Agenda and minutes

Budget Council, Council
Monday, 4th March, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Contact: Annette Wiles 020 872 6000 x64877  Email: annette.wiles@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

15/17

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2019 as an accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 28 January 2019 were agreed as a true and accurate record.

 

16/17

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests. Members confirmed their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date.

 

17/17

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

 

18/17

Announcements

To receive the Announcements, if any, from the Mayor, the Leader, Head of Paid Service and Returning Officer.

Minutes:

Madam Mayor, Councillor Bernadette Khan, provided Members of the Council with an update on the forthcoming events she would be attending. Those were a fundraising tea for International Women’s Day, a Chinese Heritage Cultural Event, and a dinner for Croydon foster carers to celebrate their support for the borough’s children.

 

Madam Mayor led the Members of Council in thanking Executive Director of Resources and Section 151 Officer, Richard Simpson, for his service to the Council, prior to his departure. Councillors Newman, the Leader of the Council, and Tim Pollard, Leader of the Opposition Group, were invited by Madam Mayor to also speak in recognition of the officer’s work. The Leader highlighted that Richard had been an outstanding public servant for Croydon. He was particularly noted for having lead on the management of the borough’s finances during a period of austerity. Councillor Tim Pollard highlighted that Richard was known for being calm and fair. It was noted that he would be very much missed. 

 

19/17

Council Tax and Budget pdf icon PDF 81 KB

 

a)    Budget Presentation

A presentation on the budget will be provided by the Director of Finance, Investment and Risk (Section 151 Officer) and Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources.

 

b)    Questions to the Leader

To last for a total of 15 minutes, the first three minutes available for announcements from the Leader.

 

c)    Questions to the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources

To last for a total of 15 minutes, the first three minutes available for announcements from the Cabinet Member.

 

d)    Scrutiny Business Report

To last for a total of 10 minutes, the first two minutes available for announcements from the Chair of Scrutiny and Overview Committee.

 

e)    Council Tax Debate

The mover of the budget recommendations shall have 10 minutes to speak, followed by the Leader of the Opposition who shall have 10 minutes to speak. There shall then be five further Members from each group called to speak for no more than three minutes each. The debate shall conclude with a right of reply from the Leader of the Council or other Cabinet Member for not more than five minutes.

 

At the conclusion of the debate the following recommendations will be taken through a recorded vote:

 

                      I.          A 2.99% increase in the Council Tax for Croydon Services (a level of increase Central Government has assumed in all Councils’ spending power calculation).

 

                    II.          A 1.0% increase in the Adult Social Care precept (a charge Central Government has assumed all councils’ will levy in its spending power calculations).

 

                  III.          To welcome the GLA increase of 8.93%, of which 91% of which is being used for the Metropolitan Police service and 9% is being used for the fire service.

 

With reference to the principles for 2019/20 determined by the Secretary of State under Section52ZC (1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) confirm that in accordance with s.52ZB (1) the Council Tax and GLA precept referred to above are not excessive in terms of the most recently issued principles and as such to note that no referendum is required. This is detailed further in section 3.5 of report 6.1.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

a)    Budget Presentation

A presentation on the budget reflecting the content of the report was provided by Lisa Taylor, the Director of Finance, Investment and Risk (Section 151 Officer) supported by Councillor Simon Hall, the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources.

 

The Director of Finance, Investment and Risk highlighted the following points:

I.          Reserves and balances: earmarked reserves were planned to fall by £5m to fund the projected overspend. It was planned that this would be replenished by an anticipated collection fund surplus in 2019/20 and dividends from Brick by Brick. Capital reserves were planned to increase from the sale of land. Reserves were lower than those of some authorities but were holding firm and not changing significantly;

II.          Growth: three departments were to receive growth budgets: 1) Children, Families and Education, 2) Health, Wellbeing and Adults, and 3) Gateway, Strategy and Engagement. This was in response to increasing demand and to deliver the Children’s Services Improvement Plan. Savings were also detailed including additional income from recent asset acquisitions, the Adult Social Care charging policy, the first dividend from Brick by Brick, more efficient commissioning and the reduction in the Pension Fund deficit as a result of a property asset transfer. Other savings were to be realised from better children’s placements and as a result of the One Alliance;

