Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 29TH JULY, 2013
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES): 16TH JULY, 2013
" CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST MAY 2013 (MD) –
Appendix 1 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st May 2013. The Appendix also included approved slippage from unspent committed capital expenditure slipped from 2012/13 to 2013/14. These had been approved by exercising the Managing Director’s delegated emergency powers the details of which were to be included in a report to Cabinet on 29th July 2013. .
The report before Committee also highlighted the following areas:
Learning and Skills
Schools’ IT Loans - an annual budget of £150k had been drawn up by various primary and secondary schools each year in order to purchase new IT equipment via initial use of the Council's IT Fund which was repaid over a fixed period, typically three years. The arrangement saved the Authority money by avoiding the relatively high interest rates charged on external lease purchase agreements and, in addition, the equipment could be retained by the schools at the end of the repayment term rather than being returned to the leasing company. It was therefore proposed that Cabinet approve the annual increase of £50k, to £200k p.a. on this budget, for the current and future years, in order to maximise use of this scheme.
Cashless Catering and Management Information System - an allocation of £300k was in place for 2013/14 for the introduction of a fully integrated cashless catering operation in all primary and secondary schools which, amongst other efficiencies, it was reported should free up administration time spent on collecting school dinner money. The rollout over all schools, however, was likely to take longer than one year to complete so the client had requested that their budget be split between 2013/14 and 2014/15. It was therefore requested that £140k remain in 2013/14 but that the sum of £160k be carried forward into 2014/15 to complete the roll out.
Visible Services and Housing
Ewenny Road Bridge - an allocation of £1m had been approved as the Council's contribution towards Ewenny Road bridge replacement works for 2013/14. The sum represented a 53% share of expected costs of works which would be procured and managed by Network Rail. It was currently anticipated that the planned profile for the scheme would run from January 2014 through to July 2014, although final programme details from Network Rail were awaited. They were planning to draw down the Council's contribution once their own funding was exhausted and, as a consequence, it had become clear that the majority of the Council's £1m allocation would now not be required until 2014/15. It was proposed therefore to leave the sum of £100k in the current year's capital programme to cover a potential drawdown this year and slip the remaining £900k to 2014/15.
S106 Cogan Hill / Plessey Street junction phases 1 and 2 - works were required to improve the traffic flow into and out of Penarth from the Barons Court junction. Funding was available from s106 funds from the Penarth Heights development and had to be fully spent by September 2030. Phasing at the Barons Court junction traffic signals had recently been undertaken and it was intended to monitor functioning of these changes to ensure effective operation of these signals before proceeding with design of the Penarth junctions. As a result, detailed design on the s106 funding was not likely to commence before January 2014 and it was proposed to reduce the current year’s budget to £30k and carry forward the balance of £227k into 2014/15 when proposed construction works could be progressed. Members were informed that if it was possible to bring the programme forward this would be done as a matter of priority.
Carbon Management Fund - the self-financing fund was established with the help of some £300k grant from Salix Finance in 2008/09 and was used to achieve reductions in energy costs at council premises. Over 50 projects had been completed to date, including loft and cavity wall insulation, draught exclusion and pipe insulation, Leisure Centre pool covers as well as LED lighting and lighting controls. Works costs were recharged to clients over a payback period that mirrored savings achieved in energy costs, hence replenishing the fund. There was currently £213k available in this fund that was intended to be spent on further schemes this year so it was requested that Cabinet approve the increase in the Capital Programme from the current approval of £88k (including slippage of £13k) to £213k in order to proceed with further energy reduction schemes.
The report also highlighted that Cabinet had previously agreed that further information would be provided where schemes had a value of over £500k and showed a variance of 20% or more between actual spend and the profile. The Housing Improvement Programme and Disabled Facilities Grants met this criteria the details for which were contained within the report.
In relation to Cogan Hill/ Plassey Street junction scheme the Head of Financial Services agreed to send Members more details in respect of the proposals, including any further grant funding.
In referring to the Cashless Catering and Management Information System, Members requested that the scheme be proceeded with as a matter of urgency to avoid the issue of causing any embarrassment to school children in receipt of free school meals and requested further information on the benefits of such a system.
In response to a query as to when the funds for Ewenny Road Bridge would commence to be drawn down the Head of Service agreed to email Members with the information. It was also considered appropriate for a report to be presented to the Committee in due course detailing issues with other bridges in the Vale of Glamorgan
Having considered the report, it was
(1) T H A T a report detailing other bridge strengthening schemes be presented to the Committee in due course.
(2) T H A T a report on the Cashless Catering and Management Information System detailing the benefits and any issues be presented to the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources) and (Lifelong Learning).
(3) T H A T the following recommendations be agreed and referred to Cabinet and Council accordingly:
· Schools’ IT Loans – increase the budget to £200k. (funded initially from the IT Fund, repayable by the schools) (refer to Cabinet)
· Cashless Catering and Management Information System – reduce the budget to £140k. (carry forward £160k. into 2014/15) (refer to Cabinet)
· Section 106 Cogan Hill / Plassey Street junction phases 1 and 2 – reduce the budget to £30k. (carry £227k. forward to 2014/15) (refer to Cabinet)
· Carbon Management Fund – increase the budget by £125k. to £213k. (funded from the Energy Management Fund) (refer to Cabinet)
· Ewenny Road Bridge – reduce the budget to £100k. (carry forward £900k. to 2014/15) (refer to Cabinet and Council).
Reasons for recommendations
(1) For Members information
(2) For consideration
(3) To allow schemes to proceed in the current or future financial years."
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 16th July, 2013