Agenda and draft minutes

Legal & Democratic Services Advisory Committee
Tuesday, 17th October, 2017 7.00 pm

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

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

Items
No. Item

11.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2017, as a correct record.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes if the meeting of the Committee held on 19 June 2017 be approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

12.

Declarations of Interest

Any interests not already registered.

Minutes:

No additional declaration of interest were made.

13.

Actions from Previous Meeting (if any)

Minutes:

There were none.

14.

Update from Portfolio Holder pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder, and Chairman highlighted some key aspects from her update, and tabled recent legal successes. The Licencing Partnership was a finalist in the Association of Public Sector Excellence awards and discussions were taking place with the London Borough of Bromley for joining the Licensing Partnership.

 

In response to questions Members were advised that the Democratic Services Officer post was currently out for advert and the additional workload put on the rest of team appreciated.

15.

Referrals from Cabinet or the Audit Committee

Minutes:

There were none.

16.

Affordable Housing Company pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer of Communities and Business and Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented the report which sought authority to progress the proposal to set up an Affordable Housing Company. The report set out the need for such a company and explained the requirement for a sound business case to be developed and the likely company structure should a sound business case be proved. The Council transferred its social housing stock to West Kent Housing Association in 1989 and since that date had not its own housing revenue account. Therefore, the Council was not in a position to provide affordable housing or act as a social landlord in its own right.

 

The Housing Policy Manager advised that the Council’s recent Local Housing Needs study demonstrated the imbalance of affordable dwellings and the greatest need. Affordable housing included social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing. A potential funding source for the company, and an assumption used within the report was section 106 (S106) funding, which were financial contribution sought from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure. Ongoing management costs of the affordable housing company and its set up costs would be required to be found from elsewhere. Members were advised that Appendix A detailed the current position of S106 funding and examples of projects previously funded. It was anticipated that the Affordable Housing Company, if set up would complement the current projects.

 

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services advised that the council could incorporate its own affordable housing company and that it could be a subsidiary of the Council’s existing trading company through a holding company or as a ‘standalone’ company separate to Querus 7. The most cost effective set up would be following the model of Querus 7 including the same appointment of the same Trading Board, Board of Directors and Secretary and follow the same structures, policies and systems Querus 7 had established.  Specialist external advice was being sought to enable the business case to be developed.

 

Members discussed the report and asked questions of clarification. In response to questions Members were advised that if an affordable housing company was set up the company could decide on the criteria for those who would qualify for the affordable housing and the value of the rent. There was some concern that the figures provided for the amount of money received did not provide a balanced financial year and more money had been spent rather than what had been received. It was requested that further details of spending so far be provided.

 

Action1: Housing Policy Manager to provide the figures of monies received since 2011/2012 and when and where the money had been spent.

 

The need to balance the budget and social need was also discussed.  Members were advised that the consultant would be able to provide further information in regards to different scenarios put forward. Members discussed meeting the consultant.

 

Public Sector Equality Duty

Members noted that consideration had been given to impacts under the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Quercus 7 Limited - The Appointment of Observers to Board Meetings pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented a report which detailed the powers of the Trading Board of Quercus 7 for the appointment of non-voting observes to Quercus 7 Board meetings. The Shareholder Agreement allowed non-voting observes to be appointed to attend Board meetings and that the appointment of observers was exercised by the Trading Board with the approval of Quercus 7 Board’s approval.

 

In response to a question Members were advised that Members were entitled to attend the Annual General Meeting.

 

Resolved: that the report be noted.

18.

Member Training pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Corporate Resources presented a report which set out the results of the Member Training Survey that was carried out in March and April 2017. The survey had a 70% response rate and full responses were detailed in appendix A with a summary of areas on interest in appendix B.

 

Members discussed the training and how to make it accessible to as many Members as possible and discussed the timings and length of the sessions. Members were advised that discussions would take place with the relevant Committee Chairmen and Chief Officer as to when each training session should take place. The Chief Officer advised that he would investigate and quantify the resources required for recording training sessions.

 

Action 2: Chief Officer Corporate Services investigate and quantify the resources required for recording training sessions.

 

Resolved: That Member training programme was considered by the committee.

19.

Budget 2018/19: Service Dashboards and Service Change Impact Assessments (SCIAS) pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Finance Officer presented the report which set out updates to the 2018/19 budget within the existing framework of the 10-year budget and savings plan.  The report presented proposals that had been identified and needed to be considered, together with further suggestions made by the Advisory Committees, before finalising the budget for 2018/19.

 

Informed by the latest information from Government and discussions with Cabinet, it was proposed that the Council continued to set a revenue budget which assumed no funding from Government through the Revenue Support Grant or New Homes Bonus. This would result in the Council continuing to be financially self-sufficient as set out in its Corporate Plan.

 

To achieve this aim and to ensure a balanced budget position over the next 10-year period, whilst also increasing the Council’s ability to be sustainable beyond that time, a savings requirement of £100,000 per annum was included.   Other pressures, such as the public sector pay award, may result in a requirement for further savings.  Officers would continue to monitor these pressures and report the latest position to Cabinet in December.

No new growth and savings proposals had been put forward.  Members were given the opportunity to discuss and put any items forward.  Members also noted the growth and saving items suggested by the Advisory Committee the previous year as set out in Appendix F to the report and discussed possible additional savings through an additional partner in the Licensing Partnership.

 

Public Sector Equality Duty

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

 

Resolved:  That it be recommended to Cabinet that

a)     the saving proposal identified in appendix B (SCIA 04) be agreed; and

b)     there were no further suggestions for growth and savings applicable to this Advisory Committee.

 

20.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 20 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were advised that a report covering Brexit would be added to the 23 January 2018 meeting.

 

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