Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board - Tuesday 5 September 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 0:57:40 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Finance and Governance Cabinet Advisory Board
Tuesday, 5th September 2023 at 6:30pm 









Share this agenda point
  1. Seat 3
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
Share this agenda point
  1. Webcast Finished

Seat 3 - 0:00:00
time Councillor Christopher Hood, Chair of the Finance and governance Cabinet Advisory Board, welcome to this evening's meeting before we start the meeting. There are a number of procedural issues to go through, for which I would be very grateful for your attention and now pass over to the Clerk. Caroline Brit,
thank you good evening everybody. In the event of the fire alarm ringing continuously, he must immediately evacuate the building at walking pace officers will directly via the most direct available route, and no one is to use the lift. We will make our way to the fire assembly point by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard car park for months away, once outside a check will be made to ensure everyone has safely left and no industry enter the building until advice it is safe to do so. This is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online. A recording will also be available for playback on the Council's website shortly afterwards,
can I remind everyone to use the microphones when speaking the red light indicates. The microphone is on. Any comments that are not recorded for the webcast will not be included in the minutes of the meeting is very important that the outcomes of the Meeting are clear. At the end of each substantive item, the Chairman will ask whether the matter was agreed in the absence of a clear majority, or if the Chairman decides a full vote is desirable. A vote will be taken by a show of hands. Members should or should raise a hand to indicate their vote when called and keep their hand up until the count has been announced.
Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair,
thank you very much, Caroline, have for the benefit of the recording and we're going to take a roll call, the clock will call your name and if you are present, please introduce yourself,
thank you, Councillor Dowling.
present. Thank you, Councillor Ellis resident, thank you, Councillor Frances present, thank you Councillor good ship present, thank you, Councillor Knight present, thank you, Councillor M at Milan
present, thank you, Councillor Osborne present, thank you Councillor Sankey.
Councillor Hall present, thank you officers this evening and Lee Collier present, thank you, Claudette Beaumont present, thank you, Jane Fineman, isn't thank you, Pamela Grover, Morgan present, thank you Mike Catling.
present, thank you and Peter Benfield present, thank you, thank you Chair.
the gauche Caroline, so members of the committee should hopefully be familiar with the process, but for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching. I'd like to explain a couple of things. Committee members have had their agendas for over a week and have had the opportunity to ask any factual questions of the officers ahead of the meeting.
When we come to the substantive items on the agenda this evening, members or members of the public who have registered to speak will be asked to read their statements. They will have a maximum of three minutes. Each. The relevant officer will then set out their report. We will then move into member discussion at the end of the discussion.
I will remind Members that, without prejudice to any other comments that may be raised, the Committee is asked to come to one of the following positions. One that the recommendations to Cabinet are supported by the Committee to the recommendations to Cabinet would be supported, subject to a particular issue being addressed or three, that the recommendations to Cabinet not supported and that this is and if this is the case reasons should be stated

1 Apologies

agenda item 1, let's move move quickly, almost apologies for absence, do we have any apologies for absence,
agenda item 2 declarations of interest,

2 Declarations of Interests

do we have any declarations of interest from members,

3 Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak

I don't see any so in that case we'll move on to 3 notification of visiting persons wishing to speak, we
note the small speakers Staffordshire,
okay and

4 Minutes of the meeting dated 11 July 2023

let's move on to the minutes then so agenda item 4,
which is to approve the minutes of the meeting held on the 11th of July. Are there any amendments to the minutes from anybody
no, I see none, so I think I think that's fine, so members are we agreed to pass the minutes.
the motion is carried.

