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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 21st July, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman); Councillors H.C. Hamilton, H.J.W. James, P.G. King, R.A. Penrose, G. Roberts, A.C. Williams and E. Williams.

 

 

267     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

This was received from Councillor K. Hatton.

 

 

268     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held 23rd June, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

269     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

270     REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST MAY, 2015 (MD) –

 

The Head of Finance indicated that as it was early in the financial year, the forecast for the 2015/16 revenue budget was for an outturn within target as set out in the tabled information contained within the report.  The Housing Revenue Account budget for 2015/16 was also forecast to outturn on target. 

 

The Learning and Skills budget was aiming to outturn at budget, however there were significant pressures faced by the services as indicated below.  In regard to schools, the delegated budget relating to schools was expected to balance as any under/over spend will be carried forward by each individual school.

 

In terms of School Improvement and Inclusion, the service was aiming to outturn on target, however, it was noted that there were significant pressures within the Inclusion budget due to a decrease in inter authority recoupment.

 

The Strategy and Resources budget was aiming to outturn on target; however again, there were significant pressures in relation to the Schools Long Term Supply scheme which the Directorate would aim to mitigate.  The potential pressure related to the internal insurance policy under written by an Education reserve. The schemes projected expenditure on long term supply and maternity was in excess of the insurance premiums charged to schools and the amount in the reserve. From 2016/17 premiums charged to schools would be increased to ensure the Scheme was self-funding.

 

Provision had been made within the budget to make unsupported borrowing debt repayments in relation to the Schools Investment Strategy of £698,000 per annum;  any favourable variance on debt repayments would be directed into the Schools Investment Strategy. In addition, a potential transfer of approximately £288,000 may be required from the Schools Long Term Supply reserve, to fund the scheme in 2015/16.  Premiums to Schools would be increased from April 2015 to ensure that the scheme was self-funding.  A transfer of £108,000 would be made from the Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy reserve in respect of the 2015/16 cost of the school scheme. 

 

Libraries Service was anticipated to outturn on target after the transfer from the Libraries reserve to fund the costs of the implementation of the Libraries Review. 

 

In regard to Adult and Community Learning, this service was anticipated to outturn at budget after transferring £88,000 from reserves to fund redundancy and notice payments to staff, which had arisen as a result of reductions in funding from Welsh Government and Cardiff and the Vale Colleges. 

 

Youth Service was anticipated to outturn on target after transferring £52,000 from the Youth Service reserve to fund NEETS and Gateway to Engagement work in schools. 

 

The Catering Client would outturn on target after a transfer of £55,000 from the Catering reserve to fund the final rollout of the Cashless Catering system.  There were projected underspends on the Breakfast Club of £38,000, revenue costs for the new catering system of £9,000 and payments to the DSO for school meals of £28,000, which would also be used to fund the Cashless Catering system rollout.  In regard to the Trading Account, this was predicted to outturn on target, however, it was still very early in the financial year to predict the year end position.

 

All other associated services were anticipated to outturn within budget.

 

Social Services were projected to outturn 2015/16 in line with the budget, but with variances between service heads.  Children and Young People’s Services was currently forecasting to outturn with a £100,000 underspend at the year end taking account of demand for the joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children.  There were potential underspends elsewhere within Children’s Services of £65,000 on staffing budgets and £135,000 on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.  In regard to Adult Services, this service was currently anticipated to outturn cohort of children.  In regard to Adult Services, this service was currently anticipated to outturn £300,000 over budget at the year end mainly due to Community Care Packages as a result of increased demand for services, particularly for frail older clients.  The annual deferred income budget for 2015/16 had been set at £739,000 and as at 31st May, 2015 income received to date was £67,000 over recovered.  As it was early in the financial year, the year end projection was to break even against the budget.

