Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Alan Garside/Jodie Kloss  Email: democraticservices@watford.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies for absence

    Minutes:

    No apologies for absence had been received.

26.

Disclosure of interests

    Minutes:

    There were no disclosures of interests.

27.

Minutes

    The minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2021 to be approved. Minutes will be signed once members and officers return to the Town Hall.

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting of Finance Scrutiny Committee held on 12 January 2021 were approved. They would be signed at the Town Hall at a later date.

     

28.

Finance Digest Period 10 pdf icon PDF 473 KB

    • View the background to item 28.

    Report of the Section Head – Financial Planning and Analysis

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The committee received the report of the Section Head – Financial Planning and Analysis.  The report informed the committee of the Council’s 2020/21 financial position at the end of January 2021 (Period 10).  The Section Head – Financial Planning and Analysis introduced the report and advised that it would not be expected that there would be many variances at this stage as the last budget was approved by Council on 26 January 2021.

     

    The Section Head – Financial Planning and Analysis highlighted the key areas, in particular he explained that:

    ·        Half of the unfavourable variance in the revenue budget forecast outturn was attributable to health and safety prosecution costs and with the potential of recovering some or all of the monies.  £45k of the variance related to additional resources in the Environmental Health section that were required due to an increase in workload as a result of Covid-19, and with a further £44k relating to the town hall project which would be met by the programme management board.

    ·        89% of the council budget had been spent to the end of January 2021; which would be expected at this time of the financial year.

    ·        The council had received £1.3m from local government’s emergency funding as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Council could be entitled to £1.2m under the government’s income guarantee package with a sum of £0.573 received to date.  However, the receipt of further monies in this regard was not guaranteed. 

    ·        The Chancellor had extended the grants to small businesses until June 2021 and further monies may be received.

    ·        Services were now forecasting an outturn position of £49.472m in the capital budget resulting in a favourable variance of £0.642m.  He advised on a number of the schemes that had resulted in this outturn position.

    ·        With regard to staff vacancies, some of these were filled by interim staff resulting in an actual vacancy rate of 5%.

    ·        In relation to key risks, there was no guarantee that normality would return in June 2021; and with any further lockdowns impacting on costs.  The council had set up a Covid-19 recovery fund of £1m from reserves to help deal with the effects of the pandemic.

    ·        Commercial income was sustainable locally.  However, the government was looking at the efficacy of councils investing outside of their local area and the matter was under consultation.  There were concerns around high risk investments. 

     

    The Section Head – Financial Planning and Analysis also discussed matters in relation to the Croxley Business Park, the Colosseum, business rates and council tax, the Town Hall Quarter, aged debtors and Treasury Management; as outlined in the report.  He advised that council reserves were healthy.

     

    He concluded by informing the committee of a number of the key elements arising from the Chancellor’s recent budget, including advising that 100% business rate relief was continuing until the end of June 2021, £425m would be available for discretionary business grants, furlough would end in September 2021, business rate re-modelling had been delayed for another  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Exclusion of press and public

    The Chair to move: that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during consideration of the item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Section 100(1) of the Act for the reasons stated below in terms of Schedule 12A.

     

    NOTE: if approved, the Chair will ask members of the press and public to leave the meeting at this point.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED –

     

    that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during consideration of the item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Section 100(1) of the Act for the reasons stated on the agenda in terms of Schedule 12A.

     

30.

Croxley Business Park

    The Finance Scrutiny Committee to receive a presentation of the Interim Head of Property.

     

    Paragraph 3 Schedule 12A

     

    (This items contains commercially sensitive information.)

    Minutes:

    The committee received a presentation from the Interim Head of Property on the Croxley Business Park.

     

    Members discussed the presentation, and the Interim Head of Property responded to questions and comments.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the presentation and the committee’s comments be noted.

     

     

     

                                                                                                                Chair

                                                                                                                Finance Scrutiny Committee

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Exclusion of press and public

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during consideration of the item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Section 100(1) of the Act for the reasons stated on the agenda in terms of Schedule 12A.

     

    Croxley Business Park

     

    The committee received a presentation from the Interim Head of Property on the Croxley Business Park.

     

    Members discussed the presentation, and the Interim Head of Property responded to questions and comments.

     

     

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the presentation and the committee’s comments be noted.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                Chair

                                                                                                                Finance Scrutiny Committee

     

     

     

             The meeting started at 7.05 pm

             and finished at 8.25 pm

     

 

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