Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary, Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Ken Miall and Barrie Patman.

20.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

21.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions related to items on this agenda

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions related to items on this agenda submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about items on this agenda

 

For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

22.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions relating to items on this agenda

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

23.

MTFP 2020-23 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider aspects of the draft 2020-23 MTFP, with a focus on the General Fund Revenue Account (Council Tax setting)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 5 to 14, which set out aspects of the draft 2020-23 Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) with a focus on the General Fund Revenue Account.

 

The Committee were advised that this meeting was the first in a series of budget scrutiny focussed sessions, with further detail including specific bids and associated business cases to be provided at future meetings.

 

John Kaiser, Executive Member for Finance and Housing, stated that involving scrutiny within the budget setting process was something that he had wanted to happen for some time. John added that should this process work well, it would aid in presenting a well-rounded budget with input from Members across the Council. John stated that much of the budget was necessary to provide statutory services, including Adult Social Care and children services. John commented that budgets of previous years did not necessarily reflect future budgets, as pressures in areas such as Adult Social Care were growing and were expected to continue growing. John stated that the budget was designed to deliver the Executive programme in addition to statutory services. John concluded by stating that this process was important as it allowed all Members and the public to see and understand both the budget setting process and budget proposals.

 

There was some discussion between John Kaiser and Clive Jones regarding the relationship between Scrutiny and the Executive in relation to budget scrutiny. John Kaiser commented that in his view this process would allow for Members from three of the four political groups within the Council an opportunity to review budget proposals and ask questions of Executive Members and Directors about their service areas including growth bids and savings proposals. John added that all Members and the public would have access to this information, and he hoped that scrutiny would be able to sign off a budget that had support from across the Council following detailed scrutiny. Clive Jones commented that in his view it was scrutiny’s role to challenge assumptions and current and proposed spending levels to ensure that statutory services were maintained. Clive added that in his opinion this process did not constitute any form of approval of the ruling group’s budget. Clive stated that he welcomed the introduction of this budget scrutiny process, and hoped that it would continue in future years.

 

Graham Ebers, Deputy Chief Executive – Director of Corporate Services, stated that this would be the first budget setting cycle that would include overview and scrutiny in his 20 years of being Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC’s) Chief Finance Officer. Graham stated that this process would create an excellent opportunity for collaborative working, and he hoped that this process would allow the creation of the best budget possible within the context of reduced funding. Graham added that this meeting was designed to be a higher level discussion to identify how the Committee would work in future meetings, with future meetings including specific bids and detailed business cases to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.