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Appointment of Substitute Members
To receive a report on the appointment of Substitute Members
There were no substitute members appointed.
Declarations of Interest and Notification of any Dispensations Granted
There were no declarations of interest reported.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 2020.
Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 2020 be confirmed.
To receive the Financial Management report for the current financial year that reflected the financial position as at 31 July 2020.
The Head of Resources presented the 2020/21 Financial Management report to 31 July 2020 that had been considered by Cabinet at its meeting 21 September 2020.
The report was the second monitoring report of the 2020/21 financial position and provided the second indication of the potential revenue and capital position of the Authority at 31March 2021. The report explained where the Authority continued to manage its financial pressures.
North Tyneside Council was in a significant period of financial uncertainty with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic increasing the challenge of being able to forecast the financial impact across the Authority.
The Authority continued to see areas of pressure across Adults and Social Care, but there are significant impacts on income particularly across Sport and Leisure Services, and Catering Services.
The Authority’s approved net revenue budget of £161.361m was forecast to outturn with a pressure of £11.410m. The budget includes £0.805m of savings as agreed at Council on 20 February 2020. Table 1 in paragraph 1.7 below sets out the variation summary across the General Fund.
The Authority continued to take a prudent approach to forecasting including in relation to identifying the impact of Covid-19 which was forecast to add pressures of £27.549m to the General Fund in 2020/21.
The total Local Authority Support Grant had received from Government was (£12.531m) of which £0.733m was required to offset Covid-19 issues in 2019/20. A third tranche of funding had been announced with the share for North Tyneside Council being (£1.777m), that included the remaining (£13.575m) was being applied against the forecasted pressures along with two specific grants for costs linked to Test and Trace (£1.140m) and Infection Control (£2.205m) leaving an amount of £10.629m over and above grant funding. The resultant pressures relating to normal business activities across the Authority were in the region of £0.781m and compare favourably with the same in recent financial years.
Through close monitoring of Covid-19 implications the forecast position would change throughout the year. The report acknowledged the impact of additional cost and lost income and noted that the Authority had seen a reduction in service costs and was working with its partner Engie to how to identify the financial benefits.
Member were given the opportunity to raise questions in relation to the information provided in the report raised that information provided.
It was raised that in relation to Children Services the chart Comparative Performance in Rates of Children in Care per 10,000 Children under 18 provided data up to 2018. It was asked if this was the most up to date information. In response it was stated that further updated data would be sought for the next report.
In relation to school’s finance, school deficit clarification was sought to the meaning of structural deficit. It was explained that there were twelve schools with a forecasted deficit budget plan for 2020/21. Each school has a 3-year budget plan to reduce their deficit and most were in line to do so. However, those ... view the full minutes text for item F45/20
To receive an update on the three schemes that were implemented or revised as a consequence of on-going welfare reform.
The Sub-committee considered an update report on the three schemes that provide financial support to residents, that were implemented or revised in April 2013 onwards because of on-going welfare reform, as well as an update on Universal Credit.
Discretionary Housing Payment Fund
The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund, administered by Local Authorities on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the aim at being a temporary payment, which provides support, just at the right time, to people in financial difficulties who have a shortfall between their rent and Housing Benefit (or Universal Credit including the housing element).
Citizens Advice financial advice continues to work well and regular reporting of overall outcomes shows the significant monetary value their advice has on debts written off, income gain and rescheduled payments.
The position of spend against the grant as at 30.06.20 showed the level of unallocated funding stood at £296,533. The level at 17.11.20 stood at £286,000, approximately 50% of the fund provided.
It was stated that arrears letters were being mailed out and there was an expectation this would prompt an increase in DHP claims.
A Member asked if rent arrears letters provided information to tenants to how to access help available. In response it was stated that DHP payments would not be appropriate, however help maybe available through the Hardship Fund.
Local Council Tax Support Scheme
The demand on the scheme showed a different picture in the current year compared with years previous, where instead of seeing a reduction in claims as normal, there had been a 7% increase in working age caseload since the middle of March 2020.
