Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary, Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 13th October, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Media

Items
No. Item

38.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Paul Fishwick, Emma Hobbs, and Graham Howe.

 

Caroline Smith attended the meeting as a substitute for Paul Fishwick.

 

Chris Bowring attended the meeting as a substitute for Graham Howe.

 

Pauline Helliar-Symons attended the meeting as a substitute for Emma Hobbs.

39.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

40.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

To appoint a Vice-Chairman for the remainder of the 2020/21 municipal year.

Minutes:

Guy Grandison proposed that Emma Hobbs be appointed as Vice Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year. This was seconded by Alison Swaddle.

 

RESOLVED That Emma Hobbs be appointed as Vice Chairman for the remainder of the municipal year.

41.

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 submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  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.

42.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions related to items on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

43.

MTFP 2021-24: Strategic Overview pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider the strategic overview for the 2021-24 Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report, set out in agenda pages 5 to 16, which gave a strategic overview of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2021-24.

 

John Kaiser (Executive Member for Finance and Housing) and Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive) attended the meeting to answer Member queries.

 

Graham Ebers stated that Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) remained the lowest funded Unitary Authority per head of population. The revenue support grant received by WBC not totalled £0, and as Council Tax was now considered a resource WBC was now seen as a highly resourced Local Authority. Graham stated that WBC needed to continue to make representations to MPs and the Government to ensure that WBC was adequately funded to cover the costs of statutory service delivery.

 

Graham stated that the impact of Covid-19 (C-19) would not fit neatly into one financial year, and therefore the cost implications needed to be looked at on a more medium term level. The expectation was that the adult social care precept would be allowed once more due to the financial pressures related to this service as a result of C-19. The Children’s Services department was still in the process of achieving a “Good” OFSTED rating, with expenditure being detailed within the MTFP, and detailed bids would be received by the Committee in the coming weeks and months. The 21st Century reorganisation had saved £3m per annum in efficiency savings and staffing reductions. Graham stated that the government’s consultation proposals regarding housing numbers would, if approved, place significant budgetary pressure on WBC in addition to increasing demand on all of our services. Graham added that the MTFP was a work in progress plan, and urged all Members to make representations to MPs and the Government for a fair 4 year Local Government finance settlement.

 

John Kaiser stated that last year was the first year where the draft MTFP had received detailed consideration by the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. John added that a similar approach would be taken this year, and he hoped for productive and positive discussions to take place. Much work had already been undertaken in order to achieve a balanced budget, and a portion of the 2021/22 budget would be funded by WBC’s reserves in addition to the awaited Local Government finance settlement for the upcoming year. John stated that although WBC’s reserves were at a safe level, there were many unknowns that needed to be considered this year as these were unprecedented times.

 

Graham Ebers stated that Resources and Assets were due to make large savings in 2020/21, which would allow for the budget submissions from that year be an overall net saving compared to the previous year. WBC had now engaged in a commercialisation programme, which looked at a variety of areas such as early intervention, prevention, and demand management. WBC’s asset stock would be evaluated, and further options to utilise technology within business operations would be investigated. Graham stated that the current prediction of £1.689 million budget  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.