Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Olympic Room - AVDC. View directions

Contact: Craig Saunders; Email: csaunders@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk; 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 December, 2018, copy attached as an appendix.

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 December, 2018, be approved as a correct record.

2.

Initial Budget Proposals 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 23 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Committee received a report on the draft budget proposals for 2019/20 that had been considered by Cabinet in December 2018.  The full details of the budget information and background concerning the budget proposals were set out in the minutes of that Cabinet meeting.

 

On 16 January, 2019, Cabinet would be agreeing the final recommendations to be proposed to full Council on the draft budget for 2019/20 which included the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), the proposed level of Council Tax, and proposed fees and charges for 2019/20.  In summary, Cabinet would be asked to recommend to Council the budget for 2019/20 and the MTFP including:-

(a)          To take into budget planning the £1.916 million of proposed savings as set out within paragraph 4.6 of the 18 December, 2018 report.

(b)          To take into budget planning the £2.354 million of forecast pressures as set out within paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 to the same report.

(c)          To increased Council tax by an annual amount equivalent to £5.00 (3.35%) for a Band D property (equivalent to less than 10 pence per week) from 1 April, 2019.

(d)          To the use of £1.48m of New Homes Bonus to meet the costs of the Connected Knowledge Programme in 2019-20.

(e)          To agree the proposed fees and charges as set out in Appendix E to the report.

(f)           For the level of the Band D Special Expenses charge for 2019/20 to remain unchanged (at £45) from the initial budget proposals.

 

The Scrutiny Committee was asked to indicate any comments / feedback that it wished Cabinet to take into account in recommending the budget to full Council.

 

The Cabinet report highlighted that there was still uncertainty around a number of issues particularly further reductions in Government Grant, retained business rates and the New Homes Bonus.  In the few weeks since the initial proposals had been considered by Cabinet, work had continued to refine the budget assumptions.  In practice, little had materially changed at a service level and so the significant elements of the final budget proposals were around the impact of the proposed Government Grant numbers and changes to other centrally funded support.

 

Members were asked to note the outcome of the provisional local Government settlement for 2019/20 announced on 13 December 2018 and the impact on the final budget proposals.  The main factors of the finance settlement were:

·                    Updated Core Spending Power figures.

·                    Confirmation of continuing cuts to RSG.

·                    Removal of Negative RSG.

·                    Increases to RSDG (+£16m) and NHB (+£18m) Funding.

·                    £180m released from the BRR levy account.

·                    Provisional Social Care Allocations of £650m  (Budget 2018).

·                    15 new 75% Pilot areas announced for 2019/20 (and 7 back to 50%).

·                    No changes to the Council Tax referenda principles (aside from Police).

 

Specifically for AVDC:-

·                    The important numbers of Revenue Support Grant and Baselined Business Rates were virtually the same as those announced for 2019/20 last year within the 4 year settlement.  2019/20 represented the last year of the 4 year settlement.

·                    AVDC was better  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Capital Programme Update 2019/20 to 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council’s Capital Programme was reviewed annually with the current programme being last approved and adopted at Council in February 2018.

 

Cabinet had considered a report on 18 December 2018 on the capital programme for the current year, as well as for the updated programme for 2019/20 onwards.  The report provided an updated position with respect to forecast receipts and the position with regards to current and future major investment projects. It also incorporated changes made since February 2018 and reflected these in the overall resources projections.  The full details of the capital programme and background were set out in the minutes of that Cabinet meeting.

 

Cabinet had approved the updated Capital Programme for the purposes of scrutiny.  Any feedback from scrutiny would be considered by Cabinet on 16 January 2019 in making final recommendations to full Council.

 

The Cabinet report made reference to an additional request for funding from the Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone Board for an investment proposal at Westcott. Additional information had now been received in respect of this scheme and the business case presented to the Enterprise Zone Board was summarised at paragraphs 3.4 to 3.25 inclusive of the scrutiny report.

 

The investment proposal related to £1.2m of funding for a Space Catapult Innovation Centre, comprising a £600,000 loan and a £600,000 grant.  As its Accountable Body, the Enterprise Zone Board was seeking for AVDC to borrow the £1.2m funding and to recover this (plus any interests costs) from the EZ retained business rates.  Details of how the repayments would be made was set out at paragraphs 3.17 to 3.19.

 

An independent business case appraisal had been undertaken in November 2018 by Hewdon Consulting and had concluded that the project was robust and that the Innovation Centre as now proposed would be a positive addition to the Westcott Space Cluster.

 

The Scrutiny Committee considered the 18 December 2018 Cabinet report and the scrutiny report.

 

The following changes in anticipated resources would need to be factored into the programme:-

·                    Revenue Contribution – a proposed £400,000 contribution from revenue to supplement existing capital resources.  The removal of the Negative Revenue Support Grant was also expected to benefit the Council by approximately £700,000.  It had been recommended to Cabinet that the funding be ring-fenced to support likely and known pressures during 2019/20, specifically £0.4m to meet the costs of the car park changes detailed in the Car Park Strategy.

·                    Reserve utilisation of £4.5m for the Town Centre Regeneration.

·                    £8m borrowing to support spend on the Silverstone Enterprise Zone and also Pembroke Road.

·                    Share of house sale receipts from VAHT, although the number of residual RTB house sales had consistently fallen over the last couple of years.

·                    Asset sales – no asset sales had been assumed for 2019/20, although it was forecast that £440,000 would be received from AVE for loan repayments.

 

It was noted that the available resources as at the beginning of 2018/19 and the projected resources during 2018/19 and 2019/20 before any expenditure had been taken  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Treasury Management Strategy 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 377 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Nuala Donnelly (01296) 585164

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Treasury Management Strategy for 2019/20.  The Treasury Management Statement, Treasury Management Strategy Statement and the Annual Investment Strategy, attached as appendices to the Committee report, would be reported to full Council in February for approval.

 

The annual Treasury Management Strategy included Prudential Indicators that were used as part of the self governance framework.  The Committee report provided supplementary background information to the Strategy and summarised a number of issues.  The key messages were:-

·                    Investments – the primary governing principle would remain with security over return and this was reflected in the criteria for selecting counterparties.

·                    Borrowing – overall, this remained fairly constant over the period covered by this report and the Council would remain under-borrowed against its borrowing requirement due to the higher cost of carrying debt.

·                    Governance – strategies were reviewed by the Audit Committee with continuous monitoring which included Mid-Year and Year End reporting.

 

The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (the Code) was a professional Code that set out a framework for self-regulation of capital spending; in effect allowing councils to invest in capital projects which best met their service delivery objectives as long as they were affordable, prudent and sustainable, subject to Government reserve powers to restrict borrowing for national economic reasons.

 

The Code required the Council to agree and monitor a number of prudential indicators covering affordability, prudence, capital expenditure, debt levels and treasury management.  The indicators also formed the basis for in-year monitoring and reporting.

 

Thelimitsand indicatorsthat the Authority were requiredtodetermineby the code were:-

 

Capital and Debt Indicators

·                    Capital Expenditure – representedtheagreedCapital Programmeand set out the plannedcapital expenditureoverthenext three years.

·                    Capital Financing Requirement – theamount the Authorityneeded toborrowinorder to deliveritsCapitalExpenditureplans.

·                    Affordability Index – this was the proportion of the Authoritysincomethat was takenup by loanrepaymentsand interest.  The moretheAuthorit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Public Sector Equality Duty pdf icon PDF 22 KB

To consider the attached report.

 

Contact Officer:  Andy Barton (01296) 585430

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), came into force on 5 April 2011. The objective behind the duty was to ensure that consideration of equality issues formed part of the routine, day-to-day decision making and operational delivery of public authorities. In summary, it required that the District Council, in the exercise of its functions, had due regard to the need to:

·                    eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under the Equality Act.

·                    advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not by:

o        Removing or minimising disadvantage that people in the protected groups suffer because its connected to that protected characteristic

o        Take steps to meet the needs of people from the protected groups where these differ to those of other people

o        Encourage participation from protected groups in public life or other activity where their participation was disproportionately low

·                     foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not by:

o        Tackling prejudice.

o        Promoting understanding.

 

The protected characteristics were age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

 

Following the introduction of the Equalities Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, the Council had published a statement in 2012 on how the Council was meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty.  The regulations were designed to ensure that public bodies were transparent about their compliance with the Equality Duty. And, by publishing information about their equality performance and objectives, public bodies would be accountable to the people and communities they served.

 

The Committee received a report which provided an assessment (Appendix 1) of the Council’s performance against the Public Sector Equality Duty and which had been updated in light of the Council’s performance assessment for 2018, and also demonstrated that AVDC was complying with the general Equality Duty.  This included information about the population of the District, information about Council staff and what AVDC was doing to meet the equality duty.  The information would be considered by Cabinet on 16 January 2019, with a view to publishing an updated Public Sector Equality Duty statement on how AVDC was continuing to meet its statutory duty.

 

While the Scrutiny Committee was satisfied with the assessment given of the Council’s performance against the Public Sector Equality Duty for 2018, Members suggested that future reporting should include some information on why there were generally more females in the SG4 and SG5 grades.

 

Members commented that the pay equality position at AVDC was excellent.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That AVDC’s Equality Report and performance for 2018 be noted.

6.

Future Work Programme

To consider agenda items for future meetings.  Meetings are scheduled as follows:-

 

·                     8 April 2019 (Debt Management report, Quarterly Finance Digest Q3)

·                     2 July 2019 (Leisure Centres Management Contract, Quarterly Finance Digest Q4, Treasury Management 2018-19 Year End Report)

·                     9 September 2019

·                     11 November 2019

·                     16 December 2019 (Budget Scrutiny)

Minutes:

The Committee considered their work programme for the period until December 2019.  The agenda for future meetings would be:-

 

8 April 2019:  Debt Management report, Quarterly Finance Digest (Q3)

 

2 July 2019:  Leisure Centres Management Contract, Quarterly Finance Digest (Q4), Treasury Management 2018-19 Year End report.

 

9 September 2019, 11 November 2019 and 16 December 2019:  No agenda items as yet

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the work programme be agreed, as discussed at the meeting.