 

Visible Services and Housing Services was currently projected to outturn within target at the year end.  Highways Maintenance and Engineering was currently projecting a £11,000 adverse variance against the profiled budget.  This was due to the delayed implementation of car parking charges and street lighting part night switch off.  A car parking study was currently being undertaken and will be reported to Cabinet shortly.  The roll out of part night lighting was due to commence in July 2015 therefore, the full year saving may not be made in both of these areas.  The original budget for 2015/16 took account of the £619,000 savings required for the current financial year.  However, the budget would be closely monitored to ensure these savings were achieved.  As for Waste Management, there was currently a favourable variance of £9,000 to profiled budget.  The main reason for this was the early implementation of the Prosiect Gwyrdd contract which was providing considerable savings for the waste disposal budget.  This has been offset by a slight delay in the implementation of the some of the savings.  The original budget for 2015/16 took account of the £1.264m savings required for this financial year.  Grounds Maintenance was currently predicting a £14,000 adverse variance against the profiled budget, mainly due to a slight overspend to date on vehicle budgets.  Meetings were ongoing to ascertain if there were further vehicles that were under-utilised with a view to meeting the savings targets set.  The original budget for 2015/16 took account of the £130,000 efficiency savings required for the current financial year.  The General Fund Housing was indicating some savings against the profile on Supplies and Services and the Temporary Accommodation budget.  However, the introduction of the Universal Credit during the current financial year was anticipated to increase the level of expenditure on Temporary Accommodation therefore, the budget was projected to outturn on target.  The Public Sector Housing (HRA) was expected to outturn on target.

 

Development Services was currently projected to outturn within the target at year end.  Public Protection was currently showing a nil variance on this service.  Private Housing was currently showing a favourable variance of £20,000 to the profiled budget.  Planning and Transportation was also currently showing a favourable variance of £21,000 to the profiled budget.  Leisure Services currently showed a favourable variance of £34,000 to the profiled budget and Economic Development showed a favourable variance of £10,000 to the profiled budget.

 

Managing Director – General Policy Budget was projected to outturn within target. 

 

A Member referred to the reserves to fund redundancy and notice payments to staff, which had arisen as a result of reductions in funding from Welsh Government and Cardiff and the Vale Colleges and enquired as to the relevance of Vale colleges.  At this juncture the Chairman indicated that he had a dispensation granted by the Standards Committee to speak only on matters relating to Cardiff and Vale Colleges. In response to the Members question, the Head of Finance indicated that she would need to provide a written response to the Member.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the Council’s 2015/16 Revenue Budget be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To monitor the projected revenue outturn for 2015/16.

 

 

271     CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST MAY, 2015 (MD) –

 

The report showed actual expenditure for the month of May 2015 and was matched by a similar figure in the profile to date column, thereby showing no variances.  Members’ attention was drawn to Appendix 1 to the report which included requests for unspent committed expenditure that had been slipped from the previous financial year to the current financial year.  Such request had been approved by Emergency Powers on 16th June, 2015. 

 

The Head of Finance indicated that some schemes may not spend their full year’s allocation during the current financial year.  Relevant officers would be required to provide explanations for any shortfalls and this would be reported at the earliest opportunity to Cabinet. 

 

Appendix 2 to the report provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget over £100,000.  Where a budget shown in Appendix 1 was more than £100,000 but was made up of several schemes that individually were less than £100,000, these schemes were not included in Appendix 2.

 

The report also set out for the Committee’s consideration changes to the 2015/16 Capital Programme in relation to the following matters:

  • Modular Building Resiting – it was requested that the following schemes be amalgamated in order to enable a more co-ordinated approach to the procurement and relocation of Ysgol Dewi Sant demountable classrooms to Llangan and Fairfield.  The total budget for the amalgamated scheme would be £817,000 and the scheme name would be Modular Building Resiting Ysgol Dewi Sant:

   -       Ysgol Dewi Sant Demountable Relocation – £200,000;

   -       Modular Building Resiting – £500,000;

   -       Llangan Classroom Base – £117,000.

 

In respect of Social Services it was requested that the Hen Goleg Works Schemes also be amalgamated in order to enable a more co-ordinated approach to procurement and delivery of a number of related schemes at the site.  The total budget for the amalgamated schemes would be £246,000 made up of the following elements:

  • Hen Goleg Damp Proofing – £97,000;
  • Hen Goleg Car Park Redesign – £46,000;
  • Hen Goleg Clock Tower – £103,000.

