Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny - Tuesday, 5th July, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meetings.

Additional documents:


The Chairman advised that the minutes had been circulated and asked if these could be taken as an accurate record.


Councillor Claughton referred to item 10 on page 18. He wanted to make an amendment regarding the absence due to stress and anxiety and stated that, according to the minutes, he had said it was unsurprising given the pandemic and asked for a deep-dive of the analysis to provide the reasons for the increase, which sounded as though he had already answered his own question. He noted that the Council had undergone significant change recently and they were trying to unscramble what was due to Covid and what was due to changes in the Council. The Secretary had been notified of the proposed amendment.


The Chairman said the proposed amendment would be clarified by the secretary. There were no other comments on the minutes.


The Chairman then asked whether everybody had seen all of the action points and responses.


Councillor Townsend referred to the action point regarding action point part 1 on page 2. He said that an assertion was made that the DBC-owned car parks include the Old School Yard in Tring, but he believed that they are owned by Tring Town Council and raised this point for clarification.


The Chairman asked B Hosier if he agreed with Councillor Townsend’s point of clarity. B Hosier replied he did.


Councillor Tindall said he understood that the County Council were reluctant about EV on-street chargers. Councillor Tindall wondered if this had any impact on what the Council were doing about EV chargers. He noted that there were narrow streets throughout the borough and that residents could be disadvantaged if the Council couldn't finish putting in on-street EV chargers in the future when technology allows.


B Hosier replied to Councillor Tindall by saying that, in order for the Council to install EV charger points, they need the landowner's permission and Hertfordshire County Council Highways will not give the Council that permission currently. B Hosier then stated that this is why the decision has been made to place the EVCPs in car parks which are in the Council's ownership, apart from the Old School Yard car park.


The Chairman said he would need to double check whether some of the action points were actually information points and an opportunity to ask further questions. This is something he wanted to take away to think about before the next meeting.


An information point was raised by Councillor Claughton regarding the question asked about face-to-face customer services in Berkhamsted and Tring, and the fact that they've been reintroduced had been widely advertised. He said he had had a very helpful response from H Peacock, setting out the way in which the services were advertised. He stated that, apart from physical posters being put up at the locations, all the other means of promulgating the change were digital. This had been pointed out to H Peacock, saying that the people who are most likely to want face-to-face  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Arslan and Suqlain Mahmood. Councillor Peter substituted for Councillor Suqlain Mahmood.


The Chairman advised Councillor Chapman would be arriving late to the meeting.



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]



The Chairman asked that any declarations of interest should be addressed as they arise during the meeting.



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.



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




Action points from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:


The action points were discussed under agenda item 1 (minutes).



Provisional Outturn report pdf icon PDF 550 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt expressed his thanks to his wider finance team for working diligently to produce the provisional financial outturn, and the financial statement for 2021/2022. N Howcutt stated that the Council was, yet again, on course to be one of the first councils in the country to get audited accounts, and that there were only 5% or 6% of councils that do this.


N Howcutt noted that the report in front of members was a provisional outturn which outlines any significant changes from the reports seen throughout the year. The headline is that the Council has a surplus on the general fund at year end of about £565,000; this was predominantly brought about by the year end working around cost related to the general fund and HRA, and that split being more focused on HRA than the general fund. Following discussions with the leader and cabinet members, it had been recommended that the funds were put into a specific earmarked reserve to allow the Council to fund any in-year inflationary pressures that may be suffered given the current economic climate. From N Howcutt's perspective, this seemed a very sensible thing to do, while still working out how the cost of living crisis may impact the various areas. This has also helped them to respond to questions around what the Council was doing to respond to inflation.


N Howcutt noted that there were no other significant points to note regarding the rest of the report, apart from technical changes around capital accounting. N Howcutt stated that the outturn was in line with what was expected. There are pressures this year, some of which relate to things such as the waste service, partly through Covid and partly through development and growth in the borough, which is when there will be increased demand on that service area. In addition to this, other areas that were spoken about during the year, in terms of income collection, for example car parking, some of these issues are expected to carry on into 2022 and 2023, and N Howcutt stated that the quarter 1 report will be coming to members in September.


Councillor Townsend stated that at a previous meeting, he had raised a concern about the general funds being kept flat, and that at the end of the year the Council come up with reserves and the amount of reserve is always equal to the surplus. He said he had previously asked the question, but wanted to ask again, whether it has been confirmed with external auditors that this is appropriate.


N Howcutt responded that, because the Council had been very efficient with the accounts, the external auditors started last Monday and they would be going through the statements, decisions and policies put in place.


In terms of the end of year surplus, N Howcutt stated that it has to go somewhere, and that the only logical place for that to go is into a provision or reserve. In terms of the rationale for why that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Commercial Strategy update


Full details can be found in the Part 2 Minutes.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 230 KB


There were no changes to the work programme.


There being no further business, the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.