Council meetings

Agenda, decisions and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 224 KB


1.1         Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2021 be agreed as an accurate record.


1.1         Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2021 be agreed as an accurate record.


Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 211 KB


2.1       There were none.


Responses from Mayor and Cabinet pdf icon PDF 528 KB


3.1       Resolved: that the response from Mayor and Cabinet be noted.


3.1       Resolved: that the response from Mayor and Cabinet be noted.


Financial forecasts 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Resolved: that the Committee refer its views to Mayor and Cabinet as follows-


·         The Committee is concerned about the additional Public Health responsibilities that are being placed on the Council as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, Members are dismayed (but unsurprised) to learn that the Government intends to place further test and trace responsibilities on councils without, it appears, the requisite funding to carry out this work.

·         Committee members note the reports of the very large amounts of funding made available to private companies to run the national test and trace system – which appears not to have been a success.

·         The Committee is also concerned about the burdensome (and unfunded) monitoring and reporting requirements for existing grant funding, which are placing significant strains on Council officers’ time and resources.

·         The Committee recommends that further consideration should be given to lobbying the Government on the equity of its funding decisions and its extensive requirements for recording, monitoring and reporting.



4.1      Kathy Freeman (Executive Director of Corporate Resources) introduced the report – the following key points were noted:

·         The update incorporated information regarding: the general fund; dedicated schools grant; housing revenue account; collection fund and an update on the capital programme.

·         The previous financial update to the Committee (as part of the budget setting report) indicated that the Council was overspending the general fund budget by £3.2m. This was revised in this report to £2.6m.

·         Officers had been working hard to contain spending pressures and control costs.

·         As at the end of January 2021 – the overspend had been reduced to £1.8m. This was the result of a number of factors – including increased grant funding – but also due to the financial controls that had been put in place.

·         The position of the collection fund remained a significant risk. There were currently shortfalls of £6.8m relating to business rates and £4.2m of council tax collections.

·         It was anticipated that the collection fund shortfall could be as high as £20m.

·         The financial position was changing rapidly and the Council continued to receive additional grant funding – but also faced new responsibilities and pressures.

·         The current positive position of the general fund likely masks the longer term issues facing the Council – particularly in relation to the wider economic challenges facing local business, communities and residents.

·         Significant risks remain in a number of areas, including: uncertainty over funding from the clinical commissioning group for hospital discharges; commercial waste collection and new responsibilities relating to public health (specifically test and trace and contained outbreak funding).

·         There are also pressures in the dedicated schools grant relating to a marked increase in pupil numbers and the high needs block.

·         It is likely that capital fund spending will not meet the revised budget.


4.2      Kathy Freeman responded to questions from the Committee – the following key points were noted:

·         Adult social care was underspending its (non-covid related) budget by £1.1m – however, the service benefited from Better Care and Improved Better Care grant funding.

·         Sadly, additional income in the bereavement service is as a result of the pandemic.

·         Test, track and trace as well as outbreak control and general public health related spending as a result of the pandemic have been added as additional council responsibilities by the government as part of a recent update on public health funding.

·         This year’s allocation of covid related expenditure for Public Health had been in excess of £6m – the existing allocation for next year (including new responsibilities) is currently £500k.

·         The Children and Young People directorate’s cash limit budget for 2021-22 is £58.4m (additional information would be provided following the meeting on the specific social care budget).

·         The government is recognising up to 75% of shortfall on business rate collection. On council tax – the government is not going to recognise the shortfall.

·         A great deal of work is taking place to allocate costs to the correct grants and budgets.

·         There are extensive and burdensome government  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Audit Panel update pdf icon PDF 263 KB


Resolved: that the report be noted.


5.1      Kathy Freeman introduced the report - providing a summary of the work of the Audit Panel in the previous year. She noted the impact of the pandemic on the work of internal audit function.


5.2      Councillor Rathbone (Chair of the Audit Panel) addressed the Committee – thanking officers for their support over the past year and recognising the valuable contribution of the Panel’s independent members. He also noted that the Council had been able to meet its primary financial reporting deadlines (in contrast to some comparator authorities) but that the Panel had some concerns about the Council’s core financial systems, which it was challenging and monitoring.


5.3      Resolved: that the report be noted.



Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:


6.1      The Committee reviewed the completed work programme for 2020-21 and recommended that items on: adult social care; reporting and monitoring the financial implications of the covid recovery plan; the finances of the public realm division; children’s social care; income generation and commercialisation and business rates be put forward as suggestions for the 2021-22 work programme.