The Committee also considered the following schemes in respect of Development Services:

  • Gileston Road and St. Athan Crossroads – Emergency Powers had been used to approve the inclusion of £36,000 in the Capital Programme for the works to Gileston and St. Athan Crossroads.  This scheme would be funded from S106 monies.
  • Barry Community Water Sports Facilities – Emergency Powers had been used to approve the inclusion of £106,000 in the Capital Programme for the Barry Community Water Sports Facilities Scheme.  This scheme would be funded from S106 monies.
  • Marketing and Disposal of the Innovation Quarter Southern Development Site, Barry, the Waterfront / Nell’s Point, Barry Island – Emergency Powers had been used to approve the inclusion of £50,000 for each of the schemes identified above.  These schemes would be funded from Capital Receipts;
  • Culverhouse Cross to St. Athan Bus Priority Scheme – a grant award of £76,000 had been approved by the Welsh Government for the continuation of the Culverhouse Cross to St. Athan Bus Priority Scheme.  Accordingly, it was therefore requested that the 2015/16 Capital Programme be increased by this amount.

In regards to Resources – Emergency Powers had been used to approve the inclusion of £100,000 for the marketing and disposal of part of Cowbridge Livestock Market.  This scheme would be funded from Capital Receipts.

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the following changes to the 2015/16 Capital Programme be endorsed and forwarded to Cabinet for approval:

  • Modular Building Resiting - Amalgamate the following schemes relating to the re-location of demountables, with an amended budget of £817,000, which will be called Modular Building Resiting Ysgol Dewi Sant

   -       Ysgol Dewi Sant Demountable Re-location £200,000

   -       Modular Building Resiting £500,000

   -       Llangan Classroom Base £117,000.

  • Hen Goleg Works - Amalgamate the following schemes relating to Hen Goleg with an amended budget of £246,000

   -       Hen Goleg Damp Proofing £97,000

   -       Hen Goleg Car Park Redesign £46,000

   -       Hen Goleg Clock Tower £103,000.

  • Culverhouse Cross to St. Athan Bus Priority Scheme – Increase the Capital Programme by £76,000, funded by a grant from Welsh Government.

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow schemes to proceed in the current financial year.

 

 

272     2014-15 ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT ON THE CORPORATE PLAN 2013-17 (MD) –

 

The above Plan was structured around eight priority outcomes which were carried forward into Service Plans to ensure consistency and focus.  Within the Corporate Plan a number of objectives were listed under each of the eight priority outcomes.  These were included in the relevant Service Plans and provided the basis for the development of key actions to ensure these objectives were delivered.  In addition, the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan outlined how the Corporate Plan would be funded in future years.

 

In addition to the above, the actions within the Service Plans set out year on year the activities that would be undertaken to achieve these objectives, and monitoring of the action provided the foundation for an annual progress report on the Plan.  Detailed quarterly performance on all Service Plans were reported to the Corporate Management Team, Cabinet and relevant Scrutiny Committees.

 

During 2015, the Plan would be reviewed with a new Plan for 2016-20 agreed by March 2016.  The incomplete actions from the 2013-17 Plan would be rolled forward; which ones would be determined during the above review.  The Head of Performance and Development referred to the overall good progress that had been made in the second year of the above Plan and to the majority of actions that had been completed or were on track for completion, however, he indicated that there were some areas of slippage in delivering some of the objectives.

 

He also referred to Appendix A attached to the report which set out full details of progress against all objectives contained within the Plan.  Details of overall performance of each priority were set out in paragraphs 8 to 15 of the report and showed the level of progress in delivering the Plan.

 

In considering the report, a Member acknowledged that performance in the year had been good with many of actions at 100% completion.  He referred to Corporate Plan CL 2 “increased customer satisfaction and improve how customers access services by developing more integrated service delivery with our partners and being more innovative in how public buildings were used”.  In referring to the implementation of a shared telephone based service with Cardiff and Vale UHB Communications Hub he enquired of the Head of Service as to whether the shared service was maximising its profitability.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that whilst he was unable to provide a specific answer to the issue of income, he indicated that a fair charging policy was in place and that this provided an income stream to the Council. 

 

Another Member referred to reference R7 “actively seek a new cinema for the town Barry” and queried the 80% completion rate as stated in the report.  In response, the Leader indicated that this action was linked to developing key sites within the Innovation Quarter at Barry.  The action in itself was linked to the provision of digital downloading and a cinema with the scheme being grant funded with further financial support through regeneration funding. 