5 Forward Plan as at 14 August 2023

item 5 is the Forward Plan as at the 14th of August.
do Members have any comments about the forward plan?
I think.
yeah, I've just looking at this for plan and it was brought up by some of my group that
the perception here is that this is rather unbalanced, there are some cabinet members with an enormous amount of
rose in their spreadsheet and others have seemingly none and I think the general public looking at this because this is a public document. might be very confused by that, so now I know how you like to note things in these F and G meetings you might want to take that back to Cabinet
yes, I mean, I think one of the reasons why perhaps my portfolio looks a little bit unbalanced is because a lot of reporting goes into it, but I I know you realise that but yeah yeah so yeah fair enough, I mean
I don't know what we can do about that precisely, but I take your feedback. Thank you.
Are there any other comments? I think I saw Councillor Knight David be first and then Tom
yes, thank you Chair, and can I ask if you thought were taking on an assistant
because your portfolio is just ridiculous amount of stuff on it and keep her tenancy warm Councillor Wall?
and also Councillor Councillor Neville, I don't quite understand how there is just such an imbalance in the forward plan,
I just wondered, have you thought would take it in the system on board to assist you?
no, I haven't I'm
more than capably assisted by
the fantastic officers to my right here and their team, and so I don't think that would be. would be necessary,
so just a supplementary of and my Chairman s, so why have some of the other cabinet members got such little on their portfolio, please?
I don't think that's necessarily for me to say I think I think you'd need to address it with them directly.
I don't think it is for me to sit in this forum.
can I just ask you it should be addressed to.
to the the Cabinet members directly, I mean some of them sit within the Borough Partnership of which you're part of David, so yes, I I suggest that you, you ask your fellow my colleagues other members of cabinet in that question
thank you Chair.
I thought they all sat within the borough partnership, but you might know more than I do.
no, actually you're right, sorry, my mistake,
the point I was trying to me because I think there is a there's always been a serious imbalance between this cab, the other cabs.
this CAB
always meeting with the pre-fall agenda,
the other cabs often being cancelled because there's no agenda.
and that's a factor that's been picked up by the review of the operation of the Council and how it should function
when it reduces the number of councillors, so I think that certain things are in hand.
thanks for your comments, Tom.
does anyone else have any comments they'd like to make?
thank you in that case.
I just need to ask you.
if you agree to the Forward Plan and properly to do do we agree to move forward?
in that case, the motion is carried.

6 Annual Corporate Health and Safety Report

so. I now move on to 6, which is the annual Corporate Health and Safety report, and I am now going to hand over to the presenting officer who will introduce the report, Mike, Catling corporate health and safety adviser over to you.
thank you very much.
It's important for councillors to be aware of the health and safety management systems in place to protect staff and the public, who may be in fact affected by the work that we do is a legal requirement for us to have suitable and sufficient measures in place, and it's important to be aware of significant risks faced to set direction for effective health and safety management.
This report notes the performance for last year and compares this to previous years, including incident investigation data. The work of the health and safety adviser during this year is focused on four main areas of a staff work practice, working from home working in the office, the community and also from third-party buildings. First, reducing the rest of the organisation through support training and advising management. Secondly, with the investigation of incidents, identifying trends causes and implementing changes to reduce future cases.
this report also requests approval for priorities for this year there will be implemented in addition to the process is usually in place to ensure a safe working environment, they are consistency of management, compliance across operational sites, review of personal protective equipment provision ensuring that staff have access to the correct equipment, review of departmental and working procedures and equipment and ensuring that staff have access to directive, correct equipment procedures and monitoring site and departmental risk assessments to ensure adequate provision is in place. I am happy to take any questions, thank you.
thank you very much, Mike other any questions.
I don't want to sound completely mad, but the 87 and previously, as he was even, I seems, like an awful lot, wow
wow what's
actually happening, these people getting seriously injured or the one that is listed as fire
yeah, can you, can you maybe add some colour to these does chart what's actually happening?
yeah, so what we've got is what we'll call a very good reporting culture, anything that is frivolous is not added, so we don't add the somebody's.
the slides splintered to finger already been like that. These are actual incidents that it's beneficial to look into
and by looking into we then we can reduce the chance of occurrence or reoccurrence and maybe something being more severe next time. So we do have a lot of things reported, although they're not particularly serious, so you know we don't have a lot of major injuries,
serious issues, but we do do is make sure that the ones which are maybe less serious are investigated to ensure that they stop them becoming more serious if they're not investigated, so it's a good health and safety culture to have, rather than to have less incidents and not report them and then more likely to be more severe. So that's the way that we work here
and we don't have a huge amount of severe injuries or major issues quickly enough.
are there any other questions, David,
there's a lot of impact injuries, as we've gone up from two in 2010 to 25 impact injuries down core.
is it?
people are running into things or things are running into people or people running into other people, what is an impact injury and why are they 25?
you are dead right, yeah I mean it is as simple as people hit in heads on car doors, walking into doors
and the reason why it's important to look into it is why has there been such an increase, and is that due to
produced a amount of time to be able to do drops is it due to
increased workload, so those things are important to look at
and there has been an increase, and that gives us the opportunity for us to ask those questions.
I think with some of those he starts sort of thinking, do they go in or do they go out, so I think there's there's those if there's a benefit of looking into it,
we would probably count it and put it in if there's a benefit, if not, then then it wouldn't so. I think the reason why there's the 25 is is exactly that we've had a lot of changing work processes, especially in the last year we now work in a slightly different way in the town hall, so it's important for us to look into that. I'd very much expect that number to go down this year
any other questions.
no, I don't think Mike for rum. In that case, do do you want to go into discussion, or shall we move to the motion
sensing that you are happy just to move to the motion? Yes, okay,
right. In that case, the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet are as follows that the content of the report is noted, along with the work undertaken to secure safe and healthy working environment, and 2, that the Committee recommends to Cabinet that they approve the corporate priorities for 2023 2024 members. Are we agreed
the motion is carried.

