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To receive the minutes of the meetings on:
· 31st January 2020;
· 15th July 2020; and
· 28th July 2020
The Minutes of the following meetings were approved as a correct record:
· 31st January 2020
· 15th July 2020; and
· 28th July 2020.
(Moved by Councillor Dr S Peaple and seconded by Councillor M Summers)
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of Members’ interests (personal and/or personal and prejudicial) in any matters which are to be considered at this meeting.
When Members are declaring a personal interest or personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they have dispensation, they should specify the nature of such interest. Members should leave the room if they have a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they do not have a dispensation.
There were no declarations of interest.
There was no Chair’s update beyond that to be provided at the next agenda item.
Responses to Reports of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee
To receive an update on responses received to reports of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair reported that following the previous two committee meetings on 15th and 28th July 2020, the Committee’s recommendations on the following matters considered were brought to the Cabinet meeting on 30th July 2020 and Cabinet responded as follows:
1. Capital Outturn Report
Cabinet agreed that a review of property funds is undertaken and such review be scrutinised by the Audit & Governance Committee, before any further investments under existing delegations are made and the review be taken to Council in December.
2. Member Training Update
Cabinet agreed that it and officers would go through the recommendations in the report and feedback to Corporate Scrutiny at the first opportunity.
3. Progress Report on Tamworth Assembly Rooms
Cabinet approved the recommendations made by this Committee as follows:
3.1 Cabinet agreed that Corporate Scrutiny (or the equivalent committee if there are name changes) have a formal role in the management process for all projects worth over 1 million pounds and any other projects deemed to be of importance to the reputation of the council;
3.2 Cabinet agreed to create a minimum governance structure and create project guidelines for any future projects and;
3.3 Cabinet thanked officers for the efforts to deliver the Assembly rooms project through to completion which was a difficult project and for providing a thorough report to the committee.
The Chair further reported that he would be taking this Committee’s recommendations on the Initial Impact of the Pandemic on the Council’s Business Aims to the 10th September 2020 Cabinet meeting.
Discussion item – Link to the Forward Plan
The Committee sought and received clarification that the Release of the Mobile Phone Capital Contingency Funding item on the Forward Plan for consideration at Cabinet on 10th September 2020 would include coverage for all known impacts of the pandemic in this area.
No further items were identified from the Forward Plan at this time for consideration by this Committee.
(Report of the Leader of the Council)
The Report of the Leader of the Council which provided the Committee with a performance update and financial healthcheck was received.
The Chair welcomed the Leader of the Council, Councillor D Cook, and the Executive Director Finance and the Knowledge Performance and Insight Co-ordinator to the meeting.
The Leader of the Council introduced the report and reported that in light of the projected impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), an immediate suspension of all non-essential spending had been approved by Cabinet on 9th July 2020 and that managers were to review their budgets and identify all non-essential spending for 2020/21 as part of the quarter one projections at 30 June 2020.
The Leader reported that the budget review had identified savings of £1.2m towards the projected lost income anticipated from the impact of Covid-19 of £1.8m. Cabinet would be asked to approve that the budget be revised to reflect the forecast overspend at Quarter 1 of £134k, to be financed from a contribution from the transformation reserve.
Councillor Bilcliff joined the meeting at 6.24pm.
The Committee sought clarification in the following areas:
1. Noting that non-essential spending of £1.2million had been identified, the committee sought clarification on whether the organisation still retained the capacity to deliver all services and corporate projects in light of the ongoing pandemic and on how staff were being supported to deliver within the existing staffing structure. The Chief Executive reported that the reorganisation two years ago had brought the organisation down to a level which could deliver the aspirations of the corporate plan, but not beyond that.
2. The committee sought clarification on whether some of the corporate projects which showed as green and therefore on track remained capable of delivery on time or whether some review would be necessary to ensure the appropriate prioritisation of projects was established. In terms of the town centre programme, the background work remained on track, however, it was reported that further assessment would be required of the delivery mode and what would be delivered as the project progressed and as the impacts of the pandemic were more fully understood. However, whilst noting the constraints the council faced, it would be important to ensure that the projects were ready where possible to support regeneration and to ensure that where external sources of funding were available to assist in this that the projects were capable of capitalising on such funding.
3. The committee sought clarification on the welfare reform project which, as a corporate project, showed as on track, whilst the welfare and benefit reform was scored as red on the risk register. It was reported that these two indicators were completely separate.
4. The Committee sought clarification over the pay award process, and the budgeting for this and whether or not recent announcements from the government on bringing pay in line with the private sector could impact. It was confirmed that Tamworth followed the national bargaining process and that the budgeting for this ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
(Report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance)
The Local Council Tax Reduction Report 2021/22 of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance was received by the Committee.
The Chair reported that this Committee considered an interim report on the proposals for 2021/22 at a meeting in November 2019 and requested that some further scenarios be considered and a further update be provided to this Committee. The Chair highlighted that following consideration by this Committee, the intention is that this report will be taken to Cabinet on 10th September 2020.
The Executive Director Finance highlighted that the original purpose of this report was to consider proposals for the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for working age customers for 2021/22. The proposal had been to replace the current ‘traditional scheme’ for working age claimants which was modelled in 2012 (and implemented in April 2013) based on the national Council Tax Benefit.
However, in light of the unprecedented situation following the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Executive Director Finance reported that it was now recommended that the review be postponed until 2021 when the impact for the scheme will be clearer. Consequently there were no proposed changes to the scheme for 2020/21 other than the usual alignment with housing benefit and therefore there would be no requirement for a formal consultation.
Full Council would be requested to approve this approach at its December 2020 meeting.
RESOLVED that the planned review for the introduction of a banding scheme for Council Tax Reduction be deferred until 2021 and that the current scheme for working age customers continues to be aligned to Applicable Amounts with those of Housing Benefit for 2021/22.
(Moved by Councillor Dr S Peaple and seconded by Councillor R Bilcliff)
To consider the Committee’s Work Plan.
The Committee considered its work plan and it was agreed that an additional item would be added for the December 2020 meeting to provide an update on corporate prioritisation. The updated work plan is set out below:
Corporate Scrutiny Work Plan
Exclusion of the Press and Public
To consider excluding the Press and Public from the meeting by passing the following resolution:-
“That in accordance with the provisions of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meeting and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, and Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public”
At the time this agenda is published no representations have been received that this part of the meeting should be open to the public
That members of the press and public be now excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item on the grounds that the business involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
(Moved by Councillor M Summers and seconded by Councillor P Standen)
Update On Solway (Tamworth) Limited
(Report of the Chief Executive)
The Committee received the Update on Solway (Tamworth) Limited report of the Chief Executive.
The Committee considered and unanimously supported the proposals within the report.