The Chairman advised the Q4 Budget Monitoring Report was for the 2017/18 period.
Cllr McLean asked for clarification on switching Revenue to Capital. N Howcutt advised that this could be done as it was the Housing Revenue Account.
Cllr Douris mentioned that he would like to see all the other meetings this report has been to in the title. N Howcutt noted the request and would consider this going forward. M Brookes added that the other meetings were also included in the Consultees section.
Cllr Wyatt-Lowe requested that underspends always had a narrative. N Howcutt to include in future reports.
Action: N Howcutt
There were some concerns raised regarding the presentation of the report, including the paragraph numbering and the changes in the font. N Howcutt apologised as he thought this issue had been fixed. N Howcutt to ensure report presented correctly.
Action: N Howcutt
Cllr Wyatt-Lowe also queried the lease terms and using a developer for the CRM system while relying on an in house designer.
N Howcutt will confirm the lease issues.
Action N Howcutt
N Howcutt added that in terms of in-house use of developer, he had been here three months and he had found the in-house team very effective.
B Trueman clarified that ICT Project Management was already handled in-house but that we had been unsuccessful in recruiting a CRM Developer to a fixed term position. For this reason an agency resource was being sourced from Pertemps. As this approach is more expensive per day, greater emphasis is being placed on ensuring detailed instructions are in place for the developer.
Cllr Tindall commented on the condition of the greens and verges and enquired if this was due to the difficulty of recruiting Clean, Safe and Green Officers. Cllr Tindall asked if the issue can be overcome there is a rise in the number of calls he is getting about this problem.
Cllr Harden understood that there was a six week rota which is being carried out, the problem is that the weather, the sun and the rain, was creating perfect growing conditions. Cllr Harden added that if you have an issue, flag up to Simon Coultas, as he is always willing to help if he can.
Cllr Tindall said that despite the recruitment difficulties he would like the condition of the greens and verges explained. N Howcutt advised that this report was the Quarter 4 outturn when there would not have been a lot of grass cutting. Cllr Tindall requested a report be presented at the next meeting.
Action: Member Support
Cllr Tindall raised concerns about using Council properties for homelessness. He suggested that this needs to be reviewed frequently.
N Howcutt advised that using council stock is a last resort, it is a temporary solution and a way of using assets that might not otherwise be able to be used. The next steps are dependent on the investigation if the person is offered more permanent accommodation this is possibly going to be in the private rented sector.
Cllr Douris wanted to add a couple of words about the grass cutting. He said he is acutely aware of the issues with the weather, creating a perfect storm, and he said that he would resist the opportunity to complain. Also the other problem was that the grass clumps when it is cut and it can’t be picked up as it would be too costly.
Councillor Taylor mentioned for the benefit of all Cllrs that Natasha Beresford may be able to expand on the use of Council stock for temporary accommodation at the Member Development evening.
Cllr Tindall asked what the problem was with the de-pooling of service charges. N Howcutt responded that the split out of rents and service charges was undertaken on inaccurate details of communal areas. A consultant has now reviewed the communal areas and there has been further work undertaken to assess the information. This has resulted in there being more certainty on the charges for 2018/19.
Cllr Tindall enquired about the repairs and maintenance underspend on planned work and if this affected the condition of the stock, also he would like to know why there is an overspend on responsive. N Howcutt confirmed that the condition of the stock was good and a decision had been made to reduce the planned work, to ensure that resources could cope with the planned and responsive, the planned work has been re-profiled and will be added into future years.
The Chairman wanted to know what improvements had been undertaken to contribute to the £190k income generation due to the incentive payment on waste services and how we sat with the nine other local authorities that were included in the scheme. N Howcutt advised he would provide a breakdown.
Action: N Howcutt
Cllr Elliott highlighted that he had seen many companies in the private sector with their year end outturn and he would like to compliment the expertise at Dacorum, he was confident that this would continue.
The Chairman asked for the recommendations to be agreed.
1. To carry forward the unspent reserve funded budget from 2017/18 to 2018/19.
2. The use of the Housing Review Account surplus to fund an increased Revenue Contribution to Capital.
All agreed the recommendations.