Venue: Room 3 - County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND. View directions
Contact: Bryony Crossland Davies, Committee Officer Tel: 07541 719 164 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link: videolink to meeting
Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments
To receive any apologies for absence and temporary appointments.
An apology for absence was submitted by Councillor Ian Middleton for whom Councillor Dan Levy attended as substitute.
Declaration of Interests - see guidance note on the back page
Minutes of the Previous Meeting PDF 323 KB
To APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2022 and to receive information arising from them.
The minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Budget Proposals 2023/24 to 2025/26 PDF 524 KB
The Council has issued its Budget Proposals 2023/24 to 2025/26 for consultation. The Committee is asked to consider the proposals, raise questions on them, and AGREE any recommendations to Cabinet arising therefrom. As part of this item the Committee will be updated on the Council’s Strategic Priorities 2022 – 2025.
All Cabinet Members and Corporate Directors will be invited to answer questions relating to their areas.
The Committee was provided with a report which set out the Council’s budget proposals for the period 2023/24 to 2025/26. The Committees comments would be included in the Budget and Business Planning report to Cabinet on 24 January 2023 and would also be taken into consideration by Cabinet in setting out the proposed revenue budget for 2023/24 and the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to 2025/26.
Cllr Liz Leffman, Leader of the Council, introduced the budget proposals for 2023/24 to 2025/26, outlining and summarising the key aspects of report and presentation. The Leader explained that all budget assumptions and work undertaken for the MTFS were underpinned by the Administration’s nine priorities and informed by budget engagement and public consultations, including Oxfordshire Conversation events and a representative residents’ survey.
The Leader also reminded that Committee that it was due to consider the refreshed Strategic Plan – based on feedback received from residents - for 2023/24 at its meeting on 19 January 2023.
Cllr Calum Miller, the Cabinet Member for Finance, provided the Committee with an overview of the proposed changes for the MTFS, new budget proposals for 2023/24 – 2025/26, and the updated position for 2023/24 compared to current MTFS, all detailed in the report and presentation alongside directorate-specific proposals.
Issues raised by Members
· The Committee asked several questions regarding the potential 4.99% increase in council tax to support essential service delivery.
· The Cabinet Member for Finance stated that the Autumn Statement assumed that Local Authorities would raise higher council tax levels and take advantage of all local funding available. If the Council did not raise council tax, Government may be more reticent to provide grant funding. There would also be an £8.7m shortfall in the budget. Alternatives to meeting this shortfall were twofold: find further savings in services expenditure, or bridge costs for a single year by drawing on some of the services and balances funds. The latter was advised against.
· Members queried whether the Council would be applying for the 4.99% council tax increase to alleviate the deficit. The Committee sought reassurance that there were contingencies in place if Directorates could not meet service demands within their robust budget envelopes.
· No decision had been made regarding the council tax increase for the subsequent year. The Council used all its contingency allowance in the current year to support inflationary pressures. It was proposing to reinstate the contingency line for the 23/24 budget and was noted as an item in the Council’s recurrent expenditure.
· Regarding demand estimates, Adult Social Care and Children’s Services represented significant pressures. There was substantial investment expected through the Oxfordshire Way approach and the Council was working on early intervention to deal with cases quicker, delay or prevent demand arising, reduce cost, and improve outcomes for adults, children and families.
· A Member referred to the predicted in-year planned savings, the £2.1m red-rated savings and the £14m overspend in Children’s Services and asked how the Council would respond to those pressures within the budget plan going forward.
· The Cabinet ... view the full minutes text for item 33/22
Democratic Processes Working Group PDF 316 KB
The Performance and Corporate Service Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed to establish the Democratic Services Working Group and a terms of reference was agreed at the Committee’s 10 December 2021 meeting. A project plan was developed and agreed in March 2022. However, it was agreed that the working group would be paused until a permanent Head of Governance could come into post. At its meeting on 30 September 2022 the Committee was informed that this had now happened, and it was agreed the working group should recommence with an updated project plan.
The Committee is recommended to:
- AGREE the revised project plan, having raised any desired amendments
- AGREE for the Scrutiny Officer to seek membership nominations from political groups, for agreement by the committee at its January 2023 meeting
The Performance and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee:
(1) AGREED the revised project plan;
(2) AGREED that the Principal Scrutiny Officer seek membership nominations from political groups, for agreement by the Committee at its January 2023 meeting;
(3) AGREED that external participants be involved where possible.
Action and Recommendation Tracker PDF 137 KB
The Committee is asked to NOTE the progress of previous recommendations and actions having raised any questions on the contents.
The Principal Scrutiny Officer provided an update on the Committee’s Action and Recommendations Tracker.
The Performance and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTED the Action and Recommendation tracker.
Work Plan and Forward Plan PDF 181 KB
To AGREE the Committee’s proposed work programme for 2023/24, taking into consideration the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Business Management and Monitoring Report recommendations and Cabinet Forward Plan.
Members received an update on the Committee’s proposed work programme for 2022/23.
The Principal Scrutiny Officer informed the Committee that Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Scrutiny Committees were due to consider the BMMR report. Any recommendations arising would subsequently be considered by the Performance and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
(1) That the work programme be APPROVED;
(2) That the Transformation Programme item be removed from the agenda of the January 2023 meeting of the Committee;
(3) That the Performance and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee revisit budget proposals at its January 2023 meeting, and defer consideration of the Council’s proposed capital budget and programme until that meeting. Members were invited to submit their questions to the Committee Officer in advance of the meeting.