Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722005, 722085 

Items
No. Item

110.

Appointment of Substitutes

To receive details of any Member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Denham for Councillor Riaz.

111.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor Agar – Proposed Budget 2021/22 And Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 (Minute 115) – As a Member of Worcestershire Pension Board

 

Councillors Berry and Hodges – Proposed Budget 2021/22 And Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 (Minute 115) – Self or partner is a beneficiary of the Pension Fund.

112.

Public Representations

Up to a total of fifteen minutes can be allowed, with each speaker being allocated a maximum of five minutes, for members of the public to present a petition, ask a question or comment on any matter on the Agenda or within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

None.

113.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Of the meeting held on 25th January 2021 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 25th January 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

114.

Draft Budget 2021/22 and Draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026 - Consultation With Policy Committees pdf icon PDF 206 KB

That the Committee consider the proposed amendments to the draft budget for the Council for the financial year 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2026. (Report to follow)

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on feedback from the Policy Committees on the draft budget. The Committees had considered the draft budget and had forwarded a number of proposals for consideration. The report was considered as part of the discussion on the Draft Budget (item 115).

115.

Proposed Budget 2021/22 And Medium Term Financial Plan 2021/22 - 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 413 KB

1.     That the Committee endorses the proposed Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 and the proposed Medium Term Financial Plan for the next five year period 2021/22 – 2025/26, and recommends them to Full Council on 23 February 2021 including the following resolutions:

a.  That the Budget Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 be set at £11.975m;

b.  That the Council Tax Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 be set at £6.292m; and

c.  That the Band D Council Tax for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) be set at £195.88;

2.     That the Committee approves the Treasury Management Strategy at Appendix 5 including the MRP policy statement and the prudential indicators set out in the Strategy;(Appendix 5 to follow)

 

3.     That the Committee approves the transfer of £712,000 from the Risk reserves to the 2021/22 revenue budget to mitigate the estimated loss of income due to the pandemic and to transfer a further £305,000 to the City Plan Fund to eliminate the deficit in its funding; and

 

4.     That the Committee considers the proposals brought forward by the Policy Committees during January 2021 and includes those approved in the recommendations to Full Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the proposed Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 and the proposed Medium-Term Financial Plan for the period 2021/22 – 2025/26. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that, following the meeting of 15 December 2020, the draft budget proposals have been revised in the light of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement published on 17 December 2020, further financial information and consultation with the public.

 

Proposed budget amendments from the Environment Committee, Communities Committee and Place and Economic Development Sub-Committee were set out elsewhere on the agenda and the report included considerations of the financial impact on the budget and MTFP. The proposals cumulatively recommended an addition to budgets of £162,500 in 2021/22. All of these represented one-off charges. There were no proposed changes to revenue budgets that would have an ongoing impact on the Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

An overall capital programme of £44.750m was proposed and this compared to a programme of £29.699m previously proposed for 2020/21 to 2025/26.   The most significant change to the programme from last year was the inclusion of the Future High Streets Fund.

 

The draft budget proposed a transfer from earmarked reserves of £712k, which would result in a balanced budget for 2021/22.

 

The budget forecast  projected a deficit for the years 2022/23 onwards, meaning that the minimum level of £1.1m of General Reserves would not be maintained. During 2021/22 the Council would therefore need to increase its income and/or generate cost reductions to enable a balanced budget to be set for 2022/23 onwards.

 

The proposals were in summary as follows:

 

·         Environment Committee - Gull control additional activities - £7,500

·         Communities Committee - Support to Citizens Advice Bureau - £35,000 (Proposed source – Hardship Fund)

·         Communities Committee - Ward Councillors Funding to support Ward based responses to Covid 19 - £70,000

(Proposed source - Covid Funding)

·         Communities Committee - Child Poverty Task & Finish Group enabling budget - £50,000 (Proposed source - Covid Funding Tranche 5 - 21/22)

 

Total: £162,500

 

The Section 151 Officer advice was that the proposals in the above table that were not funded from existing reserves would be chargeable to the 2021/22 budget as one-off items and would be additions to the transfer from reserves identified in the Budget Report. The overall impact of these proposals was a revised transfer total of £839,500.

