Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Guildhall

Contact: Committee Administration 01905 722027, 722005, 722085 

Media

Items
No. Item

36.

Appointment of Substitutes

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

Minutes:

Councillor Desayrah for Councillor Denham, Councillor Stephen for Councillor Lewing.

37.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Councillor Riaz declared an interest in minute 43 (Review of Small Grants Arrangements) as Chair of two organisations that have received grants from the Council.

38.

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.

39.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Of the meeting held on 25th July 2023 to be approved and signed.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 25th July 2023 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

40.

Outline Proposals for Annual Survey 2023 pdf icon PDF 635 KB

That the Committee approves the proposed annual survey and consultation timetable for 2023.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposals for the Annual Survey 2023. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that the survey will be primarily online, with hard copies at Council buildings and on request. Core questions from previous surveys will be retained and other questions, based on current issues, Council activities and new developments will be included. In particular, the survey will seek views on how best to address the budget deficit while maintaining much-needed services. The survey will be launched following the forthcoming by-election on 19 October and an analysis of the responses will be presented to the February 2024 meeting of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee approve the proposed Annual Survey and consultation timetable for 2023.

41.

Medium Term Financial Plan - Progress Update pdf icon PDF 521 KB

That the Committee:

 

1.   notes the progress made to date towards achieving the savings target of £2.5m;

 

2.   agrees to implement changes to charging for the Bulky Waste Services as proposed – Option 2, saving £28,600 p.a.;

 

3.   agrees to implement changes to the operational period and times of the Splashpad – Option 3, saving 26,600 p.a.; and

 

4.   agrees to receive a report on the impact of any agreed proposals prior to any further changes being introduced.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on progress made to date towards achieving the savings plan which was agreed by the Committee at the meeting on 23rd May 2023. The report also contained potential savings/income improvements for consideration. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and the Corporate Director – Operations, Homes and Communities explained the proposals in respect of the Bulky Waste Service and the operation of the Splashpad at Gheluvelt Park.

 

In summary, the report proposed the introduction of a means-tested free concession for Bulky Waste Collection and increase charges on a phased basis for non-concessionary paying customers to operate at full cost recovery by 1st April 2026. The report set out the rationale for the proposal, which would support the Motion agreed by Council in October 2022.

 

With regard to the Splashpad, reviewing operating arrangements to reduce the costs of providing this discretionary service was considered necessary in the context of the MTFP. The report set out a range of options. The preferred option recommended by Officers was Option 3 - Monday to Sunday operation with existing hours but shorter operating season (commencing summer half term and ceasing start of new school year).

 

Further opportunities to reduce costs or increase income would be brought to the October meeting of the Committee.

Officers responded to questions from Committee Members. Members made various suggestions regarding how the Splashpad could operate. The Corporate Director – Operations, Homes and Communities explained that Officers had looked at a range of options and considered Option 3 to be the most effective. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources clarified that Officers will continue to look at the impact of the changes, if agreed, and will report back to the Committee on any further proposals for making the Splashpad more cost-effective.

The majority of Committee Members expressed support for the proposals, which were consistent with the aims and objectives of the Savings Plan.

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

1.    note the progress made to date towards achieving the savings target of £2.5m;

2.    implement changes to charging for the Bulky Waste Services as proposed – Option 2, saving £28,600 p.a.;

 

3.    implement changes to the operational period and times of the Splashpad – Option 3, saving £26,600 p.a.; and

 

4.    receive a report on the impact of any agreed proposals prior to any further changes being introduced.

42.

Process and Timetable for Preparation of Budget 2024/25 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2024/25 - 2028/29 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

That the Committee approves the proposed process and timetable for preparing the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the proposed process and timetable for preparing the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan. The Head of Finance presented the report and explained that consultation with Members will be undertaken through the committee structure, following the same approach adopted in previous years. There will also be an all-Member budget briefing on 11th October 2023.

 

In response to questions, it was clarified that there will be budget reports to the policy committee meetings in October and November, and to this Committee for consideration in December 2023. The committee meetings in January 2024 will provide the opportunity for Members to provide scrutiny of the draft budget.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee approve the proposed process and timetable for preparing the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan.

43.

Review of Small Grants Arrangements pdf icon PDF 122 KB

The Committee is asked to agree to:

 

1.     introduce the system of assessing One Worcester Communities Grants (small grants) for the financial year 2024/25 and future years, as proposed in the report; and

 

2.     receive a further report of the outcomes of the exercise at a future meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on proposals for assessing small grants for the financial year 2024/25 and future years. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and explained that the report was being presented pursuant to the decision taken at the meeting of 25th July 2023, when the Committee agreed to a change in the amount of small grants to be made available and the process of awarding the grants.

 

The report set out details of the scheme and Officers responded to questions from Committee Members. In summary, it was proposed to limit the total grant payable to any one activity to £2,000 to help ensure that as many organisations as possible are able to benefit from the fund. There would be a deadline for applications, which this year will be 10th November.

 

In the ensuing discussion, it was clarified that a report on the review of bids and scoring will be presented to the Committee in December 2023 with recommendations for approval.

 

The Managing Director stated that Officers will look again at the content of the application form in the light of comments from some Members that it is too complicated.

 

He also made reference to the Corporate Events Fund of £25,000 p.a. which was allocated as part of the proposals agreed at the July meeting. Officers will consider the process for how this sum allocated.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    introduce the system of assessing One Worcester Communities Grants (small grants) for the financial year 2024/25 and future years, as proposed in the report; and

 

2.    receive a further report of the outcomes of the exercise at a future meeting.

44.

Any Other Business

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

Minutes:

None.