Agenda and minutes

Budget Council - moved from 28 February 2022, Council - Monday, 7th March, 2022 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Email:

No. Item


Minutes of the Ordinary and Extraordinary meetings held on 16 December 2020

To approve the Minutes from both the Ordinary meeting and Extraordinary meeting held on 16 December 2020 as an accurate record.


Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 December were agreed as an accurate record.



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.



There were none.



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.


There were no items of urgent business.




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


Mayor Sherwan Chowdhury updated Council on his recent Mayoral engagements, which included visiting Bangladesh for a fundraising event where he promoted Croydon amongst high profile ministers, and where he met the British High Commissioner. On 21 February 2022, Mr Mayor had spoken at the International Language Day at Braithwaite Hall, which he attended with a number of other councillors and the Council’s Director of Education. Local artists and performers had taken part in the event who represented the multi-cultural place that Croydon is. The Mayor then promoted a charity dinner at the Royal Tandoori Selsdon, and informed Council that he would be attending a tree-planting ceremony to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022. He would also be celebrating Bangladeshi Independence Day on 31 March.


The Mayor then invited the Leader of the Council, Councillor Hamida Ali, to make announcements. Councillor Ali spoke about the horror of the sustained and unprovoked attacks taking place against innocent people in Ukraine. She declared the Council’s solidarity with Ukraine, and stated that she admired their courage and defiance. Councillor Ali mentioned how London communities had rallied their efforts of support, and gave details of opportunities to contribute to charities and offer aid to Ukrainians.


The Mayor then invited the Chief Executive, Katherine Kerswell, to speak, who thanked Richard Ennis, Nish Popat and Chris Buss for stepping in and acting as interim Section 151 officers until such time as the permanent position was filled. The Chief Executive then welcomed the incumbent Section 151 officer, Jane West to Croydon.


Council Tax and Budget pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Please note that this report will be updated following the meetings of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee and the General Purposes and Audit Committee scheduled to be held on the 1 and 3 March respectively. The report will be further updated once the Council has received a decision from the Secretary of State on its request for a capitalisation direction.


a)     Questions to the Leader


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


b)     Questions to the Cabinet Members for Croydon Renewal and Resources & Financial Governance


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


c)     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.


d)     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:


1.3       1.99% increase for Croydon Services in 2022/23 (in line with government’s core spending power assumptions) as detailed in Section 10 of the report and Appendix 1E;


1.4       A 1.00% increase in 2022/23 for the Adult Social Care Precept (in line with government’s core spending power assumptions) as detailed in Section 10 of the report and Appendix 1E; and


1.5       To note the draft Greater London Authority precept on the Collection Fund and increase of 8.8% as set out in Appendix 1F.


Additional documents:


Before discussion of the item the Mayor reminded all present that an additional recommendation had been included in this item, asking Council to note a capitalisation direction letter from the Government.


Questions to the Leader


Members were then offered the opportunity to submit questions on the Budget to the Leader.


Councillor Jason Perry asked if the Leader regretted agreeing to the formation of the myriad of subsidiary companies that the Council was responsible for.


The Leader responded that the administration had faced significant challenges over the last 16 months. For example, not having had sufficient oversight of its own companies; but that that had not deterred it from putting the Council on a much better financial footing. The Leader pointed out that the Council now had proper oversight of its interests, that the budget was projecting an in-year underspend, and that it had a record of delivering £44m of savings at the end of the financial year.


Councillor Perry submitted a supplementary question, asking if the administration had had sufficient oversight when it agreed to companies being formed, and of the tangled web of accounts which had left a £73m hole in its budget for the next year.


The Leader responded that it was not only the responsibility of the majority group at the time for making decisions on the options put to the Council, but that non-executive committees with members from all groups had contributed to these decisions being made. The Leader also pointed out that there had been a lack of professional advice around the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls when the report had been submitted to Cabinet, and that members of the Chamber had not been properly informed of all the risks at the time.


