Agenda and minutes

Finance Advisory Committee
Tuesday, 24th May, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Argyle Road, Sevenoaks. View directions

Contact: Email: Democratic.Services@sevenoaks.gov.uk 01732 227199 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman

Minutes:

Resolved: That Cllr. Searles be appointed as Chairman of the Committee for 2016/17.

 

 (Cllr. Searles in the Chair)

 

2.

Appointment of Vice Chairman

Minutes:

Resolved: That Cllr. Scholey be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the ensuing municipal year.

 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 April 2016, as a correct record.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting of the Finance Advisory Committee held on 18 April 2016 be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

Any interest not already registered

Minutes:

No additional declarations of interest were made.

 

5.

Actions from Previous Meeting

Minutes:

There were none.

 

6.

Update from Portfolio Holder

Minutes:

The Chairman and Portfolio Holder for Finance updated Members that he had attended a meeting of the Municipal Bond Agency on 23 May 2016. The Agency was doing very well and the first £200 million bond was expected to be issued in October 2016. He hoped that a report on adopting a framework would be brought to an upcoming meeting to allow the Council to lend or borrow money from the agency.

 

The Chairman was due to attend a meeting regarding local Government Finance at the House of Commons, for which he would report back in the future.

 

Regarding property development he had approved further refurbishment of Suffolk House, Sevenoaks and Swanley Working Men's Club was being demolished.

 

7.

Referral from Cabinet or the Audit committee

Minutes:

There were none.

 

8.

Introduction to Facilities Management - Presentation pdf icon PDF 480 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Parking and Surveying gave a presentation on the Facilities Management Team. It set out the roles of the Team, including the Front Desk, Post Room, Revenues and Benefits and Corporate Scanning as well as Asset Maintenance, the performance of the Team and the challenges ahead.

 

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 19:14 in order to allow Members additional reading time to consider the Equality Impact Assessment tabled as appendix C to the report on agenda item 9 ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme’. The meeting reconvened at 19:18.

 

9.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Revenue & Benefits presented a report that updated Members on the progress that had been made on the review of the Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme. In 2013 a three year scheme was introduced, which had been rolled on to 2016/17, but a new scheme was required thereafter.

 

The Kent Finance Officers’ group, together with an external consultant, had investigated the options for a new scheme. They had taken into account objectives to make the scheme less costly and more efficient and to have regard to the impact of changes on vulnerable residents and target support for those most in need. An Equality Impact Assessment was tabled for Members’ consideration.

 

Prior to the implementation of any change to CTRS, authorities were required to consult with the public. Members were asked to agree the options which were to be consulted on and to give delegated authority to the Chief Finance Officer and Finance Portfolio Holder to finalise the consultation material. The Head of Revenues & Benefits explained that a number of the proposed options for the consultation in Appendix B were to ensure that CTRS realigned with Housing Benefit regulations, for the ease of customers. A Minimum Income Floor for self-employed claimants was to align with Universal Credit.

 

The Chairman suggested that the Council not consult on including Child Benefit and Child Maintenance in the assessment of income, due to the impact they would have on households with children.

 

Members discussed the level of support which should be given to self-employed people if their businesses were unsuccessful. Officers advised that their accounts would usually be accepted if certified.

 

The Committee also considered the introduction of a band cap at the equivalent of a Band D charge and noted that affected residents may be able to move to lower banded properties.

 

Members raised concerns at the number of options residents would reasonably be able to consider during the consultation.

 

Public Sector Equality Duty

 

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty and that residents may fall into more than one category of affected person.

 

Resolved:  That it be recommended to Cabinet that

 

a)     the work undertaken thus far within Kent collectively, the  resultant Options Appraisal set out in Appendix A to the report and the Kent Finance Officers’ group recommendation that any new Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme should be based on the current scheme but with a series of potential modifications upon which should be consulted on, be noted;

b)     a consultation be launched on the potential introduction of a range of modifications to the current CTR Scheme for working age claimants as follows

i)         increasing the minimum contribution rate for working age claimants to 20% or (up to) 25%;

ii)       introducing a Minimum Income Floor for self-employed claimants (based upon the living wage at 35 hours per week for full time or 16 hours a week for part-time workers);

iii)      reducing the capital limit to £6,000;

iv)      introducing a band  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Provisional Outturn 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance presented the provisional financial outturn figures for 2015/16 which would be presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 9 June 2016. It requested that funding for essential stabilisation works at Otford Palace Tower be funded through the Budget Stabilisation Reserve to allow a prudent level of £1.5 million in the General Fund Reserve.

 

The Head of Finance updated Members that the actual figure for retained business rates would be £120,000 rather than the provisional £150,000.

 

Members reviewed the explanations provided by Chief Officers for variances between their budgets and actual income and expenditure for 2015/16.

 

Public Sector Equality Duty

 

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

 

Resolved: That

 

a)   the outturn report for 2015/16 be noted; and

 

b)   it be recommended to Cabinet that funding for the Otford Palace Tower be taken from the Budget Stabilisation Fund and not from the General Fund Reserve.

 

11.

Financial Performance Indicators 2015/16 to the end of March 2016 pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance presented a report which detailed the internally set performance indicators as at the end of March 2016, which Members considered.

 

 Resolved:  That the report be noted.

 

12.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 17 KB

Minutes:

Members noted that a report on the triennial pension fund valuation was expected by the meeting of the Committee on 15 November 2016. The work plan was noted.

 

 

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