Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

109.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

110.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Fawthrop declared a pecuniary interest as an employee of British Telecom.  Councillor Fawthrop left the room during consideration of Item 7 on the Executive Agenda (Gateway Report 1 – Members Report: Review of Corporate Customer Services IT Systems).

 

There were no further declarations of interest.

111.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Chairman of this Committee must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting.  Therefore please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 28th December 2017.

 

Minutes:

No questions were received.

112.

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE AND RESOURCES PDS COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 29 NOVEMBER 2017 (EXCLUDING EXEMPT ITEMS) pdf icon PDF 350 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2017,(excluding exempt information) were agreed, and signed as a correct record.

113.

MATTERS ARISING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report setting out matters arising from previous meetings and the Committee’s work programme for 2017/18.

 

The Chairman noted that the report was now in the new format combining both Matters Arising and the Work Programme, a format that had previously been adopted by the Environment PDS Committee.  The Chairman suggested that the Committee should recommend that other PDS Committees adopt a similar format if they were not already doing so.

 

Members expressed concern that the majority of actions arising from the previous meeting had not yet been completed.  It was noted that failure to complete actions in a timely manner had become a regular occurrence and Members suggested that action needed to be taken to address any failure in the current processes.  The Chairman requested that an email be sent to all Officers and Councillors who owned actions arising from the previous meeting stating that all the information that had been requested by Members at the last meeting be sent to the Committee by close of play on Monday 8th January 2018.

 

The Committee requested that the Democratic Services Officer forward a copy of the minutes from the previous meeting to the Chief Executive noting the expectation of the Committee that responses were circulated by close of play on Monday 8th January 2018.

 

Action Point 16: That Officers be asked to provide the information requested by the Committee at its meeting on 29th November 2017, by close of play on Monday 8th January 2018, and that the Democratic Services Officer forward a copy of the minutes from the previous meeting to the Chief Executive noting the expectation of the Committee that responses are circulated by close of play on Monday 8th January 2018.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

1. Progress on Matters Arising from Previous meetings be noted and that the concerns raised by the Committee concerning lack of progress on outstanding actions be referred to the Chief Executive;

 

2. The Work Programme be noted; and

 

3. Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee be recommended to adopt the revised format for a combined Matters Arising/Work Programme report if they are not already doing so.

114.

FORWARD PLAN OF KEY DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Forward Plan of Key Decisions covering the period January 2018 to April 2018.

115.

QUESTIONS TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND COUNCILLORS ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Resources Portfolio Holder must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting.  Therefore please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 28th December 2017.

 

Minutes:

No questions were received.

116.

SCRUTINY OF THE RESOURCES PORTFOLIO HOLDER

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Resources, Cllr Graham Arthur, addressed the Committee highlighting achievements within the Portfolio in 2017, and looking at the challenges facing the Portfolio in 2018.

 

Achievements in 2017

 

·  Substantial savings had been achieved through a combination of efficiency and innovation.

·  The Council had remained debt free.

·  Officers were working with Cushman and Wakefield to investigate opportunities to shrink the Council’s estate and better manage the remaining estate.  A list of potential properties and pockets of land had been identified for disposal.  Items would be coming forward at future meetings.  Local Ward Members would be fully involved and the views of local Ward Members, who had knowledge and expertise of the local area, would be sought.  The Portfolio Holder noted that any issues that arose with smaller properties would need to be handled with sensitivity.

·  The Mears scheme had proven to be successful and Phase 1 would complete and come to fruition in 2018.

·  The contracts with both BT and Amey were well embedded.

·  The Departmental Representatives (Dep Rep) Forum appeared to be working well and staff representatives on the Forum were positive and dynamic about the operation of the Forum..

·  The Council’s Pensions Team had gained the highest Award in their class and their achievement was nationally recognised.

·  Since the implementation of local terms and conditions, just over £1m in Special Merit Payments had been distributed to staff.

 

Challenges in 2018:

 

·  In terms of the budget, the financial challenges facing the Council in three years’ time needed to be recognised and clearly understood.  The focus had to be on sustainability.

·  Partnerships were key to managing financial pressures and the Council had to continue its practice of lobbying to ensure that it received the funding that it was due.

·  Work had to continue to ensure that the best was made out of new opportunities such as Business Rate Retention.

·  The introduction of the Community infrastructure Levy (CIL) would bring with it a potential income of approximately £3.5m in 2019.  CIL could be used to determine the shape of the Borough going forward.

·  The impact of Universal Credit would have to be monitored.  Issues were arising from the pilots that had been undertaken and the Portfolio Holder and Officers were closely watching outcomes.

·  The cost of special educational needs would continue to pose a challenge and work was ongoing to address this and investigate opportunities for provision within the Borough.

·  Work would need to continue to identify alternative investment opportunities and there would continue to be a need to be creative and innovative with treasury management.

·  Members and Officers would need to continue to work to ensure that contracts represented value for money.

 

The Portfolio Holder concluded his presentation to the Committee by highlighting that across the Council there was an excellent team of hardworking, dedicated professionals who were performing at the highest level and it was important that the contribution made by staff was recognised.

 

In response to questions from Members, the Portfolio Holder made the following points:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.

117.

RESOURCES PORTFOLIO - PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY

The Resources Portfolio Holder to present scheduled reports for pre-decision scrutiny on matters where he is minded to make decisions.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following report where the Resources Portfolio Holder was recommended to take a decision.

