Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee (01.01.2002 - 25.05.2017) - Thursday, 16th January, 2014 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX. View directions

Contact: James Harris  Democratic Services Officer - 01730 234098

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Aiston, Ashton, Drew, Harvey, Orme and Schillemore.

21.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman asked that mobile phones were turned off and made all present aware of the fire exits.

22.

Confirmation of Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2013.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2013, which had been previously circulated, were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

23.

Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

24.

Revenue and Capital Budgets 2014-15

A presentation will be given on the Revenue and Capital Budgets 2014-15.  Members of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee will be invited to scrutinise and comment on the draft proposals prior to their recommendation to Council.

Minutes:

The committee received a presentation by the S.151 Officer and the Service Manager Finance. 

 

During the discussion the committee highlighted the reference made to new models of service delivery, which could include personalised council tax.  This might comprise of a base level of council tax to cover statutory services, accompanied by chargeable discretionary services that residents could select if they wished.

 

The committee felt that a full list of statutory and discretionary services, along with their costs, would be useful in order to inform the debate around this issue.  The S.151 Officer explained that during any discussions, it should be borne in mind that a number of non-statutory services supported and reduced the cost of providing statutory services.

 

In response to a query regarding the use of the term ‘Marketing Strategy’, the Executive Director said that the council had to understand its market in order to shape its services.  The S.151 Officer explained that the Cabinet was trying to adopt a more business focussed approach to the operation of the council with regard to service delivery. The committee felt that a breakdown of marketing costs would be helpful, in order for it to understand what the council marketed and what costs were incurred in doing so.

 

With regard to the People Strategy, the committee stressed the importance of training for both officers and councillors.  In response to a concern regarding staff retention following training, the committee was advised that officers who undertook professional training paid for by the council were required to sign an agreement that the course fees be repaid if they left the council before an agreed period of time.  Councillor training was discussed, which was being developed with guidance from the Panels Review and Councillor Development Panel.  Some members of the committee had not seen the councillor self assessment form which had been distributed and it was agreed that it be sent again.  The results from this would be used to tailor future councillor training.

 

It was explained that for 2014/15, the budget process had gone ‘back to basics’.  All services had been asked what they required and this had been costed.  A ‘top slicing’ approach had not been taken with regard to making savings. 

 

It was the collective responsibility of all district councillors at a meeting of the Council to set the council tax base and agree the Treasury Management Strategy.  The S.151 Officer had been warned of the possibility that the Police might be very late in agreeing their precept, as the Government had yet to announce whether a referendum would be needed for their proposed increase.  It was anticipated that the Government would offer a 1% incentive to authorities that froze their council tax.  For East Hampshire, this figure would be £65k.

 

The New Homes Bonus had been included in the figures for this year’s budget.  The S.151 Officer felt this logical, as the New Homes Bonus would be the main grant that the council received over the next five years, predicted to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.