Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Andrew Charlwood 020 8359 2014 Email: andrew.charlwood@barnet.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

2.

Absence of Members

3.

Declaration of Members' Interests

    a)      Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Non Pecuniary Interests

    b)      Whipping Arrangements (in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 17)

    Minutes:

    Member

    Subject

    Interest declared

    Councillor Alison Moore

    Agenda Item 6 (Budget Scrutiny – Business Planning 2013/14 – 2015/16)

    Non-pecuniary interest as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Newstead Children's Centre

     

4.

Public Question Time

5.

Members' Items

6.

Budget Scrutiny - Business Planning 2013/14 – 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Resources and Performance

     

    The Committee questioned what impact the judicial review of the One Barnet Programme would have on the Council’s Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).  The Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance informed the Committee that the impact had been addressed in the ‘Risk Management’ section of the report, adding that the financial impact would be dependent on the time taken to complete the review proceedings.  Officers reported that in year one, the financial impact would be in the region of £500,000 per month, a figure that would increase in future years with cumulative savings.  Members further questioned whether there was a contingency plan should the review be successful.  The Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance advised the Committee that the Council had a £15 million risk reserve.  He added that if the review were to be successful, the Council would need to find additional in year savings to balance the budget. 

     

    A Member raised concern that the Council’s bank, the Cooperative Bank, did not currently meet the minimum specified investment criteria (paragraph 5.13).  Officers reported that the Council did not place long-term deposits with the Cooperative and undertook to report back to the Committee Bank with details of the contract with the Bank.

     

    The Committee questioned whether there was scope to repay the council’s borrowings.  The Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance advised Members that borrowing was required to fund the Capital Strategy (Appendix 5).  He acknowledged that there had been significant slippage in the Capital Strategy and that a review was required.  Officers added that early repayment of loans would carry some financial penalties and advised the Committee that the Council had not entered into any new loans since 2009.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance clarified that the predicated increase in the Council Tax Non-Collection Rate (from 1.5% in 2012/13 to 1.85% in 2013/14) was attributable to the impact of the Council Tax Support Scheme.  Members were advised that Capita had a 98.5% target collection rate for Council Tax when they took over providing that service and there would be financial penalties for not achieving the target.

     

    The Committee expressed concern regarding the impact on vulnerable groups of the budget reductions in Children’s Services and Adult Social Care & Health.  In noting these concerns, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance highlighted that savings were being achieved through efficiencies such as the roll-out of personalised budgets. 

     

    In response to a question, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance reported that Council Tax comprised approximately 25% of the Council’s income, with the remaining 75% being received via a Central Government grant.  He advised the Committee that it was in the Council’s interest to grow Business Rates (which are retained by the local autority) because of future funding uncertainty.

     

    The Committee noted the low response rate to the Finance and Business Planning consultation process and suggested that the findings from the Sense of Place Survey should be used to a greater extent when defining the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Advance Notification of Executive Decisions pdf icon PDF 49 KB

8.

Budget and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB

9.

Any Other Items the Chairman Decides are Urgent