Agenda and draft minutes

Budget and Performance Panel
Wednesday, 17th June 2020 6.10 p.m.

Venue: THIS WILL BE A VIRTUAL MEETING

Contact: Stephen Metcalfe, Democratic Services - email  sjmetcalfe@lancaster.gov.uk 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Chair's Remarks

Minutes:

The Chair thanked the previous Chair, Councillor Budden, and other Members of the Panel for the hard work that had been undertaken in the previous municipal year. 

 

He also thanked the Chief Executive and officers for their ongoing work during the current pandemic and also Jenny Kay and Stephen Metcalfe, Democratic Services, who had assisted in the arrangements for this meeting of the Panel. 

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

In accordance with Part 3, Section 3, Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, of the Constitution, the holder of this appointment shall not be members of the largest political group, which has Councillors serving on the Cabinet. 

Minutes:

The Chair requested nominations for the position of Vice-Chair. 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Joanna Young and seconded by Councillor Roger Dennison:-

 

“That Councillor Tim Dant be appointed Vice-Chair of the Budget and Performance Panel for the municipal year 2020/21.” 

 

There being no further nominations, the proposition was declared carried. 

 

Resolved:

 

That Councillor Tim Dant be appointed Vice-Chair of the Budget and Performance Panel for the municipal year 2020/21. 

 

3.

Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 18th February 2020 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

4.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business. 

5.

Declaration of Interests

To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Councillors are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Councillors are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests. 

 

6.

Covid 19 - Financial Impact pdf icon PDF 442 KB

Report to be considered at Cabinet on Tuesday, 9th June 2020 attached. 

Minutes:

The Panel received a report from the Chief Finance Officer, which provided an update on the current financial position in line with May’s Ministry for Homes Community and Local Government (MHCLG) submission and set out scenarios (worse and best case) and their potential implications for Council’s finances in 2020/21.

 

Financial implications were categorised into 3 different areas:

 

·       New costs that arise simply as a result of the emergency for example the setting up and operation of the emergency foodbank hub at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.

 

·       Increase in some service costs that were not budgeted at the ‘new’ level due to the emergency, for example increase in temporary accommodation need, additional work by the Council’s facilities management team and the purchase of additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

 

·       Loss of income that would otherwise have been received by the Council in ‘normal’ times (e.g. car parking, other fees and charges, investment income, council tax and business rates receipts).

 

The report included Financial Modelling and Scenarios although predicting what the final impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s finances might be was extremely difficult as it was dependent on a number of factors and variables such as how long restrictions will last for and how quick, or slow the recovery will be. There was also the longer term impact on how the lockdown has changed people’s habits around shopping, transport and exercise etc. and how these were to be reflected.

 

The report included current estimates of the impact of COVID on the Council’s General Fund budget based on the best estimates from budget holders. Best and worst case scenarios had been developed and these would be monitored over the next few months and, as more information became available, the range between these estimates was expected to narrow.

 

The analysis focussed predominantly on 2020/21 but it was anticipated that COVID-19 would have a longer lasting impact on the Lancaster district and this would have to be reflected in medium term financial modelling. There was a likelihood that incomes might not recover and COVID-19 related expenditure might extend into future years. In the longer term, it was recommended that the Council undertook an outcomes based budgeting exercise to refocus budgets around the Council’s COVID recovery priorities. 

 

Impact on Reserves was also outlined.  An analysis was undertaken as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy to compare ourselves to other Councils both nationally and regionally. This work had shown that over the recent years the Council’s level of usable reserves increased significantly, as a result of increases Business Rates Retention Reserve. As a result the Council was more financially resilient than many of its neighbours. It was noted that initial modelling on the impact on reserves covering the next 18-36 months would commence shortly.

 

With regard to the capital programme it was reported that the Caton Road Flood Defence Works  had faced additional financial pressures and a number of capital projects had been accelerated, or brought forward as a result of the Council’s response to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.