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made and areas of slippage identified within the report be noted and the remedial action required be referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To enable the Council to proceed with delivering the Corporate Plan 2013-17 and to inform the forthcoming review of the Plan

 

 

273     ANNUAL TURNOVER REPORT – APRIL 2014 – MARCH 2015 (MD) –

 

The report provided a detailed insight into employee turnover rates within the Council, for the above period using the themes within the Workforce Plan and had been provided in response to Members’ request for an analysis of employee turnover in the Council.  The purpose of the report was to provide clarity of employee turnover which had been assessed on the basis of the number of employees leaving the Council as a percentage of the total number of staff (headcount) employed by the Council.  The report compared the turnover figures between April 2013 to March 2014 and those between April 2014 to March 2015, to assist performance monitoring of turnover over both periods and to draw meaningful comparisons.  The report had also been restyled to include further analysis of the reason why people chose to leave the employment of the Council following Members’ requests.

 

The Head of Human Resources referred to the table of figures set out in the report and for the above period which indicated a slight increase from 8.64% to 9.08% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.  Corporate turnover had increased from 9.30% to 9.87% and turnover in Schools increased from 8.00% to 8.38% in April 2014 to March 2015, in comparison to the same period in the previous year.  A comparison of employee turnover from the previous year and the main reasons for measuring and analysing levels of employee turnover were set out in paragraphs 8 and 9 of the report. 

 

In referring to turnover by Directorate, the Head of Service indicated that levels of employee turnover had increased in all Corporate Directorates and in Schools over the period April 2014 to March 2015, in comparison to the previous year’s period.  This was with the exception with the Directorate of Learning and Skills, where the percentage of leavers had decreased in comparison with the same period in 2013/14.  The majority of employees from the former Directorate of Corporate and Customer Services were transferred to the Resources Directorate in July 2014 and this helped explain the disproportionate increase in turnover for the Resources Directorate from 2013/14, as 11 leavers came from the Directorate of Corporate and Customer Services.  The highest proportion of employee turnover in relation to the size of the Directorate in both reporting periods continued to be Development Services (40 leavers from an average headcount of 245 employees).  The next highest proportion of employee turnover was in Resources – 46 leavers from an average headcount of 377 employees.  The table set out in paragraph 13 of the report showed the turnover rate by Directorate and with a further, more detailed breakdown of each Directorate into services could be found in Appendix 1 to the report.  Appendix 2 to the report also showed the same breakdown of Directorates, but focused just on voluntary resignations. 

 

The Head of Service referred to turnover by leaving reason, which had increased marginally from 285 between April 2013 and March 2015 to 288 during the same period in 2014/15.  This had helped to facilitate restructuring where necessary and to mitigate the need for redundancies.  In terms of redundancies, he indicated that the number of redundancies had increased from 14 to 42 in the same reporting period, however, he indicated that this was to be expected and projected within the Medium Term Financial Plan, and was inevitable given known challenges.  The department had and would continue to have to provide an efficient service whilst managing a reductions in public services finances.  He also reminded Members that the Council had a positive approach to managing change, which helped to mitigate, avoid and reduce the incidents of compulsory redundancies.  This was supported by the Council’s Redeployment Procedure which gave Council employees, whose jobs were at risk of redundancy, educated support to find alternative employment within the Council.  The aim was to maintain job security for employees and retain the knowledge, skills and experience gained from employees who were already employed by the Council.  Consequently, during the reporting period there were seven redeployment trial periods, six of which were successful.  From 1st April 2015, to date, there had been 13 redeployment trial periods, with 11 of these resulting in the employees being successfully redeployed.  Two trials were currently ongoing. 

 

As for dismissals, retirement and end of temporary contracts, the Head of Human Resources indicated that all of these had decreased over the comparative reporting period.  The TUPE figures took account of the transfer of a cleaning team in Housing and Visible Services, to an external contractor in August 2014.  Set out in paragraph 20 of the report were the reasons for leaving with a more detailed breakdown, including, more specific reasons that made up the leaving categories set out in Appendix 3 to the report. 

 

He indicated that exit interviews would continue to play an important part in identifying the reasons why people chose to leave employment with the Council.  Exit questionnaires were sent to all leavers, along with a pre-postage paid return envelope, however, there was no obligation for leaving employees to complete the exit surveys and only a small proportion of these were consequently returned.

