Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny - Tuesday, 4th February, 2020 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting


The minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2019 were agreed and then signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Adeleke, Sobaan Mahmood and Townsend.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -


(i)            must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent


and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial


(ii)           may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members


[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]



Councillor Douris declared an interest as a company he has an interest in rents two commercial garages from DBC.



Public Participation

An opportunity for members of the public to make statements or ask questions in accordance with the rules as to public participation




Consideration of any matter referred to the committee in relation to call-in




Budget preparations 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Elliot introduced the item and read the following statement:


“2019/20 has been another productive year in the finance and resources division. The Service is set to deliver on key KPI’s but special note should be made to:

-       The Revenues and Benefits service on achieving the targeted collection rates on council tax and business rates to ensure the major funding streams achieve the expected returns.


-       The Commercial Assets team for ensuring uncharacteristically high occupancy in the council’s commercial portfolio of over 600 assets, and hence providing much needed income to support the good quality front line services DBC aspires to deliver.


-       The Finance support team have provided good quality, timely financial support to ensure members supported by officers have the tools to enable decisive decision making and good fiscal management.


Looking Forward to 2020/21, the year ahead in the finance and resources division is set to be yet another challenging year but one that the service is very well prepared for.


The Budget papers on the agenda tonight show very few changes to that presented to Scrutiny in December. A combination of good early budget decision making by members and accurate financial modelling have resulted in very little requirement to make changes to the previously presented budget proposals. These proposals are in line with the approved Medium Term Financial strategy and detail a stretching yet achievable budget for 2020/21.


There are many challenges ahead in the Finance and Resources Portfolio in 20/21 that the services are planned and prepared to tackle.


The Financial Services team are expecting the conclusion of the fair funding review in year, this will be the single biggest change to local authority funding in a generation. The completion of the fair funding review is expected to provide a more definitive understanding of medium term Local Authority funding, and specifically provide the clear future funding streams available. The outcome of the Fair funding review is expected to make changes to business rates retention and central government grants.


The current DBC Medium Term Financial Strategy, outlines the council’s prudent approach to central government funding with an expectation of DBC being self-sufficient by 2022/23. The finance service will continue to work closely with MHCLG and lobbying partners to update members as and when new information and guidance is produced.


In 20/21 the Revenues and Benefits Service will continue to evolve the services to residents and will be developing more web based services in regards to council tax and revenues that will improve the overall customer experience.


At present 1/3rd of resident contacts in regards to council tax are via the internet and the aim is to increase the volume of service contact via the internet, through improved functionality and customer experience. 


The benefits service will continue to react and evolve during 20/21 as central government policy changes are announced, with close attention in particular to Brexit and the ongoing roll out of Universal Credit by September 2024.


The Commercial Assets and Property Development service will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Budget Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt introduced the item and highlighted the key points within the budget monitoring report.


The Chairman said he found the executive summary really useful and asked for it to be continued. N Howcutt agreed.


There were no questions.




The report was noted.



Garage programme pdf icon PDF 99 KB


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 4 on page 102 and suggested the word ‘cosmetic’ wasn’t a good word to use. He then referred to paragraph 6 regarding the disposal of a further 7 sites and asked where the sites were. N Howcutt said he would circulate that information to members.                                   Action: N Howcutt


Councillor Guest asked if it would be made clear in the market strategy that you do not need to be a DBC tenant to rent a garage. N Howcutt confirmed it would be made clear.


Councillor Tindall felt that we needed to stress that garages were not for commercial use. N Howcutt said he would feed that comment back.


Councillor Tindall asked for reassurance that all garages that are offered to tenants as alternatives would be fit for purpose. N Howcutt said the process had changed significantly in recent months; the specification and pictures of the garage would be provided in advance and also a one month rent free would be given.


Councillor Barrett asked if the 7 sites being disposed of were generally marketed or if discussions had taken place with one purchaser. N Howcutt advised they were being sold to one single Housing Association and the value they’re paying was in excess of the evaluation. They will also be providing affordable housing to the Borough.


Councillor Douris said he knew DBC had designated commercial garages and asked if the marketing material represented all garages or just the domestic garages. N Howcutt confirmed it referred to domestic garages only.




The report was noted.



Performance of the Leisure Contract


Full details can be found in the Part 2 Minutes.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 96 KB


There were no changes to the current work programme.


A report on allotments to be added to the work programme in the summer.