detailed information on the level of investments and borrowings during the first six months of the financial year. No new borrowing has been taken out during the year and so the current level remains at £23.5m. The council had £54.8m invested at the end of September, in a combination of banks, building societies and money market funds.
Budget holders’ were continually asked during the year to review all of their areas and to reforecast their budgets both positively and negatively in order to ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To consider the future work programme. Meetings are scheduled as follows:-
8 January 2018 (Note: this meeting date has changed from 10 January 2018)
1. Draft budget proposals for 2018-19
2. Capital Programme Review
3. Connected Knowledge
4. Public Sector Equality Duty
5. Treasury Management Strategy
6. Vale Commerce Business Plan
5 February 2018
No items as yet
4 April 2018
No items as yet
9 July 2018
No items as yet
The Committee considered their work programme for the period up until April 2018.
The agenda items for future meetings would be:-
(i) 8 January 2018 – Budget scrutiny, Capital Programme Review, Public Sector Equality Duty, Connected Knowledge
(ii) 5 February 2018 – Quarterly Finance Digest, Treasury Management Strategy, Vale Commerce Business Plan.
(iii) 4 April 2018 – No items as yet.
That the work programme be agreed, as discussed at the meeting.