 

During the reporting year, he also indicated that 11.5% of the Corporate voluntary leavers chose to complete exit interviews / questionnaires.  These replies had been used to analyse and report on the reasons why these people chose to leave the employment with the Council.  Further analysis of these responses was set out in Appendix 4 to the report.  He also indicated that in future an online version of the exit questionnaire would be trialled alongside the existing process to try and improve the level of responses behind why employees chose to leave the Council.

 

In referring to turnover in a wider comparison, the Head of Service indicated that the CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey (2013) reported an overall turnover rate of 9.4% in the public sector and 11.9% across all sectors in the UK.  The next survey was due to be published later in 2015.  In addition, XpertHR benchmarking research (2013) on labour turnover rates found the mean average voluntary resignation turnover rate for UK employees was 10.6%.  Also information published by the Local Government Data Unit and Welsh Local Government Association, the average turnover rate in local authorities in Wales was 10.8% (2013/14).  The turnover rate within the Council for 2014/15 fell below the above comparisons with an overall turnover rate of 9.08%.  Current research from the Hay Group suggested that employee turnover across all sectors was expected to rise to approximately 18% by 2018. 

 

In summing up, the Head of Service indicated that the Council’s work in relationship to staff engagement, had in the last six weeks 62 staff engagement sessions covering 1,600 staff had been held.  Four separate workshops would be held in the future and would be helpful in informing the Council of its approach towards staff retention issues.  The four workshops would focus on communication, training, engagement and the expectation from managers.

 

A Member thanked the Head of Service for producing a comprehensive and informative report.  However, he felt that the voluntary exit interviews needed to be made more integral to Council processes.  He also congratulated the HR Division for establishing the Leadership Café which he considered to be a strong and supportive initiative for staff.  He also considered the current turnover rates as an indication of general staff satisfaction within the Council.  General discussion ensued with Members expressing different views regarding whether the Council’s current turnover rate i.e. was a matter of concern or was it reasonable, given the number of change / transformational initiatives ongoing within the Council, which were almost certain to unsettle staff who then may look elsewhere for alternative employment.  The discussion also touched upon issues relating to recruitment to vacant positions and measures that had been taken by the Council to address issues relating to specific service areas.  It was confirmed by the Head of Service that where an individual left under voluntary reasons, it was incumbent upon Service Managers to look at the organisational needs of the Council before making a decision to recruit to fill the vacancy.

 

The Chairman, in referring to the Leadership Café, enquired of the Head of Service who the initiative was open to and whether all employees within the employment of the Council were aware of training that was available during their employment.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that the Leadership Café was open to all staff and not just for managers, but for all members of staff who were interested in leadership.  Access to the Leadership Café was on a first come first serve basis and the subject areas covered were related to management development programme and succession planning.  In regard to the matter of availability of training to employees, he referred to the Council’s Organisational / Training Development Officer who assessed Personal Development Review appraisals’ training requirements, to align training opportunities to the individual.

 

A Member of the Committee referred to the percentage figure in relation to voluntary leavers and enquired of the Head of Service how this compared to the Welsh average.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that he would reply in writing to the Members providing the relevant information. 

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position in regard to employee turnover within the Council be noted and that the report be referred to the Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of corporate objectives and to inform Cabinet of employee turnover rates.

 

 

274     1ST QUARTER SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2015/16 (MD) –

 

Appendices B and C to the report provided Members with progress in relation to recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee for the financial years 2014/15 (Appendix B) and 2013/14 (Appendix C).  Matters relating to the first quarter April to June 2015 were set out in Appendix A to the report.  In addition, the Scrutiny Committee was also asked to confirm its Work Programme which was attached at Appendix D to the report for 2015/16. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the recommendations deemed completed and set out in Appendices A to C to the report be agreed.

 

21 April 2015

Min. No. 1151 –   White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People (REF) – Recommended that   the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), as set out   above, be submitted Cabinet on 27th April 2015 for consideration   as part of the Council’s overall response to the White Paper.

 

 

Cabinet, on 27th April, 2015, noted the report and resolved that the   comments of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had been adequately   covered in the Council’s final response.

