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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

415.

Membership

To receive details of any changes in membership of this Committee notified since the agenda was printed.

Minutes:

Councillor Carter substituted for Councillor P Hodgson-Jones.

416.

Communications and Apologies

a)    Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

b)    Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor P Hodgson-Jones.

417.

Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting. Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the Member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, other pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows:

a. Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

b. Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour

Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

c. Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

d. Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

e. Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

f. Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

g. Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where – (a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and (b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that

body; or (ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the

total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

Minutes:

There were none.

418.

Minutes of the last meeting

To confirm and sign the ATTACHED minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 December 2019.

 

In accordance with the Constitution no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2019 be approved and signed as a correct record.

419.

Review of Contract Procedure Rules (P/20/02) pdf icon PDF 22 KB

The Policy Review Committee is asked to consider the proposed changes to the Contract Procedure Rules, make changes where required and to recommend the proposed changes to the Executive.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andrew Harper, Procurement Manager, was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented and a number of points discussed, including:

-        contract procedures needed updating every few years to account for legislative and process changes, some key changes proposed were increasing the tender threshold to £10k to be akin to other Hertfordshire authorities and removal of the tender board given that the introduction of e-procurement in recent years had made the process fully auditable. The thresholds aligned with those used by other authorities, eg Stevenage.

-        data security had been accounted for in the contract procedures, any deviation from which would have to be approved by Legal Services.

-        Leaving the EU would have no impact as the procedures reflected the UK’s current legislative requirements.

 

The Committee noted that the Procurement Manager would be returning to his full-time post at Welwyn-Hatfield and thanked him for the work he had carried out for Hertsmere Council during his placement.

 

RESOLVED that the proposed changes be supported for approval by the Executive.

420.

Consultation on Setting the Revenue Budget for 2020/21 (P/20/03) pdf icon PDF 188 KB

The Committee is asked to consider the draft revenue budget 2020/21 attached at Appendix 1 (summary attached as Appendix 2) and comment back to the Executive prior to their recommendation to full Council for final approval in February.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance and Property Portfolioholder, Councillor Graham, was in attendance for this item, supported by other Members of the Executive, Matthew Bunyon, Head of Finance and Business Services, and Sajida Bijle, Managing Director.

 

The Finance and Property Portfolioholder and the Head of Finance and Business Services presented the report and took the meeting through the detailed proposals in a presentation (attached as Appendix A to the minutes). A number of points were discussed and the relevant Portfolioholders and Officers responded to questions raised during the presentation, including:

-        Fair Funding and review of non-domestic rates had been delayed by the Government to 2012/22. The good news was that the negative Revenue Support Grant from the four-year funding had been centrally funded.

-        the proposed £5 increase was equivalent to a 2.8% increase in Hertsmere Council’s share of the council tax.

-        key assumptions when building the base budget included reduction in drainage reserves, new General Data Protection Regulation duties, ongoing reduction of the Housing Benefit grant, reduction in licensing income due to Uber and the like, reduction in recycling income as it was now based on tonnage.

-        the £275k increase in staffing costs included all on-costs and £10k of it covered Councillor expenditure. The Committee was advised that Councillors could individually or collectively forego their allowance, but this was a personal matter and not part of the budget process. The 2% increase to staff wages was in line with Consumer Price Index inflation and other Hertfordshire councils were adopting the same approach. The meeting discussed the possibility of a tiered wage increase (eg the lowest paid staff could receive a 4% increase) and where recruitment and retention was difficult whether London-weighting could be introduced even if only on a pilot basis (eg for planners).

-        the current income from investments was a return of approximately 1% on balances of £60m at peak levels – this balance naturally tailed-off during the course of the financial year.

