To receive the report of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 14 July and 20 September 2016 and:
(i) to agree the recommendations in respect of the formation of the Spelthorne Joint Committee.
(ii) Financial Sustainability and Budget Planning 2017 – 2022: Following this report being presented to Cabinet on 20 September 2016, the Cabinet would welcome the views of Members, prior to the Leader of the Council taking a decision on whether to accept or decline the Government’s four year settlement offer. The Council’s Constitution makes provision for this, under Standing Order 8.2(c).
The Leader presented the report of the Cabinet meetings held on 14 July and 20 September 2016.
Recommendations on a Policy Framework Document
A Formation of Spelthorne Joint Committee
1. That it be agreed to establish the Spelthorne Joint Committee to deal with both executive and non-executive functions from 1 December 2016 in place of the current Local Committee in Spelthorne, which will cease to function from that date.
2. That the following changes to the scheme of delegation be approved:
· to delegate the executive functions to the Spelthorne Joint Committee as set out in Appendix A of the submitted report
· to delegate the non-executive functions to the Spelthorne Joint Committee as set out in Appendix A of the submitted report
· the advisory functions that will come under the remit of the Spelthorne Joint Committee as set out in Appendix A of the submitted report.
3. That the functions that Spelthorne Borough Council has agreed to delegate to the Spelthorne Joint Committee, as set out in Appendix A of the submitted report, be noted.
4. That the Spelthorne Joint Committee Terms of Reference, including the Standing Orders under which it will operate, as set out in Appendix A of the submitted report be agreed, and authority be delegated to the Director of Legal, Democratic and Cultural Services to agree to any minor amendments to the Terms of Reference that may be required.
5. To recommend the appointment of a Chairman of the newly formed Spelthorne Joint Committee from 1 December 2016 (refer to item 12).
The meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.35pm and resumed at 1.45pm with all those present who had been in attendance at the morning session except for Mrs Barton, Mr Beckett, Mrs Clack, Mrs Coleman, Mr Robert Evans, Mr Goodwin, Mr Kington, Ms Le Gal, Mr Mallett, Mrs Mountain, Mr Norman, Mrs Ross-Tomlin, Mr Young and Mrs Young.
Reports for Information / Discussion
· Financial Sustainability and Budget Planning 2017 – 2022
The Cabinet at its meeting on 20 September 2016 considered this report and agreed that prior to the Leader taking a decision on whether to accept or decline the Government’s four year settlement offer, it would welcome the views of all Members.
Members made the following comments:
· That the proposed final Local Government settlement for Surrey was the worst one that Members had seen.
· That Surrey was handicapped by the formula and its calculation, which did not support the demographic changes in the county.
· The recent Member seminar on the financial issues facing the Council had been well received by Members.
· The County Council needed to publicise to its residents the reasons for declining the Government’s four year settlement and that the fourth year of the settlement would be a negative RSG for the Council.
· That this Council was an important provider of revenue for the Conservative Government.
· The Authority should refuse the offer, however, there were concerns about any possible adverse implications for the Council.
· That this Council should work with other County Councils and submit one joint response to Government.
· A request for an update on the Government’s Fair Funding Review, the changes to Business Rates and also the Better Care Fund.
· Members were aware that many of Surrey’s Boroughs and Districts Councils were likely to accept their offers.
· There had been meetings at County Hall to discuss the county’s financial pressures, with several Surrey MPs and the Cabinet.
· Paying over £17m in the fourth year of the settlement would not be regarded favourably by Members and residents.
· Usually a four year settlement would be preferable due to the certainty of funding but not this time because this settlement would result in funding cuts.
· That the Leader should try and negotiate a better four year settlement because he had previously been successful in his funding negotiations with Government.
· That the Council should be protecting services for Surrey residents.
· It appeared that Central Government was not prioritising the funding for Local Government.
· That this Council required an additional £24m per year for Adult Social Care (ASC).
· If the County Council accepted the deal, then there would be the assumption that the Council could manage with less funding in the future.
· The importance of continuing to lobby for a fair deal for Surrey.
· Due to their Scrutiny Board work, all Members were aware of the budget savings required.
· This settlement related to the RSG and not other funding streams received by the Council.
· That a previous ‘black hole’ in the ASC budget had been met from Reserves. However, this action was not sustainable.
· If the County Council was given flexibility to set its own council tax precept, there could be a possibility that it could consider accepting the four year settlement.
Based on the views of the Members who spoke, the sentiment amongst the Council was to decline the Government’s four year settlement offer.
The Leader thanked Members for their comments and said that he would reflect on their views before taking a decision on Wednesday 12 October whether to accept or decline the Government’s four year settlement.
· Quarterly Report on Decisions taken under Special Urgency Arrangements (July – September 2016)
That the above reports were received and noted.
That the report of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 14 July and 20 September 2016 be adopted.