(Min.   No. C2750 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 1152 –   Rhoose Point – Management and Maintenance Update (DVSH) – Recommended

(1)   That the Cabinet be requested

(i)  To investigate income generation /   commercial opportunities at the above site, including the provision of a   visitor centre, with a view to assisting the management / maintenance of the   site.

(ii) To investigate the possibility of Section 106   / Community Infrastructure Levy funding associated with the planning   application “Land North of the Railway Line, Rhoose” to support the future   maintenance / management of the site. 

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 29th June 2015, noted the contents of the report and resolved   that a more detailed report dealing with the issues raised by the Scrutiny   Committee (Corporate Resources) be presented to Cabinet at a future meeting.

(Min   No. C2814 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 1153 –   Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule   2015/16 (DR) –   Recommended

(3)   That the updated / amended work programme   schedule attached at Appendix F be approved and uploaded to the Council’s   website.

 

 

 

Work   programme amended and uploaded to the Council’s website.

Completed

23 June 2015 

Min. No. 138 –   Building Cleaning and Security Review (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the views and opinions of the   Committee, as outlined within the body of the minutes be referred to Cabinet   for consideration.

 

 

 

(3)   That the Committee receive a follow up   report once presented to Cabinet.

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, on 13th July, 2015,   resolved that the contents of the report and the comments made by   the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) be noted.

(Min. No. C2839 refers)

Completed

(3)   Added to work   programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 145 –   Target Setting (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That the Committee endorse the proposed   Resources Directorate targets as outlined in Appendix 2 and for this to be   referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

Cabinet,   on 13th July, 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min.   No. C2835 refers)

Completed

18 February 2014

Min. No. 860 –   Sustainable Development Progress Report (MD) – Recommended

(4)   That the Head of Performance and   Development submit a further report on the Council’s updated Travel Plan once   the staff consultation/survey was completed.

 

  

Added   to work programme schedule.

The   staff survey has been completed and the responses received have been taken   into account in drawing up a revised travel plan.  The plan will also be informed by the EDGE   report on Transport in the Council which was only recently considered by   Cabinet.  Although the staff survey was   carried out by the Performance and Development service, the travel plan   itself is being drawn up by the Transportation section of the Development   Services Directorate.  It will be   referred to Corporate Management Team    (CMT) initially.

 

CMT   subsequently were of the view that the present Travel Plan did not need to be   reviewed since it was already fit for purpose.  Staffs’ awareness of the Plan would be   raised via StaffNet.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee Work Programme as set out in Appendix D to the report be approved and be made available on the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To maintain effective tracking of Committee recommendations.

 

(2)       To agree the Scrutiny Work Programme for 2015/16 and make available the information to the public.

 

 

275     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT – MAY 2014 TO APRIL 2015 (MD) –

 

In accordance of Section 6.03d of Article 6 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Constitution Scrutiny Committees were required to report annually to Full Council on their workings and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods as appropriate.  The Constitution also provided that Scrutiny Committee's Work Programmes for the municipal year be included in the Committees' Annual Report.

 

The Annual Report included details of the work of all the Scrutiny Committees for 2014/15, together with details of the Forward Work Programme, which would include:

  • performance monitoring
  • revenue and capital expenditure monitoring
  • Improvement Plan
  • budget proposals annual reporting
  • Service Planning annual reporting
  • Decision-tracking of the Committee recommendations
  • receiving progress reports on various issues
  • any other matters that the Committee considers appropriate.

The discussion centred on the editorial content of the draft Annual Report with a number of Members suggesting an amendment to the same, particularly in regard to the section under the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) relating to disabled facilities grants.  The Chairman, in referring to the comments made by Members, suggested that any suggested editorial amendments be submitted to officers.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the draft Annual Report for the period May 2014 to April 2015 be approved, subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman, and it be submitted to Full Council in September 2015.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To approve the draft Scrutiny Committees' Annual Report to allow it to be submitted to Full Council in September 2015.

 

 

276     CLOSURE OF ACCOUNTS 2014-2015 (HOF) –

 

The Head of Finance indicated that the report set out the provisional financial position of the Council for the financial year 2014/15. 

 

The Council on 5th March, 2014 (Minute No. 884) agreed the Authority’s budget requirement for 2014/15.  This represented budgeted net expenditure for the Authority of £214.331m.  Total expenditure was to be financed by Revenue Support Grant (£118.125m), National Non-Domestic Rates contribution (£39.516m) and Council Taxpayers (£56.69m).  The Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) for the year was £215.041m.

