Agenda Item No. 9(b)












The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 15 January, 2013 considered the above joint report of the Director of Development Services and the Director of Visible Services and Housing.


Prior to consideration of the report the Chairman reminded Committee of the recent e-mail that had been forwarded by the Director of Development Services to Members of the Committee in relation to the Leisure Services budget.


The Head of Accountancy and Resource Management in presenting the report advised that the revenue budget and projected outturn for 2012/13 was detailed at Appendix 1 to the report and referred to the following Service section budgets : 


Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design & Procurement - There was currently a £40k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget. This was reported as mainly due to a slight overspend on agency costs.


Waste Management - There was currently a £48k favourable variance to the revised profiled budget. The current underspend was mainly due to a continuing decrease in the level of waste taken to landfill, which resulted in  savings on costly disposal. The budget was currently expected to outturn on target


Grounds Maintenance - There was currently a £33k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget which was mainly due to an overspend on new machinery as new legislation had come into force for Hand Arm Vibration. The budget would be monitored closely to ensure these savings were met.


Support – The current favourable variance of £114k to the revised profiled budget would be held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that may arise throughout the financial year.


With regard to the Building Services budget it was reported that this area would breakeven at year end.


Economic Development - There was currently a £21k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget.  This variance was primarily attributable to the Employment and Training Services, as a result of the Government Work Programme receipts having not reached the profiled income targets to date.   This service was currently under review to enable a return to within budget in 2013/14.  It was anticipated that the outturn at year end would be an adverse variance of £36k.


Leisure - There was currently a £160k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget, of which £122k related to overspending within the leisure centres as previously reported. 


Planning and Transportation - There was currently a £186k favourable variance to the revised profiled budget which was predominately due to income from planning fees for major schemes now being in advance of the profiled estimate.  Recent progress in seeking to adopt highways at Rhoose Point had resulted in the receipt of fees which would otherwise not have been received.  It was anticipated that the year end outturn would be a favourable variance of £59k, which would be used to fund overspend elsewhere in the division.


Moving onto the Capital expenditure, financial progress was detailed at Appendix 2 to the report .  It was evident that the full year's budget would not be spent during the year and the relevant officers had been required to provide an explanation for the shortfall .The report detailed the delay that had been made in relation to the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre re-build.  There had been problems with the initial design which had meant that a second tendering exercise had to be carried out.  It was noted that the process had now been completed and a preferred contractor had been appointed.  The cost was projected to be well within the existing budget, although the procurement delay had pushed the planned construction period back several months.  Welsh Government had been informed of the situation and were considering assenting to splitting their initial grant offer over two financial years to match the profiled spend.  As a result Council would be requested to approve slippage of £227,000 into the 2013/14 budget. 


The Committee was also advised that Cabinet had previously agreed that further information would be provided and detailed in monitoring reports where schemes of a value of over £500,000 and showed a variance of 20% or more between the actual spend and the profile.  In view of this the following schemes had met this criteria:


Coldbrook Flooding - Due to issues with the tender process on this contract, it had been agreed that a re-tender exercise would be carried out. This would however, delay the progress of the scheme and WG had been approached to consent to a re-profile of the grant offer in order to allow the scheme to continue into 2013/14. Members would be advised of the outcome of these discussions.


Five Mile Lane Safety Improvements - Expenditure on the scheme was slightly behind profile. This reflected the fact that the scheme to improve safety conditions at Sycamore Cross had been amended from a roundabout solution to a traffic signalling arrangement, thereby reducing costs. As a result of this there would be an under spend on the budget which was to be quantified at the end of January. Welsh Government would be informed of the outturn at that point. 


Highway Resurfacing - Local Government Borrowing Initiative - The budget, to improve the condition of the Vale's highway network, was running ahead of the original planned profile as the contractor, Tarmac, was completing works faster than anticipated, with the good winter weather conditions to the end of November.  A full spend was expected by the end of January 2013.


Vehicle Replacement Programme - As had previously been reported, the delivery of vehicles on order were far later than anticipated. The majority of vehicles however were still anticipated by year-end.


Leisure Centre Refurbishment - The Council had approved a budget of £3.143m as a payment to Parkwood Leisure to manage various refurbishment works at the Vale's leisure centres as part of the new Leisure Management Partnership arrangement. The spend had fallen behind the profile and as such a new profile had been requested from Parkwood and Members would be advised should this require monies being slipped into 2013/14.


It was noted that Appendix 3 to the report provided for non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget of over £100,000.


In considering the report the Chairman queried whether the Leisure Section's adverse variance would be addressed via the Corporate Centre.  The Head of Service was however hopeful that the budget would be brought in line within the Directorate by the year end. 


In response to a query from a Member as regards to the re-tendering exercise for Coldbrook flooding the Director advised that there had been issues with the Environment Agency with regard to watercourses.  The Environment Agency had changed their standards and had only recently received confirmation from Welsh Government.  Due to the timescales involved it was considered to be in the Council’s best financial interest to retender.  Members were also advised that with regard to the Alexandra Gardens Scheme, following the re-tendering exercise, it had come in under budget.


Having fully considered the report it was




(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2012/13 Revenue and Capital Monitoring be noted.


(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee recommends to Cabinet and Council to reduce the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre re-build capital scheme to £200,000 and carry forward £227,000 to 2013/14.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To ensure that Scrutiny Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2012/13 Revenue and Capital Monitoring expenditure.


(2)       That the proposed amendment be referred to Cabinet and Council for approval with the consent of the Scrutiny Committee.”





Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment)




T H A T the recommendation  to Council to reduce the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre re-build capital scheme to £200,000 and carry forward £227,000 to 2013/14 be endorsed.


Reason for decision


To amend the Revenue and Capital Monitoring expenditure in relation to the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre