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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms C, D & E - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from co-opted members Emma Lemon and Colin Powell.

2.

Declarations of pecuniary interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.

 

In relation to agenda items 4, 5 and 6, Roger Kershaw declared that he was a Director of Merantun and Sophie Ellis declared that she was a Director of CHAS.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as an accurate record with the replacement of text on page 1 “Councillor Owen Pritchard and Paul Kohler visited Mitcham Police Station and confirmed that the number of car parking spaces was 45 as reported to the Commission by the Borough Commander” with:

“ Councillor Owen Pritchard and Paul Kohler visited Mitcham Police Station and confirmed that the number of car parking spaces was 29 plus 5 public spaces and not 45 as reported to the Commission by the Borough Commander”.

4.

Business Plan Update 2019-23 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members agreed to take items 4, 5 and 6 together.

 

The Director of Corporate Services, Caroline Holland, introduced the two Business Plan Update reports (item 4 – Cabinet 10 December and item 6 – Cabinet 14 January), outlining the content and highlighting the new information in the January report. She drew the Commission’s attention to progress that had been made on balancing the budget and the gaps that remained for future years.

 

Caroline Holland provided additional information in response to questions about the Medium Term Financial Strategy:

 

·         The most up-to-date draft of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-23 is set out on page 133 of the agenda pack

·         The £24 police precept for police authorities has been set by the government;

·         Council tax is likely to increase by about 5%. Note that Council agreed to extend the council tax support scheme;

·         The 2% increase in council tax from 2020/21 onwards assumes that government will return to the previous capped level

·         Use of the balancing the budget reserve will be spread over two years rather than one as reported in September

·         An update on the use of reserves will be provided to Cabinet’s February meeting

 

Savings proposals for Corporate Services

Members asked questions and made comments about individual savings proposals:

 

New savings

 

CS03 Remove premises contribution to voluntary sector grant recipients

Noted that the reputational risk should read “high” and not “very high”. Expressed concerns about repercussions for the rest of the voluntary sector. Expressed concern  about viability of MVSC and CAB finding alternative sources of funding to meet these running costs.

AGREED to refer back to Cabinet for reconsideration.

CS04 Reduce strategic partner grant by 10%

Noted the high risk rating. Noted that saving is proposed for 2022/23.

CS05 Reduction in staff

Confirmed that member of staff no longer needed now that Home Office have removed nationality checks from local authorities.

Saving AGREED.

CS06 Reduction in staffing in Revenues and Benefits

The Assistant Director of Resources said that he was confident that the saving could be achieved without a material impact on performance and that the quality impact assessment categorised the impact as 1 (the lowest impact category).

Saving AGREED.

CS07 Increase in investment income

Saving AGREED.

CS08 Reduction in staffing

Saving AGREED.

CS09 CHAS dividend

Noted that this would be an ongoing saving and that opportunities for increasing the dividend would be kept under review. Saving AGREED.

CS10 Recharges to Merantun Developments

Saving AGREED.

CS11 Amend discretionary rate relief policy

Saving AGREED.

CS12 Increase charge for long term empty properties

Noted that charges are set by government and this is the maximum that can be achieved. Saving AGREED.

CS13 Improve collection of Housing Benefit overpayments and reduce bad debt provision

Noted that this is already underway and will not have a material impact.

Saving AGREED.

CS14 Impose civil litigation cap at £20k

Saving AGREED.

CS15 Reduce civil litigation legal support by 50%

Saving AGREED.

CS16 Close Morden Park House & relocate staff to Civic Centre

Members said that they greatly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Business Plan 2019-23 Savings Information Pack pdf icon PDF 34 KB

This report is provided separately and will be discussed as part of the preceding agenda item on the Business Plan Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Included in minute of Agenda item 4.

6.

Business Plan Update - Cabinet January 2019 pdf icon PDF 823 KB

Minutes:

Included in minute of Agenda item 4.

7.

Scrutiny of the Business Plan 2019-2023: comments and recommendations from the overview and scrutiny panels pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minutes:

Members noted that a full report of the discussion at each of the Panel meetings would be provided in the minutes of the Panel meeting. Members discussed the content of the report from the Panels and AGREED that in future years they would take time to agree the reference to Cabinet at each of the Panel meetings.

 

The Commission RESOLVED to forward the comments and recommendations from the Panels to Cabinet.

 

8.

Financial monitoring task group - note of meeting held on 13.11.18 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

9.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

The Commission resolved to agree the work programme as set out in the report.