Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

77.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Yvonne Bear and Simon Jeal and Councillors Keith Onslow and Ryan Thomson attended as their respective substitutes.  Apologies were also received from Councillor David Cartwright.

78.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no additional declarations of interest.

79.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting. 

 

Questions specifically on reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically on reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Wednesday 2nd February 2022.

Minutes:

Two questions were received for written reply and these are attached at Appendix A.

80.

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE, RESOURCES AND CONTRACTS PDS COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 5 JANUARY 2022 (EXCLUDING EXEMPT ITEMS) pdf icon PDF 511 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reported that Councillor David Cartwright had raised an issue concerning his request in respect of the Platinum Jubilee item that applications for areas of social and economic deprivation be prioritised.  By majority, the Committee agreed to support this, and it was noted that the Chairman would write to the Executive to make the request.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 January 2022, were agreed, and signed as a correct record.

 

81.

MATTERS OUTSTANDING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD22011

 

The report dealt with the Committee’s business management including the proposed work plan for the remainder of the year.

 

The Vice-Chairman provided an update on the progress of the Committee’s Task and Finish Group reporting that membership of the Group had now been established however, as the Operational Property Review had not yet been completed, the decision had been taken to postpone meeting until the outcome of that review was known.  The Committee noted that it was anticipated that the Task and Finish Group would meet in late Spring/early Summer 2022.

 

The Committee agreed that the post completion review in respect of Banbury House should be referred to the Renewal, Recreation and Housing PDS Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

 

82.

FORWARD PLAN OF KEY DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Forward Plan of Key Decisions covering the period January 2022 to April 2022.

 

Members noted that the report concerning Crystal Palace Park Event Management due to be considered by the Executive on 9 February 2022, had been deferred.  The Committee requested that an update on the revised timescales be provided following the meeting.

 

The Committee also noted that the decision concerning the Housing Revenue Account – Business Plan would be scrutinised by both the Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS Committee and the Renewal, Recreation and Housing PDS Committee in March 2022.

83.

RESOURCES, COMMISSIONING AND CONTRACTS MANAGEMENT PORTFOLIO - PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY

Portfolio Holder decisions for pre-decision scrutiny.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports where the Resources, Contracts and Commissioning Portfolio Holder was recommended to take a decision.

83a

TREASURY MANAGEMENT - ANNUAL INVESTMENT STRATEGY AND QUARTER 3 PERFORMANCE 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 386 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD22010

 

The report summarised treasury management activity during the third quarter of 2021/22.  Investments as at 31st December 2021 totalled £442.9m (£396.9m at 31st December 2020) and there was no outstanding external borrowing. The report also included the Treasury Management Strategy and the Annual Investment Strategy for 2022/23, which were required by the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management in the Public Services to be approved by the Council as well as prudential indicators and the MRP (Minimum Revenue Provision) Policy Statement, both of which required the approval of Council. The Council was required by statute to agree and publish prudential indicators, primarily to confirm that the Council’s capital expenditure plans were affordable and sustainable. The report ensured that the Council was implementing best practice and complying with the requirements of the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management.

 

In response to a question concerning staff development, the Director of Finance confirmed that CIPFA ran courses which staff were encouraged to access.

 

In respect of CCLA performance, the Director of Finance confirmed that it was an open fund mainly used by the public sector which provides greater longer term stability.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to

1.  Note the Treasury Management performance for the third quarter of 2021/22.

 

2.  Note the publication of the revised Treasury Management and Prudential Codes, with formal adoption required in 2023/24.

 

3.  Recommend that Council agrees to adopt the Treasury Management Statement and the Annual Investment Strategy for 2022/23 including the prudential indicators and the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy statement.

 

 

 

83b

COUNCILLOR IT PROVISION

This item has been withdrawn.