Councillor Nina Degrads then submitted a question to the Leader, asking how this budget provided investment in services, residents value, and priorities the most, to which the Leader replied that the management and implementation of the budget across the council had enabled the administration to protect frontline services that residents valued. The Leader mentioned that they had focussed on making savings in areas that affected residents the least, such as building use and senior staffing. The Leader went on to say that there was growth projected within the budget which could be used to support Special Education Needs, carers, and youth provision, all of which were top priorities identified by residents.


Councillor Lynne Hale then questioned the Leader, asking at what point she was aware that the reason Grant Thornton, the Council’s independent accounts manager, was not able to sign off the 2019-20 accounts was due to their concerns about the treatment of £114m related to Croydon Affordable Homes and Croydon Affordable Tenancies.


The Leader responded that these issues had featured in Scrutiny and Overview Committee meetings, General Purposes and Audit Committee meetings, and Cabinet meetings, and that bank reconciliations and Croydon Affordable Homes had been highlighted in a paper that had gone to Cabinet in December. The Leader asserted that it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/21


Recommendations of Cabinet or Committees to Council for decision pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To consider the recommendations made by Cabinet or Committees since the last ordinary Council meeting relating to the following matters:


Cabinet - 7 March 2022


i.                   Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy 2022/23


General Purposes and Audit Committee - 16 February 2022


i.                   Appointment of External Auditors


Appointments Committee - 17 February 2022


i.                 Pay Policy Statement 2022/23


Additional documents:


The recommendations to Council were taken in two blocs. The first bloc included recommendations 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13, and 1.14. The second bloc included recommendations 1.10, 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 1.18, 1.19, 1.20 and 1.21.


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


1.1        The General Fund revenue budget for 2022/23 as set out in appendices 1A to 1D;

1.2        The Council’s request for a capitalisation direction from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities [DLUHC] of up to £50m for 2021/22 and up to £25m for 2022/23 as set out in paragraph 9.26 of the report;

1.3        1.99% increase for Croydon Services in 2022/23 (in line with government’s core spending power assumptions) as detailed in Section 10 of the report and Appendix 1E;

1.4        A 1.00% increase in 2022/23 for the Adult Social Care Precept (in line with government’s core spending power assumptions) as detailed in Section 10 of the report and Appendix 1E;

1.5        To note the draft Greater London Authority precept on the Collection Fund and increase of 8.8% as set out in Appendix 1F;

1.6        With reference to the principles for 2022/23 determined by the Secretary of State under Section52ZC (1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended) confirm that in accordance with Section 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 10 of the report;

1.7        The calculation of budget requirement and council tax as set out in Appendix 1E and 1F including the GLA increase will result in a total increase of 4.11% in the overall council tax bill for Croydon;

1.8        The revenue budget assumptions as detailed in the report and the associated appendices;

1.9        The detailed programme of revenue savings, income and growth items, by directorate, as set out in Appendix 1B;

1.10    That based on the advice of the Pension Fund Actuary and the Fund's independent investment advisors (as provided to the Pension Committee), and upon the wording of the Hymans Robertson recently issued Draft Rates and Adjustments Certificate, the Council agrees not to progress plans to transfer properties to the Pension Fund (as detailed in Section 12 of the report);

1.11    The Council’s 2022/23 HRA revenue budget as set out in Section 15 of the report;

1.12    The amendment to the previously approved General Fund capital budget to reflect the change in requested transformation funding requests (to be financed by the use of flexible capital receipts) as detailed in section 16 of the report;

1.13    The list of individual transformation projects as detailed in Section 16 of the report;

1.14    In relation to the Facility Agreement with Brick By Brick Croydon Ltd:

i.                 Approve variations to the Facility Agreement to: a. change the repayment structure to allow flexibility in the way the Council can apply repayments, as explained in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/21


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.”



There were no items on the agenda for which it was necessary to exclude the Press and Public.