• Calendar
  • Committees
  • Constitution
  • Decisions
  • Election results
  • ePetitions
  • Forthcoming Decisions
  • Forward Plans
  • Library
  • Meetings
  • Outside bodies
  • Search documents
  • Statistics
  • Subscribe to updates
  • Your councillors
  • Your MPs
  • Your MEPs
  • What's new
  • Work to do
  • Agenda and draft minutes

    Extraordinary, Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 9 February 2021 6.00 pm

    Venue: Video conference call

    Contact: Michelle Beaumont  Email: m.beaumont@spelthorne.gov.uk

    Link: Members of the public may hear the proceedings by tuning into the Council's YouTube channel

    Items
    No. Item

    35/21

    Disclosures of Interest

    To receive any disclosures of interest from councillors in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct for members.

    Minutes:

    There were none.

    36/21

    Draft Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 241 KB

    The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

     

    1.    Note the working draft of the Capital Strategy 2021.

     

    2.    Provide any recommendations on how the Strategy could be improved and amended to Cabinet for them to consider prior to the report going to Cabinet on 24 February and Council on 25 February 2021.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chief Accountant introduced the report and drew the Committee’s attention to the key aspects and explained that the details of how officers had arrived at the figures stated was set out in section three. The Chief Accountant informed members that the Chief Financial Officer is satisfied that the Council have complied with the CIPFA code and legislation as set stated in section eight.

     

    The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Buttar, was invited to address the Committee. Councillor Buttar informed the Committee the Council had listened to members views and tried to incorporate them.

     

    In response to members questions the Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that a detailed breakdown of the figures by Portfolio Holder would be going to Council along with appendices containing additional information including the comparison of Council Tax with Surrey County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner and a year-on-year breakdown.

     

    Members expressed the view that it was not clear what would be covered by the £1 million for contingency issues relating to COVID-19 and expressed concern that as a result of COIVID-19 there had been an  increase in domestic violence and financial hardship and sought assurance that there would be provision for supporting these areas whilst noting that, as a borough council, the Council was not the lead authority for addressing domestic abuse.

     

    The Deputy Chief Executive informed members that the Family Support team, which had expanded, did encounter domestic abuse issues with some of the families they work with and it was anticipated that other frontline staff would encounter some domestic abuse issues, but that staff did receive training and support. Members were advised that the Grants Panel had considered the range of issues generated by COVID-19 and that these issues were taken into account in the recommendations on grant allocations to Cabinet and that the report to Cabinet would be published on 16 February. The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the report did include the details of a grant towards the Citizens Advice Bureau and that the Council makes contributions to Surrey domestic violence support.

     

    The Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Community Wellbeing and Housing, Councillor Attewell, was invited to comment and confirmed that there were concerns that Housing Associations would take action against those in rent arrears when they were able to do so and that a COVID-19 Recovery Plan  was being worked on.

     

    In response to further questions the Deputy Chief Executive explained that the residents may be eligible for Council Tax Support if their income is negatively impacted which would result in the Council receiving less council tax income. He advised that the government had provided some grant funding to cover this but if pressures were higher than anticipated this would need to be covered by the COVID-19 contingency fund.  

     

    Members queried provision for external audit and if the risk had been legally assessed. The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that the risk had not been legally assessed but that was a prudent precaution to ensure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36/21

    37/21

    Detailed Revenue Budget pdf icon PDF 341 KB

    To scrutinise the Detailed Revenue Budget for 2021/22 prior to it being considered by Cabinet on 24 February 2021.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chief Accountant introduced the report and drew the Committees attention to the key aspects and explained that the details of how officers had arrived at the figures stated was set out in section three. The Chief Accountant informed members that the Chief Financial Officer is satisfied that the Council have complied with the CIPFA code and legislation as set stated in section eight.

     

    The portfolio holder for Finance, Councillor Buttar, was invited to address the Committee. Councillor Buttar informed the Committee the Council had listened to members views and tried to incorporate them.

     

    In response to members questions the Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that a detailed breakdown of the figures by portfolio holder would be going to Council along with appendices containing additional information including the comparison of Council Tax with Surrey County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner and a year on year breakdown.

     

    Members expressed the view that it was not clear what would be covered by the 1 million set aside for issues relating to COVID and expressed concern at the increase in domestic violence and financial hardship and sought assurance that there would be provision for supporting these areas.

     

    The Deputy Chief Executive informed members that the family support team had expanded and it was anticipated that other frontline staff would encounter some issues but this was being addressed. Members were advised that the grants panel had considered the range of issues generated by COVID and that these issues would be addressed in a report to Cabinet that would be published on 16 February. The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the report did include the details of a grant towards the Citizens Advice Bureau and that the Council did make contributions to Surrey domestic violence support.

     

    The Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Community Wellbeing and Housing, Councillor Attewell, was invited to comment and confirmed that there were concerns that Housing Associations would take action against those in rent arrears when they were able to do so and that a COVID recovery report  was being worked on.

     

    In response to further questions the Deputy Chief Executive explained that the residents may be eligible for Council Tax support if their income is negatively impacted which would result in additional financial and staffing pressures. He advised that the government had provided some funding but any additional costs would need to be covered by the COVID contingency fund.  

     

    Members queried the funds set aside for litigation and if the risk had been legally assessed. The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that the risk had not been legally assessed but that was a prudent precaution to ensure funds were available if the issue could not be resolved.

     

    In response to members questions the Chief Accountant explained that it was generally accepted that unused contingencies could go back into the general fund and Councillors would be asked to agree any proposed spend.

     

    Members asked the Deputy Chief Executive if he could explain the large  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37/21