Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

84.

Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest

Members of the Cabinet are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the Cabinet were asked to consider whether they had any disclosable pecuniary and/or any other relevant interest, in connection with any item(s) on the agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

 

Councillor Anita Leech declared a personal interest by virtue of her husband being employed by Nautilus International and the reference to residential care throughout the agenda.

85.

Minutes

The minutes of the last meeting have been printed and published.  Any matters called in will be reported at the meeting.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  That the minutes be approved and adopted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved - That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 20 January 2020 be confirmed as a correct record.

86.

Executive Key Decisions Taken Under Delegated Powers

Key Decisions – taken under delegated powers. Period 8 January 2020 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date. There were no such decisions taken in that period.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that no Key Decisions had been taken by Cabinet Members, under delegated authority, during the period 8 January 2020 (date of publication of last Cabinet agenda) to date.

87.

Quarter 3 2019/20 Revenue Financial Monitoring pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report, which provided a statement of the projected year-end revenue position as at Quarter 3, Month 9 (December 2019).

 

The year-end forecast recorded as part of December’s financial monitoring activity represented an adverse variance to the budget of £2.7m. The Council was encountering significant cost pressures, which were being managed, but known total budget pressures of £13.721m existed, and included £5.2m additional application of flexible use of capital receipts. Due to the Council’s financial position, an adverse budget variance was not viable.

 

Councillor Williamson referred to the savage and unfair cuts from the Government whilst at the same time there had been increased demand for services for vulnerable children and adults. She also referred to a number of savings proposals which it had not been able to achieve. A number of initiatives were in place to reduce the overspend. She thanked all the officers involved who were working together with her fellow Cabinet Members to deliver a balanced budget.

 

Other Cabinet Members expressed their thanks to Councillor Williamson for all her work in helping to put forward a balanced budget in the face of continuing Government austerity.

 

The Leader also referred to the huge pressures on the Council’s finances but stated that the proposed budget would result in no major service cuts, no compulsory redundancies, and would reduce Council Tax for the poorest in the borough. The proposed budget would also back up the Council’s green credentials with a range of initiatives. He also appealed to other Party Leaders to help in lobbying the Government to get the best possible deal for Wirral Council in funding.

 

Resolved - That Cabinet:

 

(1)  notes the year-end forecast position at Quarter 3 of a £2.7 million adverse variance from budget;

 

(2)  notes the level of achievement of savings expected for 2019-20;

 

(3)  notes the revisions to the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2020-2025.

 

Reasons for decision: Regular monitoring and reporting of the Revenue Budgets, savings achievements and MTFS position enable decisions to be taken faster which may produce revenue benefits and will improve financial control in Wirral Council.

88.

Quarter 3 2019/20 Capital Monitoring pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which provided an update on the progress of the Capital Programme 2019/20 at the end of December 2019.  It recommended that Cabinet agreed the 2019/20 Capital Programme of £61.047 million which took account of re-profiling, additional funding requirements and grant variations identified since September.

 

Resolved – That Cabinet:

 

(1)  recommends to Council the approval of additional funding for the schemes referred to in paragraph 3.3 of the report;

 

(2)  recommends to Council the approval of the revised Capital Programme of £61.047 million for 2019-20.

 

Reasons for decision: Regular monitoring and reporting of the Capital Programme enable decisions to be taken faster which may produce revenue benefits and will improve financial control in Wirral Council.

89.

2020/21 Budget Proposals Scrutiny Report pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council introduced a report which set out the feedback from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees in relation to the Budget Proposals for 2020/21. There were separate reports from each of the committees, to which links were provided in Appendix 1 of the report. These captured the issues raised and general feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

 

On behalf of the Cabinet, the Leader thanked all Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees for their experience and knowledge in providing input to the budget process.

 

Resolved – That the content of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee reports be noted, as part of the Cabinet’s deliberations in developing a budget recommendation for Council.

 

Reasons for decision: This report has been produced to enable the Cabinet to consider the feedback of the four Overview and Scrutiny Committees in developing a budget recommendation to Council.

90.

Council Budget 2020/21 & Medium Term Financial Plan (2021/22 to 2024/25) pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A.  Councillor Janette Williamson introduced a report which provided an update on the Budget 2020/21 and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) previously reported to Cabinet on 23 December 2019. It set out the background and the key elements contributing to the preparation of the Budget for 2020/21 and set out recommendations on the budget and council tax for the Council.

 

The Council continued to face financial constraints and pressures. The medium term financial planning period to 2024/25 was expected to contain further grant funding reductions and increasing financial pressures. The report set out how the Council would balance the budget for 2020/21 and updated the MTFP for the period to 2024/25.

 

The Cabinet had to recommend a 2020/21 Budget proposal to the Council on 2 March 2020. This included a recommendation on the Wirral Council element of the Council Tax to be applicable for the 2020/21 financial year.

 

The Council had to agree a Budget and set the levels of Council Tax for 2020/21 by 10 March 2020. The Council tax increase was proposed to be 3.99% (2% Adult Care precept and a 1.99% increase in Council tax). There was growing demand placed on adults’ and children’s care budgets with current pressures of £13m, although the 2% precept would only bring in an additional £2.85m. Nearly £900,000 was proposed for the budget for an automatic reduction in Council tax for the 9,000 poorest households in the borough. She thanked all of her Cabinet colleagues and officers, particularly in the finance team, for all their work on this proposed budget.

 

Members of the Cabinet reiterated the rising demands and pressures being placed on the Council whilst having to respond to cuts in funding from central Government.

 

B.  Councillor Tom Usher introduced a report which set out the Schools Budget for 2020/21 having previously been considered by the Schools Forum at their meetings on 6 November, 2019 and 15 January, 2020.

 

The Schools Budget covered education provision for all Wirral Pupils aged up to 18 in Early Years, Primary, Secondary and academy schools and for some pupils up to the age of 25 in Special Schools and High Needs providers.

 

Most budgets were delegated to schools with some central provision for support services including school admissions and High Needs.

 

The report proposed several changes to the local funding formula for Schools to allow implementation of the National Funding Formula, following the transition steps taken in 2019/20. There were also changes proposed to High Needs. 

 

The Schools Budget provided resources to support all children and young people pledges, and the proposals within the report resulted in an in-year surplus of £643,900 on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) budget, which it was proposed to transfer to the DSG reserve to partially offset the deficit position expected at the end of 2019/20.

 

Councillor Usher referred to the Government’s extra 8 pence per pupil, under the changes to the funding formula. He referred to an article published in the Times Education Supplement in 2018, by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.