This was associated to the current pandemic situation where more working age people had seen reductions in their income and job losses, placing increased pressure on the cost of the scheme and as at 30.09.20 17,602 claimants were in receipt of CTS, 9,938 working age and 7,664 pensionable age with a cost of awards since April of £15,371.960 . There was anticipated further increases following the end of the government furlough scheme where some employers may decide to reduce their workforce.
As part of its response to COVID-19, the Government announced in the Budget on 11 March that it would provide local authorities in England with £500m of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.
The Hardship Fund allocation to North Tyneside Council amounted to £2,024,000 and would aid those who would struggle to meet Council Tax Payments.
There was a strong expectation by Government, was that billing authorities would primarily use their grant allocation to reduce the Council Tax liability of individuals in their area, using their discretionary powers under s13A(1)(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and award up to £150.00 to each working age Council Tax Support recipient. Any residual funding could then be used to deliver increased financial assistance through other local support mechanisms, having considered local circumstances.
The hardship payment had made a significant ... view the full minutes text for item F46/20
To receive a report that provides information in relation to the Section 106 schedule.
The Sub-committee received a briefing to provide and understanding to Planning obligations under Section 106 (s106) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, commonly known as s106 agreements.
The S106 mechanism allows a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable, and are focussed on mitigating the impact of the development on an area.
S106 agreements are often called ‘developer contributions’ or ‘planning gain’ and include a range of identified categories, historically including highways, affordable housing, sport and leisure, health and play sites, amongst others.
The efficiency and transparency of the s106 process had been raised by Members and Officers within the Authority and were detailed in the briefing note.
The Investment Programme Board (IPB) set up a s106 sub group to provide political oversight of the s106 process and to overcome identified issues and would approve and manage all the Authority’s s106 spend and project delivery in an agreed, transparent way, linked to agreed service area priorities and wider Authority’s priorities and plans.
To ensure a fair distribution of monies across North Tyneside, the group, in line with the Authority’s strategic plans and priorities, agreed that for all future s106 allocations, the Borough would be split into four areas / quadrants: North East, North West, South East and South West, allowing a more flexible approach to projects and spend through maximising opportunities. In addition a dedicated s106 Capital Programme Manager had been appointed to manage the process.
The briefing detailed the process and governance arrangements of the IPB.
Appended to the briefing were two strategies (play site and allotments) that were developed through the commissioning of the IPB and formed the lynchpin for all future s106 decisions and spend for play site and allotment projects moving forward.
The s106 programme of works aims to supplement and support the wider Authority budget, to ensure a good spread of spend for all areas of the Borough and to provide flexibility and value for money.
Service areas routinely reviewed information and developing projects, which would be presented to the IPB s106 sub group for consideration prior to securing the IPB approval. If approved the projects are then delivered.
Appended to the briefing were the latest s106 spreadsheets that included the financial information of all developer contributions, either as ‘s106 allocated monies’ or ‘s106 pipeline monies’.
On inspection of the information a member requested further information in respect to:
i. 00/02134/S106 Collingwood Ward (S0056) Plot 6 Cobalt Business Park 00/01360/FUL
ii. 13/02005/S106 Whitley Bay Ward- Site of former 35 Esplanade 13/01526/FUL.
It was stated that officers would provide the information directly to the member.
A member raised concern that there were projects (Health) with significant amounts of associated monies set against them for long period and asked the reason for not using the monies earlier. In response it was stated that with the appointment of a dedicated officer to manage s106 monies, work was on going to identify projects or specific use.
The member requested ... view the full minutes text for item F47/20
The Sub-Committee is requested to pass the following resolution:
That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and having applied a public interest test as defined in Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Act, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they
involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Resolved that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and having applied a public interest test as defined in Part 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Business and Technical Partnerships Risks
To consider the attached report which details the risks rated as red contained within the Strategic and Operational Risk Registers of the Business and Technical Partnerships with ENGIE and Capita.
The Sub-committee considered the report that set out monitoring to the management and mitigation of high (red) risks contained within both the Strategic and Operational Risk Registers of each Partnerships.
AGREED that the Business and Technical Partnership Risks report be noted.