Agenda and decisions

Strategy and Resources Committee
Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Epsom Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services, 01372 732122  Email: democraticservices@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Question Time

To take any questions from members of the Public

 

Please Note: Members of the Public are requested to inform the Democratic Services Officer before the meeting begins if they wish to ask a verbal question at the meeting

Decision:

No questions were asked or had been submitted by members of the public

2.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests in respect of any item of business to be considered at the meeting.

Decision:

No declarations of interest were made regarding items on this agenda

3.

Local Plan Consultation pdf icon PDF 83 KB

It is important that the Local Plan consultation is expertly undertaken so that residents, businesses , community groups and stakeholders are better informed of the Local Plan and therefore able to engage.  The Borough needs to resource the Local Plan engagement for the benefit of the residents of the Borough.  Through commissioning expertise the success of our communications, engagement, facilitation and management of the process will be assured.

Decision:

The Committee agreed to the proposed commissioning of consultation and engagement experts; and specialist software to enable residents to comment for the Local Plan consultation with a budget of up to £75,000 as set out in paragraph 4.3 of the report.

4.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme pdf icon PDF 115 KB

This report provides an update on the current Local Council Tax Support Scheme and seeks approval for the 2020/21 scheme and action on future schemes.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee:

(1)            Agreed to continue the current scheme for the 2020/21 financial year with the underlying means tested applicable amounts being uplifted by the same percentage as the Housing Benefit rates applicable from April 2020 and applying any further Regulation changes that might apply for that financial year;

(2)            Agreed the continuation of the Discretionary Hardship Fund for exceptional cases;

(3)            Agreed the actions proposed to change the scheme to a council tax discount to be implemented from 1 April 2021.

5.

Flexible Housing Support Grant pdf icon PDF 121 KB

This report identifies the growth in demand for homelessness assistance since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2017 and the resulting increase in expenditure for the provision of the homelessness service in 2019/20.

 

The report recommends use of the Flexible Housing Support Grant to increase homelessness prevention activity, reduce the use of expensive out of borough nightly paid accommodation through the increased use of Private Sector Leased Properties and to purchase a new temporary accommodation rent accounting module and upgrade the existing Abritas Housing Services system.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee:

(1)            Approved the use of £106,950 of Flexible Housing Support Grant to increase homelessness prevention activity and increase the supply of Private Sector Leased properties; and

(2)            Approved the use of £63,000 of Flexible Housing Support Grant to purchase a new temporary accommodation rent accounting module and upgrade the existing Abritas Housing Services system to assist homelessness prevention & relief administration. 

6.

Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations pdf icon PDF 73 KB

The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 requires compulsory reviews of UK Parliamentary polling districts and polling places every five years. A compulsory review must be completed by 31st January 2020. A consultation is under way to inform this process. It is recommended that a Working Group of Members is established to consider representations received and for their proposals to be brought back before this Committee on 26 November 2019.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee agreed:

(1)            That a Working Group be established to consider all representations received in respect of the public consultation in respect of Polling Districts, polling Places and Polling Stations;

(2)            That the Working Group comprise of 5 members with the Chairman of the Residents’ Association, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat group and the Leader of the Labour group having nominated 3 members, 1 member and 1 member respectively as detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report, and Councillor Christine Howells as the nominated representative from Nonsuch Ward agreed at the meeting.

(3)            That this Committee considers the proposals of the Working Group at its meeting on 26 November 2019.

7.

Budget Targets 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

This report recommends budget targets for 2020/21 and provides an update on financial planning for 2021/22 to 2023/24 as recommended by Financial Policy Panel.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Committee:

(1)            Noted the recommendations of Financial Policy Panel held on 10 September 2019.

(2)            Agreed the following overall budget targets for 2020/21:-

a)              estimates are prepared including options to reduce organisational costs by £544,000 in 2020/21 subject to government grant announcement, to minimise the use of working balances and maintain a minimum working balance of £2.5 million in accordance with the medium term financial strategy;

b)              that at least £290,000 additional revenue is generated from an increase in discretionary fees and charges, based on a minimum overall increase in yield of 3.0%, with the exception of car parking which is set at 6.0% as these charges are adjusted every two years;

c)               that a provision for pay award is made of £400,000 that allows for a 2% cost of living increase;

(3)            Agreed that further savings are identified for inclusion within the new Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2020-2024 to reduce the Council’s net operating costs by a minimum of £1,825,000 over the period 2020/21 to 2023/24;

(4)            That Capital Member Group seeks to maintain a minimum capital expenditure programme to control the use of capital reserves between 2020 and 2024, subject to an appropriate prioritisation of spend to save and externally funded schemes.

8.

Strategic Statement on Economy and Place pdf icon PDF 1 MB

This strategic statement sets out the Council’s strategic priorities for economy and place in the context of the Council’s new long-term vision for the borough, and in advance of the new Corporate Plan and the forthcoming detailed strategies that will emerge over the Autumn through the Council’s Local Plan process.

Decision:

The Committee agreed the Strategic Statement on Economy and Place

9.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 108 KB

The Committee is asked to confirm as a true record the Minutes of the meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 30 July 2019 and to authorise the Chairman to sign them.


Decision:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 30 July 2019 were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.