Committee Members considered each of the proposed amendments individually.

 

Officers responded to comments from Committee Members on a number of the budget proposals.

At the conclusion of the debate Committee Members expressed unanimous support for the budget proposals including all the proposed amendments from the Policy Committees.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree:

 

1.    to endorse the proposed Budget and Council Tax for 2021/22 and the proposed Medium-Term Financial Plan for the next five year period 2021/22 – 2025/26, and recommends them to Full Council on 23 February 2021 including the following resolutions:

 

a.   That the Budget Requirement for Worcester City Council (excluding Parish Precepts) 2021/22 be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Fees and Charges 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 191 KB

1.   That the Committee receives the report of the review of Fees and Charges for 2021/22 from the Income Generation Sub-committee and recommends its approval to Full Council on 23 February 2021; and

 

2.   That the Committee approves the amendment in respect of S106 Monitoring Fees.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the review of Fees and Charges for 2021/22 from the Income Generation Sub-Committee.

 

The Head of Finance explained that the Sub-Committee had approved the proposed charges, with the exception of Trade Waste fees, which had not been finalised.

 

There was one amendment to the proposals. It was proposed to add S106 Monitoring Fees under Development Management LC2. 

 

Committee Members expressed support for the Fees and Charges as proposed in the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    recommend the proposed Fees and Charges for 2021/22 to the Full Council for approval at its meeting on 23 February 2021; and

 

2.    approve the amendment in respect of S106 Monitoring Fees.

117.

Town Centre Regeneration - Acquisition of Strategic Assets pdf icon PDF 803 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Approves the acquisition of the freehold interest in the Corn Exchange 8/9 Crown Passage on the terms set out in the private report in support of the Council’s Future High Street Fund proposals;

 

2.     Approves the acquisition of the various property leasehold interests in nos 54, 55 and 56 Foregate Street on the terms set out in the private report in support of The Arches project; and

 

3.     Delegates authority to the Corporate Director Place, the Corporate Director Finance and Resources and the Deputy Director Governance in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Committee to conclude negotiations and enter into all necessary legal agreements to complete the proposed acquisitions.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report seeking authority to acquire certain assets in the City Centre which supported the Council’s Future High Streets Fund project and the Arches project. The Managing Director presented the report and explained that the proposals were for the acquisition of the freehold interest in the Corn Exchange, 8/9 Crown Passage and various property leasehold interests in nos. 54, 55 and 56 Foregate Street. Officers recommended that the Council acquires the whole of the lease rather than an assignment of part only relating to no 56 Foregate Street as the occupants of nos .54 and 55 had access rights and permissions to park on the land and the proposal would support the overall objectives of the scheme.

 

The specific terms of these acquisitions were commercially sensitive and were set out in an exempt report elsewhere on the agenda. The Committee resolved to exclude the press and public from the meeting to consider the exempt report. The meeting then resumed in public whereupon Committee Members expressed support for the proposed way forward, as set out in the report and recommendations.

 

Councillor Mrs Lucy Hodgson explained that she and Councillor Gregson were members of the Arches Project Steering Group.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agrees to:

 

1.    Approve the acquisition of the freehold interest in the Corn Exchange 8/9 Crown Passage on the terms set out in the private report in support of the Council’s Future High Street Fund proposals;

 

2.    Approve the acquisition of the various property leasehold interests in nos 54, 55 and 56 Foregate Street on the terms set out in the private report in support of The Arches project; and

 

3.    Delegate authority to the Corporate Director Place, the Corporate Director Finance and Resources and the Deputy Director Governance in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Committee to conclude negotiations and enter into all necessary legal agreements to complete.

118.