7 Performance Summary Quarter 1

so now, move on to agenda item 7, which is the performance summary for Quarter 1, the presenting officer this evening will be Pamela, Grover Morgan, the council's performance and governance manager and a 2 m.
thank you.
the Committee will note the updated summary of project performance
appended at Appendix A of this report.
and also the updated performance indicator report Appendix B for Quarter 1, there are 20 new indicator, 20 indicators, eight of which are new, 11 of which are performing 3, are not performing and one was unavailable at the time of publication. happy to take any questions
thank you, Pamela, are there any questions?
no questions I see none, so I suspect we don't need to go into discussion or would members like to do that?
no happy to move to the recommendation said, OK, let's do that in that case,
the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet are one that the summary of project performance over quarter 1 2023 to 24 at Appendix A is noted
to the summary of service performance over quarter 1 23 24 at Appendix B is noted and the three that the recovery plans for quarter 1 23 24 at Appendices C to E are noted, Members are we agreed.
thank you very much, the motion is carried.

11 Showfields, Tunbridge Wells - Disposal of Parcels of Land

so I am now going to actually make a slight change to the agenda order and I'm gonna bring the Schofield's item, which was a la agenda item 11 up to now.
so a piece of Benfield senior Estates Officer will introduce the report, but before I pass over to him, I would first like to note the this item contains an exempt appendix which is set out in the restricted papers until agenda item 14. The report may be discussed and decided upon in public session, provided that no exempt information is disclosed and Members are happy to take the exempt information as read. Alternatively, if members wish to discuss anything which appears in the exempt appendix please indicate during the discussion the decision will then be held over and discussed in private session later, so now and over to Peter for your report. Thank you, Peter
thank you good evening, yes, as Councillor Hall advises, I'm here to present a report on the proposed sale of a number of parcels of land in the Sheffield Sheffield's estate in the south-west of the town.
I say it represents the proposed, the transaction is a sale, is an option to sell to the Town and Country Housing Association as part of their
plans scheme to redevelop the the estate there.
0there's 13 13 silos at the most small parcels of land, which have no sort of intrinsic use or value to you know to the Council and the proposal.
tidies up the land ownership issues and sort of only on the estate,
which creates some significant advantages.
for the for the redevelopment scheme.
estimate mentioned, the added value information is in in is in the exempt appendix which I'm sure you have reviewed and who cannot believe this need to go to sort of exempt at this stage.
there is a possible possibility that there may be some some more similar size to the parcels that that the
that the the Housing Association require, but for the time being, the the matter just relates to these these parcels of land, certainly my recommendation that the
the that the Cabinet approve the transaction, thank you.
thank you very much, Peter, and we can now move out to members' questions, are there any questions?
I see none in that case
if Members are satisfied with the report without discussing exempt information, and the decision can be made now, if not, we will hold the discussion over our members happy to to move forward to the recommendations
yes, I'm saying lots of nods yeah OK it looks like we're satisfied there so. the recommendations to Cabinet are that number 1, that Cabinet approves the grant of the option and the disposal of the land referred to in this report, and the appendices to the delegated authority is granted to the Head of economic development and property, in consultation with the Director of Finance Policy and Development, the monitoring officer and the Cabinet Member for Finance and performance to negotiate and agree the terms of the option to be granted and the subsequent disposal of the option is exercised. 3, that the head of Mid Kent legal Services is authorised to negotiate and complete all necessary legal documentation and formalities, to give effect to these recommendations and the disposal of the land are we agreed?
motion is carried, thank you.

8 Revenue Management Report - Quarter 1

we now move on to.
the revenue and management report for Quarter, 1, presenting this this evening is Jane Feinman, head of finance, procurement and parking.
thank you good evening.
actual expenditure to the end of June was 2.6 6 million pounds, which is 1.1 million under budget,
and pleased to be able to report that we have reduced the forecast outturn budget deficit to 526,000 pounds, an improvement of 417,000 in the quarter.
this is mainly due to reductions in forecast staff costs of 437,000 less, the 85,000 needed to meet the budgeted contribution to the vacancy factor and 300,000 of additional off street parking income.
whilst this has been positive for the Councils finances, the current shortfall of 48 full-time equivalent staff is putting pressure pressure on the delivery of services, and capital projects are needing to be deferred.
as detailed later in the Treasury Management report, it's projected that there will be an increase of 1.2 4 8 million in investment interest.
as his Council policy, this has been transferred to reserves to fund the future capital programme.
this policy was temporarily suspended during the Covid crisis when the Council needed all income to try to fund its revenue budget
now that we are back to business as usual, it is important that we ensure that the Council's revenue budget does not become reliant on what is considerably variable income that is mostly outside of our control.
in a similar vein, it can be seen that the Council has forecast income of 584,000 from the public realm to enforcement.
there's legislation around what on-street surpluses can be spent on and it's not possible to use them to balance the revenue budget, hence this income has been transferred to a parking reserve.
as can be seen in Appendix D,
the Council had 28.8 million of usable reserves, as, at the 1st of April 23
by the end of the year, the forecast outturn forced to 19.2 million
if the future funding of the capital programme is considered and the internal borrowing is deducted. it can be seen that there is 5 million left in reserves.
we've always said we need around 4 million to fund working capital, so we are now in a position where we have a small surplus to our reserves again. this is really positive progress from last year, where we were showing a projected deficit on our reserves, although you must remember that
500,000 of that is is very, very specifically to be spent on parking related issues and highway related issues for PR too,
so our financial position is improving but this has been through good fortune with interest rates and significant staff vacancies which are affecting the ability of the Council to deliver services and the capital programme.
this situation will not continue into the future, so we need to persist with our work towards bridging the budget deficit for 24 25 without assuming the same levels of interest and staff vacancies. thank you, I'm happy to take any questions.
thank you very much Jane, and are there any questions for drink?
can I first of all just congratulate the finance team and section action.
job that's been done here until budget to be in such a stable position, I think is is published testament to the work that is being done,
I just have one question in terms of the parking reserve, what will the process be in terms of determining how that money should be spent so having huge savings about just over 500,000 so that's gone into a separate reserve what would the process be for deciding how that money should be spent in the future?
please answer your question fully, then, yes, OK, thank you at top of no actually sorry.
Matthew was in earlier, he caught my earlier apologies, Matthew I'll come to you,
thank you at Jane.
the fact that the contract to achieve, although we've had conversations around it, they are a kind of publicly brave for achieving that I'm going to ask is slightly more direct question, I'm sure it won't surprise you.
and I'm sure the public will want to know this as well.
are we able to if we have the political will, are we able to spend that money on correcting slash, improving the bus gate or PR to as we call it, would that be a? the correct form of OSP
or a form of spend that would be the work with the legislation.
yes, it would.
Tom, I believe you're next.
I mean just to just to pick out that 500,000 pounds on fines in the first quarter
there were nearly at the end of the second quarter, where what does it look like, after five months a?
as of today, it's 1.020 million.
now that is gross income and,
as I've explained to a number of you,
we've had to incur significant costs.
in implementing this, every piece of postage that we send out
costs 72 p
we've had to recruit additional Labour resources.
we've had four people working on this full time
we've had to install CCTV cameras in order to record
the the footage of people going through
the the restriction, and there are all sorts of costs that we've got to allocate to this.
but that is the gross income as at today
yeah, but my point was that this is a continuing issue and it wasn't something it,
it wasn't something that at the end of
Q Q, one that was willing to fall away
and the same largely is true of staff vacancies. Isn't it, it's I mean, the staff vacancy factor has continued pretty much unchanged since, since the end of of question, and therefore you know the the, the
the forecast that you are likely to make at the end of Q2 is going to be
probably of a budget surplus for the FA for the year is, that is that a fair assessment
my understanding is that we have been successful in quarter 2 of recruiting to some of these posts, but you are absolutely right, we haven't recruited to all of them, as at the end of quarter 2, as at the end of Quarter 2, we will look at those forecasts and we will ask the managers,
if, if they feel that they are going to be able to recruit.
in the final six months now, certainly managers are trying their absolute darndest to fill those posts and, as I say, we've had some success, but you're right there, there will be some posts that we won't be able to to recruit to. those we will forecasting as best we can on a quarterly basis when, when we come back to Cabinet,
