Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Mark Delap Principal Committee Officer
Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest/Party Whip
Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests 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.
Members are reminded that they should also declare, pursuant to paragraph 18 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, whether they are subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.
Members were asked to consider whether they had any disclosable pecuniary interests 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.
Members were reminded that they should also declare, pursuant to paragraph 18 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, whether they were subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.
No such declarations were made.
To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on 17 September 2013
Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 September 2013 be approved.
The summary document and individual budget options papers are attached.
A presentation will also be made on this item.
The Council’s Marketing and Engagement Manager gave a brief presentation on the ongoing ‘What Really Matters?’ Budget Consultation process, which sought the views of Members, staff, residents and businesses upon a range of savings options that had been proposed by officers for consideration by the Cabinet, to address a budget gap of £27.5m. The consultation had launched on 16 September 2013 and had followed a similar format to that used last year. He indicated that some 200 consultation events had been held to date and there had been direct engagement with in the region of 20,000 residents, with over 50 permanent engagement points. To date, over 5000 completed questionnaires had been received, with over 1000 from members of staff. He provided an indication of response levels by Constituency, which were in the process of being evaluated. He assured Members that every comment made would be read and categorised, and published with the results following the close of the consultation exercise on 6 December 2013. The results would then be presented to the Cabinet on 10 December, with a recommendation to the Council on 16 December 2013.
The Labour Group spokesperson referred to comments that had been made by the Chair in a recent leaflet circulated to residents, which questioned the value of the consultation exercise. He sought clarification from the Chair that he was now satisfied with the process in the light of the officer presentation.
In response, the Chair expressed his personal view that the consultation had only limited value, as it was essentially self-selective by those who chose to engage with it. It could not be taken as being fully representative of the views of the people of Wirral but nevertheless, he believed it to be a significant improvement over the exercise undertaken in 2012/2013.
Members noted that the value of the budget options was in excess of the savings required, in order that the Cabinet would be able to respond to views expressed as part of the consultation. A Scrutiny Review had been undertaken by a Task and Finish Group upon the ‘Impact of the 2013/2014 Budget Options and Potential Options for 2014/2015’ (see minute 27 post).
It was agreed that in the light of the officers’ comments upon the following Regeneration and Environment budget options, the individual views expressed by Members should be referred to the Cabinet for consideration –
Environmental Health Modernisation £235k
· That a quality service should be maintained and the officers do all that is possible to maximise income.
· That consideration should be given as to whether charges could be made for the star ratings awarded to eateries.
· That measures should be put in place to ensure that there is no risk to public health as a result of the saving and that statutory obligations would continue to be met.
Floral Pavilion – Review of Operations £400k
· That a detailed and thorough review should examine all existing activities to ensure the efficient operation of the facility to ensure it is in a position ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
The Chair presented a Scrutiny Review: Impact of 2013/2014 Budget Options and Potential for 2014/2015, which had been undertaken by a Task and Finish Group comprising Councillor Alan Brighouse (Chair) and Councillor Paul Doughty.
Members thanked Councillors Brighouse and Doughty and the officer support for the significant work they had undertaken on behalf of the Committee, but were disappointed that the second largest political group had not been represented at any of the six meetings that had been held.
The Chair advised that, given the timescales, it had not been possible to review all of the budget options for 2013/2014 in detail, or the potential options for 2014/2015. However, the Group had focused on the most significant options and had made a number of observations and recommendations.
Resolved – That the Scrutiny Review be referred to the Cabinet for consideration of the recommendations alongside the views expressed by Members to each of the Budget Options (see minute 26 ante).