Executive Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 5th January, 2017
Time:
7.30 pm
Place:
New Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reigate
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor V.W. Broad (Leader of the Council); Councillors Mrs N.J. Bramhall, M.A. Brunt, E. Humphreys, Dr L.R. Hack, Mrs R. Renton, T. Schofield and Mrs R. Turner.
Also Present:
Councillors Mrs R. Absalom, M. Blacker, J.M. Ellacott, J.C.S. Essex, N.D. Harrison, D. Jackson, S.A. Kulka, A.M. Lynch, B.A. Stead and M.J. Selby.
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
63 MINUTES

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1st December 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed.

64 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Executive Members: Councillors J. Durrant and Mrs R. Mill.


Non-Executive Members: Councillors A.C.J. Horwood, R.C. Newstead and D.J. Pay.
 

65 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

None.

66 OBSERVATIONS FROM THE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE ON THE DRAFT BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR 2017/18

The Executive Member for Finance, Councillor T. Schofield, submitted a report that set out the outcome of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s consideration of the draft budget for 2017/18.


A minor correction was noted in that recommendation 12(f) on page 15 of the papers should refer to the ‘Chief Executive’ preparing a report, rather than to ‘the Executive’.


The report included the relevant statutory powers, the outcome of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s considerations, legal, financial and equalities implications, consultation undertaken and policy framework considerations. The Executive received the full report of the Committee and considered its conclusions and recommendations.


In introducing this report to the Executive the Executive Member thanked Councillor N.D. Harrison for his hard work in chairing the Budget Scrutiny Review Panel in its consideration of the budget for 2017/18. He also expressed his gratitude to the Members of the Scrutiny Review Panel and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their contribution to a very important process.


It was noted that the Panel conducted a thorough review of the budget proposals, aided as in previous years, by a high number of advance questions. The report and recommendations of the Panel were subsequently considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December.


Following its deliberations the Committee made six recommendations for the consideration of the Executive. These had been carefully considered by the Portfolio Holder who reflected on the Committee’s overall positive conclusions about the provisional budget proposals.


The Executive Member emphasised that since the Scrutiny Panel and Overview & Scrutiny Committee meetings the issues raised in relation to Corporate Plan Delivery Fund expenditure and proposals to increase the Borrowing Limit had been discussed further.


Officers had reviewed the list of potential Corporate Plan Delivery Fund expenditure items for 2017/18 and concluded that no changes to the list would be proposed at this time. It was noted that some of the expenditure was already committed and the remainder would be discussed with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council before expenditure was agreed.


In respect of a report on lessons learnt from the recent attempt to increase the borrowing limit, a paper was being prepared by the Chief Executive and would be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in due course.
 

RESOLVED that the report of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the service and financial plans for 2017/18 be accepted and the comments noted.


Reasons for decision: To take account of the views of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on their consideration of the service and financial plans for 2017/18.


Alternative options: Request that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee undertake additional scrutiny of all or part of the service and financial plans for 2017/18.
 

67 QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REPORT (Q2 - JULY TO SEPTEMBER 2016)

The Executive Member for Planning Policy and Finance, Councillor T. Schofield submitted a report with financial and performance monitoring information for the second quarter of 2016/17. The report provided the headline issues on major variances in relation to the Council's overall performance for the period and the progress on the 5 Year Plan. Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the performance and had raised no issues to refer to the Executive.


The Executive Member confirmed that all of the Council’s 8 key service indicators were on target or within agreed tolerances.


The report also included progress against the LGA Improvement Action Plan, which showed that the Council continued to make significant progress across the seven recommendations made by the peer challenge group.
The report also contained the Strategic risks, noting that a new strategic risk had been identified relating to the financial pressures from other organisations. There were no red-rated Operational risks to report.
With regards to the financial aspects within the report, there was currently a 3% underspend projected on the revenue budget and a 2.7% underspend on the capital programme which was generally progressing well.
The Deputy Leader, Councillor Dr L.R. Hack reported that the turnout from refuse and recycling had been higher than anticipated, in part due to the fall in the rate of sterling.


It was noted that the new service was being rolled out to flatted developments but that it was important to ensure that all residents with shared bins were recycling because the costs of disposing of contaminated bins would otherwise outweigh the benefits.


RESOLVED that the performance outlined in the report presented be noted.


Reasons for decision: To consider the performance for the second quarter of the financial year 2016/17; progress update against the LGA Action Plan; together with an update on the Five Year Plan success measures for the first six months of Year Two (2016-17).


Alternative options: None.
 

68 APPOINTMENT OF EXTERNAL AUDITORS

Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Finance informed the Executive that following the closure of the Audit Commission new arrangements were required for the appointment of the Council’s external auditors. The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 required authorities to either opt-in to the “appointing person” regime or to establish an independent auditor panel and conduct their own procurement exercise.


The Executive Member introduced the report that provided the statutory background to the position together with the supporting detailed information and implications including a Frequently Asked Questions document on Public Sector Audit Appointments.


The Executive noted that Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (or PSAA) (the sector-led audit appointment body) had received wide ranging local government support to date. It had originally been established to operate the transitional arrangements following the closure of the Audit Commission. It was now a company owned by the Local Government Association’s Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).


The Executive Member considered that a sector-wide procurement, conducted by PSAA, would produce better outcomes for the Council than any individual procurement undertaken by ourselves or with a limited number of partners. This option was also considered to be less resource intensive than establishing an auditor panel, appointing independent panel members, and conducting our own procurement process.


It was noted that this approach appeared to be consistent with how other Surrey District and Borough Councils planned to proceed.


Arrangements for external audit of the new Executive Sub Committees were also being considered as part of the process.


RECOMMENDED that:


(i) Reigate & Banstead Borough Council opt-in to the “appointed person” arrangements made by Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) for the appointment of external auditors; and


(ii) the Head of Finance be authorised to make all necessary arrangements with PSAA to secure the appointment of external auditors for 2018/19 and beyond.


Reasons for decision: To comply with Regulation 19 of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015 that requires a decision to opt to the arrangements to be made by Full Council.


Alternative options: For the Council to establish its own auditor panel and conduct its own procurement of external audit services.
 

69 SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS 2017-18

The Leader of the Council, Councillor V.W. Broad, presented a report with a proposed schedule of meetings for 2017/18. It set out background and factors for consideration. The draft schedule drew upon past experience and had regard to comments from both Members and Officers. It had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 8 December 2016 and its comments were reported to the Executive.


It was noted that the schedule covered only formal meetings in 2017/18 and that officers would also be preparing a calendar of advance dates for ad hoc seminars and training events, to be shared with members in due course.


RECOMMENDED that the Schedule of Meetings for the 2017-18 Municipal Year be approved as set out at Annex 1 to the report presented.


Reasons for decision: To establish a timetable to ensure the efficient and effective conduct of Council business for the forthcoming municipal year.


Alternative options: None.
 

70 STATEMENTS

None.

71 ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

None.

The meeting closed at 7.53 pm.