do you have a further comment
about the succumbing I might take you the difference, with some and a few, but?
OK, thank you
Mark next, I did you want to say something for the Chair.
May I just make a comment about the
PR to incoming enforcement. When we first of all started we had 900 to 1,000 vehicles going through the Pier to enforcement area per day.
Now we're down to 100 to 150 per day. The income coming in is a legacy of those initial months because it takes us time to recover those debts. Not everybody pays the 35 pounds within the 14 days, so now we're getting to the process getting through the process whereby people haven't paid, they can be appealing
or just not paying within the original 14 days, so they're now having to pay the 70 pounds or they're being moved on.
to the 105 pounds stage, so it's not, it's not that the scheme hasn't been successful in reducing the the throughput of traffic to that area, we've gone from 900 to 1,000 per day down to 100 150 and people are seeing the difference, thank you.
thank you, John, for that term intervention,
I'll now move on to Mark, I think you're next for the question,
thank you Jane and you actually answered one of the questions that are already, in fact, well done.
now you mentioned that the staffing
issues are affecting the capital programme, could you elaborate a bit more about how that's actually impacted in Pacific areas?
yeah, I mean it, it is across the board, because
each of the service areas and would have to put together their proposals would have to go out to tender, but it's especially important in the property team because property actually support a lot of these projects if you if you go down the list, a lot of them are property related and they require specification, detailed specifications, detailed knowledge and going through a tender process, but then managing that contract
once it's up and running so many of those projects that a bit of falling behind are being limited by the lack of resource in the property to, although it is across the board,
I e-mailed the LEA earlier, as Bowden disengaged from his area, you mentioned the fact that the draft HR strategy plan has now been published or produced in Bergdahl forms, and, as now currently sit in full review, to go through the channels
in a general terms is that going to be targeted at certain specific areas where we do actually have a specific shortage?
I'm really sorry, I haven't had sight of it, so I don't know I don't know whether Lee can help.
I do not have sight of Hochevar, so it is in draft form and it's been sent to the Chief Executive, but after that final clearance it will then make its way through the Council's formal decision-making process, but it is a high level strategy, it's not going to talk at individual posts and it's not going to be the solution we are desperately hoping for or is there to help managers at the moment from one of the last 18 months Sommerfeld quite helpless when they've gone through recruitment processes unfold multiple times the questions they ask us, then what what do you do? What's the next thing to try? And that is the purpose of the strategy to make the Council unattractive employer going forward.
thank you, I believe we've got Matthew next and then David, I think you've raised your hand as well and then and then John our country, thank you.
Thank you sorry, I wanted to go back to plc
you have mentioned earlier Jane about the defines moving from the 14 day to the 50 quid to the 105 quid
the percentage of people moving up the levels, so
that's the right term
does that track with our other fines or as this is an anomaly and there's this slightly sharper
I I don't actually know the answer to that question, I do know that the level of appeals that we have had on PR, too, is higher than we would ordinarily have for p scenes,
that's as a result of all of the media retention and social media attention that the scheme has attracted.
and there have been many misconceptions
about the adequacy of the scheme,
so of course many people have appealed in the hopes that what they've read in the media would would mean that they will be successful when actually they're not so.
there is, as there is a slight delay.
when people appeal, because when they appeal and we make a decision, we put it back to the 35 pounds which is the 14 day discount period, so it is long for every appeal it effectively elongates the period by which they can pay the 35 pounds so you know I I haven't got the analysis that I can give you but my perception would be yes it's delayed because of the volume of the appeals that
have been coming through.
trying to understand, hoping or just wondering that if it is possible to include that data minus the elongated appeals, it might just help Councillors former one opinion when the subject comes up for another decision, which I am sure it will do, thank you.
David, I think you next.
yes, thank you Chair, thank you, Jane and lots of numbers to digest as usual, but thanks very much for the information, so just to cut to the chase, what I and I'm, assuming it would like to know how it says that the Barrett Partnership, how are we doing for 23 24 24 25 can I just have a projected budget deficit forecast for 23 24 and 24 25 big picture please?
sorry didn't switch my.
yeah at the moment, quarter 1 is that our budget deficit will be 526,000,
so that's what's showing in the forecast for 23 24
lies just looking at where we are in his MCFs, for the budget for 24 25,
including all of the budget savings that we're forecasting.
so if Members Group
so if Members we will call the Budget stretching up. The report came to this committee and that showed a forecast budget gap for next year of 889,000 pounds, but there was a savings plan attached to that where a further package of 3 to 400,000 pounds of potential saving items could be netted off. That this Committee will receive at its next meeting the budget update report so that moves along one further that savings plan will day is a live document. There'd be further additions to that savings plan, reflecting the decisions of Cabinet that have been made since the previous report in the last couple of months, so we're still forecasting a gap of 889,000 for next year, but if the savings plan is delivered,
