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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

31.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2021were approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

32.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Steve Good.

 

Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt substituted for Councillor Dan Levy.

33.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

34.

Participation of the Public

To receive any submissions from members of the public, in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure.

Minutes:

There was none.

35.

Cabinet report - Draft 2022/23 Budget pdf icon PDF 571 KB

Purpose

To consider the Cabinet report of 19 January 2022, along with an update from the Chief Finance Officer.

 

Recommendation

To decide on any comments to be passed to Cabinet before consideration of the final papers on 16 February 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the Cabinet report dated 19 January 2022 which had asked Members to consider the initial draft base budgets for 2022/23, fees and charges for 2022/23, adoption of the Council Tax base and the submission of the business rates return.

 

The Finance and Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee were asked to consider the Cabinet report, along with an update from the Chief Finance Officer and decided on any comments to be passed to Cabinet, prior to consideration of the final report in February.

 

The Chief Finance Officer introduced the report and provided Members with a number of updates including Treasury Income and additional growth items.

 

The Chairman referred to paragraph 1.4 of the report which related to the annual budget consultation and commented on the amount of written text received at the end of the submissions.  He felt this was interesting feedback and highlighted that the public were not always clear on the role of the District Council.

 

Officers provided clarification on the requests for growth and discussed the Future Oxfordshire Partnership costs.  The Chief Finance Officer explained that additional years’ funding was required to enable the administrative support needed to deliver projects.

 

In addition, further details were provided about the Air Quality work referred to in paragraphs 2.4 and 3.13.  The funding for this was required on a rolling basis to produce plans, which was being outsourced due to a lack of capacity with the ERS department.

 

Councillor Al-Yousuf advised that this topic had been scrutinised by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee who had received a presentation at their last meeting from officers.  He also referred to the joint report with the County Council and explained that this work was currently in a draft form.

 

Councillor Prosser agreed that the plan needed to be followed up and a decision made as to what would happen next.  Members noted that monitoring had been taking place over a number of years and discussed the potential measures to reduce air pollution.

 

Councillor Cooper expressed his disappointment that this was the only scrutiny committee considering the budget which he felt demonstrated a lack of process.  He asked that the Management Team and Cabinet consider the process in the future.  He had a concern that the first time some Members would see the budget report would be at the Council meeting.

 

The Chief Finance Officer explained that many budget requests had been received along with requests for funding from officers.  Members were reminded that the Cabinet reports were available to all Members, along with the opportunity to attend Cabinet and/or approach officers directly to ask questions.   It was confirmed that a number of Councillors had submitted questions to the finance team and had been responded to directly.

With regards to the Air Quality concerns, officers advised that this was the role of the Environment Scrutiny Committee to consider and amend their work plan accordingly, should they wish to do so.

 

Councillor Saul asked for clarification on the Medium Term outlook  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Performance Monitoring Q2 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Purpose:

To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Q2 Performance Monitoring Report.

 

Recommendation:

That the Committee decides whether to express a view to the Cabinet on the Q2 Performance Monitoring Report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report from the Chief Executive which provided details of service performance during Q2.

 

The Council monitors service performance each quarter, and a report on progress towards achieving the aim and priorities set out in the Corporate Plan is produced at the end of Q2 and Q4.  The Q2 update on progress on the priorities will be encompassed within the Annual Monitoring Report and presented to Cabinet in December 2021 followed by the Overview and Scrutiny committees.

The Group Manager for Resident Services introduced the report which drew attention to a number of key issues including the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the Agile Working Strategy, the leisure industry, customer satisfaction rates and website usage.

 

The fall in average waiting time for calls to be responded to was noted, along with the increase in staff numbers within the Planning Department and the impact this was having on workload.  It was noted that the Revenue and Benefits team had been affected by a number of staff being diverted onto Covid Business Grants and Test and Trace processes. 

 

Councillor Dent queried the processes for dealing with fly tipping and in response Mr Dearing outlined the digital reporting system which allowed a caller to provide greater information and upload photographs where possible.  It was noted that Ubico would report information back to Environmental Services if they found evidence.

 

Councillor Al-Yousuf commented that he had used the web facility but it was not always clear if the fly tipping had occurred on private or public land.  He also referred to the map which showed mostly red, indicating wide spread instances of fly tipping.

 

The Chief Finance Officer explained that the next iteration of this report would be an overhaul of the existing design and would include helpful dashboards, providing more visual graphs, trends and statistics. 

 

Having considered the report and having heard from the Members and Officers present, it was

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

37.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Purpose:

To provide the Committee with an updated Work Programme for 2020/2021.

Recommendation:

That the Committee notes the work programme and provides comment where needed.

 

Minutes:

Members received the Committee’s work programme detailing the items to be considered at forthcoming meetings.

 

Councillor Saul provided an update to Members on the progress of the Investment Policy Task and Finish Group.  It was noted that there had been many discussions between officers and Members since the last meeting but due to the pressures of producing the Budget papers, the group had been unable to meet.  A decision had therefore been taken to reconvene post Budget setting.

 

Councillor Saul explained that the renewal of the Arlingclose contract was being looked at and the group was mindful to narrow their focus to what the Council wanted from them or any potential alternative providers.  He advised that officers were also working alongside the group on this and a further update would be provided in due course.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

Resolved that the work programme be noted.

38.

Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Purpose:

To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Cabinet Work Programme Feb to May 2022.

Recommendation:

That the Committee decides whether to express a view to the Cabinet on relevant issues in its Work Programme.

 

Minutes:

Members received the Cabinet Work Programme and were advised of a number of changes since the publication of papers.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

39.

Members Questions

To receive any questions from Members of the Committee

Minutes:

There were no Member Questions submitted however the Chairman took the opportunity to thank all Members of the Committee for their assistance and thanked the officers present for their work on this year’s budget.