Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 13th January, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator  Due to current high levels of Covid infections, this meeting will be fully online

Note: To watch the meeting live please click on the link included on the Agenda front sheet 

No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.


The Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.



Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Yvonne Denny, Anita Jakhu, KanuPriya Jhunjhunwala and Lourdes Keever.



Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business. (Late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with at item below).




Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct





To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.





Scrutiny of the 2022/23 Draft Budget / 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (2022/23-2026/27) - Your Council pdf icon PDF 385 KB

Additional documents:


Susie Faulkner, Interim Director for Customers, Transformation & Resources, introduced the report for the scrutiny of the ‘Your Council’ section of the 2022/23 draft budget and the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2022/23-2026/27. She explained that the ‘Your Council’ section covered all the enabling and support services for the rest of the Council. This included digital, human resources, customer services, revenues and benefits, strategy and communications. She also informed the Committee that the financial pressures were challenging, particularly in Corporate Services, and that the growth bids were relatively modest, reflecting overall demand from Council services.


In terms of the financial approach to Your Council, Frances Palopoli, Head of Finance for Strategy & Your Council, explained that there was a considerable change agenda to address but also a need to align this to the new Borough Plan. Around £10m had been set aside into the strategic budget planning reserve the previous year in order to allow more time to embed that thinking. It was important to note that pre-agreed savings of £12m were already planned for next year. The aim of this budget cycle was to build a sustainable Council and to address longer-term requirements through new growth.


Asked by Cllr Connor for further details of the £11.8m of budget growth highlighted in paragraph 5.3 on page 3 of the agenda pack, Frances Palopoli said that this was broadly from additional expected government funding to local authorities. This would be ongoing funding, whereas the £10m set aside in the strategic budget planning reserve could only be used on a one-off basis. Cllr Connor noted that paragraph 1.13 on page 11 of the agenda pack referred to a forecast application of £4m of reserves for 2023/24. Frances Palopoli explained that it was assumed at this stage that it would be necessary to use £4m from the strategic budget planning reserve to balance the budget in that year.


Cllr Connor asked for further explanation of paragraph 7.1.3 on page 24 of the agenda pack which stated that “the forecast base budget pressure has increased by £5m compared to Qtr1 and now stands at £10.2m.” Frances Palopoli said that additional pressure reported in Quarter 2 compared to Quarter 1 was mainly from the two social care service directorates (Adults and Childrens) and this is why most of the £11.8m of additional growth was allocated to those two areas. This was mainly base budget pressures but also partly due to the ongoing impact of Covid. In Your Council there were some one-off pressures but these were considerably less than the pressures in Adults and Children’s services.


Cllr Connor asked about the savings slippages referred to in paragraph 7.11.3 on page 30 of the agenda pack. Frances Palopoli said that, while the financial planning was always as realistic as possible, some slippages occurred due to unforeseen circumstances, for example on the Digital Together project. Susie Faulkner added that Digital Together had been particularly difficult to work on during Covid as it involved working with services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.