then the trajectory is heading towards the possibility where this Council could, if it carries on identifying a few more savings areas, could arrive a balanced budget for next year without need to utilise reserves. So, yeah, you've had the first report. The second is imminent, but it's importantly, the trajectory is heading in a very encouraging direction,
yes, thank you, Les, I know we've had
debates about this before a previous meetings which you may recall, so I'm struggling now, so Jane gave me a figure of 23 24 at the moment, nearly halfway through the year 526,000 deficit did I wrote that down wrong?
you've got to remember that this isn't nearly half the way through the year, this is as at the 30th of June, so it's the first quarter
super, thank you very much so.
but still the figure 5 26 on the up-to-date information we have at the moment, and I didn't hear an answer to my question of 24 25 that will guesstimate figure at the moment.
did I just miss a cliff?
the gap had come down in the budget
protection report to just over 400,000 if all the saving plan items are delivered.
super-sub access, significant improvement and potentially good news, isn't it if I am reading that,
obviously, looking back at the previous meeting, unfortunately I was not at on the 11th of July giants paper that she produced, obviously putting there three times about the budget deficit of 943,000 on page three 943,000 on page five
943,000 and page 7 of the document and on that basis this committee made a recommendation to Cabinet that they can do what they like basically and Cabinet obviously sided to implement parking charges so what I'm struggling with, and I suspect that our residents will probably struggle with his work or why, because there's so much good news here, why are we implementing parking charges in Danlan?
do you like to say only while
the decision to implement car park charges and decision of any Cabinet key decision is a matter for Cabinet and that was taken on an informed basis, first of all, coming to this advisory board but a very high level? The Council's expenditure is going up by inflation anywhere between 7 and 10%, our income streams are capped at 3%, 3% for Council Tax and January 3% of the income fees and charges which we have some ability to set. So therefore, if, if the council doesn't do anything, that gap widens just by virtue of inflationary pressures being far greater than our ability to increase income
clearly throughout the year there are other factors such as increase in demand utilisation, which we bring to you every quarter, and we can update those forecasts. So there is a moving situation, but what can't be denied is that in the year 27 28, this Council has its three major contracts all up for renewal and if those contracts were procured now this Council were looking at an additional 2.5 billion pounds in costs because those three big contracts were procured in very different times. They were procured where many of the risks of one had off, and therefore the contractors now passing on those risks. Some of those women in COVID, others to do with availability of contractors and also soaring inflation, particularly fuel. A lot of those risks have now come to pass and they will be factored in to future contract costs, and this Council will have a big increase in those costs. Also, the markets are not operating as competitively as they were. When we originally procured them, there are far fewer contractors willing to tender for those public sector contracts because of those risks. I've just identified. So whilst we're making improvement in not letting our revenue gap increase too much, there is a significant issue that we need to arrive at 2007 28 with control over our finances, because if we arrive and we've already got an inherent gap, we're going to have significant troubles, trying to close that budget, rather than just concentrate on those three main contracts when they all come up for renewal at the same time,
thankfully Stuart, and that figure again for 2027 28, you thought roughly was.
an additional two and a half million pounds by virtue of the Waste and Streetscene contracts, the leisure contract and the ground maintenance contract all coming up for renewal at the same time.
thank you very much Les.
thank you dude, I think, John I think you have been waiting patiently for
a question, thank you, although most of my questions are answered in the previous one, although I still would like to
ask one LA last part of it, which was,
I I see that the investment interested in Cam is forecast to 1.2 4 8 million over budget, and I see that the inflation rate has got down to half, but what it was a year ago, but I know, as we all know, that the government's target is to get it under 2%, so I know that therefore investment
sorry interest rates will be kept high as long as it's above 2% because they can't just let it go because it all
so in the in your budgeting for the next few years
are you expecting like I'm suspecting that interest rates will be high for the next four to five years in which case you will get a much better return on your investments?
chairman, I'm I'm very happy to take questions about setting next year's budget, but there's no actual report before this committee, but the report you had last time, the budget protection and update made it clear that actually, because interest rates are higher than
had really been forecast, the interests were expecting to receive for next year. Remember, I'd increased it, to 2 million pound the highest forecast it has ever been, and similarly with the vacancy factor that was increased also to half a million pound, so the improvements in our financial situation you will see in Jane's in year reports. They are factored in every time we update the medium term financial strategy. In those reports I bring towards you, I update those forecasts, so the good news is already inherent and built in in our forecasts, and we continue to model and make adjustments as the information changes
