Agenda and minutes

Resources and Performance Select Committee
Friday, 24 January 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Clive Mentzel, Scrutiny Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

2.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 16 DECEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:

     

          I.        Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

     

        II.        Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

     

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

     

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse of civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

     

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial

    Minutes:

    None received.

4.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    NOTES:

     

    1.    The deadline for Members’ questions is 12:00pm four working days before the meeting (20 January 2020).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (17 January 2020).

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions is 14 days before the meeting (10 January 2020).

    Minutes:

    None received.

     

    Mark Brett-Warburton arrived at 10:07am.

5.

SCRUTINY OF REVENUE AND CAPITAL BUDGET 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

    Purpose of report: To provide details of the budget for scrutiny prior to Cabinet and Council meetings.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Michael Coughlin, Executive Director of Transformation, Partnerships and Prosperity

     

    Anna D’Alessandro, Director of Corporate Finance

     

    Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Finance

     

    Zully Grant-Duff, Cabinet Member for Corporate Support

     

    Mark Hak-Sanders, Strategic Capital Accountant

     

    Nikki O’Connor, Strategic Finance Business Partner

     

    Rachel Wigley, Director of Financial Insight

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. Having received the Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMS) on the morning of the Select Committee meeting, it was agreed that the Select Committee would adjourn for a short time after discussion of the main budget to give Members of the Select Committee time to read the TMS report, following which the Select Committee would again reconvene to discuss and scrutinise the TMS. It is annexed to these minutes.
    2. The Witnesses introduced the budget report. While this budget was the first in a decade to be balanced without the use of reserves, it still entailed challenges, such as growing demand in adult social care (ASC) and children’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, a need for further transformation in order to achieve efficiencies, in turn resulting in savings, and the delay of the Fair Funding Review (FFR) from central government, which meant that the budget could only go so far to address the short and medium terms. The general election of December 2019 and Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union had created further uncertainty.

     

    Ayesha Azad arrived at 10:08am.

     

    1. The Director of Corporate Finance emphasised the positive differences between the 2020/21 budget and those of previous years. Where previous budgets had been short-term and defensive, the 2020/21 budget was realistic, achievable, sustainable and medium-term. While a number of assumptions had to be relied upon, no reserves had had to be used to balance the budget, and it was not forecast that any reserves would have to be used over the medium term. Revenue was budgeted to increase incrementally, driven by a 1.99% increase in council tax and an additional 2% ASC precept, which the government had confirmed that the Council was able to levy.
    2. The Select Committee was informed that the capital programme would increase to £1.4 billion over the medium term.
    3. The Director of Financial Insight outlined the budget of the Resources directorate, 50% of which was to be spent on staffing costs. Long-term efficiencies in this directorate would come from changing working practices.
    4. The Executive Director of Transformation, Partnerships and Prosperity (TPP) remarked that while the TPP directorate spent the least of any directorate in the Council, it acted as a catalyst for efficiencies to be made elsewhere, and multiple steps had been taken to achieve efficiencies within the directorate. He was determined to ensure that the TPP directorate had a focus on resident outcomes and was not perceived as purely transactional. Moreover, the Strategic Finance Business Partner asked Members to note that there was no capital budget in the TPP directorate.
    5. A Member requested more information on progress that had been made on bringing looked-after children back into Surrey from out-of-county, which could save  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 118 KB

    Purpose of report: For the Select Committee to review the attached Recommendations Tracker and Forward Work Programme, making suggestions for additions or amendments as appropriate.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. Members were updated on the planned programme of work of the Customer Experience Task Group.
    2. It was agreed that the Select Committee would examine the conclusions of the Budget and Assets Task Group, rather than trying to obtain month-by-month budget RAG (red, amber, green) ratings.
    3. The Select Committee was updated on the Budget and Assets Task Group. The group would specifically be looking at the property portfolio, and would meet the Director of Strategic Land and Property Assets, who had now been in-post for some months.
    4. Members were keen on the prospect of scrutinising the Coroner’s service in a future meeting.
    5. Members were reminded that the MCTR Task Group would be meeting soon and would present a report to the next Select Committee meeting.

7.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

    The next meeting of the Resources and Performance Select Committee will be held on 23 April 2020 in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall at 10:00am.

    Minutes:

    The next meeting of the Resources and Performance Select Committee would be held on 23 April 2020 in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall at 10:00am.