 

The revenue budgets had been amended and approved by Cabinet during the financial year, however, they were at the same overall net level as the original budget of £214.331m, which was after the planned use of £2.5m from the Council Fund.  The actual expenditure for 2014/15 was £214.331m, which was a breakeven position and followed a transfer of £1.419m from the Council Fund.

 

Appendix 1 to the report amended the revised budgets to take account of the following adjustments.  There was no overall effect on the Authority.  The report also referred to explanatory information in regard to IAS 19 Retirement Benefits, Asset Rents, Recharges services and Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme. 

 

Set out below is a table comparing the amended budget and the actual expenditure for the Authority:

 

Service

 

Year - 2014/15

Amended   Revenue Budget

Total   Provisional Actual

Variance   +Favourable  () Adverse

 

       £’000

          £’000

             £’000

Learning and Skills

 

 

 

Education   and Schools

93,026

93,036

(10)

Libraries

2,567

2,560

+7

Adult   Community Learning

254

252

+2

Youth   Services

1,076

1,063

+13

Catering

1,792

1,772

+20

 

 

 

 

Social Services

 

 

 

Children   and Young People

14,358

14,343

+15

Adult   Services

36,830

36,864

(34)

Business   Mgt & Innovation

308

300

+8

YOS

672

669

+3

 

 

 

 

Visible Services   and Housing

 

 

 

Environment   and Visible Services

18,355

18,351

+4

Parks   and Ground Maintenance

3,702

3,696

+6

Building   Services

30

29

+1

General   Fund Housing

1,446

1,436

+10

 

 

 

 

Development   Services

 

 

 

Public   Protection

2,525

2,531

(6)

Private   Housing

11,106

11,089

+17

Planning   and Transportation

5,225

5,213

+12

Leisure

3,589

3,591

(2)

Economic   Development

864

878

(14)

 

 

 

 

Managing Director

 

 

 

Resources

(12)

(28)

+16

Corporate   and Customer Services

49

49

0

General   Policy

19,069

20,246

(1,177)

 

 

 

 

Total Net Budget

216,831

217,940

(1,109)

Council   Tax Surplus

0

(2,190)

+2,190

Use   of Reserves

(2,500)

(1,419)

(1,081)

GRAND TOTAL

214,331

214,331

0

 

 

The main reasons for the variances were detailed in paragraphs 8 to 92 of the report.

 

As part of the 2015/16 revenue budget setting process, each specific reserve had been reviewed and considered in light of the Council’s priorities.  It had been deemed necessary to move funding from lower priority areas to higher priority areas and as a result, £3.5m of specific reserves were unearmarked and transferred to the Schools Investment Strategy reserve to allow for the continued investment in school buildings and their development.  In addition, as part of the Final Revenue Budget Proposals for 2015/16, a transfer to the Schools Investment Strategy reserve of £1.485m was approve, which was to be funded by the projected revenue underspend in 2014/15.  It was not considered that a further £735,000 was required to fund future works and had therefore been transferred into the said fund.  The Education service had also transferred £380,000 into the fund, partly as a reimbursement for capital charges.

 

The Local Government Borrowing Initiative provided funding for highways resurfacing of £2.23m per annum for a three year period from 2012/13 to 2014/15.  In addition, the Council had also allocated for the Big Fill initiative until 31st March 2016.  There were further works still required to be carried out across the county and therefore £1.5m had been transferred into the Visible Services fund.  It was proposed that the sum of £1m be included in the Capital Programme, to be spent on highways resurfacing over a two year period commencing 2015/16.  This increase in the Capital Programme would require Council approval.  The remaining £500,000 would be used for the Big Fill Initiative in 2016/17, which was part of the revenue budget.

 

In addition to the above, it was also proposed that a revenue contribution of £600,000 be made into the Capital Commitments reserve to fund further regeneration schemes and that this sum was also included in the Capital Programme as part of the Barry Regeneration Partnership scheme over a two year period commencing 2015/16.  This increase to the Capital Programme would also require Council approval.