particularly a good point on that, but do you want to follow up with?
and thank you going through the hard work you do it and thanks to the report and I I I, I buy into the the fact that we were looking at the penalty, looking for savings and looking for streams of income to to check to fill the gappers as as delay is adequately explained the key question I question why we haven't looked at other sunlight if we if we're worried about Dunholme. denoting parking. Why are we while we are looking at John Street or might want me, looking at other parking, potential opportunities him not necessarily that's not necessarily aimed at officers? It's just a question. I'm asking this committee there, surely we should be pushing it forward if where, if we're going to be really serious about helping the better part of the borough finances, let's look across the right if we're gonna be
hitting the northern part and everybody else should be facing the same sort of penalties, but it seems to me to be a little bit more. There seems to be something else, something else at work there, that why we're not doing that
stay or take your comments on board, is there a question, or is it more than a mere
question there was a comment that the question is, why aren't
we looking at parking as opposed to generally,
because it seems to me that it seems to be very particular
OK all right?
thanks train
we are constantly looking at parking charges
and certainly when we looked at the interim budget review, Paddock Wood
and Yewtree and John Street, to a point where we're included in that, and it was pointed out that there that John Street is slightly anomalous in that it has a 30 minute free parking,
availability and it it finishes enforcement, but for 30 now there is a very specific reason why and it's due to the location of that particular car park and the reason why the charges were introduced in the first place in order to deter the young people who go to school very locally to park their vehicles in the car park and asked it for 30 they took on hope, so then the the shops wanted the parking to be free now times change.
and you're absolutely right that we need to look at all opportunities
I think probably when we were looking in the interim at the interim report, Donilon was the place where we could make the most impact on the budget deficit and therefore that was the focus at that time what could be made from Paddock Wood and Yewtree and John Street was much less
and the decision was made at that time that we will focus on Danlan and that we could look at the others subsequently, so that's exactly what we will continue to do now we do have an opportunity in November when we have the fees and charges report, and it may well be that
there there is a proposal that Cabinet will look at to maybe tweak some of these, these things that you're talking about, and to review what's going on at a later date may be as to what we do
in Yewtree and Paddock Wood, but that will be guided, I will be guided,
by by our cabinet as to which areas they would like to address next.
can I recall a London branch, which I can I just ask the question when it came to the northern part was that the decision that the Finance the Finance Team, so we suggest this and Nick Edwards cabinet, as opposed to the other place, should always be driven by cabinet that came to the Finance Team.
so when the new administration came into power in May 22,
the then Finance portfolio holder, agreed, sat down with me, went through every single line within the budget and said that they were elected on the basis of closing the budget gap
and going for all those lines and opportunities for income.
I was asked what car parks do we not charge for?
when was the last time we increased car park charges and not been some time, and therefore the portfolio at the time then gave a clear steer of areas that they wanted to officers to work up
in order to raise additional income, and that came forward in what was called the in-year budget review report in July 22 came to this committee, it went to a Cabinet meeting and that was the iteration of that process, it was a member direction because it was in effect it was a change in direction from from the previous years.
is that, as who questioned the as to the direction the policy came from, I think we should be looking for yeah, yeah, brilliant OK,
are there any other questions?
no, OK, thank you, members, and do you wish to move into discussion, are there any points that Members wish to make at this stage?
I know you're going to anyway because you'd like to note things in these meetings, but if you could note that the Jane has confirmed that the legislation will allow for the parking
PR too many to be used for improvements in that area from I've got that wording right improvements or corrections I think I used earlier and it'd be great and appreciated thank you.
thank you, Matthew, see, I'm nothing, if not vigilant, in minute-taking.
are there any other discussion points that people would like to make?
I don't see any so, I think I think we probably exhausted that subject,
let's move on to the recommendations and members.
so the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet are that Cabinet note the Quarter 1 net expenditure on services yesterday was
2.6 6 6 million
1 million, or 98,000 less than budget, that Cabinet note that by year end the Council anticipates net expenditure of 50.837 million on services, this forecast is 1.001 million pounds under budget.
3 that Cabinet note that by year end, the Council anticipates receiving an increase in funding of 1.248 million due to additional investment interest, overall, this means an improvement to budget of 2.249 million, the Council will transfer 1.832 million of this to earmarked reserves and 417,000 will reduce the budget deficit that was to be met from reserves
he are we agreed.
the motion was carried

