Venue: Council Chamber, The Arc, Clowne
Contact: Lindsay Harshaw Governance and Civic Officer
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of:
Audit & Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Members:
Councillors: Jane Bryson, Donna Hales and Graham Parkin.
Scrutiny Members not on Audit & Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Members:
Councillors: Rose Bowler, Anne Clarke, Natalie Hoy, Tom Kirkham, Evonne Parkin, Peter Roberts, Janet Tait and Jen Wilson.
Urgent Items of Business
To note any urgent items of business which the Chairman has consented to being considered under the provisions of Section 100(B) 4(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no urgent items of business to consider.
Declarations of Interest
Members should declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable
Pecuniary Interest and Non Statutory Interest as defined by the
Members’ Code of Conduct in respect of:
a) any business on the agenda
b) any urgent additional items to be considered
c) any matters arising out of those items and if appropriate, withdraw
from the meeting at the relevant time.
There were no declarations of interest made.
Minutes - 30th September, 2022 PDF 302 KB
To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 30th September, 2022.
Moved by Councillor Chris Kane and seconded by Councillor Tom Munro
RESOLVED that the Minutes of an Audit and Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 30th September 2022, be approved as a correct record.
Minutes - 29th November, 2022 PDF 229 KB
To consider the Minutes of the last meeting held on 29th November, 2022.
Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Councillor Chris Kane
RESOLVED that the Minutes of an Audit and Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 29th November 2022, be approved as a correct record.
List of Key Decisions and Items to be Considered in Private PDF 35 KB
(Members should contact the officer whose name appears on the List
of Key Decisions for any further information. NB: If Members wish to
discuss an exempt report under this item, the meeting will need to
move into exempt business and exclude the public in accordance with
the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 and Local
Government Act 1972, Part 1, Schedule 12a for that part of the
Committee considered the List of Key Decisions and items to be considered in private document.
The Scrutiny & Elections Officer highlighted that there were three reports on the list of key decisions which would be considered by Executive on 30th January 2023. Two of the reports were policies that were linked to Housing Services and had been submitted to a previous Customer Services Scrutiny Committee.
Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Chris Kane
RESOLVED that the List of Key Decisions and items to be considered in private document be noted.
Summary of progress on the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan PDF 310 KB
The Head of Internal Audit Consortium presented the report and introduced the recently appointed Senior Auditor for Bolsover District Council who had commenced employment on 23rd January 2023.
It was noted that the report covered the period between October 2022 to January 2023 in respect of the 2022/23 Internal Audit Plan and that Appendix 1 provided a summary of reports for the level of assurance given and the number of recommendations made/agreed where a full response had been received. There were currently no concerns to be raised.
A staffing update was provided and it was noted that the Audit Section was now fully staffed.
Moved by Councillor Derek Adams and seconded by Councillor Andrew Joesbury
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
Medium Term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2026/27 PDF 562 KB
Members considered a report and a presentation by the Section 151 Officer on the proposed budget for 2023/24, for the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme, as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, covering the years 2023/24 – 2026/27.
The report included details regarding revenue and capital expenditure, the General Fund, Council Tax and the Housing Revenue Account.
A brief explanation of the budgets was provided as follows:-
· Revenue & Capital Budgets
The revenue budget was the amount spent on the day-to-day running of the Council’s services, e.g. salaries, property and transport running costs and payments to suppliers for goods and services. It also included the borrowing costs of money spent on capital assets.
Capital spending was mainly for buying, constructing or improving physical assets such as buildings, land vehicles, plant or equipment.
· Housing Revenue Account
Councils with more than 50 properties were required to maintain a separate account that contained all the income and expenditure necessary to manage and maintain the housing stock. This account was ring-fenced and must be kept separate from the General Fund.
· General Fund
The largest sources of income were Business Rates and Council Tax. Income was also generated from fees and charges. The main cost to the General Fund was salaries.
A brief explanation of the proposed General Fund revenue budget was provided for each of the next four years. It was noted that following a robust budget process, a balanced budget had been achieved for each year.
The Government had announced the one year provisional settlement on the 19th December 2022, however, no mention had been made of the Fair Funding Review or detail in relation to the New Homes Bonus or the Business Rates reset.
The budget figures for the NNDR Growth Protection Reserve had been estimated as the actual income figure was not known for the year. Recently other Government funding had been placed in the reserve to cover any unplanned budget changes. Based on current estimates, funding would remain in the reserve to be used in 2027/28.
The Government had limited the amount of Council Tax that could be achieved to the greater of 3% or £5. As the limit had been increased by 1% on last year’s figure, it was thought to be more beneficial to raise the level of Council Tax by 2.99% in order to ensure that the Council would not unintentionally trigger a referendum by going over 3%. The level of increase each year affected the base for future years and the proposed increase for 2023/24 was 2.99% which was £5.72 at Band D.
