Decision Maker: Audit
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
1. That Audit Committee note the carry forward of unspent reserve funded budgets from 2017/18 to 2018/19 (see Appendix D of the report to Cabinet, £315k slippage into 2018/19)
2. Note the use of the Housing Revenue Account surplus to fund an increased Revenue Contribution to Capital
NH introduced the item with a headline overview: thanked Fiona Jump and her team and drew attention to the recommendations agreed by Cabinet and designed to address slippage around the reserved funds area.
He then listed the main elements slippage in the capital budget and added that there will be a Q1 review of the capital spend to identify areas for improvement.
Cllr Tindall expressed his concerns that slippage indicates work that has been put off (sometimes for good reason) but it can result in increased costs further down the line. He said the result of taking money from planned expenditure now, could lead to a delay that causes greater expense in the future. NH acknowledged the councillor’s point though he recognises that in the past it was not possible to do all the things in the planned expenditure. Cllr Tindall gave para 4.8 as his example – planned maintenance put off now will lead to greater costs down the line. NH explained that in this case much of these works covered responsive repairs and we can afford to let them slip a little as good performance had enabled us to be somewhat ahead of the game. Cllr Tindall pressed: that para 4.8 indicates that DBC is experiencing pressure to carry out disabled facilities adaptions. NH returned that some of the work is reactive, carried out to cover recent unexpected instances. Cllr Tindall accepted this and suggested DBC try to come to an arrangement with HCC and the NHS to better plan the necessary works.
Cllr Birnie pointed out an apparent contradiction between Para 5.1 and 5.2 regarding (Building Control and Development Management. CT responded that these are two elements of the same issue – applicants can go to other organisations and we are unable to recruit so people are going elsewhere. Employing temporary staff costs significant amounts and the number of schemes is going down. In effect there is an increase in expenditure and a decrease in income.
Regarding Para 8.8, Cllr Birnie questioned the £90k spent on feasibility studies as Government Policy militates against new-build. NH responded that these studies are looking for ways to find/fund find sites where we can build and improve building numbers within government guidelines.
The committee then considered money reallocated for recruitment of a customer relationship manager/developer which is being done internally rather than by an external consultant. Cllr Douris expressed concerns regarding this as employing a temporary developer has proved difficult and we are bringing it in house where he doubts we have the resource and abilities.
Action - NH agreed to come back to the committee with a response on why this direction is being considered.
Publication date: 31/05/2018
Date of decision: 31/05/2018
Decided at meeting: 31/05/2018 - Audit