9 Capital Management Report - Quarter 1

so we'll now move on to agenda item 9, the Capital Management report for Quarter 1, and I'm handing over back to Jane I believe,
thank you so Cabinet originally approved capital expenditure of 12.6 million for 23 24 but by the end of 22 23 the programme had moved to 22 million. this was following additions deletions and deferrals it prevented at the end of 22 23,
New movements for 23 24 laid out in this report are now forecasting an outturn of 19.1 million
year to date only 628,000 pounds has been spent, so there is much work to be done if this programme is to be completed this year.
3.2 million is forecast to be rescheduled into 24 25, and this consists mainly of 2 million pounds for disabled facilities, grants and 800,000 for the Great Hall car park.
the report includes one new request for approval that's relating to 23 24, and this is 219,000 for the Weald Leisure Centre, decarbonisation scheme.
and finally, to confirm that there were no capital receipts in quarter 1, thank you.
thank you questions for doing.
I noticed that the future use of 9. as the last 10 Calvary terrorists is undecided, it says that the Budget 2000 to 111,000 is being moved until there is clarification,
I was wondering what the clarification is and what the timescale for that clarification is.
so night-time Calverley Terrace was identified as an asset as surplus to requirements in the Council's Asset Management Plan.
the Council gave an opportunity to the Civic Society, gave them a 12 month opportunity to come up with a business plan for the a use that they wish to put Calvin Harris to.
that 12 months is as it has now expired, and the intention is to get a steer from cabinet of whether they now still wish to dispose of nine to 10 Calverley Terrace.
that the reason for taking the funding out to the capital programme is because there is no intention in this financial year to reopen BA or multiple, building and carry out capital expenditure, sorry, we are awaiting a Cabinet decision of whether to still proceed with the disposal of that building, but there's no intention at this moment in time to carry out any capital works to reopen the facility.
thank you, so essentially, no decision has been taken, it is to be taken by Cabinet at some time in the future in terms of whether those buildings will be put up for sale, and they're not currently up for sale.
absolutely correct, so the Constitution sets out how disposals of assets have to be approved and the process that takes place, so disposal of any asset will require a Cabinet report to complete that disposal, and there'd be a recommendation, there'd be exempt reports and sets out the value of that asset and whether it's in the Council's best interests to dispose or not office will give a view but it will be for Cabinet decide whether to go ahead and dispose of any asset of that value.
do any of the questions.
I don't see any so would Members like to discuss this or shall we move to the recommendations
I think yeah, I'm getting a clear steer from you that we would like to move the recommendation, so let's let's go for those then so.
I think we're on them.
just checking him on the right page, I am OK so recommendations to go forward to Cabinet on number 1, that Cabinet note the actual gross and net expenditure for the year, and the sources of finance, as shown in Appendices B to D the Cabinet approved the proposed variations to the capital programme set out in note for point 3 and 3 that Cabinet approve the proposed movement between years set out in note for point 4 are we agreed?

10 Treasury and Prudential Indicator Management Report - Quarter 1

thank you, Members, the motion is carried.
so I think we're coming to the
final report now, which is the treasury and prudential indicator management report Quarter 1 and Jane will also introduced this report, thank you.
thank you the focused at time for interest from investments in bank interest for 23 24 is 2.6 6 8 million, an increase of 1.2 4 8 million from the approved budget of 1 point for 2 million.
this is due to an increase in interest rates and an increase in the funds available to invest
the bank interest rates set by the Bank of England was 4.5% at the start of the year, but this has increased to 5% by the end of quarter 1
on the 3rd of August, interest rates were increased by a further point to 5% to take the current rate to 5.2 5
the Council achieved an actual interest rate of 4.5% in quarter 1 and this was compared to the original budget of 3.0 7 showing that we have actively taken full advantage of the interest rates on offer.
the average funds available for investment were budgeted to be 46.2 million for 23 24, but by the end of quarter 1 we had 59.2 million available
this is mainly due to a number of the projects on the capital programme being deferred from 22 23 due to the lack of resources to deliver them.
the 9 million investment with the property fund was valued at 10.00.2000000 as at the 31st of March 23, and it still is by the end of quarter 1,
the dividend paid was a net interest rate of 5.3%, which is very close to what can now be achieved risk free from other investments. the Council is therefore served notice on the investment and will sell the units currently held in the fund at the end of September 23
and, finally, just to confirm that none of the prudential indicators were breached in quarter 1. Thank you.
thank you any questions for during.
I don't think so.
so would members wish to discuss this any further?
well, I think it's just one comment, and that is well done, thank you very much.
thank you very much so.
I think we move to the recommendations and doubly so.
number 1, the recommendations to go forward to Cabinet or Cabinet note the treasury, management and prudential indicator position for 2023 24 to that Cabinet note, the forecast for investment and bank interest is 2.668 million, an increase of 1.248 million from the approved budget of 1.420 million
members are we agreed?
motion is carried,

11 Showfields, Tunbridge Wells - Disposal of Parcels of Land

12 Urgent Business

so an urgent business item 12.

13 Date of Next Meeting

I can confirm that there is no such urgent business, and that leaves the final item, which is the date of the next meeting, the next meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, the 10th of October at 6.30,
and that concludes the meeting, thank you very much. Members and officers.