Issue - meetings

Council Budget 2014/15

Meeting: 25/02/2014 - Council (Item 73)


A.  Budget Council Procedure


Cabinet – 16 January, 2014

Minute 134 is attached together with appendix 1 to the report.

(Pages 19 - 26)


B.  Suspension of Standing Orders of the Council’s Constitution


(i)  Standing Order 12(1)relates to ‘Motions and Amendments’ and provides that:


“A motion or amendment shall relate to a recommendation of a committee submitted in accordance with Standing Order 5.2(l), or to a matter referred to in Standing Orders 7 and 8. It shall not be discussed unless it has been proposed and seconded.


The terms of any amendment or notice of motion shall not be varied except with the agreement of the Council.”


(ii)  Standing Order 12(9) relates to ‘Amendments’ and provides that:


“Subject to Standing Order 7(5) an amendment to a motion or recommendation of the Cabinet or of a Committee shall be relevant to the motion or recommendation under consideration and shall be either:


(a) to refer or refer back a subject of debate for consideration or reconsideration as the case may be; 

(b) to leave out words;

(c) to leave out words and insert or add others;

(d) to insert or add words.


as long as the effect of any amendment is not to negate the motion or recommendation.”


(iii)  Standing Order 12(10) relates to ‘Amendments to be dealt with in order’ and provides that:


“Only one amendment may be moved and discussed at a time”.


For the purposes of the Budget Debate, Council is requested to suspend:


(a)  Standing Orders 12(1) insofar as it relates to amendments;

(b)  Standing Order 12(9); and

(c)  Standing Order 12(10).


C.  Council Budget 2014/15


On a motion by the Leader of the Council, to approve recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 12 February, 2014, subject to consideration of any amendments received in accordance with the approved Budget Council Procedure.


If the proposed budget is amended or an alternative budget proposal(s) carried, whether whole or in part, that will be regarded as an in-principle decision, which will automatically come into effect five working days from the date of that decision, unless the Leader of the Council informs the Head of Legal and Member Services in writing within that time that he objects to the decision becoming effective and provides reasons why.


In such circumstances, the Head of Legal and Member Services will call another meeting of the Council within seven working days. The Council will then be required to reconsider its decision, and the Leader of the Council’s written submission, at this further Council meeting. (A reserve date of Tuesday, 4 March 2014 has been set aside for considering any written submission by the Leader of the Council, should that be necessary). 


At that second meeting the Council can:


(i).  accept the Cabinet’s recommendation without amendment; or


(ii).approve a different decision which does not accord with the Cabinet’s recommendation, by a simple majority of votes cast at the meeting.


The minutes of the Cabinet (Budget Meeting) held on 12 February, 2014 are attached (pages 27  ...  view the full agenda text for item 73

Additional documents:


Five matters were submitted for approval by the Council (see minutes 74 to 78 post)


The Mayor drew to Members’ attention a letter dated 4 February 2014 that had been circulated from Brandon Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Department for Communities and Local Government, in relation to recorded votes at Budget Meetings. To take account of Brandon Lewis’ representations in his letter concerning ‘The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014’ as far as practicably possible, the Head of Legal and Member Services had proposed that the Budget Council Procedure be amended so that card votes would be taken on the Cabinet budget recommendation, amendments to the Cabinet budget recommendation and the Council Tax report only.

Meeting: 12/02/2014 - Cabinet (Item 143)

143 Revenue Budget 2014/2017 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:


A report of the Director of Resources presented the proposed Budget for 2014/2015 and the projections for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. It indicated that Budget Council was scheduled for 25 February 2014 and the Council had to agree a Budget and set the level of Council Tax for 2014/2015 by 10 March 2014. The Budget Projections 2014/2017 report considered by the Cabinet on 10 December 2013 (minute 114 refers) had set the context in which budget decisions were being made and had indicated a forecast net funding available over the three year period of £780m against a current net spend forecast of £863m – a funding deficit of £83m.


The report highlighted the key issues and the following documents were appended to it –


·  Appendix 1A  Savings Agreed 2014/2017 – March 2013

Savings approved by the Council in March 2013 as part of the 2013/2014 budget, which impacted into future financial years.


·  Appendix 1B  Savings Agreed 2014/2017 – December 2013

Savings approved by the Council in December 2013, following the ‘What Really Matters?’ consultation programme.


·  Appendix 2  Growth Submissions 2014/2017

Growth bids that had been approved by the Council, where increased demand was placing uncontrollable pressure on safeguarding services for Adult’s and Children’s Services and other services where the Council had a contractual obligation to fulfil.


·  Appendix 3  Fees and Charges

A Directory of Fees and Charges, with a recommendation that Delegated Authority be given to the Director of Resources to update the Directory as charges were finalised, prior to publication before 1 April 2014.


·  Appendix 4  Level of General Fund Balances

The level of General Fund Balances the Council maintained and the risk based assessment used to determine that the level was sufficient to provide a financial reserve for unanticipated expenditure and/or expenditure that was of an unforeseen emergency nature.


·  Appendix 5  Reserves

A mid-year review of the amounts held in balances, provisions and reserves, which recommended the release to the General Fund balance of those provisions and reserves no longer required.


·  Appendix 6  Robustness of the Estimates

The report, under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003, of the Chief Financial Officer (Director of Resources) on the robustness of the estimates made for the purposes of the Council’s Budget calculations and the adequacy of the General Fund balances and reserves.


The report set out the Budget assumptions for growth in the levies, highlighted the increased costs of the Merseyside Pension Fund and indicated that the Council Tax Base for use in 2014/2015 had been agreed by the Cabinet on 10 December 2013 (minute 117 refers) and approved by the Council 16 December 2013 (minute 57 refers). It referred also to the new Local Government Finance System introduced on 1 April 2013, under which billing authorities retained a proportion of locally raised business rates. However, as the complexity and volatility of business rates brought increased risk, any surplus arising from Business Rates from 2013/2014 would be held in a General Fund reserve, which could then be used to meet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 143