118a

CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING - 2ND QUARTER 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD18002

 

The report set out changes agreed by the Executive in respect of the Capital Programme for the Resources Portfolio. The revised programme for the Portfolio was set out in Appendix A to the report,  and detailed comments on scheme progress as at the end of the 2nd quarter of 2017/18 were shown in Appendix B.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to confirm the changes agreed by the Executive on 6th December 2017.

 

 

 

119.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF EXECUTIVE REPORTS

Members of the Committee are requested to bring their copy of the agenda for the Executive meeting on

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports on the Part 1 agenda for the meeting of Executive on 10th January 2018.

 

(6)  DRAFT 2018/19 BUDGET AND UPDATE ON THE COUNCIL’S FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2019/20 TO 2021/22

  Report FSD18001

 

The report sought the approval of the Executive of the initial draft 2018/19 Budget including the full year effect of changes agreed as part of the 2017/18 Council Tax report including savings approved during the year with the resultant impact on the Council’s medium term “budget gap”.  The report also provided details of the third year of the four year local government financial settlement (2018/19 to 2019/20), the impact of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget 2017 and the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement 2018/19.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Finance reported that there were opportunities to challenge the policies of Government in relation to Local Government finance.  The Government was listening to some of the concerns that were being raised.  The Leader, Resources Portfolio Holder and Senior Officers were lobbying hard to highlight the position in which Bromley found itself and to ensure that Bromley received a fairer funding settlement.  On the day after the provisional Local Government Settlement had been announced the Leader, Portfolio Holder for Resources, Chief Executive and Director of Finance had met with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to discuss the various financial challenges.  Generally, Local Government Finance was becoming more complex however it appeared that the Government was now listening more than in previous years.  The Local Authority was taking steps to ensure that Ministers were fully appraised of all the issues.

 

The Chairman noted that Council had powers to raise empty homes premium from the current 50% of council tax to 100% of council tax.  It was agreed that the Executive should be asked to consider this option as it provided an opportunity to raise additional revenue.  In response to questions from Members the Director of Finance explained that as a general rule any liveable property that remained vacant was deemed to be an empty property although there were exceptions to this such as where the property formed part of an estate for the purposes of probate.  It was agreed that the Director of Finance would forward the definition of ‘empty property’ to the Committee

 

Action Point 17: That the Director of Finance forward the definition of “Empty Property” to the Committee.

 

The Chairman also highlighted that action would need to be taken by Chief Officers to fund increasing costs through alternative savings in the event that inflation exceeded budget assumptions.  It was agreed that there should be a specific recommendation for the Executive to note this.

 

Members noted the perverse situation highlighted in Appendix 2 of the report whereby in 2019/20 Bromley was due to face negative Revenue Support Grant and could be required to pay the Government £2.3m.  Members encourage senior politicians and officers to continue to lobby on this matter to achieve a fair outcome for Bromley.

 

Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119.

120.

PRESENTATION FROM CUSHMAN AND WAKEFIELD

Minutes:

As Cushman and Wakefield had been unable to attend the meeting the Director of Regeneration attended the meeting to respond to some of the concerns that had been raised at previous meetings and to answer Members questions.

 

The key components of the TFM contract were outlined to Members, in particular how these related to Cushman and Wakefield. There were four distinct elements to the contract that needed to be considered:

 

1. There was a  Core Contract in place whereby Cushman and Wakefield operated as a sub consultant to Amey with whom the Council was in contract with for the delivery of operational property, facility management and strategic property services. Both Amey and Cushman and Wakefield operated to a ‘core contract’.

 

2. The contract allowed, through an incentivised process, for the achievement of Additional Income – £1m

 

3. Project Delivery

 

4.  Investment Acquisition

 

The Core Contract.

 

The Core Contract  that related to Cushman and Wakefield effectively reflected, through a specification, the work that the former in house Strategic Property Team undertook on behalf of the Council. This contract was in place for a period of eight years and the Cushman and Wakefield element had been running for just over one year.

 

The ‘core contract’ costs paid to Cushman and Wakefield showed a £50k annual saving on previous costs incurred when the service was delivered in house. This was against the delivery of the day to day activity of the Strategic Property Team and had been consistently delivered over the last year with no issues to report. The sum of £50k was slightly less than that originally reported because of adjustments to the contract sum for the costs revised employer superannuation contribution rates following a 2016 valuation. The budget head for this area was not showing as being over spent demonstrating that the £50k saving had been achieved.

 

There was an additional element that fell within the core contract and this was the development of a comprehensive estate strategy whereby all of the Council’s land holdings were being reviewed, the first phase of this work was complete and the intention was to share this with Members on a ward basis and seek views on particular property assets.

 

Additional Income ‘The £1m’

 

As part of the Amey bid (Cushman and Wakefield was effectively a domestic sub-consultant to Amey) Cushman and Wakefield had to identify an additional £1m of efficiencies to be achieved over the next three years. They had now presented to the Strategic Asset Management Group their draft proposals and would be seeking to work the detail over the coming weeks. This additional income would be achieved from better management of the Council’s existing estate and did not include any income for new assets. As an example, Cushman and Wakefield had identified that a significant number of existing tenants should have been contributing to the cost of insurance, but this had not been happening going back some considerable years.  A strategy to rectify this position was being developed. However, there needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 120.

121.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006, AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business referred to below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

 

The following summaries

refer to matters involving exempt information

 

 

122.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 29 NOVEMBER 2017

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2017 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

Original Text: