Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions
To receive any apologies of absence.
Apologies for absence were received by Cllrs Burbage, L Evans, Ilyas, Quick and the Lead Member for Finance MJ Saunders.
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To comment on the Cabinet report.
The Head of Finance introduced the latest Financial Update Report and informed that the report confirmed a projected overspend on service budgets of £3,298,000. The Council had General Fund Reserves of £8,161,000.
There were two variances reported in the report:
· Registrars income shortfall of £40,000.
· IT Services network circuit costs of £37,000.
Cllr Brimacombe mentioned that the mitigations were helped by the business rates pooling windfall and asked if the £3million of mitigations were on track. The Panel were informed that the mitigations were on track with any variances being reported.
Cllr Sharpe asked if the saving proposals were on track and was informed that it was expected that they would all be achieved with the number reflecting those that started mid-year.
Cllr Brimacombe informed that at the Audit and Performance Review Panel Members had discussed the budget methodology and concerns about the amount of sensitivity. When looking at the budget there would be areas that did not changes, areas that were semi variable and those areas that were very sensitive to variations such as social services. He asked that out of the £85 million budget had officers looked at sensitivity. The Panel were informed that the budget had not been set that way the flexibility in areas such as children’s services had been greater than expected and this new forecasted trend had been built into the 2019-20 proposed budget.
Cllr Brimacombe recommended that more sensitivity analysis should be added to the more variable areas of the budget. If added this would take out some of the heat when discussing future budgets as you would have already explained and taken into account those volatile areas.
Cllr Sharpe mentioned that there were a lot of areas that we know could be variable but other not yet known, he asked what process had been followed to plan for future pressures. The Panel were informed that there were two main areas of concern; children’s services and parking income. There had been a lot of analysis into these areas when the budget build had been undertaken.
Cllr Brimacombe said that one should not get excited about variances in areas of high sensitivity as these were to be expected, it was variances in the fixed forecasted areas that should raise concern.
Cllr Sharpe mentioned that all authorities when budgeting worked to similar parameters but he hoped that we looked at smart ways of setting the budget. The Panel were informed that were done on an incremental basis but occasionally zero bass budget exercises were undertaken but these were intensive. It was feasible to do zero based budget exercises in specific areas when required.
Resolved unanimously: that the Panel endorsed the recommendations contained within the Cabinet report. The Panel felt that when a shortfall had been identified within the report it should be made clear if this was an isolated incident or of the pressure would continue and thus mitigating action should be proportionate.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
To consider passing the following resolution:-
“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on item 9 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act"
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That under Section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public can be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 and 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the act.
RBWM Property Company Ltd - Annual Report & Report and Financial Statements 2017-18
To comment on the Cabinet report.
The Head of Finance introduced the report for RBWM Property Company Ltd Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2017-18 (for the year ended 31 March 2018). The document provided a comprehensive account of the use of resources during the year.
The Panel were informed that the report covered RBWM Property Company Ltd activities and performance, governance arrangements for the financial year, operational and development reports as well as a summary of the financial outturn. It was noted that the gross profit before tax was £274,490 and not £213,512 as reported.
Cllr Brimacombe mentioned that if the Property Company Managing Director had been able to attend the meeting he would have asked her to highlight the three special things that have happened because of the property company. He would have asked what added value had been given that would not have happened if it did not exist. The Chairman mentioned that the rationale behind the company had been considered by Council this Panel should be looking at performance. The Head of Finance also reported that the staff within the company provided added expertise.
Cllr Brimacombe asked where the £473,979 came from and was informed that it was from consultancy fees.
The Chairman mentioned that it was good to see 64% of tenants coming from the 25-34 age group as it was good to see a greater proportion of properties available to the younger generation. Cllr Sharper agreed as house prices in the borough could be high.
Cllr Sharpe mentioned that it was good to see a breakdown of tenancies and asked how many properties this covered. The Panel were informed that there were 11 properties with many more in the pipeline. More detail was contained within the investment cases brought to Cabinet.
Cllr Brimacombe mentioned that there was an absence of an affordable housing policy with no target or stated aspirations. There was the allocations policy but this showed need not the authorities aspirations.
Resolved unanimously: that the Corporate Services O&S Panel approved the recommendations to Cabinet. The Panel felt that the benefits of the company should be made clear and communicated and that when affordable housing levels were significant that the criteria of the offer was clear.