Governance Arrangements for Delivery of Major Programmes pdf icon PDF 214 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.   Approves the governance arrangements for the delivery of the Council’s major programmes, set out in section 3 of this report; and

 

2.   Delegates authority to the Managing Director and Deputy Director -Governance in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chairs of Policy and Resources Committee to approve the terms of reference of the Major Programmes Member Reference Group.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposals for the overall governance arrangements for major programme delivery by the Council. The Deputy Director – Governance presented the report summarised the proposals, which were intended to supplement and enhance, rather than alter, any arrangements set out in the Council’s Constitution.

 

The proposals in summary were as follows:

 

·         Policy and Resources Committee will act as the primary decision-making body for all decisions under these major programmes which require a policy decision of the Council, excepting those matters which, under the Constitution, require referral to full Council.

 

·         The Communities Committee and Environment Committee will support the governance of the major programmes through a role of scrutiny and challenge.

 

·         A new Member Reference Group will be established, comprising the Chairs and Vice Chairs of Policy & Resources, Communities and Environment Committees, to oversee the referral of matters for decision to the Policy & Resources Committee and the implementation of those decisions.

 

·         The Sub-Committees of Policy & Resources Committee will support the Committee in their usual remit, undertaking work referred by the Committee to inform the decision-making process.

 

·         The Council’s regulatory committees will continue to perform their usual statutory functions as regards any matters within the scope of the programmes

 

·         At the level of implementation, the programmes will be managed by programme delivery boards, each chaired by a member of the Council’s chief officer leadership team.

 

·         The Town Deal Board and the Arches (Cultural Development Fund) Steering Group will both continue to oversee, from the stakeholders’ perspective, the delivery of the Town Investment Plan and the Arches Project respectively. A further stakeholder group may be required for Future High Streets Fund, this will be scoped further as part of the work of the Future High Streets Fund programme board.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposals.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee:

1.  approve the governance arrangements for the delivery of the Council’s major programmes, set out in section 3 of this report; and

2.  agree to delegate authority to the Managing Director and Deputy Director -Governance in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chairs of Policy and Resources Committee to approve the terms of reference of the Major Programmes Member Reference Group.

119.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Update pdf icon PDF 303 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.     Notes the contents of this report and the recommended actions to bring a renewed focus on equality, diversity and inclusion at the Council;

2.     Approves for publication the Council’s Equality Objectives for 2021 as set out in section 3 below;

3.     Agrees that a Member working group should support officers in completing a self-assessment of the Council’s performance under the Local Government Association’s Equalities Framework facilitated by the Deputy Director Governance; and

4.     Requests that the Personnel and General Purposes Sub-Committee oversee the work programme set out at section 3 and considers the scope of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for referral back to Committee later this year.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Council’s Equalities Strategy, which was due for renewal. The Deputy Director – Governance presented the report, which set out a workplan of activities with the overall aim of bringing clarity to the Council’s priorities for equality, diversity and inclusion and providing a manageable plan for achieving them.

 

The proposal was to work through the Equality Framework and assess the Council’s strengths and areas for improvement. Officers will then draw together the findings and bring them forward to the Personnel and General Purposes Sub-Committee before onward referral to the Policy & Resources Committee. Any subsequent draft Strategy will be subject to a period of public consultation to ensure that the widest range of perspectives are considered.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the proposed way forward.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    Note the contents of this report and the recommended actions to bring a renewed focus on equality, diversity and inclusion at the Council;

 

2.    Approve for publication the Council’s Equality Objectives for 2021 as set out in section 3 below;

 

3.    Agree that a Member working group should support officers in completing a self-assessment of the Council’s performance under the Local Government Association’s Equalities Framework facilitated by the Deputy Director Governance;

 

4.    Request that the Personnel and General Purposes Sub-Committee oversee the work programme set out at section 3 and considers the scope of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for referral back to Committee later this year.

120.