-        there was a 1.6% increase in the nett budget requirement, this was the first increase in a number of years as there had been a year-on-year reduction since 2010, which in cash terms translated to a 19.4% reduction since 2010 – however that did not reflect inflation of over 23% over the same period. That is to say, the 2020/21 budget requirement would have been £18m rather than the £11m achieved. These reductions had been achieved through efficiencies, income generation and working smarter via partnerships, joint procurement etc. The meeting commented that Hertsmere Council had been proactively preparing for the loss of the Revenue Support Grant since at least 2015, and congratulated Officers. In parallel, income generation had increased from £10m to £15m since 2010, this was chiefly due to asset management, streetscene and planning incomes. It was suggested that advertising boards could usefully increase income eg on locations other than roundabouts. Officers said this suggestion would be forwarded to Street Scene.

Action by: Head of Finance and Business Services

-        the Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 420.

421.

Consultation on Setting the Capital Budget 2020/21 to 2022/23 (P/20/04) pdf icon PDF 185 KB

The Committee are asked to consider the draft Capital Budget 2020/21 to 2022/23 and the Capital Strategy 2020 and comment back to the Executive prior to their recommendation to Full Council in February.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance and Property Portfolioholder, Councillor Graham, was in attendance for this item, supported by other Members of the Executive, Matthew Bunyon, Head of Finance and Business Services, and Sajida Bijle, Managing Director.

 

The Finance and Property Portfolioholder and the Head of Finance and Business Services presented the report and took the meeting through the detailed proposals in a presentation (attached as Appendix A to the minutes). A number of points were discussed and the relevant Portfolioholders and Officers responded to questions raised during the presentation, including:

-        £13.5m in the capital programme was already approved. The Committee commented that climate change was not mentioned in the capital programme aside from Meadow Park, whereas it had been identified within the revenue budget. The Committee was advised that in terms of the Civic Offices Car Park expansion, this was an infrastructure project to increase capacity. At the same time climate change impacts would be considered through landscaping, solar panels etc subject to viability and planning permission. Also the window and loft works was to improve thermal efficiency. Officers were additionally in discussion with neighbouring councils regarding bike schemes etc, but such initiatives would only be proposed once proper cost estimates and feasibility was established. The Executive responded that climate change impacts would be considered and that ideas on green projects would be welcomed for the 2021/22 capital programme.

-        the meeting asked if it would not be better to redo the streetscape rather than refurbish the Leeming Road parade and whether the capital programme could take forward policy objectives by funding extra NHS provision, eg £3.5m could go into a health service improvement fund that could be spent in partnership. The Executive responded that if details could be provided about such health expenditure, it would be considered by the Executive.

 

RESOLVED that the presentation and report be noted.

422.

Hertsmere Borough Council Scrutiny Arrangements Review Group - Update

To receive a verbal update on the progress of the HBC Scrutiny Review Group from the Lead Member, Councillor Newmark.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Newmark reported that the consultant had been hired and that a series of stakeholder interviews would take place in February and that a questionnaire had been circulated to all Councillors. The consultant would provide initial findings but the final report would be Member-led.

423.

Data Security Scrutiny Review Group - Update

To receive a verbal update on the progress of the Data Security Scrutiny Review Group from the Lead Member, Councillor Biski.

Minutes:

Councillor Briski reported that the group had met to finalise their conclusions and that a report was being drafted.

424.

Forward Planning Programme, Scrutiny Review Timetable and Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To consider the ATTACHED Forward Planning Programme (Appendix A) and Scrutiny Review Timetable (Appendix B) to identify possible issues for scrutiny.

 

To consider the Committee’s ATTACHED (Appendix C) work programme and requirements for Officer and/or Portfolio Holder attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Add the Local Plan item from the Forward Planning Programme to the March 2020 meeting.

425.

Any other business which the Chair consider urgent

In accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by the Access to Information Act of 1985, no urgent business may be raised unless it has been approved by the Chair. The item and reason for urgency must be announced at the start of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

There was none.

426.

Dates of future meetings

The next meeting will be at 7.30pm at Hertsmere Civic Offices on 10 March 2020.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 10 March 2020.

Appendix A: Revenue and Capital Budget presentation slides pdf icon PDF 855 KB