Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny - Tuesday, 4th October, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 255 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed by the members present and then signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence


There were no apologies for absence.


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.



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




Action points from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 12 KB


The Chairman made a plea to officers to ensure that their action points were completed before the next meeting to avoid delays.



Medium Term Financial Strategy

Nigel Howcutt, Chief Finance Officer, will provide a presentation on this item.


N Howcutt presented an outline of the Medium Term Financial Strategy. The latest iteration of the MTFS employed a framework largely unchanged from previous versions. The new challenges involved, firstly, macro-economic factors. Inflation was around 10%, and was projected by some sources to increase to as high as 12%. DBC and Hertfordshire County Council were in discussions with Unions over salary measures including pay rises and other allowances such as an additional day of annual leave. This varied slightly across different agencies.

Overall, the macro-economic climate had led to an additional £1.2 million of expenditure in DBC's budget. Borrowing rates were projected to be around 2.6% higher, which would mean DBC's investments would require a greater return in order to be cost-effective.

Underpinning medium-term government funding assumptions was the expectation that funding would decrease, and the MTFS would impact this, though DBC had been ahead of other Councils from a funding perspective and was not expected to fall behind the curve. As a result of this, DBC was not expected to be a priority in terms of any additional funding from central government. 

In reaction to these financial pressures, measures in several areas were provided for in the MTFS. Of note, several measures were in place to enact a projected £1.4 million saving on the delivery of waste management services.

The effects of the Covid pandemic continued to be reflected in use of local services, including car parking.

£300k of additional income was anticipated from additional reserves made available for investment, given increasing interest rates.

Plans for the development of a local leisure centre had been postponed until 2023-24, with the associated expenditure thereby not taking place in 2022-23.

A decision had been made to fund the vehicle replacement programme through capital and internal borrowing, which was a prudent financial move but would not affect the overall funding for the programme.

A large amount of efficiencies would need to be delivered over the coming year, and any shortcoming in this regard would require additional capital reserves.

It was expected that there would be a Government revaluation as expected in 2022-23, but that an interest rate reset would not take place.

In terms of the reserves position, the reserves were intended for one-off expenditures. DBC had not committed as much in 2021-22 as it had in previous years, relying on its core reserves. A 20% reduction had been seen in the Councils' reserves in the last 20 years, meaning DBC now had less resilience than it had historically. This was broadly attributed to the need for additional expenditure to meet the demands of Covid.

The change and transformation agenda set out extensive measures to reduce expenditure across the Council. The commercial programme would aim to increase income and diversify income streams.

Reserves continued to be used for one-off expenditures and were at present sufficient to meet the Council's objectives, though there was a risk in the longer term and so the priority was to enact a sustainable medium-term plan.

In summary,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 216 KB


The Chairman asked members to let him know if they had any requests for additional items on the work programme.

Councillor Tindall asked for a presentation on CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy).

The Chairman responded that reports on CIL would go to the Strategic Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (SPAE OSC). He reminded members that they could attend any of the OSC meetings if they wished to.

J Doe advised that the governance arrangements for CIL were being reviewed and the policy would need to go through SPAE OSC, Cabinet and Council for scrutiny and approval. He said he would circulate the link to the current policy to assist members with their queries. Action.