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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 20th December 2016

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Fees and Charges

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise the Joint Committee of the proposed fees and charges for services delivered within the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS) for 2017/18.

Recommendation

That the Joint Committee agrees that the charging and fee proposals for the SRS, as set out in this report, are implemented from 1st April 2017.

Reason for the Recommendation

The report reviews fees and charges for 2017/18 and where appropriate seeks to build upon the harmonisation of charges across the Service. The appendix to this report itemises those fees within the remit of the Joint Committee. In broad terms, this includes all fees apart from Alcohol, Gambling, and Taxi licensing, Additional Licensing Scheme charges for Houses in Multiple Occupation and consents issued under the Local Government Act 1982.

 

While many of the charges are set locally (Annex Part One), some are set through voluntary regional or national arrangements, and others reflect the statutory regimes set by Welsh and UK Governments (Annex Part Two).

Background

  1. The fees and charges adopted by the Shared Regulatory Service for the 2015-16 financial year reflected a degree of harmonisation in the licensing regimes operated across the three local authority areas. The fees and charges proposed for the coming financial year 2017-18 incorporate further streamlining, where possible, of the arrangements in place for licensing across a range of functions.
  2. Across all three authorities, 'income generation' has been identified as a core work stream in Corporate Planning processes and is recognised as a method of ensuring continuing provision of services in the face of increased budgetary pressures. The core business case for the SRS identifies the potential for increases in income to exploit new sources of revenue and increase the yield from existing sources.
  3. The fees and charges set out in this report aim to optimise cost recovery from regulatory activity whilst ensuring that they are transparent, proportionate and compliant with statutory legislation. It is proposed that the new fees take effect from 1st April 2017.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Where any fees charged result in a surplus, that surplus must be used to reduce the fees charged in the following year. It is possible to extend the reinvestment of the surplus over more than one year, but this will need careful consideration about whether contributors may leave the licensing system over that period and therefore lose out on the return.
  2. Deficits can similarly be recovered, although where there is a significant deficit, councils may want to consider how recovery can be undertaken over more than one year so as not to financially harm otherwise viable businesses.
  3. To ensure that fees remain reasonable and proportionate the SRS will establish a regular and robust review process and report the findings to the Joint Committee in the form of an Annual fees report. These annual reviews will allow for the fine tuning of fees and put in place steps to avoid either a surplus or deficit accumulating in future years.
  4. During the course of the year, SRS will continue to explore additional areas where charges may be levied for the provision of services. In the case of charges based on officer time, a rate of £50 an hour, to include overheads, will be used.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The fee increases represent inflationary and wage award pressures for the period concerned, and are based upon the Retail Prices Index for the year to September 2016, i.e. an increase of 1%. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. It is necessary to review fees on an annual basis to ensure the continuation of services in light of increasing costs and budgetary pressures. There are no climate change implications arising from the fees and charges proposed.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Under relevant legislation, the Council is allowed to recover costs for Regulatory activity and the issuing of permits and licences.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no anticipated equal opportunities implications associated with this report.
  2. Through the monitoring and review of fees and charges, the Shared Service will ensure that its enforcement activity reflects this position and is in keeping with the Equality Statements and Policies of the participant authorities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The level of fees and charges set for the SRS helps to ensure our continued operation of services within budget for 2017/18.  This assists in ensuring that we achieve our overall service objectives contained in the business plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. None.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Relevant Scrutiny Committees at each Council.

Background Papers

Open for Business: LGA guidance on locally set fees.

Contact Officer

Dave Holland - Head of Shared Regulatory Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Director, Bridgend County Borough Council

Director of Environment, City of Cardiff Council

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing

(Vale of Glamorgan Council)

 

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