Venue: Conference Room 1, Beech Hurst, Weyhill Road, Andover, Hampshire, SP10 3AJ
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That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2018 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Update on Panels
Lead Members to update the Committee on the progress of their Panels (10 mins)
Councillor Cockaday updated Members on Overview & Scrutiny’s recommendations to Cabinet over the last six months.
· Recommendations from the Planning Panel had been noted by Cabinet on 10 October 2018 and the recommendations passed on to the Planning Advisory Service for consideration as part of their review of the Planning Committees.
· Cabinet considered a recommendation on Drug Intervention Services in Test Valley on 7 November 2018 and were supportive of the recommendation to explore funding opportunities to fund drug prevention education programmes. The matter would be considered by the Community Safety Management Group.
· The Public Involvement Panel’s recommendations were agreed by Cabinet on 7 November 2018 and the proposed action plan emanating from the review was endorsed. It will form part of the work programme for the Member and Community Development Working Group.
Council Tax Support Scheme – The Panel’s final report was considered under a separate item.
Parking (Car Park and Streets) Panel – Councillor Baverstock reported that the panel was going well. The Head of Planning had been invited to the next meeting to discuss the Local Plan and car parking standards.
Budget Panel – The last Budget Panel meeting was held on 18 October where the Panel discussed the summary of the 2019/20 budget position and the Medium Term Financial strategy and Corporate challenge options 2019/20. The Panel also proposed a number of recommendations on Proposed Fees and Charges which was considered separately.
Audit Panel – The next Audit Panel would be held onMonday 10 December 2018.
Review of Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20 (20 minutes)
Consideration was given to a report by the Council Tax Support Panel Lead Member which gave an update on the current consultation to enable the Committee to make recommendations for changing the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20.
The Council Tax Support Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit from 1 April 2013 and the Government reduced the funding for this scheme by 10%. The Council undertook extensive consultation in 2012 to develop a scheme and following that consultation and in light of the impending introduction of the Universal Credit scheme it was decided to leave the Council Tax Support scheme unchanged from the previous scheme but to offset the extra cost of this with the higher charges for empty properties. In the intervening years the Council has agreed to continue to roll for the scheme pending the introduction and roll out of Universal Credit in the Test Valley area.
Earlier this year the Council Tax Support Panel had reviewed the Council Tax Support Scheme and recommended a number of options to Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be considered as part of a public consultation. The consultation ran from 17 September 2018 for 12 weeks and after reviewing the results made recommendations to change the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20.
1. That a cap of 90% be applied.
2. That the minimum amount of Council Tax Support payable be increased from £0.50 to £1.00 per week.
3. That a minimum tolerance level for changes in income of £30.00 per week be set.
That Cabinet be requested to endorse these recommendations for submission, with a full report and draft scheme, to Council on 23 January 2019.
To consider the Budget Panel’s recommendations following its review of the detailed papers supporting the development of the Council’s 2019/20 budget (20 minutes)
Consideration was given to a report of the Budget Panel Lead Member which advised Members of the work undertaken by the Budget Panel in reviewing and scrutinising the budget strategy, assumptions, forecast and savings proposals for 2019/20 and the proposed levels of fees and charges for Council services effective from 1 April 2019.
On 18 October 2018, the Budget Panel met to consider the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019/20 – 2021/22, the Corporate Challenge savings options and the proposed fees and charges for 2019/20. The Panel was given an extensive briefing on the budget position by the Head of Finance, who provided answers to the detailed questions asked by Panel Members.
The Budget Panel had concluded its review of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-2022 and the proposed levels of fees and charges for Council services effective from 1April 2019.
The Panel put forward five recommendations for the Committee to consider.
1. That the Committee acknowledges that there are arguments for and against the freezing of Council Tax in 2019/20, given the many risks identified in the budget strategy and forecast.
2. That the level of risk in assuming negative Revenue Support Grant (RSG) will not be implemented by the Government be recognised.
3. That the possible implications of Hampshire County Council taking back the management of on-street parking in Test Valley be recognised.
4. That the uncertainties surrounding Brexit be acknowledged, reviewed and included in the budget strategy.
5. That the Fees and Charges proposals for 2019/20 be endorsed.
To enable Members to keep the Committee’s future work programme under review (10 minutes)
The Committee considered the items put forward at the Away Day and updated the Work Programme as follows:
· Armed Forces Covenant round table discussion add on 21 January 2019
· Homelessness Reduction Act report add on 21 January 2019
· The future of the High Street round table discussion add on 12 December 2018
· Round table discussion on the LGA Peer Review final report on 20 March 2018
That the future work programme be approved.