Agenda and minutes
Budget, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 25th February, 2019 10.00 am
Venue: Council Ante Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension
Contact: Michael Williamson
Webcast: View the webcast
To consider any items which the Chair has agreed to have submitted as urgent.
The Chair advised the Committee that she had received notification of an item of urgent business for consideration. This related to an amendment to the Council’s budget, which had been proposed by Councillor Ellison, seconded by Councillor Wilson, and submitted to the Chief Executive in advance of the meeting. The Leader referred to the Committee the amendment as detailed below:-
· To allocate a budget of £1.5m over three years, to be phased £420k in the first year and £540k in both subsequent years, to increase the capacity of the City Council to tackle anti-social behaviour in our neighbourhoods, to be funded out of the proposed reimbursement of £1.5m to the general fund reserve budgeted for in 2018/19.
The Committee sought clarification as to what the additional funding would be used for and also an assurance that the proposed investment would be spent across all neighbourhoods in the city.
The Leader advised that the additional funding would include provision for an additional seven case workers to tackle anti-social behaviour across all neighbourhoods in the city.
The amendment was put to the Committee and voted on and the Chair declared that it was endorsed unanimously.
The Committee endorses the amendment and commends that it be considered by Full Council at its meeting on 8 March 2019.
[Councillor Kilpatrick was not present during consideration of this item of urgent business].
The following procedure applies for this item:-
(i) The Committee will receive a statement by the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlining the budget process;
(ii) The Committee is invited to consider any issues arising from individual Business Plans that chairs of scrutiny committees wish to draw specific attention to;
(iii) The Committee is invited to receive a Statement from the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations and to consider any amendment proposed in relation to the Housing Revenue account 2019/20 to 2021/22;
(iv) The Committee is invited to consider any amendments to the budget proposals; and
(v) The Committee is invited to summarise its findings and formulate its recommendations to the Council meeting on 8 March 2018.
Further to minute RGSC/19/9, the Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive and the City Treasurer which provided an update on the Council’s financial position following scrutiny of the draft Budget proposals and Directorate Budget and Business Plan reports and accompanying delivery plans by all Scrutiny Committees.
The Committee received a statement from the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources on the Executive’s budget proposals and the key issues underlying the budget process. In doing so, he thanked all the Scrutiny Committees for their input into scrutinising the budget proposals to date within each Directorate Business Plan and thanked Officers for the work that had gone into developing the Business Plans. He also outlined the context of the proposed budget, in particular reiterating the challenges presented by funding reductions from national government.
The Chair then invited the other Scrutiny Chairs in attendance to bring to the Committees attention any concerns/issues that had arisen from their scrutiny of individual Business Plans. There were no financial issues or concerns raised, however the following salient points were made:-
· Further work was required in developing the Council’s living wage policy in order to ensure all Manchester residents had a sufficient level of income;
· The investment into SEND provision was welcomed, however there needed to be greater efforts to integrate SEND pupils into mainstream schools;
· As part of the Dedicated Schools Grant, any surplus within schools’ budgets needed to be redistributed appropriately to ensure the funding was being used effectively; and
· Scrutiny members had been consistently impressed with the outcomes being achieved and the delivery of quality services from limited investment caused by national cuts.
The Leader acknowledged that there was inadequate funding nationally and locally for SEND provision and that the use of the funding available needed to include improving the integration of SEND pupils into mainstream schools. He commented that that this would be for the Director of Education, Director of Children’s Services, the Executive Member of Children and Young People and the Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure to progress.
There were no questions from Committee Members on any of the Directorate Business Plans, which the Chair pointed out had all been scrutinised in various previous committees.
The Committee then received a statement from the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration regarding the Housing Revenue Account calculations for 2019/20 to 2021/22 and its use. She advised of the challenges the Council faced in delivering it housing ambition in light of the 1% cut in rental charges for social housing tenants, the impact of Universal Credit and the increase in communal heating charges which the Council would look to place a cap on the passing of this cost onto tenants.
In relation to the Housing Revenue Account, some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· What would the consequences be of the Government failing to keep its promise to increase social rents by 1% and Consumer Price Index (CPI);
· The rent levels for social housing tenants, ... view the full minutes text for item 18.