Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny - Wednesday, 2nd February, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting on 1 December 2021.


The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 



Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Allen, Douris and Symington.   



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]



There were no declarations of interest.



Public Participation

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


There was no public participation.



Action points from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 110 KB


All action points from the previous meeting had been resolved.



Budget proposals 2022-2023 pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt gave a presentation on the 2022-2023 budget setting process and the impact of the changes to the local government finance settlement. 




Cllr Townsend queried how the Council’s budgeting assumptions have altered based on the changes to inflation and interest rates since December.  N Howcutt stated that Treasury Advisers are not expecting significant changes to interest rates over the next 12 months.  They are currently at 0.25%, providing a return of 0.2% on Dacorum’s investments in the first half of the year.  Dacorum’s budgeting assumptions have therefore not changed in response to this.  The Council’s assumptions have also not changed regarding inflation.  The budget has allowed for a 2.5% inflation in salaries, which is higher than is expected.  A 5% inflation is factored in for utilities.  Inflation for utilities is expected to decrease during the second half of 2022-2023.  N Howcutt noted that Dacorum’s assumptions are robust and will continue to be monitored. 


It was queried whether the rent guarantee reserve was time limited, as it has been left at 0.  N Howcutt clarified that as the reserve had not been used for several years, it was felt appropriate to move the rent management reserve into the management of change reserve. 


It was questioned what the training and development reserve will be used for in this financial year.  N Howcutt specified that the level of the reserve was increased in the last year.  Little will come out of it in 2022-2023, but withdrawals will include £75,000 for the apprenticeship scheme and the National Graduate Development Programme.  It is not considered necessary to increase the reserve again in 2022-2023. 


Cllr Birnie asked what mitigations are in place to guard against unexpected inflation.  N Howcutt stated that this would be mitigated through fiscal management.  If there is an over-spend in Q1, negotiations would begin with services, assistant directors, and directors to reduce their costs.  These budgetary control processes have received a gold star rating.  If these costs cannot be mitigated in the first half of the year, proposals will be produced for funding these extra costs.  N Howcutt noted that reserves should not be used to fund ongoing pressures, but are instead for one-off investments.  Reserves would only be used in the short-term through the revenue monitoring session. 


Cllr Birnie commented that the presentation did not include enough information about the movement of reserves.  N Howcutt stated that these had been highlighted to members in December, and would be shown clearly in the final budget report given to cabinet.  This presentation only showed the difference between December and now.  This is to ensure all members are clear on what reserves are currently held.


Cllr Suqlain Mahmood noted that the government’s Levelling Up proposals should not affect Dacorum too much.  N Howcutt agreed, noting that local government funding is unlikely to increase.  As Dacorum is classed as the ‘East of England’, it is one of the regions that will benefit from Levelling Up, but its proximity to London may make it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 182 KB


The Chairman advised there were no updates to the work programme.