Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee - Tuesday, 15 December 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Ross Pike, Scrutiny Business Manager 

Media

Items
No. Item

33.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    To report any apologies for absence and substitutions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

34.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS: WEDNESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2020 pdf icon PDF 239 KB

    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting of the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee as a true and accurate record of proceedings.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting.

     

35.

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 or

    civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a

    spouse or civil partner); and

     

    ·         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.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

36.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.



    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Wednesday, 9 December 2020).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(Tuesday, 8 December 2020)

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

     

     

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all questions and petitions received will be responded to in writing and will be recorded within the minutes of the meeting.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

37.

SCRUTINY OF 2021/22 DRAFT BUDGET AND MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY TO 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

    Purpose of report:

     

    To provide details of the draft budget and medium-term financial strategy for scrutiny.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport

    Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities

     

    Katie Stewart, Executive Director – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure (ETI)

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Director – Community Protection Group (CPG)

    Rachel Wigley, Director – Financial Insight

    Mark Hak-Sanders, Strategic Finance Business Partner - Corporate finance

    Tony Orzieri, Strategic Finance Business Partner – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure (ETI)

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Strategic Finance Business Partner – Corporate Finance explained that the core assumptions that underpinned the budget were generated using the established PESTLE Framework that focuses on political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental and climate factors, thus the draft budget was based on an assessment of the likely operating environment for the county Council for 2021/22 and over the medium term. COVID-19, demand pressure and inflation were also considered within this framework. The draft budget was developed in an integrated way across the organisation and was to be linked with the Council’s four new priority objectives and the community vision 2030. The immediate priority for 2021 was to stabilise the Council’s finances following the COVID-19 crisis.

     

    1. Funding estimates would continue to be iterated following further clarity from the detailed local government finance settlement that was expected before Christmas 2020. The November spending review had, however, given relative confidence that the £18.3m gap in the draft budget could be closed without directorates being required to provide further efficiency savings.

     

    1. The medium-term estimates assumed that the Government Fair Funding Review would have an overall negative effect on the Council’s funding, with estimates suggesting that the funding gap would rise to £170.1m over the 5-year period to 2025/26. Thus, there would be a sizeable gap to close over the medium term if these funding projections were accurate.

     

    1. A Member queried how the Council could achieve a reduction in waste prices. The Executive Director informed the Select Committee that some of the waste efficiency was achieved by renegotiation of a residual waste subcontract, within the existing Suez contract. The Directorate would continue to monitor contracts and market prices to ensure best value for money.

     

    1. A Member asked why the reduction in highways insurance claims was projected to continue. The Executive Director acknowledged that there had been fewer road users during the COVID-19 pandemic which would have caused a decrease in insurance claims. However, the Council’s increased capital investment into the county’s highways and subsequent reduction in highways defects were also driving down claims and costs.

     

    1. A Member asked if there were any efficiency savings rolled over from the 2020/21 budget. The Executive Director stated that there were several efficiencies that had not been achieved in the previous budget, namely waste and recycling efficiency savings due to COVID-19. A £700k efficiency in network managements and £200k efficiency in bus lane enforcement were also rolled over and were either expected to be delivered in 2021, or have additional savings made to enable delivery. The Executive Director assured the Select Committee that these efficiencies would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 25 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    For the Select Committee to review the attached forward work programme and actions and recommendations tracker, making suggestions for additions or amendments as appropriate.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Ross Pike, Scrutiny Business Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Chairman noted that the Surrey Infrastructure Plan and ETI Directorate Performance Report was on the agenda for the January meeting of the Select Committee. The Climate Change Delivery Plan and SFRS Improvement Plan were to be discussed at the March meeting.

     

    1. A Member requested that the Land Use Strategy be added to the Select Committee’s Forward Work Plan.

     

    1. The Executive Director stated that they would discuss with the Scrutiny Business Manager the timeliness of bringing the Land Use Strategy and the Local Transport Plan to the Select Committee.

     

     

39.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING: MONDAY, 18 JANUARY 2021

    The next public meeting of the Select Committee will be held on Monday, 18 January 2021. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Select Committee noted its next meeting would be held on 18 January 2021.