The Section 151 Officer provided a brief explanation of the Housing Revenue Account and highlighted that the main source of income was from the rent of properties. Accounting regulations meant that a charge was made for depreciation of the Council’s housing stock each year and this was used to fund some of the capital work required to properties.
The Council had been allowed an annual rent increase of ... view the full minutes text for item ACO57-21/22
Treasury Strategy Reports 2023/24 - 2026/27 PDF 419 KB
The Principal Accountant gave a presentation on the Treasury Strategy Reports 2023/24 – 2026/27.
The Principal Accountant reported that treasury risk management for the Authority was conducted within the framework of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice 2021 and that there was a requirement was to approve a Treasury Management Strategy before the start of each financial year.
It was noted that the Treasury Management Strategy, Investment Strategy and Capital Strategy would be submitted to Council on 1st February 2023, for approval.
CIPFA had issued a revised Prudential Code and a revised Treasury Management Code in late December 2021. Due to the timing of the release of these Codes, CIPFA had not required these to be implemented in last year’s Strategy. The 2023/24 Strategy would be first one based on these new codes.
A brief explanation of the Treasury Management Strategy (Appendix 1) and Capital Strategy (Appendix 2) was provided.
The Principal Accountant referred to the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) and advised that the Council had previously raised all of its long term borrowing from this organisation. The PWLB had introduced new lending terms from 26th November 2020, which aimed to prevent Councils using PWLB loans if they intend to buy or had bought any investment assets primary for yield. Councils could still borrow for service delivery, housing and regeneration purposes. The Council would need to complete an annual return to the PWLB setting out its plans and this would need to be signed by the Section 151 Officer.
To ensure that the Council took prudent and sustainable decision on borrowing, the Capital Financial Regulations required the Authority to charge a Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) when financing capital expenditure by Debt. MRP was charged over the life of the asset up to a maximum of 50 years.
An explanation of the Corporate Investment Strategy (Appendix 3) was provided. It was noted that the Investment Strategy focussed on investments made for service purposes and commercial reasons, rather than those for treasury management. Details were also provided in relation to Commercial Investments and Service Investments.
Ruth Jaffray left the meeting at 10:49 hours.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance commented that a robust business plan was required when borrowing money and that Members had a vital role when approving loans. He mentioned that the business case for Dragonfly Development Limited would be submitted to Council on 1st February 2023 for consideration.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance thanked the Principal Accountant for the presentation.
Moved by Councillor Chris Kane and seconded by Councillor Andrew Joesbury
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
Audit & Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2022/23 PDF 320 KB
Committee considered the Work Programme 2022/23.
Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Councillor Andrew Joesbury
RESOLVED that the Audit & Corporate Overview Scrutiny Work Programme 2022/23, be noted.
Update from Scrutiny Chairs (Verbal report)
Customer Services Scrutiny Committee
The Chair of the Customer Services Scrutiny Committee provided the following update:-
The Customer Services Scrutiny Committee had started the year by completing the Review of Council Owned Adapted Accommodation. This was submitted to Executive in May 2022 and was now in its monitoring phase. To date, one update report had been received, 5 out of 9 recommendations had been implemented and the remaining 4 should be delivered in agreed timescales.
Consideration was currently being given to reviewing a piece of work on IT Services and Support that was started during the pandemic but was paused due to changes in operation. Through this work, Members had looked at the impact of the pandemic on IT Services, Members IT Support, and Members IT equipment. A final report with recommendations was expected to go to Executive before the end of the Municipal Year, with a range of recommendations for implementation from May 2023 onwards.
Committee had considered a number of reports this year including:
Members were due to consider the Q3 2022/23 Customer Standards and Complaints report from Customer Services and would also be receiving a monitoring update on the Housing Strategy.
Climate Change & Communities Scrutiny Committee
The Chair of the Climate Change & Communities Scrutiny Committee provided the following update:-
During the earlier part of this municipal year the Climate Change & Communities Scrutiny Committee had focussed on completing its review work from 2021/22. The review of the Council’s Policy on Fireworks had been presented to Executive in April 2022 and was now in its monitoring phase with three out of four recommendations being implemented. The review of Voluntary & Community Sector Grant Allocations had also been finalised and presented to Executive in August 2022 and was now in its monitoring phase. The first monitoring update would be submitted to the next meeting of the Climate Change & Communities Scrutiny Committee.
The review of the Council’s Policy on Sky Lanterns and Helium Balloons had now been finalised. This Policy had been presented to Executive in December 2022 and once additional work was finalised, the Council would agree a Charter banning the use of such items on Council-owned land.
A spotlight review would be undertaken on the approach to Carbon Reduction and some targeted work has been undertaken with the current lead officer on reviewing current activity and potential future priorities. The Climate Change & Communities Scrutiny Committee would be agreeing recommendations for action at its next meeting.
Within the main public meetings, consideration had been given to a ... view the full minutes text for item ACO60-21/22