Covid-19: Decisions Under Urgency Powers pdf icon PDF 287 KB

That the Committee notes the decisions, since the last report to Committee which have been taken by the Managing Director under urgency powers in response to the Covid-19 emergency incident.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the decisions taken by the Managing

Director, since the last report to Committee in December 2020, under urgency powers in response to the Covid-19 emergency incident. The Managing Director presented the report and highlighted the main points.  

 

The main decisions highlighted were in relation to support to compensate local organisations for the loss of business:

 

  Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum: 5 January onwards

  Closed Business Lockdown Payment

  Top up of Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary).

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the decisions which have been taken since the last report to Committee by the Managing Director under urgency powers in response to the Covid-19 emergency incident.

121.

Quarter 3 Financial Monitoring Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 489 KB

1.     That the Committee reviews the financial monitoring details including budget variances and performance indicators for the 3rd quarter ended 31 December 2020; and

 

2.     That the Committee reviews the proposed write-offs of Council Tax and Business Rates for the quarter and approves the amounts noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the financial monitoring details including budget variances and performance indicators for the 3rd quarter ended 31 December 2020 and the proposed write-offs of Council Tax and Business Rates for the quarter and approves the amounts noted. The Head of Finance presented the report and highlighted the main points. In summary, the forecast year-end performance at Q3 was to achieve a budget deficit of £405k which will be covered by a transfer from reserves.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report and agree the proposed write-offs of Council Tax and Business Rates for the quarter in the amounts noted.

122.

Quarter 3 Performance Report for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

That the Policy and Resources Committee notes the Council’s Quarter performance for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Quarter 3 performance report for the Policy and Resources Committee showing progress with the current priority projects and activities which support the delivery of the Council’s City Plan, the current priority projects within the Excellence programme and the corporate suite of key performance indicators. The Corporate Director – Finance and resources presented the report and summarised the main points. Officers responded to questions from Committee Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the Council’s Quarter 3 performance for 2020/21.

123.

Annual Survey 2020 Results pdf icon PDF 275 KB

That the Committee notes the results of the Annual Survey 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the results of the Annual Survey, which was conducted between 28 September and 8 November 2020. The Corporate Director – Finance and resources presented the report and summarised the main points. Officers responded to questions from Committee Members on detailed aspects of the report.

 

It was noted that the response rate was significantly lower than the responses received in 2018 and 2019. This may be attributable to the disruption caused by Covid and a high level of consultation work that has taken place over the last twelve months which has enabled residents to have their say on a variety of Council activities and proposals.

 

Overall satisfaction with the Council had increased from 57.6% in 2019 to 64.35% in 2020, while the percentage dissatisfaction level had stayed the same at around 13%.

 

In the ensuing discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·         Reference was made to discussion groups and the potential for using new technology to engage with local residents in order to broaden the level of participation. In response, Officers explained that a Zoom group had been set up as part of this year’s consultation and Officers will explore similar opportunities going forward.

 

·         In response to a question about residents’ perception of a  Safe City, Members were advised that data collected by the Police and Crime Commissioner will be included in the City Plan Refresh, which will be brought to a future meeting of this Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to note the results of the Annual Survey 2020.

124.

Any Other Business

Which in the opinion of the Chairman is of sufficient urgency as to warrant consideration.

Minutes:

None.

125.

Items Involving the Disclosure of Exempt Information

The Committee are invited to pass the following resolution:-

 

That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of information as defined in Schedule 12A of the said Act.

126.

Minutes (Exempt Items)

Of the meeting held on 25th January 2021 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes (exempt items) of the meeting held on 25th January 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

127.

Fees and Charges 2021/22 (Exempt Items)

To consider the proposed Fees and Charges for Building Control.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the proposed Fees and Charges for Building Control for 2021/22 and agreed to recommend them to full Council for approval.

128.

Town Centre Regeneration - Acquisition Of Strategic Assets

That the Committee note the contents of this report in its consideration of the report in the public agenda.

Minutes:

The Committee discussed and noted the contents of this report as part of its consideration of the report in the public agenda (item 117).