III.          Council Tax: an additional £12.6m was to be raised in 2019/20 from the increase in the charge,  the increasing size of  the Council Tax base and improvements in the collection rate; and

IV.          Risks: increasing demand for social care and funding for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASC) were noted as the areas of highest risk. Added to this was the ongoing uncertainty regarding local government funding from local government given 2019/20 was the last year of the spending review period with the government’s Fair Funding Review ongoing.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources highlighted the other pressures on the budget including the lack of funding for UASC, the decline in the public health grant, the fact that the grant for Council Tax support only covered half the costs and the government’s underfunding of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The Cabinet Member noted the overall context for the budget was one of financial crisis across England.

 

It was explained that the budget had been determined based on the decision to protect frontline services and to continue to invest in innovation - for example Gateway Services and the One Croydon Alliance. Investment would continue to be made in schools and homes and the Council would continue to operate ethically for example through the continued implementation of London Living Wage for Council employees and through the terms of the Council’s new contracts. The budget would continue to be managed by bringing services in-house and through a focus on prevention. It was noted that government funding was being reduced by £7.8m when over £5m was needed just to cover inflationary costs. It was planned to achieve £7m in savings and £8m in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/17

20/17

Recommendations of Cabinet referred to Council for decision pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider the recommendations made by Cabinet since the last ordinary Council Meeting:

 

1.  

2.  

3.  

4.  

5.  

6.  

7.  

7.1. Treasury Management Policy Statement, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement, Capital Strategy & Annual Investment Strategy 2019/2020; and

7.2. Housing Asset Management Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Hall to move the recommendations contained in the Cabinet report relating to the Treasury Management Policy Statement, Minimum Provision Policy Statement, Minimum Provision Policy Statement, Capital Strategy and Annual Investment Strategy for 2019/20.

 

Councillor Hall highlighted the recommendations in the report noting that these were about the careful stewardship of the capital strategy and borrowing for a purpose.

 

The recommendations were seconded by Councillor Patsy Cummings, put to the vote and carried.

 

Madam Mayor invited Councillor Butler to move the recommendations contained in the Cabinet report relating to the Housing Asset Management Plan.

 

Councillor Butler proposed the recommendations in the report. It was highlighted that these were about the effective maintenance and improvement of Council homes. It was noted that residents were involved in decisions about the upkeep of properties; this was about being a good social landlord. The difficulties of managing the housing asset budget due to government intervention was emphasised. The Cabinet Member reported that there was an increased emphasis on fire safety as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire. Fuel poverty meant there was an increasing emphasis on fuel efficient solutions. The objective was to provide affordable homes in which residents could take pride. It was important that residents have a say and are heard. As a social landlord the role of the Council was more than just providing a roof; activity was being taken to address antisocial behaviour, provide play spaces, job opportunities and training.

 

The recommendations were seconded by Councillor Hay-Justice, put to the vote and carried.

 

RESOLVED: The Members of the Council resolved to agree the following recommendations:

 

Treasury Management Policy Statement

1.     To approve the Treasury Management Statement 2019/2020 as set out in Appendix 7.1, including the following recommendations:

1.1.That the Council takes up the balance of its 2018/2019 borrowing requirement and future years’ borrowing requirements, as set out in paragraph 4.5 (Appendix 7.1).

1.2.That for the reasons detailed in paragraph 4.14 (Appendix 7.1), opportunities for debt rescheduling were to be reviewed throughout the year by the Director of Finance, Investment and Risk (S151 Officer) and that, she be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources and in conjunction with the Council’s independent treasury advisers, to undertake such rescheduling only if revenue savings or additional cost avoidance could be achieved at minimal risk in line with organisational considerations and with regard to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) as set out in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/2022.

2.     That delegated authority be given to the Director of Finance, Investment and

Risk (S151 Officer) in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance &

Resources, to make any necessary decisions to protect the Council’s financial position in light of market changes or investment risk exposure.

3.     That the Council adopts the 2017 edition of the revised Treasury Management

Code of Practice and Prudential Code issued by CIPFA in December 2017.

4.     That the Council adopts the Annual Investment Strategy as set out in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/17

21/17

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

 

Minutes:

This item was not required.