 

A report was approved by Cabinet on 11th May 2015 (Min. No. C2774 refers) regarding the proposed new pitches at Jenner Park and Colcot Sports Centre.  The sum of £310,000 had been transferred from Visible Services into the Jenner Park Improvements fund to contribute towards these works.

 

New funds had been established and transfers in covered the following areas:

  • Social Services Buildings (£500,000) – to be used to update premises to meet the future demands of the service
  • Interpretation Services for Asylum Seekers (£100,000) – to be used to provide support and interpretation services
  • Reshaping Services (£730,000) – to fund one off costs that would be incurred during the implementation of the Council’s Reshaping Services programme.

There had also been transfers into reserves for reimbursements from services for works where the initial cost was funded from that specific reserve e.g. Computer Renewal Fund, Project Fund, Vehicle Repairs and Renewals, Schools Rationalisation Fund and the Energy Management Fund.

 

Attached at Appendix 4 to the report was a schedule showing the Council’s reserves as at 31st March, 2015.  The reserves had been reviewed and were currently considered adequate for reported uses, subject to the various adjustments detailed in the report.  The transfers detailed above had been included in the appendix.

 

The Head of Service also referred to the intention that £2.5m of the Council Fund was to be used in 2014/15.  However, £1.419m was used to fund expenditure in the year and therefore, the Fund stood at £12.541m as at 31st March, 2015.  She indicated that when the budget was set for 2015/16, future savings targets had meant that £2.5m of the Council Fund had been allocated for use in 2015/16, with a further assumed use of £1.5m in 2016/17.  Accordingly, this would result in the Fund balance of £8.541m by 31st March 2017. 

 

She also indicated as part of the Final Revenue Budget Proposals for 2014/15, a savings target of £7.391m was set for the Authority.  Progress on the achievement of these savings had been monitored and reported to Committee during the year.  Appendix 5 to the report confirmed the final status of these savings at the end of 2014/15.  While services had been able to find savings to the value of £7.391m, some of the savings had been achieved by a different means to that planned.  Against a savings target of £7.391m, savings of £6.721m were achieved in the year in the way planned, resulting in a shortfall of £670,000.  The majority of the shortfall was made up of £585,000 in Visible Services.  Services would need to ensure that savings achieved through an alternative means in 2014/15 were reviewed to ensure that the savings would continue to be made on an ongoing basis and would continue to be realised in future years. 

 

She also referred to the underspend on the revised Capital Programme in 2014/15 which stood at £4.9m.  In addition, she referred to paragraph 106 of the report which set out how the Capital Programme had been financed during 2014/15. 

 

The existing capital receipts balance as at 31st March, 2015 was £16.5m all relating to the General Fund.  The sum of £5m was received from the sale of assets and mortgage repayments during 2014/15 as set out below:

 

 

£.000

Sale   of Council Houses

* 549

Sale   of Land and Buildings

4,533

Mortgage   Repayments

* 10

 

*   These receipts are gross and normally the Council only treats 25% as 'usable’ to finance Housing Revenue Account capital expenditure, as the Subsidy Determination assumes the 75% is used to 'reduce loan debt’.

 

As a result of the capital underspend in 2014/15, an allocation of £4.93m had been approved via the Managing Director’s Emergency Powers, as slippage into 2015/16.  This would fund the completion of schemes set out in Appendix 6 to the report.  Of this figure, the sum of £2.053m would be funded from capital receipts and £2.877m would be provided from revenue, reserves or external sources.

 

The Council’s Major Repairs Allowance (MRA) was £2.76m.  Works totalling £19.48m was spent on major improvements to the Council’s housing stock, £2.76m of which was funded from the MRA, £897,000 from Housing Capital Receipts, £661,000 from WG grant and £10.608m from Housing revenue and reserves, as well as a further £4.554m of unsupported borrowing.

 

In summing up, the Head of Service indicated that given anticipated ongoing cuts in capital funding for future years it was vital that funding uncommitted capital expenditure be retained for future use on prioritised schemes.

 

In response to a question from a Member of the Committee regarding information which would be useful to be included in future reports relating to the figures for the original budget, the amended budget and variances against the amended budget so that Members had an holistic view related information.  In response, the Head of Finance indicated that she was happy to make the necessary suggested adjustments to future reports. 

 

Having considered the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Closure of Accounts for 2014/15 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of the financial measures taken and proposed.