Minutes:

The item was withdrawn

84.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF EXECUTIVE REPORTS

Members of the Committee are requested to bring their copy of the agenda for the Executive meeting on 9 February 2022.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports on the Part 1 agenda for the meeting of the Executive on 9 February 2022:

 

(5)  

2022/23 COUNCIL TAX

FSD22019

 

The report identified the final issues affecting the 2022/23 revenue budget and sought recommendations to the Council on the level of the Bromley element of the 2022/23 Council Tax and Adult Social Care precept. Confirmation of the final GLA precept would be reported to the Council meeting on 28 February 2022. The report also sought final approval of the ‘schools budget’. The approach reflected in the report was for the Council to not only achieve a legal and financially balanced budget in 2022/23 but to have measures in place to deal with the medium-term financial position (2023/24 to 2025/26).

 

The Director of Finance introduced the report and explained that the Council was imminently expecting the final settlement.  Once the final settlement had been received an update would be provided to the Executive.  The Committee noted that the Mayor of London had needed permission to increase Council Tax above referendum limits, this had been granted and it was therefore expected that the 8.8% increase in the London precept would still apply.  The Director of Finance drew the Committee’s attention to the reference in the report to reforms to adult social care which would need to be closely monitored and would be subject to future reports to Members.  In response to a question concerning the revenue raised from the adult social care precept and the proportion of that funding directed to adult social care, the Director of Finance confirmed that specific details would be provided following the meeting.  However, Members were advised that the precept has been fully utilised to contribute towards inflation, demographic and other cost pressures for adult social care -  the Council was required to identify that funding raised through the precept was directed to adult social care.

 

In respect of recent government announcements concerning support for households for winter fuel bills, the Director of Finance confirmed that every household in Council Tax bands A-D would receive a £150 fuel rebate from the Government, as long as it was a primary property.  Members noted that for residents paying Council Tax by Direct Debit the fuel rebate would be easy to administer however some households would need to be written to.  Local Authorities had been advised to wait for further guidance and some information would be included in Council Tax bills.  There was a separate discretionary fund of £144m which could be utilised, for example, for households in Council Tax Bands E-H in receipt of benefit or Council Tax Support. There could be others alternatives for the funding that will need to be considered.  Further guidance on this aspect was awaited.  In response to a question, the Director of Finance confirmed that details of the percentage of council taxpayers in Bands A-D would be provided following the meeting.  Members noted however that Bromley had a higher proportion of council taxpayers in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

PROPERTY INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO UPDATE pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

In July 2020 the Leader made the Executive Decision that a full asset management approach to the Investment Portfolio be adopted by seeking to award a contract for the full management of the portfolio to a suitably experienced and qualified firm of Chartered Surveyors. In April 2021, following a competitive tender process, Montagu Evans were appointed as the Council’s Investment Portfolio Advisors.

 

The report provided an overview of the work undertaken to date by the Council’s appointed advisors and set out the Investment Strategy that would provide the overarching governance for the effective management of the portfolio.

 

A further report would be presented to the Executive in due course, providing recommendations on the Key Performance Indicators and individual asset plans to be adopted to ensure robust governance was in place to deliver on the Investment Strategy.

 

The Committee noted that there had been a significant general market decline, and the Chairman requested that any future reports highlight the difference between acquisition price of the portfolio’s assets and their market value, and how this had changed over time.

 

In response to a question concerning ‘other income generating properties’, the Head of Estates and Asset Management reported that the Council owned around 3000 properties with roughly 50% of investment revenue generated from property.

 

The Committee noted that the Council’s property investments were currently heavily high street retail focused and this was a challenging area which carried risks.  A Member noted that that retail warehouses were currently not heavily weighted, yet this sector was booming.  It was further noted that where necessary the council did look to repurpose its property portfolio and, in the Summer, Members would be presented with options for some of the more challenging properties within the portfolio.

 

In relation to maintenance, the Committee noted that there was need to invest in the material of buildings in order to protect revenue and in the summer Officers would present full cash flows.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

86.

SCRUTINY OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive, Mr Ade Adetosoye, attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Committee. A written update for the Committee had been circulated as part of the agenda papers.  Mr Adetosoye responded to questions, making the following comments –

 

·  The Council was continuing to encourage its staff to voluntarily declare their vaccination status.  All non-vaccinated staff in Adult Social Care had been redeployed to non-frontline roles and following the recent change in government policy the situation would be monitored.

·  The Occupational Property Review would be presented to Members by June/July 2022.

·  In respect of staff returning to the workplace, prior to the pandemic the position of the Council in respect of agile working was clear.  Over the coming months hybrid working arrangements would be extended with staff, on average, being office-based two or three days a week.  The Corporate Leadership Team was assessing the position however the direction of travel was to maintain flexible, hybrid working whilst not losing sight of the benefits for many staff of working in an office-based environment.

·  Over the past few years, the Council had become less reliant on agency staff.  In addition, the flexibility offered by the Council’s flexible and agile working policies had meant that it had been possible to attract staff to some of the harder to fill posts.  This had delivered further savings on agency costs.

·  The Local Authority had made a significant investment in IT and new technology, and this had provided for a resilient workforce throughout the pandemic.  The next stage of the Transformation Programme was to review the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  The current direction of travel was positive, and the Council was already making use of several different platforms.

·  In respect of the resilience of IT, the Chief Executive confirmed that challenges around the UPS system remained.  Three attempts had been made to resolve the issues, all of which had proven unsuccessful.  The Chief Executive continued to monitor the situation and until the issues were resolved, the contingency arrangement would remain in place as this was the only way to secure the integrity of data should there be an outage. 

·  In respect of electric vehicles and charging, a key part of the Council’s Strategy was to address the various models and issues around compatibility. 

·  In terms of the housing shortage, the Council was looking to develop a register of empty sites as well as undertaking a review of empty homes.

·  The delivery of affordable housing was a challenge across London and the Council was working on several innovative schemes.  The Housing Revenue Account had been reopened and this was one of the key strategies for addressing the issue of affordable housing.

·  The issues raised by Members in respect of raising concerns and complaints with housing associations were noted and would be followed up with the respective housing associations following the meeting.

·  By the end of the Spring/early Summer there would be an improved sound system and technology in the Council Chamber.  Surveys had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.

87.

INFORMATION ITEMS pdf icon PDF 306 KB

The items comprise:

 

·  Risk Management

 

 

Members have been provided with advance copies of the briefing via e-mail.  The briefing is also available on the Council's Website at the following link: http://cds.bromley.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=559&Year=0

 

Information Items will not be debated at Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS Committee unless a member of the Committee requests a discussion be held.  24 hours’ notice must be given to the Clerk.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The items comprised:

 

  • Risk Management

 

88.

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

 

 

89.

PART 2 CONTRACTS REGISTER AND CONTRACTS DATABASE

Minutes:

The report presented February 2022’s Corporate Contracts Register for consideration.  Detailed scrutiny of individual contracts was the responsibility of the six PDS Committees with ER&C PDS taking an overview of the Council’s larger value (£200k+) contracts to ensure that commissioning and procurement activity was progressed in a consistent manner.  The report provided both the Council wide £200k+ register together with the £50k+ register specific to the ER&C Portfolio.

 

The Committee received assurances that the status of all contracts was monitored closely and that the majority of procurement decisions were taken in good time.  Further steps would be taken, such as service by service review at departmental team meetings, to reduce risk still further.

 

The Assistant Director Governance and Contracts would provide an update on the progress of the NHS Point of Care tender at the Committee’s March meeting. 

 

A Member highlighted that in the past few years the position in relation to flagged contracts has improved however it continued to be important that robust procurement processes and procedures were followed to enable detailed scrutiny.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

APPENDIX A pdf icon PDF 293 KB

 

Original Text: