Agenda item

REVIEW OF EXECUTIVE REPORTS

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

Minutes:

Members participating in the briefing gave their views on the following reports seeking decision by the Leader of the Council under the revised decision making arrangements agreed by the Urgency Committee on Thursday 19th March 2020:

 

(1)  BUDGET MONITORING 2019/20

Report FSD20036

 

The report provided the second budget monitoring position for 2019/20 based on expenditure and activity levels up to the end of December 2019.  The report also highlighted any significant variations which would impact on future years as well as any early warnings that could impact on the final year end position.

Members considered the supplementary paper that had been circulated by the Director of Finance earlier in the day.  This set out details of the financial support to local government in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  Introducing the report, the Director of Finance explained that the supplementary report advised Members of some of the changes being implemented as part of the national response to the emergency.  Action was being taken to support the call centre in dealing with enquiries and the website would be updated.  As a result of staff self-isolating there were fewer call centre staff and consequently the Council was increasingly encouraging contact via the website.

Members discussed whether, under the current circumstances, it would be possible for residents to defer the payment of Council Tax so they effectively paid from June 2020 to March 2021.  The Director of Finance confirmed that there would be no financial penalty for those who deferred their Council Tax payments, although it had to be recognised that the requirement to pay Council Tax remained and that these were interim changes and would need to be kept under review.  Those residents who were not financially impacted by the current emergency were being encouraged to continue to make their usual Council Tax payments.

A Member suggested that it would be helpful to remind residents across the Borough that local ward councillors could be contacted for help and support where necessary.  It was also suggested that there should be wider dissemination of the various options available to residents as there were some residents, particularly those who were more vulnerable, who may not have access to the website.

Members participating in the briefing were agreeable that the Leader:

(a)  consider the latest financial position;

(b)  note that a projected net overspend on services of £392k is forecast based on information as at December 2019;

(c)  consider the comments from Chief Officers detailed in Appendix 2;

(d)  note a projected variation of £702k credit from investment income as detailed in sections 3.5 and 3.6;

(e)  note a projected increase to the General Fund balance of £798k as detailed in section 3.3;

(f)  consider the full year cost pressures of £6.6m as detailed in section 3.4;

(g)  note the return of £115k to the 2019/20 Central Contingency relating to additional resources due to a delay in recruitment as detailed in para. 3.2.2;

(h)  agree to the release of £500k debit from the 2019/20 Central Contingency relating to an IBCF allocation in Adult Social Care as detailed in para. 3.2.3;

(i)  agree to the release of £365k from the 2019/20 Central Contingency relating to Tackling Troubled Families as detailed in para. 3.2.4;

(j)  agree to the release of £52k from the 2019/20 Central Contingency relating to Family Group Conferences as detailed in para. 3.2.5;

(k)  agree to the release of £79k from the 2019/20 Central Contingency relating to refurbishment work of North Lodge as detailed in para. 3.2.6;

(l)  recommend to Council that a sum of £2,531k for New Homes Bonus be set aside as a contribution to the Housing Investment Fund reserve as detailed in para. 3.2.8;

(m)  agree that a sum of £250k is set aside as an earmarked reserve for Housing feasibility and viability as detailed in section 3.2.9 of the report to be met from underspends in the 2019/20 central contingency sum;

(n)  subject to approval of (m), agree that the use of the monies are delegated to the Director of Housing, Planning, Property and Regeneration with the agreement of the Resources, Commissioning and Contracts Management Portfolio Holder and the Renewal, Recreation and Housing Portfolio Holder;

(o)  agree the allocation of £200k from the Better Care Fund to offset pressures in Adult Social Care as detailed in paragraph 3.2.10

(p)  Members are requested to agree a loan of up to £3.6m, funded through treasury management funds, on the basis of a 50% LTV. Further details are included within the supplementary information on part two of the agenda;

(q)  Subject to approval of (p) above, delegate the final due diligence work to the Director of Finance and Director of Corporate Services with the agreement of the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Commissioning and Contract Management.

(r)  identify any issues that should be referred to individual Portfolio Holders for further action.

(s)  Note the additional one off Government ‘Hardship Fund’ grant of £1,841,229;

(t)   Agree the utilisation of the grant funding to increase the council tax support paid by the Council by £150 (equivalent annual cost), with a corresponding reduction in the claimants contribution;

(u)   Agree that the balance of funding remaining is set aside to increase the Council Tax Support Hardship fund;

(v)   Subject to approval of (s) to (u) above agree to delegate the utilisation of any additional funding to the Director of Finance with the agreement of the Portfolio Holder for Resources, Commissioning and Contract Management;

(w)   Note the additional Government funding of £7,572,304 to respond to COVID-19 pressures including care for the vulnerable;

(x)   Agree to delegate the utilisation of the additional funding to the Chief Executive with any single financial commitment of over £100k being in agreement with the Leader of the Council;

(y)   Note the changes to support businesses funded from Government Section 31 Grant as detailed in section 3. 

 

(7)  Provision of Mail Services via Crown Commercial Services Framework RM6017

  Report CSD20058

 

The report sought approval for the London Borough of Bromley to enter into the procurement process, as part of the London Postal Board consortium, for the delivery of inbound and outbound mail services via the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Framework RM6017.  As part of the London Postal Board consortium the London Borough of Bromley was able to benefit from the advantageous discounted rates for Collection and delivery of Letters, Large Letters and Parcels including to International Destinations that could be obtained through Lots 3 and 4.  The Council currently had a contract for Mail Services with Royal Mail. The contract, which had an estimated value of £170k per annum was due to end on 13th September 2020. The Contract was procured through the CCS Framework RM1063 by the London Postal Board Consortium, a partnership of 22 local authorities, benefiting from reduced procurement costs and beneficial rates.  The London Postal Board was planning to commence procurement via a compliant CCS framework, for a new contract to commence on 14th September 2020 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

Members participating in the briefing were agreeable that the Leader:

(a)  Approve the request to participate in the Framework procurement exercise  (RM6017) for Lots 3 and 4 to determine a contract supplier of inbound and Outbound mail services planned to commence from September 2020 (or as soon as possible thereafter) on a potential 3+2+2 basis. The annual value of the contract is circa. £170k which equates to a whole life value of £1,190k over the proposed seven year option.

(b)   Note that the original timeline for the procurement process has been delayed owing to the framework not being ready for publication. The current Public Health situation is likely to cause further delay. Discussions are ongoing between the LPB and CCS to finalise the procurement timetable.

(c)  Delegate authority to the Director of Housing, planning and Regeneration to extend the current arrangements, via a suitable variation to the existing contract, for a further period estimated at up to 12 months at a value of £170k.

 

 

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