Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Christine Morgan 01775 764454
Election of Chairman
Councillor Alcock was elected Chairman for the duration of the meeting.
Declaration of Interests
(Councillors are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. In the interests of transparency, councillors may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item, that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.)
There were no declarations of interest.
Draft Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy PDF 74 KB
To consider the draft budget and provide feedback to the Cabinet, to be taken into account when considering the final draft budget position, prior to submission to full Council for formal approval (report of the Executive Director, Commercialisation enclosed)
The Panels received a report by the Executive Director, Commercialisation which set out the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy for consideration.
The appendices to the report outlined the 2016-17 revenue and capital estimates for the General Fund, the proposals for the setting of discretionary fees and charges, the outline position to 2019-20, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy. The medium term financial plan set out the framework within which the budget was to be set to ensure that it enabled the Council to achieve its own corporate objectives. The capital strategy set out the framework for the capital budget setting.
Councillors noted that during recent years the council, alongside many public sector service providers, had experienced financial pressures in various combinations; public sector funding cuts, all time low returns on cash deposits and a national economic downturn affecting jobs, housing and business growth. During this same period the basis on which the public sector was funded had undergone unprecedented reform, radical changes that affected the council’s funding financial position both directly and indirectly including National Welfare Reform, Localisation of Council Tax Relief, Business Rates Retention, New Homes Bonus and of course reduction and in some cases removal of a range of grant funding sources. Each change brought elements of uncertainty in terms of impact.
Despite these challenges and as a result of the Council’s prudent financial management and innovative income generation, the Council had been positioned to secure a sustainable financial future across the medium term with no dependency on reserves. This position was enabling the Council time to develop a clear financial strategy in the medium and longer term to identify and deliver the more complex transformational changes required to meet the significant financial challenges of future years.
This complex change had already started with the recent approval of the transformation programme and identification of projects. Some changes had been delivered early, with accelerated savings, in respect of the integration of Housing Services and adopting contemporary accounting practices in relation to the Minimum Revenue Provision position. Introduction of a Garden waste collection scheme had also been agreed for 2016/17.
The draft budget supported the principle of reducing reliance on Revenue Spending Grant and provided funding for a growth fund to deliver on-going revenue income streams over the medium term. Reducing the reliance on uncertain sources of funding would make the council a more stable organisation able to deliver services to residents with more certainty in the longer term.
In 2015/16 £1.1m of funding was agreed and set aside to provide up-front investment for the transformation programme, which was in progress and no further funding requirements had been identified at this stage.
The Panels also received a presentation from the Executive Director – Commercialisation and the Interim Chief Accountant. Councillors noted that the objectives were:
• To be a ‘financially independent’ Council
• To generate additional revenue schemes
• Invest in service improvements to further improve Value ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent
There were no urgent items.