Agenda and minutes

Performance & Corporate Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 8 December 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Room 2&3 - County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND. View directions

Contact: Scrutiny Team  E-Mail:

Link: videolink to meeting

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments

To receive any apologies for absence and temporary appointments.




Declaration of Interests - see guidance note on the back page




Minutes pdf icon PDF 241 KB

The Committee is asked to AGREE the minutes of the meeting of 29 September 2023 and the extraordinary meeting of 10 November 2023 as an accurate record having raised any necessary amendments and questions arising.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2023 and the extraordinary meeting held on 10 November 2023 were AGREED as a correct record and that that the Chair should sign them as such.


Petitions and Public Address

Members of the public who wish to speak at this meeting can attend the meeting in person or ‘virtually’ through an online connection. 


To facilitate ‘hybrid’ meetings we are asking that requests to speak or present a petition are submitted by no later than 9am four working days before the meeting i.e., 9am on 04 December 2023.  Requests to speak should be sent to Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Manager at


If you are speaking ‘virtually’, you may submit a written statement of your presentation to ensure that your views are taken into account. A written copy of your statement can be provided no later than 9am 2 working days before the meeting. Written submissions should be no longer than 1 A4 sheet.





Budget Proposals 2024/25 to 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 553 KB

The Committee is asked to consider the Budget Proposals 2024/25 to 2026/27 paper and to AGREE any recommendations it wishes to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.

Additional documents:


Leader of the Council, Councillor Liz Leffman introduced the budget proposals 2024/25 to 2026/27. It was important to stress that the Council would not be informed by central government of the details of the funding settlement until late December, meaning that there was a degree of uncertainty over the level of income received from this source. Further, announcements made in the Autumn Statement had led to an increase in the Council’s costs, creating a £9m gap in the current iteration of the budget which would need to be closed prior to agreeing the budget in order to meet the requirement that it be balanced.


Councillor Dan Levy, Cabinet Member for Finance, drew attention to the external consultation process being undertaken with residents - including online meetings to allow suggestions for the budget from members of the public, an online calculator to let people explore the options for balancing the budget, and sessions held to hear the specific views of young people.  The budget itself was subject to enormous pressures; whilst the Autumn Statement’s increase to the National Living Wage was overall welcome, it did introduce several million pounds of additional pressures to the Council’s budget.


Lorna Baxter, Executive Director of Resources, reminded the Committee of the background to the budget – the decisions made to agree the existing budget and changes since. The Council expected to increase its budget by £30.2m, largely to fund demographic pressures, and its Council Tax by 4.99% in 2024/25. In-year, a further £26.9m of pressures, largely related to inflation and demand, had arisen within directorates, and £4m within contingency, leading to agreed increases to the previously-agreed budget of £30.9m. The National Living Wage increase had been higher than the highest potential range put forward by central government and was higher than the Council had anticipated – leading to direct pay impacts, but also additional costs for providers, largely in Adult Social Care, and thus also indirect costs. The Council’s position, therefore, was needing to identify how £29.8m of pressures would be addressed.  A source of income, arising from the Workplace Parking Levy, would develop over time and contribute financially in the future, but would in the meantime be covered using reserves.


Kathy Wilcox, Head of Financial Strategy, explained the Council’s position regarding external funding. The MTFS was expecting an increase in business rate funding through the Settlement Funding Assessment of 2%, whereas it would actually increase by 6.7%, or £3.5m. Other changes to Business Rates were expected to yield an additional £1m.  Conservative forecasts suggested a £4m increase to MTFS estimates on the Council Tax Collection Fund. The discontinuation of the New Homes Bonus assumed in the MTFS had not transpired, creating £1.7m of one-off grant funding. Significant areas of income were, however, still outstanding. These included changes to the taxbase, surpluses and deficits on Council Tax, Business Rates income and surpluses and deficits, and the level of the Social Care Grant.


In response the Committee sought more information about the following:

-        Demographic modelling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55/23


Committee Action and Recommendation Tracker pdf icon PDF 190 KB

The Committee is asked to NOTE the progress against previous actions and recommendations, having raised any questions.


The Committee NOTED the updates from the action and recommendation tracker.


Cabinet Responses to Recommendations pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Attached are the formal responses to Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee from Cabinet regarding the following reports:


Workforce Data

Workforce Strategy

Consultation and Engagement Strategy

EDI Action Plan

LGA Peer Review


The Committee is asked to NOTE the responses.


Additional documents:


The Cabinet’s responses to Scrutiny’s recommendations were NOTED.


Committee Forward Work Plan pdf icon PDF 154 KB

The Committee is asked, having considered the Cabinet Forward Plan and any suggested amendments from members to AGREE its proposed work programme.

Additional documents:


The proposed work programme was AGREED subject to the following amendments:


-        Delay of the Transformation report from 19 January meeting to a future meeting